King’s Lynn and West Norfolk History Festival


King’s Lynn and West Norfolk History Festival

22nd October- 1st November 2020

About the Project

The King’s Lynn and West Norfolk History Festival is to be held over half term (22nd October- 1st November 2020). A mixture of digital and physical events celebrating the remarkable history of the area. There will be crafts, talks, walks, seminars and more!

Lindsey Bavin, Curator of True’s Yard Museum and Chairperson of the Heritage Learning Forum who are organising the festival, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing local history to life. There’s so many different aspects to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk history and to have them all celebrated here is wonderful.”

Cllr Nockolds, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Heritage and Health at the Borough Council, added: “I’m pleased to see many organisations working together to bring local history to life this half term. Some events are virtual and can be enjoyed at home. Others involve a trip out, please look online as most of these need to be pre-booked and have limited numbers to adhere to social distancing and government guidelines. People can enjoy the festival either at home or in Covid-secure environments at venues across King’s Lynn.”

About King’s Lynn and West Norfolk

King’s Lynn & West Norfolk has a wealth of history at its finger tips from the extraordinary Bronze Age Seahenge from Holme-Next-The-Sea on display at Lynn Museum to incredible medieval buildings like King’s Lynn Minster and the Hanse House. The earliest cannon to be discovered in England came from Castle Rising and is now on display in the Tower of London. 

King’s Lynn was home to Margery Kempe, whose autobiography was the first by a woman written in the English language. The town benefitted from international trade with the Hanseatic League. Boats were built there for Nelson’s navy and planes were built in fairground ride maker’s Savages to serve in WW1. Our heritage is a great reason to #lovewestnorfolk

Who is involved?

True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum, Stories of Lynn, St Nicholas’ Chapel, Lynn Museum, King’s Lynn Minster, GroundWork Gallery and Historic England Heritage Schools. As well as support from Norfolk County Council, Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Love West Norfolk, Discover Lynn, Community Action Norfolk and Visit Norfolk.

What’s on offer?

True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum

The social history Museum located on the corner of North Street and St Ann’s will be offering a variety of activities all themed around Weird History. Launching on 22nd October will be an exhibition celebrating the Weird History of the King’s Lynn-Witch Hunters, Miracles and Mayhem.

22nd October at 11am on Facebook Live and later on YouTube- Sausage Saints, Wizards and Witches by Museum Curator Lindsey Bavin. Lindsey will be doing a Q&A on Zoom on 23rd October 12noon  if you wish to attend email for details.

24th October – Weird Medicine. 1-hour Craft Sessions will be limited and pre-booking will be required – the activity sessions are free for museum admission fee paying children (£1.50) Make a mouse necklace and learn about medieval medicine from our in-house plague doctor!

Ghost Tours will also be available email for details.

Stories of Lynn

At Stories of Lynn, located on Saturday Market Place, October half-term activities are around Nelson, in celebration of Trafalgar Day (21st October). Sessions will be limited and pre-booking will be required – the activity sessions are free for museum admission fee paying children (£1.95)

The themes are:


Monday 26th October – maps


Tuesday 27th October – Nelson’s portrait


Wednesday 28th October – sailor hats


Thursday 29th October – ships at sea


Friday 30th October – ship biscuit


To book a place call 01553 774297.


King’s Lynn Borough Archives

There will be an Archive Ambulation following the early cinema history of King’s Lynn. A narrated video will be available on the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk History Festival YouTube page. Through building control plans and photographs you learn about eight of the early cinemas that were designed and built between 1911 and 1938 at five locations through the town. An accompanying blog is available on the Norfolk Record Office Blog (

Lynn Museum

Lynn Museum will be offering a series of digital events linked to artist Laura Wilson’s new work, Deepening, Art work and the Bronze Age.

Saturday 24 October at 7pm

Deepening Art Work and Artist Talk. The event is free but tickets for this Zoom event to be booked via Art Tickets   

Artist Laura Wilson, in conversation with archaeologist Maisie Taylor, discusses her newly-commissioned film Deepening (2020) inspired by her exploration of the renowned Bronze Age site at Must Farm near Peterborough with archaeologist Maisie Taylor. Join us for a special screening of the film and conversation, followed by a live Q&A with the artist.

Laura Wilson was commissioned by Norwich Castle Museum &and Art Gallery as part of New Geographies, a three-year project funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England Ambition for Excellence.

Tuesday 27 October at 4pm

Seahenge then and now: the changing landscape of Holme-next-the-Sea Virtual Tour

Join the staff at Lynn Museum to explore the changing landscape around Seahenge. We will first look at the marshland where the timber circle was built 4000 years ago. Archaeologists studying Seahenge have been able to uncover examples of the plants and animals of the marshland and some were used in the building of the monument. We will then take a virtual visit to the Holme Dunes nature reserve where Seahenge was discovered in 1998 and look at the important habitats its coastal landscape provides. The evening will consist of a video screening and a Q&A session afterwards.

Wednesday 28 October at 2.20pm

The Story of Seahenge

An illustrated talk by Oliver Bone, curator to explain the constructions and discovery of Seahenge.


Friday 30th October at 4pm

Earthworks Art Session

Join artist Liz Ballad in a practical session to produce your own work in response to Laura Wilson’s Deepening. A list of required materials will be sent in advance (these materials are likely to be found in the home). 

Suitable for 13 years and older.

Sunday 1 November at 2.30pm

Bronze Age Axe Casting Demonstration and Q&A

Join James Dilley, an archaeologist and craftsman who specialises in prehistoric technologies with over 17 years of experience to discover how some of the earliest metal tools were produced in prehistoric Britain. James will demonstrate preparing the mould, working the leather bellows on the charcoal- fuelled furnace to melt copper and tin and then producing a replica early bronze age axe head. James will also answer audience questions.

All the events will be run via Zoom Webinar and advance booking is essential. Book your tickets here

Historic England Heritage Schools

Kate Argyle will be running two digital sessions. The first on the King’s Lynn Scroll an exciting project about King’s Lynn’s history brought to life by artist Nicola Murray Woods. It was created in partnership of the Heritage Learning Forum and Heritage Education Network.  The other digital session is on ‘How to Discover Your Local Heritage’. These will be available on the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk History Festival YouTube page.

King’s Lynn Minster

The King’s Lynn Minster on Saturday Market Place will be opening its doors to visitors both in real life and virtually during the King’s Lynn History Festival. ‘Throughout the half-term, visitors will be able to enjoy a self-guided trail around the outside of the church, spotting gargoyles and looking for signs of the church’s history. A trail sheet will be published on our social media channels on Friday 23rd October.

On Wednesday 28th 10am – 5pm and Saturday 31st October 10am – 2pm, families and art lovers are invited inside the Minster to learn about the Green Man. The Green Man is a sculpture commonly found in churches and he takes fantastical shapes and forms. These pre-booked family sessions will include a craft pack to allow visitors to create their own Green Man to take home.

Although the Minster has been closed to visitors, we have been able to capture hidden areas of the church on film. They will be included in a virtual tour of the Minster and its rich history on Thursday 29th October at 6pm. This event will take place on Zoom.

All sign-up links and information will be published on the Minster Facebook page at and on Twitter @KingsLynnMinstr. You can also find out more and sign up for the activities by emailing or calling the Minster office on 01553 772858.


St Nicholas’ Chapel

While St Nicholas’ Chapel is closed, we will be pleased to offer online activities for both adults and children:

Adults / all ages: Discover 800 years of history through our virtual tour of St Nicholas Chapel.

Children: Bizarre Beasts – create your own mischievous mask or cheeky creature.

GroundWork Gallery

GroundWork Gallery has published a self-guiding #doorstepenvironment environmental trail for King’s Lynn. It is full of local features to find and identify, some historic, some natural, some industrial. On one side there is a simple quiz-trail to follow and on the other a blank template so you can do your own version. Suitable from 8 years upwards. Pick up a free copy from the gallery during opening hours – Wednesday to Saturday 11-4.


For more information, please contact:

Where possible the digital events will be recorded and available on the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk History Festival YouTube page.

More information about the venues

About True’s Yard Museum

True’s Yard is a heritage site and town museum celebrating the fishing community of the North End which made a significant contribution to Lynn’s commercial and social life for 900 years. The Lynn fishermen and their families led hard and difficult lives but their community values endured through the generations. The teeming population of Northenders and their yards and cottages have disappeared through modern redevelopment, save for True’s Yard – where you will be welcomed by our staff and volunteers and discover a fascinating story. You can also enjoy the guided tours of the Old North End in the summer months.

For more information visit

About St Nicholas’ Chapel, King’s Lynn

The largest Chapel of Ease in the country, St Nicholas’ Chapel in King’s Lynn was originally founded by William Turbus, the third Bishop of Norwich around 1140. The building we see today is mostly the result of a substantial re-building between the late 14th and early 15th centuries, with the sole exception of the tower which dates from around 1225, and was comprehensively reordered in 1852.

The chapel is in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust, the national charity saving historic churches at risk, and in September 2015, it was reopened following a £2.7m regeneration, in partnership with the Friends of St Nicholas’ Chapel and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Since reopening, the chapel has begun a new life as a cultural venue for events, concerts, fairs and exhibitions.

For more see –

About The Churches Conservation Trust

The Churches Conservation Trust is the national charity saving historic churches at risk, charged with protecting over 350 beautiful church buildings, which attract almost 2 million visitors a year.  The Trust’s collection includes irreplaceable examples of architecture, archaeology and art from 1,000 years of English history.

The Trust is the operator of the third largest heritage estate in charitable ownership in the UK and has an international award-winning reputation in heritage conservation and regeneration. All churches in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust are listed, mostly Grade I and II*, and some are Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

Without the care of The Churches Conservation Trust, the buildings they look after might have disappeared entirely. Instead they are enjoyed as social, tourism, educational or cultural resources, kept open, in use, and living once again in the heart of communities. All the Trust’s churches remain consecrated and are used for occasional worship.   

For more see


About Lynn Museum

Lynn Museum tells the fascinating story of West Norfolk and is home to Seahenge, the unique 4,000-year-old timber circle. The award winning Lynn Museum is housed in a former Victorian Baptist Chapel in the heart of King’s Lynn.

Lynn Museum, Market Street, King’s Lynn PE30 1NL

Tel: 01553 775001

Or visit us at


About Stories of Lynn

Stories of Lynn invites you to discover the tales of seafarers, explorers, merchants, mayors, magistrates and miscreants who have shaped King’s Lynn, one of England’s most important medieval port towns over more than 800 years. Some of our treasures include the sumptuous King John Cup, the old Gaol House and our Mayoral regalia. For more information visit

About King’s Lynn Minster

King’s Lynn Minster is a parish church dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch. The church was built in 1101 by Herbert de Losinga, Bishop of Norwich. The church is a Grade I listed building with a range of architectural styles, from remains of Norman architecture, medieval furnishings, and Victorian restoration. The treasures of the Minster include England’s two largest memorial brasses commemorating King’s Lynn merchants, 14th century misericords and the impressive Snetzler organ dating to 1754.

About Historic England Heritage Schools
Historic England’s Heritage Schools programme is funded by the DfE and helps teachers develop learning opportunities to ensure their pupils can engage with and enjoy the heritage on their doorstep. This helps pupils gain a sense of place and a connection to where they live and go to school. It helps them understand its significance locally, nationally and in the wider world. The programme also supports schools in working with and using local heritage services and resources, so pupils can engage with local heritage and cultural opportunities to enrich their learning.

About GroundWork Gallery

GroundWork Gallery is dedicated to the environment. It shows the work of contemporary artists who care about how we see the world. Exhibitions and creative programmes explore how art can enable us to respond to the changing environment and imagine how we can shape its future.