The other morning I was lucky enough to have a morning in Kings Lynn, a very rare opportunity to act like a tourist in our nearest large town. We have lived in the Fens for nearly six years and I have never explored Kings Lynn, had a look at a few sites, but normally we just use it as a shopping centre. So I had about 3 hours, which turned into 5 hours in the end…..which was good for me, as I found so much to photograph. I had a lovely time, I strolled and went up alleys, through doors to courtyards, wandered around two beautiful churches, ruins, the riverside and had tea out of a teacup in a little teashop in their lovely little garden. And still did not see it all…oh dear will have to have another morning.
I love bits of ruins, I like researching them and sometimes they can be quite amazing finds. As I was strolling along the road looking for a church whose steeple I could see, so was just heading in that direction when I came to the above section of wall.
This looks interesting, read the details on the wall and then thought this is interesting. This is all that remains of the Austin Friars Priory, the North Gateway to the Priory Precinct. As Lynn became an important town in the 13th century the Friaries started to move in. Four established themselves, but only the Austin Friars occupied a site in the centre of the town in 1293. Over the years there were extensions to their premises and rebuilding of their house and church.
I was interested to find out the size the Priory, but the only thing I could find to give me any idea was from a visit of the Duke and Duchess of Clarence in 1413, that there was enough room to house their retinue with 300 hundred horses…so I think large is the word. There were several royal visitors, Kings Henry V, V1 & V11 stayed. Henry V1 was 24 when he stayed, he was making a pilgrimage to Holy places, this of course was before the Dissolution. Also there was a famous Prior John Capgrave (1393 to 1464) whose Chronicles of England to 1417 is a very early history in English.
The surrender of the house dated 30th September 1538 and was signed by William Wilson Prior and 10 others. After the Dissolution a John Eyre purchased it from the King in 1544.
So from a blocked up gateway with some 15th century brick walls comes the amazing story of Priory where Kings came and stayed.