There are no end of gateways in Kings Lynn and entering Nelson Street, lo and behold, another. This is “Hampton Court ‘ gateway and what you are looking at is a late 15th century building which is the east wing of a house, for a very wealthy Merchant. Going through the arch you come to a fully enclosed courtyard, each century seems to have added a wing. The south wing is 14th, west wing 15th and the north wing completed the courtyard about a hundred years later.
The present name of the building could have come from John Hampton who was a Master Baker and became a freeman in 1645. I wondered if the face on the wall could have been John as he looks a bit like a Baker.
By the 19th century a period of decline for Lynn, the building had became neglected and was by the 1950’s totally dilapidated, the building was completely obscured by alterations and sub division. But a Mrs E A Lane came to the rescue, she bought the building and restored two wings, the Kings Lynn Trust restored the other two. Subsequently Mrs Lane donated the building to the trust. The building was converted into fifteen individual dwellings and was completed in 1962.
When you enter the courtyard it feels very peaceful, but that would have not been the case centuries ago, there would have been open shops to the front, on the side of the river open warehouses with all the hustle and bustle of Medieval life, with all the noise and smells….oh to have had just a glimpse