04 May, 2014

King's Lynn Hanseatic port

To commemorate Europe day I visited a port in an earlier version of European union: Kings Lynn. Beginning at the 17th century customs house I walked through the old merchant's town of Lynn.  Formerly the Bishop's Lynn but now since Henry VIII's time it is proudly King's Lynn.  This is not a post about the early Hanseatic league but the later one - although the meadieval town was well established as a port I am taking a later view - the sophisticated 18th Century town with its town walks and terraces.

The river is the place to start as that is where the ships come in. You will have to imagine it thronged with vessels because although King's Lynn is still a working port the river is not deep enough for ships of today. The Custom House with it's fine display of Hanseatic merchantmen and customs implements is my next call. The Custom House is on the Purfleet which is a small inlet now but in Hanseatic times was about 3 times the width providing a safe harbour. After that it is off down King Street to see some merchant's houses and their warehouses. And very fine these are too with all kinds of candy twist balusters possibly eccentric but delightful all the same. Lastly Hanse house holds an indoor market of antique-y crafty things that have seen better days and a fairly popular tea room. I had a lovely day in King's Lynn although the charity shops were very poor, and was rather unsure of the eateries so went for the 'safe' option of Wetherspoons, although in a meadieval house. Much more on King's Lynn later in the year.

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