We were so lucky to have Dr Paul Richards, local historian and one-time Mayor of King's Lynn for our guide on our visit there on June 8th - with him we visited ‘behind the scenes', gardens, courtyards and more in this lovely historic town. Clifton House for example, the best merchant house in Lynn, is privately owned but we visited the garden because Dr Richards lives next door and shares the garden. Like our own ‘Isaacs' warehouse, Clifton House extends back from the quay to the shopping street and has medieval origins, including a beautiful Tudor tower. We were guided round Hanse House, one of the original ‘kontors' or warehouses of the Hanseatic League - indeed the only surviving intact Hanseatic warehouse in England. King's Lynn, according to Dr Richards, is an Edge Town - on the edge of the Fens, on the edge of East Anglia (it is closer to Leicester than to Great Yarmouth), on the edge of the Midlands and on the edge of the Hanseatic League - it was a partner town along with Great Yarmouth and Ipswich.
The Hanseatic League or Hansa was a confederation of merchants stretching from the Baltic to the North Sea in operation from the 13th to 17th centuries. A New Hanseatic League has been formed, with its headquarters in Lübeck, for those with connections to the medieval Hansa - King's Lynn was the first English town to join in 2006. Great Yarmouth followed soon after and we look forward to Ipswich putting in its application and becoming a member of this historic economic association.
A big thank you to Jessica Webster and Margery Sheldrake for organising this splendid day out with so much relevance to our own town.