History of King’s Lynn in 100 Objects: No46

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Greeting visitors to Lynn Museum at the window near the entrance is an ancient stone cross.

The cross originally stood in the cemetery of King’s Lynn’s Dominican Friary. Dominican Friars were also known as Black Friars due to the colour of their habits.

The Friary was founded around 1260 and sited in the part of the town now partly occupied by the Lynn Museum and the bus station.

By 1326 the Friary could house 45 friars and was one of the wealthiest in Lynn. It was closed in 1539, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. No part of the building now survives.

The cross is thought to date from the 13th century, but may be older. This side shows Christ crucified, above Saint Michael the Archangel and a Dragon. The other side is very worn, but may show another image of Christ.

The cross was discovered in the 1840s when the last of the Friary’s walls were demolished. Skeletons in stone coffins were discovered at the same time.

For a long time the cross was on display under the Greyfriars Tower, before being returned to the site of the Friary in 2006.

Find out more about the town’s significant medieval period at the Lynn Museum.