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Remains of author’s house found in King’s Lynn dig

West Norfolk and King's Lynn Archaeological Society discovered this wall during a dig in St Margaret's Vicarage. The wall was part of a house connected to author Fanny Burney.

West Norfolk and King's Lynn Archaeological Society discovered this wall during a dig in St Margaret's Vicarage. The wall was part of a house connected to author Fanny Burney.

A link with an 18th century Lynn“pop star” and his author daughter was uncovered by archaeologists near Lynn Minster.

West Norfolk and Lynn Archaeological Society have found the remains of a house which was once used by Charles and Fanny Burney.

Charles was an organist, composer and musical historian while his author daughter went onto inspire the likes of Jane Austin with her literary works.

Members discovered the remains of a wall in a test pit dug in the garden of St Margaret’s Vicarage, near Lynn Minister.

The society has been undertaking a number of digs in Lynn to encourage more people to get involved with archaeology along with learning more about the town’s history.

Society chairman Dr Clive Bond said: “This structure, with its quality red bricks, with mortar may well be the evidence of a house connected with Fanny Burney. It is very rare that archaeology can demonstrate an actual link with a known person.”

The Burney family were prominent members of Lynn society. Their connection with the town began in 1751 after leaving London for Charles to recover from a fever.

Charles, a friend of dictionary compiler Dr Samuel Johnson, was the organist at St Margaret’s Church, which is now Lynn Minister.

Society president and town historian Dr Paul Richards said: “He was a pop star of 18th century Lynn. People in the big houses would invite him to supper.”

The Burneys, who would spend most of the year in the capital, would spend summers in the house in St Margaret’s Place after Charles married second wife Elizabeth Allen, the widow of a wine merchant.

Fanny kept journals throughout her life, which included descriptions of life in Lynn, including watching the wedding of Thomas Bagge from the Allen house garden.

Mr Richards said: “It was exciting to find the wall was still standing and not just rubble.

“You could also see the floor level which was two feet lower than today. It is a jigsaw puzzle being built up.”

Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Charles Burney and a number of events are being planned to mark this including a walk.

The dig was organised with the permission of Canon Christopher Ivory and raised £50 for the Marriott’s Warehouse Trust.

 

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