New King John statue to be unveiled in King’s Lynn

King John
King John
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He may be one of England’s most hated monarchs in history, but a new statue of King John is set to be unveiled in Lynn next week.

The bronze, life-sized cast of the medieval king will be revealed during a ceremony in the town centre on Wednesday morning.

The £22,000 project has been financed through the Heritage Lottery Fund investment made in the Stories of Lynn exhibition at the town hall.

And officials hope the development will spark greater interest in the town’s history.

Elizabeth Nockolds, West Norfolk Council’s cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, said: “Public art is naturally a talking point so we hope this statue will encourage people to think about the heritage of the town and to visit the many attractions that celebrate it. “We hope it will become as photographed as the statue of Captain George Vancouver by the Custom House.”

The sculpture has been created by artist Alan Herriot and is based on sketches, images and theatre portrayals.

Although King John was very unpopular during his reign, Lynn was one of the areas where he did enjoy support, following his decision to grant a special charter in 1204.

The charter, which is held in the borough archive, freed Lynn from paying taxes to the crown and enabled local traders to establish a merchants’ guild, which drove the growth of the port of Lynn into one of the country’s busiest.

Two of the most famous items in the Stories of Lynn collection, the King John Cup and King John Sword also bear his name.

The unveiling will also mark the occasion exactly 800 years ago when his treasure, including the Crown Jewels, was lost in the Fens near Lynn, as he travelled north towards Lincoln only days before his death.

Council officials have also announced plans for a King John Day to take place at Stories of Lynn on Wednesday, October 26, between 11am and 3pm.

The event will offer a range of activities, including the chance to mint a King John penny, design your own King John Cup and even follow a trail to find his lost treasure. Activities are free with museum admission.