Piece of King’s Lynn past presented to historian for exhibition

Presentation of Oliver Cromwell Cannonball from 1643 by Gareth Calway to Dr Paul Richards of Marriots Warehouse Trust. Pictured FLtoR Gareth Calway. Tony Wright. Dr Paul Richards. ANL-160409-114646009
Presentation of Oliver Cromwell Cannonball from 1643 by Gareth Calway to Dr Paul Richards of Marriots Warehouse Trust. Pictured FLtoR Gareth Calway. Tony Wright. Dr Paul Richards. ANL-160409-114646009

A cannonball which may have been fired over Lynn during the English Civil War has been handed over to a local historian for exhibition in the town.

Gareth Calway, a writer and entertainer, presented the rare piece of history over to the care of historian Dr Paul Richards, who is trustee of Marriott’s Warehouse Trust.

More than 30 people saw the presentation of the 300-year-old ammunition at the Marriott’s Warehouse, where Dr Richards said cannonballs would have been fired over in 1643.

Dr Richards said: “On Sunday, September 3 1643 Lynn was under seige from the Parliamentary Army. The town was bombarded, and during an attack on that day a cannonball went through the stained glass windows of St Margaret’s Church during a service.

“The seige lasted at least two weeks, and it is said that the screams of women and children could be heard in Wisbech and beyond.”

The commemorative event was held on so-called Cromwell Day – September 3, the date on which all of his major victories were won and the day he died.

As well as the presentation, Dr Paul Richards gave a talk about the history of dissent in 17th century Lynn, while Mr Calway performed ballads with folk musician Tim Chipping and harpistVanessa Wood-Davies.

Mr Calway said the cannonball was was sent over the Ouse and landed in fields later farmed by Veronica Lake, who presented him with the cannonball at one of his tours called Cromwell’s Talking Head.

The cannonball is due to go on display at the Marriott’s Warehouse exhibition on the first floor after the trust has found a suitable way of presenting it, which should be in the next couple of months, Dr Richards said.

He added that Lynn was a significant geographical point during the 17th century, and was the only town in Norfolk to see action in the civil war.

Mr Calway said: “The Earl of Manchester and a young firebrand captain named Oliver Cromwell were incensed that a port in the Parliamentarian stronghold of Norfolk had declared itself Royalist.

“The ultimate culprit was Hamon LeStrange of Hunstanton Hall who had ridden into town in August at the head of a group of backwoods cavaliers; arrested the elected MPs and Mayor and declared the town for the king.”

The town surrendered to the Parliamentary Army on September 16 1643 after Royalists realised no help was coming.