The story of King’s Lynn in 1000 objects, December 8, 2015

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This hoard of 129 silver shillings with a silver cup dates to the period of the English Civil War, presumably hidden for safekeeping at this turbulent time. The coins were minted in the reigns of Phillip and Mary, Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I and the cup with its coins were buried on the estate of Sir Valentine Pell, a Parliamentarian supporter. It’s a reminder of the role of King’s Lynn during the Civil War and the town’s siege in 1643.

On the 28th August 1643, the siege of Lynn began. King’s Lynn declared its allegiance to the king, Charles 1. As a result, Oliver Cromwell’s parliamentarian forces besieged Lynn for three weeks. Lynn was defended on three sides by walls and ditches. You can still see some in the walks, Kettlewell lane and Wyatt Street.

The town was bombarded across the River Great Ouse from West Lynn. Streets leading to the river were barricaded to prevent invasion by boat. On Sunday 3rd September, a cannonball was fired across the river. It smashed through the west window of St Margaret’s Church and the congregation fled in terror.

Parliamentarian forces cut off the town’s piped water supply by diverting the Gaywood River. They threatened to storm the town. Women and children were told to evacuate. On 15th September 1643, Lynn surrendered. Sir Hammon L’Estrange, 
the Royalist governor of Lynn, was replaced by Captain Valentine Walton, 
Oliver Cromwell’s brother-in-law.

You can see the coins with their silver cup in the Civil War display at Lynn Museum.

Over the Christmas holidays, the museum is holding a Jingle Bells family trail. Admission is free. The museum is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.