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King's Lynn's Our Lady of the Annunciation, which was built with support from King Edward VII, newly listed on Historic England's advice





A historic church in Lynn that was built with the support of a king has been given extra protection after being newly listed.

Our Lady of the Annunciation, on North Everard Street off London Road, has been listed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.

The Roman Catholic church, which is now Grade II listed, was built with the support of the future King Edward VII.

Our Lady of the Annunciation in King’s Lynn is now Grade II listed. Picture: Historic England
Our Lady of the Annunciation in King’s Lynn is now Grade II listed. Picture: Historic England

The 19th century church featured designs by renowned Anglo-Catholic architects AWN Pugin and William Lunn, and helped to revive the shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, an important pilgrimage destination.

The building was designed in Gothic Revival style by Lunn and completed in 1897.

It replaced an earlier church designed by renowned architect Pugin, which was consecrated in 1845, but by the end of the 19th century was found to be in a poor condition.

King Edward VII with Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria
King Edward VII with Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria

The Prince of Wales - the future King Edward VII - complaining that his Catholic guests at Sandringham were inconvenienced while attending Mass at Lynn, financed a report from Lunn, which showed that the building was "beyond economic repair".

It was taken down and rebuilt under Lunn’s supervision, re-using some parts of the old building and its furnishings, including the rood (a cross or crucifix), the font and stained glass. The prince contributed fifty guineas towards the cost.

The foundation stone was laid on September 29, 1896 and the new church was opened by Bishop Riddell of Northampton on June 2, 1897.

The Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation played an important role in the revival of the shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, one of the most important pilgrim destinations in England during the later medieval period, on which Lynn had been an important stage of the journey.

The church was built with the support of a king has been given extra protection. Picture: Historic England
The church was built with the support of a king has been given extra protection. Picture: Historic England

In 1897, the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham was established in the new church’s Lady Chapel by Fr George Wrigglesworth, who, in August 1897, led the first pilgrimage from Lynn to Walsingham since the Reformation of the 16th century.

This tradition continued to grow into the 20th century and in 1934, a national shrine was established at Walsingham, with a Pontifical Shrine remaining at the Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation.

The Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation is one of four historic Roman Catholic churches in the East of England to have been listed, along with the Church of Our Lady of The Assumption and The English Martyrs in Cambridge, the Minster Church of St Benet in Beccles and the Roman Catholic Church of St Felix in Felixstowe.

The 19th century church featured designs by renowned Anglo-Catholic architects AWN Pugin and William Lunn. Picture: Historic England
The 19th century church featured designs by renowned Anglo-Catholic architects AWN Pugin and William Lunn. Picture: Historic England

Caroline Skinner, Historic England listing team leader (East of England) said: “These beautiful Roman Catholic churches have been at the heart of their local communities for generations.

"The very distinctive, and individual, style of each building tells the story of the development of the Roman Catholic faith over the centuries, and they continue to offer a calming and inspiring space in our busy world today.

“Each church has a remarkable story to tell, from the building created with the support of the future King Edward VII, to the minster at which the architect chose to be laid to rest, and the church that was made possible by help of a 19th century female architectural patron.”

“We encourage and welcome people to add their own stories, memories, photographs and information about these churches to the list entries online.

"Those special personal stories really bring these important places to life.”

Diana Evans, head of places of worship strategy at Historic England, added: “The listing of these four inspiring buildings reminds us that they are treasure houses where anyone can find quiet, beauty and inspiring architecture.

"They offer space to think about our own experience and add it to the story of all the people who have been there before us.

"People think they can’t go into a church building if they’re not members of the congregation, but Catholic churches are usually open, welcoming, and free to visit.”



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