New bench remembering historic King's Lynn writer unveiled
A new bench commemorating one of Lynn’s most famous historic figures has been unveiled in the heart of the town.
The seat, which has been installed in the Saturday Market Place, honours Margery Kempe, the medieval housewife who is credited with writing the first autobiography in the English language.
It was unveiled by borough mayor Nick Daubney in a ceremony on Friday, following an 18-month project led by the town’s Civic Society.
Its chairman, Alison Gifford, said the scheme had been developed after a bench, thought to have stood by the town hall for 200 years, was removed as part of renovations of the area.
She said: “We were determined that a substitute bench to give the public the chance to sit down and rest and to view the lovely grade one listed buildings around our market place was a task the Civic Society could and would undertake.”
The bench was designed by Lynn-based furniture maker Toby Winteringham, who was among guests attending the unveiling, along with Professor Anthony Bale, who published a new translation of the original book three years ago.
Ms Gifford added that the project had also been inspired by the benches in the Tuesday Market Place which commemorate the Victorian fairground engineer Frederick Savage.
She said: “We wanted a bench that reflected the history of our great Minster and a local figure with an international reputation. This is Margery Kempe.
“But she is more than that. She is the authentic voice of a well off medieval Lynn housewife, whose world is still familiar to us to today.”
Donors to the project included West Norfolk Council, the King’s Lynn BID committee, the Lynn Town Guides, the St Nicholas and St Margaret’s parish trust and many individuals including one from New York.
The formal ceremony was followed by a guided walk led by former borough archivist Susan Maddock.