The cannonball in our picture dates back to early September 1643, when King’s Lynn was under siege by the Roundheads, and it will be a centrepiece at a special event at Marriott’s Warehouse on the South Quay on Saturday.
The English Civil War in Lynn and Other Stories will feature Lynn historian Dr Paul Richards, writer and entertainer Gareth Calway, folk musician Tim Chipping and harpist Vanessa Wood-Davies.
Gareth, who has toured extensively with his Cromwell’s Talking Head production, takes up the story of the siege:
“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.
“Their Roundhead army came knocking at Lynn’s South Gates. Its artillery bombarded the town across the Ouse, terrifying residents and famously sending cannonballs through the stained glass windows of St Margaret’s Church during a service.
“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. Charles I, after fleeing the Parliamentary stronghold of London, watched on from Nottingham.
“Meanwhile the English navy, which the King’s actions had crucially driven under the Parliamentarian flag, blockaded Lynn. The struggle for control of this major port and its supply line to ten counties and London proved to be one of the decisive battles of the war.
“One of the cannonballs sent over the Ouse landed in fields later farmed by Veronica Lane, who presented it to me on one of my Cromwell tours.
“On Saturday, September 3, which Cromwell regarded as his divinely blessed day – it would turn out to be the date of all his major victories and also the day he died – I will be presenting Veronica’s cannonball to Marriott’s Warehouse Trust as part of a commemorative event.
“It may well have once flown over that very building!”
Dr Paul Richards will give a talk about the history of dissent in 17th century Lynn, while Gareth will perform ballads that celebrate the religious and political radicalism of Norfolk and East Anglia with Tim Chipping and Vanessa Wood-Davies.
Tickets are £5, call 01553 770479 or visit www.marriotts warehousetrust.co.uk