At the outbreak of the English Civil War, the Norfolk Town of King’s Lynn was an important North Sea port. Protected by rivers on three sides, the town’s existing, largely medieval, defences were repaired, improved and re-armed. Following a coup during the summer of 1643, the Royalists took control of the town, but within weeks, blockaded by sea and besieged by land, the town was captured by the forces of Parliament who immediately set about improving the town’s fortifications in line with current continental practice. In so doing, creating a system of defence which, in British terms, is quite possibly unique.375 years on, the visages of King’s Lynn’s civil war still exist. In some places, they can easily be seen, but less so elsewhere. But from a conflict archaeology perspective, where a siege leaves a far greater archaeological footprint than any battle, King’s Lynn offers considerable potential.
King’s Lynn Under Siege is a long-term community-based archaeological research project involving professionals, academics, students, volunteers and local communities that will deploy a full range of techniques and approaches to the understanding of the lived human experience of the English Civil Wars and its impact upon the people and fabric of King’s Lynn.
Since its formation, KLuS has firmly established itself in the local ‘landscape’: there are local groups involved, it enjoys the active support of Borough and County Councillors, and has established strong links with the local heritage community, including the town’s excellent museums.
The project has attracted attention from the local media, including local and regional newspapers, and from BBC local radio. Further afield, KLuS has appeared in national publications and has been featured by internationally-renowned organisations including the Battlefields Trust, the Fortress Study Group, the Pike and Shot Society, and the Royal Historical Society. So KLuS has raised the profile of English Civil War King’s Lynn both locally, and nationally.
KLuS has been involved in the project to re-interpret the town’s historic South Gate, has its own newsletter (Siegeworks) and participated in the town’s heritage weekend. In addition, the project has also enabled some key research, including into the life of Richard Clampe.
In the spring of 2019, the project undertook a geophysical survey in an area considered to be the location of part of the town’s southern fortifications. Disappointingly, this did not provide any positive results, so the project is now investigating other sites, including the possible site of a Parliamentary siege battery.
To get involved in this exciting project, or just to find out more, e-mail the project at firstname.lastname@example.org
View our newsletters:
1-April 2018 2-June 2018 3-September 2018 4-December 2018 5-July 2019
King's Lynn Geophysics Report