The King’s Lynn Borough Archives

Stories of Lynn, Museum and old Gaol cells, are home to the King’s Lynn Borough Archives, one of the country’s finest borough archives.

The Archive contains documents dating back to the 13th century; which includes King John’s royal charter of 1204, and continuing all the way to the 20th century. The documents help to tell the story of Lynn as recorded in registers of freemen, accounts, minutes of the town’s governing body and court records, amongst many others. Taking pride of place in the archive is the Red Register, which dates from 1307, and is the oldest complete paper archival book in England.

Working with the Norfolk Record Office, a brand new environmentally-controlled document storage area has been created. Alongside this is an archive resources room, equipped with a study area and computers. You can use the resource room with the assistance of an expert archivist to view these wonderful documents, by appointment.

The King’s Lynn Borough Archive includes internationally significant documents and provides an insight into the rich history of our vibrant town.

The Norfolk Record Office, in collaboration with the borough council, provide staffing to the archive, along with thousands of digitised images from key documents.

Below is a summary of the main series of records in the borough archives held at Stories of Lynn:

Royal charters, letters patent and close and privy seal writs, 1204-1737.

Episcopal and other non-royal charters, formal letters and agreements, 1204-1609.

Hall or congregation (assembly) rolls and books, 1385-7, 1399-1403 and 1412-1902; Council minutes, 1903-74.

Registers of freemen and apprenticeships, 1440-1868, and honorary freemen, 1901-69.

Registers and enrolments of charters, deeds, wills and memoranda, 1276-1924, including the fourteenth-century Red Register and an early fifteenth-century common clerk’s book.

Enrolled private deeds, 1571-1881.

Court records, thirteenth-twentieth centuries, including assize of bread, 1296-8, leet rolls and books, 1309-1871, Guildhall Court books, 1591- 1846, Quarter Sessions records, 1620-1971, and Admiralty Court books and papers, 1604-1830.

Accounts, late thirteenth century-1959, including Chamberlains’ and Treasurer’s accounts, 1297-1959, and tolls and town dues accounts, 1557-1852.

Terriers, rentals and deeds to Corporation estates in Lynn, South Lynn, Gaywood, Snettisham, Wiggenhall and elsewhere, late thirteenth/twentieth centuries.

Religious gilds, including the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi gilds: minutes, statutes and accounts, thirteenth-sixteenth centuries.

Trustees under an Act for the relief of maimed and disabled seamen: minutes, accounts and papers, 1747-1827.

Paving Commissioners’ minutes, accounts, deeds and papers, 1790-1872.

Borough Surveyor and Engineer’s plans, nineteenth-twentieth centuries.

Registers of deposited (building control) plans, 1883-1974, and plans, 1883-1959.