King's Lynn Borough Archives

This is a summary of the main series of records held at the King's Lynn Borough Archives, which span the 13th to the 20th century.

The archives are located at King’s Lynn Town Hall. They are jointly administered by the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk and the Norfolk Record Office (NRO).

These are the main records held in the borough archives:

  • 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, 1385-87, 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 14th century Red Register and an early 15th century common clerk's book
  • Enrolled private deeds, 1571-1881
  • Court records, 13th to 20th centuries, including:
    • assize of bread, 1296-98
    • leet rolls and books, 1309-1871
    • Guildhall Court books, 1591-1846
    • Quarter sessions records, 1620-1971
    • Admiralty Court books and papers, 1604-1830
  • Accounts from the late 13th century to 1959, including:
    • Chamberlains' and Treasurer's accounts, 1297-1959
    • Tolls and town dues accounts, 1557-1852
  • Terriers, rentals and deeds to Corporation estates in Lynn, South Lynn, Gaywood, Snettisham, Wiggenhall and elsewhere, late 13th to 20th centuries
  • Religious gilds, including the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi gilds: minutes, statutes and accounts, 13th to 16th 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, 19th to 20th centuries
  • Registers of deposited (building control) plans, 1883-1974 and plans, 1883-1959

Detailed lists of the records are available in the searchrooms at King's Lynn and the NRO. Most of the lists can also be searched via our online catalogue.

The borough was known as Lynn Episcopi, or Lynn Bishop, until 1536-37, when the estates of the Bishop of Norwich were transferred to the Crown.

These estates included the lordship of Lynn. The change of name to King's Lynn was confirmed by letters patent of Henry VIII.

The borough consisted solely of the parish of St Margaret until South Lynn was annexed to it in 1555, by a royal grant which was confirmed and made permanent in 1557.

Its boundaries were extended by the King's Lynn Corporation Act of 1880 to include parts of Gaywood and North Lynn.

A further expansion took place following the County of Norfolk Review Order 1935, with the borough taking in the civil parishes of Gaywood and North Lynn and parts of West Lynn and North Runcton.

The former municipal borough became part of the newly formed District of West Norfolk on April 1 1974. It was renamed the Borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk in 1981.