Record Details

NHER Number:5484
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of St James' Chapel


St James' Chapel was founded on this site in the 12th century and was dissolved in the mid 16th century. The original plan of the chapel included a central tower with a passageway underneath in the Mendicant style, with a nave and chancel. The crossing piers and the ruins of a late 15th century domestic range are the only surviving medieval remains on the site. After the chapel was dissolved the crossing and the chancel were converted into a workhouse. By the late 17th century the original medieval building was derelict and the workhouse was rebuilt in the 1680s to a design by Henry Bell. The central bay and tower of this building collapsed in 1854, and the remains of the building were demolished in 1910. Human remains have been found here, some from the medieval graveyard of the chapel, some from the cemetery of 1805.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 6214 1980
Map Sheet:TF61NW

Full description

Remains of St James' Chapel.
This chapel was founded in the 12th century, became workhouse in 1581, was partly rebuilt in 1682 and collapsed in 1854.
The site became Savage's (1854-1860) and Dodman's (1864-1875) engineering works. One wall remains in church hall (Listed). Cast iron memorial to John Aickman, 1779, removed from the yard of reset gravestones at this site, now in King's Lynn Museum.
Methodist chapel on site before 1824, see NHER 48907.
Roman ring found, but there is some doubt as to whether it came from this location or whether its identification as Roman is correct.
E. Rose (NAU), amended by A. Cattermole (King's Lynn UAD), 28 February 2020.

1951. Listed Grade II.
Ruins of Chapel of St. James. Founded before 1146, nave demolished in 1548, extensively robbed 1559 leaving crossing and one bay of chancel which were converted to workhouse by the Council in 1580. Workhouse ruinous by 1680, rebuilt 1681 possibly to designs of Henry Bell who was on the supervising committee. Central bay and tower collapsed 1854, then used for industry until demolished 1910. Original plan along Mendicant lines: nave, chancel and central octagonal tower over passageway. Brick core with limestone facing. No roof. West end is ruin of cruciform crossing pier with a set-off. East pier without ashlar facing. Between them is a brick infill pierced by a 4-light timber mullioned window with transom, probably of 1680.
Information from (S1).

March 1978. Found while trenching for stormwater pipes.
Human skeletal remains found at a depth of 2.7m (9ft). 6-7 skulls, ribs, vertebrae and a few limb bones. 3-4 skulls in remains of hempen shroud, orientated east-west. Above the bones were brick and rubble road material and to the north traces of a freestone wall running east-west. This appears to be just within the workhouse perimeter and the walling could be an extension running from the original building towards the road.
Continuation of the same works revealed a brick vault at TF 6210 1979 with one skeleton outside the London Road Methodist Church. The brass coffin plate read 'Elizabeth Ingle, Aged 36, 1834'. The other side of the freestone wall mentioned above was found and appears to run from the corner of the New Burial Ground (NHER 63573) consecrated in 1805 and now cleared.
It was reported at the time that skeletons had also been found in this area on 28 April 1883 and in sewage works between 1939 and 1945.
E.M. James (KLM), March 1978, amended A. Cattermole (King's Lynn UAD), 28 February 2020.

May 1992. Found while trenching in County Court Road.
Further human bones found at a depth of 2.1m (7ft) to 3.6m (12ft).
See file and (S2) for details.
E. Rose (NLA), 11 August 1992.

(S3) states that the parochial chapel of St James was built by Bishop Eborard 400m east of St Margaret's priory church to serve the expanding town of Lynn. However the eastern part of the town was always sparsely populated. St James's was a large cruciform church, modified and partly rebuilt c.1300. The nave was pulled down in 1549, and was apparently 100 feet long and 24 feet wide; the east end contained a revered image of Christ. At the Dissolution, the control of the church was transferred from the Priory of Norwich to the Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral; in 1566 it was made over to the mayor and corporation of Lynn. They decided to keep the choir and transepts, which were re-roofed in 1561. These premises were modified in 1581 at a cost of £600 for use as a workhouse for the manufacture of baize; the wide window at the end of the north transept probably belongs to this phase.
See (S3) for detailed analysis of remaining fabric.
Amended by A. Cattermole (King's Lynn UAD), 28 February 2020.

Later buildings nearby are now recorded separately: London Road Methodist Chapel (NHER 48907) and County Court (NHER 48908).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 4 September 2006.

September 2006. Found while trenching in pavement outside the Methodist Chapel.
Further finds of human remains from the New Burial Ground.
E. Rose (NLA), 5 September 2006.

Before October 2008. Found during sewer repairs.
Disarticulated human remains found beneath County Court Road during sewer repairs may relate to the cemetery associated with St James' Chapel. See NHER 53193 for further information.
A. Cattermole (King's Lynn UAD), 8 May 2019.

Listed building consent sought to insert a supporting post into a 17th century mullioned window.
See (S4), (S5) and plans in file for further info,
H. White, (NLA), 21 April 2010

For details of ancillary buildings Listed separately, see NHER 63572.
For details of the New Burial Ground, see NHER 63573.
A. Cattermole (King's Lynn UAD), 28 February 2020.

Monument Types

  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHAPEL (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WORKHOUSE (16th Century to 19th Century - 1581 AD to 1854 AD)
  • INDUSTRIAL BUILDING (19th Century - 1856 AD to 1860 AD)
  • INDUSTRIAL BUILDING (19th Century - 1864 AD to 1875 AD)

Associated Finds

  • FINGER RING? (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • SEAL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COFFIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GRAVESTONE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PLAQUE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF4659.
---Publication: Beloe, E.M.. 1899. Our Borough Our Churches. 2.
---Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
---Map: Bryant, A.. 1826. Bryant's Map of Norfolk.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 61 NW 5 [2].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card. NHERs 5480 and 5484.
---Monograph: Hillen, H. J. 1907. History of the Borough of King's Lynn. p 646.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1998. [Article on restoration work needed at Greyfriars Tower and the collapse of Whitefriars tower and St James' workhouse tower]. 25 September.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1998. [Article on the history of St James' Workhouse]. 25 September.
---Serial: 1824. Woodward Correspondance. VolI. vol.I p.116. p 116.
---Serial: 1829. Woodward Correspondance. VolIII. vol.III p.70. p 70.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 474.
---Article in Serial: Tuck, D. W. 1991. St James' Chapel - Workhouse - Hospital of King's Lynn. CBA Group VI Bulletin. No 35 pp 63-80.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. King's Lynn.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Photograph: CUG 1-3.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1298188.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1992. [Articles on the finding of human bones in 1992].
<S3>Monograph: Batcock, N. 1991. The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 51. Microfiche 5:G12. No 124; pp 53, 149-152.
<S4>Designation: Listed Building Consent.
<S5>Unpublished Document: King's Lynn borough council. 2010. Design and access statement, St James' Chapel, King's Lynn.

Related records

63572Parent of: Ruins of St James' chapel ancillary buildings (Building)
63573Parent of: Site of New Burial Ground, St James' End (Monument)
48908Related to: Former County Court (Building)
48907Related to: London Road Methodist Chapel (Building)

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