Saturday, 15 December 2018

Good King John

OK so King John lost the Duchy of Normandy and other bits of France to the French king, and he caused the decline and fall of the Angevin Empire. He was so weak the mighty barons forced him into signing that wretched Magna Carta. Then he went and lost his treasure while crossing the marshes just before dying of dysentery leaving the country in a civil war. And in all children's history books and especially in that ongoing saga Robin Hood he is made out to be a bad guy scheming to get the crown while his handsome, brave, do-no-wrong brother Richard (he of the Lionheart) ponced around on crusades and caused mayhem where ever he sat down. Well all that counts for nothing in King's Lynn. King John is the king who granted the town a charter in 1204 which was the making of the place. And in Lynn, if in no other town in England, King John is very much the Good Guy.

This statue is in New Conduit Street.

And, as a footnote, if you are thinking King's Lynn is named after King John then think again. The charter was given to the town of Bishop's Lynn as in those days the Bishop of Norwich owned the place. If Henry VIII had managed to sire a male heir from his first wife the place might still be called Bishop's Lynn. But in the event he didn't and in his nationalisation of the Catholic church he took possession of the town and so it became King's Lynn in 1537.

1 comment:

  1. I find his statue to be quite formidable.

    Sometimes it can take a very long time to rehabilitate a royal who's fallen out of favour with the course of history.