King’s Lynn St Margaret, Norfolk Genealogy

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Guide toKing's Lynn St Margaret, Norfolk ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Kings Lynn St Margaret's.JPG

History[edit | edit source]

King's Lynn St Margaret is an Ancient parish in the Diocese of Norwich.

The name "Lynn" has an ancient derivation, perhaps from a Celtic term meaning "pool" or from an Anglo-Saxon word for "torrent" both references to the estuary lake which emptied into the Wash. By the 14th century, the town ranked as the third port of England and is considered as important to England in Medieval times as Liverpool was during the Industrial Revolution. It retains two buildings that were warehouses of the Hanseatic League that were in use between the 15th and 17th centuries. They are the only remaining building structures of the Hanseatic League in England.

The town now known as King's Lynn was, in medieval times, rather Bishop's Lynn. This is because it was taken under the wing of the Bishop of Norwich in the late eleventh century, one of the earliest of numerous deliberate seigneurial foundations of "new towns" that took place between that time and the mid-thirteenth century. When Henry VIII took over the lordship of the town it was renamed King's Lynn However it is still referred to as Lynn locally and records often refer to it as Lynn Bishop's Lynn, Lynn Regis and later as King's Lynn.

However, it was apparently traders who were tenants of the Bishop's nearby manor of Gaywood (where many other saltpans were located) who in about 1095 requested that he found a town endowed with commercial privileges and with its own parish church. Probably they were already holding an unofficial market there by the waterside, and some may even have been residing there. The industry producing salt, which was important for the curing of meat and fish, would itself have attracted traders; and the reclaimed fenland was suitable for sheep-farming and agriculture, which made for trade in wool and grain, while fishing was also likely an early source of trade goods.
The Bishop complied with this request, at the same time founding St. Margaret's church to serve the community; attached to St. Margaret's was a small priory and a marketplace. The Bishop's foundation may have been motivated by a wish to capitalize on the growth of trade using the Wash, and perhaps to try to make Lynn the focus of that trade.
The chapel of St Nicholas was created to serve the northern section of Lynn (see also King's Lynn St Nicholas).

Jurisdictional History

Here is an important 19th century jurisdictional and historical perspective for this ancient parish for those researching in the pre-1900 period:

"LYNN, KINGS-LYNN, or LYNN-REGIS [St Margaret's; registers begin in 1559], is a town, a parish, three sub-districts, and a district, in Norfolk. The town stands on the right bank of the river Ouse, at the junction of the Nar navigation, and a junction from Norwich, Ely, Hunstanton, Wisbeach, and Sutton, a few miles south and southeast extremity of the Wash, and 40 west by north of Norwich. In the time of Richard I., it was much frequented by Jews, and had a good trade.

St. Margaret's church was founded in 1100 as the church of a priory subordinate to Norwich. St. Nicholas' Church, now a chapel of ease to St. Margaret's, stands in St. Ann's Street [and its registers start in 1562]. St. John's church, in Blackfriars Road, was built in 1846. In South Lynn is All Saints, Church Lane, [church registers begin in 1558, which also see], was thoroughly repaired in 1860; and had formerly a west tower, which fell in 1763.

An Independent Chapel in New Conduit Street was built [by 1822]; a Union Baptist chapel in Paradise Lane was built in 1859; two Baptist chapels are in Blackfriars Road; and one of them is a neat edifice of 1841; a Wesleyan Chapel in Tower Street was built [by 1797];  a Primitive Methodist Chapel in London-road was built in 1857;  a New Connexion Methodist Chapel in Railway Road was built in 1853; a Roman Catholic Chapel in London-road was built in 1844; and chapels also for Quakers [records begin from 1775], United Free Methodists, and Unitarians. A curious cruciform Lady's Chapel stands at Red Mount; was built about 1482. An octagonal tower, Lady Chapel also called the Red Mount, was used formerly for both military and ecclesiastical purposes. The borough comprise the parishes of Lynn or St. Margaret and South Lynn or All Saints. A portion of the parish which had a pop. of 3,867 in 1861 was constituted a separate charge, under the name of St. John, in 1846. The head living is a vicarage, united with the chapelry of St. Nicholas, and with the rectory of North Lynn, and the living of St. John is a vicarage, in the diocese of Norwich.[1]

Church Records[edit | edit source]

King’s Lynn St Margaret, Norfolk Genealogy parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials are available online for the following years:

IGI = International Genealogical Index ( - free
FREG = - free
FS ATs = England, Norfolk Archdeacon's Transcripts, 1600-1812 (FamilySearch) - free[2]
FS BTs = England, Norfolk, Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941 (FamilySearch) - free[3]
FS PRs = England, Norfolk, Parish Registers, 1538-1900 (FamilySearch) - free[4]
JOIN = The Joiner Marriage Index - (£)[5]
TGEN = TheGenealogist - (£)[6]


Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images
FREG 1559-1903
1559-1900 1559-1901
FS ATs 1600-1722 1600-1722 1600-1722
FS BTs Undefined Undefined Undefined Undefined Undefined Undefined
FS PRs Undefined 1559-1904 Undefined 1559-1905 Undefined 1559-1901
IGI 1681-1791, 1812-1901
1559-1812 1562-1787
TGEN 1628-1907 1628-1907 1559-1905 1559-1905 1559-1901 1559-1901

The parish registers from 1559 onward are held at Norfolk Record Office and are generally catalogued under Kings Lynn St Margaret although individual registers may refer to Lynn or Lynn Regis in the early register series. The parish reference PD39 is used in the Norfolk Record Office records.

Known Issues

Images of the records are available on FamilySearch by agreement with the Norfolk Record Office. These images are currently waypointed as Lynn St Margaret.

Non-Conformist Records[edit | edit source]

Census[edit | edit source]

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Registration Districts[edit | edit source]

  • King's Lynn

Probate Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]

Norfolk Probate Jurisdictions Parishes I through N

Poor Law Unions[edit | edit source]

Norfolk Poor Law Union, Norfolk Genealogys

Maps[edit | edit source]

England Jurisdictions 1851

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870). Adapted. Date accessed: 08 May 2013.
  2. 'England, Norfolk Archdeacon's Transcripts, 1600-1812,' FamilySearch, accessed 31 March 2014.
  3. 'England, Norfolk, Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941', FamilySearch, accessed 31 March 2014.
  4. 'England, Norfolk, Parish Registers (County Record Office), 1538-1900', FamilySearch, accessed 17 March 2014.
  5. 'Norfolk Coverage,' The Joiner Marriage Index, accessed 10 February 2014.
  6. 'Subscription Coverage Catalogue', TheGenealogist, accessed 11 January 2016.