BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

29 October 2014
Banner graphicBBC Norfolk.

BBC Homepage

Junior Football
Message Board
Video Nation
Sense of Place
In Pictures
Site Contents


Contact Us

You are in: Norfolk » A Sense Of Place

Graphic: Restoration

12 September 2003 0859 BST
Greyfriars Tower in King's Lynn
Picture: Archeologist exams foundations at Greyfriars Tower in King's Lynn
Foundations of Greyfriars Tower
Norfolk's very own leaning tower is the best surviving example of its kind in the country.

Grade 1 listed, it is the most substantial remnant of four friaries which existed in King's Lynn.

King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council
BBC Restoration

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites


Are you restoring an unusual building in Norfolk? Get in touch now, e-mail


King's Lynn Festival 2003

print friendly version of this page.View print friendly version of this page

Greyfriars tower was probably a bell tower, built as part of the Franciscan friary which was founded in the 1230s.

It's slender and hexagonal above its base and now forms the only standing remains of the Greyfriars precinct in Lynn.

The tower leans 67.5 centimetres over it's height of more than 28 metres. This gives a lean of just over 1 degree, much less than the leaning tower of Pisa's 5.5 degrees but clearly visible from the ground.

The friars, who followed St Francis of Assisi, performed pastoral duties in the town and were famed for their entertaining preaching.

They'd have lived their lives according to their vows of chastity, poverty and obedience but would have relied on the charity of others.

Picture: Greyfriars Towers
Greyfriars Tower

Medieval Kings Lynn, or Bishop's Lynn as it was known at the time, was the third largest port in the country so its people were wealthy.

On 1 October, 1538 the friary surrendered to Henry VIII's troops during the time of the suppression. It was eventually pulled down but the tower was left standing for its use as a sea mark.

The building is 's now owned by the borough council and is on the English Heritage Register of Buildings at Risk. They say it's affected by structural stress, including subsidence. It's also been damaged by the rain and insects.

The building won its regional heat on Friday 15 August, beating a windmill in Lincolnshire and a Fort in Essex.

You can place your vote for Greyfriars Tower by calling 0901 077 5002. Calls cost 30p. Lines are open until 10.10pm on Sunday 14 September.

Back to Restoration index

jump to homepage.
jump to a sense of place index.
send an e-mail to the BBC website for Norfolk.
jump to top of page.

In Sense Of Place »
Picture: Time And Tide Museum: link.

Time And Tide Museum

Dad's Army day out

RAF Falcons drop into Norfolk

Also in this section

Discover people and places around Norfolk or try our walks and cycle rides.

In Entertainment »
Get into going out in Norfolk: link
Discover a world of entertainment in Norfolk.

In Kids »
Graphic: Kids' astronomy: link
Reach for the stars and explore space with our local astronomer.

In Nature

Graphic: British Isles: A Natural History: link
Take a Walk Through Time at Whitlingham Country Park.

In Fun Stuff »

View Broads webcam: link

Take a virtual trip on the Broads with our mobile webcam.

In Local News »
Graphic: BBC News: link

Trains cancelled as works over-run

Garden digs to reveal Roman secrets

Man arrested over attempted robbery


BBC Norfolk website
The Forum
Millennium Plain

Telephone: 01603 617411
Fax: 01603

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy