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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.

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King's Lynn Festival 2003

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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.

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