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Graphic: Restoration

05 April 2004 1157 BST
Historic projects win £1.5m funds
Picture: Archeologist exams foundations at Greyfriars Tower in King's Lynn
Bird's eye view 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

Heritage Lottery Fund

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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.

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.

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More than £1.5m of National Lottery grants are going to projects in King's Lynn in Norfolk.

Part of the funds will help refurbish the 13th Century landmark Greyfriars Tower - a contender in BBC Television's Restoration series.

Currently closed to the public for safety reasons, the lottery fund grant of £849,000 will restore the structure and see it re-open as a visitor attraction.

Jean Tuck of the King's Lynn Civic Society is delighted. "It's absolutely wonderful. I think it will make a great difference to King's Lynn.

"The Restoration programme brought lots of new tourist to Lynn, a lot of people came especially to see the tower, so this will make a huge difference."

Picture: Greyfriars Towers
Greyfriars Tower

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

Slender and hexagonal above its base, it now forms the only standing remains of the Greyfriars precinct in Lynn.

During the Restoration programme, broadcaster John Peel acted as advocate for the tower.

"I can't take any of the praise for the announcement. I felt terribly guilty after the programme when it hadn't won.

"When they asked me to do the programme, they were going to send me a list of places from which I could make a choice.

"By the time the list reached me, Greyfriars Tower was the only thing left on it to be honest - so Greyfriars came to me, rather than me going to it in this respect."

In addition to Greyfriars Tower, the lottery grant will also be used to give the King's Lynn Museum is to have a make-over.

Picture: Seahenge: link

This will allow it to become home to one of the region's most important archaeological finds - the Bronze Age timber circle known as Seahenge.

The circle emerged from the sea at Holme on the north west Norfolk coast during a very low tide and is under going treatment to preserve the ancient timbers at Peterborough.

Noelle James from the Heritage Lottery Fund said: "West Norfolk is one of our priority areas.

"We've seen a tremendous drive of applications from King's Lynn itself, but now we'd like to branch out into areas of West Norfolk which traditional hasn't received much lottery funding."

If you'd live in West Norfolk and would like to discuss a project with the Heritage Lottery Fund contact 01223 224883.

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