In 1977 numbers 5 and 6 Church Lane were the subject of a public enquiry into an appeal by their owner against the decision of West Norfolk District Council to uphold their listed building status against an application for demolition. The King’s Lynn Preservation Trust and others appeared to give evidence and the inspector recommended that the application be dismissed. The Trust subsequently purchased the properties plus the adjoining No 1 All Saints Street, similarly located within the Friars Area of South Lynn.
Complete restoration was carried out with the assistance of grants and loans. It was agreed that all three units should have residential use, although No 1 All Saints had been a butcher’s shop. On completion the houses were sold by private treaty.
Although of no great intrinsic value, these early 19th century buildings do have a character, if not a charm, that comes with age. Moreover there were two further considerations that weighed much more heavily with the Trust.
Because of their position grouping and shape, the three buildings are extremely important elements in the street scene at the narrow entrance of the lane leading out of South Lynn Plain to All Saints Church. Secondly, South Lynn is not a later suburb of Lynn, but rather the original settlement.
All Saints Church and with it the community it served were already in existence when St Margaret’s Church was founded in about 1100. South Lynn remained a separate community until the mid-16th century when it was incorporated into King’s Lynn. Furthermore All Saints Street lay on the historic route from the South Gates to the centre of the town and remained so until the building of London Road in the early 19th century.
Like the Pilot Street houses in the north of the town, these cottages stood in a part of Lynn where extensive demolition and redevelopment in the 1960s had completely changed the character of the area. The Trust felt it important to retain as many of the remaining houses as possible as markers of the medieval town.