Wednesday, 3 August 2011

King's Lynn - Millfleet (Jewish)

Camera pressed to the railings
© Godric Godricson

King's Lynn is an ancient town in the western part of Norfolk and is usually much neglected by visitors to the county and by the authorities when they produce long-term plans.  The town is full of interesting architecture and ancient monuments although the tourist authorities tend to by-pass King's Lynn in favour of Norwich which is the 'County town' or regional capital.

The ancient town has a wide range ecclesiastical architecture ranging from the ruins of the insignificant to the ruins of the  magnificent and much visited.  Somewhere, in this wide-ranging continuum  you'll find a number of places to visit all of which have a history of burials.  Unlike European cities which often have no observable cemeteries in the town centre, King's Lynn has has a medieval past where burial sites are placed 'Cheek by jowl'  with the living.  Whilst this did create important environmental health issues it also produces diverse contemporary town planning.

From the street
© Godric Godricson

When I visited Kings Lynn it mid July 2011 it was extremely wet and unseasonably windy.  The trees were blown here and there and the rain was torrential, to say the least.  Despite this the archaeological and historical sites are provocative.

Here we find the Millfleet Jewish cemetery on the edge of the public housing scheme. This is a burial site used by "Dutch Jews" until 1849 although I suspect this term "Dutch"  is really a term for 'Ashkenazi'. People pass by this small cemetery and don't seem to notice this interesting place on their doorstep. A place that that says something about migration and diversity.

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