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Here’s why a special event will mark a significant anniversary today

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A special event is being held in Lynn today to mark a significant anniversary.Today marks 500 years since King Henry VIII conferred a number of new privileges and rights on Lynn in one of the most significant charters in the town’s long history.These rights included the appointment of aldermen and to commemorate this significant event, West Norfolk Council will be celebrating with an extraordinary meeting at which five new aldermen will be appointed.

West Norfolk Mayor Paul Bland

The meeting will celebrate old and new as it will include a more recent tradition with the confirmation of former BBC reporter Jill Bennett as a Freeman of the Borough.Cllr Paul Bland, borough mayor, said: “Aldermen and Freemen have a special place in the civic life of this borough.“All those we appoint today have given a long and significant service to the borough and this is a fitting tribute to their service.

The 1524 King’s Lynn Charter

“It makes it extra special that we can do this on the very day, 500 years ago, when Henry VIII conferred the rights on King’s Lynn to appoint Aldermen. “It is both an honour and a privilege for me to be presiding as mayor over the meeting where we shall officially appoint them.”The charter of 1524 granted new rights and modernised how the borough was run. Its provisions include granting to the burgesses of Lynn a mayor, 12 aldermen, 18 common councillors, four serjeants at mace, a sword bearer, a recorder, a town clerk, two coroners, and a clerk of the markets.

The 1524 King’s Lynn charter

As part of the celebration of 500 years since the charter was issued, a number of Tudor writing workshops for young people were held during half-term.At these workshops, the youngsters had the opportunity to see and learn about the original charter, and to try their hand at writing with traditional quills and inks.They contributed to a piece of artwork that commemorates the charter, and which will be displayed alongside the charter on the day of the extraordinary council meeting. The artwork includes an ‘illuminated’ H of the type used in printed Tudor works and it will now be preserved in the borough archives.The charter itself included an illuminated H: it forms part of, and is specific to, the 1524 charter. It shows a 33-year-old Henry, sitting in full robes and holding a crown, orb, and sceptre in the arch of the ‘h’.The appointment of Honorary Freemen of the Borough of Lynn dates back to The Honorary Freedom of The Borough Act 1885, which authorised the granting of the status of Honorary Freeman to “persons of distinction and persons who have rendered eminent service to the borough”.Similar powers were preserved by the Local Government Acts of 1933 and 1972.The first five Freemen were appointed on July 10, 1901.

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