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21 Oct: Skeletons in the library

There has been a library in King’s Lynn since 1617 and its collection of books was renowned – but it also offered a different kind of loan, a skeleton.

Once in the vestry of St Nicholas’s Church, the library was joined by another in 1631 which was in the room above the north porch of St Margaret’s Church, now King’s Lynn Minster. The libraries had books donated to them by clergymen, civic officials and wealthy citizens and in 1715, something even more precious was donated: a skeleton.

King's Lynn Public Library

Within the next two years, a further two skeletons came into the possession of the King’s Lynn library – one was never returned, another went missing and the third was kept in the foyer of the new Carnegie Library on Millfleet. This last skeleton disappeared after a dark and stormy night, evaporating into the darkness with no explanation: a case, perhaps, for Sherlock Bones.

On a similar note, the skull of Eugene Aram (1704 – 1759) is kept in storage at Lynn Musuem – Aram moved from Yorkshire to avoid the scandal caused when he was implicated in the disappearance of his friend, Daniel Clark.

A schoolteacher in Lynn, he was working in the town when police officers from York came to return him to York following the discovery of a skeleton. He was charged with murder and executed in August 1759.


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