The licence to build relating to the site was granted circa 1474 and the original building is likely to have consisted of 2 hanseatic warehouses constructed circa 1480, and a street range where the Georgian house now stands. Around 1500, forty German merchants were based in King’s Lynn and it is likely that forest products and other Baltic goods were stored here.
The West Link Range (at The South Quay entrance) was probably constructed later than the warehouses; the mini-boom in around 1500 potentially generating the funds to construct this wing to enclose the courtyard.
Between the 1560’s and 1751 the Hanseatic League leased the building to King’s Lynn merchants and during this time there would have been significant alterations and extensions to the warehouses. King’s Lynn was known for centuries for the distinctive granaries and maltings on the riverside, and buildings were often extended and repaired.
In 1751 the buildings were sold by the Hanseatic League to Edward Everard, a wealthy Lynn merchant, for the sum of £800; this resulted in the construction of the Georgian house to St Margaret’s Place we see today.
The 1800’s and 1900’s saw construction and alteration of the two extensions to the warehouses on the South Quay side, leading to the loss of the medieval gable ends and quite probably a water gate or other means of entrance for goods from the river, which was much closer to the building at that time.
Different parts of the building have variously served as a maltings, a granary, a school and the residence of Victorian gentlemen; latterly the building was purchased by Norfolk County Council who converted the site to office space in the early 1970’s, resulting in the installation of modern stud partitioning and 20th C. windows to many areas.
We’d be really interested to hear from anyone who has any old drawings or photographs showing Hanse House at any time in its long and varied history!