Overseas Trade (and Smuggling) in Early Modern King’s Lynn

The King’s Lynn Port Books 1610-1614 While not as important as London, King’s Lynn was still definitely in the premier division of the urban commercial leagues in the early modern period, alongside ports such as Newcastle, Hull, Southampton, Bristol and Chester. Liverpool and Glasgow at that time were still ‘emerging’ and would have to wait until the age of the Industrial Revolution for their glory days to dawn. Lynn’s overseas trade in the reign of James I was heavily concentrated on the North Sea, with particularly brisk exchanges of goods with the Scottish ports on the Firth of Forth. Kirkcaldy was the most important, followed by Leith, but also significant was Culross, which is still a major visitor attraction in the region with its cobbled streets, well-preserved houses and a splendid so-called ‘Palace’ built by the entrepreneur Sir George Bruce. He was a notable trader through King’s Lynn and he