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In October of 2023, the Norfolk Guildhall at King’s Lynn, London was undergoing a bigrefurbishment when 600 year old oak floorboards were discovered beneath the floor. A religioushouse in the 15thcentury, the site became a performance venue by 1593, hosting, amongothers, Shakespeare’s acting company according to company accounts. That discovery meansthat these newly discovered floorboards could have held the footsteps of William Shakespearehimself. Here today to tell us about the floorboards, the history, and what’s going on with thefind today, is our guest, and create director at the guildhall, Tim Fitzhingham

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Tim Fitzhigham posing with the 15th century stage boards found beneath the 20th century boards that had been installed since.

Tim Fitzhigham is the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Creative Director, where he was appointed to oversee the revival of of St George’s Guildhall in King’s Lynn. 

I’ll be asking Tim Fitzhigham about:

  • What kind of refurbishment was going on at the guildhall when these boards were discovered? 
  • Were you expecting to find old pieces of the previous structure underneath the flooring, or did this discovery come as a complete surprise?
  • When was the building first built? How old is the structure?
  • …and more!

Photo: Dr Jonathan Clark, the archaeologist leading the project (left) and creative director Tim FitzHigham pictured with the uncovered floorboards. Photograph: Zachary Culpin/BNPS | Source | Used with permission

Photo: Dr Jonathan Clark, the archaeologist leading the project (left) and creative director Tim FitzHigham pictured with the uncovered floorboards. Photograph: Zachary Culpin/BNPS | Source | Used with permission

Books and Resources Tim Fitzhigham recommends:

The Shakespearean Playing Companies Andrew Gurr. 

Archeaology of Shakespeare theaters in the time of Shakespeare. Excavations at the rose and curtain in London.

From Cassidy, Here’s some epieosdes from our back catalog that go over some of this archaeological research that Tim recommends for you this week. They are a great place to start.

Note: Several of the episodes listed above are from our back catalog of shows available to patrons of That Shakespeare Life. Join for $5/month and it opens all of the episodes and their in depth show notes.

The collected works of Robert Armin / with introductions by J.P. Feather.

More Resources From Cassidy

The History Blog

Here’s What’s Inside For This Episode:

  • Quotes from Shakespeare’s palys about players and stages
  • Closeup Photos of the stage boards discovered at King’s Lynn
  • Photo of King’s Lynn Guildhall
  • Additional Images of the Floorboards
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The Guildhall has plans to display the boards so people can see them, as well as to incorporate the boards display into the future plans of the renovation project of the site moving forward. You can follow the work of King’s Lynn Guildhall and see what happens with the boards by subscribing to their newsletter on their website here.

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That’s it for this week! Thank you for listening! I’m Cassidy Cash and I hope you learn something new about the bard.

I’ll see you next time!