Originally named Trinity College, this building was the creation of Thomas Thoresby, burgess, merchant and three times Mayor of the Borough. Building started in about 1508 and was still in progress when he died in 1510. He left money in his will for its completion and it fell to his executors to see that his intentions were met.
Thoresby’s object was to provide accommodation, and with it a simple form of collegiate life, for 13 priests employed as chantry chaplains by the powerful Trinity Guild of Lynn. Chambers were also provided for the charnel priest of Lynn and for Thoresby’s own chantry priests for whom he made provisions in his will and who were to pray for him and his family ‘as long as the world shall endure’.
After the Reformation the college was sold and subsequently underwent adaption for domestic and commercial use. As a result, the original internal arrangements of the College have been obscured. Nevertheless, ranged around its open quadrangle, Thoresby College is one of the most complete survivals of medieval Lynn.
In 1963 the entire complex was bought by Ruth, Lady Fermoy and her daughter, Viscountess Althorpe (later, Mrs Shand-Kydd) and presented to the King’s Lynn Preservation Trust for restoration, with the request that the building be used for the benefit of the whole community.
Today the north, east and south ranges of the college are divided into domestic flats and offices. The Great Hall and Lower Hall in the west range are available for hire and they are popular venues for local organisations.
Thoresby College is also home to the KLPT office.