The Minster and Priory Church of St Margaret, St Mary Magdalene and all the Virgin Saints was founded as a Benedictine Priory in 1101 by Herbert de Losinga, the first Bishop of Norwich. For 400 years it was the monks’ home as well as the Parish Church for the town. It was always known as St Margaret’s.
Within the parish there was also St Nicholas’ Chapel to the north and St James’ Chapel to the east. These were ‘Chapels of Ease’, not Parish Churches. All Saints Church, outside the town walls, is the ancient Parish Church for South Lynn. In the 19th century, St John’s Church was built to the east as a new Parish Church and the ancient parish of St Edmund’s North Lynn was combined with St Margaret’s parish. By then, the medieval St Edmund’s Church was derelict and St James’ Church had been demolished. St Nicholas’ Chapel is no longer used for regular services, but the three Parish Churches work together as the King’s Lynn Group Ministry.
St Margaret’s Church was made King’s Lynn Minster by the Bishop of Norwich in December 2011 in recognition that it provides a ministry far wider than that of a normal Parish Church. It is the civic church for West Norfolk and frequently holds services and events for the western part of the Diocese of Norwich. The historic and architectural significance of the building were also factors in the decision to make this a Minster. The title belongs to the building, so the parish served by the Minster is still called the Parish of St Margaret with St Nicholas and St Edmund, King’s Lynn.