The Witches Heart
The Tuesday Market Place in King’s Lynn is the location for a very interesting tale of a witch burning. Benjamin Mackerel’s History and Antiquities of King’s Lynn Published in 1738, records the burning of a Margaret Read in 1590 on the charges of Witchcraft.
This was either a very rare case of burning, usually reserved only for those who had committed an act of treason, for example murdering their husbands. Or, Margaret Read was hung instead.
However, the local stories tell of her burning at the stake in the market place, which was the regular site for executions in the town. Large crowds would gather to watch the executions.
The stories state that as she was being consumed by flames, her heart burst out of her chest and flew across the market place. It is said to have smashed into a building before falling to the ground and rolling into the nearby River Ouse. When it hit the river it is said to have sunk to the bottom causing the water to bubble up.
Today, on the north side of the Market Place you can see the spot where Margaret’s heart supposedly hit. Above one of the windows of House No.15/16, carved into the red brick is a diamond shape, and within the diamond is a carved heart. This is supposed to mark the spot where her heart hit.