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Medieval Churches of Ipswich

Discover the heritage of our beautiful medieval churches

St Clement’s

Address: Fore Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 8AH

Description: St Clement Church is situated on the inner ring road that passes by Suffolk New College, University Campus Suffolk and the Ipswich Waterfront. The church is currently not in use, either as a place of worship or as for another use, although for a time it has been used by local theatre companies and groups for storage. It currently waits for a new purpose, and a new owner. St Clement’s Church houses Ipswich’s familiar Charles II sets, carved and gilded, instead of being painted on boards or canvas. The church also houses a grand tower and Victorian Chancel, and the font with angels, wild men and lions adorning the stem.

Additional Information: St Clement has the potential to exist as those previously mentioned, although currently it is infrequently used, and it now awaits a new long-term owners and use.

St Helen’s

Address: St. Helen’s Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 2LB

Description: Although medieval in its origin, it was rebuilt as a church between 1830 and 1870. Look closely and you will see that the church retained its 15th century porch within the new construction. However, it has been completely modernised, in a most unusual way making very interesting spectacle from the inside. A huge gallery has been built over what once was the chancel arch. Beneath it is a large modern space which used to be the chancel. The room is now used for meetings, playgroups and more. Although the 19th Century window to the east survives to this day.

Additional Information: St Helen’s Church is located close to the town centre, near to Suffolk New College, and is currently open as a place of worship

St Lawrence

Address: Dial Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1DJ

Description: St Lawrence’s church on Dial Street is home to the world’s oldest ringing church bells known as Wolsey’s Bells. The church is a grade 2 listed building. It displays flint stone work on the outside and beautiful stain glass windows; typical of churches built in the Middle Ages. The stained glass window on the east-side was made by the well-known stained glass designer Charles Gibbs in 1853 and displays scenes from the New Testament. After becoming redundant the church went under renovations, the church was reopened as a community restaurant and gallery in July 2008.

Additional Information: St Lawrence has been restored through financial investment, and is now a thriving cafe and restaurant

St Margaret’s

Address: St Margaret’s Plain, Ipswich, IP4 2BE

Description: Dating back to the 13th century St Margaret’s Church retains the nave arcades, doorways and the windows of the north aisle, along with the double hammer-beam roof. When you visit St Margaret’s Church you will also see the restored roof panels which were originally painted towards the end of the 17th century. The decorative scheme in this roof is unique and regarded as of national importance. St Margaret’s Church is a beautiful, Grade 1 listed building with a history dating back 800 years. The church was built by the Priors of Holy Trinity Priory to house the growing town population.

Additional Information: St Margaret’s Church still exists as a place of worship. For details of weekly services visit their website.

St Mary and St Botolph

Address: Whitton Church Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 6LT

Description: St Mary & St Boltoph is a church that has seen many changes and extensions since its original build. Be sure to look out for the beautiful church windows, where some of the glass in the 19th century windows is by William Morris & co. There are also the seven works of mercy in the glass to the west of the building. Much of the glass was by Hardman & co. The church also has an organ from a Baptist church in Cambridge. This small church is described as the prettiest in the Ipswich Borough, It has everything you’d expect, tower, nave, aisles, and chancel. Everything about it is just perfect, and the interior is jewel-like.

Additional Information: St Mary & St Boltoph Church is active as a place of worship, and is popular for weddings and christenings, not least because of the tranquil and picturesque location.

St Mary at the Quay

Address: Key Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1BZ

Description: Built between 150 and 1550 St Mary at the Quay is located on the ring road close to Ipswich Waterfront. It is believed that it was originally known as Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and is a Grade II listed building. The building has been seriously damaged by flooding. St Mary at the Quay is currently in the hands of Suffolk Mind, it is now undergoing major restoration to correct the damage caused by the flooding. Their aim is to bring the building back to life, in its new role as a wellbeing heritage centre. It is due to reopen in 2016.

Additional Information: St Mary at Quay is currently being restored by Suffolk Mind and the Churches Conservation Trust following receipt of a grant of £3.6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Re-opening under the new name of Quay Place, the church will be transformed into a wellbeing heritage centre open to the community

St Mary at the Elms

Address: 68 Black Horse Lane, Ipswich IP1 2EF

Description: Take a short walk from the town centre and you will discover St Mary at the Elms with its Norman south doorway. Inside the church there is the nave and north aisle, both of which are perpendicular gothic. The north chapel and chancel date back to 1883 and are well maintained. As is typical in church buildings of this era there is a large imposing church organ which is still in use today. The church serves a lively congregation and provides daily a place for contemplation, prayer and worship for anyone visiting or working in the area.

Additional Information: Visit the main website for details of weekly services.

St Mary le-Tower

Address: Tower Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 3BE

Description: Ipswich does not have its own cathedral, but arguably St Mary le-Tower is the town’s leading church. Despite the original church being demolished in the 19th century some of the original fixtures and features can still be viewed and appreciated, along with the more recent additions. The church was the first in Suffolk to achieve a tower a peak of 12 bells in 1865. Another one was added in 1980. This Church was named in the Domesday Book commissioned by King William the Conqueror, meaning that the site has been occupied by a church since at least 1086!

Additional Information: St Mary le-Tower is open to the public as well as being an active place of worship.

St Mary at Stoke

Address: Stoke Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP2 8DA

Description: St Mary at Stoke is a Grade 1 listed Anglican Church situated in the Old Stoke area of Ipswich. It is just south west of Stoke Bridge and the town centre. Its medieval church origins expanded by the addition of a Victorian extension in the late 1800s. When visiting be sure to take a look at the medieval roof. Its single hammer beam style is adorned with wall plates, angels and figures. A church has existed on this site since the 10th Century. It is likely that it mentioned as one of the St Mary’s churches mentioned in the Domesday Book.

Additional Information: St Mary at Stoke is an active place of worship, and is part of the South West Ipswich Team Ministry, with St Peter Stoke Park and St Francis Chantry

St Matthew’s

Address: Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2BP

Description: St Matthew is an exciting discovery for anyone interested in medieval churches as its 15th century font is considered a treasure of national importance and one of the finest fonts of its time that can be found in England. At St Matthew’s, you will find a rare survival of England’s Catholic past; a series of images of events associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Once a small church it was expanded in the 19th century to become a Garrison Church for the nearby Ipswich Barracks. This expansion resulted in huge aisles, rebuilding of the chancel but the medieval roof was retained.

Additional Information: St Matthew’s Church is active as a place of worship, and is currently part of the Parish of St Matthew, Triangle & All Saints, a group of three Anglican churches.

St Nicholas

Address: 4 Cutler Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 1UQ

Description: St Nicholas church, a grade II listed building was updated in 1848. Despite the influence of the Victorian era, the 17th century pulpit remained. The font features sixteen niches, two on each panel and the stem is supported by the four Evangelists, each holding a scroll. Built mostly in the 16th century, this was the church where the Wolsey family worshipped during the Cardinals childhood. The main body of the church is made from a mixture of stone, flint and septia rubble. This is unusual for churches in Ipswich. St Nicholas Church consists of nave with aisles, chancel, with north vestry, south porch and a western tower of flint.

Additional Information: St Nicholas, now managed by the Anglican diocese exists as a conference and exhibition centre.

St Peter’s by the Waterfront

Address: College Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4, UK

Description: Dating from the 1500s the church became notable under the reign of Henry VIII when the Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey, made it the chapel of his newly-established (but short-lived) college. It is now home to the Ipswich Millennium Charter Hangings. Located by the historic waterfront of Ipswich in Suffolk, St Peter’s by the Waterfront is a former church which has been sensitively converted to a vibrant community arts and heritage centre. As well as being a heritage centre St Peter’s is a venue for music and the arts, holding regular concerts, performances and open days. The building also offers exhibition and conferencing facilities available for hire throughout the year.

Additional Information: St Peter’s by The Waterfront is now an arts and heritage centre. Visit our events page for upcoming jazz performances, and art & carfts fairs held there.

St Stephen’s

Address: St Stephens Lane, Ipswich, IP1 1DP

Description: St Stephens Church has had a rough past after becoming redundant in 1975, today it stands proud as the Ipswich tourist centre. The impressive church was restored in 1994, inside it was cloaked in a brilliant white, all the fixtures have been sensitively showcased. It has maintained many of its original features. Including the 16th century roof, the five hatchments around the door and the monuments which stand out beautifully against the white-wash, including a chancel – a monument to the one Lord Mayor of London. The Holy end of the church has been sensitively preserved as an exhibition space and was for a while still used by the parish of St Mary le Tower on St Stephen’s Day each year.

Additional Information: St Stephen’s Church is now home to the Tourist Information Centre in Arras Square, named in respect of our town twinning with Arras in France. Visit Arras and you will find Place d’Ipswich.

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