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The Saints

About The Saints

Whether you are visiting the town or live locally to Ipswich, The Saints is a 'not to be missed' treasure of Ipswich. Comprising of St Peters Street and St Nicholas Street, it is one of the main thoroughfares that run from Ipswich town centre to the Waterfront.

The Saints is fast becoming a fashionable, busy and diverse community containing an assortment of flourishing retail, restaurant and office businesses which attract a steadily growing number of tourists and local people. It is the ideal place to take friends and family to shop in the many varied and unique retail businesses where you can choose from antique books and furniture, through to modern designer fashion and charming vintage items.

You may like to take the opportunity to pamper yourself in the many choices of hair, beauty and fitness establishments or just relax and socialize with friends in one of the numerous restaurants and wine bars which provide an eclectic range of food and drink, from local to international, and to suit all taste buds.

If you are looking to settle in this picturesque area there are one of many estate agents where you can pick out the home of your dreams, whether it be on one of the main routes to or actually on the waterfront.

You might like to visit St Peter's Church, sited between the The Saints and the Waterfront, which houses a music, arts and heritage centre offering a range of musical events and craft fairs, as well as the chance to explore the centre and immerse yourself in the renowned Ipswich Millennium Tapestries.

Around the corner on Cromwell Square is St Nicholas Church and Sanctuary. Believed to be the resting place of Wolsey's parents, it also exhibits Saxon stone carvings which are almost certainly from the previous church 'St. Michael's' which was on this site.

The hustle and bustle of The Saints is amplified when the popular 'St Peter's Street Vintage & Craft Market' visits on the occasional weekend and offers range of art and design, craft and vintage. The Saints has also become a popular stomping ground on an evening as it is considered by visitors and locals to be the stylish and fashionable place to be.

Heritage of The Saints

The Saints is part of a road structure in Ipswich that has been laid down since the Saxon times. It is likely that, since the 8th century, the Stoke Bridge crossing was developed making both St Peter's Street and St Nicholas Streets not only a main route into Ipswich but also a way to the North.

Just across the way on the Franciscan Way and Wolsey Street area was the Priory for the Greyfriars. There have been archaeological digs here between 1999 and 2006, and in 2010 tests were performed on a male skeleton taken from a cemetery that is believed to have been set down in the early years of the priory. The BBC's documentary 'History Cold Case' found that he was of sub-Saharan origin and another ten of the sculls are believed to have come from the same area of the world.

The Saints streets contain a mix of buildings dating back to the 16th century and this area of the town is steeped in history, although is best recognised for the famous son of Ipswich, Thomas Wolsey. The life of Thomas Wolsey began in a relatively humble way, and he worked his way up to a position that was second only to King Henry VIII, becoming the Chancellor of England.

Both King Henry VIII and his first wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon visited the town separately, on pilgrimage to Our Lady of Grace in Ipswich, staying with Lord Curson at his mansion which was believed to have been on St Peter's Street between Silent Street and Rose Lane. Across the road from Lord Curson's Mansion is Curson lodge, which is thought that this was where the servants of important guests stayed.

Thomas Wolsey's birth place was believed to be just across the road from the lodge. If you want to know more about the history of the Saints and other areas in Ipswich join one of the regular tours that can be booked at the Tourist Information Centre.

Business & Shopping at The Saints

The traders of The Saints have set up a marketing group called 'Street Meet' and have worked arduously to offer a lively and delightful shopping/leisure experience which has become quite the success story, contributing to the overall desirability of Ipswich as a creative and dynamic place to visit both for its residents and visitors.

The Saints is brimming with various architectural structures, many of them listed, and dating from the 1500s. Within these streets are a delightfully, inviting choice of restaurants, cafes, patisseries and sandwich shops sitting within a busy business area with a large number of the patrons coming at lunchtimes from the many surrounding local office businesses.

One of the largest local businesses is Willis, built in the mid 1970s. In 1991 this famous glass building designed by Norman Forster became one of the first modern (post war) Grade I listed buildings. This building contrasts beautifully with the Unitarian Meeting House, built in 1699 - 1700, and reflects, quite literally, in the Willis glass, the old and new architecture of Ipswich.

The Unitarian Meeting House is the only remaining example of a purpose-built timber-framed Dissenting Meeting House of it's period. The courtyard to the east of the Meeting House is older and is typical of the type of street layout of the 15 and 16th century. The entrance to this courtyard can be found on St Nicholas Street, so why not bring your business visitors to take in the historic sites of The Saints after that productive meeting in one of the local restaurants.

The Saints, being an exciting, unique and flourishing part of town, is set to inspire the development of future business opportunities.

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