Glimpse of Tudor life discovered in park

A GLIMPSE at life in Tudor Ipswich has been unearthed in an Ipswich park.Just weeks after a burial site was unearthed only inches below the grass in Christchurch Park, relics of life before the mansion was built have now been found.

A GLIMPSE at life in Tudor Ipswich has been unearthed in an Ipswich park.

Just weeks after a burial site was unearthed only inches below the grass in Christchurch Park, relics of life before the mansion was built have now been found.

Walls that may have been part of a priory that existed before the mansion was built have been unearthed.

And the equivalent of a 17th century coke can, has also been dug up when one of the drains, built later than the house, was excavated.

Gareth Owen of Wessex Archaeology was leading the dig when the relics were found said that the item would originally have been known as an onion bottle and would have contained port or ale for thirsty builders.

Several ruins from a walled garden surrounding the stately home were also among the archaeological finds.

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Construction is underway to revitalise the area surrounding the Tudor mansion and provide drainage for the park's new £3m education and interpretation centre.

Mr Owen said: “Through the excavation of the drains, we've revealed a number of archaeological finds and structures throughout the park. We think the walls may have been part of a priory that was here before the mansion.”

More bones were exhumed but this time the skeletons belonged to pigs, sheep and cows.

Mr Owen said the presence of the bones, was conducive with being food waste.

He said: “There were no bin men back then so people would find a hole and fill it with rubbish.”

Park manager, Sam Pollard admitted that making such discoveries could be considered as much a burden as a pleasure.

He said: “Every time we find something it adds another two or three days to the whole process.

“It's a pain but in the best possible sense because we're finding out a bit of the park's history.”

The National Lottery's Heritage Fund is financing the work and has requested that all funding claims are received by the end of the year.

Archaeological monitoring requires planners to consider the impact of their work. Wessex Archaeology is on site in order to monitor, observe and record what is discovered during the excavation of the drains.

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The artefacts in Christchurch Park are by no means the first to be uncovered since work began in August.

Ipswich Borough Council had dug only a few metres of the drain before they made a shocking discovery.

While burrowing the trench at the Soane Street entrance to the park, construction workers discovered a medieval graveyard.

Only centimetres below the surface were the remains of thirty bodies lying in the path of the proposed drain run.

Christchurch Mansion was built on the site of the Augustinian Priory of the Holy Trinity, which was founded in the 12th Century.

Paul Withypoll, a successful London merchant, bought the site in 1545. It is thought that his son, Edmund Withypoll, could have taken some of the land from the original St Margaret's graveyard to increase the size of the mansion's front garden.

All of the recent discoveries will be documented and put on display in the new interpretation centre.

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