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Ipswich Borough Council insists 'we are looking after Wolsey's Gate'

PUBLISHED: 17:42 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:42 19 April 2017

Wolsey's Gate in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Wolsey's Gate in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich Borough Council has insisted Wolsey's Gate is being cared for after getting complaints about rubble left near the historic structure.

The rear of Wolsey's Gate in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe rear of Wolsey's Gate in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Officials say the gate itself, which is in the care of the council, is in good condition after extensive repairs and repointing in 2016 after years of damage from traffic fumes.

The setting of the gate, next to St Peter’s Church near the Waterfront, has been a hot topic for many years.

It was originally the “Watergate” to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s College that was built in the 1530s.

Within a few years of its opening the cardinal had fallen from power and died – and the college was demolished on the orders of Henry VIII so its bricks could be used to extend York House, part of Whitehall Palace in London.

Wolseys Gate in Ipswich, pictured in the 1850s  one of the earliest photographs ever taken of Suffolk. Picture: DAVID KINDREDWolseys Gate in Ipswich, pictured in the 1850s  one of the earliest photographs ever taken of Suffolk. Picture: DAVID KINDRED

Only the gate survived alongside the church that had been the chapel for the college.

While the gate itself is owned by the borough, the land next to it and behind it is not – and the area has been waiting for redevelopment since the factory closed in the 1980s.

The former factory building on the site – which is itself listed – is having work done to protect it from the elements, but some of the material has been stored behind the gate, which has been unsightly for years.

This has prompted people to debate the gate on our Ipswich Remembers Facebook page – with some even calling for it to be moved to a more prominent position.

Craigy Hamho wrote: “The council should move it to the town centre so it can be enjoyed and appreciated.”

Meryl Phillips added: “It’s the corrosive exhaust fumes of thousands of cars going past daily that worries me.”

However Bim Jennings pointed out: “You can’t just move a scheduled monument. What it’s built of is only a small, small, tiny bit if its value.

“Moving it would basically render it valueless in conservation terms.”

A spokesman for the borough said: “The Council does own the gateway. The land to the rear, however, is in private ownership as is the adjoining listed building.

“It is Grade I listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

“The Council is responsible for its maintenance.

“In 2015/16 a substantial amount was spent repointing the brickwork. We succeeded in getting stacked waste cleared from behind the gate earlier this year.”

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