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Ipswich 16th century church boundary walls repairs get approval

PUBLISHED: 19:00 18 November 2020

The boundary wall at St Margaret's Church in Ipswich. Picture: JASON NOBLE

The boundary wall at St Margaret's Church in Ipswich. Picture: JASON NOBLE

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Works to repair 16th century boundary walls at a key Ipswich church have been given the go-ahead.

St Margaret's Church in ipswich (next to Christchurch Park) has been awarded £163,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for restoration work Picture: NIGEL BROWNSt Margaret's Church in ipswich (next to Christchurch Park) has been awarded £163,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for restoration work Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Ipswich Borough Council’s planning committee on Wednesday morning unanimously agreed for the urgent repairs to the north west corner wall of St Margaret’s Church in Soane Street to be repaired.

According to the council, which is also the applicant for the works, four new buttresses are needed as well as repairs to the Grade II Listed wall itself, which is “a highly significant feature of both Christchurch Park and St Margaret’s Church”.

MORE: Restored 450-year-old bells return to Ipswich church

Councillor Adam Rae from the planning committee said: “It strikes me this is something we need to be getting on with as quickly as possible.”

The boundary wall dates back to the 16th century and at that time enclosed the Augustinian Priory which stood on the Christchurch Mansion site, before it was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries between 1536 and 1541 instigated by King Henry VIII.

Ipswich borough councillor Adam Rae said the work to St Margaret's Church boundary wall needed to begin as quickly as possible.  Picture: DAVID GARRADIpswich borough councillor Adam Rae said the work to St Margaret's Church boundary wall needed to begin as quickly as possible. Picture: DAVID GARRAD

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The wall was largely rebuilt in the 18th century, but it is understood the portion in need of repair is one of the older sections from the 16th century in the north west corner of the churchyard now dividing the church and Christchurch Park.

With planning approval and listed building consent granted, work can now begin on the repairs, although it is not clear how long those works may take or when repairs will begin.

The council said the work will “safeguard the Grade I Listed structure [the church], its setting and the special architectural and historic features”.

The boundary wall at St Margaret's Church in Ipswich. Picture: JASON NOBLEThe boundary wall at St Margaret's Church in Ipswich. Picture: JASON NOBLE

It represents the latest restoration work for the church, which was given a £163,600 boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2017, to repair, restore and re-hang the 450-year-old bells.

The bells, which were carefully removed and taken to the Netherlands for work in May 2017 returned in March 2018, where they were re-hung from a new gallery that allows people to see the historic bells being rung.

That project also saw security features at the church improved and the tower clock refurbished with an electronic winder.

It is not yet clear how much the wall repairs approved this week will cost, but conditions have been put in place by the county’s archaeological team to ensure the work does not disturb any remains in the churchyard.


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