Town's historic buildings in danger

CARDINAL Wolsey's legacy to his home town is in danger of crumbling away – three sites he's associated with are on the latest list of Buildings at Risk register.

CARDINAL Wolsey's legacy to his home town is in danger of crumbling away – three sites he's associated with are on the latest list of Buildings at Risk register.

St Peter's Church, St Lawrence Church and 45 St Nicholas Street are all on the register which is published by English Heritage today.

St Peter's church was built in the 13th century with major alterations during the Victorian era.

It was incorporated into the college built next door – Wolsey's Gate is the only remaining part of the college – but has been redundant since the 1970s.

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For a few years it was occupied by railway modellers, but they moved out and since then despite partial restoration and a number of interested parties, the church has remained empty.

Although it is on the register of buildings at risk, its condition is described as fair.

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However another church with connections to Wolsey is not in such a good state.

St Lawrence Church in Dial Lane is described as being in poor condition – it has no floor after dry rot caused it to disintegrate in the late 1980s.

However the tower was restored in the 1990s and its bells are the oldest in town – they are the only ones left which Thomas Wolsey would have heard as a young man.

The third Ipswich building on the list is 45 St Nicholas Street, often described as Wolsey's House.

Wolsey didn't live there himself – he lived on the opposite side of the road and it was built after his death – but it is the oldest building in the area of town that he was born in.

Its condition is described as poor and the chimney stack is in an especially bad state.

Ipswich council's conservation officer Bob Kindred was hopeful that all three buildings would soon have a new lease of life.

Their maintenance is the responsibility of their owners – with the council monitoring it.

"St Peter's Church is the subject of an application to turn it into a practice building and concert hall for a band," Mr Kindred said.

"And there is still an outstanding application to turn St Lawrence's church into a restaurant – and we are hopeful that will go ahead.

"St Nicholas Street is due to be transferred to the Ipswich Historic Buildings Trust which will restore and convert it and bring it back into use.

"The overall outlook for these buildings is quite positive," he said.

Another local landmark on English Heritage's register of Buildings at Risk is Freston Tower, which overlooks the River Orwell.

It is owned by the Landmark Trust which has now been given grants to repair it and convert it into holiday accommodation.

Restoration work began earlier this year.

Its owners will be hoping it will be removed from the register when it is published next year – as happened to the Isaac Lord Building in Ipswich this time around.

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email or visit the forum at

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