Ipswich miscellaneous …


      I’ve been going through my photos of Ipswich that have short stories.  I still have some “long stories” to work on, but need more info or more photos.  Not much time left either!

I made a return longer visit to The John Russell Gallery.  Colleen and I had made a pact to try to recreate what was a photo of sheep dyed in pastel colors.  I liked my drawing but was pretty discouraged by the results so needed some color lessons.   Going to the Gallery is like having an art lesson as I can look at the work of good artists.  I also had another very interesting conversation with Mr. Coe, the owner.  www.thejohnrussellgallery..co.uk   He is so willing to share his love of and knowledge of art.  I told him that it was the first time I realized that the distance one stood from a painting really made a difference.  Duh!!!!  (Other than looking at David Hockney’s Grand Canyon paintings at the Boston Art Museum.)  Get too close to an oil landscape and you don’t see it properly; at least I don’t.  But back up and amazing things happen.  Other works also struck me that way.  So I’m thinking that before buying art it’s a good idea to know where it will hang.  One I loved was called  ‘50 Shades of Grey’ Medium: Oil on Canvas Size: 80 cm x 80 cm.  I actually thought it had said shades of green…especially not having read the book

clip_image001  This is a tiny thumbnail from the Gallery’s link to Gil Mutch’s pages.  I was pleased to learn Gil is a woman.  The Gallery has lots of works by women artists which is really nice to see.    http://thejohnrussellgallery.co.uk/exhibition-archive/archive-2013/gil-mutch/ is the link to the painting, the top left corner.  I thought it would be great in a bedroom with white walls and it could be the star of the show.  I loved the vibrant colors and how the paint was clopped on in places to make the bedspread look even more textured.  http://mutchart.co.uk/works_on_paper/home.html is the artist’s site and her pen and wash which I also really like. 

Lots and lots of art in Ipswich! 


Ipswich miscellaneous …..



Invasion of the Dutch Tall Ships.

“The annual event sees hundreds of youngsters from universities across the Netherlands take to an armada of ships measuring up to 50m long and set out from Rotterdam for a week on the water. The ships set sail on Monday and arrived in Ipswich yesterday afternoon.

     The visit to England was unplanned – the scheduled stop in the Hague was abandoned after the wind changed – but the stop-off in Ipswich went down well with most of the students who had been hoping for the chance to make the coast-to-coast trip.

     ….this year there are 500 students on 22 ships – the most the race has seen since it began 26 years ago – and the ships have crews of between 10 and 40 students, all guided by a captain and professional team of sailors.

The tall ships remained in Ipswich overnight before heading back to Holland by Sunday.


(Apparently the British Ports Officials weren’t as pleased by the unscheduled invasion and the students were warned against making “too much noise.”  They did invade the marina loo and shower facilities, though that wasn’t any problem. And the noise seemed to end early enough.  One of the ships attempting to turn around in the small marina basin came so close it nearly took off our dinghy but staff returned to check if there had been damage, which there thankfully wasn’t.)


Sunrise  Sunset


The seagulls are constantly littering the docks with mussel shells.  (Which is better than the pigeon poop that is all over our dinghy.  Yuck!)   Seagulls can laugh/cry so loud all of Ipswich can hear; or so softly when conversing with each other.   When you walk up behind them, they give you  a “look” that a disgusted teen would envy.  Then rather than fly away, they sort of speed up making themselves look very silly. 


I’ve read many places that bread, cookies, crackers…. are bad for water birds.  For many of the same reasons it’s bad for us.  But the greens I tried to feed this swan just didn’t appeal.  Before really investigating the “bread” problem I’d fed this swan and its friend some bread.  They come right up to the dock , look directly at you as if too speak, and if I’d been brave enough, they’d probably have taken it from my hand.  They wag their tail feathers too afterwards.  But no more bread for them or the ducks.  Actually, with the increased boating activity, most of the ducks and swans seem to have moved someplace down river more quiet.


Flowers in a barrel planter at the marina.


Not the “London Shard,” but “The Mill” is also a useful landmark when you take new paths.  It’s the tallest building at the waterfront and maybe in Ipswich.  I’d gone for a walk and wasn’t so sure exactly where I was, but seeing the Mill I at least knew the direction of the marina.


The tall building on the left is The Mill.  We are on the next bridge from town looking back down the river towards the marina.  This part of the river isn’t navigable unless maybe by rowboat or something that could get under the bridges that cross the river and also have a very shallow draft.  But in the right light it’s very scenic.  I really do like rivers.


I just like all of these old brick buildings.  The only info I found about Chequers was an article of arson in 2011 when someone tried to burn it down.


Someone’s home with a lovely front garden.


Street art

I’ve walked past this unfinished/semi-derelict waterfront building many times but only today noticed this face painted there. 

Christchurch Mansion Interior and favorite stories


    Randal and I really are enjoying our time in Ipswich which has passed all too quickly.  Ipswich is very walkable and there’s lots to see.  We’ve had some interesting folks come look at DoraMac this past week too.  But no change in plans; we’re still on our way to the Netherlands May 2nd or 3rd depending on the weather for crossing the North Sea.  I’ve taken load of photos but I’m behind in my writing for no good reason.  I say that because, with free wifi from the marina, I’ve been watching TV on youtube.  I’m now watching Wycliffe, a detective show set in Cornwall.  Maybe I just had also needed a “blog break.”  But I have all those photos just waiting to be shared so hope to get a few more emails written before we leave Ipswich.


Christchurch Mansion stories

Mary and I were the only ones on our Christchurch Mansion tour so Erica, our tour guide that morning, was kind enough to spend extra time with us as Mary and I had lots of questions and were obviously enjoying our “private” tour.  Tours are offered at no charge twice each day; 11 am and 2 pm.  I am assuming they are led by volunteers like Erica who also happens to be the Chairman of the Friends of Ipswich Museums.   My second tour of the Mansion was a Sunday afternoon with Randal and Singkey and about 10 other folks.  Coincidentally Erica was again the tour guide.  I was quite flattered that she remembered me with all of the folks who go through each week. 

http://www.foim.org.uk/ is a link to the Friends of the Ipswich Museums.  Mary and I also visited the Ipswich Art School Gallery for the wonderful exhibit of Children’s Book Illustrators.

I learned quite a bit during the tour.  Here are some of my favorite bits as they explained where some of well used phrases have come from. 


Felix Cobbold, savior of the Mansion.

“In 1892 William Neale Fonnereau put the Mansion and [95 acre]estate up for sale.  A property syndicate bought the site in 1894 and sold some of the land for development.  Felix Cobbold, a member of the syndicate, presented Christchurch Mansion to the town as a gift and the Ipswich Cooperation purchased the remainder of the Park.”  Christchurch Mansion brochure

The recreated “Tudor Room,” the years from 1485 to 1603 that include Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I as well as Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.

“This chamber and the other directly above are not original to the Mansion, but were reconstructed in 1924 from parts of a house demolished and moved from Majors Corner in Ipswich.  The paneling and wall paintings here and in the upstairs room came from various merchants’ houses in Ipswich and the surrounding area.”  Christchurch Mansion brochure

  Erica told us that the more wood paneling and the more intricately it was carved, the wealthier the home owner.  But as well as showing off wealth, it acted as an insulator to keep in the heat.  I found ti much too dark and heavy looking.


Mary and Erica

Thomas Eldred : Circumnavigator


“Above the fireplace is the Eldred overmantle which came from the house of Thomas Eldred in Fore Street in Ipswich.  It celebrates his exploits as navigator on Thomas Cavendish’s voyage around the world  in 1586/88.  The three panels show Thomas Eldred’s portrait, a ship (thought to be his vessel, Desire) and a globe of the world.”  Christchurch Mansion brochure.

I took note of this as we’ve been cruising with an engine for 7 years and haven’t made it around the world and they did it under sail in 2 years.  Of course their goal was plunder the locals and ours was to actually live with the locals. 

http://www.nps.gov/fora/forteachers/thomas-cavendish.htm  is the National Park Service description of Cavendish’s connection to the colony on Roanoke Island North Carolina.


Chest of Drawers with a “wall painting” in its faded glory (now protected by glass.)

Erica told us how “the chest” transitioned into a “chest of drawers” and pointed to this as an early example.  As I don’t take notes during our travels I have to research to write up these emails.  This would have definitely been easier with some of the Reference books back in the Roanoke County Public Library’s collection.  The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable and the Nutting History of Furniture both would have been really useful.  As it is I’m just relying on Wikipedia and whatever else I can find for free on the Internet.  I guess I could walk the mile or so to the Ipswich Library, but I think seeing this chest with its two drawers pretty much tells the story itself.  Erica pointed out that it was probably easier to find things in drawers than having to go through an entire chest which prompted the addition of drawers. 

     “In late medieval Europe the chest came into widespread use, especially in homes of the nobility. This type, also known as a coffer was more or less a simple joined wooden box with a hinged lid. It may or may not have stood on feet. An early transitional phase was the installation of one drawer beneath this main compartment. A number of early pieces from the seventeenth century are extant of oak manufacture from England, and corresponding seventeenth century pieces of French walnut have survived. Some of the early surviving English specimens are from the Charles I period. Nutting ascribes the earliest piece in his Furniture Treasury to "before 1649". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chest_of_drawers

“The addition of a wide drawer fitted below the well of the chest created the form of a blanket chest, a form that is still familiar today.  ….. During the Queen Anne period, this basic form continued to change as more drawers were inserted into runners that became part of the structure

of the interior of the chest. The drawers filled the well of the chest, making

it necessary to change the lid into a fixed top. When the form received this

addition of drawers, it was labeled literally as a chest of drawers (fig. 3). Also

common were the terms nest of drawers (1742) or case of drawers (1695), the

former reserved for chests with many small drawers and the latter stemming

from the construction of the piece from a case filled with drawers

from top to bottom.” http://www.waywordradio.org/Chester_Drawers.pdf

Which then led to the expression “Top Drawer.”

“Top Drawer : The ‘drawer’ in question here is the highest drawer of a bedroom chest of drawers. This was where Victorian gentry kept their most valuable items – jewelry, best clothes etc. The phrase ‘top-drawer’ was initially used to denote a person’s level of social standing, based on their family background. Families were either ‘top-drawer’ or they weren’t.

     The earliest citation of the phrase that I can find comes from the English writer Horace Vachell, in the novel The hill, a romance of friendship, 1905:  "You’ll find plenty of fellows abusing Harrow," he said quietly; "but take it from me, that the fault lies not in Harrow, but in them. Such boys, as a rule, do not come out of the top drawer."  http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/top-drawer.html

“‘The Tudor painters/decorators would most likely have executed their design freehand’ adds Dant. ‘They would freely mix available pigments with soot, sheep piss and earth into the casein to bind their designs which would include forms recognisable in the local landscape (plants, birds, fruits etc). So I used plants from the Upton Cressett garden as the basis for the cursive and fluid designs on faux panelling low on the wall by the mullion window’.” http://www.uptoncressetthall.co.uk/the-hall/


Another Erica Story…

This is the Fonnereau dining room from the mid-18th century.  Each owner and each generation changed the house to suit their needs.  During my second tour all of a sudden Erica gasped and gently but firmly took the wood plate carrier from the hands of an elderly lady and placed it back in the center of the table just behind the “please don’t touch” sign.  I much prefer these light walls especially with the beautiful wood floors.  There were lots of Fonnereau portraits hanging on the walls.  Erica told us that the original Fonnereau, Claude had bought the place as a base in Suffolk for his son Thomas to enter politics. 


We were asked to guess what the white inlay was made from… horses’ teeth! 


One member of the Fonnereau family had collected these tiles on his travels and had them made into a table.  I think Randal collected enough tiles on his ‘round the world bicycle trip to do the same thing. 


Each generation changed the fireplace in the dining room to reflect innovation and fashion.  The original was larger as indicated by the empty spaces either side of the fireplace that exists now.  I think the mantle, the marble and the inside iron were all changes made over the years.

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Clothing stories with connections to London’s East End and Jamestown, VA. 

  The gown is woven, not embroidered,  from Huguenot silk possibly from Spitalfields which is part of London’s east end and quite familiar to Randal and me from our “Jewish East End” tour and our “Alternative Art” walking tour. Claude Fonnereau, a wealthy London merchant of Huguenot descent, bought Christchurch Mansion in 1732 from the Devereux family who had inherited  it by marriage from the Wythypoll family.  Building of the original Mansion had been begun in 1547.  Fire, the changes in taste, and innovations have impacted the original structure resulting in the present building. 

What I remember about the painting of the twins are two things: 

1. They are related to Bartholomew Gosnold, the founder of Jamestown, VA.  And Jamestown is very BIG here in Ipswich.  Erica gleefully pointed out to us that had not Gosnold gone to America Randal and I might be speaking French or Spanish.  (Of course some Brits tell us we don’t speak English at all, so there you have it.) 



both links are to stories about Gosnold, Ipswich and the founding of Jamestown.

2. The term breeched.  This painting shows them wearing “breeches” for the first time and the term for that was “breeched.”  Upper-class boys, until the age of 5, were dressed more like girls with flowing open clothing.  Easier for changing diapers.

     “Regardless of social standing, all boys, even those from the lower sorts, would receive a new pair of breeches around the age of six (four to six, to be more precise). The breeching event provided a cause for private celebration, to which family and friends were invited. For the parents, this ceremony also acknowledged that their child had survived past infancy. In an age when so many children died before reaching their majority (almost a fourth of them would die before the age of 10), the breeching ceremony might well have been the only significant event in a young boy’s life. In addition, he received a set of brand new clothes – a milestone indeed!”

http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/    gives a good history of boys’ clothing. 


The board and chair. 

This was another room decorated for Tudor times.  One of the pieces of furniture was this lovely wood table; the board.  Erica explained that chairs were so expensive that only the head of the house would have a chair and everyone else sat on whatever was available.  So the father was the “chairman” when they sat at “the board.”  = chairman of the board.  The chairs around this table were only examples of Tudor chairs rather than a real example of a Tudor home.  Notice the bed in the corner with the blue blanket.  At this time the main floor of a house consisted of one room where the homeowner and spouse slept.  I’m guessing there was a loft area or some other space for the kids to sleep.  Erica said the servant slept at the foot of the bed or across the doorway. 

Grog  :  Admiral Edward Vernon

“The village of Nacton is dominated by the estates of Broke Hall, built by Sir Broke in 1526 and Orwell Park the seat of Admiral Vernon who introduced the word grog into the English language. Admiral Edward Vernon was nicknamed “Old Grog” because in bad weather he wore a cloak made of grogham, a coarse material stiffened with gum. It was he who introduced the issue of rum diluted with water into the Royal Navy in 1740 and which universally became known as grog. The navigation buoy adjacent to this point in the river is named Grog Buoy to honour this connection. “


http://www.bbc.co.uk/ show a portrait of Admiral Vernon.  I can’t remember if we actually saw the portrait but it is owned by a museum in Ipswich or Colchester…so we very well could have seen it.  I just remember the story.


The partners’ desk in the Fonnereau “library.”

This huge room was the office/library for Mr. Fonnereau.  I loved the open space and wood floors and carpets and windows and the huge desk.  The globes were not original to the house but were used recently by a local professor to give talks about the earth and solar system represented by a globe not shown.

      “A partners desk, partner’s desk or partners’ desk (also double desk) is an antique desk form, which is basically two pedestal desks constructed from the start as one large desk joined at the front, for two users working while facing each other.

     This piece of furniture was first conceived in the United Kingdom to accommodate the work of banking partners. These gentlemen were usually senior bank officials who wished to work together while keeping the convenience and the prestige of a pedestal desk. It was an adaptation of the earlier and sometimes larger library desk, found in the libraries of the mansions of the gentry and the nobility.

     Most partners desks made in the 19th century were built of high quality woods such as oak, mahogany or walnut and finished with tooled leather inserts on top and brass fittings all around. Many reproductions have been made in the 20th century.”


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Drawers for “stuff” and a pretend horse for indoor exercise that one could use when the weather was bad.  You would sit astride and bounce!

The three ladies…Queen Anne of Denmark, Erica and Mary..


Pocahontas during her visit to England was introduced to Queen Anne.

     Another Jamestown references…. Though I can’t remember why a  portrait of Queen Anne was hanging in Christchurch Mansion.  I think it was just part of a “portraits” exhibition most of the examples being people connected to Suffolk where Ipswich is located.

The Mansion also exhibits contemporary artists connected with Suffolk and Ipswich.  These are my favorites.


Felixstowe to Ipswich Coach by Russell Sidney Reeve c 1939


Girl Sitting by a Fire by Kathleen Walne 1930s


Interior with Mrs Charles Burnand  by Anna Airy 1919


The Housemaid by Thomas Woolner  1892

Plaster cast of an original sculpture with bronze patina coating R 1930-12

Downstairs…… where the staff ate and worked


“There is evidence that this room was used as a Servants Hall in the late 19th century.  At that time servants would have eaten their meals and consumed their ale allowance here.  In a Victorian household the butler would have trained the junior staff to wait on table by practising on their fellow servants before being allowed to wait on the family. The overmantle (which unfortunately you can’t see very well in this photo) is particulary fine and has four carved figures: Faith with the cross, Hope with an anchor, Charity caring for a child and lastly Vanity holding a mirror and serpent.” Christchurch Mansion brochure.


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Fireplace for heating water and wringers for wringing and irons for ironing!


Tourist Office, Ancient House and Basso Cafe : a big email with lots of photos


     Singkey was just here for a long weekend and also new friends Peter and Cathy for a night and lovely day, so I’m pleasantly tired.  But I’m getting so far behind on my Ipswich emails that I’m sending this out as is and hopefully most of it makes sense!


Singkey taking her turn in the galley.


Cathy and Peter who live in France and are hoping to become cruisers. 


     I love the Ipswich Tourist Office!!!  Everyone who works there is sooooooo helpful and friendly.  It’s great.  Reminds me of my days at the Reference Desk watching my “staff” help people.  I put “staff” in quote because though I was the “boss” they worked as they did from their own dedication to the job of helping people.  Most of them had far more patience and more customer service attitude than I did.  All of the tourist office folks here are equally helpful so I have no favorites.  But I do have a favorite in Sainsbury’s supermarket.  Don’t know her name but she is just great and so warm and cheerful.  Some people just are the exact right person for the job or they’ve had super training.  But I digress…..

   This email is about the building that houses the Tourist Office, the Ancient House building, and a newly discovered eatery, Basso.



The Tourist Office  :  “Conveniently situated in the Town Centre, in the lovely medieval building of St Stephen’s Church.”

“Like all medieval towns, Ipswich entered the last few decades of the 20th century with a surfeit of Anglican churches. This is partly the fault of the Victorians it must be said, who rather overstretched the Church of England with the building of massive new churches in the suburbs, and the enthusiastic restoration of the medieval ones. Unfortunately, their work began to wear out at pretty much the same time as the congregations began to melt away, and in any case Ipswich had been less successful than most towns at encouraging people to live in the town centre. By the 1970s, the population of this parish was probably in single figures.

When St Stephen’s church was declared redundant in 1975, it was lost in a sea of rundown shops, overlooked by a redundant factory. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I first visited it in 1987, when it was being used for performances of TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. It was ideal for this – high, dark, shabby. When the area became the location for the new Buttermarket Shopping Centre, various plans were made to include St Stephen in the complex. All the buildings around it were quickly demolished. And then, the recession set in, and St Stephen stood high and dry for several years, looking rather more prominent than it probably wished to be.

The church suffered heavily from vandalism in the early nineties, and several of the great tomb chests in the churchyard were disrupted. But in 1994, St Stephen became the new Tourist Information Centre for Ipswich. It was thoroughly restored inside, its former shabbiness cloaked in brilliant white. All the fixtures and fittings were sensitively showcased, and you still enter the fine west doorway with its flanking niches and stoup, past the font. The fine 16th century roof has been cleaned, the monuments stand out splendidly from the whitewash, and the holy end has been sensitively preserved as an exhibition space, and was for a while still used by the parish of St Mary le Tower on St Stephen’s Day each year.

From the outside, the extent to which the church was restored in 1866 and again in 1881 is clear, although it must be said that the brick makes it rather distinguished at this distance, echoing the red-brick tower of St Mary Elms.

Internally, this is the most interesting of the six town centre redundant medieval churches. It is one of only two of them to have found a new use, in this case the local council; ironically, it was Ipswich Borough Council who took possession of the redundant churches from the diocese in the first place.

The best monument is set on what was the north wall of the chancel. It is to Robert Leman, a one-time Lord Mayor of London, and his wife. They face each other across a prayer desk; mourning them below are one son and five daughters, facing each other across the inscription, which is worth a read, for the couple died on the same day:


(my photo)

"A rare remark of a conjugal tye"   Beneath this monument entombed lie

A rare remark of a conjugal tye.

Robert and Mary, who to show how neere

They did comply, How to each other deere

One loathe behind the other long to stay

(As Married) Died together in one day.

As is common in Ipswich churches, the royal arms are to Charles II. As at St Margaret, they are painted with the Prince of Wales’ fleur-de-lys on the back, and here the board is pleasingly displayed suspended in the chancel arch, so that it is possible to see both sides. They are dated 1661.


(I think this is it but I forgot to take thephoto of the other side.)

Charles I Prince of Wales

As you step back outside, don’t miss the five hatchments around the door, including one very odd square one, and the Victorian glass above the door of the stoning of Stephen.


Not sure if this is the odd square one or not but , it looks more oblong to me.  But it was the one not set as a diamond shape. 


(my photo) of the Buttermarket Mall in Arras Square

Arras Square is either pleasing or not, depending on your opinion.  (They do have a public loo in the mall so that’s nice!)  But I think the great glass Festival of Britain frontage of the shopping centre does credit to St Stephen, and the clearing of clutter has unified St Stephen into a line with near neighbours St Lawrence (80m) and St Mary le Tower (160m). The view from the food hall of the shopping centre of the three churches is quintessential Ipswich, if you can bear the seediness of the food hall.

It must be said that Arras Square in Ipswich is more pleasant than the Place d’Ipswich in Arras, although the church of St John the Baptist on the square there is well worth a look inside. I do wonder how some of these town twinnings come about; I assume that whoever initiates them gets the best deal. I was struck last year when visiting the beautiful southern French city of Beziers that it is twinned with Stockport – someone in the Greater Manchester area obviously had an eye for the main chance back in the seventies. Arras is no Beziers, but is pleasant enough, if not as grand or interesting as Ipswich.

After a period when it looked as though the church might even be lost, St Stephen is the most successful of all attempts to find new uses for Ipswich churches.”




Randal and Singkey in the Tourist office

You can see 4 of the hatchments but I have no clue about the 5th so will have to return.

A hatchment is “a large tablet, typically diamond-shaped, bearing the coat of arms of someone who has died, displayed in their honor.”  I also didn’t notice the stained glass so much so will have to look at that also next visit. 


One of the very helpful Tourist Office Staff checking the bus schedule to Pin Mill, a place on the Orwell Randal would like to visit.   Everyone in the office is super helpful!  They have a huge range of cards and local gifts too.  I bought a lovely blue and white Ipswich Tea Towel showing the major landmarks.


How wuz oi spuz t’now?    How was I to know  is their translation but I think it should be,  How was I supposed to know?  I love all the “keep calm and carry on” kitsch but the mug I bought Randal didn’t carry on at all.  It cracked in a few months. 


As I’ve become addicted to “tea towels” I bought the tea towel on theright as we’ve seen all of those places including going under the Orwell Bridge.

The Ancient House….


The Ancient House or Sparrowe House is fascinating outside as well as inside.

     “Standing on the corner of the Buttermarket & St. Stephen’s Lane, the Ancient house is a grade I listed building dating from the fifteenth century.

     Built by Thomas Fastolf of Nacton, it was extended by George Copping, who built the ‘long gallery’; having acquired the house in 1567.  In 1591 it was taken over by William Sparrowe, who turned it into a grocery & spice shop. The Sparrowe family owned the property for the next three hundred years, hence the building’s alternative name of ‘Sparrowe’s House’. It was the Sparrowe family that added the elaborate wood carving & extensive decorative pargeting (plasterwork) that can be seen today.

Legend has it that King Charles II hid in the house after the Battle of Worcester in 1651; the Sparrowes being secret Royalists. However, this seems unlikely, as the King was Catholic & Ipswich at that time was staunchly Puritan. In 1801, however, a secret chapel was discovered in a concealed loft, in which were found wooden angels & other Catholic artifacts. The King did visit Ipswich in 1668, after the Restoration, & his Royal Arms can be seen in the pargeting. Also to be seen are the four known continents (Australasia having not been discovered at the time), the elements earth, air & water, & St.George slaying the dragon.

     The interior boasts decoration dating from every century from the fifteenth to the twentieth, including elaborate wood carvings, plasterwork & fireplaces. During restoration work, two painted linen wall hangings were discovered depicting the Labours of Hercules; one shows Hercules slaying the Hydra the other his battle with the giant Antaeus. These 4 feet by 8 feet cloths can be dated to the sixteenth century, as they are mentioned in George Copping’s will of 1578. Replicas of these hangings now adorn the walls above the main staircase in the house, whilst the originals are housed in Christchurch Mansion.

Throughout most of the twentieth century, the Ancient house was a bookshop. It was acquired by Ipswich Borough Council in 1980 &, after much needed renovation work, is now a Lakeland shop, with a small art gallery also on site.”


http://ipswich-lettering.org/ancienthouse.html tells the history of the Ancient House

“Pargeting (or sometimes pargetting) is a decorative plastering applied to building walls. The term, if not the practice, is particularly associated with the English counties of Suffolk and Essex. In the neighbouring county of Norfolk the term pinking is used.[1]

    The Ancient House in Ipswich shows a particularly fine example of pargeting, depicting scenes from the ‘four continents’ of the world. When the hall was built in 1670, Australia was yet to be known as a single continent by the Europeans.

Pargeting derives from the word ‘parget’, a Middle English term that is probably derived from the Old French ‘pargeter’ / ‘parjeter’, to throw about, or ‘porgeter’, to roughcast a wall. (Source: Webster.) However, the term is more usually applied only to the decoration in relief of the plastering between the studwork on the outside of half-timber houses, or sometimes covering the whole wall. The devices were stamped on the wet plaster. This seems generally to have been done by sticking a number of pins in a board in certain lines or curves, and then pressing on the wet plaster in various directions, so as to form geometrical figures. Sometimes these devices are in relief, and in the time of Elizabeth I of England represent figures, birds and foliages. Fine examples can be seen at Ipswich, Maidstone, Newark-on-Trent.”



In the centre of the frontage between the two pairs of oriel windows is the wonderfully restored crest with mottos. It bears the Royal Arms of King Charles II, and the words:


This is old French for "shame upon him who thinks evil of it", and is also the motto of the Order of the Garter. Below on a blue panel is:


("God and my right"). At the very top, picked out in gold are the characters:

‘C   II   R’










“It is also worth noting the four panels representing the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe and America.  Australasia  is conspicuous by its absence as it was yet to be discovered by Europeans.”  Ipswich Town Centre Trail pamphlet.

FYI – “Australasia, a region of Oceania, comprises Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. Charles de Brosses coined the term in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes. “Wikipedia

A timber-framed and plastered house. 2 stories and attics with a jettied upper story. There are four fine rounded bay windows on the north front of the first floor and one on the west on St Stephen’s Lane. The panels below the bays measure about one metre in height and two metres in width. The pargetted figures (identified by inscriptions on the panels) represent America – strong archer with bison – Africa with crocodile – then the coat of arms of Charles II. This is followed by Asia, with exotic tall turban and a spear in one hand, and a censer in the other. She sits besides a palm tree in front of a lion and minarets as she rides a camel with a parrot. Finally Europe, framed by a generic tree is crowned holding her sceptre together with an open book and with a cornucopia. She is set in front of a church with spire while riding a very strange animal. The panel on the corner of St Stephen’s lane shows a gentleman approaching a shepherdess with her sheep with Atlas supporting a globe under the bay window. Other decoration shows the Pelican in its Piety feeding its young with its own breast and probably the Phoenix arising form the ashes on the corner with Stephen’s. The gables of the windows are decorated with swags – vases of flowers and putti including one showing them topsy-turvy. The first floor windows are divided by fifteen carved wooden posts  

Description (iconographical)

The key to the decoration is the family’s trade as spice merchants – hence Atlas supporting the globe and the four major continents -their suppliers. Robert Sparrow, responsible for the decoration was a strong supporter of Charles – hence the royal coat of arms and welcome from the shepherdess (Ipswich?) for her gallant gentleman (the return of the Stuarts). Some of the continents were based on Cesare Ripa’s widely available Italian handbook the Iconologia published in Rome in 1603 (332- 338), but only translated into English in 1709. Ripa shows Asia with a Camel, because they use it most, and censer because of spices (but does not mention the lion, palm tree or building). America has been changed from a scantily dressed female with bow and arrow to a man. According to Ripa Europe is richly dressed with a cornucopia to suggest wealth and crowned with a temple, changed to a church to suggest the Anglican faith. Africa here is very different from Ripa. 


The Interior of the Ancient House is now a Lakeland Kitchenware shop.

http://www.lakeland.co.uk/stores/ipswich  is the link for the Lakeland Kitchenware, Home and Garden supplies as well as a variety of chocolates and baking supplies.

But they keep a small room with photos of the house through the years and some of its history.


John Sparrowe portrait by Thomas Gainsborough



“The association with books goes back a long way, The Ancient House once housed the famous 16th century Town Library (partly based upon a bequest of books by Portman, William Smart), which is currently held by The Ipswich School. The Ancient House Press was established in 1845 as a book-selling and printing business in this historic building. After a period of time the book-selling and printing businesses were separated and the latter moved to larger premises in the town and became the root of the existing company today. It remained there until 1985 when, due to expansion, the company moved to its existing site on the Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate. The Company was started by Mr. Frederick Pawsey, a well-known local figure in printing circles. He sold the business in 1897 to the Harrison family, who retained ownership until 1971 when the present owners took over.”


“Ipswich Library before 1924….

Between 1887 and 1924, the library was situated in the museum in High Street. The following is the description for the library given in Kelly’s Directory of Ipswich for the year 1920. Although Kelly’s was primarily a business directory, it had, as its first section, information about the town. As you can see below, these entries were quite extensive. Notice that they call it the "Free Library". This was quite a common description since there often existed a public subscription library at the same time as the publicly-funded library was first formed. Here in Ipswich there was a subscription library that operated from Ancient House.”


I actually have a library card from the public library here in Ipswich!



Original Decorative woodwork

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Original Stairwell from the Ancient House with its warren of rooms


The Lakeland Shop chandelier on the ground floor entry room; Singkey browsing all of the amazing items available.


Ancient house around 1958 !   Not so really different now except it’s a pedestrian walking area which is really nice.



Lunch at Basso, a new eatery we discovered the other day.

I had a toasted Brie and cranberry sandwich with just enough good salad greens.  Randal and Singkey had sandwiches on baguettes.  All were really good and the welcome from the staff made us feel right at home.  An elderly “regular” came in and she was made to feel so very welcome.  I love places like this.  Not that “chains” can’t be local, but these independents are really more fun for us.  Don’t the desserts look tempting and we might have to come for the pizza one day.



http://fionaroberts.wordpress.com/ is a  fun article about chain coffee shops vs these wonderful independents.  Makes me definitely want to try the cappuccino.

John Russell Gallery and "Tony Coe"


The sky is gray, the wind is chilly and rain is predicted for most of the morning. Hopefully this afternoon we’ll be able to go out for a walk through Christchurch Park.

The other day during my walk around town I stopped in at the John Russell Gallery on the waterfront. I didn’t even bother to ask about taking photos as that’s really not very fair. But you can see photos of Mr. Coe on the gallery’s site and the works of most of the artists on their websites. I’ve also posted links to the photos of Mr. Coe from his 60s and 70s musical career.

Not only did I really enjoy looking at the gallery’s current exhibition, but I had a fairly long conversation with Mr. Coe about art. He was very generous with his time as he knew I was not a potential client. But as he says in the article below, he doesn’t sell art; people just come in, look around and buy it. It is obvious when you speak with him that his passions are art and music.

There were certainly many paintings that I really liked, but now’s not the time for us to be buying art. I think you need a place to live to know what would look right on the walls. In the past I’ve said our home will look like the final country we visit on DoraMac, but now I’m not so sure. Living on the coast I seem to be reverting to thinking that the world should look like New England but can possibly stretch my mind to believe it should look like the coast of Old England too. I guess we’ll just have to see what that “final country” will be.



http://www.thejohnrussellgallery.co.uk/ 4-6 Wherry Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1LG, United Kingdom


Mary Spicer Mixed Media Paintings brochure from the current exhibition and Exhibition 2014 calendar. There were also works from artists mentioned in the 2014 calendar.

About Anthony Coe and the John Russell Gallery….

“Antony Coe has been running the John Russell Gallery in Wherry Lane, at the Waterfront for 20 years.

Ipswich: Waterfront art gallery celebrates 20 years

David Vincent

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

“Almost 20 years ago, when Tony Coe opened his art gallery at the Waterfront, very little development had taken place in the area.

It was very much an industrial, working docks.

There was no marina and no luxury boats and yachts moored up.

There were still commercial ships arriving with coal and wood, occasionally, and trains on tracks on the quayside.

He admits he wondered if he made the right decision, at first, to move down from the town centre.

“I have been here at the Waterfront 20 years. The Waterfront is the jewel in the crown of Ipswich now,

“There was hardly anything here, apart from the pub next door, and no restaurants.

“We are the only commercial art gallery in Ipswich.

“Now we are probably the oldest standing contemporary art gallery in East Anglia. A lot of others have come and gone.

“We don’t sell re-productions.

“We are dealing with professional artists. Each has a distinctive style and every piece is unique.

“I have always dealt with East Anglian painters, from Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshires, painters and printmakers.”

The historic former warehouse in Wherry Lane, part of the Isaac Lord complex, provided a blank canvas for an art gallery, he said.

“There was a lot of wall space, and we had to put in doors and windows, but it was much better than taking a high street shop unit with a shop window.”

Tony, also a well known local musician from the local scene in the 1960s and 1970s, met jazz legend George Melly when he was playing professionally.

And George Melly officially opened the John Russell Gallery for him.

Maggi Hambling, who had been at Ipswich Art School at the same time as Tony, was among the guests.

“We were absolutely heaving,” he said, “both in here and in the alley outside.”

Tony studied at Ipswich Art School under Colin Moss and then went to the study print making and design at college.

“I have always specialised in print making and lithography,”

He worked at Ipswich printers Cowells before following his passions, music and art.

The relationship between artist and gallery owner was an important one, he said.

“I have been working in the business for 40 years and I still enjoy it, 24-7.

“You provide the backing and the marketing for their works and you seem them develop. They work hard for 40 years before becoming an overnight success!

“Michael Coulter is 75 now and I have backed and promoted a book of his work this year.”

Some of his regular artists are in the veteran stage now, like Constance Stubbs, Ken Cuthbert and John Brunsdon.

Unique pieces of contemporary art were in the reach of a wide range of customers, he said.

“We don’t sell to them, they buy from us.

“I deal with some very nice people.

“It could be the guy in his mac, with a roll of £1 notes in his pocket. Art is a very individual thing. It is all about personal taste.”

Among his customers over the years have been Sir Hugh Casson of the Royal Academy and rock star Bill Wyman.

The next main exibition is by Suffolk printmaker Michael Carlo which runs from February 17 until March 15.

The John Russell Gallery, 4-6 Wherry Lane

Open from 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday


Copyright © 2014 Archant Regional Ltd. All rights reserved.

. http://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/


Art gallery owner Tony Coe, of the John Russell Gallery, has twin passions in his life, art and jazz music.

Mr Coe, who worked as a professional musician in the 1960s and 1970s, before concentrating on developing the gallery by the Waterfront, has recently re-discovered the joy of performing.

http://www.suffolkbandarchives.net46.net/ image 1963 Mr. Coe musician


The Brewery Tap and the Ipswich Marine Trust Window Museum


     Spring is playing hide and seek with us this past week.  Today has been gray and windy one minute; warm and sunny the next.  Seems to me that we grew up with the phrase, “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.”  So maybe New England and Old England have much in common.  The forecast is for rain for this coming week I guess to bring those May flowers. 

      I’ve become fascinated with the history of this dock area.  Thanks to the very helpful Tourist Office ladies I have a Waterfront walking tour pamphlet and one for the town center.  I’m hoping to do the town center before we leave though time is too quickly passing.


After our visit to the Jewish Cemetery we walked back to the waterfront and strolled along Orwell Quay and Eagle Wharf towards the “new 1882 lock.”  Eventually we had to leave the river and turn left and then because I wanted to see what the “interesting old building was’ we turned right which took us to Cliff Road and the Brewery Tap. 


Our walk was across the river along the Orwell Quay past “modern” Ipswich which I don’t find particularly attractive.  I believe these buildings are part of the University Suffolk Campus.  It sort of reminds me of a bar code. This photo was taken from our swim platform and you can see a bit off our dinghy in the top right corner.   By the end of the photo we had to leave the waterfront and that’s when we found “The Brewery Tap.”

For historic images http://www.ipswichmaritimetrust.org.uk/pdfs/IMTOccasionalPaperNo1.pdf

is a wonderful and short history of the historic docks area.  More importantly it shows maps of all the different private and public quays and wharfs that lined the Wet Docks area. 


The website below  also has wonderful old photos of the wharf area and the quays and docks.


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Looking across at DoraMac from the Orwell Quay : see her new legible lettering thanks to Randal


At high tide the lock stays open and you can just cruise through rather than having to tie up so the lock can adjust the water level into and out of the basin.  The water in the basin is always at high tide to keep the boats in the basin from sitting in mud or falling over during low tide.

So we found the Brewery Tap Pub next to the Old Tolly Cobbold Brewery


Old photo of the Brewery with the Brew Master’s house next door.

Tolly Cobbold’s Cliff Quay Brewery

‘The Old Brewer’s House’

Also called (by some): ‘The Old Brewmaster’s Cottage’ or ‘The Head Brewer’s House’.  Richard Toller, who lived in this house 1896-1922, has the nearby Toller Road named after him.  Although scant on lettering, the Cliff Quay brewery is an interesting and melancholy site for the town, with its huge decaying tower brewery building and this rather fine house nearby giving a hint of the past glories of Tolly Cobbold’s. We recall that this house was used as offices for the brewery business.

http://ipswich-lettering.org/tollyhouse.html   has photos of its rather derelict days before it was refurbished as a pub.


Today the Brewery Tap and the old derelict brewery behind it.

We saw some folks inside eating and there were lots of tables, but we still weren’t sure it was a restaurant as the signage wasn’t so obvious.


We walked around not knowing if it was a restaurant or if it was open.

But a very nice man saw our dilemma and assured us they were open.  He knocked on the door, went in and asked if they were still serving as it was just at the end of breakfast and before lunch.  They were still making breakfast so we went in.

     Randal had “American” pancakes and I had the best scrambled eggs ever.   And the tea came in a big pot not a tea bag in a cup.


Tolly-Cobbold  Brewery heritage


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Randal speaking with Andrew Vass who had led our way into the restaurant.

I asked the staff who the man was who’d helped us and was told he was an artist.  She spelled his last name….VASS but I heard Bass.  I had no luck searching Andrew Bass so asked the ladies at the Tourist Information building to help.  She promptly got on the phone and called the Brewery Tap and was told the correct spelling.  Very helpful people at the Tourist Office!


http://thebrewerytap.org/  website for The Brewery Tap http://www.tollycobbold.co.uk/cliffbrewery.htm  for the history of the brewery

Founded 1723 in Harwich, by John Cobbold and his family. Brewing was moved to Cliff Quay in Ipswich by 1746, which made life much easier, since for a while the brewing water was being shipped from Holy Wells park (in Ipswich) down the River Orwell by boat whilst the finished beer was increasingly being shipped back to the town.

Today, most of the remaining buildings at the Cliff Quay brewing site date mainly from about 1895 when the site was considerably redeveloped and enlarged, although a few parts are much older. The buildings from this time were designed by William Bradford. When the Cobbold family celebrated their bi-centenary of brewing in 1923, they listed eight generations of the family who had already been involved with running this highly successful family business and the future looked assured with a large local estate of nearly 300 pubs. Most beer production throughout this very long and successful brewing period was of Mild and Porter – two traditional dark beer types – but tastes were changing and there was an increasing demand for lighter coloured and more bitter beer styles.

The brewery was also refurbished in the mi-1950s when a large extension (recently demolished) was built to the rear of the main Victorian brewery building. Some of the Cobbold brewery beers then also won prizes, including the famous Cobbold’s Cobnut Brown Ale which was also exported to the US. The Cobbold brewery also employed some of the ITFC professional footballers as draymen in the summer months to help suppliment their income, including Ozzie Parry (played from 1936-49) and George McLucky (played from 1933-38).

By 1959 the family brewery had become involved in a business merger with their long time local rival company, Tollemache Brewery. The resultant Tolly Cobbold company was also based at Cliff Quay and traded under various owners until 2002.

……. Jump to 2005

After several years of neglect the old brewery buildings at Cliff Quay are currently being rationalised in anticipation of new business use. The new microbrewery was removed. The main pub estate was broken-up and sold on separately by the holding banks in 1991 (much of it was to became part of the Pubmaster estate and then later part of Punch Taverns).

The adjacent Brewery Tap is now free of tie. Whilst a new (second) microbrewery is now located in a relatively small part of the historic site called Cliff Quay brewery.

http://www.cliffquay.co.uk/about-us/  is about the microbrewery that is now using part of the building that was once the old brewery


While walking back from the Theta Café and UCS Gallery,  I came across the Ipswich Maritime Trust “Window Museum.”


Down the small alleyway is the Ipswich Maritime Trust Window Museum


Ipswich during the War Years is the current subject of the Window Museum which has a rotating display.  There is more Ipswich history in the local museum which I now must visit!





Rosie the Riveter Ipswich




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When Ipswich was the target of enemy bombers : New Ipswich docks in wartime historical window display

David Vincent

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Trust director Stuart Grimwade said: “The Ipswich docks and engineering firms were important targets for German bombers in World War 2 and were also a target in the 1914-18 War.

“We are putting together our next Waterfront Museum Window looking at Ipswich docks in wartime.”

     I met up with Stuart and Des Pawson of the Ipswich Maritime Trust at BMS Imaging off Wherstead Road, where Roger Barcham has produced giant copies of Second World War bombing photographs and German maps which included important targets

     The Riverside Industrial Estate is on the site of the former Cocksedges engineering works where the workers made Bofors guns which were then mounted on converted trawlers operating out of HMS Bunting on Cliff Quay.

This latest display has been put together with the help of the Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service.

     The new display, which will stay for six months, will include copies of maps, posters and various period artifacts about Ipswich in wartime.

They include copes of German Bombing Maps of Ipswich which were discovered after the 1939-45 War.

The ‘Stadtplan von Ipswich’, dated 1941 shows German Luftwaffe bombing targets in Ipswich and was produced as part of ‘Operation Sealion’ invasion plans.  The original of this map is on display in Ipswich Museum.

The Dock area map, dated 1939, and marked ‘secret’ gives detailed information to Luftwaffe pilots of their grain mill, malting, and tank farm targets lettered in red A – D around the Wet Dock.

Many Ipswich firms were involved in vital war work.

Both in World War I and II, Ipswich engineering firms located around the dock made major contributions to the war effort, so becoming key targets for German bombers.

One of their advantages was the facility for sending their products away by sea and by rail, not to mention a skilled and highly versatile workforce capable of transforming production from peacetime to wartime requirements.

Government contracts were spread over many locations to reduce serious knockout by a single air raid.

Women at RS&J cut the precision gear wheel teeth for Spitfire fighter planes, but the workers often did not know what a particular component was for, which was better for security.

Photographs in the display show the aftermath of a raid on the Paul’s silo at Ipswich Docks and the damage caused by bombs dropped on Bishop’s Hill, by Fockewolf 190 in 1943 and bounced downhill before exploding.  Houses in Myrtle Road were destroyed and seven people died.

The German bomber crashed and the engine ended up on the Ransome and Rapier site on the other side of the docks.

The propeller was later recovered.

Des Pawson added: “The tragedy of war was also demonstrated by the fact that pilot died. He was only 20 and he was somebody’s son as well.”

Walk Around the Harbour


     I certainly have learned a lot about the marina basin that we’re in writing up this email.  And the buildings that surround the “wet docks”  There’s so much to see in Ipswich that our short time here won’t be nearly enough to do it justice.  We’ll have no time at all to explore the areas that surround Ipswich which is the home of landscape artist such as John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.  More about them in a future email.  In this email I’ve included several maps to help explain a bit about the area.

     The weather has been lovely, though a bit chillier these past few days.  Good walking weather which I did yesterday going to town 3 times.  Today Randal and I walked the mile plus to Foxx’s Marina to the chandlery and then back.  Good thing as I’ve become addicted to shortbread something I’d had no interest in before coming here to England.  I got over Toynbee Hall Tea Cakes by eating several boxes so hopefully I’ll get over shortbread if I eat enough.  Or I’ll just keep walking.



We are on “The Island” as it’s called outlined in red.

http://www.waterfrontaction.co.uk/   gives a brief history of the docks area and Ipswich in general.

http://www.ipswichhavenmarina.co.uk/ is the marina website


The black line is my walk from DoraMac to UCS  University Campus Suffolk : the red broken line is an earlier walk to the Brewery Tap where Randal and I ate brunch thanks to the help of artist Andrew Vass.  Another email for that story.


DoraMac is at the far end of the floating dock and is where I started  You can see the gray and white UCS building across the river in the top left hand corner.


The dock exit and the Marina office building.


Across from the office is The Last Anchor Restaurant, The Anchor Bakery (luckily only breads and not cakes and cookies or we would be doomed) and a small chandlery.


Walking out of the marina along New Cut East.


The river is to the left.  Lots of construction on both sides of “The Island” where the marina is located.

Not very scenic, but this a developing area and very much a working dock area as well as a marina. You can see I have to go “the long way around” to get from DoraMac to the gray and white UCS building.


Some of the view past the construction is quite scenic.  Cross the bridge and go right gets you to the railway station.   Go straignt and you get to Foxx’s Marina and the larger chandlery. Instead of crossing the bridge you can go right and walk into town but we know a shorter way.


So what looks like a walkway over water actually isn’t.  Randal explained to me that our marina was probably created from dredged out dirt when the Wet Dock was created which is what’s between our marina and town.   The water gets very shallow and just ends.  But it is higher than the water in the river because of the lock. 


We are the small red dot; the marina office is the bigger dot; the original lock no longer in use is the red line closest to us; the current lock was built in 1881; the tiny red line to the left of the office near the arrow is where the wet dock ends and the arrow points the way to the small scenic bridge that crosses the tidal raiver. Double box shape at the top is the Customs House and the X is the UCS building.  The far end past the “new lock” is the Brewery Tap.  We walk straight ahead from the tiny straight line to get to town. 

  “Leaders of the business community got together and conceived an ambitious scheme to create a large basin and lock close to the town so penning up the water at flood tide.  An Act of Parliament enabled a body of commissioners to depen the old channel and to create, bu means of ‘stupendous embankments’ a Wet Dock of 32 acres.  The new channel was to be cut on the opposite side of the river to allow for the free motion of the tidal water, when Victoria had been queen for only 10 days.  Digging began in June 1938. 

     The project was a massive undertaking as well as an expensive one.  Investments worth £25,000 were made over to the Dock Commission with permission to borrow a further £60,000.  This was not enough, and in 1843 the Commission had to apply for another loan of £20,000 plus  a levy of an extra 6 pence per ton on all imported coal.  The foundation stone was laid in June 1839 and, early in 1842, when the lock gates were closed for the first time at high water, Ipswich harbour became the largest Wet Dock in the kingdom.”

The History of Ipswich by Carol Twinch c. 2008

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The Mill on the left and the Never Ending Mural on the right.

http://lifeatthemill.co.uk/ to the left is the tallest building in Ipswich and it’s down this road we leave the marina area for town.

“England has a new mode of architectural expression. It’s called Cabe-ism (by me, at least) and has taken ten years to perfect. It draws upon many sources: Gordon Cullen’s Townscape philosophies, Ian Sinclair’s psychogeographic musings, public-private (usually develop-led) ideas about brownfield regeneration and transparent decision-making  inspired by New Labour.

Throw in a bit of old-fashioned modernism, concern around climate change and some mixed-messages about ‘iconic’ design. Finally, sprinke liberally with branding concepts culled from 80s-style advertising culture, and what you have is Cabe-ism.

If you want to see the kind of buildings this ‘movement’ has fashioned, go to Ipswich and visit Cranfield Mill on the Suffolk town’s waterfront.* Designed by John Lyall Architects for the East of England Development Agency and Wharfside Developments, this is Cabe-ism’s posterboy, a mixed use scheme of 382 dwellings, a dance venue, a multi-storey car park, with a public courtyard, retail and leisure built in. It’s not hard to find. It’s focus is totemic: a 23 storey tower, the tallest in East Anglia, rendered a very bright white, and visible from miles around.”


“Work is under way on a mile-long mural on the Ipswich Waterfront.

Titled the Never Ending Mural, the artwork is based on drawings by young people in the county and has been curated by Ipswich Art School.”


Ipswich-based artist John D Edwards, in conjunction with Ipswich Borough Council and the community-at-large, hopes to provide a way of linking the town’s cultural activities with a Never Ending Mural which will visually link the various artistic districts of the town……

     John was also taken aback when a five year old girl told him that she loved money. “I thought: ‘Here we go. The power of money rearing it’s ugly head.’ I was polite and said: ‘Oh yes, what do you like to spend it on?’ She looked at me blankly and said rather crossly: ‘No Monet, the man who painted the Water Lilies.’ Isn’t that glorious? It just goes to show that you shouldn’t pre-judge youngsters. Interestingly her mother didn’t know that she knew about Monet, so it was something else that this project has helped shed light on.

The Never Ending Mural will be started next month on the Ipswich Waterfront before then moving onto the Ipswich underpasses which span Civic Drive before going onto Crown Street car park and the area around Ipswich Museum, Ipswich Art School Gallery and the New Wolsey Studio.”


http://johndedwards.co.uk/?page_id=134 about John Edwards who spearheaded the mural.


The “Old Customs House” that is still in use today.


The Bistro, Isaac Lord Pub/Restaurant and the Salthouse Harbour Hotel : we hope to visit Isaacs before we leave.


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Advert board for Isaacs and the alley which leads to Fore Street and to the Jewish Cemetery;  and also to the John Russell Gallery a whole story in itself!


The Bushell Box which is cute but we shop in Sainsbury in town or the outdoor market Tuesday to Saturday in Ipswich center.


University Suffolk Campus Waterfront location with its Waterfront Gallery and Theata Café



Borderlands : The Edges of Europe   Photographs by Paola Leonardi

“Borderlands: The Edges of Europe” is a collection of analogue photographs representing the people and places along the borders of the European Union, developed with the purpose of creating an archive of images narrating life at the edges of Europe.

Since 2011 Leonardi has undertaken extensive walks along the land borders of the European Union. Proceeding slowly on foot and following methodically the boundaries traced on maps, she has built up a distinctive experience of the European frontier that includes unplanned encounters with its inhabitants.

This series focuses on the connection between people and territory and the significance of trans-national and transcultural identities, exploring the relevance of European identity and its relationship with concepts of home and belonging, memory and territory and how these have been shaped by events.

This project concentrates on land borders, and the concept of geographical Europe is juxtaposed to that of political Europe/European Union. For example, it does not include the borders of Switzerland, which is not EU however does not have restrictions towards EU citizens.

PAOLA LEONARDI – BIOGRAPHy    Paola Leonardi (born Italy 1980) is a London based photographer and a lecturer in Photography at University Campus Suffolk.

     Since completing the MA Image and Communication at Goldsmiths College in 2006, Paola has worked both commercially as well as developing personal projects. Her work has been previously sponsored by the Arts Council England and she has exhibited in the UK, Italy, Armenia and the US.


(I wish I’d been more impressed by the photos but I wasn’t.  Her photos of N Cyprus said nothing to me and I’ve been there.  But she seems to be focusing on the borderlines and we weren’t.  However her fashion photography I do like. http://leonardiphoto.com/portfolio/commercial/


Looking out from Theta Cafe


Artistic license on this shot

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Boston’s Donuts and the very welcoming Xanita who assured me that Boston Donuts were from Boston but according to their website they aren’t exactly from Boston.  These seem to be made by the Brake Company in the UK.  I did write to the company and asked what was special about the ingredients that related to Boston to explain the name.  We’ll see if they answer.  I bought a Chocolate and Strawberry which were about the last 2 left.  I gobbled my strawberry one down covered with whipped cream! 


I did have a lovely chat with Xanita who’s friendly smile I’ll get another day.  I just snuck this one on my way out.


A different perspective on the walk back seeing the dock reflected in the windows of Waterfront House.

While writing this email it took forever to find out what the glass fronted building was until Randal used the binoculars to read Ashton KCJ  written on the top floor and then I could find the building’s name. 

Waterfront House

Wherry Quay, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1AS – England, UK

A former barley warehouse, Waterfront House was one of the first derelict dockside buildings to be given a new lease of life. Built around 1880, some 50 years after the docks first opened in 1842, it was converted into state-of-the-art offices one hundred years later. It now has seven floors of offices, its crowning glory, a glass boardroom on the top floor with spectacular views down the River Orwell. 



Mariners Restaurant  floating restaurant moored permanently here in Ipswich.

“Mariners: Brief History of the Boat

Built by Acieries de Bruges, Bruges as gunboat ss Argus

Launched 1899, commissioned 1900 for the department of the Belgium State

May 1940 Requisitioned by "Corps de Marine" (Belgian Navy)- sunk, raised and repaired by the Germans

11 December 1945 Returns to owners in Antwerp and back in service as FLANDRIA VII

1952/53 Fitted out as a Red Cross hospital ship and renamed FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE (Dutch Flag)

In the early Seventies Fitted out as a party boat and operated as such for 18 years

November 1990 Handed over to Contship Ltd and subsequently crossed to Harwich and moored in Ipswich Docks. Transformed into an Italian restaurant named Il Punto.

March 1994 Taken over by Mr Regis Crepy (owner of the Great House, Lavenham and Maison Bleue, Bury St Edmunds) and changed to a French Brasserie.

Today Mariners (Formerly Il Punto) is an award winning restaurant, open Tuesday to Saturday, serving French food in a fantastic atmosphere, with Al Fresco eating on our patio deck in fine weather.

The boat can be booked for special parties”




Two young women skateboarding… I was impressed that they were women but too bad they’ve no protective gear. 


Randal spent the whole time swabbing the decks@


Looking back from our side of the basin.  The Mill is the tall building on the left, the Customs House in the middle and the Waterfront House on the right with the Mariners in front and then Isaac Lords further to the right behind the sailboats.

http://www.stacey.peak-media.co.uk/Ipswich/Ipswich-Docks/Ipswich-Docks.htm interesting photos of the docks recent development.  Several of the buildings were damaged from bombing during the war and then others had just become derelict. 

Jews of Ipswich


    Happy Passover to those who celebrate.  There’s no synagogue in Ipswich or Suffolk for that matter; however the local Sainsbury sells matzos.  Here is some interesting Jewish history about Ipswich.


     After visiting a number of churches in Ipswich I wondered if there were a synagogue.  Nope, not since 1877 when the derelict synagogue was demolished. 

http://www.jewishgen.org/  describes the “once upon a time” Jewish community in Ipswich.

A Suffolk synagogue?

     “John Gottesman says there’s no focal point in Suffolk at the moment "The last community of any size was, I think, in Ipswich in 1884, and there’s still a small Jewish cemetery near the docks, but that’s the last community that I know of."

     Another Suffolk Jew, Beverley Levi, says that’s unlikely to change: "At the moment there isn’t any kind of established community in Suffolk but we are working towards building up the community for people who live in the Ipswich area. We do have services sometimes, led by Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, at the Suffolk Inter Faith Resource Centre at Suffolk College.”  http://www.bbc.co.uk

Old Jewish Cemetery.

  There is an old, small, locked  Jewish Cemetery not far from the marina.  I found some directions on the internet and Randal and I went off to find it.


Where we are…

The badly drawn black arrow is the lock we entered into the marina area from the River Orwell.

The small black dot straight up from the arrow is where we are berthed in the marina.

The small circle is the area where the cemetery is located.

The bigger circle is the center of Ipswich.  It takes less than 15 minutes to walk to the center. 

These are the directions I used to find the cemetery.  Apparently it’s not marked to avoid anti-Semitic vandalism.   I  had seen photos on the Internet and had looked at a map to located Fore Rd and Salthouse  Rd so vaguely knew where it was and what to look for.   That was helpful as we came from the harbour rather than town centre as the directions seem to suppose. 

     “Yes, this is the Old Jewish Cemetery, hidden away inside Paul’s car park. Cross Fore Lane from the Lord Nelson to the side with the tattoo parlour, and continue walking around the one way system towards the custom house but then sharply turn right into the car park with the private car park sign. The cemetery is around the corner. It contains about 20 headstones from about 1825 to 1850, all with Hebrew inscriptions.

As with all urban graveyards, it was closed by Act of Parliament in the 1850s, and after that local Jewish people were buried in the Jewish plots of Ipswich Cemetery, which is equally fascinating.  (Maybe will have to go see the Ipswich Municipal Cemetery some day.)



The Lord Nelson on Fore Lane


The Tattoo Parlour


Sort of back behind here through the private car park


Whatever might have been in the light square stone imbedded in the brick is no longer legible.  The small sign is a recent caution sign.


The locked entry gate and a  lock photo for Peter Field which says Squire Leopard.


I don’t know which one might be Sarah Lyon.

Interesting that the Jewish cemetery in Muslim Georgetown Penang Malaysia was better maintained. 

Jewish burial ground in Salthouse Lane, Ipswich

     “This small burial ground is situated in the middle of a car park off Salthouse Lane. Its red brick boundary walls date from around 1764, with later repairs. The burial ground has been in use from 1796 to 1855.

The Grade II listed walls – known as Rogers’ Court after the then owner – enclose the burial ground on four sides and access is via a (padlocked) iron gate on the east side. There are two boundary marker stones set into the walls, said to date from the reign of George II. The marker on the exterior right side of the entrance gate is for St Clements Parish and the one in the internal left corner of the north wall is for St Mary Key. There is a buttress on the inner side of the north wall.

     The burial ground contains 36 tombstones of limestone, marble and Yorkstone, including 3 smaller footstones. The stones are all upright and arranged in seven rows in largely chronological order, and have inscriptions in Hebrew or Hebrew and English. Two or three stones have broken at the top, and the inscriptions on a number of the stones are no longer legible due to weathering. The earliest dated tombstone is 1797/8 (Jewish year 5558), and the latest is 1850. The stones are dedicated to members of the Ipswich Jewish community and other Jews from Harwich (2), Bury St Edmunds, Colchester (3) and one from London. At least three of the stones are dedicated to children. One of the burials was Sarah Lyon or Lyons, who died in 1808 at the age of 105. She was famous for her ripe old age and John Constable painted her portrait in 1804 when she was 101 years old. She was said to be the earliest Jewish settler in Ipswich in modern times.

     The burial ground was closed on 1 July 1855 under the Burial Act, and a Jewish plot was acquired in the municipal cemetery for future burials. After the closure the burial ground fell into disrepair, and was used as a poultry yard and later a refuse dump. The prayer hall that adjoined the burial ground had also fallen into a state of neglect and was claimed by a neighbour as his own property. In 1912, the firm of R & W Pauls (later BOCM Pauls) owned all the land and buildings surrounding the burial ground. After WWII the adjoining tenements were demolished but the burial ground was preserved and maintained by BOCM Pauls for the Board of Deputies.”


Sarah Lyon

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Painting on the left by John Constable; one of his few portraits.  1822  Lethbridge engraving on right

“Sarah Lyon was born in 1703, died Ipswich 1808. Constable painted her

portrait when she was 101 years old. A miniature was done of her by

Lethbridge at the age of 104,  engraved by R. Roe and published by W.H.

Smith Cambridge, September 4 1822.

     At age 105 her portrait was again engraved by J. Kinnerley from a

miniature by W.S. Lethbridge, and published July 5th by W.S. Lethbridge at

96 Strand London. Another portrait of her at the age 105 is supposed to

exist in Dublin, but whether this is an oil painting or an engraving I

cannot say. Constable also painted the portrait of her son Isaac in his old

age. Some of the Ansell family and its connections are descended from this

remarkable centenarian. (Jewish Chronicle June 19, 1896 p21)".


Sarah Lyon (1703-1807)

Jews Burial Ground, Salthouse Lane, Ipswich.

Sarah Lyon or Lyons was known for living to a great age and for being the subject of a John Constable painting.

     Sarah was probably born in the German village of Ashich in 1703. ‘She went into service at Amsterdam, Holland, where she lived till past her 27th year, at which time she married to Jacob Abraham, by whom she had one child only’ (Letter from J.A. to the Editor of the Monthly Magazine, March 10 1808 stating the information was given by her son, Isaac Abraham). She came to England after the birth of her son and married Abraham Lyons soon after her arrival. She would have been one of the early settlers, when people of the Jewish faith were allowed into this country again (in 1290 Jewish people were expelled from England).

    The Jewish Chronicle of 1896 wrote that Sarah had a son and a daughter, both also lived to be upwards of 90 years old and all lived in St Peter’s Parish, possibly in St Peters Street. The reference to Sarah having a daughter is contested by information in the Monthly Magaszine 1808, which indicates she had only one child.

Ipswich was one of the few towns outside London where Jews settled. By 1750 there was an established community. The plot for the Jewish burial ground within the parish of St Clements was purchased by the community in 1796 and was in use for around 55 years. Sarah Lyon’s grave can be found in this burial ground.

There are two portraits of Sarah Lyon. A large oil painting said to be ‘painted by John Constable about the year 1804 when she was 101 years old’ (Jewish chronicle 1896). The portrait hangs in Skirball Cultural Centre, Los Angeles. The second portrait is a print engraved from a lost miniature by WS Lethbridge.  http://ipswichwomeninhistory.co.uk/1700s/sarah-lyons/

http://www..galt-crtn.org/birman/ansell3a/ansell3a.htm tells the story of one family’s connection to Sarah Lyon


Susser Archives


(The Early Communities – Section 3 – Exeter to Ipswich)


http://www.jewishgen.org/  gives more details about the Jewish community in Ipswich and Sarah Lyon

Christchurch Park


   Wednesday we made a final, very quick trip to London.  Randal had ordered a book from UK Amazon that arrived at SKD after we’d left.  Rick and Mary had to go to London to catch a train for Gatwick Airport for their flight home to Turkey.  We were in London long enough to walk from Liverpool Station to the Watney Market Hardware Store for some light bulbs seeming only available there at a really good price; then to the Turks Head for lunch and to say a proper “good-bye” rather than the post card I’d sent to Leila; and then to SKD for the book.  From there Mary and Rick took the Tower Hill tube to Victoria to catch the Gatwick train and Randal and I took the tube back to Liverpool Station for the train back to Ipswich.  As it is half-term, again, the trains were full but luckily we were on at early stations so had seats both ways.  We and about a billion teens! 

   Rick and Mary will return May 1st to join us for our European Rivers journey.  They have taken this trip once before so know the ropes which will make everything much easier for Randal and me.  We expect to leave England by May 3rd for the Netherlands.  Once Randal has written up our itinerary I’ll pass it along.

This email is about the lovely Christchurch Park in Ipswich.  I will write about the Christchurch Mansion tour next email.




Turks Head Café friends! 

Christchurch Mansion Ipswich


Christchurch Mansion and Park

Mary and Rick took me on a tour around the park one afternoon; another day Mary and I went on the Friends tour of the Home.    This email is about the grounds of Christchurch Mansion Park.


Just across the wall is the very imposing looking St Margaret’s Church


“The oldest part of St. Margaret’s Church dates back to the end of the 13th century, and was built by the Priors of Holy Trinity Priory to house the growing town population which could not longer be accommodated in the nave of the Priory Church.  The nave arcades, doorways and the windows in the north aisle are all that is left of that first church.”


A lovely drawing of the church



The Mansion exterior

     “Documentary evidence shows that the first people to live here were monks.  In the Domesday Book, “Alnulfus the priest has a church, Holy Trinity, to which belongs twenty-six acres in alms”. The church was to the west of Thingstede Way (Bolton Lane) and the parish boundaries were probably similar to St. Margaret’s.    Around 1177 the Augustinian Priory of Holy Trinity (also known as Christchurch) was established with 260 hectares of farmland and fishponds. The sole present day reminders of Holy Trinity within the Park are the Round Pond, Wilderness Pond and a section of its 16th-century enclosure wall. The ponds are thought to have served as fishponds that helped feed the monks. Research has suggested that the Park’s springs supplied the town with water. They were a source for some of the streams which formerly ran through the town from the Holy Trinity wash-house, and were later utilised for part of the town’s elaborate medieval water system.

In 1536 Cardinal Wolsey was looking for money to build his New College at Ipswich (now Ipswich School) and he decided to close Christchurch Priory and use its money for the College. It is said that this project gave Henry VIII the idea of closing down all the monasteries in England and using their lands and wealth for the Crown.

In 1546 the Christchurch Estate was sold for £2,000 to a prominent London merchant, Paul Withypoll and his son Edmund.  Edmund pulled down the Priory and used much of the stone to build Christchurch Mansion.  He also remodelled the ponds and turned part of the estate into a deer park. Queen Elizabeth the First visited the Park in 1561 and 1579.



The rear of the mansion

http://www.focp.org.uk/  shows a great map of the park.  It also tells about the park’s trees and birds.


Entrance from Soane Street

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One of the ponds and the central path of the park

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The Martyrs Memorial tells the tragic history of religious conflict in the area.

“This ‘ Protestant Martyrs ‘ Memorial’ was erected in 1903 to commemorate the nine Ipswich martyrs who were burnt at the stake for their Protestant beliefs, under the reign of Mary I. The Memorial was funded by private subscription opened in November 1902, after attention had been drawn to the story of the martyrs in a series of newspaper articles in the East Anglian Daily Times between 1898 and 1900. One Inscription at the front of the memorial states that ‘This Monument is erected to the memory of nine Ipswich Martyrs who for their constancy to the Protestant faith suffered death by burning’. Read official list description.” http://www.heritage-explorer.co.uk/web/he/searchdetail.aspx?id=6565&crit=stake


  The  “rougher” pond which seemed to home to lots of ducks : Mary walking across the wood bridge.           

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Some amazing phantasmagoric trees; the one on the right could be an elephant!

The Reg Driver center in the park has lots of info and I need to make a visit there.  (By the way, Reg Driver is the man’s name.  It’s not short for registered driver as I must admit to thinking.”

“Ipswich is extremely privileged in having some of Suffolk’s largest and most majestic veteran/ancient trees in Christchurch Park within easy walking distance of the town. These living landmarks are of irreplaceable historical and biological value and reveal a visual link with the former land use of the Park. The oldest tree in the Park is the ancient Yew by the Cenotaph. Archeological digging nearby has established that this tree is at least 600 years old. Other veteran trees in the Park, including the pollarded Sweet Chestnuts and Oaks that stand alongside the central avenue, are 300 to 400 years old. These trees are clearly identifiable in Burrows’ wonderful 1860 photos of the Park which can be seen at the Visitor Centre. “  http://www.focp.org.uk/trees.html

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The Westerfield Road is the one Mary and I walked in the previous email. 

A walk to Westerfiled


    As Mary and Rick had spent time in Ipswich a few years ago, they know the area pretty well.  So off we went on a hike over hill and dale.   Actually more like city and country, but you get the idea.  The weather truly cooperated as there was a 40% chance of rain.  But we remained quite dry as did the sheets hanging out on the line back at the boat.  Randal had stayed behind waiting for a boat service person to come paint our aft cabin bilge, but his mind was not on the laundry so I was glad when we returned to get it in.  But, “no worries” as they say here; only some dark clouds and strong breezes.  Mostly a very bright sun showed itself today just perfect for a long walk.



More about Tuddenham and Witnesham below.

    We didn’t explore either place today; just hiked from the boat through Christchurch Park, past some lovely neighborhoods, along dirt trails, over stiles and railroad tracks to the Railway Inn Pub and then back along Westerfield Road to Ipswich.

Welcome to Westerfield-village.co.uk

The village extends over an area of 1.8 miles North to South and 1.3 miles West to East. The largest land use is for agriculture while residential use occupies the remainder. There are two small areas of commercial use at the North and South of the village.


History of Westerfield

     Westerfield is a small village. Nonetheless, it has a recorded history many centuries old. The earliest evidence of human occupation is in the late Stone Age, stone mace and flint axe head found in the village and now in Ipswich Museum. Centuries later, the influence of the Roman occupation was revealed when a number of Roman coins were found close to the Main Road and several burnt clay cinerary urns of the Roman-British period were unearthed near the railway crossing.

Westerfield name

     Following the Romans’ departure, the Saxons crossed the North Sea to settle in the coastal areas of Suffolk and arrived at a clearing in the forest north of Ipswich which, later, the Norsemen found and named WESTREFELDA – “Vestri” meaning “more to the West”, and the Anglo-Saxon ‘field’ meaning a clearing. Over the years, the name has been changed to WESTRESELDA, WESTFIELD, WESTERFEUD, WESTERFELD, WESTERDEFELD and WESS-ER-FEL (which remains a familiar pronunciation to Suffolk countryfolk) and eventually, at a date unknown, to the present WESTERFIELD.

Westerfield in Norman Times

     In 1086, the Doomsday Book, (the survey of England ordered by William the Conqueror), lists details of 21 holdings of land in the parish. Included therein is reference to the Manor, held prior to the Conquest by a Saxon freeman, but by 1086 it was held by Earl Alan of Brittany, who was married to the Conqueror’s daughter Constance. The lands of the Manor covered an area of 120 acres. Earl Alan also held land in Westerfield whose valuation was included in Ipswich; perhaps early evidence of the divided allegiance of Westerfield inhabitants for many years, between those living in Ipswich Borough, and those in the county.



Christchurch Park has a huge mansion which Mary and I toured and I’ll write about next email.  It was at one point owned by the Fonnereau Family for whom our walking train was named.


Fields of yellow rape.


The sign posted way


“The Fonnereau Way is named after the family who were the owners of the magnificent Christchurch Park and the Elizabethan Mansion from where the route starts, but it’s worth beginning this stage from the Old Custom House, in the heart of Ipswich’s rapidly re-developing waterfront.

   The route through the town explores quaint lanes and some less obvious streets that are full of exceptional architectural and historic interest, including the famous Ancient House with its fantastic pargetting. After the rolling slopes of Christchurch Park the route traverses undeveloped countryside to the north of the town to reach the rail station and village at Westerfield.”


And more fields…..

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Climbing over the stiles


  Crossing the railroad tracks….Stop Look Listen  …..         


Looking down towards the railway station in Westerfield.

The nice thing is that you can hike one way and train back if you choose.  Today we hadn’t gone that far so we walked back. 



You pass through farms so much make sure the gates are closed behind as you leave.


“It’s Spring Sir!”

The English have such lovely gardens and the wild flowers are blooming also.

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Waiting for the train that crosses Westerfield Road.  We could have taken it back to Ipswich but opted for a coffee at the Railway Inn Pub instead and then a walk back along the road.


The Railway Inn : perfect for an empty and refill of cappuccino on a sunny but chilly/windy day. 

    “Peter, Sarah and the team offer a warm welcome to The Railway Inn Westerfield.

Approx 1.5 miles north of Ipswich and on a direct rail route we are close enough to be your local and offer a relaxed country feel. Casual dining is available throughout, whether it be in a booth in the large bar area or in our split level restaurant. The menu is one of traditional pub style food with a modern twist. Seasonal dishes are showcased on our specials board and change weekly. Set menus at lunch and dinner are also available 7 days a week to ensure good value and choice.

Whether it’s a family get together, Sunday lunch or a sarnie after a ramble we have a menu to satisfy. Al fresco dining is available in our large beer garden at the rear of the premises or on the newly appointed decking area, perfect for summer days and nights (we hope). Children are always welcome and the main menu can be adapted accordingly. We are also dog friendly in the bar area only.

Menus change regularly and we endeavour to keep them update, how ever there may always be some variation. We look forward to serving you soon.”

– See more at: http://www.therailwaywesterfield.co.uk/



If there’s a pub, there’s a quiz night at which Americans fail miserably as we really don’t know English popular trivia.  

Maybe one day we’ll visit Witnesham and Tuddenham…


Witnesham is a village situated roughly 4 miles (6 km) to the north of Ipswich, Suffolk. The main road from Ipswich that links the village to the town is the B1077, Westerfield Road.

It is in the Domesday Book[1] as ‘Wytenesham’ (Witta’s/Witten’s meadow or enclosure) and had 10 villagers.

It was a part of the old Hundreds of Suffolk of Carlford (hundred).[2]

The village has two churches, the Baptist at the top of the village, north on Upper Road.

The larger church, St Mary’s OS grid TM1850, located west out of Witnesham along the Church Lane (no through lane), near the source of the River Fynn.[2]

Witnesham Hall, (OS grid TM1750) was built in the 16th century, and is further west on the same lane.

Witnesham takes its name from Witta’s or Wittin’s meadow and a section of this walk passes through the delightful pastures bordering the River Fynn. There may be cattle in the fields and dogs should be kept on a lead or under close control at all times. http://web.archive.org/

By Michael Anderton

The village of Witnesham stands at the place where the B1077 road south from Debenham once forded the little River Fynn before continuing on through Westerfield to the markets of Ipswich. At the start of the walk by a bus shelter stands the village sign depicting three pigs behind a gate, reflecting the agricultural nature of the area. The sign was designed and unveiled by the late Carl Giles, well known cartoonist and former village resident. Witnesham takes its name from Witta’s or Wittin’s meadow and a section of this walk passes through the delightful pastures bordering the River Fynn. There may be cattle in the fields and dogs should be kept on a lead or under close control at all times.

The route is marked throughout with special green circular walk signposts and yellow circular walk waymark arrows and is therefore very easy to follow, even without a map.

From the village sign and bus shelter turn right down The Street on the roadside footway to the war memorial and old village well. Turn right up Hall Lane, bearing left along the lane lined with houses. At the end of the Tarmac surface continue on to a metal gate and pass through the heavy metal kissing gate to the left.

Follow the rough track in the pasture, along the hedge on the right. Before passing through the first gateway, note the large tree leaning over the path from the right. This is fine example of the less well known Black Poplar, a tree that is indigenous to the eastern counties. Note the rough bark, looking almost hand carved. Continue through 2 more gateways to the end of the hedge and then bearing left across the grass to a gate in the corner of the field. Notice the raised banks in the grass that define the old route of Hall Lane leading to Witnesham Hall. On the other side of the gate is a ford across a tributary of the River Fynn, cross via the stile and footbridge to continue along the tree lined lane.

At the junction with Church Lane look left through the gateway to see Witnesham Hall, dating from the 16th century, the timber framing now encased in red brick. Turn right along Church Lane, passing the parish church of St. Mary’s and the former school, now used as the village hall. A series of stones set in the wall provides a potted history of the building that started life as a National School built from voluntary subscription in 1810. The walk can be started from the car park here if preferred.

At the B1077 road there is an opportunity to short cut along the roadside footway to the right over America Hill to the Barley Mow and the car park at the start.

Cross the main road to Wash Lane, from here to the ford the lane is often flooded, the stream running down the roadside after periods of rain, although it is usually only a trickle or dry. Use the footbridge at the ford if necessary and continue on up the lane, past the entrance to Whitehouse Farm and then on to a junction. Take the right fork up towards Burnt House Farm and, at the entrance gate, turn right on a field edge path.

After about 100 metres where the path bears left through the hedge, turn sharp right on a crop break strip across the field, starting by an electricity pole. At the hedge on the other side, follow the path on the right of the hedge, through to the next field and continuing on down to the corner at the rear of the Barley Mow pub. Look up to the left to see the red brick Red House Farm that dates from about1450, mostly in its present form.

Pass through the kissing gate and along the path at the side of the pub to reach Mow Hill. The Barley Mow Inn has been established as pub on this site since 1766 and is well worth a visit.

Turn left and cross to the roadside footway to return to the start and the car park.


Location: Witnesham is 4 miles north of Ipswich

Start: The village car park by the village sign, Ordnance Survey map reference TM 184502

Length: 2½ miles

Conditions: Pasture, track, field edge and road, muddy across fields in wet weather, 1 stile. Wash Lane may be flooded after heavy rain

How to get there: –

Public Transport: For details telephone Suffolk County Council’s Public Transport traveline – 0870 608 2 608

Road Route: From Ipswich north on B1077 through Westerfield

Car Parking: Free in the centre of village, also off Hall Lane and at the village hall on Church Lane

Refreshments: Barley Mow pub, Witnesham Post Office

Public Toilets: None

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer sheet 211 Bury St. Edmunds and Stowmarket

Information: Countryside Walks leaflet describing the route is available from Suffolk County Council, 20p + s.a.e or from Tourist Information Centres


Tuddenham or Tuddenham St. Martin is a small village within the Suffolk countryside, lying just outside Ipswich, on the River Fynn. The village contains "The Fountain" restaurant as well as the church of St Martin in which lies the final resting place of artist Carl Giles and his wife Joan.

The village has its own magazine called The Tuddenham Tattler.

The social calendar includes "The Tuddenham TADPOLE’s (Tuddenham Amateur Dramatic People Of Little Experience) Pantomime", the Village Féte, the Safari Supper and several Parish Picnics.

It was a part of the old Hundreds of Suffolk of Carlford (hundred).[1]


Lunch and Long Melford Hall


     Just in time for baseball season I have a new Boston Red Sox sweatshirt! 




My “new to me” Red Sox Sweatshirt!

During our passage from London to Ipswich  I’d worn my much loved but very noticably worn Red Sox  “hoodie.”   Well, the middle of last week a package came for me!  An absolute total surprise!!  Our Welsh passage guest, Wyn Jones had sent it to me.   This is what he wrote:  “Ruth – I just found this cast off from my daughter and thought you could make use of it.”  As my old, rather tatty Red Sox hoodie is no longer allowed to venture far from the boat,  this new B shirt is a treat.  Funny enough my aged hoodie was also a gift;  my friend Marth shared the exhorbitant cost of it for a birthday gift many years ago.  I did tell Wyn that if his daughter sever pent any time in Boston/Cambridge for graduate school I would regift it back to her as I’d probably still have it after her 4 years of college when she would be thinking graduate schools.   I just had to wear it on our outing to Long Melford….

Lunch at the Black Lion

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Conveniently located not far from the Great Church of the Holy Trinity, is the Black Lion Hotel and Restaurant.  Recommended in my 2009 Lonely Planet England, it’s still as good. 



The very friendly restaurant maitre’d was originally from Morocco.


Pondering the menu…..too many choices.


My choice…though I usually don’t choose meat these were wonderful…  Long Melford Sausages and Red Onion Marmalade!  Searged on grilled buttered bread.  Yum!!!!  And a lovely pot of tea.

“The Black Lion’s award-winning restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, offering a substantial menu featuring many hearty favourites including Estate potted hare and partridge pate, wholemeal toast or Angus oxtail & kidney suet pudding, truffle oil mashed potatoes, roast chantey carrots, red wine sauce and Slow roasted shoulder of pork stuffed with bramley apple and sage, fondant potatoes, Aspall Suffolk cider sauce.”  http://www.blacklionhotel.net/

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The food was good, the prices reasonable and it was quiet enough so you could notice the absense of noise which too many restaurants seem to be full of these days.  We were a bit early, but when we left, the place was filling up. 

After lunch it was time to explore Long Melford Hall.  

Melford Hall started out as a monastic hunting estate

Queen Elizabeth I visited in 1578

Melford Hall was sacked during the civil war

The Hall was requisitioned during World War Two

The north wing burnt down in 1942

Melford Hall was given to the National Trust in 1960

In 2010 we celebrated 50 years of working with the family





“Discover the stories behind this eclectic home.

It’s fair to say that Melford Hall has had its share of trials and tribulations, but it’s thanks to many generations from medieval monks to the Hyde Parker family who still live here, that this home still stands.

Around every corner there’s a new twist in the story – from Beatrix Potter sketches to collections of naval paintings and Chinese porcelain – everything tells a story and everyone has left their mark.

     Devastated by fire in 1942, it was nurtured back to life by the Hyde Parker family and it remains their much loved family home to this day. It is their stories of family life at Melford – from visits by their cousin Beatrix Potter through to our visitors today that make this house more than bricks and mortar.”


http://www.viewpictures.co.uk/Building.aspx?ID=24076  gives detailed descriptions of some of the rooms within the house.


Lambing time at Long Melford Hall

We walked a bit through the fields before entering the house itself.



The Great Hall where you can view the family scrapbook while warming by the fire and learn from the guides stationed in the room.


The volunteer guides were just wonderful!  It was obvious they loved Long Melford Hall and the family who lives there now. 

      “You’ll play a key role in engaging visitors with the stories of our places and really contributing to their visit. With roles ranging from room guides, costumed interpreters and conservation assistants to storytellers, there are a variety of different opportunities available to match your skills and interests.

     Our room guides are there to be a friendly face to bring our places to life, welcoming visitors and answering their questions “


My favorites were the stories of Lady Ulla Hyde-Parker, the Nanny, and Beatrix Potter.


1951: Lady Ulla   Portrait painting of Ulla, Lady Hyde Parker

     “On her husband’s death, Lady Ulla Hyde Parker was determined to keep the estate together.”  http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wra-1356322178085/731440/


    “ For almost five centuries, the picturesque turrets of Melford Hall have dominated Long Melfords village green. The tranquillity of its setting however hides a turbulent story that has seen the home ransacked during the Civil War in 1642 and one wing completely gutted by fire in 1942.     (We were told by the guides, the fire was most likely caused by careless British service men billeted  in the home which had been requisitioned by the military during WW 2.)   Contrary to advice to pull down the devastated north wing, William Hyde Parker and his Danish wife, Ulla, were determined to rebuild Melford Hall from the ashes. The architect Albert Richardson was taken on by the family and he devised a method of building an internal frame within the burnt out red brick shell to take the weight of the new floors and roof.

A new layout was planned for the wing, and Lady Ullas Scandinavian tastes heavily influenced the dcor. The former dark interior and heavy oak furnishings were replaced with bright white walls and floors creating the lovely atmosphere that is still found in this wing.

Sadly William did not live long to see the restored wing as he died in 1951. The family were confronted with a huge payment in inheritance tax and as a result the hall, some of its principle contents, and 130 acres of the park was transferred to the Treasury to settle this payment. In turn it was then offered to the National Trust, but was initially turned down as it was deemed un-economical.

Lady Ullas determination to save the hall once again came to the forefront and she arranged for the hall to open to the public. Various rooms were set up as show rooms, floors were scrubbed down, a guidebook was written and the family’s nanny sat by the front door to collect the admission fees from the visitors. She was kept busy.

Lady Ulla proved that it was economically viable to open to the public, and the National Trust agreed to take Melford Hall into its care in 1960. Moreover, due to the experience the family had gained of opening the hall, the National Trust arranged for Lady Ulla to remain as their administrator and resident as a tenant in the North Wing…….”


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The round framed photos are Lady Ulla’s mother and father.

Randal and this room’s volunteer had a long discussion about WW 2. 


Beatrix Potter’s Room

     “Beatrix Potter was the cousin of Ethel, Lady Hyde Parker, grandmother of Sir Richard Hyde Parker, the present Baronet. She visited Melford Hall on many occasions and painted a series of watercolours of the house. The visitors’ book contains numerous signatures and sketches, which mark her visits to the house.

The collections at Melford Hall include several of her soft toys, which served as models for her illustrations.

Beatrix Potter slept in the West Bedroom at Melford Hall. The room is furnished, as it would have been when she frequently visited, with a Victorian bed and furniture.

To the amusement of the Hyde Parker children she would bring her small animals on her visits to the Hall and house them in the adjoining turret room (which can be seen through the open door).

William Hyde Parker once remarked:

‘When we were children we just loved it when she (Beatrix) arrived, for she always brought a cage with mice, another with a hamster or a porcupine and a third with something else in it. It was such fun for all us children’.

The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck was based on real life events in the farmyard at Beatrix Potter’s home at Hill Top in the Lake District.

The duck pond in the same tale is based upon an illustration Beatrix Potter drew for the Jeremy Fisher stories when visiting her relatives at Melford Hall.”



“The Beatrix Potter Room at Melford Hall displays watercolours and drawings by Beatrix Potter. A model of Jemima Puddle-Duck is also on display, given as a present from Beatrix Potter to the Hyde Parker children.” http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/


The tea room reminds me of a 1950’s diner


Sir Richard and Lady Jeanie

“Meanwhile, in amongst all of these projects and the many visitors coming through the doors, Melford Hall remained a home for Sir Richard and Lady Jeanie and their young family.

For a long time family lunches were still held in the show dining room, although it was sometimes a rush to clear everything away before opening time.”


About Long Melford Hall…. 

“The history and architecture of our country houses are part of our heritage. This year marks 50 years of a partnership between the National Trust and the Hyde Parker family, which has seen Melford Hall in Long Melford saved for future generations.

      As a nation we love them, millions of us visit them. The history and architecture of our country houses are part of our heritage. This year marks 50 years of a partnership between the National Trust and the Hyde Parker family, which has seen Melford Hall in Long Melford saved for future generations. National Trust property manager Luke Potter tells the story.

     For almost five centuries, the picturesque turrets of Melford Hall have dominated Long Melfords village green. The tranquillity of its setting however hides a turbulent story that has seen the home ransacked during the Civil War in 1642 and one wing completely gutted by fire in 1942.

Contrary to advice to pull down the devastated north wing, William Hyde Parker and his Danish wife, Ulla, were determined to rebuild Melford Hall from the ashes. The architect Albert Richardson was taken on by the family and he devised a method of building an internal frame within the burnt out red brick shell to take the weight of the new floors and roof.

A new layout was planned for the wing, and Lady Ullas Scandinavian tastes heavily influenced the dcor. The former dark interior and heavy oak furnishings were replaced with bright white walls and floors creating the lovely atmosphere that is still found in this wing.

Sadly William did not live long to see the restored wing as he died in 1951. The family were confronted with a huge payment in inheritance tax and as a result the hall, some of its principle contents, and 130 acres of the park was transferred to the Treasury to settle this payment. In turn it was then offered to the National Trust, but was initially turned down as it was deemed un-economical.

Lady Ullas determination to save the hall once again came to the forefront and she arranged for the hall to open to the public. Various rooms were set up as show rooms, floors were scrubbed down, a guidebook was written and the familys nanny sat by the front door to collect the admission fees from the visitors. She was kept busy.

Lady Ulla proved that it was economically viable to open to the public, and the National Trust agreed to take Melford Hall into its care in 1960. Moreover, due to the experience the family had gained of opening the hall, the National Trust arranged for Lady Ulla to remain as their administrator and resident as a tenant in the North Wing.

In the 1970s, Lady Ullas son, Sir Richard Hyde Parker, came back to Melford Hall. Along with his wife Jeanie, he threw himself into the management of the hall attending to the many issues that needed his attention and time. With the growing numbers of visitors wanting to see more of the hall, they restored the South Wing, which had been virtually untouched since end of the Second World War. This enabled the bedrooms they had been using in the West Wing to open to the public and the creation of a museum room explaining the connection of Beatrix Potter to Melford Hall. Sir Richard also discovered an early 17th century map of the estate, and the long lost oak avenues were replanted to recreate the 17th century landscape. In 2006, the North Wing was also opened for the first time providing visitors with new toilets and a tea room.

Meanwhile, in amongst all of these projects and the many visitors coming through the doors, Melford Hall remained a home for Sir Richard and Lady Jeanie and their young family.

For a long time family lunches were still held in the show dining room, although it was sometimes a rush to clear everything away before opening time. Laughter and games continued to fill the hall and grounds, and Christmas was celebrated around a huge tree in the Great Hall. The children would even occasionally sneak out tea trays and slide all the way down the grand staircase.

With the devastating fire in 1942, and the struggles of the 1950s, it is remarkable that Melford Hall has survived as a building. Over 40 country houses were lost in Suffolk during the 20th century. These included Acton House, Rushbrooke, Assington Hall and Liston Hall. Some owners simply didnt care about their preservation, with houses becoming surplus to requirements if more than one estate was owned. There were those who gambled their money away and sold their houses off bit by bit for scrap. Then there were the ones that were demolished by fire or became irreversibly damaged during the war, either through enemy action or the result of being requisitioned.

Through the dedication shown over the last 50 years by the Hyde Parkers and the National Trust, Melford Hall has survived where many others have been lost. Just as important though, is the fact that Melford has not just become another stuffed country house.

With the continued passion and involvement of the Hyde Parkers, Melfords spirit as a much loved family home continues to this day and fills it with its own distinctive atmosphere. As Lady Ulla once said, a place like Melford Hall is far more than just bricks and mortar.”