The Benet Aldred House, 1590, 4 College Street, Ipswich IP4 1BF

A 'lost' house of College Street in the chequered history of this north-west corner of the Wet Dock, it crops up among Ipswich photographers and enthusiasts, sometimes referred to as an inn, sometimes with queries about its age, given its shuttered and grubby appearance.

"Perhaps because until very recently it was dwarfed by large industrial buildings, one Tudor house was overlooked completely, and it cries out to be saved. It stands in College Street immediately south of St Peter’s church, and on the bressumer beam below the north gable there is the date AN[N]O 1590, and in the centre there is B over A, a merchant’s mark giving away the initials of the owner. 

“There were three generations of Benet (or Benedict) Aldred (or Aldryche) in St Peter’s parish between 1564 and 1629, when the third and last of them made his will. The first, involved in a law suit in 1564, was probably the father of the man who built the house. It was his grandson who made a will in 1629, leaving his ‘whole estate to my loveinge wife Ann Aldred during her natural life’. It continues ‘I give and bequeath to my sonne John Aldred that part of the hoy called The Pelycan of Ipswich and ten poundes for a stocke’ [meaning one full cargo to start him in business]. In the 1620s the last Benet Aldred traded in coal from Newcastle and fuller’s earth from Rochester in three hoys delightfully named (and spelt) The Primerose, The Blessinge and The Pelycan.”

East Anglian Daily Times article by Dr John Blatchly (22.1.2011)


Some commentators assume that number 4 College Street was once a public house: it has that sort of look; however there is, we understand, no evidence that the house was ever a pub. The traffic which thunders along College Street as part of the 'Eastern gyratory' system does no favours to this house with its narrow pavement and small footprint on the corner.


Historic England listing:

A C16-C17 timber-framed and plastered house with a cross wing at the west end. The fenestration is C18. 2 storeys and attics, the upper storey is jettied on the whole front supported on curved brackets. The cross wing is at a slightly higher level than the main block. The gable to the cross wing also projects slightly on a carved bressumer. 3 window range, double-hung sashes, in flush case frames; the windows on the 1st storey have single vertical glazing bars (one is a casement window), those on the ground storey have glazing bars. 2 windows in the crosswing are original. Roof tiled, with one gabled dormer.   Grade II

The Church of St Peter, the gateway to Wolsey's College of St Mary, Nos 1 to 5 (odd) and No 4 form a group.

The building was damaged by fire in 1992; it had stood vacant since 1981. However, Ipswich Borough Council, as a part of its drive to revive and remodel this ‘gateway’ site to the Wet Dock from Stoke Bridge, purchased this small piece of Ipswich history and the renovation of the house was completed in 2022.

Sources: Ipswich Historic Lettering; Historic England listing