Valentine's Day 2014, so they tell me. Let's mark it by a walk down to the exposed burials at St Mary-at-the-Quay Church in the pouring rain. This most challenging of the medieval churches of Ipswich will be the place where the past meets the future in its conversion into a 'Wellbeing Heritage Centre' by Suffolk MIND and partners. Arguably, a church was always a wellbeing centre, of course. Part of the process of restoration and conversion is the archaeological dig due to finish in April 2014. Your editor's visit coincided with a full peal of the church's bells lasting over two hours. The ringers were probably the only warm people in the church, but there was plenty to see in the extraordinary exposed burials, accessed through the small priest's doorway at the side of the chancel, a table of finds and a child's skeleton laid out on Henry Tooley's tomb. Des Pawson's rope making display drew attention to the maritime nature of the church - the clue is in the title - which originally stood close to the early dockside. It was built on the site of a previous church over the hundred years from 1443. As their work progresses, who knows what the archaeologists will find further down at Anglo-Saxon or even earlier layers?
Meanwhile, our March Society Winter Illustrated Talk by Conservation Officer in Great Yarmouth, Darren Barker (reviewed in our next issue) completes a memorable and successful season.
My gratitude goes to all the contributors who have made this issue of our Newsletter so varied and, I trust, interesting and entertaining.
Robin Gaylard, Editor