An evening guided walk on Wednesday 12th June 2013
On a rainy evening in mid-June a group of fifteen Ipswich Society members met on Arras Square for a watery wander around the town centre to discover fascinating features and details, most of which had previously gone unnoticed.
We began at St Stephen's church, now the Tourist Information Centre, where traces of a 'hidden' doorway which once led to Thomas Rush's chantry chapel can still be detected. Rush was a wealthy merchant and influential Ipswich citizen in early Tudor times. To the rear of the church, on the back wall of Wilkinson's, is mounted an ornately carved bressumer beam which once formed part of Rush's house/business premises located on Upper Brook Street.
If you peep inside the ground floor of BHS on the Butter Market you can see the ornate ceiling of a former merchant's house from around 1600. Also in the Butter Market area a rather unfriendly looking Green Man gazes down on passers -by and a pair of wonderful Art Deco spectacles form the gate to what was once an optician's premises.
The buildings on the Cornhill display a real wealth of interesting features including statues on the Town Hall representing Commerce, Agriculture, Law and Learning and Justice, whilst just below them are the faces of Thomas Wolsey, Richard the Lionheart (who originally promised Ipswich a charter) and King John, who finally did grant the town its first charter in 1200.
The Ancient House with its intricate 17th century pargetting is certainly worthy of close inspection. For example look at the quirky representations of the four known continents and the figures of St George and the Dragon, the former wearing contemporary 1660's attire.
Finally, returning to Arras Square, we saw the yellow French post box - a reminder of our friendly relationship with the town of Arras. And, yes someone did exclaim at one point - "Well, I've never noticed that before!" Thanks to all who braved the inclement weather.