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Newsletter, July 2010 (Issue 180)

Thomas Wolsey in Ipswich


On 7 April in St Lawrence Centre, those attending the re-launch of the appeal to commemorate Thomas Wolsey in the town of his birth will have heard our Chairman, Jack Chapman, give his strong support to our efforts. Jack is indeed one of the patrons of the campaign and took a full part in the selection of David Annand of Fife as the sculptor. The international field of 57 applicants was very strong. Shortly afterwards the Society showed its support in the best way possible, and I write for all the patrons to thank the Society for adding £1,000 to the fund.

David Annand will soon be commissioned to make the figure of the great man at 110% life-size in hollow bronze mounted on a low stone plinth, and we hope to have it unveiled next spring.

Because Wolsey was schooled here and near the end of his life greatly enlarged his old school to be the Cardinal College of Mary in Ipswich as a feeder to his Oxford foundation, now Christ Church, we wish to portray him, not as the great man in church and state which he undoubtedly was, but for his enlightened educational ideas. In the book he wrote to be used in his Ipswich college school (and in all the schools in England) he reminded schoolmasters that:

"Pleasure is to mingle with study, that the child may think learning rather an amusement than a toil. Tender youth is to stiffer neither severe thrashings nor sour and threatening looks, nor any kind of tyranny, for by such usage the fire of genius is either extinguished or in great measure damped. "

Wolsey's figure, with the sentence in bold lettering above running around the base, will stand between the former Curson House and its extant guesthouse, Curson Lodge, on Curson Plain. Here, he planned to retire as Provost of his College, and Robert, Lord Curs on had agreed to move out in three years from 1528, but by then Wolsey had fallen from grace with the King and died broken - hearted.

Curson Plain is at the junction of St Nicholas Street, St Peter's Street and Silent Street, very near the site of his butcher father's premises and within sight of St Peter's Church which he adapted as the chapel of his College. His favourite cat will look out from the side of his chair, and children drawn to the cat will read or have read to them Wolsey's inspiring words.

The statue will be the focus of the already popular Wolsey Tudor tours in Ipswich, and a celebration of all that is best in teaching and learning in the town and county. With any surplus funds we receive we plan to extend the educational side of our project by an annual lecture at our new University.

We are now within £16,000 of the required total of £90,000. The website www.wolseyinipswich.org.uk has more details of the campaign and The Ipswich Town Trust (Registered Charity No. 243288) acts as banker for the Patrons. We still need your support, and will acknowledge every donation we receive promptly. We want as many Ipswich and Suffolk people as possible to feel that they have a stake in what will be a popular landmark in the town, and no gift is too small.

JOHN BLATCHLY, Chairman of Patrons

    Front cover of issue 180 Cover, issue 180

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