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.
Chairman of Patrons
Cover, issue 180