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
Cover, issue 195