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Buried remains of Late Saxon and medieval town defences, and a section of C14 precinct wall to the Dominican friary of the Ipswich Blackfriars

A Scheduled Monument in Alexandra, Suffolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.054 / 52°3'14"N

Longitude: 1.1583 / 1°9'29"E

OS Eastings: 616630.329623

OS Northings: 244219.95176

OS Grid: TM166442

Mapcode National: GBR TMW.5NT

Mapcode Global: VHLBT.1M5R

Entry Name: Buried remains of Late Saxon and medieval town defences, and a section of C14 precinct wall to the Dominican friary of the Ipswich Blackfriars

Scheduled Date: 14 September 1977

Last Amended: 24 May 2016

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005985

English Heritage Legacy ID: SF 189

County: Suffolk

Electoral Ward/Division: Alexandra

Built-Up Area: Ipswich

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Ipswich St Mary-le-Tower

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Summary

The buried remains of Late Saxon and medieval town defences and a section of C14 Dominican Friary precinct wall that lie beneath a car park and a bus depot within a rectangular site aligned north-east to south-west. It is bounded to the north-west and south-east by Shire Hall Yard/Pleasant Row and Lower Orwell Street respectively and by a former 1960s bonded warehouse to the north-east. A 1980s extension to a 1950s bus depot overlies the southern quarter.

Source: Historic England

Details

PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the buried remains of Late Saxon and medieval town defences and a section of C14 Dominican Friary precinct wall lying beneath a car park and a bus depot within a north-east to south-west aligned rectangular site. It is bounded to the north-west and south-east by Shire Hall Yard/Pleasant Row and Lower Orwell Street respectively and by a former 1960s bonded warehouse to the north-east. A 1980s extension to a 1950s bus depot overlies the southern quarter. The two sections are divided by a footpath which runs across the site in a north-west to south-east direction.

DESCRIPTION: the buried remains of the Late Saxon town ditch run in a north-east to south-west alignment along the entire length of the site. When sectioned in 1959, it was found to have a V-shaped profile and, although its east side had been removed when the medieval town ditch was cut, it was estimated to have measured 5m to 6m wide with a depth of between 1.5m to 2m.

The medieval town ditch of 1203 was also sectioned in 1959 and measured 5.5m to 6.1m wide and 3.5m deep. Although the ditch was exposed by the 1981/82 excavation, it was not excavated. On the west side of the ditch is the levelled rampart which probably overlies evidence for the Anglo-Saxon domestic occupation of the site.

The buried remains of a foundation trench for a town wall that was never built lies between the medieval ditch and its levelled rampart. Dug at some time between July 1352 and November 1354, it has vertical sides and measures 2.1m wide and 1.5m deep.

Running down the middle of the site in a north-east to south-west alignment are the substantial remains of a C14 friary precinct wall. It measures circa 1m wide and stands to a height of circa 2.1m, with the lower courses constructed from large blocks of septaria, while the upper section is of flint cobble with occasional bonding slabs of larger material. Its outer eastern face is lined with C20 brick. Although the wall principally survives as a buried feature beneath the car park and bus station, its top is visible as surface indentations in the car park in the northern section of the site.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the scheduled area is intended to protect the known extent of the buried archaeological evidence relating to the buried remains of Ipswich’s Late Saxon and medieval town defences along with a section of C14 precinct wall belonging to the Blackfriars Dominican friary. It comprises a rectangular-shaped area bounded to the south-east and north-west by Lower Orwell Street and Shire Hall Yard/Pleasant Row respectively, to the north-east by an early 1960s bonded warehouse, (latterly the Gym and Trim health club), while a 1980s extension to the 1950s Eastern Counties bus depot overlies the southern quarter.

EXCLUSIONS: excluded from the scheduling are all fences, fence posts, gates, walls, the bus depot extension and the footpath running across the site. The ground beneath all of these items, however, is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The buried remains of the Late Saxon and medieval town defences and a section of C14 Dominican friary precinct wall, off Shire Yard, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: archaeological excavation has shown that the buried remains relating to the Anglo-Saxon and medieval town of Ipswich survive well as buried features;

* Diversity: the multi-period remains demonstrate occupation of the site from the Anglo-Saxon period onwards and will add to our knowledge and understanding of Ipswich, one of England’s earliest true towns;

* Documentation: the site is particularly well documented, with the results of two archaeological excavations increasing our understanding of the significance of the site;

* Potential: excavation has shown that the site has the potential to yield further archaeological information of national significance, particularly with regard to the Ipswich’s Saxon origins;

* Rarity: the precinct wall is a rare surviving component of a friary complex that, when combined with the ruined and buried remains of the scheduled friary buildings that stand to the north-west (NHLE 1002966 ), will add greatly to our knowledge of religious diversity in England in the medieval period;

* Group value: the significance of the site is enhanced by its group value with the other scheduled sections of settlement remains that will help to contextualise and understand Ipswich’s evolution, adding to our knowledge and understanding of the formation of the English landscape following the end of the Roman occupation.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
West, SE, 'Excavations at Cox Lane (1958) and at the Town Defences, Shire Hall Yard, Ipswich (1959)' in Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology, , Vol. 29, (1963), 233-303
Websites
Information from the Ipswich 1974-1990 Excavation Archive: Suffolk Council Archaeological Service: Shire Hall Yard, Ipswich - IAS6904, accessed 21 October 2015 from http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/ipswich_6904_2015/index.cfm

Source: Historic England

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