Yesterday, we made our extra visit for 2016, to Christchurch Mansion in the eponymous Ipswich Park. The building is generally reckoned to date from 1548 but may have adapted much of the Priory that previously occupied the site, instead of replacing it. The seven of us who gathered at the Park’s south gate, near St. Margaret’s Church, headed for the tea rooms first before emerging to explore the many themed rooms in the staple-shaped building.
Many of these were filled with artefacts from the centuries after the Mansion’s construction but it was also replete with art relating to the many prominent local families after which nearby roads are named – Withypoll, Fonnereau, Devereux and Neale – whilst there were also images of Charles I and the Puritan vandal William Dowsing, collections by Gainsborough and Constable and modern art by Picasso, Pisarro and others. We can be sure that, if the Priory was totally dissolved in 1536, it was not by Wolsey although Thomas Cromwell and Brian Tuke were among his secretaries and both outlived him.