About Wolsey's Gate
From time to time the Council receives enquiries about the general condition of Wolsey's Gate and about the possibility of moving it from its present location to some other part of Ipswich.
The Council's position is as follows:
Wolsey's Gate is not deteriorating any more than any other building in Ipswich (or elsewhere) that is approximately 478 years old. Indeed, all-in-all it is not in bad condition by comparison with, for example, the 19th Century when it was seriously choked with ivy.
The eroded condition of the coat of arms has been a problem for over 150 years and there is no accurate indication of exactly what it depicted even from engravings. Replacement or replication would now be pure conjecture but the remaining scant evidence of the original design is the ongoing subject of consolidation by a specialist.
The Gate is the subject of an annual detailed inspection and minor repair. The last major repairs, with English Heritage advice, were in 1996. Further consolidation of the stone panel and other associated works were undertaken by an experienced specialist conservator in late 2007/early 2008.
Although it is part of the Council's corporate estate, direct responsibility for future management of the Gate was made to the Council's Conservation Service in January 2006. Structural monitoring of the monument is currently being undertaken by English Heritage on our behalf.
Wolsey's Gate is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the designation extends not just to the gateway but also to the return wall to St Peter's Churchyard connecting it to the church vestry.
The basis of all conservation thinking since the middle of the 19th Century, and particularly the passing of the Ancient Monuments Act 1882, is that monuments should be conserved in situ related to their historical context - in this case the below ground remains of Wolsey's College to the rear.
Any works to a Scheduled Ancient Monument require Scheduled Monuments Consent from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, following advice from English Heritage and not from the Council.
Moving the Gateway - and the wall attached - notwithstanding the likely physical damage, would not be approved. Nor would the moving of any other standing Ancient Monument.
There is ongoing communication with the owner of the adjacent former Burtons site (including 1-5 College Street) about the setting of the monument, as they own the land to the immediate rear and this will continue. Any proposals for the development of that site will be the subject to the usual planning procedures.
Revised April 2009
Last Updated: Tuesday 26th April 2011