Ipswich UAD child record record IPS 1327 - Carmelite Friary Church

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Reconstructed Carmelite Church


Grid reference Centred TM 1630 4449 (55m by 16m)
Map sheet TM14SE


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

The Choir
There were at least two phases of the choir. The first phase choir, c.8m wide by c.22m long, overlapped with the nave by 5m at the west end and was represented by foundation trenches 0160, 3414, 3499, 3469, and 3471. In the second phase, it was extended 7m to the east, represented by foundation trenches 0127, 3463, with angle buttresses (0132, 0166) on both the north-east and south-east corners.
The north and south wall lines had projections for buttresses along the outer edges.
Only 7m of the east (3469) and 2.4m of the west end (3414) of the northern foundation trench had survived destruction by later basements, and it was only at the east end that any wall remains survived. The southern side of the wall had been destroyed by the concrete footing (5029) of the Post Office Sorting Office, but the lower courses of the septaria and mortar wall (3478, 3479) survived on the north side.
Only a short section of the foundation trench (3496), 1.7m wide, for the west wall survived.
The second phase east wall foundation (3463) cut a linear footing (3462), which did not extend across the whole the east end. This was cut by a grave-shaped pit (3458), of LMT date, suggesting that the footing never supported a structural wall. The LMT date of the fill of this pit (or former grave) may however constitute a backfilled disinterment below a tomb cleared at the time of the dissolution for the reburial elsewhere.
One of the buttresses (0663) along the south wall had been removed when the sacristy was built on the south side.
The west end of the first phase south wall foundation trench (3499) had been cut by a LMED grave (3501) implying that, in the second phase, the west end of the choir had been moved eastward by c.4m, to line up with the east end of the nave.
A footing trench (3484), contemporary with the earliest choir, was traced running for 4m south of the south choir wall, on the line of the west wall of the chapter house.
There was evidence for a resonance chamber, 11.7m long by 1.5m wide, against the south choir wall. Residual traces of a dwarf retaining wall, built of brick and flint, were located at the east end (3518) and in the south-west corner (3508). As the corresponding area of the choir on the north side had been destroyed, there was no opportunity to locate any similar structure on this side.
Only one burial was recorded in the choir. A tomb (3802), containing skeleton 3803, an adult male, had been inserted through the north choir wall, with a new wall (3466) built to the north to enclose it. Its location, on the north side of the chancel, indicates that it functioned as an Easter Sepulchre.

The Nave
The north wall was recorded for c34m but only the eastern 25m was excavated by hand. There were two phases of foundation trench and some remains of the final phase wall. Only the south edge of the earliest foundation trench (3403, 5036) survived, cut by the later trench (3402, 3423), which had buttress extensions along its north side, at 4.2m intervals. The surviving section of wall (3425) was 88cm wide and buttressed on its north side. A boundary wall, running north towards the Buttermarket and 80cm wide, was butted onto the north edge of the buttress. Wall 3425 had been cut away to the west but machine trenching along the line of the wall revealed traces of walling and wall footing for at least a further 10.7m to the west (1691).
Only an 8m stretch of the south wall was excavated revealing a single foundation trench (4807) and 4.5m of surviving wall. There were buttresses on its south side, corresponding to those in the north wall. The wall (4769) was 68cm wide, occupying the full width of the footing, compared with 90cm for the north wall (3425). The insertion of a World War II air-raid shelter (1785) had cut away the west end of the south wall but a large septaria and mortar plinth (3547), 1.2m in width, cut away by the air-raid shelter to the north, was large to be the southern angle buttress at the west end of the church.
The east end wall of the nave, on the north side, was indicated by foundation trench 1778. A north-south foundation trench (3420) 6m west of this, and on the line of the phase 1 west end of the choir, probably indicates a northern porch or chapel in the angle between the nave and choir.
In the LMT period, an extension, 9m long and 1.2m wide, was constructed on the north side on the nave at its east end. A new foundation trench (3401, 3416) was cut through the north wall line and its foundation trench (3402).Two fragments of wall, with buttresses projecting to the north, survived at either end (3148 at the west end, and 3147 at the east end).
This appears to have been mirrored by a similar extension directly opposite, on the south side. A footing (4839) was cut through both the nave and the cloister wall, and a new wall (4829) inserted above.
This new configuration suggests that walls at the eastern end of the nave were pushed out by some 1.2m to accommodate two new gabled walls, which were raised to create a wide cross passage or transept, between the nave and the choir. A further of a robbed out column base (4710) was recorded 3m north of the south nave wall and towards the east end. An oval area of septaria rubble (1699), 1.2m by 70cm, lay to the north, and 3m from the north nave wall, with another square area of rubble (1773) 3m east of it. These were not sectioned to record any foundation below.The width of the nave (13.5m) suggests that it was aisled but these column bases could be three of four supports for a tower above the walking place.

The earliest floor surface comprised a horizontal band of clay (4784) lying above levelling layers 4854 and 4855. This surface was not fully excavated but was picked up as a continuous layer over the whole area, and seen in section at the edges of excavated intrusive features. The majority of tiles had been robbed from this surface, and little remained of the bedding mortar, but some patches of tiled floor remained (4800, cut by graves 3592 and 3596, 3507, lying 7m further east, seated on a bedding layer of sand (3514) above a mixed clay and mortar layer (3517). probably corresponding to clay floor surface 4784, further to the west and south-west.
A later floor had been laid above this first phase floor, which had been stripped of its tiles, except in isolated areas. A layer of clay loam and mortar (4731), c.10cm thick, topped with a clay layer (3570) was laid as a bed for the new floor. An area of tiling (4834), directly overlying remnant column base footing 4833, adjacent to the south nave wall is likely to be associated with this replacement floor surface. It had been cut away at the east end by grave 4830.
Only 12 graves were identified within the nave, with nine in a small area of the south nave and three in the north nave. Only eight graves were excavated deep enough to recover skeletons (Mays 1991).
Grave 3404 cut the first phase nave foundation trench (3403).
Grave 3501, which was not excavated, cut the west end (3499) of the phase 1 choir wall footing (0160).
Graves 3575, 3591, 3592, 3596, and 4728 cut the latest floor surface (3570) of the nave, with only grave 4730 and possibly grave 4835 apparently predating this floor.
Two of the graves were flint and mortar lined (3502, 3504). Grave 3502 was empty, indicating that the body had been exhumed, (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Wade, K. 2014. Ipswich Archive Site Summaries: St. Stephen's Lane..

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

May 25 2017 10:37AM

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