Monument record IPS 442 - St. Nicholas Church, Cromwell Square, Ipswich.

Please read our .


Test pits in the churchyard revealed significant post-medieval disturbance as well as numerous early features. Substantial brick built tombs of 18th to 19th Century were observed. Also excavation and building survey, yield pots medieval child burials and possible Late saxon burial.


Grid reference Centred TM 16191 44285 (16m by 22m)
Map sheet TM14SE


Type and Period (11)

Full Description

2004: A test pit evaluation was carried out in the Churchyard of St Nicholas Church in February 2004, within the footprint ot a proposed development leading to the conversion of the Church into a Church Resourse and Conference Centre. Five c.1m test pits were excavated in order to address questions raised by an Archaeological Assessment Report and GPR survey carried out/commissioned by The Archaeological Consultancy. The test pits confirmed that heavy truncation to a depth of up to 1.5m by post-medieval buildings had taken place to the east of the Churchyard. The uppermost 0.9m of the churchyard itself largely was occupied by a heavily disturbed c19th cemetery soil in which few grave cuts were observed although it was found to contain potentially numerous (three were identified in test pits 3 and 5) brick built tombs. Solid bonded remains of the southern church wall ceased just 0.66m below the existing ground surface and overlay a sequence of rammed chalk and clay-with-flint foundation layers to at least 0.85m (S1).

2005: A re-ordering of the existing church and construction of an adjacent extension required that a programme of archaeological evaluation and recording was undertaken. The reduced level soil strip for the extension revealed the groundplan of a building known from early maps to have stood to the south-east of the chancel from at least the later 17th century through into the first half of the 20th century. Below this a relatively thick loam soil was encountered with burials throughout, indicating that the graveyard had, at some time, extended under and to the east ofa north to south aligned path/lane that was well established by the end of the 17th century. A small group of shallow lain infant burials were formally excavated, while the remainder were left intact beneath the new build, the formation level for which was raised to facilitate this process. One of the burials was found to be in a very poor condition and was truncated by a pit which was tentatively dated to the Late Saxon Period. If this dating is correct then this burial may have been associated with a pre-conquest phase of the church. The excavated burials and all miscellaneous disarticulated human skeletal material and charnel deposits were reburied with due care and respect within the area of the churchyard. Artefactual evidence included stratified and unstratified pottery dating from the Saxon, medieval and post-medieval periods. Re ordering of the interior of the church included the removal ofpanelling from around the walls which was found to represent the re-use ofbox-pews, mainly in pine but with some decorative oak panels. The oak panels probably dated to the mid-17th century while the pine panels where more likely to be 18th century in date. Graffiti on the back of one of the panels suggested that they had been installed in 1864. Evidence for earlier decoration in the church was recorded in the form of wall paintings and coatings, the majority of which were clearly relatively recent, probably later 19th or early 20th century in date (S2).

See also IPS 205 and (S1-S5).

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Gardner, R. 2004. Archaeological Evaluation Report: St Nicholas's Church, Cromwell Square, Ipswich..
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Boulter, S.. 2006. St. Nicholas Church, Ipswich (IPS 442), A Recording of Archaeological Work Associated with the Recording and Extension to the Existing Building.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Breen, A. 2004. St Nicholas Church, Ipswich.
  • <S4> Unpublished document: Dr Peter Wardle. 2003. Historic Environment Mitigation Strategy for the Re-ordering of: St Nicholas Church Friars Rd Ipswich.
  • <S5> Unpublished document: GSB Prospection. 2003. St Nicholas Church Ipswich..

Finds (36)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

May 18 2017 10:46AM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.