Monument record IPS 455 - Former Cardinal Works Site, College Street, Ipswich, (IAS 5305).

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Evaluation identified Middle Saxon to Post Medieval occupation and finds.


Grid reference Centred TM 1643 4411 (110m by 54m) (13 map features)
Map sheet TM14SE


Type and Period (35)

Full Description

2000: Ipswich, Former Cardinal Works Site, College Street (TM 1642 4411; IAS 5305) Prior to the submission of a planning application covering the development of the site, an archaeological evaluation was commissioned in order to identify and record the character and quality of preservation of the surviving archaeological deposits.
The site has a rich historical background, having formed part of the early Saxon town, Austin Canons Priory of St. Peter and St. Paul and Wolsey's College of St. Mary. A documentary search undertaken as part of the evaluation showed how little is known regarding the geographical extent of these foundations and the detailed structure of their buildings.
However, the desktop survey did provide useful information regarding the extent of the lands occupied by the Society of Friends (Quakers) where burials dating to the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries can be expected to be found.
Levels taken on the surface of the naturally-occurring subsoil show that the central area of the site formed a natural low, possibly continuing down to the river as an inlet. In addition, a combination of evidence from the early maps and results of the trial-trenching suggest that the watercourse that once followed the line of Brook Street swept round and passed to the east of the evaluated site, immediately to the west of the parish church of St. Mary at the Quay. The water table was encountered at a level of c.1.5 metres throughout the site. As no waterlogged organic materials (wood, leather etc.) were recovered, it has been suggested that this represents an artificial level brought about by the banking up of water behind the Wet Dock. Prior to 1842, when the Wet Dock was opened, the water table would have been lower and any surviving waterlogged organic material would relate to this earlier level.
Archaeological deposits were recorded at various depths throughout the eight excavated trial-trenches, and while some truncation by post-medieval walls had occurred, the preservation level and quality of the surviving features was good.
The earliest evidence comprised residual finds of worked and burnt flint (?prehistoric), Roman pottery and tile and Early Saxon hand-made pottery. While only occurring in later features, the Early Saxon pottery must relate to the earliest pre-urban phase in the continuous occupation that developed into the town of Ipswich.
Middle Saxon, Late Saxon and early medieval features were also widespread throughout the site. Predominantly comprising pits, there were also three substantial buildings, two surface lain, of post and slot construction with clay floors, and one possible Sunken Featured Building (SFB).
An extensive metalled gravel surface, which sealed a layer of early medieval date and one of the Late Saxon buildings, was tentatively interpreted as a yard surface within the priory precinct.
Structural features positively attributed to the Priory (1130-1528) were limited to a mortar bedding surface for a tile floor and a length of footing trench. There were, however, a large number of burials, some with a bonded stone (principally septaria) and lime mortar lining to their grave cuts.
Five walls and robbed wall-lines were thought to relate directly to Wolsey's college, two aligned with the present walls of the chancel of St. Peter's parish church.
Post-medieval features included cellars and walls associated with the more recent commercial/industrial use of the site, principally St. Peter's Iron Works. In addition, a grave was recorded towards the south east corner of the site in an area found, from documentary research, to have been within the earlier component of a Quaker burial ground associated with the first of two meeting houses (S1).

2002: Monitoring of test pits, revealed a flint and mortar structural feature (S2).

The residual patinated blade has no further description, thus only a broad Upper Palaeolithic to Bronze Age date is possible, (S3).

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Boulter S. 2000. Archaeological Evaluation Report, Former Cardinal Works Site, Ipswich..
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Loader T. 2004. Archaeological Monitoring Report, Former Cardinal Works Site, Ipswich,.
  • <S3> Personal Correspondence: Cutler, Hannah. 2019. Personal Observations as part of the Enhancement of the Suffolk HER for the Palaeolithic & Mesolithic Periods project.

Finds (54)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (12)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Jan 14 2020 12:38PM

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