Monument record IPS 605 - Eastern Triangle, Ipswich, (IAS 5903).

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The site data has considerable local significance and can contribute to research topics such as topography and its effects on Ipswich’s urban development, extra-mural activity during the Late Anglo-Saxon period, and the origins of Key Street and its influence on the development of the medieval waterfront.


Grid reference Centred TM 1663 4413 (50m by 35m) (3 map features)
Map sheet TM14SE


Type and Period (14)

Full Description

2008: Evaluation.

2011: Excavation.

Small amounts of prehistoric, Roman and Early Anglo-Saxon material were found residually in later deposits, suggesting very little activity on the site during those periods. Rather more Middle Anglo-Saxon pottery was found, but again this was residual material and does not provide evidence for permanent occupation of the site at that time.
A general increase in pottery deposition beginning in the Late Anglo-Saxon period together with the evidence of several large pits and at least one human burial that was probably of the same date, indicate that by c. AD 850 there was permanent occupation on or adjacent to the site. A small amount of residual human bone from later features close to the burial suggests that it might have been part of a small cemetery.

During the 12th–13th century sequences of clay-and-timber buildings were constructed in the southern part of the site. They were perpendicular to modern Key Street, suggesting that the street might have had earlier origins than has been supposed previously. The buildings were represented by sunken clay floors and associated occupation layers, rows of postholes and the remains of clay walling. Localised areas of scorched floor material probably indicated the positions of internal hearths, while more extensive scorched areas might have resulted from the destruction by fire of at least one of the buildings. The presence of hammerscale and small amounts of slag suggest that iron working was carried out in at least one of the buildings.

In the late medieval period two cellared, masonry buildings were constructed on the Key Street frontage, one at either end of the site. The cellars survived particularly well, having remained in use until the late 19th- or early 20th century, and the archaeological evidence indicated that both buildings had complex histories of modification and refurbishment. The building at the west end of the site was known from the early 17th century as the Gun Inn (or Gunstone) and its ownership can be traced to at least the late 16th century. It was a substantial structure measuring approximately 18.5m long x 7m wide, with septaria walls up to 0.60m thick. The other building, at the east end of the site, was smaller and, from photographic evidence, is thought to have been a domestic dwelling; given its waterfront location it was probably a merchant’s house.

During the post-medieval period the Key Street frontage of the site was developed intensively, while areas to the rear were retained as yards and gardens where quarries, cesspits and wells were dug. Many of these cut features dated from the Tudor period and have produced significant finds assemblages that include imported Dutch pottery and building materials; these support documentary evidence for a significant Dutch presence in Ipswich from at least the 15th century.

The Gun Inn was rebuilt in the late 19th century as the Gun public house, which survived (as the Gun Café) until the 1980s when Cranfield’s Mill redeveloped the entire site as a lorry park. (S1).

See also IPS 370

2003: Desk based assessment idented that both areas are likley to be located just above the original rivers edge, with the town ditch to have likely bisected the side, entering a natural bay to the south. The sites have the potential to display different patterns of development depending on whether they lie inside or outside the late Saxon and medieval defences. There is also the potential for burials that may be located across of the residue of Area A (S2).

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Heard, K.. 2012. Archaeological Post-Excavation Assessment and Updated Project Design, Eastern Triangle, Ipswich.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Loader, T and Breen, T. 2003. Land fronting Key Street and Star Lane, Ipswich: Desk-based Assessment.

Finds (57)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (10)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Mar 22 2023 10:16AM

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