Stoke Street, Tower Ramparts, Parkside Avenue
Muriel Clegg, historian of streets in Ipswich, wites: ‘One
small improvement, possibly not
recognised by those who went their accustomed ways, was the removal of
the occasional ‘cancer’ or ‘caurncer’. With it went a word once
familiar in the Ipswich vocabulary, though it may survive in folk
memory. In June 1868, £50 was paid for the removal of a ‘carnser’ in
Fore Hamlet. This may be the causeway reported in 1870 to have been
removed in Wykes Bishop Hamlet. It
projected into the public street and was an eyesore. When in 1881 plans
of a new factory for Messrs. Footman, Pretty and Nicolson on Tower
Ramparts included ‘an enclosure of part of the carncer now used as a
public pathway’ members of a sub-committee concerned with streets went
to view the scene, but apparently raised no objection… the carncer,
which of course formed part of the medieval earthen rampart, or rather,
such of it as remained. Strengthened with brickwork it provided a
foundation and causeway for the houses built there. Houses, carnser and
all were removed in the slum clearances of the 1930s.'
Above: Tower Ramparts
carnser 1890 rising to a pathway in front of houses built on the old
earthen rampart. The view is from outside the 'Sailmakers' shopping
centre; Electric House has yet to be built and the William Pretty &
Son corset factory (now an NCP car park) with its bridge into the
store – or perhaps a warehouse – dominates the west end of the street.
'The present day Tower Ramparts bus station reveals no trace of
what was once there. The occupiers of houses built on the remnant of
the town rampart in Lower Orwell Street went up steps to their homes
and could see water flowing past below them.
Stoke Street … had a causeway or carnser forming a raised pathway in
front of the houses. This disappeared when in 1899 the People’s Hall was built on the site.'
Above: Stoke Street carnser
1896 (shortly before demolition); the view is from close to Bell Lane
looking towards St Mary-at-Stoke Church
(not visible) and the the left-right bends up to Belstead Road.
The Methodist "People's Hall"
(now mislabelled 'Stoke
Hall') stands on this site.
'Parkside Avenue in Westerfield Road provides another example.
Here, when Westerfield Road was little more than a sunken lane, the
east side of the pathway had been buttressed but was in a dangerous
state until by agreement it was repaired. Steps now lead up to the
Road carnser 2018 image
'The word "carnser", however it was spelt, is old in town history. In
November 1564 Christopher Crane was ordered ‘to sufficiently pave and
land up the Caunsey next his house’, presumably in Tacket Street where
he was living in 1569. In 1684-5 £15.7s.71/2d was paid ‘for the work at
the Causey by Friar’s Bridge.’
[Main text from Muriel Clegg: The
way we went, see Reading List]
The Westerfield Road carnser mentioned
by Muriel Clegg – the only one mentioned in her text
which still exists – is today mounted by a ramped
pathway from the town end to reach Parkside Avenue, quite a distance
Where it meets Constable Road, Parkside Avenue bears
street nameplates on each side of the narrow road with, on the north
side, a fine cast iron cartouche bearing the name of the house: 'South
Below: the view from the Constable Road junction.
Back at the park end we see that the northern part of the
carnser, where Westerfield Road drops
down towards The Woolpack public house, is not a path but a road
(Parkside Avenue rising to the sharp left-hand turn). A third street
nameplate is fixed to the white brick garden wall of number 10.
Sometimes small streets are named several times, where larger
thoroughfares are hardly named at all (or have lost their street
nameplates) – see also Dykes Street and
Above left: the view of Parkside Avenue from the sharp
turn at the top; close to the left bend at the end (into Westerfoeld
Road) is the street
nameplate shown above right. The line of bushes to the left conceals the
drop of the carnser; the mature trees visible across Westerfield
Road are, of course in Christchurch Park.
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