Mike O'Donovan, our
parks correspondent, has sent in images of Chantry Park gates taken in
spring 2011. (The area of interest for us is the pilaster nearest the
lodge and its plaque.)
'They show the Hadleigh Road entrance to Chantry Park.
Sadly the plate is weather worn (see below). The inscription reads as
PRESENTED TO THE
BOROUGH OF IPSWICH
SIR ARTHUR CHURCHMAN BART., M.P. J.P.
AND OPENED TO THE PUBLIC ON THE 20TH OCTOBER 1928, BY
H.R.H. PRINCESS MARY VISCOUNTESS LASCELLES'
The Listing (Grade II)
"Gate House and entrance gate piers to Chantry Park. A monumental white
brick and stone lodge designed as a small temple in a free classical
style. Possibly of the same date as the alterations to the Chantry in
the mid C19. It has paired banded corner pilasters, a triglyph frieze
and a pediment on the front. A central 8-panel door with small side
windows has a pediment on console brackets. Above the doorway there is
a range of windows separated by inverted consoles. The side elevation
has 2 windows with rusticated surrounds and voussoired heads.
The gateway to the park sets back from the road with a low brick wall
on either side which sweeps in concave curves with a stone coping and
wrought iron railings between consoles. Heavy wrought iron gates of mid
C19 have 4 square stone rusticated piers with cornices and ornamented
friezes. The centre, larger, piers have faces carved on the front and
the outer piers have ball finials."
Here are more images from May 2014.
The locks on the park gates (somewhat damaged) is lettered:
'N BACKHOUSE & Co ...
with the gate house glimpsed in the background.
“The origin of The Chantry (now a nursing home) is a
chantry to St Thomas Becket at St Lawrence’s Church [in the town
centre], founded in 1514-15 by Edmund Daundy, Thomas Wolsey’s uncle and
one of Ipswich’s wealthiest merchants [see also our Lady Lane page].
The chantry was endowed with 100 acres (40 ha.) of land on the edge of
Ipswich. By 1668 the property was owned by Sir Peyton Ventris, who died
in 1691, and his son Edmund is supposed to have rebuilt the house c.
1700. Little is known about the old house, but it was taxed on sixteen
hearths in 1674. After Ventris’s death in 1740 improvements were made
by the new owner, Sir John Barker, and again from 1772 by Metcalfe
Russell, who added the top floor. So one has a stuccoed house of five
bays and two and a half storeys, with a three-bay pediment on the N
(entrance) front. On rainwater heads the date 1772. To this, in 1853-4,
wings of one bay, a porte cochere of two storeys and a three-bay
two-storey bow at the back were added for Sir Fitzroy Kelly, all in a
debased classical or free Renaissance style. The bands of vermiculated
rustication are particularly telling. Equally telling the Entrance
Gates in Hadleigh Road, and the little white-brick and stone Lodge,
looking like a very grand classical mausoleum. The architect for all
this work seems to have been R.M. Phipson, and perhaps he was
responsible for the interior also.” [Bettley/Pevsner, see Reading List]
Question: is this motif in the centre of the pedestrian side
gates a monogramme? Or just a symmetrical rococco pattern? The
most obvious initials would be those of Arthur Churchman ('AC'), but
they don't seem to fit. These rather fine, wrought iron gates boast
dense patterns of curlicues, particularly on the side panels.
The last 2014 photograph shows a clearer image of the metal
plate on the right hand pier, showing the inscription more clearly
despite the statutory smear of vandal's spray-paint.
Sir Arthur Churchman
In 1927 the land where Chantry Park is now situated had
been sold for housing development and was then purchased by Sir Arthur
Churchman (later Lord Woodbridge) who gave it to Ipswich Corporation to
be held in permanent trust for the people of Ipswich. Baron Woodbridge,
of Ipswich in the County of Suffolk, was a title in the Peerage of the
United Kingdom. It was created on 17 June 1932 for Sir Arthur
Churchman, Conservative Member of Parliament for Woodbridge from 1920
to 1929. The title became extinct on his death on 3 February 1949. Sir
William Churchman, 1st Baronet, was the elder brother of Lord
Woodbridge. Incidentally, his philanthropic deeds did not stop at
Chantry Park. Sir Arthur Churchman bought Orford Castle in 1928, and in
1930 gave the property to the Orford Town Trust; an appeal for money to
maintain and restore it began shortly afterwards. Colonel Sir William
Alfred Churchman, 1st Baronet VD (1863 – 25 November 1947) was an
English tobacco manufacturer and public servant. Churchman was born in
Ipswich, Suffolk. He went into partnership with his brother, Arthur, in
the family tobacco firm which had been founded by their
great-grandfather in 1790. This was renamed W. A. & A. C.
Churchman. It was later absorbed by the tobacco combines and Churchman
became a director of the Imperial Tobacco Company. Some may recall the
Churchman's factory in Portman Road and their product:
Churchman's No. 1 cigarettes. 1950s advertisements showed, variously,
glamourous women and (disturbingly) a horse and a poodle smoking the
This enamelled metal shop sign was spotted at an open day in May 2014
at the Church of St Michael, Upper Orwell
Street (burnt down in 2011).
It is a reminder of a locally-marketed brand of tobacco from the
Churchman's factory at the top end of Portman Road. It reads:
Here is an exhibition example of a similar sign:
In Packets only
The curious curlicued initial 'C' is simplified, making the brand name
more readable. 'In Packets Only' is now accompanied by 'The best lasts
longest'. In the modern times of tobacco advertising bans and an
awareness and recognition of the deleterious effects of smoking on
human health, these advertisements ring rather hollow. With the benefit
of hindsight, the immense wealth accrued by the Churchman family was
based on very dubious aspects of human activity: slavery on tobacco
plantations, the pedalling of addictive drugs to young people and women
and so on.
The following is from the English
Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.
"The Ipswich Chantry was founded in 1509 by Edmund Daundy, a prominent
and respected Ipswich merchant [he was a Member of Parliament for
Ipswich in 1512 and 1515, not to mention the uncle of Cardinal Thomas
Wolsey]. After the Ipswich priories were
suppressed in 1536, the Cutler family were said to be in occupation of
a house at the Chantry and by 1668 the land was in the ownership of Sir
Peyton Ventris. Sir Peyton was succeeded in 1691 by his son Edmund who
built a house in about 1700 which is believed to be the foundation of
the present house (Pevsner and Radcliffe 1975). Edmund died in 1740 and
the estate was sold to Sir John Barker who made substantial
improvements to the house. The Chantry changed hands again in 1772,
being purchased by Metcalf Russell who added a further storey and
passed the land on to his elected heir Michael Collinson. From 1795
onwards Michael's son Charles enlarged the estate to 500 acres (about
208 hectares) and it is he who was responsible for developing the
character of much of the registered park which survives today (1998).
He planted the South Avenue (1807) and made further modifications
resulting in it being described as having woodland groves, a lake
covering several acres and studded with little islands (dated 1828),
and gardens of rare and exotic plants laid out with meticulous care
In 1836 the estate was purchased by Charles Lillingston who married the
daughter of the Rev Fonnereau of Christchurch
Mansion and on the
occasion of their daughter's fifteenth birthday the local paper carried
a lengthy description of the park where the celebrations were held.
Lillingston was attributed by White's Directory of 1844 as having made
many improvements to the house and grounds. His son and heir however
was killed in action, resulting in another sale in 1852 when Sir
Fitzroy Kelly, a distinguished barrister and MP for Ipswich, became the
new owner. Kelly is also said to have applied great energy to his new
property, making many alterations to the house in the Italian style
(White 1844). He commissioned the new gates and lodge at the north
entrance and called in Mr Nesfield (assumed to be W A Nesfield
(1793-1881) to provide a scheme for the flower gardens on the south
front (Inspector's report). His stay was also short though, and he sold
the site to Charles Binney Skinner in 1867. By 1897 the house and park
had been sold again to Sir Henry Cecil Domville. The Domvilles lived
lavishly in the Edwardian style but Sir Cecil died suddenly in 1902 and
his widow went to live abroad. When the Jump family arrived in 1906 the
grounds had become very neglected but Mrs Jump was a keen gardener and
with the help of Mr Nottcutt of Woodbridge improved the gardens and
added new features. In 1927 when the Chantry again came up for sale it
was purchased by George Gooday with the intention of developing a
housing estate. Sir Arthur Churchman, a JP and member of the Council
intervened, however, purchasing the house and park and presenting them
to the borough as a public amenity which was opened by Princess Mary in
1928. Since that time the house has been leased as a nursing home and
the walled kitchen gardens are currently (1998) used as a nursery by
the Borough Parks Department."
Please email any comments and contributions by clicking here.
From Ronald Turner. "I was evaculated to (i think) Chantry hse in 1940
and i remember servants calling the owner Lord Woodbridge. It had a
large lake and horses running in the fields.
I have been to suffolk several times to try and identify where it is
but to no avail.
Could it possibly be Chantry Hse. ??
Yours sincerely RG.Turner"
Well, we know that Lord Woodbridge
purchased the house and park in 1927 and gave it to the borough as a
public amenity in the following year. It is possible that the house was
used for evacuees during the 2nd World War - or another house in the
estate. Can anyone help?]
throughout the Ipswich
Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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