Marooned by the dual carriageway of
Civic Drive, its churchyard suffering incursions on all side, "St
Matthew's" is better know to Ipswichians as the name of the nearby
roundabout. Once quite a small church, St Matthew is now a big one. Its
core is 15th century, including the lower part of the tower (see our
first image below). Its 19th century expansion can be explained by the
proximity of the Ipswich Barracks, for this became the Garrison church.
This resulted in the huge aisles, as wide as the nave. The chancel was
also rebuilt, but retaining its medieval roof.
To the right of the main doorway is
this fascinating brick and stone early structure. The top of the tower drew our attention
and these photographs show glimpses of the monograms on each side.
The situation of the tower and the
proximity of trees and other structures make this a difficult subject
to photograph. A more powerful zoom lens (and tripod) would reveal so
much more in the right light conditions.
This rather odd Victorian gothic
confection atop the tower features
central waterspout gargoyles surrounded by a row of grotesque faces and
foliate features. Above the 'sill' is a frieze of flushwork (stone and
knapped flint), then another sill and a curious mixture of battlement
walls pierced by church windows. All sorts of carvings, lettering and
curiosities are included here, but so high it really needs to be
properly photographed and recorded. It is quite possible that the
church have an information sheet about these tower features, but sadly
it is the only town centre church which is kept locked, so we couldn't
The view of the top of the tower
from the Civic Drive side reveals a central feature between the pierced
ecclesiastical 'windows'. The close-up shows the curly letters 'S
M' for St Matthew. See the lettering on St Matthew's Hall in nearby Clarkson
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throughout the Ipswich
Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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