St Margarets Church Ipswich
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Guide books and interesting articles

Home > Heritage > Guide books and interesting articles

On this page you can download some of our guides and interesting articles.


We have recently brought out a full guide to St Margaret's Church which can be found here.

The church is dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch and a record of the known incumbents of the Church has been updated.

The church was built by the Augustinian monks of Holy Trinity Priory, Ipswich which was where Christchurch Mansion now stands.

Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries the lands were sold to the Withypoll Family who built Christchurch Mansion.  Paul Withypoll was a wealthy and important London merchant with specialist knowledge of trade with Italy. His son Edmund is buried in the church but Elizabeth, his daughter, was buried in London with a remarkable epitaph for the time.

We know the position and some details about one medieval wall painting in the church. 

In the 15th Century the roof of the church was raised and the magnificent carved double hammerbeam roof was constructed.

The major benefactors for this were the Hall Family whose maker's mark can be seen in the roof timbers and carved on the external stonework above the clerestory.  A recent display, called Praise the Lord and Magnify, showed some of the carvings in great detail.

In 1552 Commissioners on behalf of Edward VI completed a return listing the valuable goods held by the church.

In 1582 Edmund Withypoll was buried in an altar tomb.  This tomb, and the subsequent raising of the altar at the east end of the church, played a part in the trial of Bishop Matthew Wren in 1644 and led to one of Sir Christopher Wren's first commissions.

In 1694-5 superb Baroque painted panels were inserted into the roof structure.

In 1700 new shields were devised to cover the ends of the hammerbeams which had been damaged on the orders of William Dowsing in 1644.

In the nave and chancel of the church there are nine Hatchments for the Edgar and Fonnereau Families. 

When built, the church would not have had any seating in the nave.  By the late 17th Century there were box pews and one of these was designated for the Edgar family at The Red House.  A pew is still marked as "Red House" today.  Find out more about why the Edgar family was given a specific box pew and how the church seating has changed since then.

There have been bells at St Margaret's since 1553, although the oldest bell we have now is dated 1630.  A guide to the bells and clock can be found here.

Music has played an important part in services and the history of the organ and choir is interesting.  The organ was refurbished in 2013 and more details of the work done can be found here.

No records exist of the peals rung on the bells at St Margaret’s before their augmentation in 1899. However, since then a record of peals has been maintained. Several of the peals are recorded on “Peal Boards” hung within the old ringing chamber.  A copy of the boards can be found here.

At the end of the C19th the Bounds of the Parish were beaten!  A copy of contemporary reports of events leading up to and including the walk can be found here.

During the First World War the Steeple Keeper kept a record of his thoughts on the conflict and the effect of it on his role within the church.  An edited version can be found here.