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St Mary at the Quay Church, Ipswich facts for kids

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St Mary at the Quay Church, Ipswich
A tall flint tower with the body of the church extending beyond it
St Mary at the Quay Church, Ipswich, from the west
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OS grid reference TM 166 442
Location Ipswich, Suffolk
Country England
Denomination Anglican
Website Churches Conservation Trust
Functional status Redundant
Heritage designation Grade II
Designated 19 December 1951
Architectural type Church
Style Perpendicular Gothic
Materials Flint with stone dressings

St Mary at the Quay Church is a redundant Anglican church in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building, and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It originally served the thriving industry around the docks. The area then became run down but has more recently been redeveloped, with the dock being converted into a marina.


St Mary's was built between about 1450 and 1550, possibly on the site of an earlier church, in the dockland area of the town, the centre of the merchant community. It was one of twelve medieval churches in Ipswich, and one of three mariners' churches. At this time it was probably known as Stella Maris (Our Lady, Star of the Sea). During the 18th century the focus of economic activity moved away from the dockland area, and the size of the congregation declined. Over the years, flooding of the church has caused structural problems and, in an attempt to prevent this, the vaults were filled with concrete during the 19th century. In 1940–42 during the Second World War, the church was damaged by bombs, and most of the stained glass was lost.

After the war the church closed for worship. In the 1990s repairs to it were organised by the Friends of Friendless Churches, and it was then used as the headquarters of Ipswich's Boys' Brigade. When they left the church, it closed again, and was vested in the Churches Conservation Trust in 1973. By this time most of the furnishings and contents had been removed. The Trust has organised structural repairs to the church, in particular to deal with the flooding, as the salt water was causing decay of the columns of the arcades. During the 2000s the church was a venue for conceptual art exhibitions and performances. For a time it was home to an arts organisation known as Key Arts. In 2010 plans were made for the church to be converted into a mental health wellbeing centre, run by Suffolk Mind, assisted by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.


The church is constructed in flint with stone dressings. Its plan includes a nave with a clerestory, north and south aisles, transepts, and a west tower. The tower has diagonal buttresses decorated with flushwork, and an embattled parapet. Its architectural style is Perpendicular.

Inside the church, the nave has a double hammerbeam roof, with carvings of the apostles, important figures in Ipswich history, and other designs. In the church is a 15th-century octagonal font. The font had been removed to a church at Brantham, but has been returned. Also in the church are the tomb and brass of Henry Tooley, who built the almshouses nearby, and a copy of the Pownder brass. Thomas Pounder (or Pownder), like Henry Tooley, was an Ipswich merchant. The original of the brass is in Ipswich Museum.

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