max temp: 7°C

min temp: 4°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: Medieval well found inside Cupola House

09:47 12 October 2012

Well found in Cupola House, Bury St Edmunds

Well found in Cupola House, Bury St Edmunds


ENGINEERS rebuilding a 17th Century building which was devastated by fire have discovered a suspected medieval well.


Flames tore through historic Cupola House, in the Traverse, Bury St Edmunds after a fire – started in the basement kitchen of the Strada restaurant – spread through the Grade 1 Listed building’s ventilation system.

Workers, who are currently removing heat and smoke damaged material from the seat of the blaze, said the cover of the well was discovered after a vinyl floor covering was removed.

David Clarke, project engineer with Richard Jackson Ltd, said: “It is certainly something we have never discovered before. No one we have spoken to that have been advising us during this rebuilding process had told us about it, so it was completely unexpected.”

Mr Clarke said they only realised what they had found in the cellar when they lowered a lamp through the hatch.

The well, which is 9 metres deep and 12 metres below street level, is said to be structurally sound but does not contain any water.

He added: “We removed some slurry from the bottom but there was no water

“Due to abstraction of water in Bury over many years, the water table is now below the bottom of the well.”

The future of the well, like the rest of the building, is now under discussion.

Much of the building, apart from the distinctive frontage, will be pulled down to allow renovation work to continue.

Mr Clarke said: “The well is not in the way at the moment, we can work round it. I hope it will be retained, given that it’s not causing a particular problem.”

He added that it is possible that the well, which is cut into chalk, could be turned into a glass-topped feature to allow people look down it.

But Mr Clarke said the position of the well in the cellar would mean it probably would not be accessed by members of the public.

The well, which pre-dates the construction of the five-storey Cupola House in 1693, will now be researched and hopefully dated by the Suffolk Archaeological Service.

The East Anglian Daily Times previously reported that an investigation by Suffolk Fire and Rescue service had concluded that the fire “started accidentally in the basement kitchen of the building and then spread to the rest of the building initially via the kitchen ventilation system.”

A spokesman added: “The exact fault that led to the fire is still being investigated by the various insurance companies involved, however we know that it started on, in or around the main oven.”

Related articles



Police enforced a cordon at around 3pm

Two suspected unexploded mortars and ammunition, found in a building site in Colchester, saw a 100m cordon enforced in Mersea Road afternoon.

Police joined forces with partner agencies for the operation

People were arrested and vehicles seized in a series of police checks carried around in Ipswich and Thetford this week.

A barge on the River Gipping at Bramford around 1895. The road bridge and St Mary’s Church are on the left.

Beautiful countryside, with pleasant walks, fishing and picnic areas are how most now see the area around the River Gipping.

Pictured is Tim Yeo

Former Tory MP Tim Yeo has lost his libel action over a “cash-for-advocacy” claim which he said trashed his reputation.

Essex public sector cuts

Public sector bodies in north Essex have had more than half a billion pounds cut from their budgets over the past five years.

Will Quince speaking in the House of Commons.

Colchester MP Will Quince said he was completely surprised to be named in the Autumn Statement for his pressure to give money raised from the so-called “tampon tax” to women’s charities.

Woolverstone Wish appeal hits the half million mark.  Fundraisers and supporters meet on the site

Work is at last under way on a long-awaited and desperately needed new £3.7million state-of-the-art cancer centre – after a stunning past 12 months of fundraising.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere at the former sugar beet factory site off Sproughton Road.

A new Enterprize Zone involving 10 development sites across East Anglia, with the potential to create 18,500 jobs, was announced by Chancellor George Osborne today.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, delivering his joint Autumn Statement and Spending Review to MPs in the House of Commons
Photo: PA Wire

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review today divided opinion between unions employers.

Roundabout at Ropes Drive West where the traffic light trial has been taking place

A trial switch off of the traffic lights at Ropes Drive west in Kesgrave will be extended into the new year, following feedback from the public.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24