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Norfolk Tourism Awards

The history of Christchurch Mansion explained

PUBLISHED: 16:20 15 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:37 17 September 2018

Christchurch Mansion is one of the places holding a heritage open day

Christchurch Mansion is one of the places holding a heritage open day


Find out why the mansion was set to be demolished and how much it was eventually sold for in our explainer video to celebrate Ipswich’s heritage open days.

The Ipswich society has arranged a series of events taking place all over Ipswich today and tomorrow.

The events are held in iconic Ipswich buildings to give the public a chance to pop down and learn more about what is on their door step.

It is the first time that these open days have happened over two consecutive weekends, September 8,9, 15 and 16.

Carrie Willis at Christchurch Mansion dressed as Mrs Fondereau Picture: MEGAN ALDOUSCarrie Willis at Christchurch Mansion dressed as Mrs Fondereau Picture: MEGAN ALDOUS

Take a look at some of the events taking place here.

Christchurch Mansion is one of the many venues taking part in the open days and one not to be missed.

The fascinating Tudor Mansion is open today from 10am-5pm and 11am-5pm on Sunday. If you pop down tomorrow you can expect a free guided tour at 2pm.

Carrie Willis, who works at the mansion, feels heritage days are important because it makes you feel part of something.

She said: “Heritage here in Ipswich is really important to everybody in the town as it makes you feel part of something.

“The town has got thousands and thousands years worth of history and it is great to know how the development of the town influences us today in our society.

“So Heritage open days allows everybody accessibility to all our heritage sites in Ipswich and also around the country.

“It makes you feel a part of something, that this is ours to own and we are here because of our past ancestors.

“Here at Christchurch mansion we are a free museum we are so lucky to have such a wonderful place here in the heart of Ipswich.

“We don’t charge for entry and it is all accessible and we do our very best to include everybody in what we do here.

“We do lots of events and activities which draw in different crowds, family activities, adult activities and then we do exhibitions to draw in different people at different times.”

Carrie, who was dressed up as Mrs Fonnereau who lived at the mansion, spoke to us in-depth about the history.

She added: “The Withypoll family built the Christchurch Mansion, the final part of the building was finished in 1549.

“The family then lived there for around 150 years and through marriage the house then passed on to the Devereux family.

“The Deverex family then lived here for around about 150 years, they did lots of changes to the house, they added the dutch cables to the top of the house and also the wood panelling inside and some of the floors inside as well.”

The mansion had four families live in the house, you can find out all about them and why they left by watching our video.

Stately homes, castles, ruins, windmills, gardens and historic boats are all welcoming visitors free of charge for this year’s Heritage Open Days.

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