Do something new - Meet the Archdeacon at Ipswich

The sun is out, the directory is live, so definitely time to look in a little more detail at some of the fantastic places taking part in Heritage Open Days 2015. This year we're encouraging everyone to 'do something new', so in the run up to the festival watch out for some spotlight blogs highlighting the organisers doing just that. 

© IBPT - Meet the Archdeacon at Pykenham Gatehouse.

First up we chat to Margaret Hancock from Ipswich Building Preservation Trust, who have been opening up Pykenham’s gatehouse, the Trust’s 15th century headquarters, to Heritage Open Day (HODs) visitors for many years.

What makes HODs in your area so special?

Ipswich has a great team of volunteers working together to provide a memorable weekend. This year more than 30 buildings or locations are open – there’s even an historic sailing barge (built here in Ipswich). Put that together with free guided walks and a free heritage bus from the local transport museum to travel around the town and you’re sure of a great day out.

What new things do you have planned for this year?

This year the Trust wants to get local children and families involved so we’re holding a "Meet Archdeacon Pykenham" event with characters in 15th century costume. Families can travel back in time to meet the builder of our Gatehouse and talk to the Archdeacon about his work, crime & punishment in 15th century Ipswich and learn how the culprits were dealt with in the Church courts. In cameo historical re-enactments at 12 noon & 2 p.m there’ll be tales of swine in the churchyard and stolen bells melted down for scrap.

Throughout the day there’ll  be lots of activities for families - colouring illuminated letters, writing with quill pens, drawing and an historic buildings treasure trail. More mature visitors will be able to take a unique guided walk, taking a peek into one of the Trust’s successfully completed projects, and highlighting some of the buildings at risk in the town.

What has been your favourite HODs moment/memory

The surprise and excitement of visitors to Pykenham’s Gatehouse. So many locals and visitors walk past the building without realising that it was built 20 years before Columbus discovered America. They are amazed to discover that the Gatehouse has witnessed more than 500 years of Ipswich history, seeing the comings and goings of some 20 generations of Ipswich people - at first through the north gate and along the street with the brook, and more recently past the imposing library built opposite it in the last century.

Have we whetted your appetite, do you fancy discovering something new in Ipswich?