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March 2004
Do you believe in ghosts?
By Sue Knock

Blackfriars church.
Blackfriars church.
Are you brave enough to go on a ghost walk? Will you scream if you see the friar or monk passing you by?

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Black Friars Ghost Walk, with Sue Knock
In February, 1348, the bailiffs and commonalty of Ipswich unanimously granted the Black Friars a plot of land south of their curtlage, which was 103 feet in length. For this the friars were to pay 6d. a year rent and to keep up the town wall opposite the plot; and the other on the south of their court. Also the two great gates, one on the north and the other on the south of their court; and through these gates the commonalty were to be allowed to pass whenever any mishap fell on the town.

By an inquisition of March 1350-1, it was adjudged that Henry de Monescele and two others might assign three massuages to the Dominicans for the extension of the site.

These various grants gave to the Friars Preachers a large site in the parish of St. Mary at Quay, reaching in length from north to south, from St. Margaret's Church to the church of
St. Mary at Quay (Star Lane), and in width from east to west, from Foundation Street to the town wall, parallel with the Lower Wash.

This Ghost walk will take you to some of the places a Friar has been seen.

Sue Knock in Maud's Attic
Sue Knock in Maud's Attic

The walk will start at the Old Neptune Cafe with a talk about the old Neptune Cafe and the sightings. Then a look round the back of Maud's Attic and the Merchant House Antiques in St. Peters Street where there have also been sightings.


At the back of these buildings in St. Peters Street there is what is reputed to be the old Priory wall. In the photo of the Priory wall, there is something very unusual on the right hand side which we can not explain - see picture below »

Priory wall
Is that a ghostly sighting at Priory wall?

The Old Neptune Cafe
The Neptune was built in the 15th Century and was one of many fine houses in Fore Street at a time of great prosperity for the town. Later it became an Inn.

Inside the Neptune cafe
Inside the Neptune cafe

At one time, onion growers from Brittany brought their crops over from St. Malo and off loaded them into the back rooms of the bar parlour of the Neptune which was still lined with fine linenfold Panelling.



Fore Street
At the beginning of the 15th Century, Ipswich had become prosperous through the success of the Woollen Industry in Suffolk. Wealthy merchants built their fine houses near to the quayside where so much of the business was in the area. By the middle of the 15th Century the woollen industry had moved away from Suffolk and the houses were neglected and had fallen into decay. Many of them were converted for different uses by various tradesmen or into pubs.

Quay Street - The Bull Inn
The Bull Inn was one of the most important inns in Ipswich when the greater part of the towns commercial business was centred on the River Orwell. In 1861 the Bull had a rating assessment of £40.00 a year, £5.00 a year more than that of the White Horse. This was a good indication of it's size and importance. Its stable yard, which had a blacksmiths forge and a wheelwrights shop, was always a hive of activity. During the First World War a Zeppelin airship dropped a bomb which scored a direct hit on The Bull and killed a man in the house next door, who has since been seen at times near The Bull. The building still stands opposite the old Customs House.

Oxborrow's Hotel
The Residence of Sir Manuel Sorrell in 1665. Sir Manuel was knighted by Charles II when he presented the King with a gift of £300 from the town as a token of its loyal allegiance.

PG McGinty's
Paddy McGinty's Pub is a stones throw away from Christchurch Mansion. The Mansion was built on the site of Holy Trinity Priory. It is known that the priory was home to generations of monks up until a henchman of Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, carried out his purge against the Church known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1528. Many were murdered and the monastery ransacked. The Pub is haunted by a monk who was murdered and thrown down the indoor well.

More information:
To find out more join Sue on the Black Friars Ghost walk.
Cost is £10 and includes afternoon tea and cake at the start of the walk at the Old Neptune Cafe.

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