Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Heritage Open Days Part 2

My next visit was to a much older building, one of the earliest domestic buildings in Ipswich.........
Pykenham Gatehouse in Northgate Street .
This is what I found out about this interesting building

William Pykenham was born in Higher Layer, Essex in the mid 15th century. He studied at Oxford and Cambridge and entered into the church, where he quickly gained influential patrons. In 1471 he was named Archdeacon of Suffolk, which means he was the chief representative of the Bishop of Norwich. Pykenham held an ecclesiastical court at the church of St Mary-le-tower, just behind his official residence.
Pykenham was a man who knew his own worth. He is said to have had 19 servants at the time of his death. He also required residents of almhouses that he founded to say daily prayers for his soul and those of his parents. Historians believe that had Richard III triumphed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 he would have made Pykenham a bishop.
Pykenham found the old building too small for his taste, and quickly set about enlarging it to provide a suitably impressive house for a man of his standing. He built a ceremonial gateway opening into Northgate Street. The gatehouse and the flanking walls were made of brick, considered a fashionable material and a sign of wealth and refinement at the time. The rest of the gatehouse was timber-framed with a wattle and daub infill. At some point the gatehouse gained a stepped gable in Dutch style.
In the 18th century the medieval facade was rendered with lime and sand. This served not only to make the gatehouse look more fashionable but it helped seal the walls against draughts. The front wall had large buttresses, but these were just for show, and were removed in the late 18th century.

Double windows in the south extension
Over the gateway arch is a single room, best seen from the rear. This is jettied out over the arch and to the south. The fact that there is no jetty to the north suggests that it was once attached to another building that has been pulled down. Access to the room was provided by a brick stair inside the gatehouse.

Originally just one room maybe for a gatekeeper or perhaps for storage of important papers it was extended 100 years later with two small rooms and a new entrance on the right of the photo below......which is the view from inside the arch.
It wasn't until the building was being restored that this old staircase (mentioned in the information above) was found leading up from the street
This lovely carving was one of the corner posts of the jettied upper-storey of the original building. The extension meant this was then undercover so has been preserved for over 500 years.

This piece of  metal work - used to strengthen the original building is dated 1673

It was so interesting to finally see what was behind the big gates that are usually shut.

Thank you for comments yesterday. I am totally fed up with on-going work in the house............ Am I mad?.............. Doing all this to update and make it more saleable in the future? I'm beginning to think I must be.
Just have to remember that by winter it will all be done and I'll be able to relax and hibernate and if I do decide to sell, then it'll be right ready.
Anyway, the bath is in, but of course the guy hadn't got the right stuff to finish the job on Tuesday! There was supposed to be metal trim for the edge of the shower wall stuff which is going along the side of the bath but it hadn't been ordered.   The basin was damaged on arrival  but much too big anyway so a smaller  replacement will be ordered. There were 11 tiles in the garage  to match those already there and that was just enough to tile where the under-the-sink cupboard had been but it turned out the grout he had brought was grey - so no good for the pale pink marbled tiles!
He'll be back when the basin arrives to finish the where have I heard that before?

And I've been meaning to say welcome to new followers, numbers are now more than the old blog, not that I'm keeping a check on them or anything!

Back Tomorrow


  1. Like other stuff, one grits one's teeth and mutters 'it'll be lovely when it's finished!'
    And it will - not a lot of consolation right now though.

    1. Having someone working in the house is driving me nuts! I'm just not used to it as Col could turn his hand to anything.

    2. Workmen in the house is not pleasant. As you say, it will be done by the winter and then you can settle down. The Ipswich building was so interesting.

  2. Bill and Violet scooted around town on Sunday, to see a few places. We all went to Broomhill first thing, did you go? I've just written about it, it took some time because I have to admit it makes me sad to see it how it is now. Next year I might tag along in town with the fam, see happier sights.

    I am with you regarding having things done. So lovely once it's all finished and tidy, but urgh, the mess, the problems, the taking longer than you hoped etc! Don't envy you at all! x

    1. Broomhill pics tomorrow. It was nearly noon when I got there. I've been told the Willis building is a must see so next year I'll go there

  3. The corner carving is really beautiful. Wonderful that they have preserved that area.

    As for your renovation, well, no one I know who has gone through the experience (be it large or small) has had any of the work done easily. It seems that all to often the trades (your side of the Pond and mine) don't really want to do the work for which they are engaged, come unprepared (e.g. wrong tools, wrong materials), or aren't actually competent to do the work in the first place. A frustrating experiences all around. Here's hoping your reno is wrapped up to your liking sooner rather than later.

    1. The building was so small but very interesting.
      I'm very fed up with all the work, but it will get done I hope.

  4. I love doing some of the heritage days but unfortunately couldn’t do any this year. Such lovely old buildings.
    User you too are being plagued by ‘google sign in’ I guess it’s spam.

    1. I'm hoping to do more buildings next year.

      I just keep deleting the rubbish comments - computer generated I guess

  5. Interesting building. I've seen it, but never knew much about it. Thanks for the tour and info!

    Good luck with all the renovations. Like you say, once done you'll be able to relax and it will be ready later on. You don't have to make a decision right now, but things will be a little easier if you do decide later. Otherwise you'll just get to enjoy all the things done!

    1. The gates are usually shut and I knew it was old, so it was very interesting to see inside

  6. Such an interesting building to explore, and some things hidden from view for so long. Our plumber arrived yesterday to repair a leaking pipe, it was done in minutes and didn't charge us as the job was so small. I don't think it gets any better than that.

    1. Wow - Good plumber - can you send him down here?

  7. I love a bit of history and seeing old buildings, very interesting xx

  8. I love Heritage week - so many interesting places to visit and so nice that we can read about the ones we cannot get to on the blogs. We managed four places this year - I have just written about one of them - my favourite so far.
    We don't have many 'black and white' style buildings up here or thatch - there is so much Victorian it is quite refreshing to see your pictures.
    Perhaps rather than renovating you should be preserving at your house LOL! That shower you removed might have been interesting for someone on a hertitage day in the future!!

  9. I absolutely loathe having workmen in the house so I feel your pain.
    What a beautiful building.