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Suffolk Scenes: Wolsey's Gate and the history of Ipswich


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Ipswich is one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in England with great links to Suffolk Archives (The Hold) and museums. This makes the University of Suffolk an exciting location to study BA (Hons) in History, which is ranked number 1 on student satisfaction by The Complete University Guide 2021.

Did you know that our story stems back to the Tudor times, when Cardinal Thomas Wolsey established Cardinal College (now Christ Church College), for which he planned a number of feeder colleges; the main one of which was to be in Ipswich.

In 1531, Wolsey failed to gain the church’s approval to divorce Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon; consequently, he was arrested for treason and the college was demolished. Wolsey’s gate (picture at top of page) is the last small fragment of the college and some 500 years later, Suffolk now has its own university and the legacy of Cardinal Wolsey is firmly rooted within the history of education in Ipswich. 

It is also interesting from an architectural point of view. Built of red brick, the gate was only ever supposed to be a small entrance for people arriving by water. Students on the BA (Hons) Architecture course are currently designing around Wolsey's Gate and within the wider site. On this course you will study how to design buildings, spaces, and urbanities resilient and adaptive to rapid environmental, social and economic change. 

Read more information about Wolsey's Gate here: CTHOWGEGO (2014) ‘Wolsey’s Gate’ [Online] Available at:

Brandon Orton, Student Recruitment and Marketing Assistant

Follow our #SuffolkScenes stories on our social accounts. You will see more information about Wolsey's Gate on our TikTok: @universityofsuffolk.

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