St. MARY at the QUAY, IPSWICH

March 2017

Recently re-branded as Quay Place this glorious Ipswich church built in the 1540s provides space for events, meetings and wellbeing therapies brought about by a partnership between Suffolk Mind and the Church Conservation Trust with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Its former wealth, reflected in fine decoration and carving and a spectacular double hammer beam roof, stems from its dockside position and the patronage of prosperous merchants. Thomas Pounder and Henry Tooley graced its congregation and Thomas Eldred prayed here prior to one of the first circumnavigations of the world.

Generally Cobbolds chose St. Clement’s for their nuptials but examination of entry no. 123 of the St. Mary’s Marriage Register (1813-1837) reveals the union by licence of Rev. John Edge Daniel (#4328 on the family tree), single man and Mary Aldrich (#4327), single woman on 1st January 1830. The officiating minister was Rev. Spencer Cobbold (#69). Most entries are witnessed by just 2 or 3 family members but in this case, for no apparent reason, no less than 14 signed the register. Was this simply a display of popularity or might John’s father, Rear-Admiral Hierarchus Daniel have lived up to his name and ordered a 3-line whip?

Those signing included Mary’s father John Aldrich (#87); her brother John Cobbold Aldrich (#3778); her sister Sarah Elizabeth Aldrich (#4329); her cousin Harriet Cobbold (#132) and Rev. Thomas Cobbold (#51) father of the Officiating Minister. The surprising absentee is Mary’s mother Mary Cobbold (#86) although the marriage took place some 9 years before her death. Another 10 family members from both sides signed.

Interestingly the register is titled St. Mary Key, Ipswich and many of the entries are similarly identified. Is this a variation in spelling or does it derive from the church’s location on Key Street? This wedding took place some 12 years before construction of the adjacent Wet Dock, opened when John Chevallier Cobbold (#114) was Mayor and for which he was a commissioner. The overmantle from Thomas Eldred’s house in Fore St which celebrates his exploits was donated by the family to Christchurch Mansion where it can be seen to this day.

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