The long campaign to honour Cardinal Wolsey with a permanent public memorial in his hometown of Ipswich reaches a successful conclusion at an unveiling ceremony on Wednesday.
The cast bronze likeness by leading sculptor David Annand, of Fife, will take pride of place on Curson Plain at the corner of Silent Street, opposite where Wolsey lived in his childhood.
Wednesday 29th June is Ipswich’s Charter Day and a celebration of the town receiving a Royal Charter from King John in 1200. This year, the Wolsey memorial makes it an extra special and more colourful occasion. At 11.30am a costumed procession will make its way from the civic church of St Mary le Tower to the statue, which will be unveiled at noon. Wolsey’s Bells will be ringing at St Lawrence Church in Dial Lane as they pass.
Dr John Blatchly, local historian and former Headmaster of Ipswich School, is the man who led the fund-raising campaign. He said: “This is a very important day for Ipswich. Thomas Wolsey was Henry VIII’s chief minister and Lord Chancellor, a man of immense influence. He was not only a great statesman and churchman, but also a remarkable teacher and educationalist, who founded and built his college school here twinned with his other college at Oxford, now Christ Church. Ipswich still has Wolsey’s Gate, the college watergate, and the college chapel, St Peter’s Church, but it is fitting and long overdue to provide a more than lifesize sculpture to honour Ipswich’s greatest son.”
The Mayor of Ipswich, Cllr John Le Grys, the Honorary Recorder, Judge John Devaux, and the Bishop of St Edmunsdbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock, will process and share in the unveiling ceremony.
The seated teaching sculpture of Wolsey will be the focus of Tudor and Wolsey tours in the town. Dr Blatchly added: “Developing the educational theme, for the statue shows him seated and teaching, we hold an annual Wolsey Lecture on Tudor history and hope to find ways to reward inspiring history teaching and learning in the town.”
David Annand was selected after the commission was advertised internationally and attracted submissions from 57 artists.