THE WOLSEY FACTOR
Today, it is hard to find a corner of Ipswich that does not in some way celebrate Cardinal Wolsey. Aside from the Wolsey Art Gallery, Wolsey Garden – both at Christchurch Mansion – and Wolsey Theatre, we have Wolsey Street, Cardinal Street, New Cardinal Street, Wolsey Court, Wolsey Gardens and Cardinal’s Court. There are several busts and cameos of the great man in various locations, including at the Town Hall. A pub in St Peter’s Street, close to where Wolsey is said to have been born, was renamed The Thomas Wolsey in 2011. And even the Ipswich Town Football Club badge incorporates turrets - from the 1995-96 season onwards on the top of the emblem – which if they don’t represent Wolsey’s Gate itself, certainly hark back to the town’s noble past.
Given Ipswich residents’ high regard for one of their most famous sons, it is rather surprising that it should have taken until 2011 for a permanent statue of Thomas Wolsey to be unveiled in the town. The bronze sculpture sits at the junction of Silent Street and St Peter’s Street, close to the spot where the cardinal is said to have lived. This lasting memorial to him celebrates his desire to leave a lasting legacy in his home town in the form of an educational establishment. Part of the inscription on the statue’s plinth reads: “Cardinal, Archbishop, Chancellor and Teacher who believed that pleasure should mingle with study so that the child may think learning an amusement rather than a toil”.