A group of teachers stand around a statue of Thomas Wolsey in Ipswich town centre.
Teachers enjoyed a walking tour of Ipswich, learning about Thomas Wolsey, in the 550th year of his birth. © Historic England
Teachers enjoyed a walking tour of Ipswich, learning about Thomas Wolsey, in the 550th year of his birth. © Historic England

Heritage Schools Programme Launched in Ipswich

Historic England has launched its Heritage Schools programme in Ipswich with Suffolk Archives and The Hold, Ipswich. Teachers from schools across the city help to develop educational resources, learning about Ipswich’s famous son Thomas Wolsey, in the 550th anniversary of his birth.

On Friday 22 September, teachers from 9 schools across Ipswich returned to the classroom to learn about their local heritage as Historic England’s Heritage Schools programme was launched in the city in partnership with Suffolk Archives and The Hold, Ipswich.

In a day of hands-on history created by Historic England, Thomas Wolsey 550 and Suffolk Archives, Primary School teachers discovered more about Tudor Ipswich and Thomas Wolsey.

Thomas Wolsey's extraordinary story

Born and educated in Ipswich, Thomas Wolsey rose to the most powerful position in the court of King Henry VIII, as Cardinal, Lord Chancellor and the Pope’s representative in England. The extraordinary story of his rise (and fall) to power still resonates across the centuries.

Teachers enjoyed exploring the 'Wolsey’s Ipswich' exhibition at The Hold, seeing rare items including Wolsey’s own Cardinal hat and an original copy of Shakespeare’s first folio. Learning about Wolsey’s life, they discussed ideas for engaging and inspiring schoolchildren.

Exploring Tudor Ipswich

Touring Suffolk Archives, the group discovered an array of historic resources and workshops to support learning about Wolsey’s life. A walking tour of historic sites showed how connections to Thomas Wolsey’s time can still be seen in Ipswich and, using historic maps and listed buildings information, how Wolsey’s Ipswich can be rediscovered.

Thomas Wolsey 550

This session was part of the Thomas Wolsey 550 year-long schools programme, which through creative storytelling, workshops and learning resources, aims to develop children and young people's sense of place and identity. 

This has been a fantastic opportunity for teachers to discover the rich inspiration their local heritage can provide across the school curriculum. Local teachers have also shared their expertise and ideas and I am looking forward to working with partners to create a suite of exciting resources so that future generations of children can discover more about their town and the boy who grew up here, went to school here and rose to such prominence.

Kate Argyle, Local Education Heritage Manager Heritage Schools, Historic England