The History of Holywells Park

Holywells Park has a long history going back thousands of years, tools from the Stone Age have been found on the site and Bronze Age axes and Roman coins have been found nearby.

Cobbold draymen at Cliff Quay Brewery

Cobbold draymen at Cliff Quay Brewery.

Early written records indicate that the land at Holywells was part of the Manor at Bishops Wyke which was held by the Bishops of Norwich in the 13th century. During Henry VIII reign the Manor was returned to the crown and then granted to Sir John Jermy, and then passed hands many times before John Cobbold secured the title in 1812. The Cobbold family had been using the land since1689 to make beer; they used the water from the natural springs and shipped it to Harwich where their brewery was located.

In 1814 Holywells House was completed on the site of an old farmhouse, but the building had to be demolished in 1962 due to wood rot. The walled Victorian gardens were redesigned in the 20th century.

In 1935 the land at Holywells was presented to the people of Ipswich by Lord Woodbridge and then opened to the public in 1936, much of the manor is now lost with only the stable block remaining.

Holywells Park is on the English Heritage register of historic parks and gardens of special historic interest and is a designated a Conservation Area. The Stable Block and conservatory are both listed buildings.

Documents Archive

If you have any interesting stories or records such as newspaper cuttings, photographs, booklets or anything relating to history of Holywells Park, we would love to hear from you.

Here are a few items that have been sent in:

50th Anniversary, June 1986:
Evening Star June 2 (PDF)
Evening Star 29 May 1986 (image)
Mercury Extra June 6 (PDF)
Daily Times June 2 (PDF)

Holywells Hidden history booklet (PDF)
2008 £2m revamp (PDF)
Car park Flooding (image)
Nature Trail Map from 1985 (PDF)