‘Ipswich’s Medieval Churches and their Hidden Stories – including that of the Town’s Dissenters’

Thursday 12th January 2023 at 7pm, with light refreshments. All are welcome. Free admission.

John Warren will sketch a brief history of the upheavals in Suffolk religions and the power of the state in the period from the Dissolution to the founding of the Unitarian Meeting House. John Field will give a history of the town’s 12 medieval churches.

Unitarian Meeting House, Friars St. Ipswich, Suffolk. Pulpit. (photos: Patricia Payne, Historic England)

This talk is preceded by the first Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House.

We would be especially interested in hearing from anyone who loves our wonderful building, and/or Ipswich’s history and would be willing to share their skills, even if they prefer not to be on the Committee. We are a very friendly group of volunteers but need some more help!

Please contact Acting Chair, Tessa Forsdike via tessa@tessajordan.co.uk

Christmas Carols by candlelight – a service with a difference!

A lovely evening was enjoyed by all…. please put the date of next years Christmas Carol Service in your diary… Saturday 16th December.

Carols by Candlelight – the annual carol service, with a difference, will be held at at the Unitarian Meeting House, Friars Street, Ipswich IP1 1TD – on Saturday 17th December at 6pm.

Music, poems, readings and carols to sing – all by the light of our 17th century huge Dutch brass chandelier.

All are welcome to join us for this special evening… followed by light refreshments.

Exciting news: We have a gift voucher!

Stuck for an unusual gift idea? Why not enrol your relative/friend/colleague as a Friend of the Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House?

(Cost: Individual – £12. Family – £20. Student/Unemployed £5.)

As a Friend of the Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House, the lucky recipient will receive:

  • A welcome pack
  • Invitations to Friends events, including a special Friends tour of the building
  • Our newsletters
  • And know they are supporting our work to help protect and restore a wonderful historic building in Ipswich

To buy a ‘Friend’ gift voucher please email iumhfriends@gmail.com

  • Your name, phone number and email address.
  • The recipient’s name, postal address, email and phone number
  • The date the membership should start. 
  • Confirmation of the type of occasion being celebrated (birthday, Christmas, thank you, etc)

Pay the fee:

Individual – £12. Family – £20. Student/Unemployed £5. Corporate £50

Bank transfer to Friends of Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House;

Co-Op: sort code – 08 92 99; a/c 67234534 – PLEASE GIVE YOUR NAME AS THE REFERENCE.


Cheque payable to

Friends of the Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House


We will email you a gift voucher to email or print and post.

(NB: We will email them and you when the end of the twelve months approaches, to see if the membership should be continued.)

Dickens By Candlelight

Thank you to Bob Allen. The Meeting House looked lovely and everyone attending enjoyed your Dickens! (On 19th November 2022)

The ghost stories of Charles Dickens are as much a part of Christmas as turkey and tinsel. In the atmospheric Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House, opened in 1700 and still with its boxed pews, gallery and huge candelabra, a Dickens storytelling evening, by candlelight, will start the Christmas season in style. 

Storyteller, Bob Allen

Read by Bob Allen, in Dickensian costume, on Saturday 19th November 2022 at 7.30pm, the evening has been organised by the Friends of the Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House,  and will include mulled wine and mince pies. The readings will include A Christmas Carol and extracts from other Charles Dickens books. 

Bob has a keen interest in history and conservation. He is an Open University lecturer and teacher of English, and is involved with the Ipswich Society, the Historic Churches Trust a trustee of the Ipswich Building Preservation Trust and has presented poetry readings and lectures to the Suffolk Poetry Society in the past.

Suitable for all ages, tickets are available for £12 (£10 for ‘Friends’ when booked in advance) from Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dickens-by-candlelight-19-november-tickets-430910112747

The Grade One Listed Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House is next to the Willis building in Friars Street Ipswich IP1 1TD. Some parking is available and there are also public carparks nearby. 

A Special Weekend!

This weekend (Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September) will be a busy weekend at the Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House.

A previous Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride day.

Saturday: The county-wide annual event ‘Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride’ is on between 9 and 5pm and the Meeting House will be welcoming cyclists and walkers as they journey between church and chapels (and Meeting Houses) on their chosen route. Everyone is welcome to join in. The details of how to support the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust fundraising event, which gives grants for church buildings (and ours is one who has benefited) are on www.shct.org.uk including details of the churches open across Suffolk and a photo competition for participants.

The Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House

Saturday and Sunday: The Meeting House will be open as part of the Heritage Open Days Weekend. It is open to visitors on Saturday 9-5pm) and on Sunday everyone is welcome to attend the service between 1030-1200, or come and have a look at our wonderful building between 12 and 4pm. For full details of Ipswich buildings open over the weekend take a look at:


The Willis Building, also Grade One listed, and our next door neighbour will be open too, on Saturday 10-3pm and on Sunday 11-4pm

Christmas by Candlelight!

Carol Service by Candlelight – Saturday 18th December at 6pm. All welcome – the candelabra will be lit, the tea lights will be battery powered this year rather than naked flame (after all our restoration work!) and the atmosphere will be superb. This is a carol service with a difference – with contributions from the congregation of songs, readings (from varied sources), poems, music and more, along with the chance to sing all the traditional carols to your heart’s content. Do join us!