10 Man of Woodbridge Start at the Seckford Almshouses opposite Fen Meadow and walk east along Seckford Street until you reach the Market Square. The names are a bit of a giveaway but, yes, you are in the territory of Thomas Seckford, Woodbridge’s most famous benefactor, who has a big 500th birthday this year. Assuming you haven’t dived straight into the King’s Head for refreshment, you can reflect for a moment on the imposing Shire Hall, built in 1575 to house the Quarter Sessions and now home to the Town Council. In the centre of the square is the Pump (pictured), given by Seckford, and to your right is St Mary’s Church. On the other side of the square, at the top of Church Street, is the entrance to the Abbey School. All these buildings owe something to the Elizabethan Seckford, well-‐heeled lawyer, servant to Elizabeth I and generous patron of Woodbridge through his care of the needy. A number of celebrations are planned this year to mark the great man’s birth in 1515. Look out for information on a summer event in Elmhurst Park, a picnic in the Abbey School grounds and, on 15 May, An Evening with Thomas Seckford in St Mary’s Church. Rumour has it that there will also be a new Seckford Trail, to guide us around the town and admire the great man’s legacy. And what a legacy! Not content with building his own homes in Woodbridge, Ipswich and Clerkenwell, Seckford set up a charity to endow an Almshouse ‘for13 poor men’ in 1587, a free school, dating back to 1662 and later to become Woodbridge School, and a hospital which was completed as an extension to the Almshouse in 1842. Such was the great man’s generosity that various members of his family spent the next 150 years arguing over his Will! Putting family quarrels aside, you could also drop into St Mary’s Church, not only to admire the building and for a bit of peace and quiet, but also to see the chapel commissioned by Seckford in the north aisle of the nave, which today houses the church organ. So there you have it – a busy Seckford Summer in prospect and another chance to remember Woodbridge’s most famous son. Nick Cottam Holy Communion is celebrated in the Seckford Chapel at the Almshouses every Wednesday at 10.00 am and on the third Sunday of the month at 11.45 am by the Rector or the Revd Siw Carlsson. Everyone welcome!