New tenant for St Mary-at-Quay

28 May 2021

The Church of St Mary-at-the-Quay in Ipswich will soon welcome a new tenant to take over the premises. The new tenant, River Church Ipswich, is part of the Church of England in Suffolk’s ‘Inspiring Ipswich’ initiative, and the HTB Network who have planted similar churches across the UK.

St Mary’s lies next to Ipswich's regenerated waterfront and was built between 1450 and 1550. Its elegant perpendicular windows bathe the interior with light and the medieval hammer-beam roof, which is one of the earliest of its type, has rare carved figures of the apostles.  The church, which is cared for by The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), was until June 2020 under the tenancy of Suffolk Mind. Due to the impact of the Coronavirus lockdown, the decision was made by Suffolk Mind not to reopen.   River Church will be reopening the Church again, with community and wellbeing at the heart of their vision.   The church will be available for hire and community use from 1st July.

The leaders of River Church, Amy and Matt Key said, ‘Our dream at River Church is to see Ipswich overflowing with life. River Church will be a church for everyone, but we are hoping particularly to reach out to students, young adults, and young families. The church will remain open for visitors to enjoy this incredible building and we hope to serve the whole community.

Peter Aiers, Chief Executive, CCT says: ‘St Mary at Quay is a beautiful church made all the more so by the modern interventions CCT has enabled. We are delighted to have found a new partner to use the church and the fact it will return to its intended use as a place of Christian worship as well as continuing to serve the local community is a considerable bonus. As a conservation charity, we have put a great deal of work into the repair and regeneration of this historic building which shall continue to be used and loved by the community.'

River Church is a brand new church plant from St Augustine’s Ipswich. Both churches are part of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, and the HTB Network: a family of churches associated with Holy Trinity Brompton, who developed the Alpha Course and have helped to plant other ‘city centre resource churches’ across the UK. The ‘Inspiring Ipswich’ project, of which River Church is part, intends to start 25 new churches across Ipswich by 2025. River Church aims to reach the 97% of people in Ipswich who do not go to church, especially students, young adults, and young families.

The new church will provide contemporary worship services, Alpha courses for those exploring faith and spirituality, and a range of social action groups and courses to serve the wider waterfront and town centre communities. A number of rooms at River Church’s premises on Key Street will be available for hire from July. River Church will have an active online presence on their website ( and their Instagram and Facebook accounts (@riverchurchipswich).

River Church is due to launch on Sunday 26th September at 6pm during the University of Suffolk’s freshers fortnight.