- For other places and usages with this name, see Ipswich (disambiguation).
Ipswich is the county town of Suffolk in East Anglia, England, and a local government district, on the estuary of the River Orwell.
It was successively a Stone age, Iron age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon settlement known as "Gippeswick".
King John granted it its first charter in 1200, and in the next four centuries it made most of its wealth trading Suffolk cloth with the Continent.
Ipswich is still a flourishing port today, handling several million tonnes of cargo each year. The town used to also feature a small grass-runway airport (ICAO code: EGSE) with regular flights to the Netherlands, but this has now been re-developed for housing.
The area around Ipswich, or Gippeswick was sparsely settled until the withdrawal of the Romans. Afterwards, its position as a convenient harbour on the North Sea made it convenient to Saxon settlers, and it is claimed to be the first Anglo-Saxon town. The kingdom of East Anglia for a time centered around Ipswich.
The Ipswich Museum houses replicas of the Mildenhall treasure and the Sutton Hoo treasure, as well as Saxon weapons and jewellery.
During the Middle Ages the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Grace was a popular pilgrimage destination, and attracted a number of royal pilgrims. The statue was taken away to be burned, although it is now believed to have survived and still exist in Nettuno in Italy.
Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, the son of a wealthy landowner, was born in Ipswich in about 1475. One of Henry VIII's closest political allies, He founded a college in the town in 1528, which is now known as Ipswich School. He remains one of the town's most famed figures.
In 1555, the Ipswich Martyrs were burnt at the stake for their Protestant beliefs.
From 1611 to 1634 Ipswich was a major centre for emigration to New England. This was organised by the Town Lecturer, Samual Ward. His brother Nathaniel Ward was first minister of Ipswich, Massachusetts.
The painters John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough lived and worked in Ipswich. In 1835, Charles Dickens stayed in Ipswich and used it as a setting for scenes in his novel The Pickwick Papers. The hotel where he resided was first opened in 1518 (then know as The Tavern) and is now known as the Great White Horse Hotel; he made the hotel famous, in chapter XX1 of the Pickwick Papers, vividly describing the meandering corridors and stairs, which exist today In ca. 1380, Geoffrey Chaucer satirised the merchants of Ipswich in the Canterbury Tales.
In 1797 Lord and Lady Nelson moved to Ipswich, in 1800 Lord Nelson was appointed High Steward of Ipswich.
Modern figures with Ipswich connections include musician Nick Kershaw, the children's TV presenter Brian Cant and cartoonist Carl Giles.
Ipswich Marina, where the old industries have closed and been replaced with executive flats
Tolly Cobbold Brewery, built in the 19th century and rebuilt 1894-1896, is one of the finest Victorian breweries in Britain. There has been a Cobbold Brewery in the town since 1746. Felix Thornley Cobbold presented Christchurch Mansion to the town in 1896
Ipswich plays host to Suffolk's biggest football team, Ipswich Town F.C..
Ipswich is the last place in the area to have an independent bus company which has the unusual practice of naming its buses. Ipswich Marina has undergone an extensive gentrification programme (see left). A new district to the south east of Ipswich is Ravenswood, Ipswich.
- Truly Open Directory (http://www.trulyopendirectory.com/Europe_-_United_Kingdom_-_England_-_Suffolk_-_Ipswich) Listing of sites with an Ipswich interest