Right in the heart of Ipswich, you will find the Ancient House which dates back to the 15th century. It is reputed to be the hiding place of King Charles II after defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
The building itself is timberframed and is covered with intricate plasterwork. The four panels on the front of the building represent Africa, Asia, Europe and America. Australasia isn't "represented" as it had not been discovered at the time of construction. In the middle of the panels, is a coat of arms from 1670s which is meant to indicate the buildings royal link with Charles II
In 1981, the council had to step in to prevent the building being demolished. Today, the Ancient House is a bookshop.
Tolly Cobbold Brewery
Ipswich is home to the Tolly Cobbold Brewery. The Cobbold family was, for years, also involved with the football club in the town.
Personally, I don't drink real ale so I don't know what their beer is like. Tolly Cobbold are a typical local brewery found all over England.
The bottle label below was a limited edition ale they brewed to celebrate the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in April 1981.
Blackfriars monastery (Dominicans)
Once, five monasteries (two convents and three friaries) stood in Ipswich and none of them survives today. In fact, only the ruins of the Blackfriars Monastery give an idea of how a medieval monastery looked like while the others have completely disappeared. In 1263, the friary was founded and remained there for over 250 years. Like everywhere else, Henry VIII also ordered to dissolve the monasteries in Ipswich and give their property to the state. After the closing in 1537, the monastery buildings were left standing - unlike their church of St. Peter and Paul whose ground was used to build a college. But in the 17th century they fell into disuse and some of them were quickly pulled down. After some decades, only the four arches remained visible, giving upcoming generations a hint that there was once a religious building on this site. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the rest of the monastery was uncovered again and preserved. This measures also uncovered one of only three surviving stone altar structures in Suffolk. Sometimes it just needs a city redevelopment project to preserve the past – even if it’s a 1980s one which includes a car parking lot.
Ipswich is one of England's oldest Anglo-Saxon towns. It was founded in the late 6th early 7th Century, where the estuary of the River Orwell joins up with the River Gipping. The town has an area of around 16 square miles and is a North Sea port situated at the head of the Orwell Estuary. The harbour stretches 11 miles downstream to Shotley Point.
Ipswich is a major regional centre with a population of around 130,000, and lies in the heart of East Anglia and the heart of Europe. It is the regional centre for business, shopping, sport and entertainment and is proud of its 800-year Royal Charter and it's long maritime tradition. The town has a great heritage and fine parks.
Ipswich prospers mainly as a major agricultural market and service centre for the extensive and rich farming area of Suffolk. The town developed into a prosperous port and trading centre with an important pottery industry. After a period of Viking occupation, Ipswich continued to flourish and it was given its own mint and prospered as a port exporting East Anglian textiles from medieval times to the 17th century. In 1200, King John granted the town it's first charter, and it was incorporated in 1446.
The Middle ages were a time of great wealth for the town and the surrounding area. For centuries Ipswich exported wool and cloth to the continent. A reminder of the wealth generated from this trade can be seen in many of the Tudor buildings that still stand today.
The general collapse of the East Anglian wool trade caused a decline in the town's fortunes in the 17th Century. A slow revival of the coastal shipping trade in the mid-18th Century led to the development of malting, milling and shipbuilding. Economic recovery was further enhanced by the introduction of agricultural engineering and brewing industries. Today engineering and various agricultural industries are very important for this area.
Outstanding buildings in Ipswich include Christchurch mansion, a 16th century building situated in the grounds of Christchurch Park, which is open to the public to walk about or view inside the mansion. When you do visit Ipswich, then you must go and visit Christchurch Park and mansion.
The older churches round here are nearly all towered flint structures, wholly or mainly perpendicular in style. There are several old coaching inns, including the Great White Horse of Pickwick Papers fame. Ipswich was the birthplace of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.