The Grand Ipswich timeline
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AD60-66. The Iceni tribe, led
by Queen Boudicca, made a final stand against Roman occupation.
250-400. Roman settlements at Whitton and Roman burial ground within
the borough boundary.
500-600. Anglo-Saxon inter their dead near the present Hadleigh Road
and Stoke parish.
c.600. Gipeswyc was founded at the first available
fording point (the site of Great Whip Street and Foundry Lane) of the
river moving up from the estuary as the first new English settlement
after the Roman occupation of Britain.
650. Earthen ramparts dug to form the town boundary.
A palisade was probably added on top of the earth mound.
700. The Church of St Mildred was built on the
Cornhill. Parts of the building became the Moot Hall c.1529. 1812 saw
the final removal of any remnants of the church which had stood on the
Cornhill for a thousand years.
884. East Anglia became Danish (see also the
885. King Alfred’s fleet was in action against the
Danes in Stourmouth.
920. East Anglia submited to King Edward the Elder
959-975. Coins of King Edgar (943-975) were minted at Ipswich.
991. Ipswich was ravaged by the Danes. Danegeld (a
tax raised to pay tribute to the Viking raiders to save the land from
being ravaged) was instituted.
Norman Invasion; Gipeswic was ruled by Roger Bigod (died 1107), Sheriff
of Norfolk and Suffolk.
1086. Ipswich appears as ‘Gepeswiz’ in the Little
1100. Henry I
(1068-1135) reorganised the town courts.
1100-1135. Henry I’s Keepers of the Sea make ordinances at Ipswich.
1130. Augustinian Priory of St Peter & St Paul,
the first priory in Ipswich, was founded by Henry I with a charter for
1135-1139. King Stephen (c.1096-1154) granted a confirmatory charter
for his canons (of St Peter and St Paul).
1153. Seige of Roger Bigod’s Ipswich castle by King Stephen
– it was destroyed in 1176.
1158-1162. Henry II (1133-1189) granted a charter confirming the
endowments to the canons of Holy Trinity, and their fair.
1160. Augustinian Priory of Holy Trinity,
‘Christchurch’, founded with a charter of Henry II (1133-1189) – it was
rebuilt after a fire of 1194.
1176. Bigod’s Castle in Ipswich, built after the
Norman Conquest and probably a wooden structure, was destroyed on the
orders of Henry II.
1178. Ipswich Gaol was built near to today’s Old
1194. Holy Trinity Priory was rebuilt after a fire.
1200. On 28
June the Charter of King John (1166-1216) giving Ipswich its Borough
status (with the ‘Great Ship Seal’) was received by the burgesses in St
In October the Borough seal was shown to the
burgesses in St Mary-Le-Tower churchyard.
1203-04. The great ditch-and wall rampart around the town was built.
1204. King John’s confirmatory charter was granted to
the canons of Holy Trinity.
1216-1272. Cessation of the Ipswich mint.
1256. Henry III (1207-1272) granted a charter
returning writs and other privileges.
1263. Henry III purchased a townhouse to found the
1271. The Town Clerk, John le Black, absconds with
the Borough records.
1278-9. The Carmelite Whitefriars was founded on the site of today’s
1284-1291. Ipswich was taken into the king’s hands.
1290. New Customal was drawn up.
1291. Edward I (1239-1307) granted a charter of
1295. The earliest vessel known to be built in
Ipswich was a galley for Edward I.
1297. King Edward I brought his daughter Elizabeth
to St Peter & St Paul to marry John, Count of Holland.
1299. Murage (a medieval toll for the building or
repair of town walls) was granted to the borough for five years.
Confirmatory charter was granted by Edward II (1284-1327), with new
1325. The Guild of Corpus Christi annual processions
and feasts on the festival of Corpus Christi (the Thursday after
Trinity Sunday) were reconstituted. The gild merchant in the 12th
century had acted as an informal town government; after King John’s
charter to Ipswich in 1200 the role of the gild merchant diminished to
a socio-religious club for all the burgesses. The rededication of the
merchant gild to Corpus Christi in 1325 gave it a prominent ceremonial
The grandfather of Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343-1400)
owned a vintry (a place where wine is sold) in Tavern Street on the
corner with Tower Street.
1336. Four merchants were sent to the King’s Council
at Oxford (the first MPs).
1338. The charter of Edward III (1312-1377) to
Harwich, infringing the rights of Ipswich, was revoked.
Edward III’s confirmatory charter to Ipswich was
1340. The fleet of Edward III sailed out of Orwell
Haven for Crecy.
1344. Ipswich was in the king’s hands because riotous
sailors held a mock trial upon his judge of assize.
1352. The licence to wall and crenellate the town
was granted; a licence to crenellate granted the holder permission to
fortify their property.
1378. Richard II (1367-1400) granted a confirmatory
charter, with additions, to the town.
1381. There were riotous attacks by peasant rebels on
houses in Ipswich. The Peasants’ Revolt was led by Watt Tyler spread
across the country from Kent. John Battisford and Thomas Sampson
independently led a revolt near Ipswich on 14 June. They took the town
without opposition and looted the properties of the archdeacon and
local tax officials. The violence spread out further, with attacks on
many properties and the burning of the local court records. One
official, Edmund Lakenheath, was forced to flee from the Suffolk coast
1399. A new house was built by the sheriff for Assize and County
Henry IV (1367-1413) granted a confirmatory charter.
April Princess Blanche (1392-1409), daughter of Henry IV, prepared for
her marriage to Prince Louis III, later Elector Palatine of the Rhine
(1378-1436), in Ipswich and visits the Gracechurch shrine in Lady Lane.
1446. Charter of Henry VI (1421-1471) was granted,
constituting the bailiffs and capital burgesses Justices of the Peace
and granting exemption from the Admiral of England and Clerk of the
1450. William de la Pole, exiled Duke of Suffolk,
1452. Henry VI (1421-1471) visited Whitefriars, the
1464. Ipswich was designated as a Staple port for the
export of wool to Calais.
1470. Thomas Wolsey (1473-1530) was christened in St
1471. Pykenham’s Gatehouse was built fronting
1483. Richard Felaw (c.1420-1483) left his house in
Foundation Street as premises for the Grammar School.
1485. The confirmatory charter, with Admiralty
rights, of Richard III (1452-1485) was granted.
1488. The confirmatory charter of Henry VII
(1457-1509) was granted.
1489. Visit of Henry VII to Ipswich.
licence was granted for Edmund Daundy’s (Thomas Wolsey’s uncle) chantry
in St Lawrence.
1513. Grant of Admiralty jurisdiction as far down the
river as Polles Head – beyond Landguard Fort – in the Orwell Haven.
This was part of a continuing feud with Harwich port for sea commerce
and associated tolls.
1516. Mistress Wentworth was cured of fits at Gracechurch,
Our Lady’s Chapel.
1517. Queen Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536) stayed with
Lord Robert Curson (c.1460-1534/5) on pilgrimage to the shrine of Our
1519. The confirmatory charter, with additions, of
Henry VIII (1491-1547) was granted.
1520. Admission by the Great Admiral that Ipswich had
Admiralty rights to Polles Head.
1522. King Henry VIII stayed with Lord Curson on pilgrimage
to the shrine of Our Lady, Gracechurch.
1525. Indulgence was granted for pilgrims to Our Lady
of Grace to pray for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.
c.1525. Thomas Bilney (c.1495-1531) delivered sermons (against images
and pilgrimages) in St George’s Chapel, St Georges Street, Ipswich
1528. On 15 June the foundation stone of Wolsey’s
Cardinal College of St Mary was laid. On 3 July, its Charter was
granted. On 30 July, Wolsey confirmed the site of St Peter’s Priory (on
land to the east of the Church of St Peter), recently suppressed for
his Ipswich College. On 5-6 September, the opening ceremonies of the
College were held.
1529-1537. The Protestant Reformation occurred, Henry VIII creating the
Church of England and imposing its observance on the populace.
1529. The Corporation granted its Grammar School
lands to Wolsey’s College. Much of the College above ground was built
by 24 July.
The indictment of Wolsey occurred under the Statute
of Praemunire (a law which prohibited the assertion or maintenance of
papal jurisdiction, imperial or foreign, or some other alien
jurisdiction or claim of supremacy in England, against the supremacy of
1537-39. The Ipswich priory and friaries were suppressed.
1530. Commissioners find the endowments of Wolsey’s
College forfeit under the Statute of Praemunire.
1532. Thomas Alvard, stepson of Sir Thomas Rush,
ships the materials from dismantled Wolsey’s College to the king’s
manor of Westminster to be used to enlarge what was formerly Wolsey’s
York Place to become the royal Palace of Whitehall.
The advowson (in ecclesiastical law, the right to
recommend a member of the Anglican clergy for a vacant benefice, or to
make such an appointment) of the Church of St Matthew and of the Chapel
of Our Lady of Grace was granted to the dean and chapter of Lincoln.
1534. Reginald Oliver published in Ipswich the
Historia Evangelica of Juvencus, the Roman Spanish Christian and
composer of Latin poetry in the 4th century.
1535. The statue of Our Lady was removed from Ipswich
by night, in an attempt to save it from Reformation anti-idolatry
1536. Thomas Manning, Prior of Butley, was appointed
Suffragan Bishop (a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or
diocesan bishop) of Ipswich.
1537. The suppression of Holy Trinity Priory.
1547. The confirmatory charter of Edward VI
(1537-1553) was granted to the borough.
1547-8. The first books to be printed in Ipswich were produced by
1548-50. Christchurch Mansion was built by Edmund Withipoll
(1510/13-82) on or near the site of Holy Trinity Priory (in today’s
1550-51. Wealthy merchant, Henry Tooley’s will leaves money to
establish almshouses in Foundation Street. The corporation is made
trustee for the almshouses and other charities; the will was proved in
1553. Queen Mary (1516-1558) stayed at Wingfield
House in Tacket Street on the 31 July, on her way from Framlingham to
her coronation in London.
1554. Two priests serve eleven churches in Ipswich.
1560. The confirmatory charter was granted by Queen
Elizabeth I (1533-1603).
1561. Queen Elizabeth I stayed at Christchurch
Mansion on her ‘Royal Progress’. It would be exactly 400 years until
another reigning monarch would make a Royal Progress through Ipswich:
the visit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1961 to open the new Civic College
on the Potteries site.
1569. The purchase of the Dominican Priory
(Blackfriars) was made by the corporation.
1571. An Act was passed in Parliament to enable the
paving of the town of Ipswich.
1572. A charter was granted for Christ’s Hospital.
At the height of Tudor prosperity two Ipswich
merchants, John Johnson and Christopher Goodwyn, proposed Ipswich out
of England or Antwerp in England suggesting the supplanting of Antwerp
and the Low Countries to make Ipswich ‘the one free mart in the known
1579. Queen Elizabeth I stayed for four days at
1586-88. Thomas Cavendish (1560-1592), with Thomas Eldred (1561-1624)
and Thomas Fuller, circumnavigates the world; they are second only to
Sir Francis Drake (c.1540-1596).
1590. Ordinances for a new company of clothworkers,
1599. Bequests were made by the wealthy portman,
William Smart, to the corporation and to the Drapers’ Hall and Taylors’
town ramparts were refurbished and a new gate added to the western
approach, close to the Gracechurch shrine: the West Gate at the head of
today’s Westgate Street.
An Exchequer order was issued controlling the sale
of meat in Ipswich by ‘foreign’ butchers.
1605. Samuel Ward (1577-1640) appointed town preacher.
1606. Three ships set sail for the New World with
Ipswich families aboard. Discovery , Susan Constant and Godspeed were
the three ships which carried people, mostly from Suffolk, to America
to settle in Jamestown, Virginia, which was to become the first
permanent English speaking settlement in the New World.
1610. John Speed’s map of Ipswich was published.
1611. Ipswich ventured £100 in the Virginia Company
of London voyage to North America. The first British Colony had been
established by Bartholomew Gosnold (1571-1607) of Otley Hall after his
voyage in The Godspeed in 1606-7.
1619. Incorporation of the clothworkers and taylors
1620. Planters for the colony of Virginia were
recruited in Ipswich.
1631-33. Quo Warranto proceedings (a writ or legal action requiring a
person to show by what warrant an office or franchise is held, claimed,
or exercised) were taken against the borough.
1634. The Archdeacon’s commissary, Henry Dade,
deplored emigrations from Ipswich, warning Archbishop Laud that two
ships, each carrying 120 passengers, were about to sail for New England.
1634-5. The confirmatory charter of Charles I was granted.
1635. Samuel Ward was put out of St Mary-Le-Tower
Church pulpit for life for encouraging emigration to New England
(Virginia in North America).
1636. Visitation by Bishop Matthew Wren, the Bishop
of Norwich, unpopular in Puritan Ipswich.
Pamphleteer, William Prynne, wrote and published
Newes from Ipswich, a tract opposing high church practices and popery.
Prynne was tortured and imprisoned.
1640. Plans were laid for the first contested
election of Members of Parliament for the borough.
Mutinous soldiers burned the communion table rails
in the Church of St Lawrence.
1641. A petition of Ipswich to the Commons against
A House of Correction (where those who were
"unwilling to work", including vagrants and beggars, were set to work)
was built close to the (County) Gaol.
1642. Plans were drawn up to fortify the town.
1654. The Great Fire of Ipswich.
1656. Diarist John Evelyn visited Ipswich and
described it as ‘the sweetest, most pleasant, well-built town in
1665. Charles II (1630-1685) grants his first charter
of confirmation to the Borough.
1667. There was a Dutch raid upon Landguard Fort.
1668. Charles II visited Viscount Hereford at
1674. John Ogilby’s map of Ipswich was published.
1684. Charles II’s second charter of reconstitution.
1665. Judge Jeffreys, Lord Chancellor to James II
(1633-1701), known as ’The Hanging Judge’, held assizes at Ipswich. His
conduct as a judge was to enforce royal policy, resulting in a
historical reputation for severity and bias against perceived rebels
against the king.
1688. James II’s charter of reconstitution was
The publication took place of James II’s
proclamation restoring charters and liberties to boroughs.
1689. The population of Ipswich at this date was
1698. The Shire Hall behind Christ’s Hospital was erected.
Unitarian Meeting House was built.
1707. Puplett – Richard Puplett, town bailiff during
the rule of Oliver Cromwell (1653-1658), otherwise ‘Purplett’ – versus
the Corporation concerning the building of the Shire Hall.
1711. Painter Sir James Thornhill (1675/6-1734)
describes Ipswich as ‘a town without people, a river without water and
streets without names’.
1712. The Act for repair of the road from Ipswich to
Claydon was passed.
1720. The Ipswich Journal was founded by John
Bagnall; books were published in the town again. The Ipswich Journal
continued publication until 1902.
1732. Claude Fonnereau (1677-1740) purchased
Christchurch Mansion and Park.
1740. The assizes were moved to Ipswich because of a
smallpox outbreak at Bury St Edmunds.
The frigate Hampshire was built at St John’s Ness.
1741. The stage debut of David Garrick (1717-1779)
took place, anonymously, at Tacket Street Theatre.
1746. Thomas Cobbold (1680–1752) moved his brewery
from Harwich to The Cliff on the east bank of the Orwell in Ipswich.
1752-59. Sudbury-born painter, Thomas Gainsborough, brought his family
to live in Ipswich.
1767. The first bank was established in Ipswich.
1778. Joseph Pennington’s map of Ipswich was
1779. The frigate Champion was built at St John’s
1785. The act was passed enabling the repair of the
road from Ipswich to Great Yarmouth. The Ipswich to South Town [Great
Yarmouth] and Bungay Turnpike Trust was inaugurated.
1786. The foundation stone for the County Gaol in St
Helen’s was laid.
1789. Robert Ransome (1753-1830) came from
Norwich to set up his foundry in St Margaret’s Ditches (later Old
1790s. Acts were passed for paving,cleansing
and lighting of Ipswich streets.
1794. The Shambles on cornhill was replaced by the
1795. St Matthew’s cavalry barracks had its
officers billeted in Berners Street and NCOs (non-commissioned
officers) in the slightly less grand houses in High Street.
1798. Sir Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) purchased
Roundwood – on the site of St John’s Primary School – for his wife,
Frances, and her father, although Nelson never lived there himself.
was chosen as High Steward of Ipswich.
1799. An act was passed amending the act (1712) for
the repair to road to Claydon.
1812. Removal of the Tudor Market Cross and the
Georgian Rotunda (Shambles) from Cornhill. A Palladian Town Hall,
forerunner of the present Venetian Gothic one, was built on the site of
the Church of St Mildred around 1812.
1815. The first steam vessel is seen on the River
Orwell. Tavern Street is widened.
1817. The first gas lighting is installed in Ipswich.
1820. The Duke of Wellington visited Admiral Benjamin
Page (1765-1845), whose house was in Tower Street (site of a
1821. Sir Robert Harland defeats the Duke of
Wellington in the election for High Steward.
1835. The Old Corporation was reformed under the
Municipal Corporations Act; Mayor, aldermen and councillors instituted
to replace the Portmen, Bailiffs, Burgesses, and Commonalty of the town.
1837. The Ipswich Dock Act prepares the way for the
eventual construction of the Wet Dock, engineered by H.R. Palmer.
1839-42. The creation of the Wet Dock, all dug by hand, with lock gates
half-way up the west quays opening into the freshly-dug New Cut. The 32
acre harbour was the largest Wet Dock in the kingdom.
1844. The New Custom House was opened on Common Quay
on the Wet Dock.
1846. The Eastern Union Railway links Ipswich with
Colchester; the first station opens in Station Street/Croft Street in
Over Stoke. The Stoke tunnel was completed in September 1846. The
company opened a connecting line to Bury St Edmunds on 7 December 1846.
The first Museum was founded in Museum Street.
1849. The Ipswich to Norwich railway line was opened.
Edward White’s map of Ipswich was published.
1850. The Corn Exchange was rebuilt.
1851. Prince Albert laid the foundation stone of the
new Grammar School (‘The Ipswich School’) in Henley Road.
1855. The last fair was held on the Cornhill.
Ipswich Cemetery, lying between Cemetery Road and Cemetery Lane, was
1856. The Corporation Cattle Market moved from Dogs
Head Street/Turret Lane to Portman Marshes, to the east of today’s
Ipswich Town football ground.
1860. A new passenger railway station opened on
1865. The Venetian Gothic Town Hall was rebuilt and
1866. Ipswich goods station opened.
1867. Ipswich Co-operative Society was set up.
1868. Completion of the new Town Hall; the last
Borough hustings took place on the Cornhill.
1877. The Felixstowe Branch Line opened.
1880. Horse-drawn trams made an appearance in
Ipswich. The new Corn Exchange, ‘Exchange Chambers’ in King Street was
1881. 27 July 1881: a grand new Post Office was
opened on the site of the old Corn Exchange on the east side of
Cornhill. Ipswich Museum in High Street was opened, being home to the
Victoria Free Library and to the Art School (until Ipswich School of
Art and Design next door was opened in 1934). The southern lock into
the Wet Dock was officially opened on the same day.
1883. Ipswich flat races ceased on the Racecourse to
the east of the town; the area (and once a pub) still bears the name.
1887. Ipswich football team formed as an amateur club.
1894. Ipswich Borough acquired Christchurch Mansion
1898. Penny omnibuses introduced.
of the Corporation’s electric power station and tramways station in
Constantine Road. Electric trams come into service; to be superceded by
trackless trams or trolly buses in the mid-1920s.
1906. Opening of County Hall in St Helens Street.
1909. Viscount Herbert Kitchener of Khartoum became
High Steward of Ipswich.
1910. The Picture House in Tavern Street opened.
1912. The first aircraft landed in Ipswich.
1914. Creation of the See (the place in which a
cathedral church stands, identified as the seat of authority of a
bishop) of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.
1915. The first World War I air-raid on Ipswich took
place on Brooks Hall Road, April 30. The first aeroplane to be made in
Ipswich on May 3 brought down a Zeppelin on June 16-17.
1918. The Corporation planned to build 1,400 houses
in Hadleigh Road and Nacton Road.
1925. Ipswich Corporation Act. Stoke Bridge was
1929. The Corporation purchased 147 acres beside
Nacton Road to create a municipal airport for Ipswich. It was
constructed the following year.
1932-3. The Walk was constructed linking Tavern Street and Butter
1935. Declaration was made of slum-clearance areas.
1936. Wallis Simpson was granted a decree nisi at the
Suffolk Assizes (‘County Hall’) in Ipswich to enable her to marry
Edward VIII (later Duke of Windsor). Ipswich Town Football Club turned
1946. Civil flying resumed at Ipswich Airport.
1953. Flooding caused extensive damage on January 31.
A combination of winds and tidal surge caused damage and deaths
1957. The Tollemache and Cobbold & Co. breweries
merged to form Tolly Cobbold.
1960. The Ipswich Society was founded.
1961. Ipswich Town Football Club was promoted to the
First Division for the first time. The Civic College (later Suffolk
College) was opened by Queen Elizabeth I. The last horse trough removed
from the Princes Street/Portman Road junction.
1962. Ipswich Town F.C. became league champions,
managed by Alf Ramsey.
1963. Trolley buses were withdrawn from Ipswich
streets; the internal combustion engine was king.
1963 & 1964. The Beatles play concerts at the Gaumont and bring
Ipswich to a halt on both occasions.
1965. The New Towns Act launches an ambitious
1965-7. Civic Drive was created, along with the ill-fated Greyfriars
1967. The 14-storey Civic Centre was opened. The
Borough Council largely moved in from the Town Hall.
1968. Five Iron Age gold torcs found at Belstead
1974. Reorganisation of local government (following
The Local Government Act 1972) led to the amalgamation of East and West
Suffolk County Councils and the County Borough of Ipswich. Ipswich lost
many of its powers and responsibilities to the newly-formed Suffolk
County Council. Ipswich was named the county town and administrative
centre of Suffolk.
1975. The Norman Foster-designed Willis Faber &
Dumas building was opened by Harold Macmillan; in 1991 it became the
newest Grade I listed building in Britain. The Corn Exchange was
converted into an entertainment complex and the Ipswich Caribbean
Association was founded.
1977. The Queen visited Ipswich as part of her Silver
1978. Ipswich Town F.C. won the FA Cup under manager
Bobby Robson. The Wolsey Theatre opens on Civic Drive.
1980. Ipswich Caribbean Association &
International Community Centre opens on Woodbridge Road.
1981. Ipswich Town F.C. won the UEFA Cup under
manager Bobby Robson.
1982. The Orwell Bridge opens; the Ipswich By-pass
was finally completed in 1985. The Ipswich Maritime Festival was held,
with an exhibition and visits to the Wet Dock by large sailing vessels;
this gave rise to the formation of the Ipswich Maritime trust.
1984. Greyfriars complex was largely demolished.
1986. The £30 million Tower Ramparts shopping centre
1987. The R. & W. Paul Home Warehouse on Common
Quay was refurbished and rebuilt as offices for the Contship company,
now Ashton’s solicitors’ offices. October: the great storm affected
many parts of the U.K, when 18 people died. 80 knot winds hit Ipswich
causing over 200 trees to be uprooted in Christchurch Park, power lines
to be cut, damage to property and injury to people.
1992. Buttermarket Shopping Centre opened. Major
archeological discoveries had been made on the site including an intact
Anglo-Saxon pottery kiln.
1997. Ipswich Airport closed, eventually to be
developed at Ravenswood housing estate.
Queen visited the Wet Dock as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations
to open new walkways on ‘The Waterfont’ and Felaw Maltings. The Cliff
Brewery ceased to brew beer.
2006. Civic Centre closed and Ipswich Borough Council
moved its offices from the Birkin Haward-designed block on Civic Drive
to Grafton House, Russell Road.
2007. University College Suffolk opened with a major
building on the Waterfront, bordered by Fore Street and Coprolite
Street. The 16th century Curson Lodge was restored by the Ipswich
Building Preservation Trust. The 1960s Civic Centre building was sold
2011. The University College Suffolk new development on the eastern
quay, The James Hehir Building, was opened.
Ipswich invasions timeline to
see all the raiders and invaders who attacked Ipswich throughout its
Christchurch/Holy Trinity Priory
Wolsey's College timeline
Queens timelines (which includes architectural styles);
page for a
note about the Ipswich claim to be the earliest continuously settled
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throughout the Ipswich
Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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