The Ipswich coat of arms, and other crests

Ipswich Historic Lettering: 1912 banner
Above: an illustrated version of the coat of arms as it appears on the first page of Ipswich in 1912: King Edward Memorial Sanatorium EADT Souvenir (available from this website as a PDF download). See also Ipswich Sanatorium on our Hospitals page.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coat of arms engraving   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coat of arms 1746
Above left: the original borough arms, which probably date from 1200 when King John granted Ipswich its Charter, consisted only of the shield with a rampant lion in gold on a red field and three demi-ships, also in gold, on a blue field. The arms are as confirmed by William Hervy, Clarenceux King of Arms in 1561, when he granted the supporters in silver and the crest surmounted by a demi-lion holding a ship.
Above right: the same arms with additions on a donation plate to the Ipswich Town Library dated 1746, taken from the book An account of the gifts and legacies that have been given and bequeathed to chatitable uses in the Town of Ipswich, 1747. These bookplates would have been pasted inside each donated book.
Ipswich Historic lettering: Buck prospect coat of arms
Above: the coat of arms as it appears on the Buck brothers' Prospect of Ipswich 1741.
This heraldic emblem crops up in several places in the town. Architects clearly thought that it was an appropriate addition to some of the building fascias; either that or the person paying the bill specified the addition of the coat of arms. If you know of any other examples in Ipswich, do email us.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coat of arms colour
Official blazon
Arms: Per pale Gules and Azure in the first a Lion rampant Gold armed and langued Azure in the second three demi Boats of the third.
Crest: On a Wreath Or and Gules a demi Lion Or supporting a Ship Sable.
Supporters: Two Horses of the Sea commonly called Neptune's Horses maned and fined Gold.
The arms were officially granted on August 29, 1561. The arms are based on the arms of the Cinque Ports (scroll down to the Tavern Street entry), the five harbour towns that were supposed to provide support for the Royal Navy for several centuries. The common arms of these cities were English lions with ship-hull tails.

A ship appears on a 13th century rope seal:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crest seal
13th Century Seal of Ipswich
Several months after the granting of Ipswich’s charter in May 1200, the town’s newly-formed government designed a town seal. The two rope seals are still kept at Ipswich Town Hall on Cornhill, along with the Town Mace and Sword (see the following entry: St Mary-Le-Tower). Depicted on it is a Man o’ War vessel with castles fore & aft, it is not so very different from the small coastal vessels that would have been in use by the Ipswich merchants of that time. It is possibly an early representation of the collier ships that would, in future centuries, become known as ‘Ipswich Catts’. However, many now agree that it is a 'Cog', a cargo ship particularly used by Hanseatic merchants – Ipswich being a Hanseatic port. But what is most interesting about the design, is that many claim that it is the first known example anywhere in the world of a ship with a movable rudder, as opposed to a steering oar commonly in use during that era. (The reverse of the seal depicts the Church of St Mildred on the Cornhill, which would eventually become the town’s court & Town Hall, later destroyed.) The depiction of the ship hulls on the Ipswich coat of arms varies according to period and punctilliousness of the designer. The three hulls sometimes show some sort of rudder. Around the circumference of the seal are characters. Louis Musgrove tells us that he thinks the inscription is: SI(GILLUM) COMUNITATIS VILLE GYPEWICI'  or in English: 'The master seal of the town of Ipswich'.

The 'Horses of the Sea' or 'Neptune's horses' also vary on the coats of arms shown here; sometimes they have realistic horse heads, sometimes they are much more like zoological sea horses. Their front hooves become webbed claws.
One writer has described the supporters of the Ipswich arms as wyverns, but a wyvern is described elsewhere as a "winged two-footed dragon"and we do not see a dragon head, nor wings.

The Mayor's parlour
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich Mayor's chain of office2018 images
The Mayor of Ipswich has a fine enamelled chain of office featuring a version of the town's coat of arms against an anchor and other maritime motifs; even the actual chain echoes a ship's anchor chain in design. Such was the importance of international trade by sea via Ipswich docks to the wealth of the town.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Mayor's sword 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Mayor's sword 2
The Town Sword is a Victorian addition to the ceremonial armoury with brass handle and decorated steel blade. It commemorates the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria on 20 June 1887 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of her accession in 1837. The two Town Maces are the gift to Ipswich of Charles II (reigned from 1660 until 1685), but do not bear the town's insignia.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Mayor's sword 3
The motto on the scroll is: 'MUNIA CIVITATIS DECUS CIVIUM' ('The functions of citizenship are the glory of the citizens'). It also appears on the coat of arms on the Ipswich Art School (see below).

Church Congress banner, 1927
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Church Congress 1927 shieldShield with the arms of the Borough of Ipswich.

Ogilby map 1674
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ogilby map crest

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich bookmark 19321932
The above circular bookmark on its blue cord is part of the Ipswich: an ideal industrial centre promotional book published by Ipswich Borough in 1932 (see below).
1932 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich book 1932 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich book 19341934
1932 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich book 1932 crest   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich book 1934 crest 1934
The admirable illustrated cover shows the towers of Cranfield's flour mill on Albion Wharf on the northern quays of the Wet Dock with cargo vessels in the foreground. There's a lot of gold ink on the cover, particularly the strip of the river which runs from left to right – perhaps suggesting the trading value of the Orwell to Ipswich. The signature is 'Geo Westrip'. The cover carries another version of the Borough coat of arms. The bookmark carries the coat of arms, presumably by the same illustrator, on both sides. This book has many photographs of trades, manufactories and places of work along with advertisements and passages in German and French to emphasise the international nature of Ipswich trade (we include selections from these on various pages on this website). Compare this with Ipswich: souvenir of the Royal Show July 3rd-7th, 1934. Clearly recycling is nothing new. Two years later, about 85% of the content, along with the covers, were reused for this souvenir of the Royal Show, held on the fields across the main road from Chantry Park (long before the present housing was built). On this cover the Borough arms are replaced with the 'lion and unicorn' Royal Arms. One hopes that the illustrator got an extra fee, but it's doubtful... The rather slapdash application of gold ink on the Royal Arms tends to obscure/obliterate detail.

1906 Guide book
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich guide book 19061906
A small format Guide to Ipswich published in 1906 featured this slightly odd version of the coat of arms.

'County Borough of Ipswich'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Civic Drive coat of arms
The ghostly coat of arms bearing this pre-1974-reorganisation name appears on our Civic Drive page.

The Post Office
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Post Office floor crest small
Long locked away from the public gaze, here's the old Post Office floor mosaic.

St Mary-Le-Tower
The Civic Church of the Town is St Mary Le Tower in Tower Street, the churchyard of which became the earliest meeting-place for townsmen and Portmen after the granting of the 1200 Charter by King John. Its interior contains decorative and heraldic elements on the Town Mace and Sword furnishings which relate to the Ipswich coat of arms.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: St Mary Le Tower crest small

40 Museum Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crest Museum Street
An elaborate terra cotta rendition of the Ipswich civic heraldry (it lacks the half-lion holding the ship at the top, probably because of the space available). The nose on the left hand sea horse has broken off. This was a Customs & Excise building at one time.
The Public Sculpture of Norfolk & Suffolk database (see Links) tells us:
"The panels set between the windows show the Ipswich coat of arms supported by wyverns and set between foliage. In the other panels the foliage supports a central vase.  Customs and Excise were only combined in 1909 - which must be the date of the present building. The coats of arms serve as a reminder that it was a National Service but that this branch was based in the Port of Ipswich. Customs and Excise was merged with the Inland Revenue in 2004."
To the right of this coat of arms, at number 38, "The curved pediment of the doorway is decorated with a striking royal coat of arms with a fierce lion. The panels set between the windows show the Ipswich coat of arms supported by wyverns and set between foliage. In the other panels the foliage supports a central vase. On royal coat of arms:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Museum Street crest 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Museum Street crest 22013 images
A similar (very faded) royal coat of arms can be found on the side wall of the court in nearby Arcade Street:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Arcade Street Court crest 'IPSWICH COUNTY COURT'
An employee of a private security firm stopped any further photographs because "You're not allowed to photograph Government buildings".

Café Nero, 52-54 Butter Market
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cafe Nero crest2018 images
Another royal coat of arms is tucked away behind a chimney breast on the first floor of the Café Nero building (officially 54 Butter Market, but with a substantial part on Upper Brook Street).  We were tipped off about this by a gentleman at the Masonic Lodge in Soane Street on Heritage Open weekend 2018.
E ...
HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE [inside an Order of the Garter circle]

Our photograph shows the remaining part of the painted plaster; but why the ragged edge to the right which would have included the 'R' of 'ER' (Elizabeth Regina)? The descriptive text in a small frame beside it is shown below.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cafe Nero crest
'The Hacked-off Dragon Cafe. Given the date on this royal coat of arms of 1593 it must have been drawn during the reign of the last Tudor monarch, Queen Elizabeth the First. It is interesting to note that it does not however bear her personal motto of "Semper eadem" or "always the same". The Tudor coat of arms would have had a dragon as the supporting heraldic beast. It seems likely that it was removed on Elizabeth's death in 1603 and for whatever reason the Stuart unicorn of King James VI of Scotland was never added in its place when he became James I of England.
J. Huw Evans, Author, Poet, Wit and Sage 2013'

As yet, we have been unable to ascertain why this partial coat of arms is attached to the brickwork on "the 1900 building" which is featured on our Symonds for Kodak page. Was this an original feature of the building before the 1900 terracotta facade was built, or was it rescued from elsewhere and moved here? We think we should be told.

Mystery crest, Park Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Park Road crest   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Park Road crest 22019 images courtesy Simon Farr
[UPDATE 30.6.2019: ‘Dear Borin, I wonder what you might have to say about this ‘Coat of arms’ if you would call it that. This is on the stables building, top of Christchurch Park in Park Road, which my wife and I are currently restoring and developing. According to the park souvenir guide by David Miller, the building was designed by John Shewell Corder. It seems to be in carved sandstone. The relief has the sea horses as in the Ipswich coat of arms, but facing the other way, and the face of maybe Neptune or maybe even the devil! Any thoughts? (I’m going to restore it with a bit of red, like attached). Simon Farr.’ Many thanks to Simon for send this mystery crest. We're not sure that these horses' heads/necks qualify as 'Neptune's horses' and they are rendered in quite a dynamic way unfamiliar in heraldry, as is the fact that they face outwards. Of course, a stable-block would be a suitable location for a crest featuring horses. The central face resembles something on the cover of a Dennis Wheatley novel – the supernatural author from the 1960s – in other words, rather demonic. If anyone can add any information about this tucked away crest, which appears to have had a red-coloured background, please click the 'Contact us' link at the foot of the page.]

Masonic Lodge, 8 Soane Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Masonic Lodge crest2018 image
See our Soane Street page for more information about the building and the site of the coat of arms.

The Christchurch Park cenotaph
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cenotaph crest
A fine piece of metalwork on the reverse face of the cenotaph in Christchurch Park shows the Town coat of arms in three dimension, rising from a chequerboard base.

Ipswich Crematorium
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crematorium crestNext to the Temple of Remembrance, Ipswich 'New Cemetery'.

Old cemetery gates, Cemetery Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cemetery crests2022 image

Ipswich School
While unrelated to the town's coat of arms, this strikingly odd coat of arms can be seen on a modern extension to The Ipswich School in Ivry Street. In fact it turns out to have rather more regal origins.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich School crest2014 image
After Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s downfall in 1530, Thomas Cromwell ensured the survival of the School by securing for it a new endowment from King Henry VIII and the status of a royal foundation. This was confirmed by Queen Elizabeth I in the royal charter that she granted to the School in 1566. For part of the School’s history it was known as Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Ipswich. The school's coat of arms and motto, 'Semper Eadem' (Latin for 'Always the same'), are those of Elizabeth I. The upper scroll reads:
(Latin for 'King's School of Ipswich'). See our pages on Christ's Hospital School and Wolsey's College for further information.

Town Hall
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Town Hall crest 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Town Hall crestPhotograph courtesy JohnNorman
The pediment on the cuploa of the Venetian Gothic Town Hall (1868) bears a variant of the coat of arms – in fact each version is slightly different, depending on the sculptor and commissioner. Here the very scaly Neptune's horses support the crest, but the royal lion above does not sprout from an armoured helmet, but from a small platform (possibly easier to sculpt). The ship held by this lion is made of copper, now green with oxidation. The lack of helmet recurrs on the Mayor's Chain of Office, on Dogs Head Street, the County Library, the Custom House and elsewhere. Neptune's horses are the features which seem to have been constantly reinterpreted by designers.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cornhill paving crest2014 image   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cornhill paving crest 2Courtesy John Norman
On the Cornhill paving, in front of the Town Hall entrance is a ground-level metal plaque bearing the Ipswich coat of arms. When this July 2014 photograph (left) was taken the crest was rudely covered by a step-ladder foot tied to a market stall; see our Cornhill page for an uncluttered image. Oddly, Bill Quinton was once again Mayor of Ipswich at this time. John Norman's image (above right) shows the coat of arms and the damage caused by the metal.
With the repaving of the Cornhill in 2018/19, this plaque doesn't seem to have been replaced.
Compare with similar plaques on Common Quay, in front of the Custom House, outside the former Martin & Newby shop in Fore Street.

Corn Exchange
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Corn Exchange crest 12013 image
The above image shows a variant of the Ipswich coat of arms which seems to feature a sheaf of corn between the 'sea horses' and a scallop shell at the top. It is to be found high up above King Street and one would need to view it from the upper window of a nearby building. [UPDATE 30.7.2018: The photograph below was taken from the roof of Mutual House.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Corn Exchange crest2018 imagesIpswich Historic Lettering: Corn Exchange crest
Below: two views of the coat of arms above the upper part of Princes Street.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Corn Exchange crest 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Corn Exchange crest 42013 images
Inside the Corn Exchange is a fine carved wood example, highlighted in gold:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Corn Exchange 5a

Central Post Office
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Town Hall crest 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Post Office crest 42013 images
Perhaps a puzzling one, this. At the side of the central Post Office building, running down the top of Princes Street, a palladian triangle carries a carved stone coat of arms which is really only fully visible from the windows of the gallery which used to be called 'The Library' in the Town Hall.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Post Office crest 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Post Office crest 3  

Tavern Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tavern Street crest 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tavern Street crest 22013 images
Why are the Arms here? On the second story of the shop on the corner of St Lawrence Street and Tavern Street, with St Lawrence Chuch in the background,  is set a relief version of the town's arms, picked out in bright colours. However, the single lion rampant has been replaced by three half-lions which exude from the three ships' sterns. In the words of David Allen in a Suffolk Institute paper: 'The conduit stood on the corner of Tavern Street and St Lawrence Street, its position commemorated today by a plaque of  the arms of the Cinque Ports (on which the Town coat of arms is based – see top of this page) on the wall of no. 44 Tavern Street, which stands on the site of an earlier property known as the Conduit House. Its citing as a landmark in 1395 suggests that it was by then a well-established feature.' Compare with: 'The conduit stood at the western junction of Tavern Street with St Lawrence Street, its former presence still indicated by the Town Arms over the corner premises.' (Clegg, M.: Streets and street names in Ipswich, see Reading list). For more on the naming of St Lawrence Street see the St Lawrence Church page).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tavern Street crest 3Cinque Ports coat of arms
See our Water in Ipswich page for the David Allen citation.

Dogs Head Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Dogs Head Street crest2013 images
Next-door-but-one from the 'Edme Bakery' lettering at 8-10 Dogs Head Street, this red brick frontage above the Wahoo shop features a stepped rise in the centre featuring a rather nice stone Ipswich coat of arms. The detailing of the cannon ports on all four ship hulls and the scaley bodies and swirling manes of the 'sea horses' are striking. As at 40 Museum Street (above), we had assumed that this was once a local government office. Below is a period photograph of this (or a previous?) building showing not only the Borough coat of arms, this time painted, at the apex, but also 'EDME BAKERY' just visible on the eastern face of the next door building.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Dogs Head Street crest period   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Dogs Head Street crest 3
Eastern Counties Omnibus Company began operating from derelict land near the old cattle market in the 1930s. Why are the Arms here? The coat of arms actually relates to The Ipswich Arms pub which occupied these premises. This ancient public house is listed as both on Dogs Head Street or at 2 Lower Brook Street. If this photograph and the identification of The Ipswich Arms at this location is correct then, Dog's Head Street it is. This Ipswich Arms (as distinct from the pub of the same name in London Road, now demolished and the site of a Lidl supermarket) operated as licensed premises from the 1780s to around 1900. Many of the buses arriving from Felixstowe and Woodbridge areas would drive through the garage to the right of the photograph in order to gain entry to the Old Cattle Market bus station. The building beside the garage was Eastern Counties booking and information office. The town coat of arms relating to the former public house name can be seen in the small brick gable. All of these buildings associated with Eastern Counties have since been demolished, but the coat of arms was clearly rescued (or another version made) and resited as we see it today above the Wahoo shop.

Soane Street / Christchurch Park
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Park gate crest
The main gates to Christchurch Mansion in Soane Street, with pineapple finial and the old Packhorse Inn in the background, carry a curly, nicely-painted metal version of the Ipswich coat of arms.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Christchurch crest 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Christchurch crest 22014 images
In 2014 at the rear of the Wolsey Gallery behind the Mansion we stumbled across two chunky, heavy, cast iron Borough crests. The second (upside down) example is missing its base and the upper corners of the background rectangle. They are lying around with one or two architectural details and column bases (see our Christchurch Mansion page for photographs of these). If anyone knows where these two, rather rusty and faded, crests were originally displayed, please contact us.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Christchurch crest 3

Ipswich Art School, High St
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich Art School crest
The bearers of the town arms above are definitely zoologically correct sea-horses without forelimbs.

Ipswich County Library
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Public library 3
Here the Neptunes horses have their heads turned towards the viewer; again, the armour helmet is missing.

The Ancient House
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ancient House crest2023 images
On the stairwell of The Ancient House, probably Ipswich's most famous building, is an official Ipswich Borough Council plaque commemorating the acquisition in 1980 and remarkable rescue work and refurbishment which saved this building for the nation. It features this metalwork Borough coat of arms. The occupants of The Ancient House were Hatchards, the booksellers, who had to move all their stock and fittings into a property in Upper Brook Street while the work was being done. The building reopened in 1985.

Custom House
Possibly the biggest, most three dimensional (and hardest to see) Borough coat of arms in the palladian apex of the Wet Dock Custom House. Note how deep the recess is.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Custom House crest
Lots of curling scrollwork surround the crest; again, the armour hemet is missing, the upper ion and ship emerging from the swirls. Although not visible above, the crest and supporters sit on a base resembling dry stone walling which suggests the sea.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Custom House   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Custom House crest
The above photographs courtesy Tony Marsden.

Anglesea Road Hospital
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Anglesea Heightscrest
Here the arms of the town are supported by two cherubic figures.

Argyle Street School
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Argyle St School crest 2
Well, it's seen better days... stained and battered, but recognisable.

Gatacre Road School
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gatacre Rd School crest
The arms without the supporting sea horses and upper lion holding a sailing vessel.

Springfield School
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Springfield School crest
Often hidden by algae and creeper, this is a fine piece of relief brickwork; the arms
without the supporting sea horses.

Ranelagh Road School
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ranelagh Rd School crest
The arms without the supporting sea horses, but with the crest above. The scroll beneath reads: 'MUNIA CIVITATIS DECUS CIVIUM' ('The functions of citizenship are the glory of the citizens'). This also appears on the Ipswich Art School version in High Street.

Bourne Bridge
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne bridge crestPhoto courtesy: Mike O'Donovan
The arms (upper left) without the supporting sea horses. The shield to the right bears the castle emblem of East Suffolk County Council.

Park Road Reservoir
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Park reservoir crest
During the partial demolition and re-landscaping of the site during 2013, this original entrance was noticed (partially bricked up for many years). It bears the town coat of arms in a very eroded condition on a stone block with ball finial atop it. This presumably dates back to days of the Ipswich Corporation Water Works as commemorated on one or two hydrant covers in the town's pavements and in the road name: Waterworks Street.

Tooley Almshouses
Only discovered by this website on Heritage Open Day, 2015, is this fine rendition in coloured relief of the coat of arms above the entrance facing the main porch.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tooley 15   Ipswich Histroic Lettering: Tooley 11

Crown Pools
coat of arms
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crown Pools crest
One of the more recent version of the coat of arms to be found in the town, at the entrance to Crown Pools, Crown Street.

Vernon Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gower Street crest2014 images
Once worth a large nameplate and three dimensional coat of arms (even though the door is on Vernon Street), this building, as so often, is now something else:

We do not know what this 'industrial centre' consisted of; needless to say, it's home to commercial companies these days. A similar relief version of the Borough coat of arms can be seen on Crown Pools (shown above).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gower St crest 3

Cliff Lane Almshouses
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cliff Lane crest
Three-dimensional, picked out in red, white and blue and now with added chequerboard base, this crest is small and easy to miss (we did) at the foot of the 1938 Cliff Lane almshouse memorial tablet.

Grafton House
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Grafton House crest 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Grafton House crest 2
Inevitably, the home of Ipswich Borough Council, Grafton House in Russell Road – since the move from and demolition of Civic Centre – should be included here, even though the metal coat of arms resembles a colouring-in plate from a children's book. The screws fixing it high up on the side wall of Grafton House are beginning to rust. Civic Drive features street nameplates with the coat of arms and labelled 'County Borough of Ipswich' – but all semi-obliterated.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Civic Drive sign smallCivic Drive sign
For emblem and coat of arms of East Suffolk County Council see our County Hall page.

Willis obelisk
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Willis obelisk crest800 years since the Ipswich Charter

Modern steel street signs often incorporate the Ipswich coat of arms.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Geneva Road crest 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Geneva Road crest 2
This example at the top of Geneva Road has fared better than many. The coloured emblem has a tendency to fade away over the years, probably due to the action of the sun. The coat of arms in the left hand box is the one shown at the top of this web page.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Eagle Street crest 2See also our Spread Eagle page for an unusual configuration of street name and coat of arms.

The Tooley brass
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tooley brass crest
Above: a rubbing detail from the brass memorial to Henry Tooley, his wife and family shows at the top a version of the Borough coat of arms.

The Golf Hotel
Ipswich Historic Lettering: The Golf Hotel 5a
Seen framed on the wall of the bar in The Golf Hotel on Foxhall Road, this early 20th century, slightly fantastical version of the coat of arm bears the word 'IPSWICH' on the scroll beneath. Neptune's horses seem quite please to be there and the upper lion (bearing the masted ship) has an excalmation mark above its head, as if he was a surprised character in The Beano.

[UPDATE 14.1.2021: Peter Durrell of the Suffolk Heraldry Society tells us: 'The picture of the arms in The Golf Hotel is a Ja-Ja Postcard published as part of a series covering the whole country.'] Thanks to Peter for pointing this out. Within the corner curlicue at the lower left we can see: "Ja-Ja" Regd. Trademark – HERALDIC SERIES. Heraldic postcards (and presumably larger prints, as shown above) using the trade mark Ja-Ja were issued by Stoddart & Co, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. The company was established in 1905, but had ceased publishing postcards by 1917.

Almost sixty years after its founding, Ipswich Town Football Club turned professional and joined the Southern League in1936. The old striped shirts were replaced with smart new blue ones with white sleeves, complete with a club crest, basically the town's coat of arms. (The modern club crest shows a Suffolk punch horse.)
Ipswich Historic Lettering: ITFC crest 1933

Buses and trams
Ipswich Transport Museum features some fine examples of public transport livery of yore and we show below a restored version of the Ipswich coat of arms on an electric tram body.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tram crest

Ransomes & Rapier medal
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ransomes medal
Ransomes' traction engine transfer (detail) shows a rather eccentric interpretation of the coat of arms.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ransomes transfer crest

Ipswich Dock Commission
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crest Dock CommissionCourtesy Ipswich Maritime Trust
In 1837 an Act of Parliament allowed the Ipswich Dock Commissioners to construct the new Ipswich Wet Dock, to be the largest enclosed dock in the country. The Ipswich Dock Commission was provided with investment of £25,000 and the right to borrow a further £100,000; but it needed a further loan of £20,000 and also an additional levy of six pence per tonne on all imported coal to fund the project. The Ipswich Dock Act 1971 authorised the development of the West Bank to allow roll-on roll-off ships to dock. The Ipswich Dock Commission was reconstituted as the Ipswich Port Authority in 1973.

The Borough Arms used by local sports clubs...
Thanks to Peter Durrell of the Suffolk Heraldry Society for pointing out these examples.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crest Ipswich Rugby Club
Above: the entrance on Humber Doucy Lane to Ipswich Rugby Club features a modern take on the Borough Arms with accompanying scroll: 'IPSWICH RFC'. No sign of the moveable rudders on the ships' sterns.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crest Ipswich Bowls Club
Above: the entrance on Rushmere Road to The Ipswich & District Bowls Club (indoor bowls ans greens) displays an adaptation of the Borough Arms and Supporters, albeit squeezed into a shield shape. There is even room for two bowls and a jack below.

... and a furniture-maker
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crest Titchmarsh & Goodwin2021 images 
Titchmarsh & Goodwin has a long pedigree in Ipswich(§), their furniture works being located in Back Hamlet, behind Trinity Lodge – which the company once owned. They have adopted the Borough arms and cheekily placed 'TEEANGEE' on the scroll beneath. On the office building is a three-dimensional coat of arms with: 'Est. 1920' on the scroll.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crest Titchmarsh & Goodwin   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crest Titchmarsh & Goodwin
(§)For more on the story of the cabinet makers in Back Hamlet see From mighty oaks ... came Gordon Goodwin's dream and Trinity Lodge aka 'The Mansion House' on The Ipswich Society website.
[UPDATE Spring 2021: during a post-pandemic-lockdown walk, we came across the long-abandoned Witnesham Saw Mills site on Mow Hill, walking from Wash Lane towards The Barley Mow public house. The old, weathered sign-board reveals that the saw mills were owned by Titchmarsh & Goodwin and has a subtle 'TEEANGEE' Borough crest between 'Cabinet' and 'Makers'.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crest Titchmarsh & Goodwin Witnesham Saw Mills2022 images

Ipswich coin 1794
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich coin 1794
[UPDATE 13.3.2017: Collector, Michael Sykes, has kindly sent the above images:
'Hello, I saw your page. I have a 223-year-old token of 1794 with the crest on. It is not on your page. I attach images of both sides. It has a catalogue (Dalton & Hamer) reference of DH#34 and has lettering of  "PAYABLE AT ROBERT MANNINGS IPSWICH . X X ."  on the edge. The motto  "KINGS... LORDS... & COMMONS"  is below the crest on a ribbon. I am in Bedford but bought the token as I liked it; you can use my images.' For those of us who know little of coins and their history, it’s perhaps a surprise that in 1794 words were being inscribed round the edge of a coin. We would guess that most people first saw this feature on the modern one pound coin. The lettering around the galleon and ploughman with his team is 'GOD PRESERVE THE PLOUGH & SAIL' highlighting these major contributors to economic wealth and power – those two elements appear as the name of the public house at Snape Maltings: The Plough & Sail.
See also the Ipswich farthing, 1670 found at the
St Mary-At-The-Quay archaeological dig.]

N.B.: The Ipswich Mint 'Ipswich was an important commercial centre and it is almost certain that some of the silver coins (series R sceattas) of the early 8th century were minted in Ipswich. The first silver pennies with the names of East Anglian kings from Beonna onwards , which bear the names of moneyers Efe and Tilbert under King Beonna, c.758, and Lul under King Ethelbert, c.792, are also likely to have been minted in the town. These moneyers were doubtless men of some status and they might be the first English residents recorded by name.'

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich medal 1897Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich medal 1897
[UPDATE 1.9.2018: 'I have attached two pictures of a nice medal (engraved 1897) you might also want to add. Sadly I did not win it last night - I got outbid and it sold for £30 so I do not own it, but hopefully copyright does not affect the rights. I think the lettering is:
Back - engraved: 'AWARDED TO Allen & Woodbridge "SUPERIOR PRINTING" 1897'
Thanks! Michael Sykes. Thanks to Michael; the simplified version of the Ipswich coat of arms looks a bit empty here.]

And another Ipswich coin...
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich coin
[UPDATE 16.3.2018: 'I collected coins as a young boy and after collecting dust for 35 years I had a look at them and found this coin.  I came across your site whist trying to investigate its origins. If you know anymore about the coin that would be great? Kind regards, Michael Durrant.' Many thanks to Michael for these images. If anyone can shed light on either the coin and irs history, do email us on the link at the foot of the page.]

[UPDATE 30.11.2018: Another fine example from Michael Sykes: 'I bought this lovely medal the other day, if you would like to add it to your site.  It is 38mm diameter and 5mm thick, and comes in a hinged case 57mm square. This medal is as made (it has never been engraved on the back). Not sure when it dates from. Lettering on front: 'IPSWICH & DISTRICT PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY'. The stylization in the design suggests that this is a 20th century medal, perhaps. The Neptune's horses and lion holding the ship are decidedly slimmed down, as is the lion rampant on the shield as so often, the ship's rudders are missing.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich and District Photographic Society medal 1
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich and District Photographic Society medal 2
[UPDATE 30.12.2018: 'I attach the history of the medal that is held in the Society archive, together with images of the two medals mentioned.  I do hope that I have furthered your interesting research into the variety of Ipswich coats of arms, a subject I had not thought of before!
Diana Freeman, Archivist of IDPS. Many thanks to Diana for adding this information to the website: all fascinating material.
'Ipswich & District Photographic Society
The title ‘Ipswich and District Photographic Society’ came into being in 1928 when the photographic section broke away from the Ipswich Social Settlement Club. There was another club called Ipswich Camera Club that appears to have been formed in the 1880s and ran in parallel with the Social Settlement group. Probably this camera club had a membership identical to the Social Settlement group as photography is so specialised/localised. We have one medal of theirs dated 1905 awarded to J. Ludlum for a Lantern slide in an ‘open’ competition (see below).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich and District Photographic Society medal 1905
'From the I.D.P.S. minute  book  of 22 October 1928 there is a mention of J.W. Hood and Co. offering to cut a die for the Society free of charge if there were orders for the medals. The Committee agreed to accept the offer.
To begin with only four bronze and one silver medal were awarded annually, later rising to one silver and 8 bronze. There is no indication in the Minutes as to how many medals were ordered to begin with so there may be other ‘blanks’ out there somewhere. It is also not clear if they were all engraved. The odd Account records we have only record cost of engraving for silver Cups.
However there is one bronze medal that we know was engraved. It is featured on a vintage medals website and was awarded to S.H. Rivron in 1938, this is identical to the one you enquired about.
Now the coup d’etat: we have the die for it ! It is 5.3 cm in diameter by  5 cm tall (including the raised surface with the die impression).  
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich and District Photographic Society medal 1936
'The only doubt we have as to its maker is the fact that, as you will see,  it is incised  ‘R  P’ on the edge above the engraving and ‘20:2:36’ below. Which doesn’t tally with J.W. Hood unless R P are the initials of the worker who actually made the die and the other numbers are not a date but die maker’s record numbers.
If you know anything about J.W. Hood & Co. I would be very interested to include the information in the Club records.']

Arras, France
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich crest, Arras 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ipswich crest, Arras 22018 images courtesy David Gaylard
The importance of the twinned town relationship (although not technically 'twinned', we hear) between Ipswich and Arras in northern France is illustrated by this street nameplate in Arras. It embodies the Ipswich Borough coat of arms and that of the City of Arras. The history of Arras, going back to the Roman period,  bears striking similarities with the history of Ipswich – not least in its prominence in the wool trade.
Given its geographical position, Arras was the epicentre of military engagement in bothe the First and Second World Wars.
See our Blue plaques page (under Other plaques) for the equivalent Arras Square street nameplate in Ipswich.

Railway armorial
Ipswich Historic Lettering: GER armorial detail
The Ipswich coat of arms also appears on the Great Eastern Railway armorial to be seen in the Church of St Mary-At-Stoke.

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