Ipswich

IPSWICH, a borough, port, and market-town, and the head of a union, in the liberty of Ipswich, E. division of Suffolk, 25 miles (S. E. by E.) from Bury St. Edmund's, and 69 (N. E.) from London; containing 25,384 inhabitants. This place had a mint in the early period of the heptarchy, and was fortified with walls, and surrounded by a moat: of the walls there are still some remains in a garden near the church of St. Nicholas, and of the moat a memorial is preserved in the name of the northern suburb, called the Ditches. Though of considerable antiquity, it is not distinguished by any event of historical importance prior to the Conquest: in Domesday book it is named Gypiswic, and Gyppeswic, from the river Gyppen or Gypping, which falls into the Orwell, near the town. The walls, which were greatly damaged in 991 and 1000, when the town was plundered by the Danes, were repaired in the reign of John, and had four gates. Soon after the Conquest a castle was erected here, which Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, defended against Stephen, to whom he at length surrendered it, and which was afterwards demolished by Henry II. Isabel, queen of Edward II., who had made a visit to France, landed here on her return, with a force of nearly 3000 men, and, being joined by the discontented barons, laid siege to Bristol, where she put the elder Spencer to death, and compelled the king to take refuge in Wales. In the 26th of Henry VIII., Ipswich was made the seat of a suffragan bishop, who was consecrated by Archbishop Cranmer, and had a mansion in the parish of St. Peter, the remains of which are now used as a malthouse. During the reign of Mary, several individuals suffered martyrdom in the town. Queen Elizabeth, in her progress through Norfolk and Suffolk, remained at the place for four days, and sailed down the Orwell in great pomp, attended by the corporation. Among other sovereigns who have visited Ipswich may be noticed George II., when on his way from Lowestoft, upon which occasion a congratulatory address was presented to him by the corporation; and George IV., when Regent.

The town is pleasantly situated on an acclivity, bordered on the west and south by the river Orwell, over which is a handsome iron bridge, and another bridge at the entrance into Ipswich from the London road; the streets are irregularly formed, and were once inconveniently narrow. Under an act passed in 1816, the town was paved, and is lighted with gas; a fund, also, has been raised for its general improvement. The houses, many of which are ancient and ornamented with carved work, are for the most part well built; and the erection of several good ranges of building, and the construction of some handsome streets, have added much to the appearance of the town. The inhabitants are supplied with water from the river and from springs. The air is salubrious, and the temperature mild, the place being sheltered from the colder winds by hills on the north and north-east. The environs are pleasant; and the higher grounds command a fine view of the town, the river, and the adjacent country, which abounds with pleasingly diversified scenery, including Christchurch Park, in which are some of the finest Spanish chesnut and beech trees in the kingdom, and which, from its extent and the beauty and variety of its scenery, forms a delightful promenade. The cavalry barracks, a neat building at the entrance from the London road, contain accommodation for six troops, but three only are usually stationed there. A philosophical society was established in 1818. There is a library for the use of the free burgesses, founded by Mr. W. Smart in 1612, and originally attached to the free grammar school, but now removed to the Literary Institution, at the town-hall; and a public subscription library is supported, together with three subscription newsrooms, a mechanics' institute established in 1824, and a horticultural society. A museum is in course of erection, which will contain a library, apartments for specimens now being collected, and various other rooms, with a spacious lobby: the building was commenced in 1847. The theatre is opened twice in the year, for a few weeks, by the Norwich company of comedians; Garrick made his first appearance on the stage here, in 1741. There are some subscription assembly-rooms, elegantly fitted up; and races take place in the first week in July. On the quay are commodious baths.

The borough has a jurisdiction extending for a considerable distance on both sides of the Suffolk coast, and beyond Harwich on the coast of Essex. A very good foreign and coasting trade is carried on at the port, which is rising in importance; the number of vessels of above 50 tons' burthen registered here being 119, and their aggregate tonnage 12,339. The coasting-trade consists chiefly in corn and malt, and in timber for shipbuilding, with which Ipswich supplies the dockyards. Very extensive improvements have been lately effected, which greatly facilitate commercial enterprise. The river, which was only about 14 feet deep up to the town at spring tides, has been deepened to 17 feet; and the mercantile premises in the town being mostly situated on the eastern side of the river, where it turns at nearly a right angle from its previous course, a space of 33 acres at this point has been inclosed as a wet-dock, which forms one of the most spacious and advantageously situated docks in the kingdom. The rivers Orwell and Gipping, which were thus arrested in their progress, were again connected with the river by a new cut that may be termed the chord of which the old channel formed the bow, so that the river proceeds in a rather more direct course than before. The Stow-Market canal, constructed in 1793, at an expense of £26,380, affords great facility for inland navigation; it is formed in the channel of the river Gipping, from Stow-Market to Ipswich. The line of railway from Ipswich to Colchester was opened in June 1846, and that from Ipswich to Bury, in December: the terminus here stands in a beautiful spot, close to the town, surrounded by rural scenery, and commanding a view of the Orwell and the adjacent country. Boats sail with every tide to Harwich, affording an aquatic excursion of twelve miles, which derives much interest from the beauty and variety of the scenery on the banks of the river. The principal articles of manufacture are snuff and tobacco, paper, patent ploughs, and ploughshares. The town was formerly celebrated for the manufacture of broad-cloth and Ipswich doubles, and the best canvass for sailcloth; branches now transferred to the West of England. Shipbuilding is carried on to a considerable extent, and several of Morton's patent-slips are in use. There are ropewalks for the supply of the shipping, a manufactory for stays, affording employment to upwards of 700 women and girls, an extensive pottery, a manufactory for Roman cement, and several ale and porter breweries: a great quantity of grain and malt is sent to the London market; and there are extensive chalk-pits in the neighbourhood. The market-days are Tuesday and Saturday, the former for corn: the fairs are on May 4th, called St. George's fair, for toys and lean cattle; August 26th for lambs; and Sept. 25th, for butter and cheese, which last has almost fallen into disuse. The corn-market is held in the corn-exchange, a large building erected at the expense of £3300, on the site of the old shambles, said to have been built by Cardinal Wolsey. The market-place, constructed in 1811, at an expense of £10,000, comprises two spacious quadrangular ranges of building supported on columns of stone, adjoining which is an inclosed cattle-market. A building for a custom-house and excise office, called the Hall of Commerce, was completed in July 1845; it is 125 feet by 44, the principal front, having a bold Tuscan portico, facing the quay.

Ipswich was a borough at the time of the Norman survey, and obtained a grant of a free market from William the Conqueror. Its burgesses were first incorporated by King John, who bestowed upon them extensive privileges; and since that time the inhabitants have received seventeen charters, the most important being those of Edward IV. and Charles II., under which latter the government was vested in two bailiffs, twelve port-men, and twenty-four common-councilmen, with a high-steward, recorder, town-clerk, two coroners, a treasurer, two chamberlains, and inferior officers. The corporation, by act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., now consists of a mayor, ten aldermen, and thirty councillors; the borough is divided into five wards, and the number of magistrates is eighteen. The freedom is inherited by all the sons of a free burgess, born after the parent has taken up his freedom, and is acquired by servitude to a freeman. Among the privileges which it confers, is, exemption from all tolls and other customs, and, for the resident burgesses, from serving on juries at the assizes or sessions for the county. Heirs are here considered of age when fourteen years old. The borough obtained the elective franchise in the 23rd of Edward I., since which time it has continued to return two members to parliament: the right of election was formerly vested in the burgesses at large not receiving alms, in number about 1100, of whom not more than 400 were resident; but by the act of the 2nd and 3rd of William IV., cap. 45, the non-resident burgesses were disfranchised, and the privilege was extended to the £10 householders of the borough, containing 845 acres, the limits of which are unaltered: the mayor is returning officer. The corporation hold courts of session for the determination of all civil and criminal causes, except capital offences, twice in the year, prior to the assizes; and a court of record on alternate Mondays, for the recovery of debts to any amount. Petty-sessions are held weekly. The townhall was built on the site, and partly with the materials, of the ancient parochial church of St. Mildred, which was a building of extraordinary solidity. Courts of justice have been lately erected, the exterior of which is very elegant, light, and chastely ornamented; and a house for the accommodation of the judges has been built, the summer assizes being now held here, as are also the quarter-sessions for a portion of the county. The powers of the county debt-court of Ipswich, established in 1847, extend over the registration-districts of Ipswich, Sampford, and Bosmere and Claydon. The borough gaol comprises six divisions for the classification of prisoners, exclusively of two solitary cells; the house of correction for the borough contains two wards. The common gaol and house of correction for the county, in the parish of St. Helen, is a spacious building of brick, and one of the first erected on the plan of Mr. Howard. The treadmill, as an instrument of prison discipline, was invented by Mr. W. Cubitt, an inhabitant of the town.

Ipswich comprises the parishes of St. Clement, containing 5945 inhabitants; St. Helen, 1352; St. Lawrence, 570; St. Margaret, 4539; St. Mary-at-Elms, 851; St. Mary-at-the-Quay, 988; St. Mary Stoke, 992; St. Mary-at-the-Tower, 967; St. Matthew, 3458; St. Nicholas, 1698; St. Peter, 2420; and St. Stephen, 503; and, within the limits of the borough, part of the parish of Whitton with Thurleston, 422; part of that of Westerfield, 324; part of Bramford, 881; and part of Rushmere, 564; likewise the extra-parochial places of Warren-House, Cold Dunghills, Globe-Lane, Shire Hall Yard, and Felaw's-Houses. The living of St. Clement's is a rectory not in charge, held with that of St. Helen's, valued in the king's books at £8. 13. 9., and in the gift of the Rev. J. T. Nottidge, who has lately erected an additional church at his own expense, dedicated to the Holy Trinity: the tithes of St. Clement's have been commuted for £280, and of St. Helen's for £58. The church of St. Clement is a neat edifice of freestone; that of St. Helen is an ancient structure. The living of St. Lawrence's is a perpetual curacy; net income, £175; patrons, the Parishioners. The church was erected in the early part of the 15th century, by John Bottold, and the chancel built by John Baldwyn: in 1808, Sir Robert Kerr Porter, in six days, executed a painting of Our Saviour disputing with the Doctors in the Temple, which he presented to the parish. St. Margaret's is a rectory; net income, £115; patrons, the Trustees of the Rev. Charles Simeon. The church, a handsome and spacious structure, was materially defaced and stripped of its decorations by the parliamentary visiters, who destroyed the paintings, and removed some statues of the Twelve Apostles: the edifice has been greatly improved of late, particularly in 1846. The living of the parish of St. Mary-at-Elms is a perpetual curacy; net income, £80; patrons, the Parishioners. The church is a small edifice of brick, erected on the spot where St. Saviour's church formerly stood. The living of the parish of St. Mary-at-the-Quay is also a perpetual curacy; net income, £103; patrons, the Parishioners. The church was rebuilt, soon after 1448, of stone given for that purpose by Richard Gowty, whose will is dated in that year. The living of the parish of St. Mary Stoke is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £12, and in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Ely: the tithes have been commuted for £460, and the glebe comprises 49 acres. The church is an ancient edifice, on the south side of the Orwell. The living of the parish of St. Mary-at-the-Tower is a perpetual curacy; net income, £103; patrons, the Parishioners. There is also a lectureship, endowed by the corporation, who attend divine service here upon all public occasions. The church is spacious, and had formerly a lofty spire; a handsome marble tablet has been erected by subscription among the inhabitants of the town, to the memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Cobbold, a lady distinguished for her literary talents. St. Matthew's is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £5, and in the patronage of the Crown. A gallery has been erected in the church, and 140 free sittings provided: it contains the tomb of John, Lord Chedworth, many years chairman of the quarter-sessions. The living of St. Nicholas' is a perpetual curacy; net income, £150; patrons, the Parishioners. The church, an ancient structure, sustained considerable injury from the parliamentarians, in 1648. The living of St. Peter's is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Simeon's Trustees; net income, £138. The church is an ancient edifice, and contains a large font of great antiquity and curious design; the Incorporated Society granted £50 towards repairing the church in 1841, when 252 sittings were added. The living of St. Stephens is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £4. 12. 8½.; net income, £82; patron, the Rev. Mr. Burgiss. Within the precincts of the borough are also the churches of Whitton and Westerfield, and the remains of the chapel of Thurleston, which last have been converted into a barn. There are places of worship for Particular Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, Primitive and Association Methodists, and Unitarians; a Roman Catholic chapel; and a synagogue.

The Free grammar school is of uncertain foundation: it was endowed by Henry VIII. with £38. 13. 4. per annum from the fee-farm rent of the borough, which endowment was confirmed by a charter of Elizabeth in the eighth year of her reign, and subsequently augmented with legacies. There are two scholarships at Pembroke College, Cambridge, for boys educated in the school, with pensions of £3 per annum each, given by William Smart, in 1598; four scholarships with £5 per annum each, founded by Ralph Scrivener, in 1601; two scholarships in Jesus College, Oxford, founded by Thomas Redrick, in 1616; and two exhibitions to the University of Cambridge, one of £14 and the other of £6 per annum, founded in 1621, by Richard Martin, for boys educated in the school, who are also entitled to share with the school of Bury St. Edmund's in a scholarship founded at Trinity College, by Dr. Mopted, in the year 1558. The Blue-coat school was established in 1709; the income amounts to £500. The Red-sleeve school was established in 1752, and is supported by subscription. Henry Tooley, portman of Ipswich, bequeathed estates, in 1550, for the erection and endowment of almshouses for ten aged persons; the revenue is nearly £1000, and, in addition to those maintained in the almshouses, there are sixty out-pensioners. William Smart, in 1598, bequeathed lands now producing about £480 per annum, for the maintenance and education of children, for the employment of the poor, and other charitable purposes. Christ's hospital, for maintaining and educating children, founded by the corporation in 1569, has an endowment of about £400 per annum, arising from a portion of Mr. Felaw's gift, and from other benefactions; the building, which is near the site of a monastery of Black friars, is also appropriated as a bridewell or house of industry for the employment of the poor. Twelve almshouses were founded in the parish of St. Mary-at-Elms, for aged women, in pursuance of the will of Mrs. Ann Smyth, who, in 1729, bequeathed property now vested in old South Sea annuities, producing £132. 19. per annum. Fifteen almshouses were built in 1515, by Mr. Daundy, in the parish of St. Matthew, to which two were added in 1680, by Mr. Sheppard; and there are also five houses in the churchyard of St. Clement's. Mr. John Pemberton, in 1718, bequeathed estates to establish a fund for paying £25 per annum each to widows and orphans of clergymen of the Established Church; the income has been so far increased by donations and subscriptions, as to enable the trustees to distribute annually £1500, in sums of £30 each. A similar institution, called the Suffolk Benevolent Society, was formed in 1799, by the dissenters; the funds of which have accumulated to £4000. A loan fund has a capital of £3394, the consolidation of several benefactions, for the purpose of lending upon security, without interest, sums of £20 or £25, for ten years, to young persons entering into business. There is also an hospital called the "East Suffolk Hospital." The poor-law union of Ipswich comprises the 12 parishes of the borough, together with Whitton and Westerfield, and contains a population of 25,254.

Among the monastic establishments existing here were a priory of Black canons of the order of St. Augustine, originally founded in 1177, in Christ-Church, and which, being destroyed by fire, was refounded soon after, by John, Bishop of Norwich, for a prior and six canons, whose revenue at the Dissolution was £88. 6. 9.; and a priory of Black canons, founded in the reign of Henry II. by Thomas Lacey and Alice his wife, in honour of St. Peter and St. Paul. Cardinal Wolsey suppressed this latter, and erected on the site his college for a dean, twelve secular canons, eight clerks, and eight choristers, with a grammar school intended as a nursery for his college at Oxford; but upon that statesman's fall, the building was demolished, and only the gateway, an elegant edifice of brick, now remains. A monastery of Black friars, in the parish of St. Mary-at-the-Quay, was founded in the reign of Henry III., of which the existing portions present the most perfect relic of antiquity in the town; they are appropriated to the use of Christ's Hospital, and for the purpose of Tooley's endowment. An hospital for lepers was founded here in the reign of John, and dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene and St. James, There was a monastery of White friars in the centre of the town, of which no vestiges exist; also a house of Grey friars, founded in the reign of Edward I., by Sir Robert Tybetot, of which some portions of the walls are still remaining. In the neighbourhood are several mineral springs; and an ancient warm spring, called Ipswich Spa, was in great repute during the last century, though now not used.

Of distinguished natives of Ipswich, have been, Cardinal Wolsey, who was born in the parish of St. Nicholas, and received the rudiments of his education in the grammar school of the town; Dr. William Butler, physician to James I.; Dr. Laney, successively Bishop of Peterborough, Lincoln, and Ely; Ralph Brownrig, Bishop of Exeter, of which see he was deprived at the commencement of the parliamentary war; Clara Reeve, authoress of The Old English Baron and other works, whose father was for many years minister of St. Nicholas' parish; Mrs. Sarah Trimmer, the ingenious authoress of elementary works for young people; and Thomas Green, author of Extracts from the Diary of a Lover of Literature, and a liberal and enlightened critic. Among eminent persons who have resided here, may be named, Sir Anthony Wingfield, one of the executors to Henry VIII.; Sir Christopher Hatton, lord high chancellor; Sir Harbottle Grimstone, speaker of the house of commons during the Long Parliament; Nathaniel Bacon, grandson of the lord keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon, and author of the Annals of Ipswich, now in the possession of the corporation; Jeremy Collier, master of the free grammar school, and author of an Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain; and Capel Lofft, a learned civilian, elegant writer, and patron of literature. Ipswich gives the title of Viscount to the Duke of Grafton.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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