Port, borough and county town of Suffolk. This is by far the largest settlement in the county and is built around the lowest crossing point of the tidal river Orwell (known as the river Gipping to the west of Stoke bridge). The modern town has expanded far beyond the medieval walled port settlement and today many large domestic housing and industrial estates surround the older central shopping and administrative areas.

It's often claimed that "Ipswich once had a pub for every day of the year". Sadly, this claim (which is probably made for every other similar-sized town) doesn't stand up. Borough police records show that the town's drinking estate peaked in 1870, when there were a total of 313 taverns and beerhouses. As the police records didn't differentiate between beerhouses with on and off licenses, the actual maximum number of drinking establishments was probably ten or twenty fewer than that.

With many large suburban estates in many parts of the modern town sprawl, especially for the casual observer, the boundaries with other adjacent local administrative areas are no longer very well defined…


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Before 1860

In 1553, Edward VI decided there were too many inns in the country and he decreed that their number be reduced. Whilst the City of London was permitted 40, Ipswich was allowed only four.

In 1689, there appear to have been a mere two dozen inns or taverns in Ipswich:

  • St Mary at the Tower Parish

    • Griffen
    • Chequers
    • Swan
    • King's Head
    • Castle
    • Three Cooneys
    • Queen's Head
    • Royal Oak
    • White Horse
    • Black Boy
    • Coffee House
  • St Margaret's Parish

    • Greyhound
    • Cock & Pye
    • Two Neck'd Swan
    • Buck (Running Buck)
    • Woolpack
    • Saracen's Head
  • Wykes Bishop hamlet

    • Cock
  • St Mary at the Quay

    • Angel
    • Bull
  • St Peter's

    • Gun
    • Rose