Ipswich, city (1991 pop. 129,661) and district, Suffolk, E England, on the Orwell estuary 12 mi (19 km) from its entry into the North Sea. Ipswich is the county seat of Suffolk. A market and port, it exports barley, malt, and fertilizers and imports coal, petroleum, phosphates, grain, and timber. Agricultural machinery and construction vehicles are the chief manufactures of Ipswich, which also has fertilizer, cigarette, malting, milling, brewing, printing, and textile industries. The area was a commercial center and pottery producer from the 7th to 12th cent. The city reached the peak of its significance in the woolen trade in the 16th cent. Its port declined with the decrease in wool trading but revived with new dock construction in the mid-19th cent. Vestiges of Roman habitation remain there. Ipswich was an important ecclesiastical center in the 16th cent. and retains 12 old churches and several 15th- and 16th-century houses. Christchurch mansion (1548, now in part an art gallery), the public school (14th cent.), and Sparrowe's House (1567) are noteworthy. Wolsey's Gate is the only remnant of the college founded in the early 16th cent. by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who was born in Ipswich.
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