Our History - A Brief Overview

We are an ancient foundation and our thoroughly modern approach to education is set within the context of a rich historical legacy. We are proud to be continuing a six hundred year old tradition.

The first hard evidence of the school's existence, an unpaid bill, dates from 1399 but it is likely that the school had been functioning for some years before then. Its first Charter was granted by Henry VIII and confirmed by Queen Elizabeth I. The school's coat of arms and motto, Semper Eadem (Always the Same), are those of Elizabeth I. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the school's Visitor. Early school buildings were located in the town centre but in 1852 the school moved into new buildings opposite Christchurch Park and has remained on this site ever since.

For much of its history Ipswich School has been closely connected with the Borough but after World War II the Governors took the decision that it should become fully independent. It has developed a strong academic reputation and is well known for its sport, cultural activities and the attention given to the care and personal development of individual pupils.

Ipswich School can claim a number of distinguished former pupils: Thomas Wolsey, Cardinal, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England under Henry VIII, almost certainly attended the school. Eminent men of action include Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, the English commander at the battle of Flodden, and Rear Admiral Sir Philip Broke, who captained HMS Shannon in a celebrated engagement with the USS Chesapeake. The novelist Henry Rider Haggard was a pupil here in the 1870s and distinguished artists such as Sir Edward Poynter, President of the Royal Academy, Charles Keene of Punch, and Edward Ardizzone attended the school. In the field of science, the pioneering neuro-physiologist and Nobel Prizewinner Sir Charles Sherrington is the most distinguished Old Ipswichian to date.