Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Ancient House (Ipswich)

The Ancient House is one of the best known buildings in the old Suffolk town of Ipswich.

It is situated in St. Stephen's Lane, opposite the modern Buttermarket Shopping Centre.

This 17th century house contains evidence of six older structures, partly dating back to the 15th century.

For much of its existence, the Ancient House was in the possession of the important local Sparrowe family, accounting for its alternative name "Sparrowe's House".

It is one of the most spectacular examples of the pargeter's art. The frontage contains the Royal Arms of Charles II, and depictions of the four continents - Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Australia was at the time quite unknown to Europeans.

A local story insists that Charles II sheltered at the Ancient House while on his way to exile in 1651 after the Battle of Worcester.

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