Understanding Ipswich  wills and tax records

Transcripts of wills and tax records are available from Suffolk Heritage Direct and the Norfolk Record Office's online Catalogue.


Following the death of the distinguished local historian Peter Northeast in 2009, the record office received his unpublished manuscripts of transcripts and translations of Suffolk’s medieval wills. His work covered the probate records of the courts of the Archdeaconry of Suffolk, the consistory court of Norwich and the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. His transcripts and translations of wills relating to Ipswich are in four files (ref. HD 2448/1/1/255/1-4) and there are separates files for Stoke, Whitton and the other parishes surrounding Ipswich. There are published indexes for the archdeaconry of Suffolk to 1700 (Sergeant) and the card indexes of later Archdeaconry wills are now available on Suffolk Heritage Direct. There also published indexes for the Consistory Court of Norwich and these can be searched through the Norfolk Record Office’s online catalogue NROCAT. The Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills are all available online.

Tax Records

The tallage roll of 1227, the Welsh Tax and assessment of 1283, the subsidy returns of 1327, 1524 and 1568 have all been published and contain limited information relating to historic geography. The Poll Tax returns of 1381 have not survived for Ipswich but the population totals were recorded in the published version of Bacons Annals (Richardson). The geographic value of the 1689 assessment was considered in the published transcript. The author suggested that there were then 1,646 houses in Ipswich (Chamberlain). The original manuscript containing the assessments for 1688-1683 is at Ipswich (ref. HA 247/42). Many of the owners of the properties in 1689 are also named in the published Hearth Tax returns of 1674 (Hervey 1905).


1837 painting of Ipswich docks showing river  structures and ship building

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resources about Ipswich for further study

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