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Where is England's oldest town?


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Ipswich has a claim to being the oldest town in England, but so does Colchester. In 2013, the debate even hit the national headlines.

Suffolk's county town appears to have been the first town founded by Anglo Saxons after the fall of Roman Britain.

Other towns, including close neighbour Colchester, were founded in the earlier Roman period.

But none of these towns are thought to have survived the fall of the western Roman Empire in 476AD — meaning the ancient and modern towns could be considered separate. 

We asked three local history experts to try and find an answer.


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First I've heard of Ipswich being the oldest continuously inhabited town in England!   Or even the first town to be established by the Angles.   And I used to live there.

But I find it very unlikely that the British abandoned every single town and city that existed during Roman (and, indeed, pre-Roman) times after the Legions left.   Where'd they all go?    Just because the Anglo-Saxons didn't immediately move in to live and work alongside the British, and often established their own separate settlements,  doesn't mean we had all become homeless nomads.

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