Ancient Ipswich dates back to the Iron Age and has developed as into an important industrial, commercial, shopping and tourist centre.
It has a long history with twelve Churches mentioned in the Doomsday Book. Later it had at least five Priories and became a place of Pilgrimage to the famous Shrine of Our Lady of Grace. This stood in what is still called Lady Lane.
The first Catholic Church in Ipswich was opened in 1827 on the outskirts of the town. It was soon recognised that there was a need for a central place of worship and the Church of St. Pancras was built in 1861.
Somewhat plain on the outside, it had an interior that is an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Architecture. The arches of the Nave and Sanctuary have alternate courses or red and white brick, in what is known as the Venetian Style. Behind the Altar and above the Reredos, five large statues depict Our Lord and the four Evangelists. The statue of the Blessed Virgin, in the small Lady Chapel, is over an ornamental marble Altar. This has floral carving symbolic of the title of the Queen of Heaven: the rose, lily of the valley and the marguerite. The Tabernacle is rotary and available for both the High Altar and the Chapel. The Organ, which was built in 1891 and has two manuals, stands in the recently almost rebuilt Choir Gallery which, with the Organ, was badly damaged in a disastrous fire in 1985. Beneath the Gallery will be found the Caen stone Font, the round bowl of which is a sculptured band of water lilies and four bosses of crystal spar, and the parish War Memorial of marble. The church also contains the Shrine of Our Lady of Poland, a souvenir of the stay in the town of the Polish Free Army during the second World War, which is cared for by the local Polish community. In the Parish garden is a statue of Our Lady of Grace.
To mark the millennium, a new west window was commissioned.