COLCHESTER /ˈkoʊltʃɛstər/ ( listen ) is an historic market
town and the largest settlement within the borough of
the county of
At the time of the census in 2011, it had a population of 121,859 ,
marking a considerable rise from the previous census and with
considerable development since 2001 and ongoing building plans; it has
been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the oldest
recorded Roman town in Britain ,
Colchester is claimed to be the
oldest town in Britain . It was for a time the capital of Roman
Britain , and is a member of the
Most Ancient European Towns Network .
Colchester is some 50 miles (80 km) northeast of London and is
connected to the capital by the A12 road and its railway station which
is on the
Great Eastern Main Line . It is seen as a popular town for
commuters, and is less than 30 miles (48 km) away from Stansted
Airport and 20 miles (32 km) from the passenger ferry port of Harwich
Colchester is home to
Colchester Castle and
Football Club . It has a Conservative Member of Parliament, Will
Quince , who was elected in the 2015 General Election . The correct
demonym is Colcestrian. The River Colne runs through the town.
* 1 Name
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory
* 2.2 Celtic origins
* 2.3 Roman
* 2.4 Sub-Roman and Saxon
* 2.5 Medieval and Tudor periods
* 2.6 17th century
* 2.7 Victorian
* 2.8 20th century and later
* 3 Climate
* 4 Garrison
* 5 Governance
* 6 Demography
* 7 Culture
* 7.1 Museums
* 7.1.1 Gosbecks Archaeological Park
* 7.2 Arts
* 7.3 Sports
* 7.4 Other
* 8 Landmarks
* 8.1 Roman Walls
* 8.2 "Jumbo" water tower
* 9 Twin towns
* 10 Education
* 10.1 Secondary education
* 10.2 Tertiary
* 10.2.1 Private schools
* 11 Transport
* 12 References in literature
* 13 In popular culture
* 14 Colcestrians
* 15 See also
* 16 Footnotes
* 17 External links
It is a widely held belief that the name _Colchester_ is derived from
Latin words _Colonia _ (referring to a type of Roman settlement
with rights equivalent to those of Roman citizens, one of which was
believed to have been founded in the vicinity of Colchester) and
Castra _, meaning _fortifications_ (referring to the town's walls,
the oldest in Britain). The earliest forms of the name Colchester
are _Colenceaster_ and _Colneceastre_ from the 10th century, with the
modern spelling of _Colchester_ being found in the 15th century. In
this way of interpreting the name, the River Colne which runs through
the town takes its name from _Colonia_ as well.
_Köln_) also gained its name from a similar etymology (from its Roman
Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium ).
However, academic etymologists are confident that the Colne's name is
of Celtic (pre-Roman) origin, sharing its origin with several other
rivers Colne or Clun around Britain, and that
Colchester is derived
from _Colne_ and _Castra_. Ekwall went as far as to say "it has often
been held that
Colchester contains as first element _colonia_ ...
this derivation is ruled out of court by the fact that Colne is the
name of several old villages situated a good many miles from
Colchester and on the Colne. The identification of Colonia with
Colchester is doubtful."
History of Colchester
The gravel hill upon which
Colchester is built was formed in the
Middle Pleistocene period, and was shaped into a terrace between the
Anglian glaciation and the
Ipswichian glaciation by an ancient
precursor to the River Colne . From these deposits beneath the town
have been found
Palaeolithic flint tools , including at least six
Acheulian handaxes . Further flint tools made by hunter gatherers
living in the Colne Valley during the
Mesolithic have been discovered,
including a tranchet axe from Middlewick. In the 1980s an
archaeological inventory showed that over 800 shards of pottery from
Bronze Age and early
Iron Age have been found within
Colchester, along with many examples of worked flint . This included
a pit found at Culver Street containing a ritually placed Neolithic
grooved ware pot, as well as find spots containing later
Deverel-Rimbury bucket urns .
Colchester is surrounded by Neolithic
Bronze Age monuments that pre-date the town, including a Neolithic
Tendring , large
Bronze Age barrow cemeteries at Dedham and
Langham , and a larger example at
Brightlingsea consisting of a
cluster of 22 barrows.
Colchester is said to be the oldest recorded town in Britain on the
grounds that it was mentioned by
Pliny the Elder , who died in AD 79,
although the Celtic name of the town, _Camulodunon_ appears on coins
minted by tribal chieftain
Tasciovanus in the period 20-10BC. Before
Roman conquest of Britain it was already a centre of power for
Cunobelin – known to Shakespeare as
Cymbeline – king of the
Catuvellauni (c.5 BC – AD 40), who minted coins there. Its Celtic
name, Camulodunon, variously represented as CA, CAM, CAMV, CAMVL and
CAMVLODVNO on the coins of Cunobelinus, means 'the fortress of
Camulos '. During the 30s AD Camulodunon controlled a large swathe of
Southern and Eastern Britain, with
Cunobelin called "_King of the
Britons_" by Roman writers. Camulodunon is considered one of many
possible sites around Britain for the legendary (perhaps mythical )
Camelot of King Arthur.
Soon after the
Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, a Roman legionary
fortress was established, the first in Britain. Later, when the
Roman frontier moved outwards and the twentieth legion had moved to
the west (c.AD 49),
Camulodunum became a colonia named in a
second-century inscription as _Colonia Victricensis_. This contained a
large and elaborate Temple to the Divine Claudius , the largest
classical-style temple in Britain, as well as at least seven other
Colchester is home to two of the five Roman
theatres found in Britain, the one at Gosbecks (site of the Iron Age
royal farmstead) being the largest in Britain , able to seat 5,000.
Camulodunum served as a provincial Roman capital of Britain, but was
attacked and destroyed during
Boudica 's rebellion in AD 61. Sometime
after the destruction, London became the capital of the province of
Britannia . Colchester's town walls c. 3,000 yd. long were built
c.65–80 A.D. when the Roman town was rebuilt after the Boudicca
rebellion. In 2004,
Colchester Archaeological Trust discovered the
remains of a Roman Circus (chariot race track) underneath the Garrison
in Colchester, a unique find in Britain. The Roman town of
_Camulodunum_, officially known as _Colonia Victricensis_, reached its
peak in the Second and Third centuries AD.
A hoard of jewellery, known as The Fenwick Hoard, has been discovered
in the town centre. The director of
Trust, Dr Philip Crummy, described the hoard as being of "national
importance and one of the finest ever uncovered in Britain."
SUB-ROMAN AND SAXON COLCHESTER
There is evidence of hasty re-organisation of Colchester's defences
around 268–82 AD, followed later, during the fourth century, by the
blocking of the Balkerne Gate. Dr. John Morris (1913 – June 1977)
the English historian who specialised in the study of the institutions
Roman Empire and the history of Sub-Roman Britain, suggested in
his book _"The Age of Arthur"_ (1973) that as the descendants of
Romanised Britons looked back to a golden age of peace and prosperity
under Rome the name _"
Camelot "_ of Arthurian legend was probably a
Camulodunum , the capital of
Britannia in Roman times.
The archaeologist Sir
Mortimer Wheeler was the first to propose that
the lack of early Anglo-Saxon finds in a triangle between London,
St Albans could indicate a 'sub-Roman triangle' where
British rule continued after the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons. Since
then excavations have revealed some early Saxon occupation, including
a fifth-century wooden hut built on the ruins of a Roman house in
present-day Lion Walk. Archaeological excavations have shown that
public buildings were abandoned, and is very doubtful whether
Colchester survived as a settlement with any urban characteristics
after the sixth century.
The chronology of its revival is obscure. But the ninth-century
_Historia Brittonum_, attributed to
Nennius , mentions the town, which
it calls _Cair Colun_, in a list of the thirty most important cities
Colchester was in the area assigned to the
c.880, and remained in Danish hands until 917 when it was besieged and
recaptured by the army of
Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder . The tenth-century Saxons
called the town _Colneceastre_, which is directly equivalent to the
_Cair Colun_ of 'Nennius'. The tower of Holy Trinity Church is late
MEDIEVAL AND TUDOR PERIODS
Colchester Castle, completed c.1100 AD
Medieval Colchester's main landmark is
Colchester Castle , which is
an 11th-century Norman keep, and built on top of the vaults of the old
Roman temple . There are notable medieval ruins in Colchester,
including the surviving gateway of the
Benedictine abbey of St. John
the Baptist (known locally as "St. John's Abbey"), and the ruins of
Augustinian priory of
St. Botolph (known locally as "St.
Priory "). Many of Colchester\'s parish churches date from
Colchester was granted its first royal charter by King
Richard I (_Richard the Lionheart _.) The charter was granted at Dover
with the king about to embark on one of his many journeys away from
England. The borough celebrated the 800th anniversary of its charter
Colchester developed rapidly during the later 14th century as a
centre of the woollen cloth industry, and became famous in many parts
of Europe for its russets (fabrics of a grey-brown colour). This
allowed the population to recover exceptionally rapidly from the
effects of the
Black Death , particularly by immigration into the
town. Rovers Tye Farm, now a pub on Ipswich Road , has been
documented as being established by 1353.
Colchester in 1500AD
By the 'New Constitutions' of 1372, a borough council was instituted;
the two baillifs who represented the borough to the king were now
expected to consult sixteen ordinary councillors and eight auditors
(later called aldermen). Even though Colchester's fortunes were more
mixed during the 15th century, it was still a more important place by
the 16th century than it had been in the 13th. In 1334 it would not
have ranked among England's wealthiest fifty towns, to judge from the
taxation levied that year. By 1524, however, it ranked twelfth, as
measured by its assessment to a lay subsidy.
Between 1550 and 1600, a large number of weavers and clothmakers from
Flanders emigrated to
Colchester and the surrounding areas. They were
famed for the production of "Bays and Says" cloths which were woven
from wool and are normally associated with
Baize and Serge although
surviving examples show that they were rather different from their
modern equivalents. An area in
Colchester town centre is still known
as the Dutch Quarter and many buildings there date from the Tudor
period. During this period
Colchester was one of the most prosperous
wool towns in England, and was also famed for its oysters . Flemish
refugees in the 1560s brought innovations that revived the local cloth
trade, establishing the Dutch Bay Hall for quality control of the
textiles for which
Colchester became famous. The old Roman wall runs
along Northgate Street in the Dutch Quarter.
The place of the execution of Sir
Charles Lucas and Sir George
The town saw the start of the
Stour Valley riots of 1642, when the
town house of
John Lucas, 1st Baron Lucas of Shenfield was attacked by
a large crowd. In 1648, during the
Second English Civil War , a
Royalist army led by Lord Goring entered the town. A pursuing
Parliamentary army led by
Sir Thomas Fairfax and Henry Ireton
surrounded the town for eleven and a half weeks, a period known as the
Siege of Colchester . It started on 13 June. The Royalists surrendered
in the late summer (on 27 August Lord Goring signed the surrender
document in the Kings Head Inn) and Sir
Charles Lucas and Sir George
Lisle were executed in the grounds of
Colchester Castle . A small
obelisk marks the spot where they fell.
Daniel Defoe mentions in _A tour through
England and Wales _ that the
town lost 5259 people to the plague in 1665, _"more in proportion
than any of its neighbours, or than the city of London"_. By the time
he wrote this in 1722, however, he estimated its population to be
around 40,000 (including "out-villages").
Colchester is noted for its Victorian architecture. Significant
landmarks include the
Town Hall and the
Jumbo Water Tower .
In 1884, the town was struck by the
Colchester earthquake , estimated
to have been 4.7 on the
Richter Scale causing extensive regional
Paxman diesels business has been associated with
1865 when James Noah Paxman founded a partnership with the brothers
Henry and Charles Davey ('Davey, Paxman, and Davey') and opened the
Standard Ironworks. In 1925, Paxman produced its first spring
injection oil engine and joined the English Electric Diesel Group in
1966 – later becoming part of the GEC Group. Since the 1930s the
Paxman company's main business has been the production of diesel
20TH CENTURY AND LATER
A map of
Colchester from 1940.
In the early 20th century
Colchester lobbied to be the seat for a new
England diocese for
Essex , to be split off from the
Diocese of Rochester . The bid was unsuccessful, with county
Chelmsford forming the seat of the new diocese . The University
Essex was established on the outskirts of the town at
in 1961. The £22.7M eight-mile A120
Colchester Eastern Bypass opened
in June 1982.
Colchester and the surrounding area is currently undergoing
significant regeneration, including controversial greenfield
residential development in Mile End and Braiswick. The town's
Colchester United, moved into a brand new stadium at
Cuckoo Farm in 2008.
Camulodunum and Colonia Victricensis forms one of 38
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site status, with a shortlist to be
UNESCO for consideration in 2011. The town was one of
twenty-five across the UK that applied for city status to mark the
Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2012. It was unsuccessful.
Main article: Climate of the
Colchester is in one of the driest regions of the
United Kingdom with
average annual precipitation at 635 mm (25.0 inches), although among
the wetter places in Essex.
Colchester is generally regarded as having
Oceanic climate (
Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification _Cfb_) like the
rest of the United Kingdom. Its easterly position within the British
Colchester less prone to Atlantic depressions and weather
fronts but more prone to droughts.
This is because, like most areas in South-East England, Colchester's
weather is influenced more by Continental weather patterns than by
Atlantic weather systems. This leads to a dry climate compared to the
rest of the UK all year round and occasional (relative) extremes of
temperatures during the year (occasional high 20°Cs/low 30°Cs during
the summer) and quite a few nights below freezing during the winter
months (daytime high temperatures are seldom below freezing). Any
rainfall that does come from Atlantic weather systems is usually
light, but a few heavy showers and thunderstorms can take place during
the summer. Snow falls on average 13 days a year during winter and
The highest temperature recorded in
Colchester was 36.1 °C (97 °F)
in August 2003 (during the
2003 European heat wave ), and the lowest
was −9.4 °C (15 °F) in December 2010.
CLIMATE DATA FOR COLCHESTER
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
Source: 1981–2010 estimated average (records began in 1988) for
Colchester NE 2
Colchester Garrison The military corrective
Colchester has been an important military garrison since the Roman
Colchester Garrison is currently home to the 16th Air Assault
Brigade . The Army's only military corrective training centre, known
colloquially within the forces and locally as "The Glasshouse " after
the original military prison in
Aldershot , is in Berechurch Hall
Road, on the outskirts of Colchester. The centre holds servicemen and
women from all three services who are sentenced to serve periods of
From 1998 to 2008, the garrison area of the town underwent massive
redevelopment. A lot of the Ministry of Defence land was sold for
private housing development and parts of the garrison were moved. Many
parts of the garrison now stand empty awaiting the second phase of the
Colchester has been one of 12 places in the UK where
Royal Salutes are fired to mark Royal anniversaries and visits by
foreign heads of state. From 2009, these salutes have taken place in
BFBS Radio broadcasts from studios on the base on 107.0FM as part of
its UK Bases network
Town Hall. Main articles:
Colchester Politics ,
Mayor of Colchester ,
Colchester (UK Parliament constituency) , and
Colchester local elections
The Member of Parliament for
Will Quince (Conservative
Colchester Borough Council is the local authority. Control of the
borough council has passed between the Conservatives and Liberal
Democrats , or has been under no overall control, in recent years. The
political composition of the council as of the 2015 election :
* Conservative – 27 seats
* Liberal Democrats – 20 seats
* Labour – 9 seats
* Highwoods it is topped by a figure of St Helena , who is linked by
legend to the town.
The town's former MP, Sir Bob Russell , has held the ceremonial role
High Steward of Colchester since 2015.
* _See Demographics of
The entrance to
Firstsite art gallery in
Colchester houses several museums. The Castle Museum, found within
Colchester Castle , features an extensive exhibit on Roman Colchester.
Hollytrees Museum , a social history museum with children's
exhibits in the former home of Charles Gray , and the town's Natural
History Museum, located in the former All Saints' Church. The
Colchester Archaeological Trust have opened a visitor centre and
museum at the former Cavalry Barracks to display finds from the Roman
Circus, with replicas and models of the circus, as well as finds from
the nearby Roman cemeteries. In 2014 brick and marble columns from
the monumental façade of the precinct of the Temple of Claudius were
discovered behind the High Street, with plans to make them visible to
Gosbecks Archaeological Park
Gosbecks Archaeological Park is situated south-west of the town, and
consists of a preserved Roman theatre and Romano-British temple marked
out on the ground. The park was the location of a large high-status
Iron Age farmstead, known as "
Cunobelin 's farm" after the
Catuvellauni king, whose coin moulds were found in large quantities at
the site. In the Roman period the site was the location of a large
Romano-British temple and Britain's largest Roman theatre , twice as
large as the one in the town. The park is also close to the
post-conquest Stanway burials , a Roman fort and the still-extant
defensive earthworks of the
Iron Age fortress (the most extensive of
their kind in Britain). The
Iron Age earthwork ditch and bank
defences are open to the public as wooded parkland.
'Balkerne Star' designed by
Anne Schwegmann-Fielding , Balkerne
Colchester – made in 2006 and inspired by a roman mosaic
flooring found in Colchester.
Opened in 1972, the Mercury Theatre is one the region's leading
repertory theatres. Located nearby is
Colchester Arts Centre, a
multi-function arts venue located in the former St Mary-at-the-Walls
church, and home of the
Colchester Beer Festival. The Headgate Theatre
is also located in Colchester.
firstsite is a contemporary art organisation, based in the Visual
Arts Facility, which was designed by
Rafael Viñoly , and opened in
September 2011, at a total cost of approximately £25.5 million, £9
million more than the original estimate.
The Minories houses The Minories Galleries, which is managed by
Colchester Institute and presents contemporary exhibitions by artists
from the region. The building is owned by the Victor Batte-Lay
There are several other bars with live music in the town..
In 2009, an art collective called 'Slack Space' took up some of the
closed-down shops in the town and converted them into art galleries
with the hope of promoting art and design in the town. The Colchester
School of Art and Design is based in the
Colchester Institute near the
centre of the town.
Colchester Film Festival the largest film festival in
place annually in October showcasing a selection of new feature and
short films by filmmakers from around the world.
The town's link with football had begun with the amateur club
Town , formed in 1867 and dissolved in 1937. They were
succeeded by professional club
Colchester United , who compete in
Football League Two (as at Season 2016-17) and play home games at
Colchester Community Stadium . Founded in 1937, the club entered the
Football League in 1950.
Colchester United Ladies play in the FA
Women\'s Premier League Southern Division . Other sports teams based
in the town include
Colchester Rugby Football Club, Colchester
Gladiators American Football Club,
Colchester Weight Lifting Club,
Colchester Powerlifting Club (ColPower) and
Colchester & East Essex
Essex County Cricket Club play some of their home games
Castle Park Cricket Ground , home of
Colchester "> A surviving
fragment of the Roman
Town Wall in East Hill.
Construction of the walls of
Colchester took place between 65 and 80
AD , shortly after the destruction of the undefended _colonia _ by
Boudicca, and they continued in use until after the Siege of
Colchester in 1648. Two large stretches of the wall are still standing
on the west and north sides and a number of fragments are visible
along the rest of the circuit. A notable survival is the Balkerne Gate
, which is the earliest and most complete Roman gateway in the United
Kingdom. A circular walk of nearly 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) follows
the course of the wall and the surviving portions.
"JUMBO" WATER TOWER
The Balkerne Water Tower or "Jumbo", viewed from the Balkerne
Gate . Main article:
Jumbo Water Tower
Completed in 1883 when the
Town Council took over Colchester's water
supply, the 110-foot (34-metre) water tower was originally called the
"Balkerne Water Tower", but soon became known as "
Jumbo " because of
the its large size, which prompted the addition of an elephant-shaped
weather vane at its peak. The tower was decommissioned in 1987 and has
had several private owners pending redevelopment.
COLCHESTER TOWN HALL
Town Hall is built on the site of the original moot hall , first
recorded in 1277 and demolished in 1843. Replacing a Victorian town
hall which had become unstable, work on the present building started
in 1897 to the design of John Belcher in the
Edwardian Baroque style,
and was opened in 1902 by former prime minister , the Earl of
Roseberry . The building dominates the High Street and the 192-foot
(58.5-metre) Victoria Tower is widely visible. The tower was intended
to commemorate the
Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and was funded by
a donation from James Noah Paxman , the founder of Davey, Paxman a
local story says that a councillor was dispatched to
Italy to find a
statue of the saint, but could only find one of the
Virgin Mary ,
which then had to be modified locally. Just below this statue are
four bronze ravens by
Francis Carruthers Gould , which represent the
portreeve who ran Colchester's medieval port. The tower contains a
chiming clock with five bells, and another 15th century bell which is
thought to have hung in the original moot hall. The main facade of
Town Hall features six life-sized statues, also by Watts,
depicting famous people connected with Colchester; on the south
Eudo Dapifer , Thomas Lord Audley ,
William Gilberd and
Samuel Harsnett , and on the east,
Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder and
Boudicca . The
interior features a marble staircase with a statue of Queen Victoria
and a monument to the
Colchester Martyrs . The first floor comprises a
mayoral suite, a committee room and the council chamber with a painted
ceiling and stained glass by
Clayton and Bell . The second floor is
occupied by a large assembly hall called the Moot Hall, which features
a fine pipe organ by
Norman and Beard .
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the
Colchester's twin towns are:
Wetzlar , Germany, since 1969
Avignon , France, since 1972
Imola , Italy, since 1997
As is the case for the rest of Essex, Colchester's state schooling
operates a two-tier system. Two of the town's secondary schools are
Colchester Royal Grammar School and
Colchester County High
School , the remainder being comprehensives. Comprehensive secondary
Gilberd School ,
Colchester Academy , Philip Morant
School and College , St Helena Media Arts College , St Benedict\'s
Catholic College and the
Thomas Lord Audley School .
The University of
Essex is located to the east of
Wivenhoe Park, in the civil parish of
Wivenhoe . Other tertiary
Colchester Sixth Form College and Colchester
Private schools in
Colchester include St. Mary\'s School , Holmwood
House School , Oxford House School and
Colchester High School .
Colchester has a bus system (run mostly by First
Essex and Arriva
Colchester , as well as
Hedingham Omnibuses , Beeston's, Ipswich Buses
, Panther Travel (Essex), Chambers and
Regal Busways ) which mostly
uses bus station in Osborne Street on the southern edge of the town
Colchester railway station is located on the Great Eastern Main Line
Abellio Greater Anglia
Abellio Greater Anglia .
Town is also served by Colchester
Town railway station and Hythe station located on the Sunshine Coast
Colchester is linked to London by the A12 .
REFERENCES IN LITERATURE
The Roman historian
Colchester (Camulodunum) in _The
Annals of Imperial Rome_. In Book XIV he describes how '...the Roman
ex-soldiers...had recently established a settlement at Camulodunum',
later burned down in the Iceni rebellion. It is the only town in
Britain to have been explicitly mentioned in
George Orwell 's novel
Nineteen Eighty-Four _ as being the target of a nuclear attack . The
(fictional) Atomic Wars took place during the 1950s.
Colchester is the
only town that was specifically mentioned as being bombed, but the
book does say that many cities were destroyed in North America,
Europe, and Russia.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Colchester is reputed to be the home of three of the best known
English nursery rhymes: '
Old King Cole ', '
Humpty Dumpty ' and
'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'. The legitimacy of the claims for the
first two of these is disputed.
Local legend places
Colchester as the seat of
King Cole (or Coel) of
the rhyme _Old King Cole_, a legendary ancient king of Britain. The
Colchester is from
Latin : the place-name suffixes _chester_,
_cester_, and _caster_ derive from the
Latin word _castrum _
(fortified place). In folk etymology the name
Colchester was thought
of as meaning Cole's Castle, though it actually means the Roman fort
'Colonia'. In the legend Helena, the daughter of Cole, married the
Constantius Chlorus , who had been sent by Rome as an
ambassador and was named as Cole's successor. Helena's son became
Constantine I . Helena was canonised as
Saint Helena of
Constantinople and is credited with finding the true cross and the
remains of the Magi . She is now the patron saint of Colchester. This
is recognised in the emblem of Colchester: a cross and three crowns.
The Mayor's medallion contains a Byzantine style icon of
A local secondary school – St Helena's – is named after her, and
her statue is atop the town hall, although local legend is that it was
originally a statue of Blessed
Virgin Mary which was later fitted with
Colchester is also the most widely credited source of the rhyme
Humpty Dumpty . During the siege of
Colchester in the Civil War, a
Royalist sniper known as One-Eyed Thompson sat in the belfry of the
church of St Mary-at-the-Walls (_
Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall_) and
was given the nickname Humpty Dumpty, most likely because of his size,
_Humpty Dumpty_ being a common insult for the overweight. Thompson was
shot down (_
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall_) and, shortly after, the
town was lost to the Parliamentarians (_all the king's horses and all
the king's men / couldn't put Humpty together again._) Another version
Humpty Dumpty was a cannon on the top of the church. The
church of St Mary-at-the-Walls still retains its Norman tower until
the top few feet, which are a Georgian repair.
The third rhyme to come from
Colchester is Twinkle Twinkle Little
Star , which was written by Jane Taylor in the town's Dutch Quarter,
and published in 1806 with the title "The Star".
Colchester has also been suggested as one of the potential sites of
Camelot , on account of having been the capital of
Roman Britain and
its ancient name of _Camulodunum_.
The first part of
Daniel Defoe 's _Moll
Flanders _ was set in
Colchester was also a named line of lathe machinery.
The opening credits for the British TV comedy show Blackadder Goes
Forth and a scene from the film Monty Python and the Meaning of Life
were both filmed at Colchester\'s former cavalry barracks .
Doctor Who _ episodes _The Lodger _ and _Closing Time _ are set
in Colchester, although they were filmed in
Asterix comic book _
Asterix in Britain _ the
team wins a game against
Durovernum (Roman name for
Canterbury ). The
uniforms worn during the match in the book are similar to the modern
Colchester United .
Prominent members of Blur , a popular 1990s music group met at school
During the "Princesses on Parade" sequence in the 1994 film The Swan
Princess , one of the princesses in the beauty pageant is said to come
from Colchester. The verse says: "This princess comes from Colchester,
where corn and cotton grows. She plays croquet and harpsichord , and
sews her own clothes."
People of note that were born or have lived in
George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy (1801–1892) –
Astronomer Royal , attended
Colchester Royal Grammar School 1814–1819
Cuthbert Alport, Baron Alport – Cabinet Minister, High
Commissioner to the
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland , High
Ken Aston (1915–2001) – Football referee, responsible for many
important developments in football refereeing
Thomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Walden (1488–1544) – Lord
England 1533–44, founder of Magdalene College,
Cambridge . St Michael\'s Church, Berechurch has a monument to him (in
the Audley Chapel).
John Ball (priest) (d. 1381) – leader of the Peasants\' Revolt
John Beche – last abbot of St John\'s Abbey,
Crispin Bonham-Carter (1969– ) – actor and theatre director
Ali Carter (1979– ) – professional snooker player
Graham Coxon (1969– ) – musician and Blur lead guitarist
Cunobelin (died before 43 AD) –
King of the Britons
Darren Day (1968– ) – actor and television presenter
Eudo Dapifer (died 1120) – oversaw the building of Colchester
Castle and was its first steward
Neil Foster (1962– ) – cricketer
* William Gilbert (1544–1603) – scientist, pioneer in the field
of magnetism and court physician to
Elizabeth I and James I
* William Gull – Physician-in-Ordinary to
Queen Victoria ;
Governor of Guy\'s Hospital ; researched and named anorexia nervosa
* William Hale – early rocket engineer
Samuel Harsnett (1561–1631) – writer and
Archbishop of York
Klaus Kinski (1926–1991) – actor, director, former German POW
Colchester during the World War II
Charles Lucas – royalist soldier in the
English Civil War and
Siege of Colchester
Alfred Lungley (1905–1989) – awarded the
George Cross after
the Quetta earthquake of 1935
Bernard Mason – businessman, philanthropist, clock collector
Philip Morant (1700–1770) – parish priest of St
Mary-at-the-Walls , author of _The History -webkit-column-width: 30em;
column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">
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