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Archive images of Colchester

PUBLISHED: 16:37 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:39 20 February 2013

St Runwald’s Church stood in the High Street, with its graveyard at a distance in West Stockwell Street. The church, which is in a poor state of repair in this picture, was demolished in 1878

St Runwald’s Church stood in the High Street, with its graveyard at a distance in West Stockwell Street. The church, which is in a poor state of repair in this picture, was demolished in 1878

From Roman remains to Norman nuances, Colchester has many charms as Deborah Peers from the Essex Record Office demonstrates here

Once upon a time in...colchester


COLCHESTERS history is a long and fascinating one, reaching back more than two millennia. The Romans invaded Britain in 43AD, defeating the Iron Age inhabitants and laying the foundations of Colchester in their fortress. This in turn was razed by Boudica, only to be rebuilt by the Romans, though with considerably stronger fortifications. After the fall of Rome, the Saxons adopted the town. Then, in their turn, the Normans recognised Colchesters strategic potential and built a huge castle and other magnificent buildings. The town remained a key site during the Civil War and fell under siege during the conflict.
In later centuries the town benefitted from the cloth industry and engineering but its strong connections with the military have always remained. As well as its magnificent castle, the town is also thought to be home to the origins of the famous nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty after the loss of a large cannon in the town that was given this title as a nickname.


Trace your history
Each month the Essex Record Office helps Essex Life trace the history of a town or village in the county. Next month we look back at Chelmsford.
For more information about the Essex Record Office call 01245 244644. Leaflets explaining how to begin to research your family or house
history are available free of charge on receipt of a SAE. Write to: Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT

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