I visited Colchester, located in the county of Essex, recently when I returned to the UK for Christmas because I couldn’t recall ever visiting it. Considering it isn’t that far from London, where I was staying, and the fact that it is probably the oldest recorded town in Britain, I really had to go.
As it turns out, the first Roman fortress in Britain was established in Colchester and until it was attacked and destroyed during Boudica’s rebellion in 61 AD, it was the capital of Roman Britain. Therefore, it was an extremely important town during this period.
This week’s Foto Friday is Colchester Castle from the medieval period rather than from Roman Britain. The reason for choosing Colchester Castle this week is because it has an interesting history which refers back to Roman times.
Colchester Castle was built during the reign of William the Conqueror in the 11th century. It was the largest Norman castle ever built in Britain and is, in fact, the largest in Europe still in existence. Long before that though, it was the site of the most famous building in Roman Britain, the Temple of Claudius.
In the 17th century, when it was no longer used as a royal castle, it became a prison. Prisoners included women who were considered witches.
In the photograph, you can see the remains of a chapel in the foreground which was originally Saxon and later Norman. There’s also a domed tower, added in the 18th century by Charles Gray, a politician who restored the castle.
If you’re interested in finding out more, you can visit the museum, in the castle grounds.
You can get to Colchester by coach or train from London. It’s an easy day trip. I took a train from Liverpool Street to Colchester Town. From there, it’s only a short walk to the castle, which is located in the town centre. That means that after you have spent some time learning about the town’s history, you can stop for lunch and then do a spot of shopping.
Have your say
Have you been to Colchester Castle? Perhaps you have more information about the history of the castle or the town that you would like to add. If so, please leave a comment below.