What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there.=–Train from Liverpool Street. Great Eastern Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Colchester. =Distance from London.=–51-3/4 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies from 1 hr. 4 m. to 2 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 9s. 9d. ... 4s. 4-1/2d. Return 14s. 8d. ... 8s. 9d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"The George,” “Red Lion,” “The Cups,” etc.
Modern Colchester is the direct descendant of the ancient British town of Camulodunum, referred to by Tacitus and other Roman historians. Various kings of the Trinobantes seem to have caused much trouble during the early period of the Roman occupation. Cunobelinus, one of their kings, reigned from about 5 B.C. to A.D. 42 or 43, and numerous coins bearing the abbreviated form of his name, CVNO, have been discovered. After his death the Emperor Claudius came over to England, subdued the Trinobantes, and established a Roman colony at Camulodunum. The new colony, under the name of Colonia Victriensis, was, however, attacked by a huge horde of the British under Boadicea in A.D. 61. They slaughtered all the inhabitants and destroyed the temple of Claudius.
The Romans, however, soon turned the tables again on the Britons, and at once surrounded the town with a very strong wall. From this time onwards for several centuries the place was one of the strongest Roman stations in the country. It is not surprising, therefore, that the remains of the Roman occupation at Colchester are the most perfect of the kind in the country. The coins range from Asupa, 6 B.C., to Valentinian, who died A.D. 455, while very great quantities of Roman glass, pottery, and tiles, all sorts of domestic vessels and personal ornaments have been discovered. Some idea of the richness of these finds can be obtained from the collection in the museum in the old Norman castle.
The story of King Coel in connection with Colchester is not altogether accepted by historians, yet there are so many references to it in Anglo-Saxon writings that it cannot be quite ignored.
Colchester suffered terribly in the Civil War, and sustained a fearful siege lasting seventy-six days, the townsfolk and Royalist forces being eventually forced to surrender to Fairfax. The Saxon doorway of Trinity Church, and St. Botolph’s Priory, are exceedingly interesting.
[Illustration: COLCHESTER CASTLE.
Which now contains a magnificent collection of the Roman remains found in the town.]