Holy Trinity church tower, the oldest building in Colchester. It would have stood as the focal feature in the town, for a few decades before the Normans came and built the castle. Holy Trinity church tower was built around the turn of the last millennium, in the year 1000. Its doorway and windows are typical of the Saxon period. A stark contrast between Saxon and Norman architecture Constructed in part from brick and tile from Roman structures; there is evidence that part of the church dates even earlier. Parts were rebuilt in 14th and 15th centuries. The remainder of the church is of different periods up to Victorian and, until recently, was the town's social history museum.
The Colchester Castle museum has many exhibits of early life in and around Colchester. There is an exhibit of faith and religion and there is a model of what St. Botolph's Priory church may have looked like. Much different than the ruinous skeleton that stands today.
St Botolph's Priory was the first Augustinian priory built in this country, having authority over all other houses of the order in this country. It was founded between 1093 and 1100 and had thirteen inmates. The priory was built mainly from flint and re-used Roman bricks, this masonry then being completely covered with plaster and possibly painted to enhance its simple appearance. Now devoid of it's 12th century decoration, St Botolph's Priory looks very craggy with the exposed bricks. Sturdy circular piers run the length of the nave, and the arcading above is typically Norman. Looking at the archways along the front of the church on two levels, it is not difficult to imagine how ornate this would have been eight hundred years ago.1096 the town and castle passed to Eudo Dapifer who founded St John's Abbey and St Botolph's Priory outside the castle walls. Parts of these building survived not only the civil war but also the wrath of Henry VIII. The dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII in the 16th century, led to our St Botolph's Priory falling into decline. During the 18th and 19th centuries the nave of the priory church became a popular place for burials, causing ththe original floor level to rise.
The museum inside Colchester castle is very extensive. There is so much to see and is great hands on for kids.
It is open from 10am to 5pm at 4.80GBP for adults. There are exhibits of Roman mosaics, statues, and relics of medieval life in Colchester. And of course, the exit brings you right through the gift shop.
Constructed over the massive vaults of the ruined Temple of Claudius,it is the largest Norman Keep in Europe. Built largely from stone and brick quarried from the old Roman town of Colchester, the castle is possibly the work of Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester. Gundulph was responsible for the design of the White Tower (the central Keep of the Tower of London) which is the only building in Britain with the same ground plan. Work on the castle is thought to have been started around 1076 and completed about 1126. The basic structure consists of a rectangular block with projecting towers at each corner. A prominent feature is the outline of battlements at first floor level, which appear to have been added rather hastily during construction when threatened by an attack from the Danes. Colchester Castle originally stood four storeys high, but the upper two floors have since been lost. By the 14th century the castle was only being used as a prison and by 1637 the roof of the Great Hall had collapsed. During the Civil War Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle were held at Colchester Castle, having seized the town and declaring it a Royalist stronghold. Following a 12 week siege, Colchester finally fell to Parliamentarian forces and the two men were subsequently executed in the grounds behind the castle in 1648. An obelisk now marks the spot in the gardens.
Colchester is one of the most historic towns in England. Excavated coins from the Trinovantian king Cunobelin's (died around 42AD) reign referring to his father Tasciovanus, not to mention pottery finds from 1000 years previous to that. Before the Roman conquest in 43AD the town was called Camulodunum ("Camulos" was a Celtic war god and "Dunum" was a Latin form of fort) it was the seat of power not just for the south east but as capital of the country ruled over and so named by King Cunobelinus. In 50ad after the successful conquest of Britain, Colchester became the most important town in Britain and also a colonia. The Colchester of today has been shaped by Boudicea's sacking of the Roman town in AD6. Boudicea the daughter of King Prasutagas ruler of what is now East Anglia rose up in revolt. Colchester which was mainly timber buildings was burnt to the ground.
As any typical High Street many restaurants, trendy pubs, and cafes as well as plenty of shopping is available. There is also the Colchester Hippodrome, very active with popular DJ's and local clubbers.
.These round towers are almost entirely in East Anglia; 172 in the region. The likelihood is that the first towers were added to existing places of worship in a trend which began to take shape around 900AD and was accelerated by King Athelstan (924-939), first King of all England. Their shape is a product of the shortage of building stone in an area where soft glacial deposits almost completely obscure the rocks below. Apart from limited sandstone in north-west Norfolk, the nearest workable stone is in Northamptonshire and, back in the 10th and 11th centuries, transportation being what it was, - or wasn't - Saxon builders mostly had to make do with flint of which there was plenty. The problem with flint is making quoins - or corners.
The ruins of an early 12th century defended manor house within a shallow rectangular moat, stand in a field beside the church. Built by Hugh de Plais in 1130, it was abandoned by late 14th century. The use of flint in the construction of the castle is clearly visible. A feature of many of the early forts and castles built using flint is the absence of square corners, as unknapped flint is difficult to fashion.
Over 25 hectares of land is covered in beautifully manicured gardens. There are a few lakes to walk around as well. There are many different types of trees that cover the ground and placards describing scientific names for most of them. There is a small tram that will take you through the gardens and plenty of benches for lounging. Admission to the gardens alone is 4.50GBP.
This royal home was bought by Queen Victoria in 1862 and is still used by the royal family as a summer vacation home. There is a museum filled with antique cars and other royal belongings. The gardens are very nice to walk through. The house is open from 11am and admission is 5.50GBP (4.50GBP if you only want to see the gardens), unless the royal family is in residence.
Most famous for its horse farms and races, this busy market town is worth the stop over. Especially if you are visiting in the spring or summer. The races bring out all kinds of English classes and are quite fun day out. There are plenty of pubs to choose from and even a few dance clubs. The restaurants and cafe's are nice and are in close proximity to the nearby shopping mall.
This is something that is well worth the effort. You can do it yourself or go on a guided tour. If you are anywhere close to any of the bridges which cross the River Cam in the historic city center you will be approaced by pleasant young people dressed in candy stripes, trying to get you to take one of their tours. They will take you around for about 45min and especially take you through "the Backs" and describe all the different colleges and buildings that are around. This is especially popular on hot summer days and end of term cycles. Though most of the do it yourself-ers usually end up wet.
King Paeda of Mercia, during Anglo-Saxon times, founded a monastary in 655, which was sacked by the Danes in 870. John e Sais, a Benedictine abbot founded the present cathedral in 1118. The western front is from the early 13th century and is one of the most impressive in England. The nave still contains orginal painted cielings and timber structure, a great example of Norman architecture. Also within the cathedral is the tomb of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, who led to the eventual Reformation. It is open from 8:30am and a donation is encouraged. January 29th is a procession marking the death of Catherine.
Once a major medieval port near the River Witham, in the 13th century became an important wool trading town. In 1309 St. Botolph's was built becoming the largest spired church in all of England. On a clear day you can see Lincoln, 30 miles away from the top of the tower. It is also where the first pilgrims to the New World set out from in 1607. They were subsequently imprisoned. John Cotton, vicar of St. Botolph's, in 1630 encouraged people to attempt the trip to America again and were successful. They were the ones who gave Boston, Massachusettes it's name.
Ely is just north of Mildenhall and Cambridge. It is an interesting market town with an impressive cathedral. It used to be an island and it's name (pronounced ee-lee) from the eels that used to thrive in the waters surrounding it. Oliver Cromwell's house is also in town and is the TIC office. The cathedral was founded from an abbey built in 673 from Queen Etheldreda, and later built into a cathedral by Norman bishop Simeon. Completed in 1189, it still remains one of the best examples of Norman Romanesque architecture. The octagon lantern is what it is most famous for, built after the collapse of the central tower. It was one of the first to charge admission. It is open from 7am.