Visit Colchester by Mouse
is 66 miles northeast of London and 20 miles south of the ferry port city of Harwich
on the east coast of England.
It was our first stop after driving off the ferry from the Hook of Holland
on our 2003 trip and it was the Romans first city in England,
which they built as a fortress after their conquest in 43 AD.
One comes into contact with much of the early history of Colchester when you visit Colchester Castle and Museum
. The bottommost part
of this Castle is the foundation of the Roman Temple of Claudius. The Romans, under Emporer Nero taxed the native Iceni people very
heavily which led to much suffering. Queen Bodicca
(a.k.a., Boadicea) , with her husband Prasudigus were their rulers, and when Prasudigus
died and the Romans took their lands and committed other atrocities too fierce to mention to her daughters, Bodicca had had enough.
She gathered an army of sorts, and, in AD 61, successfully attacked the Roman fortress, burning it down, along with the Temple. She
had other successes but the more disciplined Roman forces defeated her band soon after the successful attack on the fortress.
the Norman invasion, a keep was built over the vaults of the Roman temple. The vaults are still there and can be visited on
the castle tour.
In the 16th century Dutch cloth makers settled in the town and there still is a Dutch Quarter where many of
the buildings date from Tudor times. The town prospered from the wool trade.
We visited primarily to see the Castle and
were treated to an edifying talk about the castle's history by a knowledgeable tour guide. One of the interesting sights in the castle
was a hole in a stone seat which she described as an indoor latrine. And then she seemed a little sad when she pointed
out that Romans had paid much attention to sanitation but that it was to be many centuries after the Romans left before structures
like this, dating from the Norman invasion, would have such conveniences. " We seemed to forget all that the Romans taught us.
For a long, long time it was as though they had never been here."