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COLCHESTER CASTLE, CO1 1TJ

GETTING THERE

WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?

A Norman Castle that was partially demolished and then ‘restored’ in the eighteenth century. The result is externally hideous but nevertheless offers a fascinating mix of Norman and Roman features. A guided tour of the foundations and castle parapet is a must.


The circuit of the Roman Town Walls can be walked. Of particular interest are the remains of Balkerne Gate and the various Bastions along the south wall. A tour should also encompass a look at the historic churches - St Mary’s and St Martin’s in particular both sustained heavy damage during the siege of Colchester in 1648.

VISIT OFFICIAL SITE (Opens in new window)

Castle is managed by Colchester and Ipswich Museums.


POSTCODE

LAT/LONG

Colchester Castle

Castle Park, CO1 1TJ

51.890604N 0.902987E

Balkerne Gate

CO1 1PT

51.889655N 0.894038E

St Mary's Church

Church St, CO1 1NF

51.888748N 0.894431E

Romano-Christian Church

CO3 3BU

51.886576N 0.893990E

St Botolph's Priory

Priory St, CO1 2PX

51.887761N 0.904092E

St Martin's Church

CO1 1HN

51.890990N 0.899121E

Notes:  Colchester has numerous parking facilities although note that Priory Street allows parking in direct vicinity of the Roman Walls and is a good place to start walking the circuit.

Colchester Walls. The Legionary fortress was built in AD 44 and included a large annexe to the east. When the Colony was established circa-AD 50, the defences of the fortress were levelled to enable the town to expand. When it was rebuilt following the Boudica revolt, the walls enclosed a much larger area than the former fortress and this remained the boundary thereafter. The Normans built their castle on top of the podium of the Temple of Claudius and surrounded the structure with an oval shaped bailey.

Balkerne Gate. The impressive remains of the Roman West Gate which connected to the London road. This was also the site of a Monumental Arch built to celebrate the conquest and Balkerne Gate was built around it. This unusual arrangement led to the gate being blocked up at some point in the late Roman era and explains why this segment of gate has managed to survive.

Bastion. One of the surviving Roman Bastions on Priory Street.

Longinus (Left). Longinus was born in modern day Bulgaria and joined the First Thracian Cavalry. He rose to second in command, took part in the invasion of Britainnia and died at Colchester in AD 55 aged 40.

Marcus Favonius Facilis. An Officer in the Twentieth Legion, the tombstone of Marcus Favonius Facilis is the earliest yet found in Britain. He died circa-AD45 and was buried along the main road from Colchester to London.