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Colchester City Center (2004)
Colchester City Center (2004)
Coordinates 51 ° 54 '  N , 0 ° 54'  E Coordinates: 51 ° 54 '  N , 0 ° 54'  E
Colchester (England)
Residents 104,390
ZIP code section CO1-CO7
prefix 01206
Part of the country England
region East of England
Shire county Essex
District Colchester
British Parliament Colchester
Colchester Castle, a Norman castle built on the foundations of the Roman Temple of Claudius

Colchester is a city in England with 104,390 inhabitants and the center of Essex County northeast of London with access to the western North Sea and its own ports, for example in Wivenhoe or Brightlingsea . Colchester lies on the River Colne .


The Gallo-British war god Mars Camulus was the namesake of this oppidum of Trinovantes . The city's Celtic name, Camulodunum, appears on coins dating from 20 to 10 BC. Were minted by order of the tribal prince Tasciovanus . After Caesar's departure, the city became the capital of the united Belgian tribes under Cunobelinus , king of the Catuvellaunen . Colchester is the oldest documented urban settlement in Great Britain as it is mentioned as early as Pliny the Elder , who died in AD 79. The word chester is reminiscent of Roman times and means camp (castrum).

After the Roman conquest, a Roman military camp was set up near this city around 43-44 AD , in which the Legio XX Valeria Victrix was housed with auxiliary troops. The Roman Colchester was under the name Camulodunum the administrative seat of the newly conquered Britain . However, the Legion was relocated from Publius Ostorius Scapula to Glevum ( Gloucester ) in Wales in the winter of 48-49 AD and the fortifications in Camulodunum razed. The area of ​​the abandoned camp continued to be used as the Colonia Victrix veterans' colony . Camulodunum was destroyed during the Boudicca uprising in AD 61 and had to surrender its role as the administrative seat of Britain to Londinium . Nevertheless, the place, which was subsequently rebuilt, remained important and even received a Roman circus around 100 AD, the only one that has been recorded on the island so far.

With the withdrawal of the Romans from Britain at the beginning of the 5th century, Colchester lost a lot of its importance. During the reign of the Anglo-Saxons , it appears under the name Colenceaster or Colneceastre in the 10th century . Around 1080 the Normans built a castle here. In 1189 Colchester received its first town charter through Richard the Lionheart . Flemings expelled from their homeland by the Duke of Alba, moved their industries to Colchester in 1571. In the second English Civil War , Colchester was long besieged as a refuge for the supporters of King Charles I in 1648 and conquered by starvation by the parliamentary troops under Thomas Fairfax , whereupon the commanders Charles Lucas and Georg Lisle were shot.


Colchester may once have been the famous Camelot from the Arthurian legend. The city is said to be named after the legendary British King Coel , who is best known from a nursery rhyme as the " happy old boy ".

Transport links

Colchester can be reached from London via Liverpool Street Station . Regular connections take visitors to North Station north of the city center in around 45 minutes . The closest airport is London Stansted Airport .

Educational institutions

Colchester is home to the University of Essex , which was founded in the 1960s with a focus on the social sciences ( sociology , political science , economics , psychology, etc.). The fields of applied computer science and physics also enjoy a good reputation. The university is located "on the green field" near the village of Wivenhoe and has around 10,000 students. In the Essex Summer School for Data Analysis and Collection, which is held annually from July to August, social scientists have the opportunity to complete a methodological training at university level or to develop their own research focus in six intensive weeks.


Colchester Castle with a park in the city center is well preserved from Roman and Norman times . A popular attraction in the city center is the Dutch Quarter with well-preserved half-timbered buildings from the end of the 16th century (1550 to 1600). The half-timbered houses and a church were built by expelled Calvinist weavers and textile craftsmen from Flanders and the Netherlands.

The zoo is also one of the city's attractions. The roller disco, which invites you to skate with current chart music and disco lighting, continues to be a regional highlight.


Colchester is home to the football club Colchester United , which plays in Football League Two - the fourth-highest division in the English league system.

Twin cities

Colchester's twin cities are Avignon in France, Imola in Italy and Wetzlar in Germany.



  • Kai Brodersen : The Roman Britain. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1998.
  • Klaus Grewe : Great Britain. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1999.

Individual evidence

  1. Key Statistics for urban areas in the South East (PDF; 1.7 MB). 2001 Census, National Statistics.
  2. Crummy, Philip (1997) City of Victory; the story of Colchester - Britain's first Roman town. Published by Colchester Archaeological Trust ( ISBN 1 897719 04 3 )
  3. ^ V. Watts, The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2004), p. 113;
  4. Claude Lepelley (Ed.): Rome and the Empire in the High Imperial Era, Vol. 2: The Regions of the Empire, de Gruyter, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-598-77449-4 , p. 217.
  5. ^ Sheppard Sunderland Frere: Britannia: a history of Roman Britain , Routledge, 1987, ISBN 978-0-7102-1215-3 , p. 72.
  6. The name is not clearly passed down; Colonia Claudia Victrix or Colonia Claudia Victrix Augusta is also possible, Colonia Victricensis is rather unlikely . See: Lawrence JF Keppie: Legions and veterans: Roman army papers 1971-2000 (Mavors. Roman Army Researches Volume 12), Steiner, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 978-3-515-07744-6 , p. 304.
  7. ^ John Stewart Wacher: Coming of Rome (Britain Before the Conquest) , Routledge, 1979, ISBN 978-0-7100-0312-6 , p. 74.
  8. Rhyme about Old King Cole

Web links

Wikivoyage: Colchester  Travel Guide