Special Sub-Topic: Colchester
|Colchester started off as a group of settlements, covering about 12 square miles in all. It was the centre for a local tribe, the Trinovantes. What race of people were the Trinovantes? Hint: this was before the Romans invaded.|
Celtic. The Trinovantes were Celtic, and probably the most powerful tribe in Britain at that time. Their name means 'the vigourous people' and they occupied Essex and about half of Suffolk.
|In 43 AD, the Romans invaded Britain. They took over Colchester, and built a fort there (which is still there). The Roman soldiers stayed until about 49 AD, when they returned to Italy, leaving ordinary Roman citizens behind. Local tribes then tried to attack it, but the citizens defeated them, kept the castle, and built a town around it. In 54 AD a temple made of stone was built to the emperor of that time. Who was he?|
Claudius. They called this new place Camulodunum, from the Celtic god of war Camulos and the Latin word 'dunum' which means fort.
|In 60 AD, Queen Boudicca led a rebellion against Colchester. The rebels burned down the entire town (including the temple) and killed as many people as they could. Which neighbouring tribe did Boudicca and her fighters belong to?|
Iceni. The Romans managed to suppress the rebellion (killing just as many as Boudicca had in the process). They rebuilt the entire town, and a huge wall was built between 65 and 100 AD.
|In 407 AD, the Romans left Britain, and the Saxons started to invade. Colchester no longer had bustling life in its streets. Maybe a few Saxons chose to live and farm the land there, but it was nothing compared to Roman times. Historical records for Colchester went silent too. However, years later, in 931 AD, Athelstan (the king at that time) had a 'witenagemot' there. What's a 'witenagamot'?|
A meeting of the grandees of the realm. A witengamot was were the most important people in the land (e.g. noblemen, the king's advisers and close friends, important members of the clergy) gathered to talk about important national matters. Also, the Saxons gave Colchester a new name - Colne Ceaster, which is much closer to the modern one than Camulodunum.
|In 1413, Colchester was granted a new coat of arms. The red background represented the blood of Christ (the population was Catholic) and it featured Colchester's patron saint. Who is that?|
St. Helena. Colchester was also given a charter at the same time. A charter was a royal document allowing the residents of that town special rights and advantages.
|In medieval times, fishing in Colchester became popular. The town evolved into being famous for a particular dish, caught from the River Colne. What food was it?|
Oysters. In the 18th century, Colchester was also known for its candied eryngo roots! Eryno looks like thistles; the roots were taken, covered in sugar and sold. The plant could also be used as a medicine.
|In the 12th century, Colchester's port was opened. The name was taken from an Old English word for a landing place for ships. What was the port called?|
The Hythe. The Hythe later faced competition from trains, and cars, but it managed to stay important during the 19th and 20th century.
|In 1710, a charity school opened in Colchester. What was this school called?|
The Bluecoat School. It was named after the colour of the school uniforms. At the time a charity school was free and also provided free clothing for its pupils. Many other important establishments opened in that century, too. Hollytrees, an important house, was built in 1718 (and became a mueseum in 1929). Colchester gained its first theatre. A Tudor-style house was built in 1776, and later became The Minories, an art gallery.
|On April 22nd, Colchester was hit by an earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Ritcher Scale. Not much, perhaps, but it caused more than its fair share of damage, damaging around 1200 buildings. At least one person died. When was this earthquake?|
1884. The 1884 earthquake was said to be the most destructive earthquake for 400 years. It lasted around 20 seconds, and houses were affected even in Ipswich. Almost every building in Wivenhoe and Abberton was damaged.
|In 1883, a water tower was built near the Balkerne Gate. It hasn't been used since 1988, but people still go up (there are 157 steps) and look out over Colchester. It was sold to a private bidder in 2006. What is it's name? Hint: The name comes from an elephant.|
Jumbo. The Jumbo Water Tower was actually named after a circus elephant. The viewing platform in the tower takes 157 steps to reach the top, but seeing as you would be 116 feet above the ground, the view should be worth it. Over one million bricks were used in its construction.
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