Monday, 14 April 2008

Colchester: Britain's oldest recorded town

I can't say I'd ever thought of Essex as a hotbed of any cultural or historical exuberance. Although Colchester famously claims to be Britain's oldest town, which is not a bad start.

According to records, the town's existence was first referred to (albeit in passing) in AD77 by Pliny the Elder - when its Celtic name was Camulodunon. Pliny was a Roman author and naturalist who compiled the encyclopaedic Naturalis Historia in AD77- four volumes of observations of the natural world. Unfortunately, his curiosity for nature finally got the better of him when he went in for a closer look at the erupting Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. His body was later found interred under the ashes.

This is also Constable Country, of course - but more on that shortly...

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