In the middle of Colchester centre stands this Saxon tower, built around 1020 AD they say. This is the oldest known church in the town, and as the Saxon's tended to build in wood, abundant in the area while stone is not, this may well replace a previous structure. Actually, outside the new police station lies the traces of a building thought by some to be the first Christian church in the island, possibly built in the first 300 years of the millennium. There is an abundance of Roman tiles in the doorway and the walls of the tower, which shows how entrenched the Romans were here. The doorway is not encouraging fat people (oops, sorry, grammar nazi's insist on 'obese.') to enter is it?
The narrow street meant I could not get a better picture from there but sufficient to show the height. I can imagine their shaky scaffolding as the tower grew! Amongst the graves in the plot squashed around the tower lies one William Gilberd, whom you will recognise as the physician to Queen Elizabeth I. He also discovered 'electro-magnetism' whatever that is. Also entombed lies one John Wilbye, whom you will recall was famous for writing madrigals. (A note to the less enlightened, madrigals were songs, not magazines) I stuck my head through the side door into what once was a church to find a dingy hall filled with tables all askew. The hall now serves youth and sometimes is used as a music venue. While useful to many this appears to me to be a sad end for such a building.
All around us lie things we never see because they have always been there. I suspect folks walking up East Hill never glance at this one time watering place. We take clean water for granted, except when the bill comes in, but until the middle of the 19th century it was not always so. Water was often polluted, if available, and beer was safer to drink. Many houses built near the end of the century still shared a common water pump. This one was erected in 1864 'In Memorium,' but it does not say of whom! I can imagine bare footed children crowding around each time they passed for a free drink. Quite what the lower niche was for I know not. Did they wash their feet there perhaps.
I noticed this in the walls of the priory but am undecided as to the purpose. A window perhaps? Too high of the ground for anything else. In RC tradition a light is kept burning, possibly this was connected to that, possibly not. You can see the haphazard stonework. Anything lying around was used.