51.8917°N 0.903°E / 51.8917; 0.903
Colchester town centre.
Colchester shown within Essex
OS grid reference
CO1 - CO7
East of England
European Parliament East of England
List of places: UK • England • Essex
is a town, and the largest settlement within
the borough of Colchester, in Essex, England.
It has a population of 104,390. As the
oldest recorded Roman town in the British
Isles, Colchester claims to be the oldest town
in Britain. It was for a time the capital of Ro-
man Britain and also claims to have the Un-
ited Kingdom’s oldest recorded market.
Colchester is 56 miles (90 km) northeast
of London. It is connected to the capital by
the A12 road and the Great Eastern Main
A map of Colchester from 1940
Colchester is claimed to be the oldest recor-
ded town in Britain on the grounds that it
was mentioned by Pliny the Elder in AD 77.
Its Celtic name was Camulodunon, meaning
’the fortress of (the war god) Camulos’. Fol-
lowing the Roman conquest of Britain in AD
43, a Roman legionary fortress was estab-
lished and the name Camulodunon was modi-
fied to the Roman spelling of ’Camulodunum’.
Camulodunum served as the first Roman cap-
ital of Britain, but was attacked and des-
troyed during Boudica’s rebellion in AD 61.
Sometime after the destruction, London be-
came the capital of the province of Britannia
but it would seem that the council of the pro-
vincial natives still met at Colchester, where
the Temple to the Divine Claudius served as
the seat of this council. Later, when the Ro-
man frontier moved north (c. AD 49), Camu-
lodunum became a colonia known as Colonia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia