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    Guide map includes satellite image of this area Corn Exchange The French Revolution saw the overthrow of the French monachy in favour of a Republic and gave rise, into Napoleon Bonaparte.

    He promptly returned France to dictatorial rule — declaring himself Emperor in — and then set out on a quest to conquer Europe and Britain in what became known as the Napoleonic Wars But his plans to invade Britain were effectively ended in July when the Royal Navy outmanoeuvred his fleets at Cape Finisterre off the northwest coast of Spain.

    Any further thoughts of invasion were finally quashed in October that same year when Nelson defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar. However, in the build-up to invasion Britain had been unable to import wheat from Europe.

    This inevitably led to an expansion of British wheat farming and, subsequently, higher bread prices. Farmers and landowners profitted greatly but feared once the French wars ended, the resumption of imported wheat would lower prices. Naturally the price was kept artificially high, but the subsequent increase in food prices caused people to spend far more on food than on other commodities, and the economy suffered.

    But since the vast majority of voters and members of parliament were landowners, the government was unwilling to consider new legislation to help the economy, or the poor.

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    Of more pressing concern to local farmers and landowners, however, was that Wheat Hill now High Streetwhere grain had been traded since the Middle Ages, was now proving unsuitable for the task. It is the oldest corn exchange in Hertfordshire and by far the most distinguished. There is even a suggestion that it inspired the design of St Albans Town Hall in Although the Corn Exchange was built for the trading of grain, it has since served a variety of purposes.

    In the s it offered public meeting rooms holding up to people, a library, club, literary society, and facilities to put on plays.

    It also acted as a courthouse in the late s. Willful neglect soon ensured it fell into disrepair and in the same council proposed to demolish the building and replace it with a paved open space as part of the town improvement scheme. Local feelings ran high at this suggestion, the proposal so strongly opposed by the Civic Society and Local History Society that a ministerial decision was made in to save it.

    After the reprieve the exchange was sold to a developer who, between andremoved the glass rotunda and restored and converted the building for use as shops and offices. The man who oversaw the project was civil engineer David Burt —a former resident of the town for nearly 50 years, who also ran his business here for 26 years.

    He won the European Heritage Year Award for his work on the building. In later years he was involved in efforts to restore water to the Castle Gardens moat, and was also awarded the Freedom of the City of London. She was responsible for the growth of all plants and crops, more especially wheat, and taught humans how to grow plant seeds. The Greeks held a festival each autumn in honour of Ceres, at which only women could take part in and its rituals were kept secret from men.

    It was intended to bring success to the growing of seed. To placate its supporters the Tory government revised the Corn Laws in by introducing a sliding scale. The more the price of domestic grain fell below that figure, the higher the duty became. It was, however, a pointless exercise and did nothing to help poor people, manufacturers, or the economy. But by now everybody, apart from wealthy farmers and landowners, wanted the Corn Laws abolished.

    Abnormally high wheat prices meant high food prices and high wages. Abolition of the Corn Laws would bring low wheat prices and mean they could pay lower wages. They also believed that if Britain imported more wheat, then foriegn countries would buy more goods made in their factories.

    Action to try and persuade the government to abolish the Corn Laws was finally taken in when a group of businessmen formed the Anti-Corn Law League. But despite a seven-year fight, the Tory Party remained loyal to its supporters who were totally opposed to the repeal of the Corn Laws. Just as bread was the staple diet of the poor in England and Wales, the poor of Ireland ate potatoes.

    As a result of the famine, one million people died and another million emigrated, mostly to America. Help for the starving people of Ireland came from the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, who decided to repeal the Corn Laws so that wheat could be sent there.

    His own party were totally opposed to the idea but Peel won the vote with the aid of the opposition who were in favour. The repeal of the Corn Laws caused a major split in the Tory party. Peel resigned and many of those those who had supported the repeal left the Tory Party to join the Whigs later called the Liberals. In the event, the repeal of the Corn laws had hardly any effect on the price of wheat.

    This is a summary of a document listing various wills and transactions, detailing ownership, land and buildings of the once freehold estate on which the Corn Exchange now stands. Also included was one other building in which John Dorrington resided, and a yard and garden formerly called Cock-pit Yard, which at that time was used as a bowling green.

    The will was proved 6 Mayand on 7 November his son, John Ashby, bequeathed all of the same properties mentioned above to his cousin, John Mitchell. Rawlins died in September leaving the property to his wife in trust.

    The will was proved 22 December Before the sale these various properties were in the tenure or occupation of: Of these, fifty-eight were to pay one-sixtieth of the purchase price, and Sir George Duckett was to pay two-sixtieths.

    Part of the Indenture states: This practice could continue until the number of trustees was reduced to just three. The charge made by the solicitor for handling the conveyance was ten shillings 50p to the consortium and five shillings 25p to George Perry. William Gee, a solicitor and trustee would own about 5 per cent of Stortford parish by The trustees included 11 maltsters, nine gentlemen mostly lawyerseight brewers, six farmers and esquires ie landownersfour bankers, four millers and other traders.

    Seven were from London mostly brewers and three from Cambridgeshire, but the great majority were from the local area. Among them, Cheffins builder and gentleman is a name familiar today, but the partners in Hawkes Brewery once in Water Lane are mostly unremembered. George Perry, innkeeper, also bought in, clearly appreciating a good deal when he saw one. Only the front part of the store that faced Potter Street would remain as a gift shop, the bulk of the business moving to new flagship premises in Fitzroy Street, Cambridge.

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    In April it was announced that the remaining gift store would also close, and on 11 May came bomb-shell news that after years of trading in the town this forth generation family-run retailer had entered into administration. This store, along with its sister outlets in Bury St Edmunds, London, Cambridge, Norwich, Brentwood and Brighton continued to trade while a buyer for the business was sought, but in July the administrator confirmed this had failed.

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    For sale he found No 16 Market Square, a 16th century premises occupied by George Sapsford, butcher and slaughterer. When the shop opened for business on 13 November its only entrance was a door between the bay windows. From its first mention in church records inthis pub had traded continually until Tragically, the building in which the store began accidentally caught fire in Maythe resulting damage so great that it was decided to demolish what remained and replace it with an exact replica.

    And that is what you see today. Using modern construction methods, skilled workers recreated the gabled exterior of the 16th century building to look exactly as it did before the fire.

    The entire rebuild, inside and out, was swift and the new store reopened for business in December Baroosh was officially opened 2 November The Plume of Feathers PH This public house, first mentioned in church records inserved the public until its closure in October No other history for the pub has been found, but an interesting items held by the last licensee Mr AJ Williams, was a visitors book dating back to which contained many humorous incidents.

    One of the more fascinating entries was by a man who had tried to ride a motorcycle from Cambridge to Woodford Green, Essex.
    Early history[ edit ] The earliest evidence of human occupation in Hertfordshire come from a gravel pit in Rickmansworth.

    The finds of flint tools date backyears, [2] long before Britain became an island. People have probably lived in the land now called Hertfordshire for about 12, years, since the Mesolithic period [3] in Ware making Ware one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. The Romans besieged him at Wheathampstead, and partly because of the defection of the Trinovantes whose King Cassivellaunus had had murderedthe Catuvellauni were forced to surrender.

    Cunobelinus became king of the Catuvellauni in 9 or 10 CE and ruled for about thirty years, [17] conquering such a large area of Britain that the Roman writer Suetonius called him Britannorum Rex in Latin "King of Britain". When the Romans took over, their settlement, laid out in 49 CE, [21] became known as Verulamium. Albana Roman army officer who became Britain's first Christian martyr after his arrest at Chantry Islanddied in the 3rd or 4th century and gave his name to the modern town of St Albans.

    The ancient trackway, the Icknield Way also runs through Hertfordshire. These are three of the "four highways" of medieval England the other being the Fosse Waywhich does not run through Hertfordshire which were still the main routes through the country more than a thousand years later. The first Roman Road to be built was the Military Way, constructed very early in the Roman conquest to speed the troops' access north.

    Later, Ermine Street would be built directly on top of it. The Synod also marked the end of the conflict between the Celtic Church and the Romanised church introduced by Saint Augustine. At that time, in the war between Saxon and NorsemanHertfordshire was on the front line. When, after the Saxon victory in the Battle of Ethandun inthe Saxon King Alfred the Great and Norse King Guthrum the Old agreed to partition England between them, the dividing line between their territories split what was to become Hertfordshire almost through the middle, along the line of the River Lea [27] and then along Watling Street.

    Their agreement survives in the Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum which establishes the Danelaw 's extent. It seems the land now comprising Hertfordshire was then partly in the Kingdom of Essex nominally under Norse control, though still populated by Saxons and partly in the Kingdom of Mercia which remained Saxon.

    Their sites have not been found, and probably lie beneath the streets of Hertford itself. Anglo-Saxon Hertford is an example of town planning as demonstrated by its organised rectangular grid street pattern.

    He invaded England next year in retaliation. Forkbeard was crowned King of England on Christmas Day, but only reigned for five weeks before dying. Like most counties in the south-east, [54] most of Hertfordshire was in private i. He bore one of the first two sets of heraldic arms in England: Richard became one of the twenty-five Barons sworn to enforce the Magna Cartafor which he was excommunicated in King Henry II celebrated Christmas there in It contained significant provisions still in force to this day, including the principle of habeas corpus which was first invoked in court in The River Lea at Amwell In the High Middle Ages, the county was relatively urbanised by medieval standards, but because towns follow roads and Hertfordshire had many small roads rather than a few large ones, there was no large conurbation.

    The county traded in butter and cheese, and to a lesser extent meat, hides and leather. Much of this produce was bound for London. King John granted the Knights a fair and market at Baldock into be held annually.

    It began on St Matthew's Day and lasted five days in all. He was baptised in Abbots Langley. He died in This was actually a series of separate wars that lasted a total of years, between and King John II of France was imprisoned there in [84] in considerable luxury.

    The Black Death midway through the 14th century massively reduced Hertfordshire's population.

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    Near Tringa cluster of deserted medieval villages can still be seen. This is not the same man as the Abbott of St Albans. He gave the alm of a groat to the poor. He gave his best gown to the prior, but the gift seems to have been regretted and the treasurer later bought it back for fifty marks. Neville the Kingmaker advanced on London. After confusion in the early morning mist, in which the Yorkists seem to have ended up fighting each other, the Lancastrians won the battle. The Kingmaker was captured and executed, and Edward's authority was never again seriously challenged.

    Some of the foundation stones are even older, allegedly going back to the 8th century. First English paper and printing industry One of the first three printing presses in England was in St Albans.

    InQueen Mary granted the town of Hertford its first charter for a fee of thirteen shillings and fourpence, due annually at Michaelmas. When plague ravaged London, she held parliaments at Hertford Castle [] in and He built Theobalds Parkenclosing a large tract of southern Hertfordshire in a wall.

    Ina dozen men of Oliver Cromwell 's New Model Army were hanged for outrages against the people of the county. Inthe parliamentary army, still unpaid after their victory in the First English Civil Warcamped on Thriploe Heath near Royston. They wrote to Parliament demanding their pay. Unfortunately for the plotters, the Royal party was early, so the opportunity was missed; when the plot was discovered, it became a pretext for a purge of the Whig leaders. Around the end of the 18th century, its population was around 95, The next year, smallpox hit Hitchin, killing people.

    Its highest point is the Tring Summit in Hertfordshire, which was formed in Mobilisation for the Seven Years' War affected Hertfordshire. He said "Herts is justly deemed the first and best corn county in the kingdom", [] an assessment that may not be free from local bias. It nevertheless shows how more advanced farming techniques and soil improvement programmes had enabled farmers to work Hertfordshire's "heavier" soils to better effect since the Saxon—Norse wars.

    Thanks to a rapidly increasing population and improved record-keeping practices, the volume of paper records for Hertfordshire in the 19th and 20th centuries is huge. Many of these documents are written or printed on paper made locally, at a time when paper-making joined brewing as another dominant industry in the county.

    Dickinson made paper for the stamps, and also for the Mulready envelopes. It was founded by a fertiliser inventor in Ten corps of Volunteer Infantry were formed in The house is still standing, and has been adapted into a museum. It had a station in Hertfordshire, at Marston Gate. The London Underground rail line reached Rickmansworth in It also fought in the advance to Ghissignies.

    Mustang Is of No. Nineteen companies formed at once. De Havilland designed their Mosquito in Hatfield [Notes 11] and constructed them at Leavesdentogether with Halifax bombers. The county's boundaries were revised in the reforms accompanying the Local Government Actat which time Royston became fully a part of Hertfordshire. The Henry Moore Foundation still operates from the village. Init was resolved to close the aircraft manufacturing site in Hatfield.
    We offer you this tour of our Roman walls but please also see our Roman Colchester Trail herewhich introduces you to many of our other Roman sites, including the Roman Circus.

    So, this web page virtual tour is not as good as a real walk - but it will have to do! To give the pictures time to load, I shall tell you a bit about our wonderful walls. I will try to show and explain to you the principal points of interest as we move around the walls in a clockwise direction. I am going to talk about the reasons why, when and how our wall was built - and something of the history and events that the wall has seen.

    It is important to remember that when the walls were built, Colchester town centre i. A section of it started off in the year 43 as a legionary fortress, soon to be de-fortified and used as a colonia.

    It was as an unfortified colonia that it was attacked in the year 60 or 61 and destroyed by Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni. I will be frequently referring to the 'colonia' for that reason. The following map shows how the Romans laid out their colony, with the walls and gates the gates that we know of, that is!

    Please note the dotted outline of the AD43 fortress that was fairly soon after done away with and the colonia begun.

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    The surrounding area was already known as Camulodunom understood to be the British spelling. After AD 43, the colonia and this land of the Trinovantes settled down to become known as a Romanised Camulodunum, which, of course, eventually became known as Colchester colonia-ceaster meaning fortress colony. Lincoln was also a colonia, hence its name.

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    The following map is by John Speed and dates to From this you can see how things had changed in Colchester over or so years. Nothing like the sprawling urban mass of today, it does clearly show the Roman wall, the still-standing gates and the eight 14th century bastions that were added at a later date. More of that later, during our tour! So that you can see where we are and where we are going, please study the following map, which highlights the wall system and shows the principal points that we are going to make reference to during our virtual tour.

    Please also note the numbers 1 to 12 and the names of the various 'gates'. The weather is fine. The birds are singing. We now begin our tour.

    To jump ahead to any point please click on the relevant number below. At first, the Roman invaders needed to secure their position. So they constructed a fortress in two locations, one near to modern day Gosbecks, the other, on the hill that overlooked modern day Sheepen and Gosbecks.

    Quite understandably they must have expected a backlash from the British. The layout of the fortress on the hill has been shown by archaeologists to have been of a very similar size and arrangement as that at Caerleon. In terms of size it would have stretched from modern day Balkerne Hill to Trinity Street. However, we must assume that the British were fairly passive and so the Romans decided on turning the place into a colonia, where they could retire their soldiers, thus guaranteeing a populace to Rome.

    The site of the new colonia must surely have been chosen because it was a natural extension of the fortress and it had the strategic advantage of being on a hill - albeit undefended; commanding views of the conquered British settlement to the south west; and with a river and fresh running spring water nearby.

    It is believed that the colonia was expanded to the size that is surrounded by our magnificent Roman wall - but without the wall.

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    As you can see there is only a fraction of the gate left, although it still remains the earliest and the most complete Roman gateway in Britain. Archaeologists have extensively explored the foundations and features and have found some very interesting drains in this area. The following picture shows what this triumphal arch might once have looked like, after it had been added-to by the building of what we know as the Balkerne Gate.

    The gate faced west. For a start it would have looked towards the place we now know as Sheepen, an area of Camulodunom known to have been where the indigenous British people lived and worked. Much sign of industry has been found there and the siting of the arch would have been a powerful image for the conquered people.

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    Another important part of the British settlement was based at modern day Gosbeckstwo miles away. It is also believed that the arch position was here because this was the main entrance point to the colonia, facing in the general direction of London Londinium and St.

    This shows the precision of the first town planners, who would have used the sun's movement to plot a cast shadow arc and then bisect it for a true north position. From ancient documents, we know that the Roman writer Tacitus chastised the Roman authorities for not providing the colonia with a wall. Whether or not a wall would have been sufficient defence against Boadicea, remains unknown, as the might of the Roman army in Britain was away in the west at the time, leaving the colonia lightly defended.

    Boadicea would have known this and would have made her plans accordingly. Turning back on ourselves with the Jumbo water tower behind us and looking west, we see the gate from the other side, the single footway arch alongside what is assumed to have been a guardroom. The Hole in the Wall pub is on the right, built directly onto the Balkerne Gate.

    The flooring is modern but everything else that you see is pure Roman. This gave the defenders i. The present day road level of Balkerne Hill is much lower than the original Roman level, having been cut back in the s, leaving the 'Hole in the Wall' standing out 'like a Tibetan Monastery'.

    We now walk back through Balkerne Gate to outside the wall. Again, the remains are well preserved, but with a little modern brick repair work in the top of the arch.

    On the right hand side of the board, the top view shows the triumphal arch, the next shows the added gateway, the third showing the gate sealed up. The final view is how we now see the remains of the gate, much of it destroyed and built onto by the building that is now known as the Hole in the Wall public house.

    So where did the name Balkerne Gate come from? The original Roman name for the gate has been lost with time. It became known as the Balkerne Gate, a reference to it being baulked, stopped-up, bricked-up, sealed-up - in antiquity. It appears from archaeological studies that this gate fell into disuse at some point during the Roman period, perhaps because the Head Gate was a more convenient and less of an incline entrance point into the colonia. Indeed, it is because it was baulked that the gate has survived as much as it has and that Jumbo could be built on what would have originally been the High Street.

    All our other town gates have disappeared, allowing for greater traffic flow. Modern day vehicles are much larger than the horse and carts that people would have used two millennia ago.

    At some time experts cannot be sure about when it was blocked and when it was unblockedthe decision was taken to unblock the gate, which is why we are now able to walk through two of the four access ways; the other two being underneath and part of the foundations of the Hole in the Wall pub. I shall not go into that in much detail other than to say that this picture shows the evidence of the main carriageway and the triumphal arch.

    We can see the soft tufa stone that the triumphal arch was constructed from, in contrast to the later wall materials. The pub was once known as the Kings Head but, inthe railway came to Colchester and the landlord of this ancient tavern saw an opportunity for increased business.

    In a single act of archaeological vandalism, he bashed a hole through the Roman gate's structure to open up a view of the railway to the north. Thereafter, the local people awarded it the nickname of 'The Hole in the Wall' a name that was officially adopted in the s. We started our tour at the most interesting and best preserved part of our famous walls. Regrettably it is mostly downhill from here - literally. We are going to trace the wall along its entire length, with many sections missing, some in poor repair, some completely hidden by buildings that have been built on top of them.

    We will have walked approximately metres by the time we get back here for a pint at the Hole in the Wall. I hope that you enjoy the rest of the tour. We now move on down the steep Balkerne Hill in a northerly direction. Understandably perhaps, we cannot get clear access to both sides of the wall as private properties, particular inside the walls, back right up to the wall itself.

    Our walls are not only classed as a scheduled ancient monument SAM but are also Grade 1 listed, with all the protection that is afforded to this remarkable structure. In some areas, the walls are completely obscured by buildings - but more of that later!

    Built by Peter Shuyler-Bruff, it once housed a steam driven pump, to pump fresh water up the hill to the Jumbo water tower which was built in the s. I mention this because, here we have an inkling into what the Romans must have been thinking when they chose their site for the colonia. This part of Colchester, at the foot of the hill, is renowned for its springs - fresh water - so essential for healthy living.

    We have never positively discovered any Roman baths in Colchester some bath type structures are known from the work done at the Sixth Form College in the s but we would expect that this would have been where they were, for the simple reason that it was here that there was fresh, pure water; an easy supply that could be heated and used to wash the dirt and grime away after a hard day at the forum.

    To the south, uphill, a complete section of the wall is missing. Philip Crummy believes that this is because the presence of a Roman drain always close to a tower or gate introduced a weakness which helped with a collapse of the wall from undermining, or subsidence of the outer earthworks. We are reaching the foot of the hill and arrive at the next point of our tour, with sections of the wall, in varying states of repair on our right. Indeed, Colchester was expanding and there was considerable overspill into surrounding areas, especially along the main routes into the colonia.

    In the background is the Octagon building, originally the Royal London Insurance building.

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    This was built on the site of a high status Roman villa, where some magnificent floor mosaics were discovered. In the Victorian period and up until the s this was where the livestock market was located.

    Sheepen is an area associated with the ancient British; a place of industry; a place where King Cunobelin minted so many of his gold coins archaeologists found many coin moulds here ; a place that signified the great wealth of Britain - an obvious attraction to treasure and wealth seeking Roman invaders.

    We round the north-east corner of the wall where probably once stood an observation tower. Evidence has been found of several towers around the wall's perimeter, where some protection from Britain's weather could be given to soldiers from those sunnier Italian climes or the auxillary soldiers from right across the Roman Empire that supported them.

    We are now walking east towards North Gate, with the wall seeing little sunlight. A horse trough filled with flowers gives a clue to an earlier use of this area. A colonia was the highest status of Roman cities. Next came the municipia Verulamium or modern day St. Albansfollowed by civitates. They each enjoyed different privileges according to their status. Coloniae were inhabited by those persons who had Roman citizenship.

    This included retired legionary soldiers who had completed their term of service and thereby were entitled to citizenship and a grant of land from the territory allotted to the town from the surrounding territory. As former soldiers, they could be depended upon to defend Roman interests, and the coloniae helped to integrate them into civilian life.

    They also served to introduce Roman law and culture to the native population.

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