Shot at Mersea island one of my favourite places to go in Essex.
Imagine living on an island. It seems just an idyllic dream for so many of us! Well it might not be that unattainable, because just off the east coast of Essex, England, lies a small island known as Mersea. The name is a derivation of the word meresig which dates from the early 10th Century and means 'island of the pool'.
Mersea Island is located in the estuary of the rivers Blackwater and Colne, approximately nine miles south-east of Colchester. It has a resident population of 6500. Its area of five square miles includes the town of West Mersea and the village of East Mersea.
Mersea enters written history when the Romans settled in Camulodunum, now known as Colchester. This settlement, initially built for retired veterans, soon became the hub of the Roman civilisation, and remained so until they decided that London was better placed. Even today the plan of the old town resembles a typical Roman layout of straight, intersecting roads.
Mersea's most famous relic of the Roman occupation can be seen every day by people arriving at or leaving the island. It is not a building, it is the Barrow, which stands off East Mersea Road, a short distance from The Strood. The Barrow is a typical Romano-British burial mound, which originally stood 60 feet high and 300 feet in diameter. Its contents were excavated in 1912, and the relics from the dig can be seen in Colchester museum.
It is not known whether The Strood was built by the Romans or (as some think) the Roman road was actually further to the east of the island. It is reckoned, however, that The Strood in its original form was built circa 700 AD.
Mersea has had its fair share of the famous and the notorious. The Reverend Sabine Baring-Gouldwho wrote the hymn Onward, Christian Soldiers, was Rector in East Mersea. His most famous book, the novel Mehalah published in 1880, is set on and around the island. Stories of smuggling in East Mersea also exist, though definite proof is not easy to come by.