At our February 2018 AGM the Annual Lectures were attended by 70 members. A presentation was made to Margaret Gooderham to thank her for the 35+ years that she has been helping processing finds, travelling in from her home in Suffolk on public transport in all weathers. Howard spoke about trial excavations to locate the Town Wall at Great Chesterford. Laura then talked about the evidence of charcoal burning taking place in the north of Colchester which was quite densely forested at one time and Steve showed slides about Neolithic pottery dating back to 3000BC which had been found at the Lufkins Farm site near Great Bentley. Finally Philip discussed his plans for the Roman Circus site.
In March Patrick Denney the well known local historian gave a very entertaining illustrated talk on Edwardian Colchester to over 60 members.
Also in March members were invited to Roman Circus House to meet Peter Froste for the preview of his exhibition of archaeological paintings of the early history of Colchester. Many thanks to the volunteers who gave up their time to act as guides.
On 31stMarch members attended the official opening of the Roman Circus Mosaic which is now displayed on a wall at Roman Circus House. The mosaic was designed by Peter Froste and originally completed by children at Philip Morant School. Unfortunately it had been damaged by weather and had to be refurbished by volunteers under the direction of Peter Herring who gave up an enormous amount of his time to see the project through.
In May, 42 members of the Friends led by Mike Corbishley travelled to Burgh Castle, one of the best preserved of the Roman Saxon Shore Forts, which were built in the 3rdcentury to protect the coast from Saxon invaders. Mike led the group around the site then on to the round tower Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, parts of which are over 1000 years old. The church is noted for a 14thcentury East Anglian Lion Font and a small stained glass lancet window dedicated to St. Fursey, an Irish saint said to have established a monastery in the ruins of the Roman fort in 633 AD. The group then visited the excellent Time & Tide museum in Great Yarmouth and the church of St Helen at Ranworth, known as the ‘cathedral of the Broads’. Some of us ventured up the Tower – 89 steps, no handrail, 2 ladders and a trapdoor. Apparently the view from the top is well worth it!
In September we visited West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village on a beautiful warm and sunny day. We were met by a very knowledgeable guide who took us on a tour of the site which contains several reconstructed wooden buildings. The site is now a country Park and has a decent café, an outdoor classroom for school parties and best of all a really excellent museum. After lunch we went on to visit the 14thcentury St Ethelbert’s Church at Hessett which is most famous for its wall paintings, 15thcentury font, painted rood screen and mediaeval stained glass.