Your guide to Mersea Island
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History

There is a rich history on Mersea Island which can be seen at the local, Mersea Museum.  Over many hundreds of years, Mersea has gained a vast array of sites and stories of historical and cultural interest.  There is evidence of a pre-Roman settlement on the Island and there has been frequent reports of sightings of a roman centurion crossing the Strood Channel at night. The Parish Church in West Mersea Village is of Anglo-Saxon Origin and was later rebuilt after destruction by Norse raiders in 894.  The Reverend S.Baring-Gould was rector of East Mersea Church from 1871-1881.  Baring-Gould was a talented historian, poet, archaologist and hymn writer amongst other talents during his life and as an author, his novels at one time outnumbered those by any other author in the British Museum Library. One of his earliest novels, Mehalah: A Story of the Salt Marshes, is beleived to be set on Mersea Island with the characters based on observations of neighbours and local residents during his time on Mersea Island.  Reverend Baring-Gould was also the Author of well known Hymn 'Onward Christian Soldiers' which is still sung by congregations today

Oysterman digs up a Bronze Age timber track

Oysterman digs up a Bronze Age timber track

An oyster fisherman is thought to have stumbled across a 4,000-year-old track once used by the Bronze Age elite of Essex to expand their settlements. Daniel French discovered the wooden planks almost half a mile offshore from Mersea Island as he was harvesting the shellfish. His discovery last mon...

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Do you believe in ghosts?  Have you heard about the Roman Soldier who walks the Strood?

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you heard about the Roman Soldier who walks the Strood?

During the Roman times, Mersea Island was a Roman outpost and wasn't too far away from the extremely important Roman settlement of Colchester, Essex. Quite possibly the oldest ghost seen in the UK is the apparition of a Roman Soldier which has been seen crossing the Strood, the ancient causeway whi...

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Ray Island & Mysterious Tales!

Ray Island & Mysterious Tales!

Ray Island lies to the right of the Strood as you come across onto the island. The large sandy mound rising out of the surrounding saltings is owned by the National Trust who brought the land in 1970. According to volunteer warden David Nicholls, the National Trust brought it for three main reasons...

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Anglo-Saxon Fish Traps & Mersea Island

Anglo-Saxon Fish Traps & Mersea Island

What is a coastal fish weir? ‘Were’ is an Anglo Saxon word meaning fish trap. It is an artificial barrier created within an inter-tidal zone which is an area that is above water at low tide and under water at high tide. In other words, the area between the tide marks. The weir was cons...

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Was there ever a railway on Mersea Island?

Was there ever a railway on Mersea Island?

The early 1900’s was when the golden age of seaside towns was gaining in popularity and the railway made travelling there easy and affordable for all classes of people. Heavy goods and coal was brought to Mersea by boat and barges up until the end of the first World War and in 1911 a group of...

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There was once a Golf Club in East Mersea…

There was once a Golf Club in East Mersea…

There was once a Golf Club in East Mersea, during the 1930’s a young Walt Disney is rumoured to have played a round of golf here – on a visit to England….. The East Mersea Golf Club opened its doors in 1910 with nine holes and overlooking the River Colne and Blackwater ...

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World War 1 Zeppelin Crash

World War 1 Zeppelin Crash

During WW1 troops were stationed on the island, Mersea had become a restricted area and the beaches and the Strood were patrolled daily. Mersea people sometimes saw German airships coming over and witnessed bombing raids and although in view of later aerial horrors we are inclined to be ra...

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What was author Margery Allingham's connection to Mersea Island?

What was author Margery Allingham's connection to Mersea Island?

Margery Allingham's first published novel, Blackkerchief Dick, was set on Mersea Island, where her family spent many holidays. England's easternmost inhabited island, Mersea Island is a few hundred yards off the Essex coast, about 7 miles from Colchester. In the 1920s, the island was a po...

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The Tudor Fort at East Mersea

The Tudor Fort at East Mersea

Henry VIII was a heavy spender and he was the monarch who ordered the construction of the fort or blockhouse at East Mersea near East Mersea Stone. This was one of several defensive works erected in fear of invasion by France and Spain. The triangular fort was built around 1547 and was of...

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The Earthquake of 1884

The Earthquake of 1884

The most destructive earthquake known in Britain for over 500 years happened at 9.18am on April 22nd 1884. The earthquake only lasted for up to ten seconds, but in that time Colchester and the surrounding area was reduced to chaos. Walls buckled and cracked & windows shattered. In some areas, ...

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Cudmore Grove Country Park

Cudmore Grove Country Park

At the eastern end of Mersea Island, at Cudmore Grove you’ll find a sandy beach, impressive views, grassland, meadows for relaxation and walks that will take you past interesting historical sites and an abundance of wildlife. The park is popular on hot summer days, with its sandy beach and co...

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East Mersea Witch or Innocent Girl?

East Mersea Witch or Innocent Girl?

In the cemetery of St Edmund’s Church in East Mersea there lies an unusual grave….. The grave of Sarah Wrench has an iron cage placed over the top. Local legend has it that the cage was positioned across her remains to stop her, an alleged witch, from escaping back into the w...

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East Mersea Fossil Finds

East Mersea Fossil Finds

Did you know that 300,000 year old fossils such as monkey, bear, tusked elephant and bison have been found in the East Mersea cliffs? It is not unusual to find sharks teeth on East Mersea beach along with small mammal fossils. The power of the sea has worn away some of the soft sands and...

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Mersea Smugglers

Mersea Smugglers

Legend has it that Mersea and the surrounding area was well used by smugglers from the 16th to 19th century. The story goes that smugglers used to hide their stock at The Peldon Rose & The Dog and Pheasant in East Mersea. It is rumored that the smugglers would weigh down tubs of spirits and lowe...

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Who built the causeway onto Mersea Island?

Who built the causeway onto Mersea Island?

The only way to drive onto Mersea Island is over the Strood, but who built it? Mersea Island has a colourful history, Celtic people started to arrive on our shores from around 1800BC bringing with them their own domestic cattle which they interbred with the native variety. The Celts also intro...

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Mersea Island Museum

Mersea Island Museum

We are an independent museum established in 1976 and occupying purpose-built premises in the centre of West Mersea, just to the east of the Parish Church. The traditional local activities of fishing, oystering, wild fowling and boat building are represented. The reconstruction within the museum of a...

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Mersea Island Brewery

Mersea Island Brewery

Mersea Island Brewery produce a range of distinctive real ales from award winning Oyster stout to refreshing Island Gold and everything inbetween. *Information & photo about Mersea Island Brewery is from their website which you can visit here....

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Mersea Island Vineyard

Mersea Island Vineyard

Mersea Island lies between the estuaries of the Blackwater and Colne rivers, about nine miles south of Colchester. The present Mersea Island Vineyard was established in 1985. Today there are about ten acres, five grape varieties, producing some twenty thousand bottles each year. Legend has it that...

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Did you know about Mersea Barrow?

Did you know about Mersea Barrow?

Just up the East Mersea road as you come onto Mersea Island, is a conspicuous mound on the left. It is thought to be a Romano-British burial barrow, to AD 100-120 (although in 2012 there is a growing school of thought that it may be a purely Roman burial mound). The mound was excavated in 1912...

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A great day out... Walk around the Island

A great day out... Walk around the Island

When I speak to people on Mersea Island, the majority of them, even those who have lived here for years, have never challenged themselves to walking the circumference of the Island. For those who are physically fit and able to do so, it is a great day out and a great achievement!  I myself have...

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