We had a wonderful visit to Colchester, England’s oldest town. (Although Ipswich has the right to say THEY are the oldest English speaking town. Colchester’s first inhabitants spoke Gaelic) Our friend and radio broadcaster Liz– who has been to our Ipswich, MA twice doing stories on Massachusetts– showed us around.
It is a beautiful town with a wonderful old castle, now housing a history museum. It has lots of Roman artifacts from the Roman period, before the Anglo-Saxons. They even have pre-Roman collections from the Iron Age and earlier. Their ancient heroine is Queen Boudica, who had the courage to attack the Roman occupiers, burning down a big temple. They also have a large collection from the 15th and 16th centuries when women were being attacked as witches. It makes Salem, MA look very tame.
Then Liz took us to a National Trust medieval mill, Bourne Mill, where she turned the water on for us!
We had lunch in a little restaurant in town built into an original Roman wall.
After lunch we had a wonderful National Trust guided visit to Flatford, which is true “Constable Country”. We learned all about John Constable, the famous painter, and saw the scenes you can recognize in many of his paintings.
After our tour several in our group walked through the “vale” from Flatford to Dedham. There we went to see the beautiful little church where the Puritan John Rogers used to preach. (John’s son Nathaniel went to Ipswich, MA in 1636 and became the second minister of the First Church in Ipswich.) As we stepped inside the door of the church we confronted a professional opera company rehearsing Handel’s opera Acis and Galatea!
Another marvelous day!