The siege of Colchester took place 163 years after the battle of Bosworth ended the Yorkist era, together with the life of John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, the local magnate. However, a time travelling visitor in either direction would have noticed surprisingly few differences, some of which were quite subtle:
St. John’s Abbey had mostly been demolished during the Reformation but the land had passed to the Lucas family, of whom Sir Charles was a Royalist leader. The Gatehouse (left) remained, as did the Abbey church, by then a family chapel.
During the siege, a gunner named “One-eyed Jack” Thomson was reputedly perched on the tower of St. Mary-at-the-Walls (left). He was eventually shot down by a sniper, possibly leading to the “Humpty Dumpty” nursery rhyme.
The siege lasted from mid-June to late August 1648. At its conclusion, General Fairfax sentenced to death: Lucas, his colleague Sir George Lisle and Bernard Gascoigne. The latter, being foreign, was reprieved but Lucas and Lisle were shot on 27th August, to the north of the Castle, on a spot (left) where it is said that “the grass never grows”.
Mediaeval Colchester’s Lost Landmarks, John Ashdown-Hill.
The Siege of Colchester 1648, Stephen Lark.