Colchester Castle is the town’s proudest landmark and has been towering over Colchester for centuries. But how much do you know about its history? It was built by the Normans in 1076, strategically on the route between East Anglia and London. An interesting feature of this beautiful piece of history is its apsidal extension, like that of the White Tower in London. It rises above the town of Colchester with corner turrets, encasing inside a twirling staircase which has steps that are 5 meters wide. The architecture includes a Roman vault that lies beneath the floors. However, its imposing height was not original to the building as it was initially only a single-story building. The lasting evidence of this is the crenellations that were installed in 1080 for defence against sieges and can still be seen in the walls today. The first attempted siege of the castle happened in 1216 by King John. Throughout the medieval times it was passed down through a myriad of court characters and royals. However, this eventually petered out and its use changed from that of a home to that of a prison during the 13th up until 1835. During this time, many died on  this site such as two royalist officers who were executed in 1648 by a firing squad whilst being lined up against the walls outside.


This historical heart of Colchester nearly met its end during the 17th century when it was bought by a private owner with the hopes of demolishing it. However, it was saved from this fate by being given as a wedding present to Charles Gray. The castle eventually began its life as a museum in 1860 and has been a source for school trips and tourists ever since, displaying various artefacts and artwork.