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Historic figures from Colchester’s past commemorated with new interpretation panel

PUBLISHED: 15 June 2021

St Botolph’s Priory is a key heritage attraction for Colchester and draws thousands of visitors from across the world each year. Today, only the impressive ruins of the nave remain, but there are key interpretation panels across the site for visitors to learn more about the first English Augustinian priory church, which dates from the 11th century.

To discover more about the Priory's historic churchyard, Colchester + Ipswich Museums and the Colchester Civic Society have joined forces. After many months of hard work, the team have installed a new interpretation panel in the churchyard commemorating three extraordinary individuals who are laid to rest in the churchyard.

They are:

  • Sergeant Jesse Jones was known to have fought in the Peninsula War of 1807-14 in which an allied army, under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington), drove the French out of Spain. He was wounded at the Battle of Waterloo, in 1815, but lived to tell the tale and subsequently retired to Colchester as Adjutant and Captain of the North Essex Militia.
  • Dr Roger Nunn was the first surgeon to work at what became the Essex County Hospital when it opened in Lexden Road in 1820. He was also Mayor of Colchester in 1834 and again in 1842/3.
  • William Hawkins MP was a leading figure in the attempt to develop Colchester as a major port on the East Coast in the mid-19th century. He built two railways to improve the links to the port.

Councillor Darius Laws, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Business and Heritage for Colchester Borough Council, said: “St Botolph's Priory is sometimes overlooked among the many heritage attractions that Colchester has to offer. I am delighted that through working in partnership with the Colchester Civic Society, we have been able to put up a new interpretation panel at St Botolph's. This panel commemorates three 19th-century Colcestrians who each in their own way made a very significant contribution to the town.”

Robert Mercer, of the Colchester Civic Society, added: “The Civic Society is delighted to have had the opportunity to add to the understanding of the story of our singular Norman priory. We believe it deserves a higher profile amongst our town's treasures. We would also like to express our thanks to the Hervey Benham Trust for its support.”

Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021

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