Colchester, a municipal and parliamentary borough, market town, and river port of Essex, England, on the river Colne, and the Great Eastern railway, 51 m. N. E. of London; pop. in 1871, 26,361. It is built on a hill close to the river, and has three bridges, one of which is of cast iron. Among the public buildings are eight churches, one built before the time of Edward II. and another mentioned in the Domesday Book, nine dissenting chapels, a library, and the ruins of an old castle, of a Benedictine abbey founded under Henry I., and of St. Botolph's priory, an interesting structure of the 12th century. There are many charitable and other schools, a mechanics' institute, a literary and scientific association with a museum, a botanical and horticultural society, several almshouses, hospitals, and other charities, and a theatre. The woollen manufacture, formerly important, was subsequently superseded by that of silk, which employs 300 or 400 hands. Some velvet is also manufactured. The most important.branch of industry is the oyster fishery, for which the town has long been noted. There are iron and brass founderies, machine shops, rope, sail, and carriage factories, breweries, vinegar works, etc.
Colchester was made a bonding port in 1808, but the custom house and warehouses are at Hythe, one of its suburbs, situated a short distance below, at the head of navigation on the Colne. The foreign commerce is inconsiderable, but a large coasting trade is carried on with London and the northern counties. - Colchester is supposed to be the Camulodunum of the Romans, and there is probably no town in England richer in remains of that people. Coins, vases, urns, lamps of bronze and pottery, rings, bracelets, tessellated pavements, and various other antiquities, have been found near it in great profusion. The Saxons, uniting the Latin castra with the name of the river on which it stands, called it Colne Ceaster. It was fortified by Edward the Elder, and at the time of the Domesday survey was a place of no small note. It was taken and occupied by the royalists in 1648 after a memorable siege, and was soon after blockaded by the parliamentarians, to whom the garrison surrendered after 11 weeks' resistance.
St. Botolph's Priory.
Colchester, a county of Nova Scotia, bounded N. by Northumberland strait, and S. and S. W. by Mines basin, Cobequid bay, and the Shubenacadie river; area, 1,300 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 23,331. It is intersected by numerous rivers, and traversed by the Cobequid range of hills. The soil is of variable fertility. Among the minerals are coal, gypsum, and limestone. The principal occupations are agriculture, lumbering, and ship building. The county was originally settled by the French, who on their expulsion were replaced by emigrants from the north of Ireland and Massachusetts. Capital, Truro.