Brightlingsea (pronounced Brittlesea), a port and fishing station in the Harwich parliamentary division of Essex, England, on a creek opening from the east shore of the Colne estuary, the terminus of a branch from Colchester of the Great Eastern railway, 62&FRAC12; m. E.N.E. of London. Pop. of urban district (1901) 4501. The Colchester oyster beds are mainly in this part of the Colne, and the oyster fishery is the chief industry. Boat-building is carried on. This is also a favourite yachting centre. The church of All Saints, principally Perpendicular, has interesting monuments and brasses, and a fine lofty tower and west front. Brightlingsea, which appears in Domesday, is a member of the Cinque Port of Sandwich in Kent. Near the opposite shore of the creek is St Osyth's priory, which originated as a nunnery founded by Osyth, a grand-daughter of Penda, king of Mercia, martyred (c. 653) by Norse invaders. A foundation for Augustinian canons followed on the site early in the 12th century. The remains, incorporated with a modern residence, include a late Perpendicular gateway, abbots' tower, clock tower and crypt. The gateway, an embattled structure with flanking turrets, is particularly fine, the entire front being panelled and ornamented with canopied niches.
The church of St Osyth, also Perpendicular in the main, is of interest.