Colchester, an ancient municipal and parliamentary borough in the NE. of Essex, on the right bank of the Colne, 51 miles NE. of London, and 12 miles from the sea. It is built on the ridge and sides of a promontory, with a port on the river at a suburb called the Hythe, which has a quay for vessels of 150 tons. It is a town of special historical and antiquarian interest. Before the Roman conquest of the island it was the British 'Royal Town' of Cunobelin (the Cymbeline of Shakespeare); and here the Emperor Claudius founded a colonia - the first Roman town in Britain. There are still many remains of that town. The walls are the most perfect Roman walls in England. Immense quantities of pavements, coins, pottery, and other remains of domestic use and personal adornment have been found here. The tower of Holy Trinity Church has all the characteristics of Saxon architecture. The castle, homing a very interesting museum, is the largest Norman keep in England. In the Norman west front of St Botolph's Priory the Roman bricks are a striking feature; and all the old churches have an intermixture of Roman brick in their walls. The Protestant refugees from the Low Countries at the end of the 16th century introduced the baize and serge trade, which became an important manufacture, and spread into the neighbouring towns and villages. Colchester was one of the eight 'Dutch Congregations' incorporated by royal license. The wars with Spain in the reign of Queen Anne closed the markets for these goods, and the trade died out. A chief historical event was the siege and capture of the town by the parliamentarians (1648). Colchester now is a large military depot; and the fishery of the Colne and its creeks has for centuries been famous for the quality of its oysters. Colchester returns one member. Pop. (1851) 19,443; (1901) 38,373. See the Rev. E. Cutts's Colchester ('Historic Towns' series, 1888).