The Roman fort at Great Chesterford is one of the rare examples in the south east of England and is one of only four in Essex. Partial excavation has confirmed the survival in good condition of the defensive ditch and interior features below the later Roman town. The establishment of this town (which is the only town in Essex of this date to have been provided with a wall apart from Colchester) on the site of the early fort is itself a matter of great interest, and will illustrate the continuity between military and civilian rule in the Roman period. Large areas of the town survive undamaged by later development, which is now a rare feature as many Roman towns have undergone continuous settlement up to the present day. The town exhibits a great diversity of features illustrating, for example, a development from timber to masonry buildings and the construction of a defensive wall during the troubled period towards the end of the Roman period in Britain.
Stukeley records that in his time the walls could still be seen: (12.7.1719) I had the pleasure to walk round an old Roman city there, upon the walls, which are still visible above ground; the London road goes 50 yards upon them, and the Crown Inn stands on their foundations … I saw the wall to the foundation; they pulling it up with much labour to mend the highways … for which I heartily anathematized them.
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