Missing Mersea- A Community Timeline Project

A citizen science and research project, in collaboration with CITiZAN and the Mersea Island Museum.

Venture back through time to learn about the history of Mersea Island, Essex, through archaeology, archival documents and photographs, oral histories and memories.;xNLx;;xNLx;To join this project and add your skills and memories to this timeline please contact: ;xNLx;Danielle Newman, CITiZAN Community Archaeologist for Mersea Island;xNLx;dnewman@mola.org.uk

0100-01-01 08:47:36

West Mersea Barrow Dated to 100-120 AD

Just up the East Mersea road as you come onto Mersea Island, is a conspicuous mound on the left. It is thought to be a Roman burial barrow, dated 100-120 AD. The mound was excavated in 1912 and an entrance passage built. In the centre was a small burial chamber built of Roman bricks capped by septaria (clay nodules) and inside was a lead box with a wooden lid. The box contained an urn of green glass containing cremated remains. The barrow is also known as Mersea Mound, Mersea Mount or Grim's Hoe. In 2012, the lead box and its contents returned to Mersea for the first time in 100 years, to be exhibited at Mersea Museum for the summer. The opportunity was then taken to have the bones analysed to try find out more about the person buried in the Barrow. Click here to read about the results of the analysis. 7 August 2014 the bones returned to Mersea once more, and are on display in Mersea Museum.

0700-01-01 08:32:41

The Strood - the road onto Mersea Island is an Anglo Saxon Causeway

Mersea is an island, with a single approach road known as the Strood. In 1978 when pipes were being laid across the Strood, old wooden piles were recovered, and were dated to 700AD. This construction, in Anglo Saxon times, would have been very expensive and shows that Mersea was important, even in those days.

10000 BC-03-31 08:47:36

Mammoth Tusk Discovered off Cooper's Beach

Rare 6ft mammoth tusk discovered off the coast of Mersea Island. Discovered by volunteers of Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (Citizan) on a very low tide. Other discoveries have been made this year - it is thought that 2 feet of mud have been taken away by erosion along this shore. The find was off Coopers Beach. Mammoths roamed the Earth more than 100,000 years ago and most populations of the ancient animal were wiped out by the most recent Ice Age. They were roughly around the size of African elephants, weighed around six tonnes and were up to 10 feet tall. Rings contained within mammoth tusks can help researchers to discover how old they are, something Citizan volunteers in London will be doing over the next few months. The Natural History Museum took samples from the tusk and December 2018 reported that the tusk was thought to be 12,000 years old.

1547-10-25 03:20:26

Blockhouse/Fort Built

Mersea's historic fort was first constructed on the orders of King Henry VIII, one of a chain of 'Device Forts' built around the coast to protect from invasion by France or Spain. It was a simple triangular earthwork with sides of about 100 yards in length, topped with a palisade and surrounded by a defensive ditch. It was intended that 12 cannon would be mounted on the three corner turrets. When fears of invasion receded, the fort was abandoned

1871-03-01 00:00:00

West Mersea School

In 1871 the West Mersea School was built in Barfield Road. This image features West Mersea School with one of Berry's buses going up Barfield Road. Owen Fletcher wrote: "According to my mother, the gate to the left in the school wall was the nearest exit for children who ran from the classroom when their teacher Minnie Mole had epileptic fits. They were usually led by Hubert Cock, who not be seen at school any more that day."

1897-01-01 08:47:36

Roman Wheel Tomb found in 1897

In 1897 the foundations of a large circular structure were excavated in land off Beach Road, West Mersea. The remains were originally thought to be the base of a Roman lighthouse or pharos, giving its name to nearby Pharos Lane. However it was later found to be a type of tomb known as a wheel tomb. Unfortunately, the remains were destroyed in the 1960s

1940-07-01 04:06:33

Coastal Defences

In July 1940, pillboxes and coastal batteries were constructed at West and East Mersea. Beach huts removed and the beach was mined. Examples of these defenses can still be found, including this Type FW3/27 pillbox at Cudmore Grove Country Park.

1940-10-29 04:06:33

Bomb Damage at the Square

Ten High Explosive, incendiary and fifty anti-personnel bombs dropped on Square, West Mersea. Damage and casualties. None fatal.

1972-12-01 00:00:00

Roman Floor moved

This Roman Floor was authenticated in situ by M.R. Hull MAFSA Curator of Colchester Museum whilst at West Mersea Hall. Removed by David Brook and re-laid at Birds Hill December 1972. David Brooks was one-time owner of West Mersea Hall. The floor had to be removed during structural building work. Most of the floor was re-laid at Birds Hill. In April 2015, some Roman bricks that were not used were donated to Mersea Museum.

99999 BC-01-01 00:00:00

120,000 year old Bison Bones discovered

Bison bones found off East Mersea. They were found by Chris Nower and Julie Shead, and identified by Steve Boreham of the University of Cambridge. The skeleton is mostly intact and dates to the warm Ipswichian interglacial period. It has been suggested that the animal walked onto the mudflats and got stuck before dying. The bones were found near the "Hippo" site.

Missing Mersea- A Community Timeline Project

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