Colchester Castle (Colchester)
The building today is the keep of the Norman castle. It is the largest Norman keep ever constructed, measuring 152 feet by 110 feet, considerably more than the White Tower at the Tower of London.
It was built on the foundations of the largest religious building ever constructed in Britain, the Temple of Claudius. The Roman Emperors were regarded as gods in their own right.
Colchester Castle was built in the years immediately following the Norman Conquest, by Eudo Dapifer, who used recycled Roman tiles.
In the 17th century, the Castle was regrded by some as a bit of a nuisance. It was bought in 1693 by a local builder, who started demolition in order to use the stone for new buildings. Local opinion, however, forced him to stop.
A little later, in the 18th century, it stood in the grounds of Hollytrees, and was regarded as a garden ornament. It was at this period that the little dome on top was built.
Today, the castle is open to the public as an excellent town museum, ranking in this respect with the museums at Canterbury and Cirencester.
Among its treasures is a bronze of Mercury, said to be the best Roman statue in the country.