Living History

New life springs from the Roman wall on Balkerne Hill, Colchester. This section of the town's old fortifications is currently undergoing restoration. In its time it has, of course, seen many more aggressive occupants. In the eleven-week Siege of Colchester in 1648, the Parliamentarians damaged the wall in their, ultimately successful, bid to oust the Royalist troops during the English Civil War. It was a period which caused great suffering to the starved, besieged locals. Rumor has it that this was the origin of Humpty Dumpty, the English nursery rhyme: a one-eyed gunner had inflicted many casualties on the Parliamentarians from the tower of St Mary's church, a two-minute walk from where this photograph was taken, before he and the tower were laid low by cannon fire. Whatever his provenance, Humpty Dumpty certainly helps other Colcestrian favourites, Old King Cole, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and the Teletubbies in keeping our stories alive.

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