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A Brightlingsea Town Guide

For a full and detailed history of Brightlingsea and its many fascinating characters it is suggested
that you visit Brightlingsea Museum.

There was a Roman Fort on the river in Brightlingsea as part of the defences of Colchester, but there was much earlier occupation, as shown by the excavation of a major bronze age site not far from the church. These early settlers were attracted by the plentiful supply of shellfish and abundant fresh water.

The town grew as a result of it's close association with the River Colne and it's excellent natural harbour. The Oyster fishery was an import industry and there was a large fishing fleet of 'Colchester Smacks'. In the 1930's more sprats were landed in Brightlingsea than in all the rest of the country. Many of the fishing boats were built in the town together with many of the Thames Barges, and the Aldous yard was a major employer. So much so that many of the houses in the lower part of the town were built by Aldous for their labour force
The community manages to sustain an active town centre and High Street. There is a very strong tradition of community help for the people of the town, and it's schools add continuously to their reputations. A recent development has been the successes in the Anglia and Britain in Bloom Competitions. 

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Alf Wakeling    1922 2007

Alf Wakeling, one of the founder members of the Gild of Brightlingsea Freemen and curator of the Brightlingsea Museum. 
He was also responsible for the twinning of Brightlingsea with the French town of Marennes.