Mersea, Essex

Historical Description

Mersea (or the Marsh Isle), an island in Essex, on the right side of the mouth of the river Colne, averagely 3 ½ miles WSW of Brightlingsea station on the Tendring Hundred branch of the G.E.R., and 7 ½ S by E of Colchester. It has an oval form, 5 miles long and 2 ½ broad; is bounded along the S side by the sea between the mouth of the Colne and the mouth of the Blackwater; and is separated from the mainland along the N side by Pyefleet Creek, famous for oysters, crossed by a causeway, and dry at low water. The island is prevailingly flat, but fertile and wooded, and is divided into the two parishes of East Mersea and West Mersea. It was known to the Saxons as Meresige; it seems to have been occupied by the Romans, probably as a good station for defending the neighbouring rivers and coasts; and it was for a brief period in 994 held by the Danes. Traces of several barrows are on it; a large mosaic pavement, ascertained to extend under West Mersea church, was discovered in 1730; and some other antiquities have been found. A strong dyke or sea-wall defends the entire island. Some good descriptions of this portion of Essex and its people will be found in the novel " Mehalah," written by the Rev S. Baring Gould, who was rector for some years.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Essex online: