Old Welsh: Kaercolun
Colchester was called Kaercolun by the Welsh, which means “Fortress of Colchester” or “Colchester’s Fort.” The Romans called Camulodunum, which has been suggested as the source of Camelot. This association coming from the similarity of the Roman name, though this could also be said about any place-name that has “Cam” in it, whether Roman or British.
According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Colchester was ruled in the fourth century by Coel and was probably named after him. According to Chrétien, Count Branles (Brandes) was the ruler of Colchester in Arthur’s time.
Colchester | 400-600 AD
Colchester was the first Roman capital of Britain, established in AD 43. During the fifth and sixth centuries, the town still bore traces of its Roman past, including the Roman walls, gates, and other structures.
After the Roman legions withdrew from Britain in the early fifth century, the region faced invasions and raids by Germanic tribes, including the Saxons. Colchester, with its Roman fortifications, was likely a target for these raids. Over time, the Saxons gradually settled in eastern England, and Colchester became part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia. The Saxons established their own rule and governance in the area.
Colchester’s location in East Anglia brought it into contact with neighboring Anglo-Saxon kingdoms such as Mercia and Wessex. Trade, diplomacy, and conflicts between these kingdoms could have affected the town’s development.
Battle of Colchester | The Legend of King Arthur
Camelot | The Legend of King Arthur
Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Erec | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century