Roman buildings and tesselated pavements close to the quayside have led to suggestions that a small Roman settlement and port existed on the site of the modern town, with a road linking it to the nearby town of Camulodunum (modern Colchester). The nearby burial mound to the north of the town is also Roman.
In 1963, the lifeboat station was established next to the West Mersea Yacht Club, one of the first ten inshore lifeboat stations in the British Isles. Originally served by a D class lifeboat, this was replaced by a B class, Atlantic 21, lifeboat in 1972. In 1992, a new boathouse and slipway were opened by the Duke of Kent. In 2001, a B class Atlantic 75 lifeboat was stationed at West Mersea, and then in 2015 this was replaced with the current B class Atlantic 85 named Just George, funded by £210,000 of community donations.
West Mersea today
The town is served by a community centre, various shops, restaurants, small hotels, public houses, a petrol station, bank, library, museum, and several churches, including the Norman St Peter and St Paul (Church of England), Roman Catholic, Methodist, and West Mersea Free Church, affiliated to the Baptist Union.
West Mersea has a high proportion of very old people and many of the town's amenities cater for them.
- "Town/Ward population 2011". Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Crummy, Philip (1997) City of Victory; the story of Colchester - Britain's first Roman town. Published by Colchester Archaeological Trust (ISBN 1 897719 04 3)
- Toynbee, J.M.C. (1996) Death and Burial in the Roman World. Published by Thames and Hudson. (ISBN 0-8018-5507-1)
- "1963: Inflatable lifeboats". rnli.org. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
- Thomas, Godfrey (26 May 2015). "West Mersea Lifeboats: May 2015 Report". West Mersea Lifeboats. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
- "Mersea Island Community Association". Retrieved 10 September 2020.
- "Some History About West Mersea (West Mersea Town Council)". Retrieved 10 September 2020.