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West Mersea

Coordinates: 51°46′42″N 0°55′00″E / 51.7784°N 0.9168°E / 51.7784; 0.9168
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West Mersea
West Mersea is located in Essex
West Mersea
West Mersea
Location within Essex
Population7,183 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceTM011127
Civil parish
  • West Mersea
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townColchester
Postcode districtCO5
Dialling code01206
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°46′42″N 0°55′00″E / 51.7784°N 0.9168°E / 51.7784; 0.9168

West Mersea is a town and electoral ward in Essex, England. It is the larger (in terms of population) of two settlements on Mersea Island, south of Colchester.


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).[2] The nearby burial mound to the north of the town is also Roman.[3]

Edward the Confessor granted the island to the abbey of St. Ouen in Rouen, France, in 1046, and the Priory of West Mersea was established.

West Mersea was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086, at which time it had a population of 84 households.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

West Mersea today[edit]

The town is served by a community centre,[7] 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. There are four cemeteries under the care of the Town Council including a woodland burial ground.[8]

West Mersea has a high proportion of very old people and many of the town's amenities cater for them.[9]

As well as West Mersea Yacht Club, it also has an RNLI lifeboat station. The town hosts an annual regatta, usually in August, known as Mersea Week.

In popular culture[edit]

The North Sea at West Mersea is the inspiration for the memoir Footloose in France, beginning there at the seaside and ending at a fish restaurant on the harbour.[10]


  1. ^ "Town/Ward population 2011". Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Toynbee, J.M.C. (1996) Death and Burial in the Roman World. Published by Thames and Hudson. (ISBN 0-8018-5507-1)
  4. ^ "[West] Mersea | Domesday Book". opendomesday.org. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  5. ^ "1963: Inflatable lifeboats". rnli.org. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  6. ^ Thomas, Godfrey (26 May 2015). "West Mersea Lifeboats: May 2015 Report". West Mersea Lifeboats. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Mersea Island Community Association". Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Our Cemeteries and Bereavement Services".
  9. ^ "Some History About West Mersea (West Mersea Town Council)". Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  10. ^ Adamson, John, and Clive Jackson, Footloose in France, Cambridge: John Adamson, 2023, ISBN 978-1-898565-18-5, prologue, pp. 7–8 and epilogue, pp. 209–12.

External links[edit]