Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Balkerne Gate (Colchester)

The Balkerne Gate is one of the most important Roman structures in Britain, and is situated in Colchester, the extremely historic old town in Essex.

It was a gate in the Roman Walls of Colchester, and is the largest surviving Roman gateway in Britain.

The gate is 107 feet long, and projects 30 feet in front of the wall. There were four openings, two for wheeled traffic and two for those on foot. It dates from the mid 2nd century.

It formerly carried the Great Road to London and the Via Devana to Leicester, and would have been the gate through which the Emperor Claudius made his triumphal entry, accompanied by elephants.

After the Roman legions departed, however, the roads were diverted and the Balkerne Gate became used as an occasional Postern Gate. It was this relegation that saved it from demolition, as over the centuries the other gates fell victim to road widening schemes.

It is still possible to walk through the Balkerne Gate.

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