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Friday, 14 December 2012

Essex Society for Archaeology and History - 160th anniversary

The Essex Archaeological Society (since 1985 called the Essex Society for Archaeology and History), was formed in Colchester on 14 December 1852. The inaugural meeting was held at the (former) Colchester Town Hall under the chairmanship of the mayor.  It was attended by many clergy and gentlemen, including Charles Burney, archdeacon of Colchester, J Gurdon Rebow of Wivenhoe Park, and Charles Gray Round of Birch Hall. C G Round who also owned Colchester Castle and the adjoining Hollytrees house, was head of a leading Essex family. His brother, James T Round, rector of All Saints', Colchester, and their cousin George Round, banker of East Hill, Colchester, also attended the meeting. 

The inaugural meeting must have been well planned for it immediately elected all its officers and council for the first year.  John Disney, of The Hyde, Ingatestone, became President.  He was a wealthy collector of antiquities, who had recently founded the Disney professorship of archaeology at Cambridge.  Charles Gray Round became honorary treasurer.  As honorary secretary the new Society elected Edward Lewis Cutts, a young Yorkshireman who had come to Essex in 1850, as curate of Great Coggeshall. He had been the first to suggest the formation of the EAS, had drafted its original prospectus, and can fairly be regarded as the founder of the Society. 

After the business of the meeting some 35 members of the new Society re-assembled at the Cups Hotel, and 'partook of a bountiful dinner', including a pint of wine at 7s.6d. each, a substantial sum indicating the exclusive nature of the Society. 

An extract from 'Our Triple Jubilee: the Essex Archaeological Society, 1852-2002', by W R Powell, published in Essex Archaeology and History, Volume 32 (2001) - available from our Online Bookshop

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