A NEW AND EXACT PROSPECT OF COLCHESTER
"A new and exact Prospect of Colchester taken from the North part, by J Pryer; with Views of the Castle, St John’s Abbey Gate, St Ann’s Chapel, and St Botolph’s Priory..."
Colchester had been a centre for cloth–making since Queen Elizabeth I granted Protestant weavers from the Low Countries permission to settle here in 1565. Celia Fiennes, who travelled through every English county in the late 17th century, found the town to be "a thriving place judging by the substantial houses. It has well paved streets, which are broad enough for 2 coaches to go abreast, besides a paved walk on either side by the houses".
Daniel Defoe acquired the lease on an estate close to Colchester during one of the more prosperous periods of his life. It was in one of these substantial Colchester houses that his disreputable heroine Moll Flanders became the focus of attraction for two brothers and succumbed to her first seduction. You can find out much more about Defoe and Moll Flanders in our Literary Landscapes virtual exhibition.