This report is an archaeological and historical assessment of Wivenhoe and forms part of the Essex Historic Towns Survey: an extensive urban survey as defined by English Heritage (1992a) of 32 historic settlements in Essex. The project, funded by English Heritage, was part of a nationwide reassessment of the management of the urban archaeological resource. The project was carried out by Essex County Council’s Planning Department and takes as its basis a survey carried out by the County Council in the early 1980’s. This was published as ‘Historic Towns in Essex’ (Eddy and Petchey 1983) and adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance by the County and District Councils.
This report was compiled using a number of sources, including the Essex Sites and Monuments Record (ESMR), the List of Buildings of Architectural and Historical Interest, records held by the County Planning Department’s Historic Buildings Section, and various cartographic and documentary records (following an assessment of such records by Dr Chris Thornton of the Victoria County History, Essex). The preparation of this report involved the addition of information to the ESMR database and the digitising of spatial data onto a Geographic Information System (GIS).
The report which describes the town as being of importance as an example of a small late mediaeval and post-mediaeval seaport and market, includes a brief history of the town with documentary and cartographic evidence; place names; archaeological evidence; listed buildings, and a bibliography. It concludes with some comments about planning restraints and makes suggestions for future research priorities.