Essex

Colchester Roman wall to go on sale at auction

Roman wall with billboards 2009 Image copyright Google
Image caption Advertising company JCDecaux is selling the wall as it was prohibited from placing advertisements above it in 2011 (pictured in 2009)

A Roman wall, thought to be the earliest stone-built defence structure in England, is going on sale at auction.

The 50m (165ft) section of wall runs along Middleborough in Colchester, Essex, Britain's oldest recorded town.

Advertising company JCDecaux is selling the structure as it was prohibited from placing billboards above it in 2011.

Colchester MP Will Quince has asked the borough council to consider buying the wall to protect the town's heritage.

"The risk of losing our Roman wall is too great not to," he said.

The Conservative MP's proposal will be discussed by Colchester Borough Council's cabinet and officers.

Image copyright Strettons
Image caption The wall will be auctioned on 14 July

A spokesman for auctioneer Strettons said the guide price was between £4,500 and £5,000.

Director of auctions Andrew Brown said the wall was "one of very few remaining Roman structures within Britain".

"It's a real piece of England's and Colchester's history," he said.

"It may only be 50-odd metres of wall but it's still a very significant part of the town."

In 2011 Colchester Borough Council issued a discontinuation notice on the billboards after a project to remove them from the wall.

Mr Brown said the auction house was hopeful the wall would attract international buyers.

"There are five Colchesters in the United States and we know they love a bit of old English history, so we are hoping one of those will put their hand up for it, but it's a public auction so very much open to all," he said.

"Hopefully it will go to someone who will get some use or enjoyment from it."

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