Publications

The following books have been published by Mersea Island Museum or are available through the Museum. They are available in the Museum Shop or can be supplied by Mail.
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Mersea in Turbulent Times by Sue Howlett

Mersea in Turbulent Times

1500 - 1700

By Sue Howlett

On the eastern edge of Essex and the English mainland, Mersea Island was also on the margins of history during the momentous events of the 16th and 17th centuries. Yet, very occasionally, history encroached on the monotony of daily life for the farmers, labourers, fishing folk and families of East and West Mersea.
During the turmoil of the Reformation, two Mersea tenants faced persecution for their faith. In Queen Elizabeth's reign, a West Mersea woman was found guilty as a witch, 'for murder'. In 1642, the Lady of West Mersea Manor fled for her life when her two grand houses were ransacked by rioting mobs. Priests were ejected from both Mersea parishes for failing to conform to the new religious edicts of Parliament. In the second civil war, East Mersea fort was held for the king, then captured and garrisoned by Parliament, and a military governor was imposed on the island during Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate.

Published by Mersea Island Museum Trust 2022.
Format: A4 (297 x 210), 86 pages with photographs and illustrations.
Paperback
 
Price: £10.00 from Museum Shop
or £12.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


The Secrets of the Mound. Mersea Barrow 1912-2012

The Secrets of the Mound
Mersea Barrow 1912-2012
Revised Edition 2024

By Sue Howlett

Mersea Mound or Mersea Barrow is a Roman burial mound on the north side of Mersea Island. It was excavated by S. Hazzledine Warren in 1912. In 2012 the contents of the tomb returned to Mersea for the first time. They have travelled further since, but are now back on exhibition in the Museum.
The book covers the 1912 excavation and the later history of the Barrow. It explores the recent interpretation of the Barrow, and the many tantalizing mysteries which have been unraveled in recent years.
The recent analysis of the barrow's contents, producing further understanding of the buried items, have made necessary this latest extended edition of the booklet.

Published 2024.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 84 pages with photographs.
Paperback
ISBN No: 978-0-9537322-5-8
Price: £8.00 from Museum Shop
or £10.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


A Short History of Mersea

A Short History of Mersea

Elsie M Karbacz

Mersea Island, the community, land, buildings and monuments, local government, oysters and fishing, farming, smuggling, World Wars I and II.

- Iron Age and Roman Mersea
- Anglo Saxon Mersea
- The Norman Conquest
- Medieval Mersea
- The Tudor Period
- The Stuarts and the Commonwealth
- The Hanoverian Period
- Victorian Mersea
- Fifty years and two wars later
- Modern Times 1950 onwards

6th Edition 2024 fully revised with additional material and photographs.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 64 pages with maps and illustrations.
Paperback
ISBN No: 978-0-9537322-4-1
Price: £7.00 from the Museum Shop
or £9.00 including UK post and packing by Email.


Anglo-Saxon Island by Sue Howlett

Anglo-Saxon Island

Mersea in the first Millennium

By Sue Howlett

Mersea Island has an Anglo-Saxon name, an Anglo-Saxon causeway and an Anglo-Saxon church. It is named in documents from the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries and, in the final years of Anglo-Saxon England, had a population of around 500. And yet, although there are many remains left by the Romans who settled on Mersea many centuries earlier, few traces have been found of the Anglo-Saxons who lived, died and worked on the island during the six centuries before 1066.

This booklet considers the intriguing jigsaw-pieces of surviving evidence. Sadly, these are too few to construct a complete picture of Anglo-Saxon Mersea. But setting these pieces against the wider historical and regional context helps us to make sense of some vivid episodes, glimpsed in startling detail against the hazy, far distant background of the first millennium AD.

Published by Mersea Island Museum Trust 2010.
Format: A4 (297 x 210), 44 pages with photographs and illustrations.
Paperback
 
Price: £5.00 from Museum Shop
or £7.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


Mersea Island Golf Club

Mersea Island Golf Club

By Gordon Taylor and Roger Bullen

Mersea Island Golf Club no longer exists - it did not survive the Second World War. But, the Club House still exists as a private residence and some of the course is now part of Cudmore Grove Country Park.

- The Lost Course of East Mersea Golf Club by Gordon Taylor
- From Golf Course to Battlefield by Roger Bullen
- Cuttings and Extracts from Club Handbooks
- The Evolution of the Golf Ball by Gordon Taylor
- The George Farthing collection of photographs
- Cups and Clubs from the Mersea Museum Collection
- 1950 Golf Course Sale

This Edition Published 2012.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 52 pages with photographs.
Paperback
Price: £6.50 from the Museum Shop
or £8.50 including UK post and packing by Email.


Fid Harnack RSMA

Fid Harnack
RSMA

By Sheila Carter and John Leather

Articles and pictures compiled by Mersea Museum

Fid Harnack was a well-known marine artist, who lived most of his life on Mersea. His paintings are classics of the coast in all its moods and attract an international clientelle.
Frederick B. Harnack was born London 1897 and died West Mersea 1983.

Published 2008.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 16 pages with photographs and copies of paintings.
Paperback
Price: £4.00 from Museum Shop
or £6.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


The former steam yacht SEAHORSE was a feature of the Mersea shoreline for many years

SEAHORSE

History and recollections compiled by Mersea Museum

SEAHORSE as a houseboat was a prominent feature of Coast Road in Mersea for many years. She was built at Southampton in 1891, starting her life as a gentleman's steam yacht and came to Mersea in the 1930s.
She was broken up in 2005.

Originally published as an A4 booklet in 2005. This edition includes more of her history and has photographs of her being broken up and replaced by SELBY LINDA.

This edition published 2008.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 32 pages with photographs.
Paperback
Price: £5.00 from Museum Shop
or £7.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


A boyhood in Mersea by Archie Smith

A BOYHOOD IN MERSEA

By Archie Smith

A Mersea Island Museum Trust Publication

Archie Smith was born in 1917 and raised in West Mersea after the Great War of 1914-18 when the country was being subjected to huge changes. With the increase in motorised transport on land and sea, hisome of generation witnessed the end of a very different way of life.
His boyhood memories of daily life and local characters recapture the atmosphere of early village life on Mersea Island.

Archie Smith was also a West Mersea councillor for many years and was the first Mayor after the local government reorganisation in 1974.

First published 1980.
This revised and extended edition published 2008.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 48 pages with photographs.
Paperback
Price: £6.00 from Museum Shop
or £8.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


Old Spiery by Mary R Stevens

Old Spiery - Mersea's Fighting Parson

By Mary R Stevens

A Mersea Island Museum Trust Publication

The Reverend Charles Pierrepont Edwards M.C. was Vicar of West Mersea 1898 to 1946. He was known as 'Old Spiery' and he blessed Mersea with his humour, kindness and energy, but most of all with his abounding love. He lived amongst the Mersea folk for almost half a century, caring for them and sharing their joys and sorrows.
The start of World War I saw Old Spiery leaving Mersea to become a chaplain in the Army. He went to Gallipoli, where he was awarded the Military Cross for his efforts in rescuing the wounded.

First published 1983.
This revised and extended edition published 2009.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 44 pages with photographs.
Paperback
Price: £5.00 from Museum Shop
or £7.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


Memories of a Mersea Oysterman

The Memories of a Mersea Oysterman

By Leslie French

A Mersea Island Museum Trust Publication

Leslie French was born in Mersea in 1904. He left school at the age of fourteen and went into his father's oyster business until his father died. He then became a 'fisherman in his own right' as he had his own oyster smack.
Leslie describes life on Mersea in his younger days, its history and its characters, and he goes into much interesting detail on the oystering and fishing.

First published by Leslie French 1985.
Republished with pictures and a new Foreword, by Mersea Island Museum Trust 2009.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 28 pages with photographs and paintings.
Paperback
Price: £5.00 from Museum Shop
or £7.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


Black Swan, by John Rowley

Black Swan

Schoolboy memories of messing about in an old sailing punt

By John Rowley Skipper/Owner

A Mersea Island Museum Trust Publication

John Rowley was born in St Peter's Road, West Mersea in the mid 1930s and was introduced to mud and water at the Monkey Steps beach. Later his playgrounds with his pals were Coast Road Hill, Hove Creek, the main Hard and Cock's marshes.
At weekends and holidays he worked on the smacks Waterlily little Mary and Mersea Lass, sometimes for pleasure, sometimes for pocket money, with many ebbing trips to East Mersea. His Black Swan is well remembered and later he raced Atlanta in the Dabchicks.

First published 1996 by John Rowley.
This edition published 2009 by Mersea Island Museum Trust.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 24 pages with photographs.
Paperback
Price: £5.00 from Museum Shop
or £7.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


Barges, Canals and the Basin by Frank Thompson

Barges, Canals and the Basin

Memories from Frank Thompson

A Mersea Island Museum Trust Publication

Frank comes from a Heybridge Basin family - a grandfather kept the Jolly Sailor and like his mother, he was christened in the Jolly Sailor. The articles in the book all have a connection to the Basin.

  • Cannibal Island - the story of a village.
  • On barging, the canal and its horses. Idyllic summer days on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation
  • Rowing from Chelmsford to Heybridge Basin - by Don Rainbird.
  • Regatta Days of long ago at Heybridge Basin.
  • To Salcott for a Stack - barging with Jack Spitty.
  • The barge UNITY of 1885 - her remains are still to be found in Sampson's Creek.
  • A Knotty problem from Frank - Who was Matthew Walker?

Published by Mersea Island Museum Trust 2009.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 36 pages with photographs.
Paperback
Price: £5.00 from Museum Shop
or £7.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


Sailormen by Frank Thompson

Sailormen

More barging memories and yarns from Frank Thompson

A Mersea Island Museum Trust Publication

Frank left school during the 1930s depression and worked in the City, but whenever he could, he escaped back to Heybridge Basin. After war time naval service he at last moved back to the Blackwater, spending his holidays as third hand in trade under sail and in barge racing crews. He obtained a bargemaster's ticket from the Board of Trade. Frank moved on to acquire new skills, working for his pal Jimmy Lawrence, the bargemaster and sailmaker.

Frank recounts some of the adventures during his time working on Thames Sailing Barges, trips, places, disasters and the characters.

  • Barging Memories
  • Forty Three Standards for Colchester
  • The Grain Trade
  • Racing Sailormen
  • The Living Hythe in pre-war days
  • A Knotty Story

Published by Mersea Island Museum Trust 2009.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 48 pages with photographs.
Paperback
Price: £6.00 from Museum Shop
or £8.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


Not Just a Name - Roger Bullen

Not Just a Name

Mersea Island's Fallen of the First World War

Roger Bullen

Not Just a Name describes the background and service histories of the fifty men from Mersea Island who made the supreme sacrifice for their King and Country. This is the first time their story has been told, making extensive use of Battalion War Diaries, Trench maps, Admiralty archives and relatives recollections.

Format: A4 (297 x 210), 224 pages with many illustrations.
Paperback with 4 colour cover
ISBN No: 0-9537322-1-5
Price: £9.95 from Museum Shop
or £13.50 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.

May 2019 an updated addendum is available with corrections and new information (a correction has been added for the photograph of Harris William Hoy). It will be included with the book in future.
View Addendum (4Mb PDF file - opens in a new window).


Business as usual by Brian Jay

BUSINESS AS USUAL

By Brian M. Jay

Businesses on the island. Shops, garages, holiday homes, boat yards, nursing homes, laundry, golf club, restaurant, pubs, Hall Barn Country Club, stables...
Photographs and old advertisements.

Published 1996.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 56 pages with photographs.
Paperback
Price: £6.00 including UK postage and packing.
Available in the Museum Shop or you can order direct by Email.


Buckets, Yokes and Wooden Spokes by Brian Jay

BUCKETS, YOKES AND WOODEN SPOKES

Mersea Island. The Past 100 Years.

By Brian M. Jay

Wildfowling, churches, pubs, Smith's Mill, buses, the Barrow, smacks, barges, brickmaking.
A collection of old photographs...

Two buckets were carried on a yoke - to collect fresh water from wells and springs. The early buses had solid tyres and wooden spoke wheels. The body could easily be removed from the chassis so it could be converted to a lorry.

Published 1999.
Format: A5 (210 x 148), 64 pages with photographs.
Paperback
Price: £6.00 including UK postage and packing.
Available in the Museum Shop or you can order direct by Email.


Zeppelin L33: A Night to Remember

Zeppelin L33: A Night to Remember

Geoff Gonella

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Airship L33 landing in Little Wigborough in 1916.
Produced for Zepfest September 2016.

Format: A5 (148 x 210), 59 pages with photographs.
Paperback
ISBN No: 978-0-9558193-1-5
 
Price: £9.00 including UK post and packing by Email from the Museum.


The Red Hills of Essex

The Red Hills of Essex

Salt-making in antiquity

Published 1990 by Colchester Archaeological Group

Format: A4 103 pages.
Softback
ISBN 0 9503905 18

Price: £5.00 from the Museum Shop.