The Old Siege House was built in the late 15th Century and it has seen many historic events over the many years. In 1648 the Old Siege House witnessed one of the most important events of Colchester’s historic paste – the Siege of Colchester.
The Siege took place during the reign of Charles 1, and was part of the war between the Royalists and Parliamentarians. The Old Siege House, as you are probably aware is in close proximity to the castle and at the time of the Siege this restaurant was actually on the road which was once used in the main route to the castle. The building was actually situated next to the bridge which crossed the river that surrounded the town and castle.
At the beginning of the Siege of Colchester the Royalists occupied the castle and ruled Colchester. However, this was not to last, since the Parliamentarians used some clever tactics and soon realised if they could capture the road leading to the town and castle that they could gain control. The Royalists, after losing the East Bridge side of the castle, become desperate to gain possession of the route to the castle and town again. They went into battle once more with Parliamentarians and won the Siege. Two days later the Parliamentarians took back control of the East Bridge when they stormed the castle, killing the Royalist Commanders by firing squad.
Interestingly, most of the fighting took place on the East Bridge and East Hill. Evidence of the battle can still be seen here today in the Old Siege House, the timber frame of the west side and south front of the building contains many bullet holes from the fighting. The building still has its original oak panels, fireplaces, tiles and the beautiful stained glass windows which it had at the time of the Siege.
The historic Siege of Colchester and the historic past of the Old Siege House still lives on today through the ambience of this charming and elegant restaurant.