View of the Colne from Bateman's Tower


Literary References

Graham Greene

The End of the Affair

'I have something here, sir, that might be of interest and use. He took out of his pocket an object wrapped in tissue paper and slid it shyly across the desk towards me. I unwrapped it. It was a cheap ash-tray marked Hotel Metropole, Brightlingsea.'There's quite a history, sir, with that. You remember the Bolton Case.'

'I can't say I do.'

'It made a great stir, sir, at the time. Lady Bolton, her maid and the man, sir. All discovered together. That ash-tray stood beside the bed. On the lady's side.'

Erskine Childers

The Riddle of the Sands

From the Epilogue

He speaks of the place ‘selected for the landing’, and proceeds to consider this question in detail. I cannot follow him in his review, deeply interesting though it is, and shall say at once that he reduces possible landing-places to two, the flats on the Essex coast between Foulness and Brightlingsea, and the Wash — with a decided preference for the latter.

John Hadfield

Love on a Branch Line

'Perhaps Mr Pye has a gift for fortune-telling',said Quirk. 'We did very well with "Madame Fatima" last year, you remember. But the chiropodist from Flaxfield who obliged on that occasion has moved to Brightlingsea.'

Lionel stirred. 'Used to know a little girl in Brightlingsea once. Name of Ada; platinum blonde. But she threw me over for a pork butcher. Pity. Still, never mind; I've got Susie now.' And he went to sleep again.

Edith Wharton

The Buccaneers (unfinished)

Full of references to the family of the Marquess of Brightlingsea.

Arnold Bennett

Things That Have Interested Me

From the Chapter "In Calais harbour during mobilisation".

The next morning it rained heavily. We crept out to sea at 4.30, with vitality at its lowest ebb. Apparently, no one had noticed us, but at the mouth of the harbour two submarines were uncomfortably in waiting, as though for ourselves. "What a fool I was to come here!" I thought. "They may refuse to let us go." But they didn't. We exchanged salutes, and I was free. Winds and tides favouring, we made a magnificent passage to Brightlingsea in exactly ten hours. Once, near the Edinborough Lightship, we were hailed by a British torpedo boat, who demanded the yacht's name. Because he couldn't hear our reply he bore right down on us. We held up a white life-belt with the yacht's name thereon in black, and the torpedo boat, sheering off, gave an august consent to our continuance. The whole coast was patrolled. Brightlingsea was precisely as gay as it always is on every August Bank Holiday. Not a sign of war. But we had not dropped anchor ten minutes before my cook, who belongs to the Naval Reserve, received official notice that he was "wanted." Such organisation struck me as being rather good.

Find it on Project Gutenberg

Harry Collingwood

The Pirate Island

Full of references, beginning with the second paragraph of Chapter I, "The Wreck on the Gunfleet":

It was not fit for a dog to be out of doors. So said Ned Anger as he entered the snug bar-parlour of the “Anchor” at Brightlingsea, and drawing a chair close up to the blazing fire of wreck-wood which roared up the ample chimney, flung himself heavily down thereon to await the arrival of the “pint” which he had ordered as he passed the bar.

Find it on Project Gutenberg

Victor Bridges

I did not kill Osborne

From Chapter 15

"He said he wanted one in which it would be safe to cross the Channel, and one which, at the same time, two men could handle more or less comfortably. Something about 12 or 14 tons, with an auxiliary engine. Now, as it happened, I knew that there was a yawl of exactly that type for sale at Brightlingsea. The price was three hundred and fifty, and for a man who could afford it she was well worth the money".

Find it online

Ben Aaronovitch

Moon over Soho

"Beyond Colchester I turned south and, with the help of the GPS on my phone, got myself onto the B1029 heading down the wedged-shaped bit of dry ground jammed between the River Colne and Flag Creek. At the end of the road lay Brightlingsea – lining the coast, so Leslie had always told me, like a collection of rubbish stranded at the high-water mark. Actually I didn’t think it was that bad. It had been raining in London but after Colchester I’d driven into clear blue skies and the sun lit up the rows of well-kept Victorian terraces that ran down to the sea."

Read more

Sarah Perry

The Essex Serpent

"Rumours come from Point Clear and St Osyth, from Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea..." (p.305)

"Just last night a dead dog was washed up at Brightlingsea with its neck broken..." (p.338)

(With thanks to John and Andy Keefe)

Read more

Anthony Trollope

The Claverings

"Jack Stuart was already there, having assisted in working the yacht round from Brightlingsea." (Ch. 45)

(With thanks to Marion Witton)

Read more