About us

Letters Patent granted by the College of Arms

The Essex Society for Archaeology and History (‘ESAH’) is the county’s major society for those interested in any aspect of the past. The Society is concerned with the whole of the historic county of Essex including the five London boroughs (Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest) and two unitary authorities (Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock).

To be a member is to join a long line of enthusiasts dating back to 1852 when the Society was founded as the Essex Archaeological Society ‘for the purpose of reading papers, exhibiting antiquities, discussions etc.’.

The methods and concerns of archaeologists and historians have changed with the times and the Society with them but their aims would still be recognised by the founders. These include the bringing together of those with a common interest in Essex’s past, the publication of new discoveries and the encouragement to extend the boundaries of knowledge.

The ESAH’s record is a proud one. Well over 20,000 pages of articles have been published with innovatory reports on newly discovered archaeological sites in the county and the latest research findings by historians of all periods and aspects of Essex’s past.

The collection formed by members of the Society has grown into what is now the Colchester Castle Museum. Its Presidents have included such distinguished names as John Horace Round, the great medieval historian, and Francis Galpin, the leading authority on historical music and musical instruments.

Today the Society offers its members a programme of excursions and lectures with expert guidance to historical sites in and around the county of Essex, many of them not normally open to view.

Essex Archaeology and History (the Society’s Transactions) published annually with an average of 200 pages in each issue of scholarly articles and reviews on the historic county's archaeology, architecture and history. 

Essex Journal (the Society’s Journal), published twice a year (May and November), with attractively illustrated articles on various topics relating to the archaeology and history in the historic county of Essex.

Newsletter, published twice a year in digital format (February and August), with information about what is happening around the county in the fields of history and archaeology.

Access to a large and growing library located at the University of Essex. This extensive resource covers the history and archaeology of Essex and also includes all the major archaeological journals in Britain. Members may apply to the University Librarian for a reader’s ticket which also entitles access to the rest of the University’s book collection.

Membership is also extended to the Society’s Essex Industrial Archaeology Group for those interested in the industrial archaeology and heritage of the historic county of Essex.

Grants to support conservation, research and management of the archaeology and history of Essex. 

Morant, 1700-70
Rev. Philip Morant, 1700-70