Facts About Witham
Excavations by Essex County Council field archaeological unit at the recent Maltings Lane development discovered evidence of Neolithic occupation at Witham, including human remains and several trackways across ancient marsh. Excavations of the Witham Lodge area of the town in the 1970s unveiled remains of a Roman temple as well as a pottery kiln. This would have been alongside the main Roman road from Colchester to London and used as a stopover point on the long journey.
Witham’s position on the Roman road in relation to the major Viking army based at Colchester was the most likely reason for this, and it would have effectively cut Essex in two. The name Witham is a composite name, part Brythonic and “ham” a typical Saxon ending, and remains unchanged in spelling. The parish of Witham appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. The manor of Witham was given to the Knights Templar in 1148.
Witham has a mainly linear town centre focused around the high street and two shopping precincts to form a cross that bisects the high street – the Newlands Shopping Centre of 1970s design to the north, and the Grove Centre of a 1980s brick design to the south. There are also a range of small shops, restaurants, pubs, major high-street banks and several national commercial chains. The town also has four supermarkets: Tesco in the centre of town, Morrisons near the railway station, Asda near to Maltings Academy, and Aldi near the A12.
A significant industrial presence remains in the town, concentrated on three industrial estates on the eastern side of the town close to the junction with the A12. There are also commercial offices located in the town centre area. In March 2007, Crittall closed its Braintree factory and returned to Witham to occupy a new factory on the Freebournes Industrial Estate. The factory Crittall moved into was built for J.L. French in 2001, but never used for production. The new Crittall factory is visible on the right hand side of the road exiting Witham towards Colchester via the A12.