On Saturday 26 November 2016, the Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Julie Young, unveiled the interpretation board at the top of the Scheregate steps. This board was sponsored by the Colchester Tourist Guides Association and many of its members were present to mark the occasion.
The board commemorates two aspects of the wall’s history. First, the opening in the wall that was made in medieval times to allow visitors to reach St John’s Abbey more easily and, second, the life of ‘Freddie the Shrimp-Man’ who, for most of the 20th Century, used to sell his shellfish at the top of the steps.
The ‘Scheregate’ is the only surviving medieval gate in the wall and its name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word scaerd, which means ‘gap’. The current timber-framed buildings around the gate date from the 17th century. Then, as now, the steps leading down would have been lined with shops.