Dear Mr. Cornwell,
thank you for your response to my previous message. Writing it prompted me to conduct a little research online in regard to Ithancester. There is not much written about it but what there was, was quite interesting;
Quotes like this from the Numismatic Journal of 1837
"Higher up the Northern shore, from Tillingham stood once a flourishing city called Ithancester by our ancestors. Camden is of the opinion, Ithancester is the same as Othena"
Which would place it as you suggest on the site of the Roman Saxon shore fort.
Also this from Excursions in the County of Essex Thomas Cromwell 1818
"for thus Bede and Ralf Niger monk of Coggeshall tell us, Cedda built churches in several places ordaining priests and deacons to assist him in the word of faith and ministry of baptizing, especially in the city which in the language of the Saxons is called Ithancester, which stood upon the bank of the River Pant that runs near Malden in the province of Dengy."
So if you ever need a spare late Roman/early Saxon city in Essex, there you go.
St Cedds is a very interesting place I have visited there a few times when I have been over in the UK as my family part own a Thames Sailing Barge and it is a very pleasant sail from St Osyth to Bradwell, followed by a walk to St Cedds and a meal at the Green Man Bradwell.
The village of St Osyth (formerly Chiche) is also very interesting in itself with Osyth herself the daughter of a Mercian King Frithwald and his wife Wilburga (herself daughter of Penda) and later wife of Sighere King of Essex (before she became a nun). She was beheaded by Dane raiders of her Priory in around 700 and the story goes she picked up her head and walked to the church and knocked on the door before dying.
Local legend says that the Danes retired to Mersea Island where the leaders, two brothers fought over a nun they had captured. The elder one was killed and is supposedly buried in a barrow there. I don't know if it is true but I have heard it said that the Danes liked to overwinter on Mersea Island and to this day there is bad feeling between the inhabitants of Brightlingsea, St Osyth and West Mersea that supposedly stems from the Islanders being descended from Vikings.
Anyway being brought up with these stories it is little wonder why I enjoy your books, I look forward to seeing what comes next.