Essex Field Club on Facebook

Video about the Club Essex Field Club video

Eutolmus rufibarbis
find out more... Eutolmus rufibarbis Copyright: Peter Harvey

Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
registered charity
no 1113963
HLF Logo A-Z Page Index


Essex Field Club

When you shop at Amazon DonatesAmazon Donates

Visit Our Centre

EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are closed due to the Covid-19 situation, but we are otherwise normally open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11am-4pm, check. We are also normally open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.

Geology Site Account

A-Z Geological Site Index

Copford Brick Pits (site of), COPFORD, Colchester District, TL926242, Historical site only

show OS map    

Site category: Interglacial deposit

Site name: Copford Brick Pits (site of)

Grid reference: TL 926 242

Brief description of site:

The famous brick pits at Copford yielded numerous Ice Age fossils in the mid 19th century, including bones of bear, ox, bison, red deer, beaver, hippopotamus and mammoth. The famous Essex geologist John Brown of Stanway described the site and collected many of the fossils. The deposits are of Hoxnian interglacial age (about 400,000 years old).



The old brick pits at Copford were a classic locality of nineteenth century palaeontologists, yielding fossil molluscs and vertebrates. They were described in the 1840s and 1850s by the amateur geologist John Brown (1780-1859) who stated that the fossils found included the bones of bear, ox, bison, red deer, beaver, hippopotamus and mammoth. It was later reported by visitors to Brown’s home in Stanway that a mammoth tusk from Copford took pride of place in his collection.

Sixty nine species of freshwater and terrestrial molluscs were collected by Brown which indicated a shallow lake environment. Pollen in the deposits was later found to be characteristic of the Hoxnian interglacial (about 400,000 years old) and the lake must have occupied the same basin as the famous lake deposits of Marks Tey, to the west, which are of similar age. The identification of mammoth and hippo bones is therefore suspect as these animals are unknown in all other deposits of Hoxnian age (Brown’s mammoth tusk was almost certainly the tusk of a straight-tusked elephant).

The same fossiliferous deposits were found in 1972 during the construction of the A12 which passes to the north of the old pits. The brickworks, which is shown on the 1876 Ordnance Survey map, was still operating in 1899 but had closed by 1920.


if you have an image please upload it

Reference: Brown 1852, Dalton 1880 (p.4-6), Wire 1890, Wymer 1985 (p.252-253)

Geology Site Map
A-Z Geological Site Index