The early history of Chelmsford can be traced back to the original Roman settlement of Caesaromagus (Caesar's market place). The Romans built a fort at the location of modern Chelmsford in 60 AD. The setting proved a convenient halfway point on the road between Londinium ( London ) and Camulodunum ( Colchester ) and market town developed there. By the end of the 2nd century AD, Caesaromagus had been fortified and was at its peak. The Romans presence in Britain then declined, especially during the 4th century. After they left in 407 AD, Ceasaromagus disappeared.
The modern town of Chelmsford did not emerge for almost 800 years after the Romans left Britain. In the early part of the 12th century, Bishop Maurice of London ordered the building of a bridge over the River Can. Later that century, in 1199, Bishop William obtained a royal charter to hold a market near the bridge. This led to merchants settling nearby and this prompted the birth of the modern town. Prior to this there was a town in the area, recorded as Celmeresfort in the 1086 Domesday Book , and by 1189 the name had already changed to Chelmsford. Nevertheless the origin of the modern town of Chelmsford is still attributed to the granting of the charter in 1199. Within a few years of this the town had grown to a respectable size, with several hundred inhabitants; barely a village by modern standards, but a fair sized town in the early Middle Ages. The town prospered due to its ideal location, the busy road brought plenty of business to its market. The leather and wool industries also thrived in the town in the early part of the Middle Ages.