Site Event/Activity record ECC1895 - Wall elevation recorded, 48 St Botolph's Street, Colchester, 1997


Location 48 St Botolph's Street, Colchester
Grid reference TL 99910 25025 (point)
Map sheet TL92NE



Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd


July 1997



The removal of a short length of modern brickwork against the south wall of 48 St Botolph's Street, approximately 7m back from the street frontage, revealed an earlier stretch of east-west wall, which lay on the projected line of the inner face of the Roman town wall. The exposed section was 1.3m long and 1.75m high, and included a blocked archway, 1m high and just over 1m wide. The insertion of modern brickwork to a height of 1.65m had destroyed the eastern side of the archway together with most of the wall-face further east; at the time of recording, modern panelling masked its western and upper extent, while the base was obscured by a concrete floor. The wall construction consisted of mainly Roman building materials, including septaria, flint, tile and a fragment of opus signinum, set in a firm, whitish mortar. However traces of an earlier yellowish mortar adhered to some fragments, and indicated that they had been re-used. A thin tile fragment, presumably peg-tile, was also present, suggesting a post-Roman construction date; the post-Roman brick was not conclusively primary. The materials formed a well-preserved facing, rather than rubble core, although a small area towards the middle of the section had been destroyed, probably recently. There was however no trace of the bands of septaria and tile courses characteristic of Roman work. There was also little evidence for pointing, garreting or weathering; perhaps the walling had been intended for internal use. The 4 centred arch was apparently an original feature, but did not have a well defined stone or brick lining. The rather slight nature of the archway may indicate that it formed a recess, rather than a doorway associated with a major rebuilding of the town wall, such as that of c1400. A small group of bricks set into the wall-face immediately west of the arch was probably a later repair. These bricks were similar to, and presumably contemporary with, those used to neatly block the archway. The bricks included narrow examples (5 x ?22.5 cms), possibility of 17th or 18th century date, as well as some larger ones (6.5 x ?23cms), perhaps 18th or 19th century in date, although their width and whether any were frogged remains unclear.<1><2>

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Historic Building Recording: Shimmin, D.. 1997. Wall Elevation at 48, St Botolph's Street, Colchester. 97/7B.
  • <2> EXCAV REPORT: Crummy, Philip (CAT). 2001. Colchester Town Wall: miscellaneous site from 1987 to 2000. CAT report 144.

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Record last edited

Jun 13 2016 3:08PM

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