Site Event/Activity record ECC2242 - Pevsner survey of St Botolph's Priory, Colchester, 1954


Location St Botolph's Priory, Colchester
Grid reference Centred TL 9994 2497 (1m by 0m)
Map sheet TL92SE



Pevsner, Nikolaus (Mr)





Survey of St Botolph's Priory by Pevsner 'The most important and impressive ecclesiastical monument of Colchester; the ruin of an Early Norman church of considerable size. St Botolph's was founded late in the C11 as the first British house of Augustinian Canons. What remains is a ruin, and the ruin only of the W front and the nave (108 ft long). Transepts and E end have completely disappeared. The church was built of rubble with plenty of Roman bricks, used in the walls as well as more consistently for dressings. The W front is broad; the two towers stand outside the aisles, not identical incidentally either in size or in shape. There are three portals; the middle one of four orders of columns, the capitals with finely intertwined scrolls or decorated scallops (badly preserved), the arches with much zigzag. Above the portals, but with the middle one cutting into it, two tiers of intersected arches without capitals. The principal W window was circular, and the earliest major round window in England. The facade must date from after the mid C12. Nothing survives of the upper parts of the towers. Inside the facade a passage, carried on a tunnel-vault, runs on the first floor from the tower to the other, open to the nave. The nave has mighty circular piers (5ft 8" in diameter), They have no proper capitals and support a gallery with unsubdivided openings as large as the arcade. The arches are single stepped and unmoulded on both sides. Flat pilaster strips stand on the circular piers to divide the bays of the gallery from each other. The aisles were groin vaulted. The building is immensely impressive as a ruin. To the S of the church, foundations of the N wall of the cloister'.<1>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Serial: Pevsner, Nikolaus. The Buildings of England: Essex. p136-7.

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

  • St Botolph's Priory, Colchester (Monument)

Record last edited

Mar 17 2016 8:54AM

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