Site Event/Activity record ECC2293 - Survey of St John's Gatehouse, Colchester, 1922


Location St John's Gatehouse, Colchester
Grid reference TL 9976 2475 (point)
Map sheet TL92SE



RCHME (Swindon)





The gatehouse is of two storeys, the walls are partly of rubble and partly of brick with limestone dressings; the roofs are covered with lead and tiles. It was built probably in the 15th century and has been considerably restored. Elevations - the N. Front has a moulded plinth, modern parapet and walls faced with knapped flint set in stone panels with cusped heads; this work is mainly original to the ground storey and mainly restored to the upper storey; the restored work includes a series of lily-pots in stone. Flanking the gate are two octagonal turrets of two stages with ornamental cresting, partly restored between the stages and crocketed pinnacles restored at the top. The main outer archway has stop-moulded jambs and four centred arch of two orders with a moulded label and a square-headed outer label with defaced carved spandrels; the small archway further W. is similar but without labels or spandrels; flanking the main arch are two large niches with trefoiled and crocketed canopies, semi-octagonal on plan and each having a ribbed lierne vault with a central rosette and small supporting shafts in the angles; the brackets are moulded and supported by large half-angels holding shields, that on the E with the Agnus Dei and that on the W defaced; flanking the niches are shallow buttresses. The upper storey has two windows all modern except the lower part of the jambs of the eastern window; between the windows is a large niche almost entirely restored. The front of the porter's lodge adjoining the gatehouse on the E has a moulded plinth and remains of the junction of a thin wall extending towards the N. Further E are remains of original windows with a square head, subsequently used as a doorway and now blocked with bricks. The S front has an inner archway with stopped jambs and four-centred arch of two hollow-chamfered orders with a moulded label and head-stops and partly restored. Above it is a window almost entirely modern and the parapet is also modern. The octagonal turrets are finished with crocketed pinnacles. The Gate Hall has a ribbed lierne vault of stone with moulded ribs and ashlar web; at the middle intersection is a defaced carved boss; the ribs spring from moulded corbels carved with two human heads and two lions, one of them winged; in the N.E. angle are marks of the impact of a cannon ball, probably dating from the period of the siege in 1648. In the E wall is a doorway with stop-moulded jambs and four-centred head. In the W. wall is a recess with moulded jambs and four-centred head and further S. is a doorway with similar mouldings and head. The porter's lodge, now of two storeys with attics, has no ancient features internally. The rough S. wall seems to indicate that if formerly extended further in that direction. Adjoining the W. side of the gatehouse was a building now destroyed; from it the staircase in the S.W. turret was entered and has two doorways one above the other, each with a four-centred head. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Monograph: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1922. Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England): Essex, (North-East). Volume III. No 15.

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

  • St John's Abbey Gatehouse, Colchester (Monument)

Record last edited

Mar 18 2016 8:46AM

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