Site Event/Activity record ECC2687 - Evaluation at 38-40 Crouch Street, Colchester, 2004


Location 38-40 Crouch Street, Colchester
Grid reference Centred TL 99131 24943 (32m by 39m) (Approximate)
Map sheet TL92SE
County ESSEX



Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd


July 2004



An archaeological evaluation was undertaken at 38-40 Crouch Street, Colchester, in advance of a proposed retail/residential development. The evaluation consisted of two 5 m-long machine-dug trial-trenches aligned approximately north-south, one at the southern end (Trench 1 or T1) and one at the northern end (Trench 2 or T2) of the site. A medieval foundation and evidence for inhumations at the northern end, close to the street frontage, probably formed part of the house of Crouched Friars. A large Roman foundation was recorded at the southern end of the site. The location of probably medieval inhumations at 1.8m deep in Trench 2 contrasted with the shallow burials previously discovered at 42 Crouch Street. This may reflect a different phase of burial or sector of the local population. <1> A large east-west foundation (Feature or F2) survived intact on the western side of Trench 1, although it had been robbed further east. The top of F2 lay 0.55 m below the modern ground-level. The foundation was constructed of septaria and Roman brick/tile fragments set in a hard, gravelly, pale brown mortar. The southern face was well-defined, although due to the robbing the northern edge was not located. The mortared foundation was thus at least 1.1 m wide and survived 0.5 m deep. A trial-hole through the dark earth in Trench 2 was extended to a depth of 1.8 m below the modern ground-level by machine. At this point, well-preserved limb bones from at least one inhumation were encountered, apparently stratified within the lower part of the 'dark earth'. It was not possible to record these in any detail, and the trench was immediately backfilled. Although no dating evidence was recovered, the human remains were probably medieval in date and belonged to a cemetery associated with the house of Crouched Friars. Augering in Trench 2 indicated that there were probably Roman deposits stratified below the 'dark earth' at a depth of 2.25-2.6 m below the modern ground-level, and that these sealed natural sand. A shallow east-west mortared foundation (F5) extended into the south section of Trench 2. The foundation survived 0.28 m deep and the top of F5 was 0.8 m below the modern ground-level. It was constructed of loose, sandy, pale brown mortar, with fragments of septaria, Roman brick/tile and peg-tile, and gravels. This sealed a thin band of white, lime-rich mortar. The lower fill of the foundation trench was a thin, greyish-brown layer with abundant yellowish sandy patches. This contained a sherd of green-glazed pottery of probable 15th- to 16th-century date, as well as a couple of fragments of human bone and some pieces of unpainted plaster. The latter were perhaps from a medieval lath-and-plaster wall. The foundation was similar to those excavated at 42 Crouch Street in 1988 and probably belonged to a building which formed part of the house of Crouched Friars.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Evaluation Report: Shimmin, Don (CAT). 2004. An archaeological evaluation at 38-40 Crouch Street, Colchester, Essex, July 2004. CAT Report 277.

Related Monuments/Buildings (6)

  • ?Medieval inhumation at 38-40 Crouch Street, Colchester (Element)
  • Burial ground of Crouched Friars Friary, Crouch Street, Colchester (Monument)
  • Church of the Crouched or Crutched Friars, Crouch Street, Colchester (Monument)
  • Medieval building (CAT Building 181), 42 Crouch Street, Colchester (Monument)
  • Roman inhumation & flagon, ?Crouch Street, Colchester (Element)
  • Roman wall foundation, 38-40 Crouch Street, Colchester (Element)

Record last edited

Oct 19 2015 12:50PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.