Building record MCC168 - The George Hotel, 116-117 High Street, Colchester


The George Hotel is a timber-framed medieval inn dating from the latter part of the 14th century.


Grid reference TL 99734 25242 (point)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

RCHME Survey of George Hotel. The hotel 'is of three storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. There are remains in the middle of the house of a 15th century building with a main block and cross wings; the cellars also are medieval but probably of rather later date. The building was probably brought into its present form in the 17th century when the earlier house was entirely enveloped and wings were added at the back.’

‘Inside the building the cellars consist of two parallel rooms running E and W and each of six bays with heavy ceiling beams and rubble walls; in the dividing wall is an early 16th century doorway with chamfered jambs and two centred head of brick; in the same wall are two fireplaces with four-centred heads and each with a vent-hole above the arch; there are also two early 16th century niches in the cellar, one with a two and one with a four-centred head.’

‘On the ground floor the kitchen has a ceiling-beam with curved brace resting on a corbel carved with a bearded head. On the ground floor the kitchen has a ceiling-beam with a curved brace resting on a corbel carved with a bearded head. On the second floor at the head of stairs is an original king-post with a moulded base and embattled capital; it apparently formed part of the middle truss in the hall of the 15th century house. In the roof are the original moulded 16th century beam carved with foliage and nude figure is incorporated in the later roof.'<1>

DOE survey of The George Hotel, High Street. Grade II*. Originally C15 with cross wings, medieval cellars with fireplaces and heavy ceiling beams. Building remodelled and added to in C17. Three storeys, timber-framed and plastered, the roofs tiled. Early C18 front of 5 bays, double hung sashes and glazing bars, cast iron balcony running the length of the front at 1st floor level.<2>

A tessellated pavement of red tesserae was found behind the south wall of the SE cellar of the George Hotel when alterations were being made in 1936. A section of it was preserved behind glass for many years.<3>

Piece of moulded oak from gable end of window of George Hotel removed during repairs, accessioned in COLEM1916.3472.<4>

See Heritage Asset Assessment by Leigh Alston in 2016. He states, 'Much of the medieval fabric is either hidden by later plaster or missing, but a number of impressive features survive including a rare first-floor open hall that currently forms a stair landing, complete with soot-encrusted timbers and a finely carved crown-post ostensibly from its rebuilt roof (now incorporated into a staircase). A wall painting discovered in 1984 and displayed on the same landing illustrates the exotic nature of the interior in c.1600. A well preserved medieval shop front can be seen in the lounge on the corner of George Street, along with its impressive original ceiling joists, and a 15th century gateway is fully exposed in the picturesque inn yard to the rear. The flint-walled cellars extend beneath the entire High Street range with ceilings supported on massive oak joists in a manner usually associated with the 13th century and before.'<5>

A dendrochronological assessment of the five cellar joists was undertaken by Martin Bridge in 2016. A core was taken from each, but there was found to be little cross-matching between the individual sequences, suggesting that perhaps they came from different sources. When individual sequences were compared with the reference data, three gave similar dates, and although not significant, similarities in the growth patterns could be seen, and all appear to have grown in south-east England. When combined, the three dated timbers gave a well-dated sequence. Two of the three were found to have come from trees felled in winter 1394/95 and summer 1396 respectively, with the third having a likely felling date range encompassing these dates, making their most likely time of incorporation into the building the last few years of the 14th century.<6>

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Monograph: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1922. Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England): Essex, (North-East). Volume III. No 47.
  • <2> LIST: Department of the Environment. 1971. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Borough of Colchester (Essex). TL9925 SE 5/116.
  • <3> Monograph: Hull, M.R.. 1958. Roman Colchester: Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London. No. XX. No 157.
  • <4> LIST: Colchester Museums. 1912-1923. Colchester Museum Accession Register 1912-1923. COLEM 1916.3472.
  • <5> Historic Building Recording: Alston, Leigh. 2016. The George Hotel, Colchester, Essex. Heritage Asset Assessment.
  • <6> Historic Building Recording: Bridge, Martin. 2016. The Dendrochronological Dating of Timbers from the Cellar, The George Hotel, High Street, Colchester, Essex. Oxford Dendrochology Laboratory Report 2016/28.

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Record last edited

Jan 23 2017 12:56PM

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