Monument record MCC1831 - Duncan's Gate, Castle Park, Colchester


Roman gate (Duncan's Gate) at north-east entrance into town. The gate was small and of simple plan, with a single passageway 10ft 8in. wide (c.3.25m), formed by returning the town wall inwards at right angle to each other. These piers are c.2.75m wide and project inwards c.3.20m, of the same construction of irregular coursing in the wall.


Grid reference TM 0001 2557 (point)
Map sheet TM02NW
County ESSEX


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Roman gate at north-east entrance to the town (Duncan's Gate). See also the Town Walls (MCC859).

The gate was first examined through excavation by the Essex Archaeological Society under the direction of Dr. P.M. Duncan (ECC621). The excavations revealed the filled up gateway within the Roman town wall and a long drain which passed N to S under the carriageway (MCC1515).<1> The excavations were observed on several occasions by William Wire.<2><4>

The remains were next uncovered in 1927/8 by the Colchester Excavation Committee (ECC793).<3>

A large lump of collapsed masonry (in several pieces) is located immediately to the south of Duncan's Gate, and in line with the gateway. This has been interpreted as the remains of a gate tower or turret that has fallen and been preserved in situ adjacent to the gate, and on the line of the carriageway; Duncan referred to this as the fallen arch of the gate. It consists of the outer face of the south wall of the tower, above the main archway and comprises over 30 courses of tiles. The masonry includes evidence for two tile window arches.<1><3><4> Hull proposes two possible interpretations/reconstructions, one a tower with three windows and the other with two.<3>

In 2016, Historic England Level 3 analytical recording was carried out on the above ground remains of the gate and collapsed masonry to the south, which is part of the collapsed masonry from a gate tower, in advance of, and in order to inform, conservation/repair of the masonry (ECC3808). A test pit was also excavated in the area to the north of (and up to) the (lump of) collapsed masonry. The test pit exposed the top of the Roman drain, aligned N to S through the gateway, c.20cm below ground level (ECC3809).<4>

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Serial: The Essex Society for Archaeology and History. 1858. Vol. 1 (Old Series), Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society. Vol. I. p.55.
  • <2> DIARY: Wire, William. 1842-1857. Journal of William Wire. 1/9/1852, 6/9/1852, 1/1/1853.
  • <3> Monograph: Hull, M.R.. 1958. Roman Colchester: Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London. No. XX. pp.36-41.
  • <4> Evaluation Report: Baister, Mark. 2016. Historic building recording and test-pit evaluation at Duncan's Gate, Colchester, CO1 1UN. CAT Report 1022.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Nov 23 2016 10:56AM

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