Monument record MCC2351 - St Michael's Church (site of), Mile End Road, Colchester


Medieval church, demolished in the 19th century.


Grid reference TL 9928 2674 (point)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

The medieval church of St Michael, which was apparently left to fall down in the late 19th century, stood on the east side of Mile End Road a mile north of Colchester, and comprised chancel, aisless nave, and south porch. Fragments of 14th or 15th century stonework survived on the site in 1987. From 1582 the church was frequently reported to be in need of repair and c.1700 the eastern part of the ruined chancel was demolished and a new east wall built. A western gallery and perhaps the wooden bell turret at the west end of the nave were built at the same time. By the mid 19th century the building was dilapidated and too small for the parish. A new church was built c.1km to the north.<1>

A model of the church is kept in Hollytrees Museum.<1>

The building of flats for elderly people in 1975 at Rectory Close, Mile End Road, entailed landscaping the graveyard of the old church of St Michael which had been demolished in the nineteenth century and incorporated into the garden of Myland Rectory. All standing tombstones were removed in August 1975, when the area was levelled and covered with additional topsoil ready for seeding. The more notable gravestones were later replaced in the SW corner of the churchyard. When enough walling was found to have survived either at or just above ground level, the Colchester Archaeological Group undertook to prepare the foundations of the church for conservation and to ensure that related archaeological levels were protected for the future. On six successive weekends in October and November some 17 members helped to clean the walls, level up the interior for turfing and grade the external ground surface up from the walls to the new level.<2>

'Remains of the rubble foundations of the nave about 18ft wide and of interminate length; the chancel has entirely disappeared'.<3>

The nave is now known to be 18ft 9" wide and 32ft 9" long with walls varying from 2ft to 2ft 6" in width. The north doorway had been blocked and that on the south side was entered by a porch (8ft 6" long by 6ft 6" wide) in which were found the damaged remains of an octagonal font made of rendered brick. The chancel is 15ft 10" wide and the top of its walls (2ft 9" wide) were cleared 12ft 6" eastwards on the north side and nearly 15ft on the south. The east wall was not reached, through this may be possible when work resumes early in 1976. A simple, but much rebuilt, post conquest church seems to be indicated.<4>

See MCC2534 for churchyard.
See MCC9349 for the new church.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Monograph: Cooper, Janet (Ed). 1994. Vol. IX, The Borough of Colchester, A History of the County of Essex. Volume IX. pp.407-408.
  • <2> Serial: Colchester Archaeological Group. 1976. Colchester Archaeological Group Annual Bulletin 19. Vol. 19, 1976. p.21.
  • <3> Monograph: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1922. Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England): Essex, (North-East). Volume III. p.47.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Oct 18 2016 11:20AM

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