Building record MCC3487 - Church of St Peter, Colchester


Early C15 church.


Grid reference TL 9943 2523 (point)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Listed as II* . Of the pre-conquest church little is known other than mass walling and the reuse of Roman tile. The plan was ambitious, as a cruciform, with a crosswing tower and transeptal chapels, all swept away in 1758. With the tower went the aisle windows, the clerestory having alredy been demolished in the C17 and in 1902 the chancel east window was replaced. The major restoration of 1894-1913 thoroughly imposed a late Victorian character, to the extent that apart from the nave arcade (themselves also altered) there is little medieval work of quality in the building. However exceptions are the C14 ironwork of the south door, the vaulted undercroft below the vestry and the internal vestry door. The aisle roofs are of early C18 (N) and mid C17 (S) and of basic construction (not seen).
The building enjoys ga reater historical significance than its architecture portrays. It was the richest pre-conquest church in the county and one of only two in Colchester. It had a chequered history during the Civil war and rose to the Town church in the last quarter of the C17. A minor restoration of 1701, without Gothic influence, was geared to re-establishing the church with popular appeal, in the face of the the rising non-conformist movement. This was perhaps the rsult of of te appointment of evangelising incumbents including Thomas Halley (1739-60) and Robert Storry (1781-1814) who in the C18 attempted to create a non-conformist plan within an essentially C15 catholic church.
Restoration summary

1648 part rebuilding following seige of Colchester
1701 general repairs
1758 Major consolidation removal of steeple etc
1791 New N gallery
1817 enlargement of south aisle
1858 rebuilding scheme
1894 restoration
1895 replacement of nave roof and raising of clearstorey
1902 chancel restoration
1904 Tower restoration
1912 Tower clock restoration
1930 New gallery staircases
1933 Underpinning NE/SE angles
1941 pulpit relocation and pew removal

listed amended from B to II* 12/11.2004

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: Wilson, Dr WD. 2004. Church of St Peter.

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Record last edited

Jan 11 2017 9:51AM

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