Monument record MCC403 - St James's Churchyard, High Street, Colchester


Medieval or earlier churchyard of St James's Church.


Grid reference Centred TM 00162 25228 (58m by 53m)
Map sheet TM02NW
1848 Parish ST JAMES


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Churchyard of 12th century or earlier date.

Several holes for new railings were dug at the top of the steps from East Hill at the east end of St James Church, just behind the Roman wall. The holes were approximately 20cm across by 30cm deep, and revealed only post-Medieval/ modern soil accumulation to that depth. <1>

A watching brief was undertaken at St James's Churchyard on East Hill. A series of trial holes were dug in advance of the erection of railings along the east boundary of the churchyard but produced no evidence to indicate the survival of either the town wall or its associated rampart in the uppermost 700mm examined. <2>

A watching brief was undertaken in 1997 during the installation of railings along the eastern side of the churchyard (See ECC1759). Within the limited depths examined, there was no evidence to indicate the presence of masonry or rampart material associated with the town wall. The stratigraphy simply consisted of a very dark greyish brown sandy loam with occasional small stones and rare inclusions of peg tile, brick and septaria, which extended beyond the bottom of the pits in all but one spot. The exception was the adjoining pits 2-3 where the dark churchyard soil sealed a layer of slightly lighter and stonier sandy loam at a depth of 0.35 to 0.4m. This material contained one small fragment of cambered peg-tile and continued beyond the bottom of the 0.55m deep pits.<3>

DOE survey of the Churchyard wall of St James. A Red brick wall (undated) at right angles to the Roman Wall. Topped by an iron fence, forms the south side of the churchyard. Listed Grade II.<4>

The graveyard is fairly small, in relation to the size of the church; it is quite pleasant and well kept. There are several C18 tombstones of interest and a certain amount of clearance and re-sitting of headstones has taken place in the past.<5>

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Evaluation Report: Benfield, Stephen (CAT). 1999. An archaeological evaluation at St Peter's House, St Peter's Street, Colchester, in 1998. 1/98B.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd. 1985-1995. Colchester Archaeological Trust Unpublished Archive. 3/97B.
  • <3> Evaluation Report: Benfield, Stephen (CAT). 1997. AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVALUATION AT ELD LANE, COLCHESTER.. 11/97F.
  • <4> LIST: Department of the Environment. 1971. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Borough of Colchester (Essex). TM 0025 SW 6/40.
  • <5> Monograph: Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA. 1977. Historic Churches: a wasting asset. p34.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Apr 29 2016 8:59AM

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