Monument record MCC426 - Medieval building (CAT Building 75), Middleborough, Colchester


A multi-phase Medieval building was revealed during excavations on the west side of Middleborough (Cattle Market) in 1979 .


Grid reference Centred TL 99371 25550 (17m by 15m)
Map sheet TL92NE
1848 Parish ST PETER
County ESSEX


Type and Period (19)

Full Description

During excavations at the Middleborough (Cattle Market) site in 1984 (ECC335), a large multi-phase, medieval house was excavated (CAT Building 75), fronting the west side of Middleborough. Development of the building took place over four phases, broadly datable to the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th-19th centuries.

Initially the Phase 1 building was a rectangular block consisting of a hall with central hearth (F180 and F187) and a service room to the south which contained a sequence of three ovens (F392, F1025 and F183)(CAR 3, Fig. 177). The floors were of daub and walls were timber-framed and set on surface-built, mortared plinths. At a later date the hall was re-floored and a new hearth built, which was subsequently replaced or augmented by another hearth. A drain built of peg-tiles (F177) sealed a long pit (F305) and probably post-dated the latest hearth.

During the next phase of development (Phase 2, 15th century; CAR 3, Fig. 179), the south end of the hall block was modified, a new central hearth (F161) was built, a north wing was added, a large oven was built (F201), possibly within a detached kitchen (indicated by a daub wall F264) and a gravelled backyard was laid out. The drain continued in use. The north wing was built as two compartments each of which contained a square latrine pit built with walls of coursed, mortared rubble (F87 and F437). One of the pits appeared to have been backfilled in the 17th century. The walls of the other pit had been robbed and were sealed by a later floor of the north wing.

During the building's next phase (Phase 3, 16th century), the hall and eastern end of the north wing were rebuilt, a south wing was added and new daub floors were laid throughout the building (CAR 3, Fig. 180). The new hall was smaller in size with a room to the north and contained a new brick-built hearth (F243). The drain was modified or re-laid and a well was added which was built of brick, septaria and peg-tile (F146). The well was eventually capped in c.1862. The south wing had two compartments both of which had a hearth (F130 & F133). The backyard was resurfaced and the oven was replaced. At a later date the north wall of the south wing was demolished and covered by an extension of the gravelled surface southwards.

In its final phase of development (Phase 4, 17th to mid 19th century) two brick chimney stacks were inserted in the main block, one of which had an additional hearth on one side (F68 and F79)(CAR 3, Fig. 182). The drain was rebuilt in brick and then sealed by one of the chimney-stacks. Two brick-lined pits of unknown purpose were also recorded. At a later date a brick floor was laid in the north wing and a brick-lined soakaway (F157) was built against the north wall of the north wing probably in the 18th century. This cut the south wall of CAT Building 76 (MON348), to the north, indicating that the south wing of Building 76 had been demolished by this time. Also at this time, a brick-built room or passage was added on the north side of the north wing. This had two brick floors on different levels.

The latest alterations to the building included repairs to the south wall of the house near the street, the drain was diverted, a soft-water tank (F257) was built and a brick soak away or cellar (F266) was constructed.<1>

Early cartographic documents depict buildings at this location.<2><3><4>

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Monograph: Crummy, Philip. 1981. CAR 3: Excavations at Lion Walk, Balkerne Lane and Middleborough, Colchester, Essex. 3. pp.189-198, Figs. 144 & 177-184.
  • <2> Cartographic materials: Monson, E (Mr). 1848. Colchester 1848. 13.3 " to the mile.
  • <3> Cartographic materials: Morant, Philip. 1763-1768. The Iconography of Colchester.
  • <4> Cartographic materials: Speed, J. 1610. Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Oct 19 2016 9:18AM

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