Monument record MCC429 - Medieval building (CAT Building 76), Middleborough, Colchester


Medieval building, dating to c.1450/1500, revealed during excavations on the west side of Middleborough (Cattle Market) in 1979. The north wing of the timber-framed building survived as the New Market Tavern from 1862 until demolition in 1978.


Grid reference Centred TL 9937 2556 (13m by 14m)
Map sheet TL92NE
1848 Parish ST PETER


Type and Period (16)

Full Description

During excavations at Middleborough in 1979 (ECC335), the remains of a multi-phase medieval building fronting on to Middleborough (CAT Building 76) was recorded (in the UAD, Phase 1 of the building was given a separate Monument number MCC427 and Phase 2 MCC428). The Phase 3 (and later phases) building, dating from c.1450/1500, was recorded as MCC429 (i.e. this record) in the UAD.<1>

The earliest phase consisted of a hall with north and south wings, the latter having two or three rooms. The hall was separated from the south wing by a screens passage. To the west, there was a gravelled backyard which may have been laid out during the previous phase of activity on the site (see MCC428). Initially the building contained one central hearth (F694) in the hall and three further hearths (F818, F825 and F976) in the south wing, which had two or three rooms (CAR 3, Fig. 187).

Much of the timber-frame superstructure of the building's north-wing survived up until its demolition in 1978 (see below). The stumps of internal walls on the east side of the north wing were found in place during the excavation whilst the top of the mortar plinth of the south wall of the north room stood about 50mm above contemporary floor level and carried a daub wall surviving for 70mm of its height.

A later phase of the alterations to the building saw the removal of the halls central hearth and its replacement with a brick chimney-stack. A floor was inserted at first floor level and a new daub floor was laid in the north wing and hall. Later a brick hearth was laid at the base of the chimney stack.

Following these alterations there were two phases of substantial structural change which were detectable through the surviving timber-frame of the building. These changes included the demolition of the chimney-stack and hall and their replacement by a new block of three storeys. A second three-storied block was then constructed to the west of the rebuilt hall block and over the backyard. Six pits (four of which were lined with timber barrels) had been used for mixing mortar and plaster and appeared to have been associated with the trade of the buildings occupants.

Later alterations included the probable insertion of a door into the east wall which may have been associated with the division of the building into two properties along the line of the south wall of the cross-wing. A wooden floor was laid in the east room of the north wing and the south wing appears to have been demolished to allow direct access from the street to the rear of the property.

The surviving part (north wing) of the timber framed building became the 'New Market Tavern' public house before its demolition in 1978. In c.1862, the building was extensively renovated and converted into the 'New Market Tavern' (Phase 7), which was eventually demolished in 1978.<1>
The south wing of the building appears to have been demolished before 1848 since it is not shown on Monson's map of Colchester.<2>

A survey was made of the standing remains (i.e. surviving north wing) of CAT Building 76, the New Market Tavern, prior to demolition (see ECC1072). A substantial part of the timber frame survived until its demolition and this can be reconciled with the archaeological remains which underlay it (see ECC335). <3>

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Monograph: Crummy, Philip. 1981. CAR 3: Excavations at Lion Walk, Balkerne Lane and Middleborough, Colchester, Essex. 3. pp.198-209 & Figs. 144 & 184-194.
  • <2> Cartographic materials: Monson, E (Mr). 1848. Colchester 1848. 13.3 " to the mile.
  • <3> Monograph: Crummy, Philip. 1981. CAR 3: Excavations at Lion Walk, Balkerne Lane and Middleborough, Colchester, Essex. 3. pp.206-7 & Figs. 193-194.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Oct 19 2016 9:26AM

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