Monument record MCC454 - Medieval cemetery, St John's Abbey, Colchester


12th century cemetery, St John's Church.


Grid reference TL 99895 24793 (point)
Map sheet TL92SE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Early Medieval graveyard on site of demolished St John's church.

Fifteen lined graves were uncovered. The dead consisted of a mixture of men, women, and children and thus belonged to a lay cemetery. All were orientated with heads to the west, the graves appeared to have been laid out in rows. The extent of the cemetery is unknown. The graves cut the dumped soil (associated with rebuilding after the fire of 1133).

Eighteen burials lay in shallow unaligned graves no more than 0.8m deep, mostly badly damaged by the contractor, several graves overlay the foundations of St John's Church. No grave contained peg-tile or slate and the latest pottery associated with any of them is c.12th century. A significant find was part of a 12th century pot in F62.

The parish church of St Giles was founded in the cemetery of the abbey sometime between 1133 and 1171, the site of St John's church (demolished c.1095), was presumably continued to be used as a lay burial ground until the new church and churchyard took over, suggesting a date range for the cemetery of c.1133-1171.<1><2>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Serial: Crummy, Philip. 1993. CAR 9:Excavations of Roman and later cemeteries, churches and monastic sites in Colchester, 1971-8. 9. pp.217-218.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Oct 19 2016 10:08AM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.