Monument record MCC7803 - Colchester Castle - Bailey Chapel


Excavations in 1932-3 immediately S of the castle revealed the foundations of an unknown church or chapel.


Grid reference TL 9989 2528 (point) (FCE)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Excavations in 1932-3 immediately S of the castle revealed the foundations of an unknown church or chapel. There were two periods of construction. The first was a single celled structure, probably pre-Norman. This existed side by side with the castle and the new forebuilding (C13?) respects it. Obviously an important site - possible site of the original church of St Helena? The structure was rebuilt together with squaring of the E end. <1> Rodwell regarded the chapel as post-Norman because of its ambivalent location close to the entrance. He speculates whether the reason for the siting was because of the religious significance of the site (in the precinct of the Temple of Claudius possibly converted to a church by the end of the Roman period). The chapel and the undated range of masonry buildings to the S are aligned not on the keep or the Roman structure but on the post Roman planned street grid (nearest element is Maidenburgh Street). Graveyard of chapel is of unknown extent but skeletons have been found over a wide area to the S. Within the chapel burials were found at the four corners, but not in the middle or the apse. Others were found at the entrance to the keep, under the forebuilding (pre-dating castle?). Another was found SW of the keep in 1964 (see ) dug into the demolished temple precinct wall foundations. Human bones have also been found in the Norman castle bank. <2>

Groundworks in the south-east corner of the Castle Bailey revealed only post-medieval and modern features.<3>

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1960 0nwards. SMR form unknown.
  • <2> DESC TEXT: Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA. 1977. CBA Research Report No. 19 Historic Churches - a wasting asset. p3.
  • <3> Watching Brief Report: Pooley, Laura. 2006. Report on a watching brief. CAT Report 397.

Finds (2)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Nov 3 2015 11:41AM

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