Monument record MCC7825 - Holy Trinity Church, Colchester


West wall of nave has the oldest fabric, but date unknown (Anglo-Saxon).


Grid reference TL 9962 2511 (point) (FCE)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

West wall of nave has the oldest fabric, but date unknown (Anglo-Saxon). West tower is late Anglo-Saxon, largely of Roman brick. C14 and C19 work has removed or hidden all other early fabric. <1> <2> The W wall of the nave is pre-conquest, uncertain date. To this was added the W tower around the mid C11. The tower is of flint rubble and septaria with much of Roman brick, Roman brick used for dressings also. The tower arch was also inserted around this time and has doorways of Roman brick. RCHM has photos of tower and west dooorway. Original windows of the tower survive and traces of a wall arcade marked by small brick fragments but most of this has probably fallen out. <3> West tower is the only Anglo-Saxon monument in Colchester. Pevsner has photos of W doorway. <4> Mid C11 W tower, with triangular headed windows and round-headed windows. This tower was built onto an earlier church of c.1000 of which only the W wall remains. <5> Although W wall of nave has been considered to be the oldest part of the fabric, it is possible that the plan of the nave and W half of the chancel should be associated with this early wall. The church would have been quite a modest building with square-ended or stilted apsidal chancel. Date of this build is unknown. The tower was added later to this (see source 7 for description). A trench excavated in 1971 when the building was converted to a museum showed that the former E wall of the Saxon church was a little W of the present line of the nave E wall. The church had not been built directly on the Roman road which was overlaid by a thick layer of black earth containing sub-Roman and Anglo-Saxon pottery. no positive dating for the church was found. <6> <7>

Site Assessment = West wall of nave and west tower are particularly interesting examples of two periods of pre-Conquest work. <3> West tower is the only Anglo-Saxon monument of Colchester. <4> Survival of the early work may be owing to its position well back from the High Street frontage. The tower is a fine monument, of national architectural importance. Archaeological importance is the need to find out when and how the church came to be built over a Roman street junction; and possibility of discovering the condition of the late Roman and early post-Roman streets. Tower needs some work under archaeological supervision. Above ground archaeologiocal importance largely centred on the tower and W

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: Priddy, DA. unknown. SMR.
  • <2> RECORD SHEET/FORM: Ordnance Survey. unknown. OS cards. TL92NE3.3, 1976.
  • <3> DESC TEXT: RCHME. 1922. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 3. Vol 3, pp.32-35.
  • <4> DESC TEXT: Pevsner, N. 1954. The Buildings of England, Essex. p122.
  • <5> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1971. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest:Colchester. p128.
  • <6> DESC TEXT: Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA. 1977. CBA Research Report No. 19 Historic Churches - a wasting asset. pp31-32.
  • <7> DESC TEXT: Taylor, HM and Taylor, J. 1965. Anglo-Saxon Architecture. pp162-4.

Finds (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Nov 3 2015 11:41AM

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