Monument record MCC7843 - St Martin's Church, Colchester


Upper part of the tower fell probably early in the C17.


Grid reference TL 9960 2533 (point) (FCE)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

Upper part of the tower fell probably early in the C17. Later in this century the S porch was rebuilt. The church was restored in the latter half of the C19. RCHM noted a temporary vestry on part of the site of the former N chapel. Features and fittings include: C17 windows in porch; C17 carved consoles supporting braces to tie-beam in chancel roof; C17 chair in chancel 2 C17 chests in N aisle; late C17 door in chancel N doorway; C17 poor box in nave; C16 and C17 carved panels in pulpit. <1> <3> Monuments include one of 1816 in the churchyard, S of the porch. <2> By the C17 the parish had declined such that the tower was never repaired. Morant records that Divine Service was not being performed and there was no clergy and that the inhabitants of the parish were going to St Peter's. The decay was partially halted by 1883 and 1891 restoration but they were never completed. There have been C19 encroachments on the E side of the churchyard. <4> Three trial trenches excavated within the church in August 1991 by CAT. Trench A contained post-medieval disturbance associated with the restoration of the church in 1891. Possible grave of this date may have cut into earlier foundaton within the trench (NW corner). The construction sequence of the concrete floor found during restoration is shown elsewhere in the trench. It appears that the recent floor prepresents a lowering of the original floor level, as all earlier floors had been removed. Trench B confirmed that floor level had been lowered at restoration as no earlier floors remained. The insertion of an underfloor heating system had cut into part of the medieval foundation. Trench C post-medieval activity confined to insertion of the new floor during restoration, including possible exploratory works of pier foundation. <5>

Site Assessment = Graveyard maintained by the Local Authority in an extreme state of tidiness. No noteworthy memorials apart from the 1816 sarcophagus monument. The unusual C17 balusters in the porch are being damaged by vagrants. <4>

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: RCHME. 1922. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 3. Vol 3, pp.37-39.
  • <2> DESC TEXT: Pevsner, N. 1954. The Buildings of England, Essex. pp120-121.
  • <3> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1971. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest:Colchester. p130.
  • <4> DESC TEXT: Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA. 1977. CBA Research Report No. 19 Historic Churches - a wasting asset. pp29-30.
  • <5> DESC TEXT: Partridge, J. 1991. Summary report of the excavation practice and recording (level II) of three trial trenches inside St.

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Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Nov 3 2015 11:41AM

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