Monument record MCC7846 - St Peter's Church, Colchester


Only church in Colchester mentioned in Domesday Survey.


Grid reference TL 9940 2522 (point) (FCE)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Only church in Colchester mentioned in Domesday Survey. No trace of pre-Conquest church in present church which is a large C15 aisled building. Extensively restored in the C18 and restored in the C19. <1> Where ancient the walls are of mixed rubble with septaria, brick and ragstone; dressings are Reigate and other limestone. Roofs are covered with lead and tiles. Earliest parts are formed by the 4 western bays of the nave with the S aisle which are early C15. Later in the C15 the corresponding bays of the N arcade with the N aisle were built. At this time there was a central tower between the 3rd and part of the 2nd bays of the existing arcades. Early in the C16 the vestry with bone-hole below were added. Chancel has no ancient features. Features and fittings include: C15, early C16 windows early C16 doorway to bone-hole; tracing of C15 doorway in nave N wall; C15 doorway in S wall; early C16 doorway to W wall vestry (with C14 door, latch and key plate probably C16 or C17); indents in N aisles; door c. 1310 in S aisle, S doorway, ironwork ascribed to Thomas of Leighton Buzzard (has late C14 scutcheon plate added); early C15 piscina in S aisle S wall; C15 and C16 worked stone fragments in churchyard. <2> <4> Parapet of N wall of vestry has richly cusped panelling with carved rosettes. <2> The only Colchester church mentioned in the Domesday survey, although others existed, an indication that it was well established and richly endowed by 1086. However, no hint of Anglo-Saxon work in the fabric, and is a remnant of a fairly large C15 aisled building, extensively renovated in the C18 and restored in the C19, each time with re-use of much flint and stone rubble and many Roman bricks. The medieval church had a central tower and transepts - declared dangerous and removed in 1758. The inadequate RCHM plan including foundations of tower but does not state its source. The tower was crowned by an octagonal lantern or spire (shown on Morants map and contemporary engravings) probably C16 or C17, but the base of the tower was probably much earlier. The tower was damaged in the 1692 earthquake. The church is sited on the most important Roman and medieval street junction. The graveyard probably originally abutted on the High Street and the frontage buildings (Red Row) are probably medieval encroachments. <5> for burial. Church is of great archaeoligical interest - mainly for below

Site Assessment: The vaulted bone hole is interesting and among the fittings the early C14 ironwork of the S doorway is noteworthy. <2> Perhaps the most significant feature is the early C16 brick charnel house. South door with fine C13 ironwork is the earliest survivig feature. Graveyard is a likely site for ecclesiastical ? development; no longer used ground archaeology - likely to be Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval. <5>

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: Priddy, DA. unknown. SMR.
  • <2> DESC TEXT: RCHME. 1922. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 3. Vol 3, pp.41-42.
  • <3> DESC TEXT: Pevsner, N. 1954. The Buildings of England, Essex. p122.
  • <4> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1986. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest:Colchester. p97.
  • <5> DESC TEXT: Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA. 1977. CBA Research Report No. 19 Historic Churches - a wasting asset. pp28-9.

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Record last edited

Nov 3 2015 11:41AM

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