Monument record MCC7851 - St Mary's Church, Colchester


Rebuilt in brick, 1713-14 after the Civil War siege of 1648, later demolsihed apart from the W tower, to make way for the present red brick structure.


Grid reference TL 9922 2505 (point) (FCE)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (4)

Full Description

Rebuilt in brick, 1713-14 after the siege of 1648, later demolsihed apart from the W tower, to make way for the present red brick structure. <1> Top stage of the tower was added in 1729. Features and fittings include: bell of 1679; C17 and early C18 monuments in the church and churchyard; plate includes richly decorated chalice (photo in RCHM) inscribed and dated 1633, also cup and cover-paten of 1714; pulpit of early C18. <2> <4> Upper parts of the tower brick, dated 1729, with battlements and a higher embattled stair turret. The rest of the church 1872, by Sir Arthur Bloomfield. Pevsner gives 1623 as the date of the chalice. Also cup and paten of 1714. Monuments include very well carved figure of Sir Isaac Rebew (d.1699). <3> Morant was for a time the rector of this parish and records interesting details relating to the early C18 reconstruction. He records that the churchyard was levelled in 1714 and handsome gravel walls made around the church. The church had been rebuilt on a more humble scale than had originally been proposed, and proved inadequate for the asopirations of the Victorian congregation, and was demolished in 1872 except for thetower. The graveyadr is historically more important than the church. <5> <6> A Parish Book has survived, relating to the early C18 rebuilding and is discussed with quoted extracts in source 7. <7> <8>

Site Assessment = The present structure is a solid and cumbersome building but is in good order and houses several important monuments. The graveyard is the largest in area in Colchester and is a rare example of an early C18 planned layout. It is well kept, pleasantly foliated and contains a fine collection of C18 and C19 monuments. "There can be no doubt that it is one of the most important graveyards in the Diocese." Must be protected from `tidying'. Some monuments need repair. No current threats but should disturbance of floors or ground occur excavation would be needed. Need to recover an exact plan of the C18 church known only from photographs, etc and its predecessors. <5>

Watching brief on pipe work revealed Victorian brickwork. But little of significance.<9>

15 June 1648 Royalist set up a battery at St Mary's church and start firing<10>

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: Priddy, DA. unknown. SMR.
  • <2> DESC TEXT: RCHME. 1922. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 3. Vol 3, p29.
  • <3> DESC TEXT: Pevsner, N. 1954. The Buildings of England, Essex. p121.
  • <4> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1971. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest:Colchester. p14.
  • <5> DESC TEXT: Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA. 1977. CBA Research Report No. 19 Historic Churches - a wasting asset. p33.
  • <6> DESC TEXT: Morant, P. 1748. History of Colchester. Vol 2, p3.
  • <7> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1945. The Rebuilding of the Church of St Mary-at-the-Wall, Colchester, 1713-14. NS, Vol 23, Part II, pp311-320.
  • <8> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1714. A Parish Book of St Mary's Church.
  • < 9> DESC TEXT: Crummy, P. 1992. Colchester Archaeological Report 6. Excavations at Culver Street, Gilberd School and other sites in Colchester.
  • <10> DESC TEXT: Colchester Archaeological Trust. 1998. The siege of Colchester.

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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