Monument record MCC8106 - Colchester-Butt Road (police station)


Excavations revealed 741 graves, part of an originally much greater number but many were removed during relatively recent sand quarrying.


Grid reference TL 9929 2483 (point) (FCE)
Map sheet TL92SE


Type and Period (4)

Full Description

Excavations revealed 741 graves, part of an originally much greater number but many were removed during relatively recent sand quarrying. Cemetery comprised broadly two phases, the first a relatively small number of graves all more or less aligned north-south. Initially the site was not used exclusively for burial and the earliest recorded burials seem to have occured when the land was used for other purposes including probable pottery making and metal working. The second phase dating from the early part of the fourth century was laid out on top of the first. Graves were east-west with the heads to the west. They were laid out in tightly packed rows which eventually crept over and obliterated the first century graves. Most of the bodies of both main phases were buried in nailed wooden coffins but various other types were also present including lead coffins, hollowed tree trunks, timber vaults and graves with no coffins at all. At one corner of the cemetery and associated with its second phase was a long narrow building which was constructed between AD320 and 340. Oriented east-west an apse was added to the east end in a secondary phase. The building was divided by a wooden screen and two rows of posts ran down the eastern half forming aisles. The full structual sequence has proved difficult to understand but it is clear that the west wall had been rebuilt and the internal plan radically altered by the insertion of substantial posts. Some grave like pits at the eastern end of the church appear to have been burials. The building is interpreted on strong circumstantial evidence as an early christian church. The remains of this building have been placed on permanant display with partial reconstruction. <13> Other refs <1> - <12>

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1960 0nwards. SMR form unknown.
  • <2> DESC TEXT: Crummy, N. 1983. Colchester Archaeol Rep 2. No 2.
  • <4> DESC TEXT: Crummy, N. 1987. Colchester Archaeol Rep 4. No 4.
  • <5> DESC TEXT: Crummy, N. 1988. Colchester Archaeol Rep 5. No 5.
  • <6> DESC TEXT: Cotter, J. unknown. Colchester Archaeol Rep. No 7, forthcoming.
  • <7> DESC TEXT: Cool, H and Price, J. unknown. Colchester Archaeol Rep. No 8, forthcoming.
  • <8> DESC TEXT: Crummy, P. 1993. Colchester Arch Rep 9. No 9, BUC76-9, forthcoming.
  • <9> DESC TEXT: Symonds, RP and Wade, S. unknown. Colchester Archaeol Rep. No 10, forthcoming.
  • <10> DESC TEXT: Luff, R. unknown. Colchester Archaeol Rep. No 12, forthcoming.
  • <11> DESC TEXT: McWhirter. unknown. Guinness Book of Records.
  • <12> DESC TEXT: Crummy, P. 1989. Secrets of the Grave.
  • <13> DESC TEXT: Crummy, P. 1990. A Roman Church in Colchester. No.120, p406-408.

Finds (3)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Nov 3 2015 11:41AM

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