Monument record MCC8397 - Interval Tower 1, Balkerne Hill, Colchester


A trench was cut in 1938 locateing one of the few known interval towers (Tower 1) on the Town Wall.


Grid reference TL 9924 2529 (point) (FCE)
Map sheet TL92NE


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

In 1938 a trench was cut inward from the broken end of the Roman town wall across the line of the rampart which located one of the few known interior towers of the walls of Colchester. It is bonded into the wall angles and carefully executed in tile. Subsequent work on preservation of the wall necessitated removal of earth from the back of it, work that revealed the tower to be 17.5ft long. The construction is solid, the facing as that of the town wall and the core similarly made. Preserved to a height of 7ft. The foundation stood directly on soft yellow sand, which partly accounts for the instability along this part of the wall. Finds from the excavation include samian, buff ware (24 fragments, chiefly of early flagons), rim of mortarium, grey ware, colour coated wares, part of a `Celtic key', half a whetstone. Debris lying on the bank inside the wall (see section in this source) included flue tiles, red tesserae, fragments of bronze sheet, iron nails and pieces of Roman pottery which included many late mortarium rims. There is therefore doubt whether "we are dealing with the rampart proper or with an accumulation of levels". The rampart may have been arranged differently behind the towers than elsewhere. At the bottom of the trench cleaing of the loam revealed a definite pattern of small post holes (photo in this source) of square or oblong section, "it is tempting to see in these traces of a wooden stair for access to the tower" but their depth at which they lay precluded further investigation. The number of posts and variety in size call for caution in interpretation. <1> Other ref. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: Hull, MR. 1958. Roman Colchester. pp.22-24.
  • <2> DESC TEXT: Colchester Museum. 1944. Col Mus Rep. pp.20-21.

Finds (6)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

May 11 2018 1:47PM

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