Described by Pevsner as 'the most remarkable Norman church in the county', the church of St Michael and All Angels is home to some of the best-preserved Norman wall paintings in Britain.
The church was built around 1125-1130, probably as a chapel by the Bishops of London. The whole church was originally vaulted, and the apse still is - Norman vaults in parish churches are extremely rare in England.
The 'Danes skin' from the north door has recently been re-examined and confirmed as human.
In the apse of the church are mid-12th century wall paintings, much restored, depicting St Michael and St Gabriel and 10 apostles. At the centre is a majesty with rainbow supported by angels. The nave and chancel have numerous figures with extensive decorative work and diaper motifs.
The paintings are by far the most important medieval wall paintings in Essex. They date from the same time as the church, and are comparable with contemporary paintings in St Gabriel's Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral. They have been heavily restored, particularly those in the apse (pictured) which were discovered during restoration work in 1871-2 and over-painted.
This beautiful church is just 5 minutes off the A12 to the south of Colchester, and is open to the public. To find out more about visiting, please check the church website.