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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 137: summary

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A watching brief at the site of the former St Paul's church, Belle Vue Road, Colchester, Essex: September-October 2001
by Orr, K

Date report completed: 30/05/2001
Location: Colchester, Essex
Map reference(s): TL99152608
File size: 1244 kb
Project type: Watching brief
Significance of the results: Neg
Keywords: Church, human bone

Summary. The watching brief recorded, within the first soakaway, two adult burials without trace of a coffin and a probable third burial in a coffin, all at 2.6m below ground-level. A further burial was found, possibly that of a child, in a coffin, during the digging of a drain-trench on the eastern boundary of the site. This burial was not seen by an archaeologist but was recorded at being 2.1m below ground-level. The graves were unmarked and are thought to be the burials of residents of nearby Essex Hall asylum on North Station Road. Essex Hall was converted from a former hotel in 1850 to accommodate mentally handicapped residents, mainly children at first. From 1935 it was used for female residents. It was closed in 1985 (Cooper 1994, 288-9). The church of St Paul was built in 1869 and the graveyard ceased to be used at some time before 1900, and therefore the burials must be late Victorian. The small brick from soakaway 1 would tie in with this dating.