View all the report titles
View a summary of a chosen report
View the full report in PDF format of a chosen report
Search archive using keywords
Home Page

Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 408: summary

(Click on report title to view full report in PDF format)

An archaeological evaluation by trial-trenching in the car-park of the Adult Community College, Grey Friars, High Street, Colchester, Essex: January-February 2007
by Orr, K
(with contributions from Brooks, H; Crummy, N)

Date report completed: 01/02/2007
Location: Colchester town centre, Essex
Map reference(s): TM00122532
File size: 1,254 kb
Project type: Evaluation
Significance of the results: Neg
Keywords: medieval, medieval wall foundation, monastic building, Anglo-Saxon, demolition debris, post-medieval pit, post-medieval ditch, World War 1/World War 2 defences, septaria, peg-tile

Summary. The investigation was a partial evaluation to find remains of the friary of ‘Grey Friars'. The investigation demonstrated the existence of medieval, post medieval and possibly Roman archaeological features on the site, most of which are to be found at approximately 1m below ground-level. The possible Roman feature was a robbed foundation. Romano-British material was found residually in later contexts. One piece of Anglo-Saxon pottery suggests occupation on the site between the 5th to the 7th centuries. In T1, a wide medieval foundation is likely to represent part of the friary church. Next to it was a large amount of building rubble. A copper-alloy buckle typical of that worn on a monk's girdle came from this rubble. Three pieces of floor tile and four fragments of worked stone all point to a monastic building. In T2 was another medieval wall foundation, at right-angles to that found in T1 and probably part of the same building or perhaps a cloister attached to the church. The layer of demolition debris sealing these features contained medieval and post-medieval material indicating that these buildings continued in use well after the Dissolution of 1538. Further south, no foundations were exposed but there were two probable medieval sand-quarry pits. A linear spread of building rubble and a large pit filled with building rubble most likely derive from demolished friary buildings such as the church, cloister, precinct wall or the gatehouse. Although no graves were exposed, one piece of skull was found, which was probably already disturbed out of its original context. Activity following the Dissolution of the monastery is evidenced by spreads of building rubble in T2 which appear to have functioned as some kind of surface or walkway. Several other post-medieval pits and ditches were exposed. A WW2 air-raid shelter was exposed, dating to the time of the site’s use as the County High School for Girls.