St Botolph’s Church Walk, Colchester CO2 7EE
The priory of St Botolph was founded between 1093 and 1100, and was among the very first religious houses in England adopted the Rule of Saint Augustine. This gave it authority over similar religious houses to correct wrongs and set new regulations.
A much older Saxon Church dedicated to St Botolph was originally located on the same location of the Priory. The church was converted to the rule of Augustine under a Kentish priest named Norman, who studied under the famous Anselm of Canterbury. These studies happened when he was living in France, after which he returned to England and settled in Colchester.
Even after many years and in its eroded state the priory church is an impressive display and example of early Norman architecture. The priory is one of the best surviving, maintained examples of church from the period.
The church was constructed from flint rubble with dressings and arches constructed in brick mostly reused from Roman buildings from Colchester. The simple design of the massive arches and piers look stunning with this effect. The piers were designed in circular patterns and strengthened by triple course brick and shallow pilasters. Double plastering used in the masonry inside and out and was painted to replicate ashlar blocks; this effect can still be seen on similar piers at St Alban’s Abbey. The south aisle has remains of an older chapel, however apart from this small fragment, the internal layout and arrangements of that particular church have been lost over time.