UPDATED June 2015: important new interpretation of friary buildings by leading mediaeval expert

Dr John Ashdown-Hill (of ‘finding Richard III’ fame), a leading academic in the field of mediaeval study, has worked on a new interpretation of how the original Grey Friars  church may have looked, and equally importantly, its location.

Using the 1718 sketch of the above-ground remains, by William Stukeley (who also drew St Botolph’s Priory), augmented by various pieces of evidence from other reports on the site, plus adjustments to pictures of existing Franciscan friary buildings, he has suggested how the site may have been laid out.

First revealed in a recent keynote lecture to the Essex Society for Archaeology and History, John has shared his material with our project.

We have now prepared an article on his important investigations.

*** Visit this website’s “Resources” section for details of this and other contributions from local people with knowledge and interest. ***

Update: The medieval depiction of East Hill and East Gate featured in our resource item, and interpreted for us by John Ashdown-Hill, now features on the information board installed at the junction of East Hill and Roman Road by the Friends of Colchester’s Roman Wall, see>     www.romanwall.org

The board was sponsored by the Colchester Civic Society to mark its 50th anniversary, see>  www.colchestercivicsociety.co.uk



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  1. Reply

    This is amazing stuff! This place has needed investigating for a long time. There can’t be many areas in our iconic town with such a wide range of historical connections both locally and nationally that have been as neglected as this little site. I can see why it needs a website to keep the whole thing going. The book’s big enough already, but with all this extra information coming in it would be like an encyclopaedia. Good to see how many people, ordinary and famous, who have been energised by your project. There must be thousands of locals who know it through attending as children or adults, many without being aware of its wider significance. Has anyone ever done the maths?

    1. Reply
      Alan Skinner

      An intriguing suggestion HB! We’ve been thinking about it for a while now and are on the brink of revealing the figure. Watch this space!