As can be seen from its ruins in the picture, there was once a considerable early Norman Church here. St Botolph’s Priory was founded in the late 11th century as the first British house of the Augustinian Canons. The church was built of rubble and also Roman bricks, brought from nearby Roman ruins in Colchester.
British Library: Inside View of St Botolph’s Priory at Colchester in Essex.
Founded about 1100, St Botolph’s was one of the first Augustinian priories in England. An impressive example of early Norman architecture, built in flint and reused Roman brick, the church displays massive circular pillars, round arches and an elaborate west front. It was badly damaged by cannon fire during the Civil War siege of 1648.
St. Botolph’s Priory was a medieval house of Augustinian canons in Colchester, Essex, founded c. 1093. The priory had the distinction of being the first and leading Augustinian convent in England until its dissolution in 1536. . . . The priory was dissolved in accordance with the Act of 1536. On 26 May in that year it was granted with all its possessions, including the manors of Blindknights, Canwikes and Dilbridge to Sir Thomas Audley. Audley had licence on 12 September 1540, to grant the site of the priory to John Golder and Anastasia his wife.
As the priory had been an Augustinian house, and therefore the church had both parochial and conventual functions, the nave was retained as a parish church. The choir, which had been solely for the use of the canons, was not spared however, and was demolished along with the cloisters, chapter house and associated buildings. The church remained this way until the Siege of Colchester in 1648 during the Second English Civil War. A Royalist army had seized the town, which was then surrounded and bombarded by the New Model Army led by Thomas Fairfax, with St Botolph’s being caught in the crossfire of the assault on South Gate, reducing it to its present ruinous state.