St Botolph

St Botolph's church is of special interest as a late Georgian town church built in a powerful neo Norman style, listed Grade II.

About this church

It was built in 1837 on the site of the 12th century Augustinian Priory of St Botolph. It stands where the monastic kitchens and refectory were, adjacent to the impressive ruins of the Priory Church. Its architecture, inside and out, reflects that of its 12th century predecessor.

St Botolph’s church, dominated by its massive tower, was built in white brick, earning itself the nickname 'The White Elephant'. The external brickwork has weathered to a darker hue, but, inside, the visitor is greeted by a bright contrast of white, scarlet and gold.

The church retains its original plan and most of its three sided gallery in the style of the London gallery churches. The east windows are of splendid Flemish stained glass and a window in the south aisle commemorates Archbishop Samuel Harsnett, who was born in the parish.

The particularly fine organ is by JW Walker, 1890. The nave was reordered in the 1970s by the removal of the pews, resulting in an extremely flexible interior, while preserving the sense of the original building.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • National heritage here

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Train station within 250m
  • Level access throughout
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets in church
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Café within 500m
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches


St Mary at the Wall

The former church St Mary at the Walls (now Colchester Arts Centre) is built against the Roman Walls and overlooking the south western corner of the old walled town of Colchester.

St Matthew

The church is notable for its collection of seven rare WWI wooden battlefield crosses, gifted to the families when replaced by permanent stone memorials.

St Michael & All Angels

Tucked away from its village, and next to Copford Hall, St Michael's is one of Essex's most important Norman churches, and has a remarkable collection of original wall paintings from the 1140s.

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