Book Cover

Centuries of Change: The History of St Mary’s at the Wall, Colchester

Alice Goss

For best part of 40 years now St Mary’s Church has flourished as a much loved arts venue. The building which shakes now to the sound of heavy metal bands was once shaken by the impact of 38lb canon balls during the siege of Colchester as well as by the earth quake of 1884.

The current building is actually the third built on the site. The first was St Mary the Virgin which only later became known as St Mary’s at the Walls.

The church has witnessed the burning of protestants in 1557 within yards of the west door. During the Civil War, a cavalry charge led by Charles Lucas, repelled the parliamentary invaders with the help of a cannon hauled to the top of the Church’s tower.  During the siege that followed, cannon were trained on the tower and a relentless bombardment resulted in the church’s destruction.

The fabric of the current building is lovingly detailed; the stonework, paintings, bells, and stained glass are all described and illustrated with photographs.

This fascinating book traces the history of a church that has been at the heart of Colchester life for so many generations.  The one disappointment for some might be to discover that St Mary’s famous link with Humpty Dumpty is unfounded!