Ruins of All Saints Church

All Saints Church ruinsRuined Church in Colchester Zoo

These impressive ruins are of All Saints’ Church and they are located in the grounds of Colchester Zoo.

Although a church or temple had existed on this site since Roman times, the current church was built in the late 13th century by the Bellhouse family who lived in Stanway from 1274 – 1375. The church was built to serve Stanway Manor which still stands in the zoo today and is used as the zoo office building.

The manor of Stanway was recorded in the Domesday book of 1086 and even at that time Colchester had 419 houses listed making the town quite sizable even in those days.

The church was rebuilt probably following the fall of a tower in the early 15th century when a north aisle was also built. The church is built of flint and stone rubble with some limestone dressings and red brick.

Side of All Saints ChurchAs it stands the church consists of a west tower, a three-bay nave and a north porch. The chancel, north aisle, and a north tower were demolished in circa 1605 and restored for a period some years later by Sir John Swinnerton. The church was in use up to the Civil War, when the church was rendered useless for worship and in the 1650’s the roof was removed with the timber and lead being sold off.

The church has been derelict since circa 1700 but underwent a major renovation by Colchester Zoo back in 2007-2009 at a cost of £180,000.

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