Siege of 1648 commemorated with plaque at St. Martins Church
This is a commemorative plaque inside St. Martin’s Church in West Stockwell Street, which marks the destruction of the church tower during the siege of Colchester in 1648. This plaque is made of encaustic tiles and was designed by Rev Ernest Geldart (1848 – 1929) which is located on the North Aisle of the church.
The plaque reads:
This tablet was put up by the corporation of Colchester AD1892 to commemorate the fact that the upper part of the tower of this church was destroyed by the cannon of General Fairfax during the siege in 1648 and also to draw attention to the metal bullets which were embedded in the front at the same perilous time.
The destruction of the church’s tower is clear to see as you walk past along the street, but to see the impact marks made from the musket balls you need to look a lot closer at the stonework surrounding the door. This stonework in many places is in a state of decay initially through being fired on during the siege and through natural weathering over time.
Part of the church tower had already collapsed by 1633 with the remaining part leveled after the siege in 1648. Despite this there still remains visible, the many musket ball impact marks made from this time, some easier to spot than others.
The photo shows one example of the impact marks from the siege which is clearly visible today with the roundness and smoothness of the mark is very plain to see.
Note: Encaustic tiles are ceramic tiles in which the pattern or figure on the surface is not a product of the glaze but of different colours of clay. They are usually of two colours but a tile may be composed of as many as six.