Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

St. Johns Abbey Gatehouse (Colchester)

St.John' Abbey Gatehouse is an impressive structure in the ancient town of Colchester in Essex.

It can be found at St. Johns Green, just outside Colchesters Roman Walls.

St. Johns was a Benedictine abbey which was founded by Eudo Dapifer shortly after the Norman Conquest in 1096, about the time that he also founded Colchester Castle.

The gatehouse itself, with its flint and flushwork decoration, dates from the 15th century.

Rivalry between St. Johns Abbey and the nearby St. Botolphs Priory reached such a pitch of jealousy and hatred that it culminated in brawling in a street riot in the 14th century. It took the Pope, Urban V, to mediate between the two establishments.

The Abbot of St. Johns was one of the 28 mitred abbots who were summoned to Parliament.

Catherine of Aragon stayed here while on pilgrimage to Our Lady of Walsingham.

St. Johns was, like so many others, closed at the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII.

The last abbot, Thomas Beche, was hanged and mutilated at Colchester in 1539, for alleged traitorous language.

The gatehouse, however, survived bombardment at the Siege of Colchester during the Civil War.

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