Colne priory's con-
ventual buildings were completed in the earlier
13th century and little changed thereafter. (fn. 98) The
church, on the north of the complex, comprised
choir or chancel with north and south chapels,
central tower, transepts with apsidal chapels in
their east walls, nave with north and south aisles,
and north-west and south-west towers; the west
front probably resembled that of St. Botolph's,
Colchester. The church was extensively dam-
aged c. 1356, (fn. 99) probably by the collapse of the
central tower, and much of the nave was rebuilt
or remodelled. In the 15th century the Lady
chapel on the south side of the chancel was
rebuilt and considerably enlarged. At the
Dissolution (fn. 1) the choir contained the high altar
and another altar, presumably in the north-east
chapel, in addition to the Lady chapel; St.
Peter's chapel and the 'Redd' chapel were per-
haps in the transepts, and the Rood chapel at
the east end of the nave. 'Earl Richard's altar',
recorded in 1500, (fn. 2) was presumably a chantry
altar in one of the chapels or the nave. Among
those buried in the church were all but two of
the medieval earls of Oxford. The tombs, except
for three which were removed to the parish
church, were neglected in the 17th century and
destroyed with the remains of the priory build-
ings c. 1736. The three tombs were taken from
the church and reassembled in the Priory in
1825; they were moved to the chapel at Bures
(Suff.) in 1935. (fn. 3)
The cloister lay south of the nave, with the
chapter house and the dorter on its east side and
the frater on the south; the infirmary block was
presumably further east. A tiler repaired the
dorter, the dormitory, the prior's chamber, and
the sacristan's hall c. 1425; the prior's chamber
was reroofed in 1441. (fn. 4) At the Dissolution (fn. 5) the
rooms included the hall, a parlour with a
chamber over it, a chamber next to the court,
the servants' chamber, the kitchen, and a pantry.
The site was surrounded by a precinct wall
which was at least partly rebuilt in brick in 1440
and 1441; part survived in 1998. St. Mary's
chapel, in the wall in Holt Street, was recorded
in 1510. (fn. 6)
At the Dissolution the priory was granted to
the earl of Oxford, and the buildings were
adapted as the manor house of Earls Colne and
Colne Priory manors. (fn. 7)
||98Description based on Archaeologia, lxxxvii. 275-6; V.C.H. Essex, ii. 102.
||99Cal. Close, 1354-60, 391.
||1E.A.T. n.s. ix. 330-5.
||2P.R.O., PROB 11/13, f. 182.
||3B.L. Add. MS. 71449, ff. 5-35; Archaeologia, lxxxvii. 288-94; E.A.T. 3rd ser. vi. 90-8; xvi. 53-64. Stone coffins from other graves were found on the site of the church in the 1730s: B.L. Add. MS. 5811, ff. 29, 37; E.R.O., T/P 195/11.
||4E.R.O., D/DPr 14; D/DPr 15; D/DPr 18.
||5E.A.T. n.s. ix. 330-5.
||6E.R.O., D/DPr 17; D/DPr 18; D/DPr 71, rot. 1.
||7Below, this par., Manors.