St Martin's Church, Colchester

St Martin's Church

West Stockwell Street, Colchester, CO1 1HN


Accessibility: One step from pavement to path. No steps through to nave. Ramp to vestry

A wonderful, atmospheric space in the 16th century Dutch Quarter in the centre of Colchester. It has been decommissioned and is looked after by the Historic Churches Trust. There is no heating but our evocative candlelight concerts are much loved and you’re welcome to wrap up in a blanket.

Please note we use temporary seating in this venue so as with most churches you may like to bring a cushion!

Roman River Festival concerts have included:

2013 Shosta-vodka  Late-night Shostakovich Quartets nos 3 and 15 with a shot of vodka, played by Thomas Gould, Eleanor Cooke, Maya Rasooly and Orlando Jopling

2014 Vive vocals new material from the incredible talented Vive, redefining close harmony and a cappella music, featuring lead singer Emily Dankworth

2014 Fiona Bevan and her band, and Firefly Burning an eclectic mix of styles from two up-and-coming groups

2014 Metamorphosen Strauss’ masterpiece in the version he made for seven strings, played by Simon Blendis, Tom Norris, Gillianne Haddow, Malcolm Johnston, Rebecca Gilliver and Orlando Jopling

2015 Shostakovich and Schnittke Piano Quintets played by Charles Owen, Arisa Fujita and Elena Urioste with Jerwood Young Artists Joshua Hayward and Nathaniel Boyd


A few notes on the history of the church

Many reused Roman bricks may be seen in its exterior, especially in its tower. Although there is evidence of 11th-century work, most of the present building grew during the 14th century.  It has a 12th century tower which was severely damaged during the English Civil War siege of Colchester in the 17th century.

There is a remarkable 14th century carving in the Chancel roof, and it has a wagon roof, Jacobean woodwork and a green man carving. It is one of six surviving medieval churches within the walls of the town; the others being All Saints, Holy Trinity, St James the Great, St Mary at the Walls, and St Peters.

StMartins copy