St. Botolph's priory was founded around 1100AD as an Augustinian religious house. Little detail of its history survives. The church is a good example of early Norman architecture, complete with the large circular pillars typical of that period. Where the stone cladding has decayed, it is possible to see the re-used Roman bricks that lie beneath. The priory was dissolved in 1536AD, after which it found use as a parish church. It suffered later damage in 1648AD in the English civil war during the siege of Colchester. Evidence of canon fire is still visible amongst the ruins.
Today, St. Botolph's priory is hidden away out of sight in a corner of modern Colchester. Easily missed, it offers a small oasis of tranquillity from the bustle of the town. The remains of the church are reasonably impressive, with the Norman pillars and walls offering a good impression of how the building may once have looked. The west front is the most visually striking feature, but no trace exists of any other priory buildings.
The location of this site has made it popular with local teenagers, alcoholics and drifters. I wasn't disturbed by any of them - we were all happy going about our own business. I enjoyed wandering round the St. Botolph's, and found the ruins peaceful and pleasant. This might not be the grandest of medieval sites, but it's still well worth a visit if you're in the area.