RESTORATION work has been carried out on the footings of the oldest Christian church in the country.

The remains of the church, next to Colchester Police Station, are believed to have been built around the year AD 320 in the closing century of the Roman occupation.

It is understood the church may possibly be the oldest from the period in Britain.

It was excavated more than 40 years ago when Southway was built.

Work to restore the foundations was commissioned by Colchester Council and undertaken by specialist building contractors Bakers of Danbury.

Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell had arranged for urgent repairs to be undertaken by Colchester Archaeological Trust.

He said: “I am grateful the council has now arranged for more extensive restoration of the remaining stonework of this amazing survivor of the early days of Christianity in our country.”

Sir Bob has raised his concerns over the failure to promote the site of the Roman Christian Church with the council in the past.

He added: “With the success of the restoration work just completed, I renew my call for direction signs to be erected on existing poles with signs around the town centre.

“This should be promoted as a major tourist attraction, along with the Roman Chariot Circus which is the only one known to have existed in this country.”

A spokesperson for Colchester Council said work was expected to be completed soon.

He added: “A new interpretation panel, like those erected close to the Roman Wall and elsewhere around the town, is about to be sent to the designers and will be installed as soon as it’s ready.

“The church is included in the official Historic Colchester Guide as well as a booklet dedicated to the original excavation."