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Christchurch and Tuckton

It is easy to dismiss Christchurch as just another suburb of Bournemouth. However buried deep within the engulfing twentieth century housing estates is a fine old medieval town, complete with priory, castle and mill.

Christchurch Priory

Location

Dorset Map

OS Ref: SZ 159 925

Last Visited: 2005

Christchurch Priory

Christchurch Priory

  • Not Used
  • Not Used
  • Not Used

Christchurch Priory, claimed by many to be the Largest Parish Church in England, looks like it should have belonged to a major abbey or a cathedral. Indeed, it is in fact larger than some cathedrals.

However, the monastery it served, which also boasted a full set of conventual buildings, never rose above the status of a priory, and was home to only twenty four monks.

The Nave

The Nave

To the medieval mind, no matter what you did in this life, you could always ensure your place in heaven by giving large amounts of property and money to the church.

Ranulf Flambard, William Rufusʼs exceedingly unpleasant right-hand man, must have realised that the price of his salvation was a high one, as he not only built an enormous church here in Christchurch in 1093 but, in 1099, after he was appointed Bishop of Durham, he built another, nearly as large, as that cityʼs cathedral.

After the dissolution, the monastery church became the parish church, but little remains of any of the other buildings.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Christchurch Priory Church
      Official church web site with details of services, etc. as well as a more detailed history.
      https://www.christchurchpriory.org/
  • Recommended Books

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Christchurch Castle

Location

Dorset Map

OS Ref: SZ 160 926

Last Visited: 2005

The Great Hall of Christchurch Castle

The Great Hall of Christchurch Castle

The earliest documentary evidence for Christchurch Castle dates back to 1130, although it is likely that it is likely that there was an earlier fortification on the site, possibly dating back to Saxon times.

Unusually the Constableʼs House or Great Hall still stands, and is a rare example of a Norman domestic building. It boasts one of only five surviving Norman chimneys in the country.

External Links and References

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Perkin's Mausoleum

Location

Dorset Map

OS Ref: SZ 160 926

Last Visited: 2005

The Perkin's Mausoleum

The Perkin's Mausoleum

According to the plaque, the Perkinʼs Mausoleum was built for a Mrs Perkins who died in 1763.

She had a fear of being buried alive and left detailed instructions to ensure she could escape from her coffin if needs be.

After her husband died in 1803, her body was finally buried, and the structure was moved to its current site.

She presumably no longer feared being buried alive, given that she had been dead for forty years.

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Place Mill

Location

Dorset Map

OS Ref: SZ 160 924

Last Visited: 2005

Christchurch Mill

Christchurch Mill

Whilst there has been a mill on the site of Place Mill since Saxon times, the earliest parts of the current building, the stone base below to the later red-brick construction, date back to before the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Other than the church, this makes it one of the few Priory buildings still remaining.

It ceased milling in 1908 and, after being restored in 1981, is now used as an art gallery.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Place Mill
      A page on the Visit Dorset site that lists opening times and details of the artists as well as a brief history.
      https://www.visit-dorset.com/things-to-do/place-mill-p134833

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