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Historic England Research Records

Christchurch Castle

Hob Uid: 458553
Location :
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
Christchurch
Grid Ref : SZ1600509267
Summary : Christchurch Castle is a motte and bailey castle situated between the estuaries of the River Avon and Stour at Christchurch. The castle is situated to the north east of Christchurch Priory (Monument Number 458556) and was constructed by Richard de Redvers in around AD 1100. The motte mound has maximum dimensions of 50 metres in diameter and approximately 5 metres in height and may, originally, have supported a timber tower. The motte was enlarged to its present size in order to accommodate the stone rubble keep or tower which was built after AD 1300. The bailey occupied the area to the north east of the motte. To the north east is the well preserved structure of the Norman great hall which dates from circa AD 1160. The hall is aligned north west by south east and has maximum dimensions of 18.5 metres by 7 metres. The structure is likely to have provided the main accommodation of the Norman castle and it continued in use over a long period. It later became the residence of the Constable and is now often known as 'The Constable's House'. The structure features one of only five Norman chimneys still surviving in England. The castle was besieged and captured by Walter de Pinkney in 1148. Subsequently, although re-fortified, it became a residence and played little strategic role in later conflicts. Despite playing little part in the Civil War, the castle was ordered to be demolished by Parliament in 1651, when its defences were levelled. The area was used as public gardens for much of the 20th century. The site is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : (SZ 16029267) Castle (NR) (remains of) (NAT) (1)

(SZ 15979266) Keep (NR)

(SZ 16059270) Constable's House (NR)

Christchurch Castle was probably erected by Richard de Redvers during the reign of Henry I (1100-1135). It did not figure very prominently in the history of the time although it was in use during the Civil War; it was demolished shortly afterwards. (2)

The only surviving remains are the motte, the keep and the hall. The keep was rectangular, 50 feet by 45 1/2 feet, with walls over nine feet thick.

Only the base courses of the north and south walls remain, but the east and west walls stand to some height. The 12th century hall, known as the "Norman House" is a rectangular building of two storeys, 67 feet by 23 feet internally, and in a very good state of preservation. It is probable that the curtain wall of the castle
enclosure must have been continuous with the east wall of the hall.

Published survey (1:2500) correct. (3)

See ground photographs.

See MOW pamphlet.

The Castle, Grade 1: The Constable's House, Grade 1. Both as described. (4)

SZ 160927. Christchurch Castle - Scheduled. (5)

The castle was inserted into the existing street pattern about 1100. (6)

There is no evidence of the early form of the castle, but the earth
motte was possibly an addition. There is no evidence of a wall or bank around the bailey except possibly for a wall along the mill
stream, Possibly incorporated into the fabric of the Constable's
House about 1160.

An earlier bailey circuit may be preserved in the line of an alley
and side street to the north of the motte.

Concise architectural report. (7)

Scheduled listing. (8-9)

Listed by Cathcart King. (10)

The Constable's House features one of only five Norman chimneys surviving in England. [Later compilers note: this weblink is no longer active]. (11)

Accessible overview of Chrischurch Castle and "Norman House" for visitors. (12)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:2500 1962
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, volume five
Source details :
Page(s) : 88-90
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage. 2008. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server.php?show=nav.15655 [Accessed: 15-MAY-2008]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Heritage Unlocked: Guide to free sites in Devon, Dorset and Somerset
Source details :
Page(s) : 40-43
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 FGA 31-MAR-69
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Christchurch, 12-FEB-1976
Page(s) : 21, 22
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 748
Source Number : 5
Source : List of ancient monuments in England: Volume 1, Northern England; Volume 2, Southern England; Volume 3, East Anglia and the Midlands
Source details :
Page(s) : 82
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 6
Source : Historic towns in Dorset
Source details :
Page(s) : 41-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1 (1980)
Source Number : 7
Source : Medieval military architecture in England. Volume 1
Source details :
Page(s) : 385-392
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 29-Apr-98
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 16-Jan-98
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 190
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Constructed c1100
Monument End Date : 1110
Monument Start Date : 1090
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey, Timber Framed Building, Keep
Evidence : Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built c1160
Monument End Date : 1170
Monument Start Date : 1150
Monument Type : Great Hall
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : After c1160
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1150
Monument Type : Constables Office
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built after 1300
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1300
Monument Type : Keep
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Demolished in 1651
Monument End Date : 1651
Monument Start Date : 1651
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey, Keep
Evidence : Earthwork, Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : C20 use
Monument End Date : 1999
Monument Start Date : 1901
Monument Type : Public Park
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 22962
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DO 829
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : HA 6
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 101451
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 101453
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 249
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SZ 19 SE 13
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SZ 19 SE 13
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1969-03-31
End Date : 1969-03-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CHRISTCHURCH CASTLE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31