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Name:Christchurch Castle
Type of Record:Listed Building
HER Number:MDO8729
Last edited:Sep

Monument Type(s)


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 (SZ 19 SE 14) and was constructed by Richard de Redvers 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 Constables House. 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 has been used as public gardens for much of the 20th century. Both the castle and The Constables House are Listed Grade I and in the care of the Secretary of State Scheduled

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument (County No) - HA 6
  • Scheduled Monument (National No) - 22962
  • Listed Building (I) 1153159: THE CASTLE
  • Conservation Area: Christchurch Central
  • Scheduled Monument (County No) - DO 829
  • Scheduled Monument SM22962: Pre-Conquest monastery, early Christian cemetery, Augustinian priory and a motte and bailey castle at Christchurch

Sources and Further Reading

---SDO10455 - Unpublished document: The Christchurch Antiquarians. 2006. Christchurch Castle, Christchurch, Dorset; report on survey work July-October 2004.
---SDO15422 - Unpublished document: Oxford Archaeological Unit. 2011. Christchurch Castle and Constable's House Cultural Heritage Baseline Report.
<1>SWX1197 - Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Map 1:2500. 1:2500. 1962 edition OS map.
<2>SWX4005 - Monograph: The Victoria history of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight 5. Vol 5. p88-90.
<3>SWX1161 - Unpublished document: Aldsworth, F G. Various. Field Investigators Comments F1 FGA. 31-MAR-69.
<5>SWX1558 - Monograph: List of ancient monuments in England: Southern England. Vol 2. p82.
<7>SWX4010 - Monograph: Medieval military architecture in England.. Vol 1. p385-392.
<8>SWX4011 - Scheduling record: DCMS. 1998. Scheduled Monument Notification 29-APR-1998.
<9>SWX4012 - Scheduling record: DCMS. 1998. Scheduled Monument Notification 16-JAN-1998.
<10>SWX4013 - Index: Castellarium Anglicanum : an Index and Bibliography of the Castles in England, Wales and the Islands.. Vol I. p190.
<10>SWX4475 - Scheduling record: DOE (HRR). 1976. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Borough of Christchurch 1976. Vol 748.
<11>SDO15395 - Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 26-MAR-48. RAF/CPE/UK/2548 V 5077.
<12>SWX1202 - Monograph: Penn, K J. 1980. Historic Towns in Dorset. pgs 41-2.

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