After visiting Ludgershall Castle and Old Sarum for my birthday, we headed further south to visit Christchurch Castle and Norman House. Despite living in the south of England for many years and working/studying in Bournemouth and the New Forest, I had never been to Christchurch until that day. Our first stop was to walk to Christchurch Castle from where we had parked (near the picturesque Christchurch church and rose gardens).
We walked around the church (Christchurch Priory) to get to the castle. The building would have been constructed in the late 1000s.
The castle (actually, it is the tower and primary form of defense) is built upon a mound of earth, which would have been surrounded by a water-filled moat. All that is left is the ruins of a couple of walls. The castle would have originally been constructed of timber around 1100, and the stone structure would have probably been constructed in the 12th century.
We climbed the stone stairs in order to get a better view of the castle and its surroundings.
Next to the castle is another field and then the main road with hotels and pubs on the other side. We saw people in this field who were having a wedding. On the far side of the field is the ruins of Norman House, a house dating from the time of the castle. Beyond the ruins of Norman House are the two canals.
This area looked pleasant with potential good walks, but we could not explore it for too long. The two canals gave the place a name 'Twynham', which means "place between rivers". The area changed its name to Christchurch because of the important priory here.
The pigeons seemed to love the house, and we saw a dead one on the floor of the house and a lot of live ones hanging around the stonework.
The lord would have lived in this house, and these formed his apartments and the Great Hall. Stables, kitches, and other buildings would have existed in the fields that we crossed near the foot of the castle (and on the other side of the filled moat).
This is a rare example of a house from this time as many would have been constructed of timber instead of stone. The chimney has survived, and its survival is a rare feature. Kings would have come here to dine.
Overlooking Norman House is the priory, and this large field would have held the other buildings to help with the running of the castle.
After exploring both structures, we walked down the High Street. We had ice cream from a little cafe, and we looked in a couple of shops. Christchurch has the standard town/village High Street with the shops.
Overall, we had a pleasant evening. Have you ever been to Christchurch?