Christchurch Castle and Norman House

12th-century motte-and-bailey castle

The great tower was part of a large Norman castle that once dominated the town of Christchurch in Dorset. Nearby is the 12th century riverside chamber block known as the Norman House, one of the few remaining examples of domestic Norman architecture in England. Built in about 1160, it provided grand and comfortable living quarters for the lord of Christchurch. The tall circular Norman chimney is a particularly rare survival.

Today, two parts of Christchurch Castle survive – a typical early 12th-century motte-and-bailey castle, and a chamber block now known as the Norman House. The area between them, now a bowling green, was once the defended courtyard or bailey of the castle, and would have been filled with buildings. Begun in 1100 under the de Redvers family, the castle passed to the Crown in 1293, and was attacked during the Civil War by Parliamentarian troops before being dismantled in 1651. The Norman House is one of the few surviving examples of Norman domestic architecture in England.

Access: A dirt path runs around the base of the keep, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. There is a steep climb up to the remains for those who wish to explore further.

Parking: There is a charged car park within three minutes of the site, not managed by English Heritage.

Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome.

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Address

  • High Street
  • Christchurch
  • Dorset
  • BH23 1AS

Location

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