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Christchurch Priory

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Christchurch Priory has been around for approximately nine centuries, although there has been a church on this site since about 800 A.D. At 311 feet it is the longest parish church in England. Ranulf Flambard, a chief minister of King William II, began the building of the Norman Church on the site of the Old Saxon Priory during 1094. A paragraph in the Christchurch Cartulary states: 'Flambard destroyed the primitive church of that place and nine others that had been standing below the cemetery. Although it is built here, Christchurch Priory was originally going to be built on St. Catherine's Hill. Every time the workers returned in morning from their previous work, the material they had been using to build the church had been taken down to the place it is situated now. This brings us to the myth of the miraculous beam. While the workers were building, one of the beams were cut too short, and after that day all the builders went home, apart from one. The next morning the workers came back to the building to find the beam had been cut and fitted perfectly, but the carpenter was no where to be seen. ...read more.


Also, other countries may have had plans to take over England so the two rivers gave the Normans an advantage of protecting their land and preventing people from attacking the church in the future. The North Transept The structure of the roof is still present just above the tower, although the rest of the roof had collapsed in 1340. The windows are of an Early English Gothic style, as well as the Montacute Chapels. The exterior of the North Transept is the Norman tower. This is decorated with Norman arcading, fish scale and diaper work. Although the east side has had two early English chapels added, replacing the original Norman apse end The Nave & The Triforium The Nave (below left) has a height of 58 feet and is pure Norman up to the Triforium level (shown above left), and also is help up by very large Norman pillars. By 1350 the Nave roof had been lifted to its present height over the clerestory. It is of a Norman styled architecture. In this picture we can also see the Triforium, where the nave was once lifted to in 1145. In 1214 the Nave Altar was consecrated. ...read more.


John Draper is duly remembered by the Chantry at the end of the south choir aisle. Mostly other reasons for change amongst the church were for more modern styles of architecture and decoration and also for natural reasons, such as the central tower collapsing, or purposely being taken down. Many Architectural styles are still present throughout the church, and we can tell from which are older styles and how they can be recognised. Saxon architecture shows arches are rounded and quite plain, and similarly, Norman architecture shows that arches are still rounded though they are larger and have quite a few lower-levelled orders. Though arches are still present, Gothic (Early English) architecture introduces the high pointed arch with deep rounded mouldings with a small single light or lancet, and no decoration. Pointed arches soon changed to rounded much like the earlier stages in time, as Gothic Perpendicular and the Renaissance period introduced change to architecture. By looking at source 4, we can see that before the Dissolution by Henry VIII, there was much more than just a church and we are able to see the monastic buildings surrounding the church and also the land that was owned before it was sold off. ...read more.

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