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CHRISTCHURCH PRIORY

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A pre-Conquest monastery and associated early Christian cemetery and a later Augustinian priory situated between the estuaries of the Rivers Avon and Stour at Christchurch. The pre-Conquest monastery was associated with the Saxon burh known as 'Twynham'. Documentary sources suggest that a church, founded at the site during the Saxon period, served a college of 24 canons. Records also suggest that by the late 11th century the Saxon church was associated with seven chapels within the churchyard, and that these were demolished circa 1100 in order to make way for a new church building. This in turn became the priory church of the Augustinian priory founded by Baldwin de Redvers around 1150. Finally completed in 1234, the priory church is well preserved and has served as the parish church since 1540 following the Dissolution in 1539. The churchyard is now closed. The main monastic structures were around the cloister block, to the south of the church. Many of these were demolished following the Dissolution but buried remains of the claustral ranges survive beneath and around Priory House, which was constructed to the south of the church in 1765. Standing remains include the precinct wall, and the gateway in the north west which survives as a sandstone built wall 2 metres high. The south western area of the precinct contained Place Mill. The mill has stone foundations dating from the 12th century. To the north of the mill is a stone-built loading quay and bridge across the mill leat. Place Mill is the only water powered flour mill known to have served the priory and town during the medieval period. In 1539 it was extensively renovated and converted into a fulling mill before being re-converted into a flour mill. In 1908 it became a boat store and was restored in 1980 and opened to the public. The site is Scheduled and includes several Listed Buildings.

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