Dorset OPC


including Burton & Hurn

Dorset OPC

Christchurch Priory
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Christchurch is a borough and town on the south coast of England. To the west of the town lies Bournemouth and the New Forest lies to the east. Having been historically within the county of Hampshire, it became part of Dorset in the 1974 reorganisation of local government. The Parish of Christchurch formerly included the hamlets and tythings of BransgoreBure, Burton, Hinton, Hurn, Iford, Mudeford, Parley, Pokesdown, Tuckton and Winkton. Bransgore and Hinton (Admiral) remain to this day part of Hampshire and are now parishes in their own right. Burton and Hurn are also modern day civil parishes but are included in Christchurch historically. Pokesdown now forms part of Bournemouth.

Founded in the 7th century at the confluence of the rivers Avon and Stour which flow into Christchurch Harbour, the town was originally called Twynham. Christchurch Priory was constructed in 1094 and became the parish church after the dissolution of the monasteries. Christchurch has a weekly market on Mondays held in the High Street. The railway came to Christchurch in 1847 the station (Christchurch Road) was at Holmsley but in 1862 a new station was built nearer the town. In 1883 Christchurch joined the mainline making the town and surrounding areas more accessible.

Christchurch has been known for its smuggling trade during the 18th and 19th centuries. The manufacturing of Fusee Chains for clocks and watches and glove knitting were popular industries in the town and employed many of the townspeople including small children. The Red House Museum was once the Town Workhouse it houses exhibitions of local history, archaeology, geology and natural history and is well worth a visit.

The town centre and harbour are overlooked by the 11th century Grade I listed Christchurch Priory. Once a monastery, it was given to the town for use as a parish church by Henry VIII after the dissolution in 1540. It is the longest parish church in England with a nave over 311 feet long. The nave and transepts are Norman with heavy columns and round arches, whereas the lady chapel is from the 14th century and more Perpendicular in style. The great choir is even later, having been rebuilt in the 16th century. The Priory is noted for its Miraculous Beam, which attracts pilgrims from all over the world.

Christchurch Town Hall
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]  
© Copyright Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The new OPC for Christchurch is Ellen Frost

Please include the words "OPC Christchurch" in the subject line of your messages
Click on Ellen's name above to generate a correctly addressed mail

Census 1841 Census
1851 Census
1861 Census
1871 Census
1881 Census
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census
Parish Registers Baptisms
Trade & Postal Directories White's Directory 1859 [Jon Baker]
Other Records Christchurch Union Workhouse, includes 1881 census records [External]
Monumental Inscriptions  
Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Christenings 1584-1590, 1634-1643, 1682-1876.
Marriages 1634-1643, 1682-1875.
Burials 1634-1640, 1682-1876





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