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Pictures of Christchurch Priory

in the town of Christchurch, in the county of Dorset

Take a picture tour of Christchurch Priory..

About Christchurch Priory

Standing serenely in all its historic splendour surrounded by old graves in a lawned churchyard the extraordinary Norman beauty of Christchurch Priory is simply overwhelming.

This is the longest parish church in England, it was begun in approximately 1100 by Ralph Flambard who was later responsible for starting Durham Cathedral. A church is recorded in the Doomsday Book of 1086 giving reason to believe that an earlier church may have stood on this very spot.

The priory is an amazing place of light and intricate decoration with magnificent vaulted ceilings and superb stained glass. The Lady Chapel in Early Perpendicular Gothic style is exceptionally beautiful, it was not completed until the 15th century, but here you can see a magnificent screen dating from the same period and although this has been restored you can still see traces of the original gold leaf.

The Berkeley Chantery was built in 1486 as a memorial for the family of Sir William Berkeley. The decoration here is of white and red roses representing the houses of York and Lancaster. Sir William died following the War of the Roses.

Beneath the Great Quire is the Crypt, this is one of the earliest parts of the church which now contains the Malmsbury family vaults installed during the 19th century. The crypt has been adapted and modified over many centuries.

The church museum is housed above the Lady Chapel in what is known as St.Michael's loft. It is not known for what purpose this loft was built, but the fact that it is a fully consecrated dedicated chapel indicates the intention of religious use. Since 1981 the loft has been used as a museum showing exhibits of centuries recounting the story of the priory.

There are many wonderful things to behold in this magnificent building, not least the glorious Nativity panel from the Jesse screen, fine misericords and the miraculous beam. With over 900 years of history to explore Christchurch Priory is well worth spending time to ensure you see and learn all there is to know about this wonderful house of God. It is a lovely place, also worthy of spending a few moments in quiet reflection dwelling on all the wonders the Lord has placed before us.

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