Christchurch Priory and the River Stour

Saturday 28th June 2014

Today was a marathon photo session. After lunch I took Dad to my Aunt’s and then drove into Christchurch with the aim of photographing Christchurch Priory. My first problem was parking. Christchurch was packed. So after driving round for about 15 minutes I eventually parked at Waitrose and walked through the town towards the Priory.

Christchurch High Street

When you look at the following photos one thing to bear in mind is that the Priory is now a parish church. I overheard one of the volunteers in the Priory say it is the largest parish church in England. I can believe it: it is cathedral-sized. The original church on this site was established in the 7th century. However, in 1094 it was replaced and the building of the current church, part of an Augustinian monastery, commenced. The majority of the architecture is therefore Romanesque (or Norman). However, the later parts of the church, such as the Quire and the Lady Chapel, are in the later Perpendicular (Gothic) style.

So, back to the photos. This is the Priory from the North.

Christchurch Priory

The west end and tower.

Tower and West End

The Nave, looking east.

Nave looking east

The altar with the Quire and Lady Chapel beyond.

Altar and Quire Screen

The South Aisle: look at those beautiful, rounded Norman arches.

South Nave Aisle

I loved this: it is the Children’s Church in the North Trancept.

South Trancept

The Lady Chapel (note the change to Gothic architecture).

Lady Chapel

The Chidiock Tomb Chest next to the Lady Chapel.

Chidiock Tomb Chest

Memorial to Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (neither of whom are buried here).

Shelley Memorial

So, that is the Priory, or at least some of my photos of it. I have lots of photos from today, so as usual, if you want to take a look, please feel free to hop on over to my Flickr stream. All of today’s photos are in an album called ‘Christchurch, Dorset’.

I actually took the photos of the outside and inside of the Priory about an hour apart, as when I arrived a wedding was in progress. So while I waited for the Priory to re-open I wandered round.

In the Priory grounds is this sculpture by Jonathan Sells to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the building of the Priory.

Sculpture by Jonathan Sells to celebrate the 900th Anniversary of the building of Christchurch Priory

Some of the details are great.

Monk detail from statue by Jonathan Sells

Vicar of Christchurch rining bell (detail from sculpture by Jonathan Sells)

From the Priory grounds I wandered down to the River Stour, past Place Mill. This is a restored Anglo Saxon mill that was mentioned in the Doomesday Book (1086). The Anglo Saxon period ended in 1066 with the arrival of William the Conqueror, which was the start of the Norman period.

Place Mill, Christchurch

And so onto the river.

River Stour, Christchurch

Looking up river.

River Stour, Christchurch

And looking down river.

River Stour, Christchurch

There was a rowing regatta on.

Entrants for the regatta

And in the sunshine it was lovely walking along the gardens next to the river.

River Stour, Christchurch

Before heading back to the Priory to take the inside shots.

Christchurch Priory from the banks of the River Stour

After which I left the Priory…

Exiting the Priory gate into the High Street

And walked back down the High Street.

Christchurch High Street

Where I took one last photo of what I think is the old town hall.

Town Hall building

A good day’s photography 🙂 And thanks to my wonderful camera for having an HDR facility which allowed me to take those interior shots, and to Lightroom for adjusting the aspects of the building and interior photos to remove the converging verticals.

A year ago today

I went for a night-time walk on Upton Heath.

Upton Heath at Night


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