The Norman House
In the centre of a busy town is the incongruous setting of one of the few remaining examples of domestic Norman architecture in England.
At the end of a high street full of shops and crowds of shoppers walking towards the quay in Christchurch you will come across this Norman House and its neighbour Christchurch Castle.
Not much remains of the castle other than two 6ft thick walls atop a small but steep mound and moat or motte. Overlooking Christchurch Priory and managed by English Heritage this site is free to visit. However, due to its town centre location parking is an issue and you will need to make use of one of the many pay and display plots locally and walk to the site.
The panels at the site which give details of the buildings don’t have much more to say about the castle other than it was built approximately 1300 and is typical of its era. It is no co-incidence that it sits so close by the quay as it controlled the harbour and inland access via the rivers Avon and Stour.
The Norman House however gets a much more expansive description and seems to be of much more architectural interest. A house of this nature was normally built from timber and it would appear that a stone built house eludes to the importance and perhaps wealth of the builder. Of particular interest is the chimney which is particularly rare.
There is enough to keep you entertained for about half an hour. The adjacent Christchurch Priory is worth a wander and failing that you can always do some shopping or grab an ice-cream on the quay side.