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M.A., F.R.A.S. 





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When writing the chapters of the present volume which treat 
of Wimborne Minster, the author consulted the last edition of 
Hutchins' "History of Dorset," which contains a considerable 
amount of somewhat ill-arranged information on the subject, 
verifying all the descriptions by actual examination of the 
building ; similarly, when preparing the part of this volume 
dealing with Christchurch Priory, he made some use of " The 
Memorials of Christchurch Twynham," written originally by 
the Rev. Mackenzie Walcott, F.S.A., and revised after his 
death in 1880 by Mr B. Edmund Ferrey, F.S.A. He also 
consulted papers on the subject that have appeared from time 
to time in various periodicals and MSS. that were kindly 
placed at his disposal by the Secretary of the Society for the 
Protection of Ancient Buildings. 

He desires to express his thanks to the Vicars of the two 
churches for permission to thoroughly examine every part of 
the buildings, and to photograph them without let or hind- 
rance ; he also wishes to bear testimony to the readiness shown 
by the clerks and vergers in imparting local information and in 
facilitating his photographic work. 

T. P. 

October 1899. 




Chapter I.— History of the Building .... 

Date of Foundation ...... 

The Norman Church ...... 

Alterations in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries 
Alterations in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries 
Modern Restorations ...... 

Chapter II. — The Exterior 
The Central Tower 
The North Porch . 
The East Window . 
The Sundial . 
The South Porch , 
The Western Tower 

Chapter III.— The Interior 
The North Porch . 
The Aisles 
The Clerestory 
The Central Tower 
The Transepts 

The East End, Choir and Presbytery 
Sedilia and Piscina .... 
The Beaufort and Courtenay Tombs and Brass of Aetheir 
The South Choir Aisle and Etricke Tomb 
The North Choir Aisle and Uvedale Monument 
The Crypt, Vestry, and Library 
Deans of Wimborne 

Chapter IV.— St Margaret's Hospital 
Dimensions of Wimborne Minster , 




10, II 

11, 12 





29, 38 




42, 47 


50. 51 



Chapter I.— History of the Building . 

Foundation ....... 

The Norman Church ..... 

Alterations in the Thirteenth — Fifteenth Centuries 
Modern Alterations ..... 





Chapter II. — The Exterior 
The Western Tower 
The North Porch . 
The North Aisle . 
The North Transept 

The Choir, Presbytery, and Lady Chapel 
The South Transept .... 

The Nave ...... 

The Porter's Lodge, and Sites of the Domestic Buildings 

Chapter III. — The Interior 
The Nave 
The Aisles 
The Transepts 
The Rood Screen . 
The Choir 
The Choir Stalls 
The Reredos . 
The Salisbury Chantry . 
The Draper Chantry 

The Lady Chapel, and the " Miraculous Beam 
St Michael's Loft . 
The Shelley Monument . 

Chapter IV. — Deans, Priors, and Vicars of Christchurch 
Stratford's Injunctions . 
Archbishop Arundel's Injunctions 
The Norman Castle 
The Norman House 
Dimensions of Christchurch Priory 













Arms of Wimborne and Christchurch 

Wimborne Minster from the North-East 

Wimborne Minster in 1S40 .... 

Wimborne Minster in 1707. (From a copperplate 

The Minster from the South-East before 1891 

The North Transept before 1891 . 

The East Window 

The Western Tower 

The Interior, looking East 

Pier and Arch-Spring, South Arcade 

Decorated Arch in the Nave . 

Clerestory Stage of the Central Tower 

The Tower Arches 

North Transept and Crossing 

Thirteenth-Century Piscina, South Transept 

Choir Stalls . 

West View from the Choir 

The East Window . 

Sedilia .... 

The Beaufort Tomb 

Brass of Aethelred 

The Etricke Tomb 

Relic Chest . 

The Uvedale Monument 

Entrance to Crypt . 

The Library . 

The Crypt 

The Font 

The Clock in the West Tower 

St Margaret's Hospital . 

in th 



Title page 








Christchurch Priory from the Bridge 
Christchurch Priory from the North-East 
Tower Door ...... 

The North Porch 





The North Door . 

The North Transept in iSio 

The North Transept 

South Aisle of Nave 

The Nave in 1834 . 

The Nave 

North Arcade of the Nave 

From the North Triforium 

Bay of the Triforium, South Side 

South Aisle of the Nave 

The Montacute Chantry 

North Aisle of the Nave 

The Crypt 

The Rood Screen . 

Stall Seats (3) 

Choir Stalls . 

]Miserere on Stall Seat (circa 1300^ 

The Choir 

The Reredos 

The Salisbury Chantry . 

Interior of the Salisbury Chantry 

The Draper Chantry 

Piscina in the Draper Chantry 

The Sacristy . 

The Miraculous Beam 

Tomb of Thomas, Lord West 

The Lady Chapel 

St Michael's Loft . 

Remains of the Norman House 











136, 137 














By Rci'.J. L. Pciit.\ Wimborne Minster in 1840. 






Of the churches connected with the religious houses which 
once existed in the county of Dorset, three only remain to the 
present day. Of some of the rest we have ruins, others have 
entirely disappeared. But the town of Sherborne, once the 
bishop-stool of the sainted Aldhelm, who overlooked a vast 
diocese comprising a great portion of the West Saxon kingdom, 
has its Abbey now used as its Parish Church. The great 
Abbey of Milton, founded by .-Ethelstan, has handed down to us 
its choir and transepts — rebuilt in the fourteenth century, after 
the former church had been destroyed by fire — and this, though 
private property, is still used for occasional services ; and the 
minster church at Wimborne has became the church of the 
parish of Wimborne Minster. 

The town has been by many supposed to stand on the site 
of the Roman Vindogladia, though this station has by others 
been identified with Gussage Cowdown, or the circular encamp- 
ment of Badbury Rings, about three miles to the north-west 
of Wimborne Minster. Be this as it may, the district was 


occupied by the Roman conquerors of our island ; and 
Roman pottery and other remains have been found in the 
neighbourhood, including a small portion of pavement beneath 
the floor of the minster church. 

The derivation of the name Wimborne, or Winborne as we 
find it sometimes written, has been much disputed; but as 
we find the same word appearing as the name of several other 
places which lie on the course of the same stream, now 
generally called the Allen, though sometimes the Wim, it is 
highly probable that the name is derived from that of the 
river. Compound names for villages are very common in 
Dorset — the first word being the name of the river on which 
the village stands, the second being added to distinguish one 
village from another. Thus we find along the Tarrant, 
villages known as Tarrant Ciunville, Tarrant Hinton, Tarrant 
I-aunceston, Tarrant Monkton, etc.; and along the Winterborne 
we find Winterborne Houghton, Winterborne Stickland, 
Winterborne Clenstone, etc. ; and in like manner we meet 
with Monkton up Wimborne, Wimborne Saint Giles, and 
Wimborne Minster along the course of the Allen. The 
characteristic name of Winterborne for a brook that is such in 
winter only, but is a dried-up bed in a hot summer is borne 
by two streams in Dorset, each giving its name to a string of 
villages. May not the word Wimborne or Winborne be a 
contraction for this same word Winterborne, the " burn " of 
the rainy winter months, applied to the little stream of the 
Allen ? 

The small town of Wimborne Minster stands not far from 
the junction of the Allen with the slow-running Dorset Stour, 
in the midst of pleasant fertile meadow-land, from which 
here and there some low hills rise. Its chief glory has been, 
and probably always will be, its splendid church, with its central 
Norman and its Western Perpendicular towers, its Norman 
and Decorated nave, its Early English choir, and its numerous 
tombs and monuments of those whose names are recorded in 
the history of the country. 

The exact year of the foundation of the original religious 
house is differently given in various ancient documents : the 
dates vary from 705 a.d. to 723 a.d. At this time, Ine was 
king of the West Saxons ; and one of his sisters, Cudburh — or 
Cuthberga, as her name appears in its Latinised form — was 


espoused or married to Egfred, or, as he is often called, Osric, 
the Northumbrian king, but the marriage was never con- 
summated, and the lady as soon as possible separated from 
him and retired to the convent at iJarking, and afterwards 
founded the convent at Wimborne. Some say that she 
objected to the intemperate habits of her espoused as soon as 
she met him ; others, that having previously vowed herself to 
heaven, she persuaded him to release her from the engagement 
to him, which had been arranged without her wishes being 
consulted. Her sister Ouinberga is stated to have been 
associated with her in the foundation of the religious house, 
and both were buried within its precincts, and both were 
afterwards canonised ; Saint Cuthberga was commemerated on 
August 31st "as a virgin but not a martyr." A special service 
appointed for the day is to be found in a Missal kept in the 
Library of the Cathedral Church at Salisbury, in which the 
following prayer occurs : — ■ 

" Deus qui eximie castitatis privilegio famulam tuam 
Cuthbergam multipliciter decorasti, da nobis famulis tuis 
ejus promerente intercessione utriusque vitae prosperitatem. 
Ut sicut ejus festivitas nobiscum agitur in terris, ita per ejus 
interventum nostri memoria apud te semper habeatur in coelis, 
per Dominum etc." 

There is reason to believe that the earliest date given above 
for the foundation (705 a.d.) is the most probable one, as 
Regner in his tracts mentions a letter bearing this date written 
by Saint Aid helm, and taken from the register of Malmesbury, 
in which he includes in a list of congregations to which he 
grants liberty of election the monastery at Wimborne, presided 
over by the sister of the king. There is also some evidence for 
the existence of a community of monks at Wimborne, as well 
as of nuns. But of these original religious houses not a trace 
remains : the very position of St Cuthberga's Church is un- 
certain ; we cannot be sure that the present building occupies 
the same site ; the last resting-places of the two royal 
foundresses are not even pointed out by tradition. Probably 
the buildings were destroyed, the nuns slain or driven out, 
when the raiding Danes overran Wessex in the ninth century. 

The next historical event that we meet with in connection 
with Wimborne is the burial of King .Mthelred, the brother 
and immediate predecessor on the throne of the great West 


Saxon king Alfred. As there is doubt about the year of 
the foundation by Cuthberga, so again there is a conflict of 
testimony as to the date, place, and manner of the death of 
yEthelred — the inscription on the brass (about which more 
will be said when we come to describe the interior of the 
minster) not agreeing with the usually accepted date for the 
accession of Alfred, 871 ; but as the brass is itself many 
centuries later than the burial of the king whose likeness 
it professes to bear, its authority may well be questioned. 
Anyhow, yEthelred died either of wounds received in some 
battle with the Danes, in some spot which different archcC- 
ologists have placed in Surrey, Oxford, Berkshire, or Wilts, or 
worn out by his long and arduous exertions while struggling 
with the heathen invaders ; and his body — this alone is 
certain — was brought to Wimborne for burial. It has been 
conjectured that /Elfred, after he had defeated the Danes and 
established himself firmly on the throne of Wessex, would 
naturally rebuild the ruined abbey. He founded, as we know, 
an abbey at Shaftesbury ; he is recorded to have built at 
Winchester and London ; he had undoubtedly a taste for 
architecture, and he was a devout son of Mother Church, so 
that it is by no means improbable that he would erect a 
church over the grave of his brother : but no record of such 
building remains, and there is no trace of any pre-Norman 
work in the existing minster. 

The original church and conventual buildings having been 
swept away by the Danes, whether /Elfred restored it or not is 
uncertain, but it is certain that a house of secular canons was 
established at Wimborne by a king of the name of Eadward ; 
but again there is some uncertainty as to whether this king 
was the one who is sometimes called the Eadward the Elder, 
sometimes Eadward the Unconquered, son and successor of 
Alfred, or Eadward the Confessor. Anyhow, it became a 
collegiate church and a royal free chapel, and as such it is 
mentioned in Domesday Book, and it is noticed as a Deanery 
in the charters of Henry HI. Leland, writing in the reign of 
Henry VIII., says, "It is but of late time that a dean and 
prebendaries were inducted into it." The deanery was in the 
gift of the Crown, and we have a full list of the deans from 
1224 up to 1547, when it was dissolved. The ecclesiastical 
establishment consisted of a dean, four prebendaries, three 


vicars, four deacons, and five singing men. It will not be 
needful to give any detailed account of these, as most of 
them, though in many cases they held other more dignified 
posts,* either together with the deanery or after resigning it, 
are not men who have made their mark in English history. 
A few only will here be mentioned, who on account of some 
circumstances connected with the fabric, or for other reasons, 
are more noteworthy. 

Thomas de Bembre, 1350-1361, founded a chantry and 
an altar in the north part of the north transept, which was 
added at this time. 

Reginald Pole, so well known in the history of the reigns 
of Henry VIII. and Queen Mary, was Dean of Wimborne 
from 15 1 7 till 1537. It is remarkable that he was only 
seventeen years of age at the time of his appointment. 

He was succeeded by Nicholas Wilson, who held the ofiice 
of dean until the dissolution of the deanery in 1547. To him 
a curious letter still existing was addressed in 1538 by certain 
leading men of the parish, though nothing appears to have 
been done in consequence of it. These worthy men complain 
of the dilapidated state of the church, the want of funds to 
carry out needed repairs, and suggest the taking from the 
church "seynt Cuthborow's bed," and "the sylv' y' ys about 
the same bed," which they claim as belonging to the parish 
on the ground that it was made by the charity of the parish- 
ioners in times past. "Our chyrche," they say, "ys in gret 
ruyn and decay and our toure ys foundered and lyke to fall 
and ther ys no money left in o chyrche box and by reason of 
great infyrmyty and deth ther hath byn thys yere in oure 
parysh no chyrche aele, the whych hath hyndred o chyrch 
of xx" nobles and above, and well it is knowen y' we have no 
land but onely the charity of good people, wherfor nyed 
constraynyth us to sell the sylv' y' is about the same bed. 
Besechynge yo"" mastership to sertefy us by y'' tre wher we may 
sell the said sylv' to repayr o chyrche."! 

* It is noteworthy that they all held some other preferment durint; the 
time that they held the office of dean. 

t In an inventory made in the reign of Henry VIII. we find mentioned 
an image of St Cuthberga, with a ring of gold, and two little crosses of 
gold, with a book and staff in her hand. The head of the image of silver 
with a crown on it of silver and gilt. On her apron a St James shell with 
a buckle of silver and gilt. 


The names of many of the other ecclesiastics connected 
with the church are known : among these, we need only 
mention William Lorynge canon, who in the time of Richard 
II. caused the great bell called the Cuthborow bell to be 
made ; and Simon Beneson, sacrist, who left land, which vs 
called Bell Acre, towards the maintenance and repair of the 

Among other benefactors of the church was Margaret, 
Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VII., so well known 
at Cambridge under the name of Lady Margaret, the foundress 
of Christ's and St John's Colleges. She founded at Wimborne 
the original seminary connected with the minster, which after- 
wards became by a charter of Elizabeth the Grammar School 
of the town, and presented splendid vestments to the church. 
July 9th was until the Reformation kept at the minster as a 
festival to her memory, with a special office and High Mass. 

When the deanery was abolished, Wimborne Minster 
became a Royal Peculiar, under the administration of three 
priest-vicars elected by the Corporation. These served each 
for a month in turn. The Corporation had the power of 
appointing one of the three vicars — who was known as the 
"Official" — to hold courts and grant licences. The court was 
held in the western part of the north aisle, the Official pre- 
siding, seated at a desk, the two other vicars sitting one on 
each side of him, while at a long table sat the churchwardens, 
sidesmen, the vestry clerks, and the apparitors. 

The arrangement by which the vicars served the church 
each in turn continued in force until 1876. At that time 
one of the three vicars retired on a pension ; another removed 
to the chapelry of Holt, three miles from Wimborne (which had 
previously been served in turn by the vicars of Wimborne), a 
parsonage having been built for his accommodation ; and the 
third became sole vicar of the minster church and the parish 
attached to it. 

For the history of the fabric we have to trust almost en- 
tirely to the architectural features of the church itself, as 
documentary evidence is unusually scanty. 

Nothing of earlier date than the twelfth century can be 
seen in Wimborne Minster, but we know pretty accurately, the 
extent and form of the Norman Church ; for, during the course 


of restoration undertaken in the present century, the founda- 
tions of some parts of this church were discovered beneath 
the floor of the existing building, and other pieces of Norman 
work formerly concealed, and now again concealed beneath 
plaster, were laid bare. There is one interesting feature about 
the church worthy of notice — namely, that the builders who 
succeeded one another at the various periods of its history 
did not, as a rule, destroy the work of their predecessors to 
such an extent as we frequently find to have been the case 
with the builders of other churches : possibly this may have 
been due to the fact that at no time was Wimborne Minster 
a rich foundation. There was no saintly shrine, there were 
no wonder-working relics to attract pilgrims and gather the 
offerings of the faithful and enrich the church in the way in 
which the shrine of Saint Cuthbert enriched Durham, that of 
the murdered archbishop enriched Canterbury, and that of 
the murdered king enriched Gloucester. But, whatever the 
reason may have been, we can but be, thankful that the 
mediaeval builders destroyed so little at Wimborne ; while we 
regret that modern restorers have not been as scrupulous in 
preserving the work which they found existing, but have in 
some instances endeavoured to put the church back again into 
the state in which they imagined the fourteenth-century builders 
left it. 

We may regard the arches and lower stages of the central 
tower as the oldest part now remaining in its original condition. 
No doubt the Norman choir was the first to be built, as we 
find that it was almost the universal custom to begin churches 
at the eastern end, and gradually to extend the building 
westward, as funds and time allowed. Here, however, as 
in many other cases, the small Norman choir eastward of the 
central tower in course of time was considered too small, 
and the eastern termination had to be demolished to admit 
of the desired extension to the east. Norman choirs, as a 
rule, had an apsidal termination to the east, and it was 
not till Early English times that square east ends, which were 
characteristic of the English church in pre-Norman times, 
prevailed again over the Norman custom ; and it is worthy of 
notice that this rectangular termination towards the east end 
remains a marked characteristic of the thirteenth-century 
work in England, Continental church-builders having retained 


the apsidal termination till the Renaissance. The side walls 
of the Norman choir extended two bays to the east of the 
central tower, and the nave four bays westward of the same. 
The transepts were shorter than at present, and the side 
aisles of the nave narrower. There appear to have been two 
side chapels to the choir, extending as far as the first bay 
eastward ; beyond this to the east were two Norman windows 
on each side-: these windows, parts of which remain, cut off 
by the Early English arches, were round-headed, and richly 
ornamented with chevron mouldings. They were uncovered 
at the time of the restoration, but are now again hidden by 
plaster. At the south end of the south transept a low build- 
ing seems to have existed : the walls of this were raised when 
the south transept was lengthened in the fourteenth century. 
The Norman masonry may be seen under the south window 
of the transept, and a Norman string course runs round the 
sides and ends of the present transept. The aisles of the 
nave were not only narrower, but were also lower, than those 
now existing. It is also probable that these aisles did not 
originally extend as far westward as the nave. The windows 
of the Norman clerestory, which may still be seen from the 
interior, though all similar in design, are not alike in work- 
manship. The one over the narrow eastern bay on either 
side differs from those over the three bays farther to the west. 
Moreover, a continuous foundation has been discovered under- 
neath the three western arches of the Norman nave. Possibly 
there was at one time a solid wall in this position, intended, 
however, from the first only to be temporary, and this was re- 
moved when the aisles, still in Norman times, were lengthened. 
The tower itself was not all built at the same time ; the upper 
stages are ornamented with an arcading of intersecting arches 
indicating a somewhat later date. 

In the thirteenth century the east end of the choir seems 
to have been removed and the presbytery added : its date is 
pretty clearly determined by the east window, in which we 
notice some signs of the approaching change from the Early 
English simple lancet into the plate tracery of the Decorated 
period. Rickman gives its approximate date as 1220. During 
the fourteenth century the nave aisles were widened and 
extended farther west, and at the same time two bays were 
added to the nave itself. The Norman chapels on either 


side of the choir were lengthened into aisles, not, however, 
extending as far to the east as the thirteenth-century presby- 
tery ; arches were cut in the Norman choir walls to give 
access to these new aisles. The transepts were lengthened, 
the south one by raising the walls of the Norman chapel 
mentioned above, which, it has been conjectured, was used 
as the Lady Chapel, the north transept by the addition of 
Bembre's chantry. 

During the fifteenth century the western tower was built 
1448 — 1464, and probably at the same time the walls of the 
nave were raised ; and the roofs of the nave aisles, which had 
been much lower than now, so as not to block up the Norman 
clerestory windows, were raised on the sides joining the nave 
walls above the heads of these windows, and a new clerestory 
was formed in the raised wall. This contains five windows 
on each side, each window being placed over one of the piers 
of the nave arcading. 

During the Early English period, probably by John de 
Berwick, who was dean from 1286 — 1312, a spire was 
added to the central tower. This was for long in an un- 
safe condition, and at length, in 1600, it fell. The following 
is the description given by Coker, a contemporary writer : 
" Having discoursed this longe of this church, I will not 
overpasse a strange accident which in our dayes happened 
unto it, viz. Anno Domini 1600 (the choire beeing then full 
of people at tenne of clock service, allsoe the streets by 
reason of the markett), a sudden mist ariseing, all the spire 
steeple, being of a very great height, was strangely cast 
downe, the stones battered all the lead and brake much 
timber of the roofe of the church, yet without anie hurt to 
the people ; which ruin is sithence commendablie repaired 
with the church revenues, for sacriledge hath not yet swept 
awaye all, being assisted by Sir John Hannam, a neighbour 
gentleman, who if I mistake not enjoyeth revenues of the 
church, and hath done commendablie to convert part of it 
to its former use." Other accounts mention a tempest at 
the time of the fall. It is not unlikely that the tower was 
weakened by the alterations in the fourteenth century, when 
wider arches were cut in the west walls of the transepts, in 
consequence of the widening of the nave aisles. The fall 
of the spire, which fell towards the east, demolished the 


clerestory windows of the choir on the south side, and their 
place was supplied by a long, low Tudor window oblong 
in shape and quite plain. The windows, Jipwever, on both 
sides have been entirely altered, and those now existing in 
the clerestory are small lancets of modern date. 

The spire was not rebuilt, but the heavy looking battlement 
and solid pinnacles which still remain, and detract considerably 
from the beauty of the tower, were added as a finish to it in the 
.year 1608. It is curious that the churchwardens' books, in 
which many entries occur detailing repairs and other work 
connected with the spire, make no mention of its fall. 

The western tower was also a source of trouble. It was built, 
as has been already mentioned, during the latter half of the 
fifteenth century, the glazing of the windows being completed 
in 1464 ; but as early as 1548 it was thought necessary to brick 
up the west doorway, and notices of unsoundness of the tower 
occur frecjuently in the church books. In 1664 we find the 
following entry made: — "Paid in beere to the Ringers for a 

£ s d 

peale to trye if the Tower shooke o i o." As we read 
this entry, we cannot help wondering if the large amount of 
beer which a shilling would purchase in those days was given 
to the ringers so as to give them a fictitious courage and blind 
their eyes to the possible danger of bringing the tower down 
upon their heads. In 1739 the Perpendicular window in the 
western face of the tower was taken out and a smaller oval one 
put in its place, with a view to the strengthening of the wall by 
additional stonework. The modern restorer, however, has 
again put a window of Perpendicular character in place of 
the oval window inserted in the last century, using to aid him 
in his design, sundry fragments of the original tracery found 
embedded in the walls. 

Before the nineteenth-century restorations, the pulpit, prob- 
ably late sixteenth-century work, stood in the nave against 
the middle pillar on the north side, and the nave and choir 
were separated by a screen of three arches on which stood the 
organ. The central arch had doors. On either side of the choir 
were a set of canopied stalls : these canopies were removed in 
1855 to make the chancel aisles available for a congregation. As 
the canopies interfered with both sight and sound, the floor of 
the choir was lowered to only three steps above the nave, and 















the stalls reduced to four on each side, with a view to make 
room for restoring the Norman steps indicated by traces on the 
wall under the floor, which led up to the high altar of the 
Norman church. The arrangement of steps was then three 
from the nave to the choir, four from the choir to the next 
level to the east, and seven from this to the presbytery, 
and one more to the altar platform. In 1866 further 
changes were made : the remaining stalls were taken away, 
and the present seats for the choir and the reading-desk 
were manufactured out of the old woodwork. The level 
of the floors was also rearranged ; five steps now lead up 
from the nave to the choir, seven to the presbytery and 
one more to the altar platform, the altar itself being raised yet 
another step. 

During the restoration carried on from 1855 to 1857, great 
changes besides those already mentioned were made in the 
interior : the whitewash and plaster were removed from the 
walls, a west gallery was taken down, the nave re-seated, the 
organ transferred from its position upon the screen to the 
south transept, and much mischief was done from an 
archaeological standpoint, a thing which seems almost 
inseparable from any nineteenth-century restoration. 

An examination of the masonry shows clearly that all the 
exterior walls east of the transepts save the east wall of the 
presbytery, which is somewhat out of the vertical, the top 
hanging forward, have been if not entirely rebuilt at anyrate 
completely refaced, and this work was no doubt done at the 
restoration at the middle of the nineteenth century. The 
doorway in the middle of the north choir aisle is entirely 
modern ; the doorway which formally occupied this place was 
provided with a small porch. 

How far this rebuilding and refacing were rendered 
necessary by the condition of the walls at that time it is now 
impossible to say. The fact that the walls of the nave aisles 
were not similarly treated may have been due to want of 
funds, or it may be that the architects employed found them 
in a better condition than the walls of the choir aisles, and so 
preserved them, though they considered the latter beyond the 
possibility of preservation without the extensive renewing that 
evidently took place. 

The room containing the chained library was at the same 


time refitted. New shelves and rods were provided, but the 
old chains were used again. 

The restoration of 1855-1857 did not -extend to the 
transept; but these were taken in hand in 1891, with the 
usual result — namely, the destruction of some existing features, 
such as the seventeenth-century tracery of the north window, 
to make room for a nineteenth-century window in Decorated 
style, which, however, differs altogether from any window in the 
minster ; the walls were raised about two feet and a roof of 
higher pitch put upon them, which necessitated alterations in 
the gables. A sundial which stood at the summit of the south 
gable was taken down, and this in 1894 was erected on a 
pillar built in the churchyard, a short distance from the south 
wall of the western tower. The transept previous to the 
restoration with the sun-dial on its gable is shown in the 
illustration on p. 19. 



WiMBORNE Minster does not occupy a commanding position — 
it stands on level ground, its two towers are not lofty, the 
western only reaching the height of 95 feet and the central 
84 feet — but it has the advantage of having an extensive church- 
yard both on the south side and also on the north, so that 
from either side a good general view of the building may be 
obtained. A street running from the east end of the church 
towards the north gives the spectator the advantage of a still 
more distant standpoint, from which the towers, transepts, choir, 
and porch group themselves into one harmonious whole, the 
long line of iron railings bounding the churchyard being the 
only drawback. The first impression is that there is some- 
thing wrong with the central tower ; the plain heavy battlement, 
with its four enormous corner pinnacles, seems to overweight 
the tower, and as each side of the parapet is longer than the 
side of the tower below, the feeling of top-heaviness is in- 
creased. The central tower has no buttresses, but the western 
has an octagonal buttress at each corner, and these decrease 
in cross section at each of four string courses ; so that this 
tower seems to taper, and by contrast makes the central tower 
seem to bulge out at the top more than it really does. 

But Wimborne Minster does not stand alone in giving at first 
sight a feeling that something is wanting to perfect beauty. 
In nearly every old building which has gradually grown up, 
been altered and enlarged by various generations as need arose, 
each generation working in its own style, and often with little 
regard to what already existed, incongruities are sure to be 
discernible. But what is lost in unity of design increases the 
interest in the building, historically and architecturally re- 
garded. And it is worthy of notice that at Wimborne, more 
than at many places, the enlargers of the church have con- 



tented themselves with adding to the building without removing 
the work of their predecessors more than was absolutely 
necessary. A very cursory glance at the exterior of the 
building as one walks round it is sufficient to show that the 
church as it stands offers to the student of architecture ex- 
amples of every style that has prevailed in this country from 
the twelfth century onward, and he will especially rejoice at 
seeing so much fourteenth-century work. He will, as he 
passes along the narrow footway beneath the east end of the 
choir, regret that more space is not available here to get a 
good view of the most interesting Early English window. If 
a small tree were felled, and the wall of a garden or yard on 
the side of the footpath opposite to the church pulled down, 
so as to throw open the east end of the choir, it would be a 
great improvement. But this regret can be endured, as, though 
the window cannot be well seen, it is there, and by changing 
one's position a pretty accurate idea of its interesting features 
can be formed ; but far keener is the regret that any lover of 
antiquity must feel when he notices, as he examines the church 
more closely, how busy the nineteenth-century restorer has 
been, how he has raised walls, altered the pitch of roofs, and 
inserted modern imitations of thirteenth and fourteenth 
century work, removing features which existed at the beginning 
of this century to make room for his own work ; how he 
has banished much of the old woodwork in the interior, altered 
the position of still more, and generally been far less con- 
servative of the work of former generations than the mediaeval 
enlargers of the minster were. However, his work is now 
done — nave, towers, and choir were thoroughly restored about 
fifty years ago, and the transepts in 1891. No further work 
is contemplated at present. In fact, there seems nothing 
more that could well be done. 

The church is built partly of a warm brown sandstone, 
partly of stone of a pale yellow or drab colour, the two kinds 
being in many places mixed so as to give the walls a chequered 
appearance. This may be noticed both outside and inside 
the building. In some of the walls the stones are used 
irregularly, in others they are carefully squared. The red 
stone is to be met with in the neighbourhood : some of that 
used for raising the transept walls in 189 1 was obtained from a 
bridge in the town that was being rebuilt ; and from marks on 


some of those stones it appeared that before being in the 
bridge they had been used in some ecclesiastical building, 
so that they have now returned to their original use. There 
is little ornament to be seen outside, save on the upper stage 
of the tower ; in fact, the whole building excepting the arches 
of the nave and the tower may be described as severely plain 
in character. The college was never wealthy, hence probably 
it could not employ a number of carvers ; then again it was 
not a monastic establishment, so that there were no monks 
to occupy their time in the embellishment of the building, 
carving, as monks often did, their quaint fancies on bosses and 
capitals. We miss the crockets and finials, the ball-flower, 
and other ornaments that we meet with in so many fourteenth- 
century buildings; but the very simplicity of the work gives 
the church a dignity that is often wanting in more highly 
ornamented structures. The small number of the buttresses 
in the body of the church is noteworthy ; save at the angles 
there are only five — namely, two on each nave aisle, and one 
on the north choir aisle. At each of the eastern corners of 
the choir aisles the buttresses are set diagonally, as also are 
those on the northern corners of the north porch. There 
is a buttress on each of the side walls of the north porch, 
and two set at right angles to each other at each of the 
two corners of the north transept, and also at the south- 
west corner of the south transept; beneath the east window 
of the choir there is a small one. The buttresses at the 
corner of the choir project but slightly. The central tower 
has none, but the west tower has an octagonal buttress at 
each corner. The central tower attracts notice first. From 
the outside at the angles a small portion of the plain wall 
of the triforium stage may be seen, against which the roofs of 
the choir and transepts abut ; the nave roof, however, hides all 
of this stage at the western face : above this face is a band of 
red-brown sandstone, and above this the clerestory stage. In 
each face are two round-headed windows with a pointed blank 
arch between them. There are six slender shafts to support 
the outer order of moulding over the two windows and the 
blank arch, and two of a similar character to support the 
inner ring of moulding over each window. At each corner 
of the tower up to the top of this stage runs a slender banded 
shaft. This stage is finished by a string course, above which 



the tower walls recede slightly, the walls of the upper or belfry 
storey being a little thinner than those below. This stage, 
perfectly plain within, is the most richly-ornamented part of 
the tower outside : it is the latest Norman work to be found 
in the minster, and probably may be dated late in the twelfth 
century. An arcading of intersecting round-headed arches runs 
all round this storey. Seven pointed arches are thus formed 
in each face ; between these arches stand slender pillars with 
well carved capitals which show a great variety of design. 
Five of the seven arches on each face were originally open^ 
save possibly for louvre-boards placed to keep out the rain; now 
all but the central one on each face are walled up, and the 
centre one is glazed. This filling up was not all done at the 
same time, as the varying character of the stone shows. The 
work was no doubt begun in order to strengthen the walls when 
the spire was added, and was continued from time to time as 
the necessity for further strengthening arose. Above the 
stage was a bold corbel table, and this is the upper limit of 
the Norman work. There can be little doubt that the Norman 
builder, here as elsewhere, finished his tower with a low pyra- 
midal roof with overhanging eaves to shoot off the rain. This 
covering may have been of lead, but possibly of stone tiles or 
wooden shingles. About a century later this Norman roof was 
removed to make place for a loftier roof or spire. Of its 
character and material and height we know nothing — there is 
no description of it ; and though the minster is represented on 
an old seal with one spire-crowned tower, yet the representation 
of the rest of the church is so conventional that it cannot 
be regarded as an authentic record of the actual appearance 
of the steeple. It is curious that, as it stood for about three 
hundred years and fell only in the later years of Elizabeth's 
reign, no drawing remains to show us what this spire was 
like. But it passed away, doing some damage to the building 
in its fall, and that is the only record it has left behind ; but 
we can well picture to ourselves how much importance must 
have been added to the minster by this spire, which must have 
been a conspicuous object for many miles round. The present 
heavy, ugly battlemented parapet spoils the general effect of 
the tower ; and though we are adverse to the sweeping away of 
any features of an old building, even when the features are in- 
harmonious and even ugly — because this is, as it were, tearing a 



page of stone from the book of the history of the building — 
yet we must confess we could have regarded the loss of the 
seventeenth - century parapet and pinnacles with much less 
regret than other features which the restorer has tampered 

The North Porch, which was evidently always intended to 
be, as it is to this day, the chief entrance into the church, consists 
of two bays marked externally by buttresses on each side : the 
inner order of moulding to the arch giving access to this porch 
springs from two shafts of Purbeck marble ; the outer orders 
are carried up from the base without any capitals or imposts. 
The height of the crown of the inner arch above the capitals 
from which it springs is somewhat less than half the width 
at the bottom, and the radius of the curvature of the arches 
is greater than the width. Over the arch is a square-headed two- 
light window, lighting the room over the entrance. The roof 
differs from all the other roofs of the church since it is covered 
with stone tiles, while the others are covered with lead. There 
are buttresses set diagonally at the two northern angles of the 

Between the porch and the transept are three two-light 
Decorated windows. The tracery of all these is alike, but 
differs from that of the two windows to the west of the porch. 
The most picturesque feature of the north transept is the turret 
containing the staircase by which access is obtained to the 
tower. This, before the church was enlarged in the fourteenth 
century, formed the north-west angle of the Norman transept : 
projecting towards the north, its base is rectangular. This 
rectangular portion rises nearly to the level of the tops of the 
aisle windows, above this level the turret is circular, and rising 
above the transept roof is capped by a low conical roof of 
stone tiles. Two string courses run round it, one at the 
bottom of the circular part, and one a little higher up. This 
turret was once known as the " Ivy Tower," from the ivy that 
grew on it, but this -was all removed at the time when the 
transept was altered in 1891. At that time the side wallswere 
raised about two feet, and the roof was raised to the original 
pitch of the Norman transept, and at the same time the tracery 
of the north window, which was of a very plain and clumsy 
character, seventeenth-century work, was removed and the 
existing tracery inserted. Much picturesqueness has been 



sacrificed to make these changes. The portion of this 
transept to the north of the turret was added about the 
middle of the fourteenth century to form the chantry founded 
by Bembre, who was dean from 1350 — 1361. This part 
contains, besides the large window, two smaller two-light 
windows, which look out respectively to the east and west. 
The tracery in these is almost entirely modern. Beyond the 
transept is the wall of the north choir aisle. This stands farther 
to the north than the 
wall of the nave aisle ; 
in fact, it is in a line 
with the original north 
end of the Norman 
transept. In this wall, 
close to the transept, is 
a small round - headed 
doorway. And, farther 
to the east, is another 
larger pointed doorway 
between the second and 
third windows of the 
choiraisle, countingfrom 
the transept eastward. 
This doorway is en- 
closed by a triangular 
moulding very plain in 
character, but none of 
it is original. The three 
windows are each of 
two lights. The tracery 
of these three is alike, 
but differs from that 
of the windows in the 
nave aisle. The east 
window of the north 
aisle is of five lights. 
The enclosing arch is 
not very pointed — 
much less so than in 
the narrower windows 
up through the head 

The East Window. 

(From Parker's "Introduction to Gothic 



the aisles — and 
the window. 



and the 


corresponding south choir aisle windows are late Decorated 

Unfortunately the churchyard does not extend to the east 
of the church. A narrow footway, bounded to the east by 
cottages and garden walls, renders it impossible to photograph 
the east window of the choir. This is a most interesting one ; 
and has been figured in most books on architecture. It con- 
sists externally of three lancets enclosed in a peculiar way by 
weather moulding ; this rises separately over the head of each 
lancet, and between the windows runs in a horizontal line 
and is continued to the square corner buttresses. Within 
this moulding, and over the heads of each lancet, there is 
an opening pierced : the central one is a quatrefoil, while the 
other two have six points. These openings are a very early 
example of plate tracery, which was fully developed in the 
Early Decorated style. This window belongs to the Early 
English period, and may be dated about 1220. There will 
be occasion to refer to this window again when speaking of 
the interior of the church. The south choir aisle has a five- 
light east window closely corresponding to the window of the 
north aisle, and on the south two three-light windows. In 
these, as in the east aisle windows, the lights are carried up 
through the heads. There is no doorway giving access to 
this aisle from the outside. 

The angle between the choir aisle and south transept is 
filled up with the vestry and the library above it. The south 
wall of this projects beyond the wall of the south transept. 
This vestry is of Decorated date, possibly rather later than 
the other Decorated work in the minster. The upper storey 
forms the library. Its walls are finished at the top by a 
plain parapet which conceals the flat roof. At the south- 
western angle is an octagonal turret staircase, capped by a 
pyramidal roof rising from within a battlemented parapet, 
and terminating in a carved finial. This is of Perpendicular 
character. From the sharpness of the stone at the coigns 
it would seem that very extensive restoration, if not absolute 
rebuilding, of the walls was carried on in this part of the 
church. The south transept is rather shorter than that on 
the north side ; but, unlike it, all the walls up to the 
level of the window are of Norman date. The string courses 
on the western side are worthy of close attention. One 


which runs under the south window is continued round the 
Perpendicular buttresses at the south-west angle, and then 
again joins the original course on the western face and runs 
to within a few feet of the nave aisle, where it abruptly 
terminates. Above this for several feet the walls have the 
same character as below ; then the character changes, and this 
change probably marks the junction of the Norman with the 
Decorated work, which was added when the Norman chapel, 
which occupied the lower part of what is now the south end 
of the transept, was incorporated in the transept. Vertically 
above the termination of the string course just mentioned, 
but at a considerably liigher level, another string course 
abruptly begins and runs along the wall, until it passes within 
the roof of the nave aisle. The south end of this shows the 
length to which the original Norman transept extended before 
the walls of the chapel to the south were carried up in the 
fourteenth century to form the addition to the transept. In 
the southern wall of this new transept was placed a large 
five-light decorated window. In this, as in several of the 
other Decorated windows already described, the lights run 
up to the enclosing arch above. The tracery of this window, 
as it now exists, dates back only to the time when the church 
was restored in the middle of the nineteenth century. Up 
to 1 89 1 the side walls were about two feet lower than at 
present, and the gable more obtuse. At the summit of the old 
gable stood a block of masonry carrying a sundial ; this, 
when the transept was altered, was removed, the new gable 
being finished with a cross. A pillar was built in the 
churchyard to the south of the western tower in 1894, and 
on it the block from the transept bearing the sundial was 
I)luced. This sundial has two dates on it — 1696 and 1752, 
marking, no doubt, the year of its original erection and of 
some subsequent repair. It is noteworthy that the figures 
used in these two dates differ in character, — the eighteenth- 
century carver who incised the later date not thinking it 
incumbent on him to make his figures match those of his pre- 
decessor. The three aisle windows between the south transept 
and the south porch are two-light Decorated windows with 
tracery, some of it original, corresponding to that of those on 
the opposite side in the north aisle. 

The South Porch is small, and the side walls do not project 


far from the aisle. Above the arch is a carving of a lamb much 
weathered, and on the gable stands a fragment of a cross. 
The gates beneath the outer arch are kept locked save on 
Sundays, as are frequently the gates in the railings surrounding 
the churchyard to the south of the minster, which is divided from 
the churchyard on the north side by the church itself and by rail- 
ings at the east and west ends of it. To the west of the porch are 
two more two-light windows, corresponding in character with the 
windows opposite in the north aisle. The clerestory windows 
of the nave are of Perpendicular date, fifteenth-century work, 
and have not any beauty. Each has three foliated lights 
under a round-headed moulding. Above each of these three 
there are two lights, all enclosed within a rectangular label. 
The nave roof is higher than the choir roof Its aisles have 
lean-to roofs, whereas the choir aisles are wider and have 
gable roofs : hence the clerestory windows of the choir, modern 
lancets, are not visible from the outside. 

The Western Tower is of four stages, with octagonal 
buttresses at each corner, decreasing in cross section at 
each course. Of these the north-eastern one contains the 
stairs leading to the top of the tower, the others are solid. 
These are crowned with sharp pyramidal turrets. In the 
lowest stage on the western face is a doorway which for 
some time was stopped up to strengthen the tower, but 
which was opened again at the general restoration. Above 
this is the west window of six lights. Perpendicular in char- 
acter but of nineteenth-century date. The third stage — the 
ringing room within is lighted by four small windows : that in 
the west wall is a quatrefoil, those on the north and south 
have single lights foliated at the head ; the original one in 
the east wall was covered when the nave roof was raised, and 
a plain opening was made in the wall farther to the south. 
Above this is the belfry, with two pairs of two-light windows 
on each face : these are divided by transoms, and the arches 
at the tops are four centred. These windows are, of course, 
not glazed, but are furnished with louvre-boards. The tower 
is finished with a battlemented parapet. Just outside the 
easternmost window on the north face, and below the transom, 
stands a figure now dressed in a coat of painted lead, represent- 
ing a soldier in the uniform of the early part of the nineteenth 
century. He holds a hammer in each hand, with which he 

s ,,r 


t|:f^-*vi it 




strikes the quarters on two bells beside him. He is known by 
the name of the "Jackman" or "Quarter Jack." There are 
no windows at the west ends of the nave aisles ; but, as on the 
south side so on the north, there are between the tower and 
the porch two two-light Decorated windows in the wall of the 

The level of the churchyards, as in the case with most old 
burying-grounds, is considerably above the level of the floor 
of the church. Hence steps have to be descended on entering 
the porches, and again in passing from the porches into the 
church. On the south side some levelling of the ground has 
been done, and the upright head-stones have been laid flat, 
but the altar tombs have been allowed to remain as they 
were. There are few trees in the churchyard to impede the 
view of the building ; those there are, are as yet small, and 
serve only to pleasantly break the bareness of the ground 
without hiding the architectural features of the building. 



The North Porch, which no doubt from the days of its erection 
in the fourteenth century has formed the chief entrance into 
the church, is opposite to the westernmost Norman bay of the 
nave arcading. The porch itself is vaulted in two bays, the 
vaulting springing from slender shafts of Purbeck marble 
which rest on the stone seats on either side of the porch. The 
bosses in which the ribs meet are carved with foliage. Over 
the porch is a small room to which no staircase now leads ; 
one which formerly led to it was removed in the seventeenth 
century. This room is lighted by a small two-light Decorated 
window facing north. 

The two Aisles are of the same length as the nave, and are 
divided from it by an arcading on either side, each containing 
six pointed arches. The easternmost arches consist of two 
plain orders, and are much narrower than the rest. These 
arches spring on the east side from brackets on the western 
face of the tower piers : the bracket on the north side is plain, 
that on the south side is ornamented with a kind of scale carving. 
These bays were probably of the same date as the tower, and 
it is not unlikely that the arches were at first like those of the 
tower, of the usual round-headed form. If they were altered 
when the remainder of the nave was built, the wall above was 
not removed. The piers which support the western side of 
these arches consist each of a semi-cylindrical pillar set against 
a rectangular pier, on the other side of which another semi- 
cylindrical shaft is set to support the next arch ; the next two 
pillars on each side are cylindrical, perfectly plain in the shafts 
with very simple bases and capitals. The latter may be seen in 
the illustrations, the former are concealed by the pews. It will 
be noticed as a peculiar feature that a little piece of the outer 
moulding, facing the nave, of the first large arch on the south 




side is differently carved from all the rest : first, counting from 
the bottom upwards, are three eight-leaved flowers — these are 
succeeded by three four-leaved flowers, all on a chamfered 
edge ; above this the moulding is not chamfered, and the outer 
face is decorated with shallow zig-zag carving. The second 


member of the moulding consists of chevron work somewhat 
irregularly carved, the projecting tooth-like points not being 
all of the same size ; in the centre is a roll moulding, from 
each side of which chevron ornamentation projects, the points 
directed outward perpendicular to the plane of the arch. 



These pillars and arches are noteworthy in that the piers 
are of considerable size, and above them are pointed 
arches. This would indicate a rather late date in the 



Norman period for this portion of the church ; probably it was 
built at some time during the last quarter of the twelfth 
century. With the third wide bay the twelfth-century church 


terminated, the two arches to the west of these being character- 
ised by ornamentation of the Decorated period. At this time, 
as has been aheady explained (p. 10), the aisles were widened 
and the inner edges of the roofs raised above the clerestory 
windows of the Norman church. Four such windows, round- 
headed, each placed over the point of an arch, may be seen on 
either side of the nave ; but the eastern one on each side differs 
from the other three in being of heavier character and rougher 
workmanship. The external mouldings of these can be well 
seen from the aisles : towards the nave they are splayed and 
plain. The wall above the fourteenth-century arches does not 
contain any windows on the same level as those of the old 
Norman clerestory ; but above them, stretching all along each 
side of the nave, may be seen the windows of the present 
clerestory. These are Perpendicular in style, and are five in 
number on each side, each window being placed over one of 
the piers of the nave arcading. These windows are square- 
headed, and have at the bottom three Hghts, each light being 
sub-divided into two at the top. It is believed that this 
clerestory was formed when the walls were raised, at the 
same time as the western tower was erected — namely, at the 
end of the fifteenth century. But to return to the Decorated 
arches at the west end of the nave. The pier at the eastern 
side of the easternmost of these consists of the semi-cylindrical 
respond of Norman date, a piece of masonry which was part of 
the west wall of the Norman church ; and then on the western 
side of this an added semi-cylinder, on the capitals of which 
may be seen the ball-flower ornament. The pier on either side, 
between the two fourteenth-century arches, is octagonal, with 
a very plain capital (one of these is shown in the illustra- 
tion on page 57); the arches themselves are also plain, 
consisting of two members with chamfered edges. The half 
pillars at the western side of the western arch have been 
imbedded in the octagonal buttresses of the west tower, 
which project into the church. 

The height of the nave roof appears to have been altered on 
several occasions. There may be seen from the interior of 
the nave, on the west wall of the lantern tower, two lines 
running from the level of the tops of the Norman clerestory 
windows : these make an angle of about forty-five degrees with 
the horizontal, and, no doubt, are traces of the weather mould- 


ings marking the position of the exterior of the roof of the nave 
in Norman times. Probably the roof visible from the interior 
was flat and formed of wood, and ran across in the line of the 
string course above the tower arch, at a level slightly above the 
heads of the clerestory windows. A round-headed opening 
above this string course probably gave admission to the space 
between the outer and inner roofs. At a somewhat higher level, 
we have a slight trace which probably marks the junction of the 
fifteenth-century roof with the tower. This roof was of oak and 
very plain — at the restoration the pitch of the roof was raised 
and carried up to such an extent as to cut off the bases of the 
clerestory windows of the lantern tower ; the inner roof itself 
is of pitch-pine, with hammer-beams of the character which 
finds such favour with nineteenth-century architects. 

The Central Tower, the oldest and probably most interest- 
ing part of the church, consists of four stages, of which the three 
lower ones are open to the church. The lowest of these was 
undoubtedly part of the original Norman church ; the second 
or triforium was soon added. Above this comes the clerestory, 
the pointed arch between the round-headed windows indicating 
a somewhat later date ; and above this there is a chamber 
perfectly plain within, and not open to the church below. The 
outside of this is decorated with an arcading of intersecting 
arches, which indicates a somewhat later date. These inter- 
secting arches form seven pointed arches on each side — five of 
these were originally open to allow the sound of the bells, which 
were formerly hung in the tower, to pass out ; but to add 
strength to the walls all but the middle ones on the east face 
were at various periods walled up. At one time the tower was 
surmounted by a spire, possibly of wood covered with lead ; 
this is supposed to have been erected by John de Berwick, who 
was dean of the minster from 1286 to 131 2. The squinches 
which supported this spire may still be seen in the upper 
stage just described. Descending from this stage by a spiral 
staircase in the north-west angle, we find ourselves in the 
clerestory already mentioned. In each face there are two round- 
headed windows widely splayed on the interior, with shafts in 
the jambs ; between each pair of windows is a pointed arch, 
in each angle of the tower is a slender shaft encircled by three 
bands at about equidistant intervals : a passage cut in the 
thickness of the wall runs round this stage. Again descending. 



we reach the triforium level. Each of the walls of this stage has 
two pointed sustaining arches built into the wall to support the 
weight of the superincumbent masonry ; each of these encloses 
four semi-circular headed arches with shafts of Purbeck marble. 
The capitals of these are rudely carved, and between the 
relieving pointed arches are carved heads, that on the north 
side being the most noteworthy. The passage behind the 
arches is very narrow, the total thickness of the walls being 


only 4 feet 6 inches. At the centre of each face are the 
openings which formerly led into the spaces between the roofs 
and ceilings of the nave, transepts, and choir of the Norman 
church. That on the north side now leads into a stone 
gallery, erected in 1891 in the place of a dilapidated wooden 
structure, which runs first westward to the angle between the 
tower and north transept, then along the west face of the 
transept until it reaches a door leading into the stair turret. 



which may be seen from the exterior. At the bottom of this is 
a door opening into the transept. This stair turret projects 


slightly into the transept. The lowest stage of the tower 
consists of four arches and four massive piers. The arches 



have two plain orders. The piers have double shafts support- 
ing the central order, and single shafts supporting the outer 
orders. The four arches are not of the same width, those on 
the east and west being wider than those on the north and 
south. In order to get the arches to spring from the same 
level and also to reach the same height at their heads, the 
wider arches are of the shape known as "depressed," while 
the narrower ones are of the " horse-shoe " type. The choir 
being somewhat narrower than the nave, the walls on each 
side take the place of the shaft which would have supported 
the outer order of the eastern arch. The capitals and bases of 
these arches are very plain, in fact nowhere in this church 
can the elaborately-carved capitals so often met with in late 
Norman work be found. This central tower was undoubtedly 
gradually raised stage by stage, as the character of the 
architecture indicates : probably during each interval the 
part already finished was capped by a pyramidal roof. 

The Nave Aisles were widened in the fourteenth century, 
the Norman walls being removed and their roofs raised; a single 
stone of the weather moulding, which may be seen on the west 
face of the north transept, shows the height and slope of the 
roof of the Norman aisle. The windows of the aisles on 
either side are two-light Decorated windows ; the three on 
either side to the east of the north and south porches are of 
the same character, while the two on each side to the west of 
the porches are also alike but differ in their tracery from those 
to the east. The south porch is much smaller than the north, 
and is very plain ; it is composed of two solid walls projecting 
six feet from the wall of the aisle. 

The Transepts, as has been described in the preceding 
chapter, were lengthened in the fourteenth century — the 
southern one by the incorporation of some low Norman 
building, thought by some to have been the Lady Chapel, 
the walls of which were raised ; the northern one by the 
addition of Bembre's chantry. This has caused the north 
transept to be somewhat longer than the south. The original 
Norman transepts seem to have been of the same length 
on either side. Bembre, who died in 1361, is supposed 
to have been buried here. A stone slab lay until 1857 in 
the centre of the pavement, — on it was a representation of a 
full-length figure of a man dressed in a robe like a surplice ; 



but when the pavement was renewed this stone was allowed 
to remain exposed to sun and rain in the churchyard until 
the surface was weathered to such an extent that it is now 
impossible to make out with any certainty what is upon it. 
But the description given by Hutchins of the arms on 
the shields which were 
sculptured on it does 
not agree with theBembre 
arms, so that it could 
hardly have been the 
tombstone of this Dean 
who founded the chantry. 
The window at the end 
of the north transept is 
modern restoration work. 
Before 1891 the tracery 
was of a very plain char- 
acter, as may be seen 
from the illustration (page 
21). It is supposed 
that damage was done to 
this window at the time 
when the tower fell, and 
that the plain tracery was 
inserted after that event. 
During the restoration in 
1891, the old plaster was 
removed from the walls, 
and in doing this a Nor- 
man altar recess was dis- 
covered in the east wall 
of this transept ; the 
southern end of this had 
been cut away when the 
choir aisle was widened 
in the fourteenth century. 
In this recess traces of 
fresco may be seen. A piscina stands to the north of this 
altar recess, and is of Decorated character. 

The South Transept has a five-light Decorated window at 
its southern end, with modern tracery in imitation of the old, 

Thirteenth-Century Piscina in 
South Transept. ■ 



each light running up through the head of the window. A 
very fine Early English piscina, with the characteristic dog- 
tooth moulding, stands in the south wall. An altar occupying 
a position similar to the one in the north transept used to 


stand in this transept also, but the pointed arch over the 
recess shows that it was of later date. 

The most elaborate part of the church is that which lies 
to the east of the central tower. The great height to which 
the altar is raised above the level of the nave gives it a 
very impressive appearance from the west end; and, again, 


the view looking westward from the altar level is much 
enhanced by the height from which it is seen. 

The East End is purely English work, and this shows that 
in the thirteenth century the church was extended about 
30 feet towards the east. The junction of the Early English 
with the Norman wall is marked by a cluster of slender 
shafts rising from the ground. The alterations which were 
made in the Norman walls at the time of this eastward 
extension have been already described (p. 11). 

It now only remains to describe the Choir and Presbytery 
as they stand at the present time. Immediately to the east 
of the tower on either side are two pointed arches of two 
plain orders rising on their western sides from plain brackets 
in the tower piers, and supported on the east by engaged 
shafts with roughly-carved Norman capitals. Next to these 
come the Early English inserted arches, pierced as already 
described through the Norman wall and cutting away the 
lower part of two previously existing Norman windows on 
each side. The arches are of three plain orders, with 
chamfered edges, resting on clustered shafts ; beyond these 
the new thirteenth - century work begins. Beyond the 
clustered shafts mentioned above, which mark the com- 
mencement of the Early English work, is a lofty arch on 
either side opening into the choir aisles ; over each of them 
is a pair of small lancet windows widely splayed inside. 
Between the piers of these arches a wall is carried, its top 
being about midway between their bases and" capitals. On 
the southern wall stands the Beaufort tomb, on the northern 
the Courtenay tomb ; and below this the walls are pierced 
with arches, beneath which are flights of nine steps leading 
on to the crypt beneath the presbytery. It is not improbable 
that after the eastern extension the altar stood at the east 
end of the Norman part of the choir, and that under these 
two Early English arches was the ambulatory or processional 
passage which is so often found to the east of the high altar. 
Beyond the ends of the choir aisles on either side of the 
presbytery is a lancet window. The east window is worthy 
of the closest observation. Its exterior appearance has been 
already described (p. 24). Within, it consists of three openings 
widely splayed ; the thin stone over the central lancet, beneath 
the surrounding moulding, is pierced with a quatrefoil opening ; 



over the two side lancets the corresponding openings have 
six foliations ; between the three lights and outside the outer 
ones, flush with the wall, are clusters of shafts of Purbeck 


marble, from which spring mouldings enclosing the lights 
in a most peculiar fashion : these follow the curves of the 
tops of the lancets, but before meeting they are returned in 
the form of cusps, and then are carried round the upper 



foliated openings. The upper part of each of these mould- 
ings forms about three-quarters of the circumference of a 
circle. The characteristic Early English dog-tooth ornament 
is carved round the moulding of the central light, those 
round the other lights are not thus decorated. The whole 
group is surrounded by a label following the curves of 
moulding, with carved heads at its terminations and points 
of junction. The six cusps of the moulding are ornamented 
by bosses of carved foliage. 


To the south side of the presbytery, between the south 
window and the Beaufort tomb, the triple Sedilia and the 
Piscina are situated : each of these is covered by a canopy 
of fourteenth-century work. These were extensively repaired 
at the time of the restoration. The Beaufort altar tomb is 
the finest monument in the church. On it are two recumbent 
figures carved in alabaster, and although there is no inscrip- 
tion it is certain that they represent John Beaufort, Duke of 



Somerset, and his wife Margaret. John Beaufort was son 
of another John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, who was brother 
of the celebrated Cardinal Beaufort, and son of John of 
Gaunt by his mistress Catherine Swynford, a family after- 
wards legitimatised by Parliament. This second John 
Beaufort distinguished himself in the French wars of 
Henry IV., who in 1443 gave him a step in the peerage, 
creating him Duke of Somerset. His wife Margaret was, 
when he married her, widow of Oliver St John, and it is 


thought that after the death of her second husband in 1444 
she married again. This John and Margaret, Duke and 
Duchess of Somerset, are famous on account of their daughter 
the Lady Margaret, so well-known for her educational endow- 
ments and for the fact that after her marriage with Edmund 
Tudor, the Earl of Richmond, she became the mother of 
that Henry Tudor who overthrew Richard III. at Bosworth, 
and was crowned King as Henry VII. Here on this altar 



tomb their effigies remain in a wonderful state of preserva- 
tion, their right hands clasped together, angels at their heads, 
his feet resting on a dog, hers on an antelope. He is com- 
pletely clad in armour, the face and right hand only bare — the 
gauntleted left hand holds the right hand gaundet, which he 
has taken off that he may hold the lady's hand. She is clad 
in a long close-fitting garment. Each of the two wears around 
the neck a collar marked with the letters SS. At the apex 
of the arch above their tomb hangs his tourney helm. 

Under the corresponding arch on the opposite side is a 
similar tomb, but without any effigy. The fragmert of an in- 
scription tells us that it is the tomb of one who was once the 
wife of Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, and mother 
of Edward Courtenay. She was Gertrude, daughter of 
William Blount, Lord Mountjoy. Her husband was be- 
headed in 1538, together with the aged Margaret, Countess 
of Salisbury, whose chantry may be seen in the Priory at 

Christchurch, though she was laid 
to rest in what Macaulay describes 
as the saddest burying-ground in 
England, the cemetery of St Peter's, 
in the Tower. Gertrude, Lady 
Courtenay, was herself attainted at 
the time of her husband's execu- 
tion, but was afterwards pardoned 
and died in 1557. The tomb was 
opened in the last century from 
idle curiosity, and some one at- 
tempted to raise the body to a 
sitting posture, with the result that 
the skeleton fell to pieces. The 
tomb was also damaged by this 
foolish opening. 

Three small carved figures at 
the bottom of the hood moulding 
of the arches over these monu- 
ments deserve attention. The one 
on the west side of the southern 
arch represents Moses with the tables of the law. Probably 
there was another such figure at the eastern end of the same 
moulding, but this would have been cut away when the 

tn Mc LOCO QviesciTioB^ifS f ■ 
;-nCLlUDI SE6'i VC(T 4W0*v"MM/MtrYRU 


Brass of -I^thelred. 


sedilia were inserted. The opposite arch has a figure on 
each side. 

Just at the east end of the Courtenay tomb is a slab of 
Purbeck marble, reputed to have once covered the grave of 
^thelred. In it is inserted a fifteenth-century brass, with 
a rectangular plate of copper bearing an inscription, repre- 
sented in the illustration (p. 46). A brass plate with a similar in- 
scription, though the date on it is given as 872, was found 
in the library. Possibly the original brass and inscription 
were taken up in the time of the civil wars and hidden for 
safety, and the inscription having been lost, the copper plate 
now on the tomb was made when the brass was replaced, 
and the original plate was afterwards found and was placed 
for safety in what is now the library. Copper nails were 
used to fasten the brass to the floor, which perhaps serves 
to show that the engraved copper plate was made at the 
time when the brass was replaced on the slab. A little 
piece of the left-hand bottom corner has been broken off, 
and the top of the sceptre is missing. There are no rails 
before the altar, but their place is supplied by three oak 
benches covered with white linen cloths (these may be seen 
in the illustration on p. 43). The use of the "houseling 
linen " dates back to very early times. The word "housel" 
for the sacrament of the Lord's Supper has gone out of use, 
though most of us are familiar with the line 

" Unhouscled, unanointed, unanelled," 

in which the ghost of Hamlet's father describes the circum- 
stances of his death. The word "unhouseled" in this means 
that he died without receiving the sacred elements before his 

The benches are a relic of Puritan times : there is an 
entry dated 1656 in the churchwardens' accounts respect- 
ing the payment of ^i " for making and setting up the 
benches about ye communion table in the quire." These 
were at first used as seats, on which the communicants sat 
to receive the bread and wine. In after times their use was 
modified. These benches, ten in number, were placed on 
the steps leading up to the altar, and it was customary for 
the clerk on "Sacrament Sundays" to go to the lectern after 
morning prayer, and, in a loud voice, give notice thus : "All ye 


who are prepared to receive the Holy Communion draw near." 
Those who wished to communicate then went into the chancel 
and sat on these benches or in the choir stalls, waiting their 
turns, and kneeling on mats until the clergy brought them 
the bread and wine. Up to 1852 there was a rail on the 
top step, at the entrance of the presbytery, on which the 
houseling linen hung. The rail, which was of no great 
antiquity, was removed at that date, and three of the oak 
benches were retained to supply its place ; these are now 
used as an ordinary communion rail, but are always covered 
with the " fair white cloths." 

The South Choir Aisle, known as the Trinity Aisle, has 
at its east end a five-light window, each light of which runs up 
through the head ; the south wall is pierced by two three- 
light windows of similar character. The wall opposite in 
the western bay, against which the organ now stands, is blank, 
as on the outside of this the vestry stands with the library 
above it. At the east end of this aisle was the chantry 
founded by the Lady Margaret, Countess of Richmond, 
whose father and mother lie in the tomb already described 
beneath the nearest arch on the north side of this aisle. 
The altar of this chantry, as well as all the other altars in 
the church, numbering ten in all, have been swept away, 
no doubt at the time of the Reformation. But recently the 
east end of this aisle has been fitted up with a communion 
table for use at early services. 

In this aisle is to be seen, under the second window from 
the east, the marble or slate painted sarcophagus known as 
the Etricke tomb. Anthony Etricke of Holt Lodge, Recorder 
of Poole, was the magistrate who committed for trial the ill- 
fated Duke of Monmouth, who, after his flight from Sedge- 
moor, was captured in the north of Dorset near Critchell. 
It is said that in his old age he became very eccentric, and 
desired to be buried neither in the church nor out of it, 
neither above ground nor under ; and to carry out his wish 
he got permission to cut a niche in the church wall, partly 
below the level of the ground outside, and then firmly fixed in 
it the slate receptacle which is now to be seen. Into this he 
ordered that his coffin should be put when he died. More- 
over, he had a presentiment that he should die in 1691, and 
so placed that date upon the side of the sarcophagus. He, 



however, lived twelve years longer than he expected, so that 
when his death really occurred the date had to be altered to 
1703. The two dates, the later written over the earlier, are 
still to be seen. On the outside of the sarcophagus arc 
painted the arms of his family. The whole is kept in good 
repair, for so determined was the good man that his memory 
should be kept alive, and his last resting-place well cared for, 
that he gave to the church in perpetuity the sum of 20s. per 
annum, to be expended in keeping the niche and coffin in 
good order. When the church was restored in 1857 the outer 
coffin was opened, and it was found that the inner one had 
decayed, but that the dust and bones were still to be seen. 


these were placed in a new chest and once more deposited in 
the outer coffin. 

In this aisle is also to be seen the relic chest, not formed as 
chests usually are of wooden planks or slabs fastened together, 
but hewn out of a solid trunk of oak. The chest is over 6 feet 
long, but the cavity inside is not more than 22 inches in 
length, 9 inches in width, and 6 inches in depth, hence it will 
be seen how thick and massive the walls are. Originally it 
contained the relics of the church, and probably is much older 
than the present minster itself. It was afterwards used as a 
safe for deeds. In 1735 some deeds were taken from it bearing 
the date 1200. 

Formerly, there stood on this aisle the tomb of John de 




Berwick, dean of the college, who died in 13 12. At his tomb 
once a year the parishioners met to receive the accounts of the 
outgoing churchwardens and to elect new ones. The altar 
tomb was removed about 1790, the slab at the top of it being 
let into the floor. 

The North Choir Aisle is a foot narrower than the corre- 
sponding south aisle : it has three windows each with two lights 
instead of two] of three lights. This is known as St George's 
aisle. In the east wall is a piscina of Perpendicular date. 
Two doors lead into this aisle — one at the corner, where the 


walls of the aisle and transept meet, and one between the two 
easternmost windows. The principal objects in this aisle are 
two bulky chests, one containing the title-deeds of some charity 
lands in the parish of Corfe Castle. This is fastened by six 
locks, each of different pattern, — each trustee of the charity 
has a key, of his own special lock, — so that the chest can only 
be opened by the consent of the whole body. The other chest 
contains the parochial accounts ; this once had six locks, but 
now has only two. 

In the south-eastern corner of this aisle lies a mutilated 



effigy of a mail-clad knight with crossed legs. This is said to 
have been removed to the minster from another church when 
it was destroyed. Whom it represents is uncertain, but tradi- 
tionally it is known as the Fitz Piers monument. 


In this aisle is the monument of Sir Edmund Uvedale, who 
died in 1606. The monument was erected by his widow in 
"dolefull duety." It is in the Renaissance style, and was 
carved by an Italian sculptor. The old knight is represented 


clad in a complete suit of plate armour, though without a 
helmet. He lies on his right side, his head is raised a little 
from his right hand, on which it has been resting, as though 
he were just awaking from his long sleep, his left hand holds 
his gauntlet. Above the tomb hangs an iron helmet, such as 
was worn in Elizabethan times, and which very probably was 
once worn by Sir Edmund himself. 

Between the eastern ends of the choir aisles, and beneath 
the eastern end of the presbytery, is the Crypt. This is a 
vaulted chamber, the vaulting being supported on two pairs of 
pillars, thus forming three aisles, as it were, running east and 
west, each containing three bays. The western bay is of 
somewhat later date than the central and eastern ; the wall 
against which the westernmost of the pillars once stood was 
removed, but the piers were allowed to remain, backed up by 
a new piece of masonry built against them to support the 
new vaulting. The crypt is lighted by four windows, equal- 
sided spherical triangles in shape ; two look out eastward, 
one northward beyond the chancel arch, one, correspondingly 
placed, to the southward. The centre of the east end is a 
blank wall. Against this the altar stood — a niche, probably 
a piscina, still may be seen. On each side of the place 
where the altar stood there are two openings into the choir 
aisles. The exteriors of these are of the same form and 
size as the crypt windows, but they are deeply splayed inside, 
and probably were used as hagioscopes or squints, to allow 
those kneeling in the choir aisles to see the priest celebrating 
mass at the crypt altar. 

The Vestry stands in the south-east angle between the 
transept and choir aisle ; it is a vaulted building dating from 
the fourteenth century, and is hghted by two windows, one 
looking to the east, the other to the south. A small door at 
the south-west corner opens upon the staircase leading to the 
Library — a chamber situated above the vestry. The collection 
consists chiefly of books left to the minster by will of the Rev. 
William Stone, Principal of New Inn Hall, Oxford, a native 
of Wimborne. They were brought from Oxford in 1686, under 
the care of the Rev. Richard Lloyd, at that time Master of the 
Grammar School at Wimborne. The books are chiefly works 
on divinity ; some additions were subsequently and at various 
times made to the original collection. The books were attached 





to the shelves for safety's sake by iron chains, the upper end 
carrying rings which slid on rods fastened to the shelf above, 
the other end to the edge of the binding of the books. Hence 
the volumes had to be placed on the shelves with their backs 
to the walls. The room in which the books were placed was 
formerly known as the Treasury; it was refitted in 1857, but 
the old chains are still used. It would occupy too much space 
were any attempt made to give a list of the books. The oldest 
volume is a manuscript of 1343, "Regimen Animarum," 


written on vellum, and containing a few illuminated initials. 
A "Breeches," Black-Letter Bible, dated 1595, is another book 
worth mentioning; also a volume of Sir Walter Raleigh's 
History of the World. A hole was burnt through 104 of its 
pages. It is said that Matthew Prior, the poet, was reading it 
by candle light and fell asleep, and when he woke was much 
distressed to find that the snuff from his candle had done the 
mischief He did his best to repair the damage, by placing a 




tiny piece of paper over the hole in each page, and inserting 
the missing letters with pen and ink. The book has since been 
rebound, leaves taken from another copy having been bound in 
between the damaged pages. 


The lower part of the west tower is used as a baptistery ; 
this is separated from the nave by a screen, formed of 
fragments of the old rood screen. In the centre stands the 
octagonal late Norman Font, supported by eight slender shafts 
of Purbeck marble, and a modern spirally-carved central 



pillar of white stone, through which runs the drain to carry 
off the water. 

In the inner southern wall of this tower, rather low down, 
is fixed a curious old Clock made by Peter Lightfoot, a 
Glastonbury monk, in the early part of the fourteenth 
century. The earth is represented by a globe in the centre, 
the sun by a disc which travels round it once in twenty-four 


hours, showing the time of day ; the moon by a globe so 
fastened to a blue disc that it revolves once during a lunar 
month ; half of this is painted black, the other half is gilt, 
and the age of the moon is indicated by the amount of 
the gilded portion visible^when the moon is full the whole 
of the gilt hemisphere is shown, when new the whole of the 
black. This clock still goes, the works being in a room 


in the tower above. It requires winding once a day. The 
same clock also causes the Jack outside the tower to strike 
the quarters. 

In the Belfry is a peal of eight bells. The tenor weighs 
about 36 cwts., the treble 7 cwts. 

The tenor bears this inscription : 

Mr Wilhemus Loringe me primo fecit, 
in honorem stje cutbergie. 


The seventh bell is dated 1798. 

The sixth bell 1600, and is thus inscribed: "Sound out 
THE Bells, in God rkgovce." 

The fifth 1698, "Praise the Lord." 

The fourth 1686, "Pulsata rosamundi maria vocata. 

The third was originally the smallest bell of the peal, and 
bears the Latin hexameter: "Sum minima hic campana, at 
inest, sua gratia parvis," and the words, " This Bell was 
ADDED to ye FIVE IN 1 686, Samucl Knight." The two 
smaller bells are of recent date. 

The Lectern bears date 1623. The stone pulpit is modern 
(1868). The old wooden pulpit, whose place it has taken, 
has been removed to the church at Holt. 

The earliest mention of an Organ is in 1405, but the 
earliest authentic record is of one set up by John Vaucks, 
Organ Master, in 1533. A memorandum in the church- 
wardens' accounts speak of him setting up a pair of organs 
on the rood loft. In the year 1643, we have records of the 
sale of organ-pipes and old tin. After the Restoration in 
1664, we have a record of the purchase of a new organ for 
p^iSo. This was repaired, enlarged, and rebuilt at various 
times, and at the restoration, when the rood screen was unfor- 
tunately destroyed, the organ was placed in the south choir 

All the lower windows are now filled with painted glass ; 
all of which, with the exception of a few fragments, is nine- 
teenth-century work. 




Martin Pattislee or PattishuU 

Ralph Brilo 

John Mansell 

John de Kirkby . 

John de Berwick 

Stephen de Mawley 

Richard de Clare 

Richard de Svvinnerton 

Richard de Merimoulh 

Richard de Kingston 

Thomas de Clopton 

Reginald de Bryan 

Thomas de Bembre (founder of 

Henry de Buckingham 

Richard de Beverley 

John de Carp 

Roger Tortington 

Peter de Altebello 

Walter Medford 

Gilbert Kymer . 

Walter llerte . 

Hugh Oldham . 

Thomas Row thel 

Henry Hornby . 

Reginald Pole . 

Nicholas Wilson 

the chantry) 














College dissolved 



ST Margaret's hospital 

About a quarter of a mile to the north-west of Wimborne 
stands the chapel of St Margaret's Hospital. The date of 
the foundation of this hos[)ital is uncertain ; tradition has it 
that it was founded by John of Gaunt, son of Edward III., 
but this is without doubt wrong, as documents — the char- 
acter of which seem to indicate an early thirteenth-century 
date — have been found, from which it appears that this 
hospital existed at that time, and was set apart for the relief 
and support of poor persons afflicted with leprosy. This 
disease was at one time so common in England that a 
great number of lazar-houses were erected in the country, 
and many were well endowed ; but when, after a time, the 
disease became less violent, many abuses crept in, persons 
not really suffering from the disease pretended to be lepers 
in order to get pecuniary benefits, and hence in many cases 
the leper hospitals were suppressed, or converted to other 
purposes. At the present day we find in many places, as 
here at Wimborne, that they are used as almshouses. 

This hospital, however, was not one of the well-endowed. 
It appears from a deed, dated in the sixteenth year of 
Henry VIII., that the hospital was chiefly maintained, not 
by endowments, but by the gifts of the charitable who 
were willing to contribute to its support ; and to encourage 
the benevolent to give, the deed recites that " Pope Innocent 
IV., in the year 1245, by an indulgans or bulle did assoyl 
them of all syns forgotten, and offences done against fader 
and moder, and all swerynges neglygently made. This 
indulgans, grantyd of Petyr and Powle, and of the said 
pope, was to hold good for 51 yeres and 260 days, pro- 
vided they repeated a certain specified number of Paternosters 
and Ave Marias daily." The date of this indulgence proves 
the antiquity of the hospital, as it shows that it was in 
existence before the middle of the thirteenth century. A 



chantry was also founded in the chapel here by John 
Redcbddes of one priest to say masses for his soul. To 
this chkntry, according to a deed dated in the sixteenth year 
of Henry VI., many tenements in Wimborne belonged. In 
later times the Rev. William Stone, who has been mentioned 
before as the founder of the Minster Library, by his will 
left his lands and tenements in the parish of Wimborne 
Minster to be applied to the benefit of almsmen only who 
should live in St Margaret's Hospital. 

There is a further endowment, but how it came to this 
hospital has not been discovered. The advowson and tithes 
of the Rectory of Poole were, in the reign of James I., granted 
to the Mayor and Corporation of Poole for forty years, on 
the corporation undertaking to find a curate to discharge 
the duties lately discharged by the vicar, and to pay a rent 
to the crown of ^12, i6s. per annum. In the reign of 
Charles I., the advowson and tithes were granted to two men, 
Thomas Ashton and Henry Harryman, and their heirs for 
ever, on the same conditions ; but they are now again held 
by the Corporation, who pay out of the revenues — to 
St Margaret's hospital jQ()^ i6s. ; to the churchwardens of 
Wimborne Minster, for the maintenance of the Etricke tomb, 
^i ; and to the fellows of Queen's College, Oxford, to be 
spent in wine and tobacco on November 5th, yearly ^2. 

The Redcotte chantry possessed sundry vestments, the gift 
of Margaret Rempstone, in the thirty-fifth year of Henry VI., 
and plate, an inventory of which exists. This plate, on the 
dissolution of chantries, was given by the parishioners to 
the king, Edward VI. The hospital or almshouses stands 
on the high road from Wimborne to Blandford ; the chapel 
joins one of the tenements occupied by the almsmen. These 
tenements are nine in number ; three are inhabited by married 
couples, three by men, and three by women. Some of these 
cottages are of half timber, and thatched, others of modern 
brick. The chapel, at which there is now a service every 
Thursday afternoon, conducted by one of the minster clergy, 
is a plain building, which has been recently refitted, but re- 
mains, as far as windows and walls are concerned, in its 
original state. There are three doors in the north wall ; 
the heads are pointed, and it is noteworthy that in the 
central door, that generally used for access to the chapel, 



the two sides of the arch are of different curvatures, so that 
the point of the arch is nearer to the right-hand side. The 
edge of the wall is chamfered round the doorways. The 
east window has a semicircular head, and plain wooden tracery 
dividing it into two lancet-headed lights with an opening 
above them. There is a window in both the south and north 
walls, near the east end, each of two lights ; the south window 
is widely splayed inside ; the head of each light has one 
cusp on each side. The head of each light of the north 
window has two cusps on each side. Farther to the west, on 
the south side, is a single narrow lancet, widely splayed, and 
still farther to the west is a semicircular opening with wooden 
tracery. The general character of the masonry would indicate 
that local workmen were employed in building this chapel, 
and that little was spent in ornamenting it at the time of 
the erection. There are, however, some traces of frescoes 
on the inside of the walls, both geometrical patterns and 
figures. The pointed doorways and the lancet window on 
the south side would indicate the thirteenth century as 
the date of the original building, and this agrees with the 
documentary evidence mentioned above for the foundation 
of the hospital. The roof is an open one of massive 
wooden rafters, with the beams running across at the level 
of the wall plates. 


Extreme length, exterior, I', to W. 

Extreme width, exterior, N. to S. 

Length of Nave, interior 

Width of Nave, interior 

Height of Walls 

Length of Nave Aisles, interior 

Width of Nave Aisles, interior 

Length of North Transept, interior 

Width of North Transept, interior 

Height of Walls, interior 

Length of South Transept, interior 

Width of South Transept, interior 

Height of Walls 

Length of Choir, interior 

Width of Choir, interior 

Height of Choir Walls 

Length of Presbytery . 

Width of Presbytery 

198 feet 











Length of North Choir Aisle . 

Width of North Choir Aisle . 

Length of South Choir Aisle . 

Width of South Choir Aisle 

Length of Side of Central Tower (square), 

Height of Central Tower . . • 

Length of Side of Western Tower (square), exterior 

Height of Western Tower 

Length of North Porch, N. and S., interior . 

Width of North Porch, E. and W., interior . 

Length of South Porch, N. and E., interior . 

Width of South Porch, E. and W., interior . 

Length of Vestry, N. and S., interior . 

Wid\h of Vestry, E. and W., interior . 

Length of Baptistery, E. to W., interior 

Width of Baptistery, N. to S., interior 

Area ....•• 

53 feet 

21 „ 

53 .. 

20 ,, 

31 >. 

84 „ 

31 -> 

95 >' 

15 » 

14 >> 

6 „ 

7 ,, 

15 .. 
14 „ 

18 „ 

19 „ 
10,725 sq. feet. 























On the promontory washed on the one side by the slow 
stream of the Dorset Stour, and on the other by the no less 
sluggish flow of the Wiltshire Avon, not far from the place 
where they mingle their waters before making their way amid 
mudflats and sandbanks into the English Channel, stands, 
and has stood for more than eight hundred years, the stately 
Priory Church which gives the name of Christchurch to a 
small town in the county of Hants. The massive walls of 
its Norman nave, its fifteenth-century tower, and its great 
length — for, from the east wall of its Lady Chapel to the west 
wall of its tower, it measures no less than 311 feet — make 
it a conspicuous object from the Channel, especially after 
sundown, when its form, rising above the low shore of 
Christchurch Bay, is silhouetted against the sky. It is one 
of the finest churches below cathedral rank that is to be 
found in England. It is a perfect mine of wealth to the 
student of architecture, containing examples of every style 
from its early, possibly Saxon, crypt to the Renaissance of 
its chantries. Here we may see the solid grandeur of 
Norman masonry in the nave, with its massive arcading and 
richly-wrought triforium ; the graceful beauty of the Early 
English in its north porch and in the windows of the north 
aisle of the nave ; the more fully developed Decorated in the 
windows of the south aisle of the same ; and Perpendicular 
in the tower and Lady Chapel. 

The crypts beneath the north transept and the presby- 
tery may have belonged to the original church, but of that 
which is visible above ground the oldest part was due 
to Flambard, of whom more hereafter. When the first 
church was founded we cannot tell. Here, as in many other 
places, the origin is lost in the haze of antiquity and 



legend. Here, as at many other places, we find the original 
builders choosing one site, and the stones that they had 
laid during the day being removed by night by unseen, and 
therefore angelic, hands to another. It was on the heights 
of St Catharine, about a mile and a half away from the 
present site, that the human builders strove to raise their 
church. It may be that this hill, still marked by the ramparts 
of an ancient encampment, was not holy ground on account 
of its former occupation by heathens, though in after time, 
a chapel, built in the early part of the fourteenth century, 
existed there ; but, anyhow, not on this hill, but on the flat 
lands of Saxon Tweoxneham, a name which passed into the 
forms of Thuinam and Twynham, that the great Priory 
Church was destined to stand. But not even when the 
human builders began to erect the church on the miraculously 
chosen ground did supernatural interposition cease. A stranger 
workman came and laboured at the building : never was he 
seen to eat as the other workmen did, never did he come 
with his fellows to receive his wages. Once, when a beam had 
been cut too short for the place it was to occupy, he lengthened 
it by drawing it out with his hand ; and when the day for 
consecration came, and the other workmen gathered together 
to see their work hallowed by due ceremonial, this stranger 
workman was nowhere to be seen. The ecclesiastics came 
to the conclusion that this was none other than the carpenter's 
son of Nazareth, and the church which had in part been 
builded by the hands of the Christ Himself was fitly dedi- 
cated to Christ, and it still bears the name of Christchurch. 

But, if we disregard these legends, we do not at once 
find ourselves on sure and certain ground. The foundation 
has been attributed to ^thelstan, but this is hardly likely, as, 
in a charter dated 939, he gives one of the weirs on the Avon 
at Twynham to the Abbey Church of Middleton, now Milton 
Abbey in North Dorset, which he would be hardly likely to 
do if he had founded, or were thinking of founding, a religious 
house at Twynham ; and as he died in 940, not much time 
was left for any foundation after this grant. Again, we find 
King Eadred granting land and fishing near Twineham to 
Dunstan. However, in the time of the Confessor, mention 
is made of the canons of Holy Trinity possessing lands in 
Thuinam. It must be remembered that it had been intended, 


according to the legend, to dedicate the church to the Holy 
Trinity, and no doubt this was done, although it was also 
specially dedicated to the second Person. In Domesday the 
double name occurs. The canons of the Holy Trinity of 
Christchurch are said to hold lands in the village, and also 
in the Isle of Wight opposite. Certain it is that in the days 
of Eadward the Confessor there was a church at Twynham 
dedicated to the Holy Trinity, held by a dean and a college 
of secular canons. This church was swept away by Ranulf 
Flambard, the notorious justiciar and chaplain of William 
II., whose evil deeds, contrary to the oft-quoted passage from 
Mark Antony's speech in Julius Ctesar, are now generally 
forgotten ; while the good deeds that he wrought, — the nave 
of this church, and the still grander nave of Durham Cathedral 
Church, Durham Castle, "Norham's castled steep," and 
Kepier Hospital, built while he held the most important 
diocese in the North of England, — live after him, and have 
shed a glory on his name. Evil he was in moral character 
without doubt, but a glorious builder nevertheless. Though 
he oppressed the clergy, though it was through his instru- 
mentality and by his advice that sees were kept vacant for 
years, and when filled, only given to those who were able 
and willing to pay large sums to the king, yet it is rather 
as a great architect than as an ecclesiastic that we, who gaze 
with delight and admiration on his work that has come down 
to us, will regard him. It is said that, as his end drew nigh, 
he realised the amount of evil he had done, and strove to 
make his peace with heaven and restitution to some, at least, 
of those whom he had wronged. He died in 11 28, and his 
body rests in the great Cathedral Church of St Cuthbert 
that he had done so much to raise. But it was in the 
earlier part of his career, before he received the bishopric 
of Durham in 1099, that he probably began the work 
at Christchurch with which we are at present concerned.* 
He was succeeded by Godric in 1099, who is called Senior 
and Patron and afterwards Dean ; but Flambard seems still 

* Sir Gilbert Scott, however, thought that the Norman nave of the 
Cathedral Church at Durham was commenced before Flambard became 
bishop, and that the new church at Christchurch was begun after that 
date, so that the work at Christchurch was copied by him from what he 
found already commenced at Durham when he went there. 


to have exercised some authority over him, illegal probably, 
but none the less real. We find him granting to Godric, for 
the work of building, all the offerings made by strangers and 
pilgrims, and when a canon died his share of the revenues 
of the college was devoted to the same object, the vacancy 
not being filled up by the appointment of any new canon. 
Godric died after having been dean for a short time only, 
whereupon Henry I. appointed Gilbert de Dousgunels dean, 
having appropriated to himself the accumulated fabric fund. 
Henry I. granted the patronage of the church to Richard de 
Redvers, Earl of Devon, who appointed his chaplain, Peter, 
a Norman of Caen, dean. This dean seems to have diverted 
the funds from the work of completing the church, but his 
successor, Randulphus, carried on the work again, so that 
in his time the church and the conventual buildings were 
roofed in. In the time of Hilary, in the year 1150, the 
secular college of canons was converted into a Priory of 
Augustinian Canons. This change was made with the consent 
of Baldwin de Redvers, in accordance with the wishes of 
Henry of Blois, brother of King Stephen, and at that time 
Bishop of Winchester, who is well known from the fact of 
his founding the Hospital of St Cross, near Winchester. 
Hilary, two years before this change was made, had been 
consecrated Bishop of Chichester, and subsequently became 
one of the episcopal opponents of Thomas Becket. Hence- 
forth, until the dissolution in the reign of Henry VIII., the 
head of the religious community at Christchurch was a prior, 
who was, according to a charter granted by Richard de Red- 
vers in 1 1 60, elected by the canons. There were, in all, 
twenty-six priors, and their names have come down to us, 
but with only the most meagre notices of the architectural 
work which was carried on by each of them. Extensive, 
however, it must have been ; and from what we see of the 
church itself, it would seem as if building operations must 
have been almost constantly in progress. 

In all probability there was, according to the usual plan of 
Norman churches, a tower at the junction of the nave and 
transepts, and beyond this an apsidal choir. But there is no 
documentary record of such a tower ever having been built or 
fallen, although its existence is rendered probable by a carving 
of a church with tower and spire on Draper's chantry, and by 


a similar representation on a seal, and in two other parts of 
the building. It is probable that the original choir extended 
westward beyond the transept, as at Westminster to the 
present day. 

As has been stated above, the Norman church was com- 
menced by Flambard towards the end of the eleventh century ; 
and of the work so begun, the earliest existing remains are the 
arcading of the nave, the triforium, and the transepts with the 
eastern apsidal chapel attached to the south transept. Next to 
this in order came the walls of the aisles of the nave, and the 
cloisters and chapter-house, which, however, have disappeared ; 
cloisters would come to be considered a necessity as soon as 
the secular canons were superseded by regulars. The early 
English clerestory of the nave seems to have been built in the 
time of the third prior, Peter, about the beginning of the 
thirteenth century. To the end of same century may be 
approximately assigned the vaulting of the nave aisles, the north 
porch, and a chapel attached to the north transept. Altera- 
tions of an extensive nature seem to have been begun in the 
fourteenth century ; for to this date belong the rood screen, 
placed farther to the east than the old division between the 
ritual choir of the canons and the western part of the nave, 
which was probably given up to the lay dwellers in the parish, — 
and the splendid reredos. The Lady Chapel also was completed 
certainly before 1406, probably eleven years earlier. The 
fifteenth century saw the western tower built and the choir 
commenced and a great part of it finished, though the vault- 
ing seems not to have been completed until the early part of 
the sixteenth century, as W. E. the initials of AVilliam Eyre, 
who was prior from 1502 to 1520, are to be seen on the 
bosses and the arch of the south choir aisle. Somewhat later 
still is the chantry at the east end of the south choir aisle, 
built by the last prior and dated 1529, and the chantry built 
by the last of the Plantagenets, Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, 
daughter of the Earl of Clarence and mother of Cardinal Pole, 
who at the age of seventy was executed by Henry VIII. in 


Shortly before the dissolution in 1536 Prior Draper 

addressed a petition to Henry VIII. which is still in exist- 
ence in the Record Office, praying that he would spare 
the Priory church, basing his request upon the desolate 


character of the district, the poverty of the house, and the 
fact that the church was not only a place for poor religious 
men, but also a parish church to the town and hamlets round 
about, whose inhabitants numbered from fifteen to sixteen 
hundred, that there was no place where any honest man on 
horseback or on foot might have succour or repose for 
the space of eight or nine miles, "but only this poor 
place of Christchurch, to which both rich and poor doth repair 
and repose." He goes on to say how it was of late years a place 
of secular canons, until the king's antecessors made it a place 
of canons regular, that " the poor, not only of the parish and 
town, but also of the country, were daily relieved and sustained 
with bread and ale, purposely baked and brewed for them 
weekly to no small quantities according to their foundation, 
and a house ordained purposely for them, and officers accord- 
ing duly given attendance to serve them to their great comfort 
and rehef." But all the pleading was in vain. Commissioners 
were appointed, who presented their report to Lord Cromwell 
December 2, 1539. They say that "we found the Prior a very 
honest and conformable person, and the house well furnished 
with jewels and plate, whereof some be meet for the king's 
majesty's use." Then follows a list of the treasures of the 
abbey, of the yearly value of the several endowments, and of 
the officers of the Priory, thirteen in number besides the Prior. 
Prior Draper retired on a pension, and the site of the domestic 
buildings was conveyed to Stephen and Margaret Kirton. The 
domestic buildings themselves gradually disappeared, but the 
whole of the church was handed over to the parish as a church, 
the grant to the churchwardens being made by letters patent 
23 October 32 Henry VHI. It conveyed to them "the choir 
body, bell-tower with seven bells, stones, timber, lead of roofing 
and gutters of the church and the cemetery on the north side." 
Since then the church has been served by vicars, the patronage 
being in the hands of the dean and chapter of Winchester 
until the present century, when the advowson was purchased by 
Lord Malmesbury. 

During the present century much restoration has been done. 
The nave was vaulted in stucco in 1819 ; the west window 
was taken in hand in 1828; the pinnacles of the tower and 
the upper part of the turret containing the stairs were renewed 
in 1871 ; and constant repairs have been going on up to the 


present time ; and the principle that has guided the restorer 
has been, when any stonework has been removed to put in its 
place as exact a copy of the old as possible, — a principle that 
cannot be approved of, as it will lead, when the newness of the 
modern work has been toned down by time, to confusion 
between the £;enuine old work and the modern imitation of it. 
It is far better, when there is no question of stability but only 
of appearance, to leave the old stonework, even though much 
decayed, as it is, unscraped, untouched by the chisel, and where 
strength is needed to put in frankly nineteenth-century work, 
which could never by any possibility be mistaken for part of 
the original building. 

One of the most glaring instances of injudicious restoration is 
to be met with in the apsidal chapel attached to the eastern 
side of the south transept. This work was carried out by the 
Hon. C. Harris, late Bishop of Gibraltar. The arcading is a 
nineteenth-century imitation of Norman work ; the pavement 
is glaringly modern. Of what interest, it may well be asked, is 
such work ? A\'ho would care to \isit Christchurch to see it ? 
The nineteenth-century carver cannot possibly produce work 
similar to that of the carver who lived in the twelfth centun.-, — 
the conditions of his life are altogether different, his training 
bears no resemblance to that of the old artist, his work is a 
forgery, and a most clumsy one too. In this chapel we see this 
reprehensible practice carried to its fullest extent, but there are 
many other parts of the building which have suffered. Most of 
the arcading on the exterior of the transept is modern imita- 
tion, and the tracer}- of the windows of the south choir aisle 
has been entirely renewed : no old stones, though many might 
have been used, have been reset in their original position. 
The arcading of the south aisle of the nave has been terriblv 
tampered with. Possibly under the influence of time many of 
the shafts had partially crumbled, and the surface of the 
carved capitals had perished, so that the original design could 
not be made out : but that was no reason for cutting away the 
ornamental work to make way for modern decoration which 
may or may. not bear some slight resemblance to what was 
there before. Some of the piers of the nave arcading have 
also been partially renewed. By an act of much-to-be-con- 
demned vandalism the sub-arches of the two eastern bays 
of the south triforium of the nave were cut away to make 


room for faculty pews ; recently a glaring white pillar has been 
introduced into the westernmost of these two bays, and two 
sub-arches built. If the same kind of work is carried out 
in the other, we shall see in all probability an attempt to 
copy the unique scale decoration which still exists on the 
tympanum under the corresponding principal arch on the 
north side, cut with modern tools with all the lifeless rigidity 
of modern work. Another mistake which has been made, is 
the scraping off of the plaster from the interior walls of the 
chamber known as St Michael's Loft, over the Lady Chapel, 
and the re-pointing of the stonework. Old builders in- 
variably covered their rubble walls with plaster, but the 
modern restorer for some reason seems to hate plaster and 
prefers to show the coarse stonework which the builder never 
intended should be seen, and to emphasise the roughness 
by filling up the joints with conspicuous pointing. This, how- 
ever, is not so destructive as much of the work which has been 
condemned above, because at any time the walls could be re- 
covered with a thin coat of smooth plaster laid on with a 
trowel, but not " floated," — that is, not brought to a smooth 
surface by a long straightedge. 

A large and old building such as this Priory Church will 
need almost constant repairs to keep it sound and safe, and 
the income from visitors' fees is quite sufficient for this purpose. 
It is, however, much to be feared that restoration and recon- 
struction will form far too large a part of the work done in 
this building. Every new ornamental stone, to make room for 
which some original stone is displaced, detracts from the value 
of the building from an archaeological point of view ; and 
though there may be some, or even many, who prefer the 
trim and smug appearance of modern work to that of the 
old, instinct with life, full of the thoughts of the builders and 
workers in wood and stone, whose bones have mouldered into 
dust in the garth of the vanished cloisters, and whose very 
names have in many cases been forgotten, yet we hope that 
those who have this priceless treasure in their keeping may 
recognise ere it is too late, that the result of a continuance 
of the process of restoration commenced about the middle 
of the nineteenth century will be the gradual conversion of a 
splendid memorial of bygone ages into a modern sham, and 
they themselves will be regarded, when true love of art 


becomes general, with the same hidignation as that which 
they themselves feel with regard to those who pulled down 
the roof of the south transept and cut out the columns and 
sub-arches of the triforium in days before the Gothic revival 
set in. And the modern restorer has less excuse than the 
destroyer of a hundred years ago. If, like the vandals of 
the Gxeorgian period, they had been blind to the beauties 
of architectural art, they would have had no sin, yet since 
they profess to see, therefore their sin will remain and 
their names will be held in perpetual reproach and ever- 
lasting contempt. 

The foregoing historical sketch of the building has perforce 
been somewhat vague in dates, for, in the absence of 
documentary evidence, it is not easy to fix from architectural 
considerations alone the date of any particular piece of work 
within a limit of some twenty years or so. The out-of-the- 
way position of the Priory of Christchurch — for no great road 
ran through the town, and though it is near the sea there is 
no convenient harbour near it — has brought it to pass that 
it is scarcely mentioned in any mediaeval chronicles. Its 
own fabric rolls and annals have been lost. Here and there, 
however, the date of a will or the inscription on a monument 
has enabled a more definite date to be arrived at. The dates 
also of the dedications of some of the many altars are known — 
viz. that of the Holy Saviour, used by the canons as their high 
altar, and that of St Stephen, dedicated by the Bishop of Ross 
in 1199 ; that of the altar of the Holy Trinity, which stood in 
the nave, and was the high altar of the parish ; and those of the 
altars of SS. Peter and Paul, SS. Augustine and Gregory and 
all the Prophets, dedicated by Walter, Bishop of Whitherne, 
on November 7, 1214 ; that of the altar of St John the Baptist 
and St Edmund, dedicated on December 7, 12 14, by the 
same bishop; and that of the altar of SS. Michael and 
Martin, dedicated by the Bishop of the Isles in 1221. 



The exterior of the church of Christchurch Priory may be 
well seen from several points of view. The churchyard lies 
to the north of the building, extending beyond it both to the 
east and west. On the south side, where all the domestic 
buildings of the Priory once stood, there is a modern house and 
private grounds. All that belongs to the church is a path running 
under the walls as far as the east corner of the transept, where 
a garden door stops farther progress. Several glimpses of the 
building, however, may be obtained on the way down to the 
Stour, and seen from the south side of this river, the church 
rises above its surroundings, and forms a conspicuous object. 
A good general view on the north-east may also be obtained 
from a bridge over the Avon. From this point of view the 
great length of the church is apparent ; on the right-hand 
side may be seen the ruins of the Norman keep of the castle 
on its artificial mound, and nearer to the bridge the remains 
of a twelfth-century Norman house. From the churchyard, 
also, the whole north side of the church may be seen at once, 
and many striking features will be noticed. Among these, 
the circular staircase attached to the transept, with its rich 
diaper work ; Norman arcading of interlacing arches running 
round the transept ; the large windows of the choir clerestory, 
so wide and closely set together that the whole wall seems 
as though composed of glass — through which, and the windows 
of the opposite wall, the light of the sky can be seen ; and 
lastly, the upper storey of the Lady Chapel with its row of 
windows of a domestic type. 

A systematic examination of the exterior may best be begun 
with the Western Tower. This is of fifteenth-century date, 
and is set partially within the church — that is to say, its builder 
did not add it to the west of the church, making an archway 



















through the previously existing west front, but pulled down 
the whole west wall of the nave, leaving, however, the west 
walls of the aisles, and carried the north and south walls of 
the new tower as far back into the church as the space 
occupied by the western bay, thus leaving two spaces at the 
west end of the aisles, one now used as a vestry, the other as 


a kind of lumber-room. In the west face of the tower is a 
doorway under a rectangular label ; in the spandrels are two 
shields, bearing the arms of the Priory, and of the Montacutes 
and Monthermers, Earls of Salisbury. The doors are modern. 
Immediately above the doorway is a large window with three 
tiers, each containing six lights. The head of the window 
above these is of an ordinary Perpendicular character. The 



tracery was restored in 1828. x\bove this window is a niche 
containing a figure of Christ. The upper stage, which contains 
the bells, has two two-light windows in each face, each light 
being divided by a transom. These windows are not glazed, 
but are furnished with louvre-boards. The tower is crowned 
with a pierced battlemented parapet having pinnacles at the 
corners and at the middles of each side ; within this rises 


a low pyramidal roof. The stair turret runs up at the north- 
east angle of the tower ; this is octagonal, and is crowned 
with a parapet and crocketed pinnacles ; the upper part of 
this turret and the pinnacles were renewed in 187 1. The 
tower is strengthened by two buttresses at right angles to each 
other at each of the two western angles. On either side of 
the tower, as already explained, may be seen the west end of 
the nave aisles ; these have windows with Perpendicular tracery, 
and on the north wall of the north aisle is a plain, round- 
headed doorway cut through the wall in modern time, with 
a Perpendicular window ovtr it. 


Next comes the North Porch, with a chamber above it^here, 
as in many other churches, the chief entrance into the building. 
Its great dimensions, both in length and height, however, are 
remarkable ; it projects 40 feet beyond the aisle wall, and its 
own side walls rise nearly to the height of the clerestory of the 
church. Its south end does not extend beyond the wall of 
the aisle, so that there is a space between the upper part of 
the porch and the clerestory. The upper part above the porch 
proper contains, as mentioned above, a lofty chamber, prob- 
ably originally the muniment-room. This is lighted by two 
pairs of narrow single-light windows on either side, and by a 
similar pair in the north face beneath the obtuse-angled gable. 
This room is, no doubt, a later addition. The entrance into 
the porch is a beautiful, deeply-recessed archway of thirteenth- 
century date, with numerous shafts of Purbeck marble on 
either side. Within the porch the side walls are divided 
into two compartments, each of which is composed of two 
pointed arches beneath another larger pointed arch, with a 
cinquefoil in the head. On the west side, near the outer 
archway, is a cinquefoiled recess, with shafts of Purbeck 
marble and foliated cusps. This is said originally to have 
contained a desk, at which the prior met the parishioners and 
signed deeds. A stone seat runs along each side of the porch 
walls. The double doorway which leads into the church is 
very beautiful and rich Early English work. From six 
Purbeck marble shafts on either side spring the orders of 
the enclosing archway ; the heads of the double doorways 
themselves are cinquefoiled arches with foliated cusps. 
At the jambs, and dividing the two doors, are clusters of 
Purbeck marble shafts, with moulded capitals. In the tym- 
panum is a quatrefoil, the upper part of which projects so 
as to form a canopy. This was, no doubt, intended to 
contain some carved subject, possibly the Doom. Very exten- 
sive restoration was carried out in the groining and porch 
generally, in 1862. 

The wall of the North Aisle between the porch and 
the transept is divided into six compartments by Early 
English buttresses with gabled heads. This wall was built 
in Norman times, as may be seen from the small round- 
headed windows which light the clerestory, but was in Early 
English times faced with fresh ashlar, which conceals the 









- ^ 






'V ,. 

iP" '■"■ ' :" M M - W 



Norman arcading of intersecting arches which ran along 
this wall. The triforium windows on this side are not, though 
they are on the south side, regularly arranged ; there are none 
in the two western divisions, while between the easternmost 
buttress and the transept there are two. Six late thirteenth- 
century windows were cut through this wall — these are 
all of similar design ; they consist of two lights under a 
comprising arch, with a circle in the head. The clerestory 
windows are of plainer character. Each window consists of 
two simple lancets set under a recessed arch without any 
hood moulding ; the tympana also above the lancet heads are 
not pierced or decorated in any way ; in fact, the whole 
clerestory is remarkably plain. Between the windows are flat 
buttresses. The aisles are covered with lean-to roofs of lead, 
the nave itself with a tiled roof of medium pitch. The gable 
at the east end of the nave, and indications on the east face of 
the tower, show that the pitch of the roof was once higher, 
and that it must have been lowered at some time after the 
tower was built in the fifteenth century. 

The North Transept is most interesting. Its west wall 
contains two round-headed windows with billet moulding, 
the northern one blocked up ; and at the north-west corner is 
a cluster of cylindrical shafts running up to about the same 
height as the walls of the aisle. Why they terminated here it 
is hard to say ; they may mark the termination of the original 
Norman wall. This wall may not have risen above this 
height, or the upper part may have been taken down and 
rebuilt when the large Perpendicular window was inserted in 
the north end of the transept. At the north-east corner of 
the transept stands a richly-ornamented turret of Norman date. 
Round the lower part of this the arcade of intersecting arches 
which runs round the whole transept is carried ; above this, 
round the turret, runs an arcading of semicircular-headed 
arches springing from pairs of shafts ; above this the wall is 
decorated with diaper work ; and finally, another arcading, this 
time of round-headed arches rising from single shafts, encircles 
the turret. The turret is capped by a sloping roof of stone 
attached to the transept wall. This turret is worthy of close 
attention, because it shows how the Norman builders hated 
monotony ; each stage has its own decoration unlike that of 
any other ; and, moreover, there are variations in the shafts of 


the arcading — some are plain, some decorated in one way, some 


^ \ ^ 


(From ISritton's "Architectural Antiquities.") 

in another. The same love of variety may be seen here that 
lends so great a charm on a larger scale to Flambard's glorious 


nave at Durham. No doubt this north transept had attached 
to its east wall an apsidal Norman chapel similar to that 
which still exists on the eastern side of the south transept, 
but this had to make way for an addition of two chapels, which 
we may assign, from the character of their architecture, to the 
latter end of the thirteenth century. The northern chapel is 
lighted by a three-light window with three foliated circles in 
the head, which is rather sharp pointed, and the southern 
one by a two-light window with one foliated arch. These 
are beautiful examples of plate tracery. Above these 
chapels is a small chamber lighted by a window of similar 
character. This is supposed to have been the tracing room, 
where the various architectural designs for the building were 

To the east of the transept may be seen the Choir and 
Presbytery, with its four clerestory windows ; the Choir 
Aisle, also with four windows ; the Lady Chapel, with 
the octagonal turret-staircase leading into Saint Michael's 
Loft above it. It will be noticed that there is no window 
in the aisle under the western clerestory window of the 
choir, as the space where this would have been found 
is occupied by the two chapels to the east of the 
transept, and also that the aisle extends beycnd the choir and 
flanks the western part of the Lady Chapel. The whole of 
this part of the church is of Perpendicular character. The 
windows of the choir aisles are low, the arches are depressed, 
and the curvature of each side of the arch is so slight that 
they appear almost straight lines. The body of these windows 
contains four lights ; in the head, each of these is subdivided 
into two. Between the aisle windows are buttresses, which, 
with the exception of the one opposite the east wall of the 
choir, which terminates in a gable, have pinnacled cappings ; 
and from each of these, save the gabled one, a flying buttress 
is carried over the roof of the aisle and rests against the choir 
wall. The aisle roof is flat, and at the top of the outer wall 
runs a plain parapet pierced with quatrefoil openings. The 
clerestory windows are of great size and are set close together. 
The choir roof is flat and is quite invisible from the exterior. 
There can be little doubt that a parapet at one time ran along 
the tops of the clerestory walls, but this has disappeared. The 
Lady Chapel has on either side three large Perpendicular 



windows ; the arches of these as well as those of the clerestory 
have pointed heads. The western half of the central window 
of the Lady Chapel is blocked up by the later-built octagonal 


turret containing the staircase to Saint Michael's Loft. The 
staircase commences in an octagonal turret at the north-east 
corner of the choir aisle, — this rises above the aisle roof, — the 
stairs are then carried above the east wall of the choir aisle 
and then into the octagonal turret, which runs up the wall of 


the Lady Chapel and the loft above, and rises to some height 
above the parapet. There is a similar staircase on the south 
side, but the turret does not rise quite so high above the roof. 
There are five square-headed two-light windows on either side 
of St Michael's Loft, the lights being divided by transoms, the 
upper parts foliated. At the east end is a three-light window 
without any transom, with an obtuse arch under a dripstone. 
The loft has a parapet all round it pierced with quatrefoil 
openings. Some of this parapet, at any rate, is modern, as, 
in a photograph of the north side taken in 1884, the parapet 
is only shown to the east of the turret. As restoration work 
is constantly going on at the church, the money paid by 
visitors for viewing the interior (sixpence a head, which pro- 
duces over ;^5oo a year) being devoted to this object, the 
parapet will doubtless in course of time be extended along 
the walls of the choir, and will certainly add to the beauty of 
the church ; and as nothing will be destroyed to make room 
for it, such an addition will not be open to the same objection 
as much of the work done by restoration committees. 

The buttresses at the east angles of the Lady Chapel are 
set diagonally, and rise in five stages ; the upper stage of each 
is square, in section, with the faces parallel to the walls of the 
church, and reaches a higher level than the parapet, and is 
finished with a flat cap. The large east window is a Perpen- 
dicular one of five lights. From the base of the south-east 
buttress runs a wall dividing the burying-ground from the 
gardens of the house, to the south of the church, which stands 
on the site of the domestic buildings of the priory. The 
portion of the wall of the Lady Chapel beneath the eastern- 
most window on the north side is modern. Here Mr Ferrey, 
the architect, by whom much of the restoration was carried 
out, discovered traces of an external chantry and the marks of 
an arcading corresponding to that still remaining on the inside. 

The object of the chamber above the Lady Chapel is un- 
certain, — in 16 1 7 it is described as "St Michael's Loft," in 
1666 the parishioners described it as "heretofore a chapter- 
house," when petitioning the bishop to allow it to be used as 
a school. But if it was ever used as a chapter-house, it could 
only have been for a short time, as there is evidence that there 
was a chapter-house to the south side of the choir in the twelfth 
century, and that this remained as late as 1498. The south 







side of the Lady Chapel and choir correspond very closely with 
the north side, but there are several differences to be noticed 
between the south and north transepts. On the eastern side of 
the South Transept the Norman apsidal chapel still remains. 
This has a semi-conical roof with chevron table moulding under 
it, and two windows — one of original Norman work, the other 
a three-light Early English window. A sacristy of Early English 
date stands to the east of the apsidal chapel, and occupies the 
space between the apse and the south choir wall. At the south- 
east corner of the transept there is a circular stair turret corre- 
sponding to some extent with the turret at the north-east angle 
of the north transept ; this, in the second stage, become's 
octagonal in section, and rises above the parapet of the 
transept. In the south face is a depressed segmental window, 
much smaller than the corresponding window on the north 
side, under a gabled parapet. The pitch of the roof of the 
south transept is much higher than that of the north transept, 
and the upper part of the transept does not abut against the 
walls of the church. Two tiers of corbel brackets on the 
south wall, and traces of two Norman windows seem to in- 
dicate that here, as elsewhere, a slype, with a room above it, 
intervened between the south end of the transept and the 
chapter-house. This slype was generally a passage connecting 
the cloister garth with the smaller garth to the south of the 
choir which was often used as a burying-place for the abbots or 
priors, as the case may be, and was the place where the monks 
or canons interviewed visitors and chapmen. The room above 
was often used as the library. The south of the Nave is 
decidedly inferior in interest to the north. The cloisters have 
entirely disappeared, but a series of round-headed arches, 
formed of stucco, may conceal a stone arcading similar to that 
hidden by the Early English facing of the north wall. The 
small round-headed windows giving light to the triforium are 
more regularly arranged than on the north side ; there is one, 
and only one, in each division between the buttresses. There 
were, as usual, two doors in this wall : one for the canons, 
in the wall opposite to the west of the cloister, one close to the 
transept for the prior ; both are now blocked up. The prior's 
door, in the injunction of Langton, 1498, is directed to be 
kept locked, save when on festivals a procession passed through 
it. This doorway is of early thirteenth-century work ; it is 


round-headed, and is French in character. There is a legend 
that a party of French monks, terrified by a dragon which rose 
out of the sea, possibly an ancestor of the sea-serpent of more 
modern days, put in to Christchurch haven, and were enter- 
tained by the canons, with whom they abode for many years ; 
possibly this door may be of their workmanship or design. 
In the south wall a large aumbry or cupboard, in the thickness 
of the walls, may be seen ; in this possibly the canons kept the 
books that they had brought from the library for study. What 
the windows in this aisle were we cannot say — originally, no 
doubt, Norman, for the westernmost window is still of this 
style ; but the others, which were widened either in Early 
English or Decorated times, are now all filled with nineteenth- 
century tracery of Decorated type. The buttresses between 
the windows, unlike those on the north side, are flat Norman 
ones. Towards the west end of the aisle a passage has in 
modern times been cut through the wall, and when this was 
done remains of a staircase which, no doubt, led to the 
dormitory, were discovered. The clerestory, on this side, is 
of the same plain character as on the north side. 

In a line with the south wall, but some little distance to 
the west, still stands a house which was once the porter's 
lodge, close to the site of the gatehouse. The porter's lodge 
was built by Prior Draper II. in the sixteenth century. The 
remains of the domestic buildings are very scanty^some old 
walls near the modern mill, occupying, no doubt, the site of 
the mill where the canons' corn was ground ; some vestiges of 
the fish ponds ; some few traces of walls and foundations, 
are all that have come down to modern days. From the 
similarity of arrangement in the buildings of religious houses, 
however, we can, with great certainty, assign the sites for 
the various parts — the dormitory over the cellarage, to the west 
of the cloister garth ; the refectory to south of it ; the cale- 
factory, chapter-house, slype, to the east ; and the prior's 
lodgings to the south of the choir, forming the lesser garth ; 
the barns, bakery, and brew-house to the south-west of the 
church, near the porter's lodge and gatehouse. The prior 
had a country house at Heron Court, a grange at Somerford, 
and another at St Austin's, near Lymington. It must be 
understood that the choir was the church of the canons, 
and, as was common in churches served by Augustinian 


canons, the nave was used for the services which the laity of 
the district attended. 

It is noteworthy that whether owing to the purity of the 
air, so different from that which exists in the large cities 
where so many of the cathedral churches stand, or from the 
goodness of the stone, most of the Priory Church is in most 
excellent preservation. Carving which, we are assured, has 
never been retouched with a chisel since it was first cut, 
remains as sharp and clearly cut as though it were the work 
of the nineteenth century ; possibly some of its excellence is 
due to the preservative effect of the whitewash with which it 
was once covered, and which has been cleaned off with water 
and a stiff bristled brush. 

The stone of which the north side of the nave is built came 
from Binstead ; the limestone columns from Henden Hill ; the 
Norman round turret and the choir is built of Portland stone ; 
while Purbeck marble shafts are used in the north porch, and 
of the fine white stone from Caen in Normandy, the Salisbury 
and Draper chantries in the interior are constructed. These, 
though now about four hundred years old, are absolutely 
sharp in all the carving. There is a tombstone to the 
north of the porch which bears a curious inscription as 
follows: — "We were not slayne but raysd, raysd not to life 
but to be byried twice by men of strife. What rest could 
the living have when dead had none agree amongst you 
heere we ten are one. Hen. Rogers died Aprill 17 1641." 
This inscription has been variously explained. It is said 
by some that Cromwell, afterwards Protector, was at Christ- 
church, and dug up some lead coffins to make bullets for his 
soldiers, and flung the bodies out of ten such coffins into one 
grave ; but this is manifestly incorrect. Oliver Cromwell was 
never at Christchurch, though Thomas Cromwell probably 
was, and here, as elsewhere, the two have been confounded. 
In many cases poor Oliver has had to bear the blame for de- 
struction caused to churches by his less well-known namesake, 
the great destroyer of religious houses in the days of the 
eighth Henry. But neither of them had anything to do with 
this tomb, nor were the Parliamentary forces guilty of tamper- 
ing with the coffins of the dead in the parish burying-ground at 
Christchurch. The very date precludes the idea, for the civil 
war did not begin till more than fifteen months after the date 


carved on this stone ; and we may give the Roundheads credit 
for more sense than to be digging up coffins to make their 
bullets with, when there was abundance of lead to be had 
for the stripping on the roof of the Priory Church. A far more 
probable explanation is that which states that the ten bodies 
here interred were those of ten shipwrecked sailors, who were 
first buried on the cliffs near the spot where they were washed 
ashore ; but the lord of the manor, when he heard thereof, 
waxed exceeding wroth, and a strife ensued between him 
and one Henry Rogers, Mayor of Christchurch, the former 
insisting on their removal to consecrated ground, the latter 
objecting to the removal, probably on the ground of expense ; 
but in the end the lord of the manor had his way. But the 
mayor, to save the cost of ten separate graves, had them 
all buried in one, and placed this inscription over their 
remains as a protest against the conduct of the lord of the 
manor in moving their remains from their first resting- 

The graveyard at the present time is neatly kept and well 
cared for. The headstones have not, as they have been in 
many other places, tampered with ; and though many of the 
alterations made in the restoration will not gain the approval 
of archaeologists, yet some have been judiciously done, and 
some that are in contemplation will certainly have the result 
of rendering once more visible beautiful mediaeval work, long 
concealed by ugly modern additions. 



A RAPID walk round the interior of the Priory Church shows 
that it practically consists of three main portions, almost 
entirely divided from each other — the Nave, the Choir, and 
the Lady Chapel. The solid rood screen, pierced by one 
narrow doorway, forms an effectual division between the nave 
and choir, while the stone reredos and the wall above it, 
running right up to the vaulting, entirely separates the latter 
from the Lady Chapel. In mediaeval times the choir was 
reserved for the use of the canons ; the nave was the parish 
church with its own high altar ; the rood loft was an excellent 
point of vantage from which a preacher could address a 
large congregation. In those times pews had not been 
introduced ; open benches may have existed. At present 
the nave is occupied by pews ; these with their cast-iron 
poppies were erected in 1840, and were then higher than 
at present. Still, even in their present form, they hide the 
bases of the pillars, and might with much advantage be 
swept away, and their places taken by open benches or 
movable chairs. The pews in the transepts are of older 
date; these, together with the galleries above them — that in 
the south transept supporting the organ — are a sad disfigure- 
ment to the church, and it is to be hoped that they will 
be soon removed ; they hide some splendid Norman work. 
The case of the north gallery is worse than the south, as 
a staircase leading to it disfigures the beautiful Early English 
chapel attached to the east side of the transept. This gallery, 
however, contains some faculty pews. All the owners of these, 
save one, consented to its removal ; but one stood out 
against it, and, having the legal right to prevent any altera- 
tion, has up to the present time kept the gallery intact. 
But as he has recently died there can be little doubt that 




no long time will now elapse before this disfigurement to 
the church will be a thing of the past. There seems Uttle 
need for the gallery, as there is ample accommodation on 
the floor of the church for any congregation that is likely 
to assemble within the walls. Many alterations, some of 
which are certainly improvements, have already been made. 
In an engraving, dated 1834, the organ is represented standing 
on the rood screen, 
probably the best 
place for it ; and the 
four eastern bays of 
the nave are seen to 
be partitioned off by 
a wooden screen 
with a rod for cur- 
tains. On a level 
with the capitals of 
the pillars, to the 
west of this partition, 
stands the font. At 
this time also the tri- 
forium was boarded 
off in order to shut 
out draughts and 
cold ; but this board- 
ing has happily been 
swept away, the par- 
tition across the nave 
has been removed, 
and an oaken screen 
with glazed panels 
runs across the 
church, cutting off 
the western bay from 
the remainder of the nave 
stands under the tower ; a 

The Nave in 1834. 

The font, a modern one, now 
modern pulpit on the south side, 
under the crossing, where also desks for the clergy and choir 
have been placed. It is now the custom on Sunday mornings 
to read the whole of the service up to the end of the Nicene 
Creed, in the nave ; after the sermon is over, the com- 
municants alone enter the choir to receive the sacrament. 


The choir is also used for week-day services. The Lady Chapel 
is not used. The nave is Early Norman work, and was 
chiefly built during the reign of William II. ; the clerestory, 
however, was added at the beginning of the thirteenth century 
by Peter, who was prior from 1195 to 1225. The original 
nave was probably covered by a flat wooden ceiling, the 
Early Norman builders rarely venturing to span any wide 
space by a stone vaulting. The present vaulting is of stucco, 
and was added by Garbett in 1819. The roof was altered 
in Perpendicular times more than once, as indications of a 
higher pitched roof than the present one exists on the east 
face of the fifteenth-century tower. As springing stones for 
a vaulted roof exist, it is probable that a stone roof was at 
one time contemplated ; but possibly the idea was abandoned 
on account of the fear that the walls, unsupported by any 
exterior flying buttress to resist the thrust, would not have 
borne the weight. It will be remembered that such buttresses 
are to be met with along the walls of the choir, which is 
covered with a stone vaulting. The nave consists of seven 
bays. The pillars of this arcading, unlike those of Flambard's 
nave at Durham, are not cylindrical, but consist of half 
columns set against piers rectangular in section. The capitals 
are of the early cushion shape ; some of them seem to have 
been subsequently carved with ornamentation which bears 
some resemblance to classical forms. The wall spaces 
above the semicircular arches, and below the chevron string- 
course which runs beneath the triforium, are decorated with 
hatchet-work carving, as will be seen from the illustrations. 
The triforium on either side consists, in each bay, of two 
coupled arches supported by a central pillar, enclosed by a 
comprising arch with bold mouldings and double columns, 
separated by square members. The most beautiful bay is 
the easternmost, on the north side, where the wall surface 
above the smaller arches, and beneath the enclosing arch, 
is carved with a kind of scale-work. Possibly the opposite 
bay, on the south side, was as richly ornamented, but the 
lower arches and the central column no longer exist, as 
they were cut away to make room for a faculty pew in 1820. 
These two bays were included within the original Norman 
choir. The central shaft, on the north side, is twisted. Two 
of the central shafts, on the south side, are richly ornamented 




— one with twisted decoration, the other with a projecting 
reticulated pattern. The shaft and sub-arches of the second 


bay from the east on this side is a modern renewal, as 
here also the old work was destroyed in 1820 to make room 





for a pew. The north triforium can be reached by a staircase 
continued up into the tower, entered from the western part 
of the aisle ; access to the south triforium can only be 
gained by the use of a ladder. The north triforium deserves 

examination. It will be 
found that pointed arches 
have been added at the 
back, and buttresses 
have been built against 
the back of the wall 
behind the arches ; the 
floor is rendered uneven 
by humps necessitated by 
the Early English vault- 
ing of the aisle below — 
probably the aisles were 
originally covered with 
a barrel roof. At the 
east end of the north 
triforium an arch may 
be seen, which once 
opened out into the 
transept ; this is now 
walled up, and traces of 
painting may still be seen 
on it. There is a pass- 
age under the clerestory, to which access may be obtained 
by a passage across the transept ; this was, no doubt, made 
in order that the shutters of the windows might be opened 
or closed, according to the state of the weather. From the 
staircase which leads up to the north triforium a passage 
leads into the chamber over the north porch. This is a large 
room, about 40 feet in length from north to south, and is now 
used as a practising room for the choir ; it is fitted with 
benches and a grand piano, and has a modern wooden gallery 
running along its south end. 

The South Aisle is much more elaborately decorated than 
the north. Along the south wall runs a fine Norman arcade, 
the arches ornamented with billet and cable moulding. The 
window in the western bay is the original Norman one; 
the others were altered either in Early English or Decorated 

Bav of the Tkifokium, South Side. 



times, and are now filled with modern tracery in the Decorated 
style designed by Mr Ferrey. In the third bay is a holy water 
stoop, and in the fifth a large aumbry or recess, entered by 
a door; in this used to be kept the bier and lights used at 
funerals. Along the walls of each aisle runs a stone bench. 
There is no arcading on the wall of the north aisle. The 
vaulting of both aisles is Early English, dating from the time 
of Peter, the third prior, who, as previously stated, built 
the clerestory. The tracery of the north aisle windows 
is transitional in character between Early English and 

The Transepts are much encumbered by modern pew§ and 
galleries, and it is only by careful examination that mu^ of 
the beautiful work that they contain can be seen. The arch 
opening from the south aisle into the transept is Early English, 
and the skilful junction of Early English and Norman work 
at this point is deserving of attention. This transept was at 
one time covered by a stone vaulting, which was destroyed at 
the latter end of the eighteenth century and in the beginning 
of the nineteenth. Some of the bosses taken from this may 
be seen, piled up with the old font and other fragments, at 
the west end of the north choir aisle. The west wall of the 
transept contains a Norman window. A doorway into the 
slype remains in the wall;, and communicates with a wall 
passage. At the eastern side of the transept an arch opens 
out into an apsidal chapel, but pews block up the entrance. 
This chapel has been so completly restored that it has a 
thoroughly neat and modern appearance, and has lost all 
its archaeological value ; round it runs a Norman arcade, and 
on the north side an aumbry may be seen. The north 
transept retains its Norman arcading, which, fortunately, has 
not been touched by the restorer's hand ; how long it may 
escape is doubtful, as it is much mutilated. Still, as it is simply 
decorative, and not necessary for the stability of the wall, 
it would be well to leave it untouched, as genuine old work, 
even though it may have suffered at the hand of time or of 
former generations, is, from a decorative point of view, in- 
finitely preferable to any modern reproduction. There are 
two small windows in the west wall to light the wall passage 
to the clerestory, which is reached by a gallery running across 
the base of the north window. In the north wall, behind the 



back of the pews, is a thirteenth-century recess. From this 
transept access is gained to the circular staircase leading 
downward to the crypt and upward to the small chamber 
above the eastern chapels. This is popularly known as Oliver 
Cromwell's harness room, and marks are shown on the wall 
supposed to have been holes for the insertion of pegs whereon 
he hung his harness ; but as the Protector never came to 
Christchurch, all this is purely mythical. On one of the 
walls Mr Ferrey, the architect, found a design for a window ; 
this he copied, and used when designing the tracery of the 
window he inserted over the prior's door at the east end of 
the south aisle of the nave. This tracing chamber is lighted 
by a two-light window with a quatrefoil in the head in the 
eastern wall. The two chapels below are beautiful examples 
of transition work from the Early English to the Decorated 
style ; they were built by the De Redvers, Earls of Devon, 
the last of whom died in 1263. The eagles of the Montacute 
and Monthermer families appear in this chantry. There are 
two windows in the eastern wall. The larger, on the north, 
consists of three lights, with three circles in the head ; the 
foliation of these outside the glass forms cinquefoil openings; 
the smaller window is of a similar character, but consists of 
two lights only, with a single foliated arch above them. An 
archway, widely splayed, on the western side, opens into the 
transept, and another archway opens into the choir aisle ; 
this has a panelled pier, standing a little apart from the eastern 
side, designed to support the arch, which probably was found 
to be giving way. The shafts along the eastern wall, the 
capitals of one of which is carved with a number of heads 
said to represent the twelve apostles, should be noticed ; the 
vaulting ribs are also interesting, especially the joggled ribs 
seen over the window. A stone altar stood in one of these 
chantries until 1780. These chapels are sadly disfigured by a 
mean staircase which leads into the transept gallery ; it is 
devoutly to be hoped that before long this may be removed, 
and the exquisite beauty of the chapels seen without any 
inharmonious and irritating feature such as this staircase 
undoubtedly is. Below the transept is an Early Norman 
crypt ; it is thought by some, from the rudeness of the work, 
that it may be of earlier date than the existing church, and 
that it belonged to the original church which Flambard 



destroyed to make room for his more splendid edifice. In it 
were discovered a number of human bones, which were re- 
interred in the churchyard. It has a plain barrel roof, divided 
by broad flat arches rising from pilasters. 

It has often been debated whether or not the church ever 
possessed a central tower. There is no documentary evidence 
bearing on the question. It may be said that if a tower 
existed and fell, or was pulled down for any reason, some 
record would have remained; but the records connected 
with the building are fragmentary, and it by no means follows 
that the absence of record proves the non-existence of such 
a tower. In the case of Wimborne Minster the church- 
warden's accounts contain no record of the building or of the 
fall of the spire, yet we know from outside testimony that 
such a spire did fall in 1600, and that a representation of it 
occurs on a seal. So here at Christchurch a seal is in ex- 
istence on which the church is represented with a central 
tower of two storeys, the lower plain, the upper lighted by 
two round-headed windows and capped by a low pyramidal 
spire or roof with a tall cross on the summit. This is 
exactly what one would expect to find : a central tower 
is almost always found in Norman churches, especially 
collegiate churches ; and the pyramidal roof was almost 
certainly the usual form in which these early towers were 
finished. The battlemented parapets which we so often 
meet with in Norman towers are in all cases more recent 
additions. Moreover, the massive arches and piers at the 
corners indicate that a tower was contemplated, even if it 
were never built. In the east gable of the nave as it at 
present exists, two round-headed windows may be seen. It 
is highly probable that this gable once formed part of the east 
wall of the tower, and when the tower was removed this 
wall was converted into a gable. Everything to the east 
of the crossing being of late fourteenth or early fifteenth 
century date, indicates that extensive alterations were made 
at that time ; and if a tower and spire had previously 
existed, it must have been removed before this date. In 
the centre of the carving over the doorway leading into 
the Draper chantry, dated 1529, there is a representation 
of a church with a central tower and spire. Of course, 
no such steeple existed at the time this chantry was built. 



but it may have been a copy of some then existing repre- 
sentation of the building as it had appeared in former times. 
There are also two other carvings of angels carrying a model 
of a church with a central tower — one near the Salisbury 
chantry, one on the choir roof. 

The nave is divided from the choir by a splendid rood 
screen i6 feet 6 inches high, 33 feet long, and 9 feet thick. 
The western face of this projects beyond the line join- 


ing the east walls of the two transepts ; its eastern face 
rests against the eastern piers intended to support the 
central tower. It was extensively restored by Mr Ferrey 
in 1848, who considered that it may have been removed 
from some conventual church after the dissolution of 
the monasteries in the time of Henry VIII. and re-erected 
here. But there does not seem to be any real grounds for 
supposing that it was not expressly built for this church. 
Its character indicates a date somewhat late in the fourteenth 
century. In the centre is a narrow doorway and a passage 


into the choir ; from the north side of this passage a flight 
of steps leads to the top of the loft. The base of the screen 
is plain ; above this is a row of thirteen panelled quatrefoils 
on each side of the doorway — each containing a plain shield, 
over these a string course, then two rows of canopied niches, 
the upper row consisting of twelve, the lower, owing to the 
doorway occupying the central space, of only ten. The 
lower niches have pedestals, each formed of four short 
columns with detached bases but with large capitals, which 
meet one another above ; these capitals are richly carved 
with foliage. No doubt, on the level space thus formed 
statues at one time stood. Woodwork screens with glazed 
doors and panels, made from an oak screen which formerly 
was placed across the south transept, run across the western 
ends of the choir aisles, so that when the doors of these and 
of the rood screen are locked, the eastern arm of the cross is 
entirely shut off from the rest of the church. 

The Choir is entirely Perpendicular in character, and it 
seems to have been begun in the time of Henry VI. but 
not to have been completed until the time of Henry VII., 
and some of the carving of the stalls is of still later date. 
Leland says of it, " Baldwin, Earl of Devon, was the first 
founder, and his successors to the time of Isabella de 
Fortibus,* and at present the Earls of Salisbury are re- 
garded as founders." Four large clerestory windows on 
either side light the choir. The wall beneath these is 
continued downwards to the floor, but under each window 
a low obtusely-pointed depressed archway is cut leading into 
the aisles. Between the bottom of each clerestory window 
and the heads of these arches the wall is panelled as with 
window mullions and tracery, so that the appearance from 
the inner side may be best understood by imagining that 
each window extended from floor to roof, but that the upper 
part alone is glazed, the lower cut away for the arch lead- 
ing into the aisle, and the lower lights beneath the transom 
blocked up with masonry. These lower arches are more 
or less blocked up. The Salisbury chapel blocks up the 
north-eastern one completely ; the sedilia, no doubt, occupied 
the opposite one, where now a modern altar tomb may be 

* She lived in the latter half of the thirteenth centurj'. 




Stall Seat. 

(Date about 1200.) 

South Side. 

seen. The next on each side to the west is open, and flights 
of steps under them lead down to the aisles ; the woodwork 
at the back of the choir stalls close the remaining two on 

the inside, and on the outside chantry 
chapels, opening one into the north one 
into the south aisle, stand under the second 
arch on each side counting from the rood 
screen. The upper stalls number in all 
thirty-six, fifteen on either side, and six 
with their backs to the rood screen. There 
is, also, a lower range of stalls on the north 
and south. The prior's and sub-prior's 
stalls on either side the doorway in the 
screen looking east are canopied, as also 
is the precentor's at the east end of the 
south side. The arms of the stalls are 
quaintly carved with various grotesque 
figures, as are also the misereres ; the upper 
parts of the panels behind the upper stalls 
are also carved in low relief; above these 
is a projecting cornice decorated with 
pinnacles. The stalls are late Perpendi- 
cular work, the wainscoting behind the 
stalls being later still, as we can see from 
the subjects carved on the upper part of 
each panel. Some of the misereres are, 
however, very old — one dates back to 
about 1 200, another to 1300, others are 
of later date, and most of them belong 
to the same period as the stalls. The older 
ones were found lying about in the lumber 
of the church, and have been placed in 
t recent years in some of the stalls the seats 

R of which had been lost or stolen. The 

older seats may have belonged to the 
Stall Seat. Original Norman choir. As the term 

North Side. ,, miscrere " may not be understood by 

all our readers, it may be well to quote from Parker's 
"Glossary of Architecture" the following description: — 
" Miserere, Misericorde, Patience, or Pretella, is the projecting 
bracket on the under-side of the seats of stalls in churches : 

Stall Seat. 
North Side. 






these, where perfect, are fixed with hinges so that they may 
be turned up, and when this is done the projection of the 
miserere is sufficient, without actually forming a seat, to afford 
very considerable rest to any one leaning upon it. They were 
allowed as a relief to the infirm during the long services that 
were required to be performed by ecclesiastics in a standing 


posture. They are always more or less ornamented with 
carvings of leaves, small figures, animals, etc., which are 
generally very boldly cut. Examples are to be found in 
almost all ancient churches which retain any of the ancient 
stalls — one of the oldest remaining specimens is in Henry 
VII. 's Chapel at Westminster ; it is in the style of the 
thirteenth century." When Parker wrote the last sentence 
the still older miserere now to be seen at Christchurch had 
not been discovered — this is the earliest known specimen. 

It is curious to notice the absence of reverence on the part 
of the mediaeval canons, according to our modern notions, that 



these quaint carvings indicate. One might have expected 
that inside the church the subjects would have always been 
of a sacred nature, rude perhaps, and grotesque from their 
rudeness. Such carvings are found in many places, but here 
at Christchurch we have satirical subjects, caricatures of con- 
temporaries, some indeed of so objectionable a character that 
they have been removed of late years. A few examples of 
these carvings will be given. On the arm of one of the stalls 
a fox is represented preaching to a flock of geese, a cock acting 
as clerk. On one of the misereres we have a pair of devils 
somewhat resembling monkeys tempting an angel, a goose 
bringing an offering on a plate to a quaint figure, a man with 
a hatchet employed in carving, a man with a hole in the back 
of his garments fastened with a pin, besides various animals, 
fishes, mermaids, and monsters. On the wainscoting we have 
the heads of Henry VII., Henry VIII., Catharine of Aragon, 
Anne Boleyn, Cardinal Campeggio, the King of Scots, and the 
Duchess of Burgundy, who assisted Perkin Warbeck in his 
attempt to gain the crown of England, and two canons dis- 
puting over a cup, which is placed between their faces. This 
last carving probably has some reference to the granting of 
the cup to the laity in time of Henry VIII. 

The vaulting of the choir is of a somewhat unusual character : 
the pendants are especially worthy of notice. It is difficult to 
describe the manner in which they are placed, but the illustra- 
tion shows their character and position. The short connecting 
ribs of the vaulting form a stellated cross over the presbytery. 
Some colour may still be seen on the carved work of this 
portion of the church, and the initials of William Eyre, prior 
1502-1520, af)pear on the bosses. 

The east wall of the presbytery contains no window, but is 
occupied by a beautiful stone reredos carved with a representa- 
tion of the tree of Jesse. It is divided into three tiers with five 
compartments in each, the central one wider than the two on 
either side; the space above it and beneath the vaulting is 
occupied by a wall, in which a doorway now blocked up may 
be seen. The outer compartments of the lowest tier contain 
doors leading to a platform behind the reredos ; between them 
stands an oak altar, the gift of A. N. Welby Pugin in 1831. 
Above the altar in the central compartment Jesse lies asleep, 
on the left hand David plays upon his harp, on the right sits 




Solomon deeply meditating. Above Jesse we have in one 
carving an amalgamated representation of the birth of Christ 
and the visit of the Wise Men. On the left hand sits the Virgin 
Mary with her Child, fully clothed in a long garment, not 
wrapped in swaddling clothes, standing in her lap ; behind her 
stands a man, probably Joseph ; and before her kneels one of 
the Wise Men offering his gift of gold in the form of a plain 
tankard ; on the right behind him stand his two fellows, one 
carrying a pot of myrrh, the other a boat-shaped vessel, prob- 
ably intended for a censer containing frankincense. On a 
bracket above the head of the kneeling Wise Man, the 
shepherds kneel in adoration ; nor are the flocks that they 
were tending forgotten, for several sheep may be seen on a 
hill-top above their heads. Thirty-two small figures may be 
counted in niches in the buttresses dividing the compartments ; 
crockets, finials, and pinnacles decorate the various canopies 
over the carvings. This reredos is apparently of late Decor- 
ated date, and therefore earlier than the fifteenth-century choir. 
Possibly it was an addition to the Norman choir before this 
was removed to make room for the existing one. Mr Ferrey 
was of opinion that it may have once stood across the nave 
between the second piers from the east, thus forming a 
reredos for the western part of the nave, which was used 
as the church of the parish. Below the presbytery is a 
Norman crypt, now converted into a vault for the Malmes- 
bury family. It has already been mentioned that there 
are doors on either side of the altar, leading to a kind of 
gallery or platform behind the reredos ; these were designed to 
allow certain ceremonial compassings of the altar, and it is 
possible that steps led down from the platform to the ambula- 
tory. On the east side of these doorways there are corbel 
heads under the arches, and the walls of the platform are 
panelled. Within the altar rails is a slab bearing the name of 
Baldwin IV., the seventh Earl of Devon. On the south side 
is the monument of Lady Fitzharris, who died in 1815 ; it is a 
statue by Flaxman representing the Lady teaching her two sons 
from the Bible. Farther to the east is the altar tomb of the 
Countess of Malmesbury, who died in 1877, occupying the 
place of the sedilia ; and on the north the exquisite chantry of 
Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, the last bearer of the royal 
name of Plantagenet, whose tragic fate and horrible execution 



is one of the foulest stains on the memory of Henry VIII. 
She was the daughter of "false, fleeting, perjured Clarence" 
and of the kingmaker's eldest daughter Isabella, and was 
mother of the celebrated Reginald Pole who, being ordained 
deacon at the age of sixteen, was appointed Dean of \Vim- 
borne a year later, and rose in time to the high rank of 
Cardinal-Archbishop of Canterbury, and played an important 
part in history in the reigns of Henry VIII. and Mary. She 
erected this lovely chantry as her last resting-place, wishing to 
lie after her troublous life in this quiet spot, but it was not so to 
be. Her son, by the publication on the Continent of a violent 
attack on Henry VIII., incensed the king to such an extent 
that he laid his hands on all the kindred of the Poles he 
could find in England ; some were tried and executed, others 
attainted without trial, among them the Countess of Salisbury, 
who was at the time over seventy years of age. She refused 
to lay her head upon the block, and the headsman hacked at 
her neck as she stood erect ; her body was not allowed to be 
buried in the chantry which she had erected for herself,— so far 
did the spite of Henry go, — but she lies among the ambitious 
and unfortunate, the aspiring, and unsuccessful of many a sect 
and party in the cemetery of St Peter's Chapel in the Tower. 
Hers was an ill-starred race. Her grandfather was slain at 
Barnet, 147 1 ; her father murdered by his brother Edward IV., 
1478; her own brother, the Earl of Warwick, imprisoned by 
Henry VII., and subsequently beheaded on Tower Hill, 1499; 
her eldest son. Lord Montagu, was executed for high treason ; 
and Margaret herself met a like fate on May 27, 1541. 

Her chantry is built of Caen stone, and the decoration is 
of Renaissance character. It is conjectured to be the work of 
the Florentine sculptor Pietro Torrigiano, who died in the 
prison of the Inquisition in wSpain in 1522. He was engaged 
on Henry VII. 's tomb in Westminster, and other works ordered 
by Henry VIII. at Westminster and Windsor, from 1509 till 
151 7; and if this chantry at Christchurch is his design the 
date must lie between these two years. Two four-light 
windows with battlemented transoms look out on either side ; 
to the west of these two doorways lead, one to the presbytery 
the other to the north aisle ; on the east wall are three canopied 
niches, beneath which an altar stood or was intended to stand ; 
the ceiling is richly carved with fan traceries and bosses ; the 



latter have been mutilated — by order, it is said, of Henry VIII. 
A letter from the King's Commissioner thus describes the work 
done : — "In thys churche we founde a chaple and a monumet 


curiosly made of cane stone p''pared by the late mother of 
Raynolde Pole for herre buriall, which we have causyd to be 
defaced and all the Armis and Badgis to be delete." On 


the north side are twelve tabernacles. This chapel stands 
on a richly carved panelled basement, and all the walls are 
covered with minute carving ; but here, as elsewhere, in late 
work we find the same forms repeated again and again, and we 
miss that wealth of fancy which gives each boss or capital 
carved by the earlier workers such a life and individuality. 
The side of this chapel that faces the north aisle is more 
elaborate than that facing the choir, and is necessarily more 
lofty, as its base rests on the floor of the aisle, which is lower 
than the floor of the presbytery. On the west face is one of 
several memorial tablets to members of the Rose family, who 
are buried in this aisle. 

In the north choir aisle, at the western end, may be seen 
a kind of small museum of fragments from various parts of the 
church, collected at the time of the restoration, among them 
some bosses from the vaulting of the south transept, destroyed 
about a hundred years ago, and an octagonal Norman font. 
The vaulting of this and the corresponding aisle on the south 
side is of the same character as that of the choir, but is some- 
what plainer, and is not decorated with crosses or pendants. 
On the south side of this aisle is a late Perpendicular chantry, 
the origin of which is not known ; on its flat ceiling are painted 
two large roses, one white, one red ; it contains two brackets 
for cruets ; over the entrance to it is placed an oval memorial 
tablet to one John Cook, who died in 1787. Eastward of 
this is the Salisbury chapel already described. A chantry is 
formed at the eastern end of the aisle by the western end 
of the north wall of the Lady Chapel. It contains an altar 
tomb with the recumbent figures of Sir John Chidioke, a 
Dorset knight slain in 1449 in the Wars of the Roses, and 
his wife. This monument has occupied its present position 
only from 1791, — it previously stood in the north transept. 

The east end of the south choir aisle is occupied by the 
chantry chapel of John Draper II., the last of the priors and 
titular bishop of Neapolis in Palestine, near the ancient Shechem 
in Samaria ; it is dated 1529, and is formed by a screen of Caen 
stone stretching across the aisle. There is a central doorway 
with a depressed arch at the top, and canopied niches over 
it, and on either side are two transomed four-light unglazed 
windows under arches of the same characters as that over 
the doorway ; along the top of the screen runs a battlemented 




parapet. Within the chantry, on the south wall, is a very 
beautiful piscina, the finest in the church. Just outside the 
screen is a square-headed doorway. Along the south wall 
of this aisle, as along the north wall of the corresponding 
north aisle, a stone bench-table runs. On the north side 
the panelled wall on which the Countess of Malmesbury's 
altar tomb stands is decorated with carvings of angels ; the 

largest of these holds a shield with 
a death's-head. Farther to the west, 
beyond the steps leading down from 
the choir, is a Perpendicular chantry, 
known as the Harys chantry ; it has 
open tracery above cusped panels, 
canopied niches, and a panelled bench 
table. Robert Harys was rector of 
Shrowston, and died in 1525 ; his rebus, 
a hare under the letter R, may be seen 
on the panels. On the opposite side 
of the aisle is the doorway leading 
into what is known as the sacristy. 
This is a thirteenth-century addition to 
the church, and is of irregular shape, 
as it is wedged in, as it were, between 
the apsidal chapel on the east side of 
the transept and the south wall of the 
choir aisle. In the south wall are 
triple sedilia with Purbeck shafts and 
foliated heads ; in the north wall is a 
square opening or squint. 
Behind the reredos is an ambulatory or processional path ; 
from this may be seen, over the archway leading into the 
south aisle, the end of the "miraculous beam," lengthened, 
according to the legend, by Christ, when He appeared as 
a workman and took part in the building of the original 
church. How this came to be preserved, and how it came 
to occupy a position amidst the latest work in the church, 
is not recorded. The Lady Chapel is very beautiful Per- 
pendicular work; it had its own altar and reredos under 
the east window\ The reredos is much mutilated, but 
besides the part that is still attached to the wall, there are 
many loose fragments now set up on the altar. This is a 

Piscina in the Draper 




slab of Purbeck stone, ii ft. in length and 3 ft. 10 ins 
in breadth. On the north and south sides of the altar 
are the tombs of Thomas, Lord West, and Lady Alice West, 
his mother. These tombs are of Purbeck marble and of a 
form by no means uncommon in the churches of Wessex. 
The ten shafts supporting the canopy of the tomb on the 

north still remain ; from 
the other tomb such 
shafts as it had have 
disappeared. Thomas, 
Lord West, died in 
1406, his mother in 
1395 : these dates fix 
within reasonable limits 
the date of the building 
of the Lady Chapel. 
Thomas West, in his 
will, directs that his 
body should be buried 
in the '■'' Nezv Chapel 
of Our Lady in the 
Mynster of Christ- 
church." It is note- 
worthy to remark that ' 
the original arcading is 
cut away to make room 
for this monument, so 
that the chapel had 
been finished before 
he died. Both Sir 
Thomas West and his 
mother were benefac- 
tors to the church. 
Besides other bequests 
of money towards the building fund and for perpetual 
masses, each of them gave about ;!^i8 for the singing 
of 4500 masses within six months of the day of their 
deaths. On the south side of the chapel is the original 
doorway leading into the canons' burial-ground ; a correspond- 
ing door is to be seen on the north side. The splays of 
the arches of the windows are elaborately ornamented with 

The Miraculous Beam. 












panelling. The arcading under the window, a series of ogee 
arches, is worthy of notice. The tattered colours of the 


"Loyal Christchurch Volunteers," one of the earliest regi- 
ments of volunteers, which was enrolled in 1793, hang at the 
entrance to the Lady Chapel. The vaulting is of the same 







character as that of the choir, with curious pendants in the 
form of church lanterns. 

St Michael's Loft is reached by long flights of steps 
running up the turrets described in the last chapter. It is a 
plain, low room with a low-pitched tie-beam roof of oak. It was 
once a chapel, as the piscina in the east wall clearly shows. 
The site of the altar is now occupied by a disused desk of 
the character familiar to us in our own school days some 
half-a-century ago ; it is a sort of pew with doors, within 
which the master sat enthroned and ramparted. This room 
was used as a public grammar school from 1662 till 1828, 
and subsequently as a private school, which was finally 
closed in 1869. The boys went to this school and returned 
from it by the staircase on the north side which has an 
entrance from the churchyard ; the stairs on the south side 
were used when anyone had occasion to go into the church 
or to go from it to the room above. 

An upper chamber or chapel is an uncommon feature in 
England. Remains of staircases give rise to the conjecture 
that there was a similar chapel over the Lady Chapel at 
Chester, and somewhat similar erections are to be met with 
on the Continent ; but Christchurch Priory is unique in 
possessing such a perfect specimen. The dedication of the 
upper storey to St Michael, the conductor of souls to Paradise, 
is appropriate. Churches built in elevated positions were 
frequently dedicated to him, and few if any medi?eval 
churches dedicated to this archangel are to be met with on 
low-lying ground. 

Under the. western tower stands a modern font. The 
fragments of a Norman font, with carvings representing various 
incidents in the life of Christ, may be seen, preserved in the 
north choir aisle. The fifteenth-century successor has been 
removed to Bransgore Church, four miles off. 

Against the north wall of the tower stands the monument 
of the poet Shelley, the work of the sculptor Weekes. Needless 
to say, it is but a cenotaph. The "heart of hearts," "Cor 
Cordium," and the ashes of the poet cremated on the Tuscan 
shore, lie far away, hard by the pyramid of Caius Cestius, 
in the grave where the loving hands of Trelawney laid them 
in 1823. Here we have an ideal representation of the finding 
of the drowned body — not a pleasing one, but less ghastly 


than the reaUty ; and below the inscription which tells his 
name and the number of his years and the manner of his death, 
the following stanza from his own " Adonais " may be read : — 

" He hath out-soared the shadow of our night : 
Envy and cakimny and hate and pain, 
And that unrest v/hich men miscall delight, 
Can touch him not and torture not again ; 
From the contagion of the world's slow stain 
He is secure, and now can never mourn 
A heart grown cold, a head grown grey in vain. 
Nor, when the spirit's self has ceased to burn 
With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn." 

The choice of Christchurch Priory as the site for this 
monimient was due to the fact that the poet's son, Sir Percy 
Florence Shelley, who erected it, lived at Boscombe Manor, 
between Christchurch and Bournemouth. 

The tower contains a peal of eight bells. These are all 
old; the fifth and sixth bells have fourteenth-century inscriptions 
round their crowns, the others appear to have been cast early 
in the fifteenth century. 



1. Ralf Flambard, afterwards Bishop of Durham. 

2. Godric, 1099. 

3. Gilbert de Dousgunels, iioo. 

4. Peter de Oglander. 

5. Randulphus. 

6. Hilary, afterwards Bishop of Chichester. 


1. Reginald, 1150. 

2. Ralph. 

3. Peter, 1195. He built the clerestory and carried out 

Other Early English work. 

4. Roger, 1225. 

5. Richard. 

6. Nicholas de Wareham. 

7. Nicholas de Sturminster. " 

8. John de Abingdon, 1272. 

9. William de Netheravon, 1278. 

10. Richard Maury, 1286. 

11. William Quenton, 1302. 

12. Walter Tholveshide, 131 7. 

13. Edmund de Ramsbury, 1323. Durmg his time Bishop 
Stratford's Injunctions were issued, 1325. See page 129. 

14. Richard de Queteshorne, 1337. 

15. Robert de Leyghe, 1340. 

16. William Tyrewache, 1345- 

17. Henry Eyre, 1357. He became bhnd in 1367 and was 
allowed a coadjutor. 

18. John Wodenham, 1376. 

19. John Borard, 1398. During his time Archbishop 

Arundel issued Injunctions, 1404. See page 130. 



20. Thomas Talbot, 141 3. 

21. John Wimborne, 1420. 

22. William Norton. 

23. John Dorchester. 

24. John Draper L, 1477. Bishop Langton's Injunctions 
were issued during his tenure of the priory. 

25. \\'illiam Eyre, 1502. During his time the choir was 

26. John Draper IL He surrendered the priory to Henry 
VHL's commissioners, 1539, and was allowed to retain Somer- 
ford Grange for life, and received a pension of ;!^i33, 6s. 8d. 
He died in 1552, and was buried in the nave near the entrance 
to the choir. 


By the council of Aries 1 261, religious orders that held parish 
churches were bound to supply vicars to officiate. These were 
appointed by the canons, and were taken from their own body. 

The names of many of these are known. The 13th was 
Robert Harys, whose chantry stands in the south choir aisle ; he 
died in 1325. In the time of the 15th, William Trapnell, the 
church was granted by Henry VIII. to the parishioners, 32nd 
year of Henry VIII. In the time of the 1 7th, Robert Newman, 
an inventory of the property was made by order of Edward VI. 's 
commissioner. John Imber, the 21st vicar, was expelled by the 
Parliament from 1647-1660, but was restored to his prefer- 
ment in the same year as Charles II. gained the throne. The 
present vicar is the 32 nd. 

Stratford's injunctions, 1325 

1. Every canon save the seneschal and cellarer must 
attend Matins, High Mass, and the Hours. The seneschal, 
if present in the priory for two nights together, must attend 
one Matins, and the cellarer must be present at service on 
alternate nights at least. 

2. Six canons must be enrolled for celebrating Our Lady's 
Mass ; the prior must celebrate on all great feasts at High 
Mass, and on Saturdays at Our Lady's Mass, and must wear 
a surplice not a rochet. 


3. Canons in priests' orders must celebrate daily, those 
who are not must repeat eleven Psalms with a Litany or 
Psalter of Our Lady every day. 

4. Four confessors must be appointed to hear the confessions 
of the canons. 

5. Latin or French must be the languages spoken. 

6. No one save the prior or officers, without special leave, 
must ride or leave the Priory. 

7. Two-thirds of the canons must dine daily in the refectory ; 
the door must be kept by a secular watchman whose duty it 
is to remove servants and idle people from the door during 
dinner ; the almoner must prevent any canon carrying his 
commons to the laundry-people or people of the town. 

8. All the canons must sleep in the dormitory, each in his 
own bed. 

9. The infirmary must be visited daily by the prior or 

10. Two canons must act as treasurers, and a yearly account 
must be presented. 

11. The common seal must be kept under four locks, 
and documents sealed in full chapter, not as heretofore during 

12. Canons must not play at chess or draughts, nor keep 
hounds or arms (save in the custody of the prior), nor have 
a servant (save when on a journey), nor write nor receive 
letters without leave. The prior may keep hounds outside 
the priory buildings. 

ARCHBISHOP Arundel's injunctions, 1404 

No. I. Ordered the destruction of an old hall and an adjoin- 
ing chamber known as the sub-prior's hall after the departure 
of Sir Thomas West its then occupier, as noblemen were in 
the habit of occupying it to the great disturbance of the order 
and the keeping open of gates which ought to be closed. 

No. 2. Enjoined the building of a house for the prcecentor, 
and a new chamber for the sick. 

No. 3. Ordered the setting apart of a chamber for recreation 
apart from the infirmary (it may be supposed that the canons 
during recreation hours were noisy, thereby disturbing the 


No. 4. Directed the provision of separate studies for the 
canons. It would appear that nobles, such as the Montacutes 
and Wests, put the priory to such great expense by taking up 
their abode, together with their retainers, in the domestic 
part of the buildings. 


Very little of the castle erected by Richard do Redvers, who 
died in 1 137, remains ; but on an artificial mound at no great 
distance to the north of the Priory Church stand fragments of 
the east and west walls of the square Norman keep, about 20 
feet high and 10 feet thick. The castle belonged to the De 
Redvers, Earls of Devon, till they were alienated to the crown 
in the 9th year of Edward I. (1280), the last earl having died 
in 1263, though the last female descendant lived till 1293. In 
1 33 1, Edward III. granted the castle and land to William de 
Montacute, Earl of Salisbury ; after the execution of John 
de Montacute in 1400 for the part he took in the plots against 
the new king, Henry IV., Sir Thomas West, who lies buried 
in the Lady Chapel, was appointed constable. He died in 
1405, then Thomas, Earl of Salisbury, held the castle till 
1428. After this it was held by various persons, and we find a 
constable of the Lordship of Christchurch as late as 1656. The 
manor held by the De Redvers, and then by the Montacutes, 
passed through various hands. Among the holders we may 
notice the Nevilles, hence the connection with the Priory of 
the ill-fated Margaret, the kingmaker's granddaughter, who was 
Countess of Salisbury in her own right, the Earl of Clarendon, 
Sir George Rose, and the present owner, the Earl of 
Malmesbury, who obtained it in 1862. 

In early days the bailiff of the de Redvers regulated all 
markets, fairs, tolls, and fines, and had the right of preemption 
and sat as judge in the tenants' court. Edward I. relieved 
the burgesses of Christchurch from all arbitrary exactions, and 
established a fixed fee-farm rent instead. The castle was 
taken for the Parliament by Sir William Waller with 300 men 
on April 7, 1644. 

A little to the north-east of the castle stand the remains of 
one of the few Norman houses that have come down to the 
present time. It is thus described in the first volume of 



" The Domestic Architecture of the Middle Ages " by Turner 
and Parker, pp. 38, 39. This volume was published in 1851. 
"At Christchurch, in Hampshire, is the ruin of a Norman 
house, rather late in the style, with good windows of two lights 
and a round chimney shaft.* The plan, as before, is a simple 
oblong ; the principal room appears to have been on the first 
floor. It is situated on the bank of the river near to the 
church, and still more close to the mound, which is said 
to have been the keep of the castle ; being between that and 
the river, it could not well have been placed in a situation 
of greater security. Whether it formed part of another series 
of buildings or not, it was a perfect house in itself, and its 
character is strictly domestic. It is about seventy feet long, 
and twenty-four broad, its walls, like those of the keep, being 
exceedingly thick. On the ground floor are a number of 
loop-holes : the ascent to the upper storey was by a stone 
staircase, part of which remains ; the ground floor was divided 
by a wall, but the upper storey seems to have been a long 
room, lighted by three double windows on each side ; near the 
centre of the east wall, next the river, is a large fireplace, 
to which the round chimney before mentioned belongs. At 
the north end, there appears to have been a large and hand- 
some window of which part of the arch and shafts remain, 
and there is a small circular window in the south gable. 
From what remains of the ornamental part of this building, it 
appears to have been elegantly finished and cased with 
squared stones, most of which are, however, now taken away. 
There is a small projecting tower, calculated for a flank, under 
which the water runs ; it has loopholes both on the north and 
east fronts, these walls are extremely thick. By the ruins of 
several walls, there were some ancient buildings at right angles 
to this hall, stretching away towards the keep. This was 
probably part of the residence of Baldwin de Redvers, Earl of 
Devon, to whom the manor of Christchurch belonged about 
the middle of the twelfth century."t 

This building is much overgrown with ivy, which by a 
comparison of the illustration given in the work just quoted 
with its present condition, as represented in the photograph 
here reproduced, has increased considerably during the last 

* Since rebuilt. 

t Grove's "Antiquities," vol. ii. p. 178. 














fifty years. It is due to the memory of the Rev. William 
Jackson, who was vicar of Christchurch from 1778 to 1802, 
that it should be recorded that he saved this valuable relic of 
Norman domestic architecture from destruction. He was 
evidently imbued with a spirit of love for antiquity by no 
means common a hundred years ago, and far too rare even at 
the present day. 


Kxtreme length 




Length of Nave 




Width of Nave 




Height of Nave 


Length of Transept . 




Width of Transept 




Length of Choir 


Width of Choir with Aisles 




Height of Choir 


Length of side of Tower, E. 

'to W. 




) » )) ) J 






Height of Tower 


Length of Lady Chapel 




Width of Lady Chapel 




Length of St Michael's 





Width of St Michael's Loft 




Area . 

18,300 sq. 




I— I 




I— « 









Bell's Cathedral Series. 



In specially designed cloth cover, crown %vo, is. 6d. each. 
Now Ready. 

CANTERBURY. By Hartley Withers. 3rd Edition, revised. 37 

CHESTER. By Charles HiATT. 2nd Edition, revised. 35 Illustrations. 

DURHAM. By J. E. Bygate, A.R.C.A. 44 Illustrations. 

EXETP^R. By Percy Addleshaw, B.A. 35 Illustrations. 

GLOUCESTER. By H. J. L. J. Masse, M.A. 45 Illustrations. 

HEREFORD. By A. Hugh Fisher, A.R.E. 34 Illustrations. 

LICHFIELD. By A. B. Clifton. 42 Illustrations. 

LINCOLN. By A. F. Kendrick, B.A. 2nd Edition, revised. 46 

NORWICH. By C. H. B. Quennell. 38 Illustrations. 

OXFORD. By Rev. Percy Dearmer, M.A. 2nd Edition, revised. 
34 Illustrations. 

PETERBOROUGH. By Rev. W. D. Sweeting, M.A. 2nd Edition, 
revised. 51 Illustrations. 

ROCHESTER. By G. H. Palmer, B.A. 38 Illustrations. 

SALISBURY. By Gleeson White. 2nd Edition, revised. 50 Illus- 

SOUTHWELL. By Rev. Arthur Dimock, M.A. 37 Illustrations. 

WELLS. By Rev. Percy Dearmer, M.A. 43 Illustrations. 

WINCHESTER. By P. W. Sergeant. 2nd Edition, revised. 50 Illus- 

YORK. By A. Clutton-Brock. 41 Illustrations. 

In Preparation. 

ST. DAVID'S. By Philip Robson, 

A.R.I. B.A. 
ELY. By T. D. Atkinson, A.R.I. B.A. 
WORCESTER. By E. F. Strange. 
ST. PAUL'S. By Rev. Arthur Dimock, 

BRISTOL. By H. J. L. J. Masse, M.A. 
CHICHESTER. By H. C. Corlette, 

A.R.I. B.A. 

ST. ALBANS. By Rev. W. D. 

Sweeting, M.A. 
CARLISLE. By C. K. Elev. 
RIPON. By Cecil Hallett, B.A. 

Ironside Bax. 
GLASGOW. By P. Macgregor 

Chalmers, I. A., F.S.A.(Scot.). 

U7iifor»i ivith aboT'e Series, now Ready. 

ST. MARTIN'S CHURCH, CANTERBURY. By the Rev. Canon Routledge. 

BEVERLEY MINSTER. By Charles Hiatt. 


TEWKESBURY ABBEY. By H. J. L. J. Masse, M.A. [In the Press. 

WESTMINSTER ABBEY. By Charles Hiatt. \,Preparing. 

Opinions of the Press. 

"For the purpose at which they aim they are admirably done, and 
there are few visitants to any of our noble shrines who will not enjoy their 
visit the better for being furnished with one of these delightful books, 
which can be slipped into the pocket and carried with ease, and is yet 
distinct and legible. ... A volume such as that on Canterbury is exactly 
what we want, and on our ne.\t visit we hope to have it with us. It is 
thoroughly helpful, and the views of the fair city and its noble cathedral 
are beautiful. Both volumes, moreover, will serve more than a temporary 
purpose, and are trustworthy as well as delightful." — Notes'and Queries. 

' ' We have so frequently in these columns urged the want of cheap, 

well -illustrated, and well -written liandbooks to our cathedrals, to take 
the place of the out-of-date publications of local booksellers, that we are 
glad to hear that they have been taken in hand by Messrs George Hell 
& Sons." — 5A James'' s Gazette. 

" The volumes are handy in size, moderate in price, well illustrated, and 
written in a scholarly spirit. The history of cathedral and city is in- 
telligently set forth and accompanied by a descriptive survey of the 
building in all its detail. The illustrations are copious and well selected, 
and the series bids fair to become an indispensable companion to the 
cathedral tourist in England." — Times. 

"They are nicely produced in good type, on good paper, and contain 
numerous illustrations, are well written, and very cheap. We should 
imagine architects and students of architecture will be sure to buy the 
series as they appear, for they contain in brief much valuable information." 
— British Architect. 

" Half the charm of this little book on Canterbury springs from the 
writer's recognition of the historical association of so majestic a building 
with the fortunes, destinies, and habits of the English people. . . . One 
admirable feature of the book is its artistic illustrations. They are 
both lavish and satisfactory — even when regarded with critical eyes." — 

"There is likely to be a large demand for these attractive handbooks." 
— Globe. 

" Bell's ' Cathedral Series,' so admirably edited, is more than a descrip- 
tion of the various English cathedrals. It will be a valuable historical 
record, and a work of much service also to the architect. The illustrations 
are well selected, and in many cases not mere bald architectural drawings 
but reproductions of exquisite stone fancies, touched in their treatment by 
fancy and guided by art." — Star. 

" Each of them contains exactly that amount of information which the 
intelligent visitor, who is not a specialist, will wish to have. The dis- 
position of the various parts is judiciously proportioned, and the style is 
very readable. The illustrations supply a further important feature ; they 
are both numerous and good. A series which cannot fail to be welcomed 
by all who are interested in the ecclesiastical buildings of England." — 
Glasgow Herald. 

"Those who, either for purposes of professional study or for a cultured 
recreation, find it expedient to 'do' the English cathedrals will welcome 
the beginning of Bell's 'Cathedral Series.' This set of books is an 
attempt to consult, more closely, and in greater detail than the usual 
guide-books do, the needs of visitors to the cathedral towns. The series 
cannot but prove markedly successful. In each book a business-like 
description is given of the fabric of the church to which the volume 
relates, and an interesting history of the relative diocese. The books are 
plentifully illustrated, and are thus made attractive as well as instructive. 
They cannot but prove welcome to all classes of readers interested either 
in English Church history or in ecclesiastical architecture." — Scotsman. 

"A set of little books which may be described as very useful, very 
pretty, and very cheap .... and alike in the letterpress, the illustra- 
tions, and the remarkably choice binding, they are ideal guides." — 
Liverpool Daily Post. 

"They have nothing in common with the almost invariably wretched 
local guides save portability, and their only competitors in the quality and 
quantity of their contents are very expensive and mostly rare works, each 
of a size that suggests a packing-case rather than a coat-pocket. The 
' Cathedral Series ' are important compilations concerning history, archi- 
tecture, and biography, and quite popular enough for such as take any 
sincere interest in their subjects." — Sketch. 




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