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Christchurch: A Pictorial History

By Christine Taylor

9780750998987

ISBN: 9780750998987

Published: 15-09-2022


Christchurch: A Pictorial History

By Christine Taylor

ISBN: 9780750998987

Published: 15-09-2022

About This Book

Christchurch owes its existence to its natural features. The town is surrounded by large wide marshes at the confluence of its two rivers, the Stour and the Avon. This strategic position gave Christchurch its former name Tweoxneam, ‘the town between the rivers’. Its harbour was sheltered by nearby Hengistbury Head, an easily defensible site in more turbulent days, as well as an excellent look-out point. Its skyline is dominated by the Priory, founded in AD 994, which was famous in the Middle Ages for its relics and attracted many pilgrims. The importance of the Priory gave the prospering town its new name, ‘Crischurche de Twenham’.

After the Reformation and, a century later, the Civil War, Christchurch fell into decline and became a small fishing town. A 17th-century scheme to make the Avon navigable up to Salisbury was drawn up, but never materialised. The close proximity of the New Forest led to smuggling activities and several buildings in the town boast their smuggling tales. A more legitimate industry that brough some fame to the town was the manufacture of fusee watch chains, but it was not until the 19th century that significant growth in size began, triggered by the advent of the railway and road improvements. Fortunately, the camera had been invented in time to record the Victorian development of the ancient town’s past and to give vivid insight into life in Christchurch up to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Christine Taylor’s book is as entertaining as it is informative and this new edition will be as popular with the many visitors to the area as it will be fascinating for all who live in the modern town.

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