British Archaeological Association Study Day at Christchurch Priory

Perched at the junction of the rivers Stour and Avon, Christchurch Priory is one of the most remarkable churches in south-west England. The building is exceptional not only for its Romanesque and Gothic architecture, three crypts, painted wooden roof and grammar school, but also in the variety and quality of its medieval fittings. These include the sumptuously carved Renaissance chantry chapel of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, various tomb effigies, wooden stalls with misericords, a freestone choir screen and, famously, a reredos set behind the high altar in the form of a monumental Tree of Jesse, potentially carved by the same workshop responsible for some of the figures on Exeter Cathedral’s West Front. And yet despite all its richness, Christchurch Priory remains little studied and poorly understood, a puzzle. The authors of the most recent Hampshire edition of The Buildings of England even judged it ‘quirky to the point of weirdness’. But all quirkiness aside, it is a rival in scale and ambition to many of the better known English medieval (great) churches and merits further study.

Addressing some of the many open questions about the building on this Study Day will be Dr Lloyd de Beer, Dr Tom Nickson, and Dr Richard Plant. The day will begin at 11.1 5am outside the porch and continue until 4pm, with a break for lunch and ice-cream. There are direct trains from London and elsewhere.

The Study Day will be limited to a maximum of 20 people: 10 members of the Association and 10 students. For members of the Association the fee is £25 (please bring cheque or cash with you on the day). Students do not have to pay a fee and their travel expenses (up to £50) will be reimbursed by the Association.

To register for the day: email by June 1. We will notify you of the outcome by 2 June