City of Winchester Trust
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Visit to Bransgrove and Christchurch - TrustNews Jun 18

In mid May, when it was already getting very warm, fifteen Trust members made their way to Bransgore in the far south-west of Hampshire and then to Christchurch [which of course used to be in Hampshire].

All Saints Church, Bransgore
All Saints Church, Bransgore

We first went to the stunning All Saints Church in Bransgore, which was created in 1906 as a memorial to a daughter of the Manners family and then commemorated their son who died in the First Wold War. We were lucky enough to be given a guided tour by two parishioners who gave us a great introduction to the church designed by Detmar Blow, the murals by Phoebe Traquair and the memorials with lettering by Eric Gill.

We then went to the much larger and more dramatic Christchurch Priory, a Norman foundation which has the longest nave of any parish church in England. Again we benefited from local guides who gave us a wonderful tour of its treasures and its history - including the crypt and the tower and the ancient Porch room which was a school room and is now a museum.

Christchurch Priory
Christchurch Priory

After lunch we had another inspiring guided tour of the Red House Museum which has a beautiful garden. The buildings were originally the Christchurch Workhouse and the history of the Workhouse and the Poor Laws was very interesting - but there was much more about the history of Christchurch as well. We finally learnt why the Red House Museum still “belongs” to Hampshire and is now part of the Hampshire Cultural Trust. In 1974, when local government reorganisation transferred Christchurch from Hampshire to Dorset, it seems that Dorset County Council had no existing museums or museum service so it was decided that it would be better if Hampshire retained responsibility for the museum! Not sure that things would happen like that today but it is an excellent museum and you should visit if you can.

Sue Owers