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Christchurch Town Wall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Twyneham; Twinham; Twynam

In the civil parish of Christchurch.
In the historic county of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Modern Authority of Dorset.
1974 county of Dorset.
Medieval County of Hampshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SZ15679281
Latitude 50.73414° Longitude -1.77989°

Christchurch Town Wall has been described as a certain Urban Defence.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Christchurch was known in the Anglo-Saxon and early Norman period as Twinham. It was one of the burhs listed in the "Burghal Hidage", and defended originally by a bank and ditch. Excavations have shown that a stone wall was added at a later date. The defences were levelled in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Twinham was probably a port of some strategic importance, but it never acquired much economic importance, and there is no evidence that it ever had a mint or a moneyer in the 10th century. (Penn; Wilson; Dowdell; Jarvis 1976)
The burh defences were excavated at a number of points during the 1970s and 1981-3, revealing distinct differences between those on the Northern, Eastern and Western sides of the town.
The Northern defences.
An early C10th burh 8.0-9.0 m wide extended the length of the Northern perimeter and at least in part comprised
natural sand bar material in the vicinity of site W6 and X10. A berm 4m wide lay in front of this, and a ditch 2m deep fronted the berm. In the 10th or 11th century a stone revetment was added to the inner face of the bank, and a second ditch placed 10m beyond the bank. There were at least six ditch phases, but all had been filled by the 12th/13th century.
Eastern defences.
Parallel shallow gullies delineated the burh in the late 9th or early 10th century. The defences then follow the same pattern as those on the north side except a single external ditch was recut once and the revetment is external to the burh.
Western defences.
These consisted of a reveted burh and ditch (Jarvis 1983; Davis).
Further excavation at 14 High St (Northern defences) in 1982 revealed a 25m length of the Saxon burh ditch which was cut originally c. 900 AD, and was open for almost one hundred years, and purposely backfilled (Davis).
A watching brief at the King's Arms Hotel (SZ 15999273) located the burh, berm and ditch of the Eastern defences (Jarvis 1985).
The fortification can be assumed on archaeological and documentary grounds to have existed from the reign of Alfred the Great and was a 'major borough'. Twinham was assessed at 470 hides, equivalent to 1939 feet of defences (Hill and Rumbold). (PastScape)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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