In Christchurch the remains of a typical early 12th-century motte-and-bailey castle, and its associated chamber block, known as the Norman House, can be found.
Construction of the castle, commenced in about 1100AD. The earliest feature of the castle was the earthen motte, which almost certainly would have been topped with a wooden keep or tower. The castle was rebuilt in stone in the mid-12th century. The 9m high rectangular keep had at least three storeys. The style of the keep, suggests that it was built in its present form in about 1300.
The Norman House is a rare example of Norman domestic architecture in England. Built during the mid-12th century to provide luxury accommodation for the earl, the stone house clearly represents a high status of the owner. The house retains some interesting features such as elaborately decorated north window of the hall marks where the high table stood, the thicker, defensive east wall facing the river and the tall circular Norman chimney.