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Wimborne Minster b&b, guesthouse and hotel accommodation

Wimborne Minster in Dorset

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Visit Wimborne Minster and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:

Wimborne Minster, Dorset, is a friendly little town, almost like a miniature cathedral city, so centred is it on its church and so distinctive and fine is this building.

Romans settled the site; Anglo-Saxons developed it. In the 8th century, Cuthberga, to whom the Minster is dedicated, sister of the Wessex king, Ine, founded its ecclesiastical importance by giving it a nunnery. During the 9th and 10th centuries the district was frequently ravaged by Danes from their favourite beach-head in Poole Harbour, and in 871 King Etheired, slain by them in a nearby battle, was brought to the town and buried by his younger brother and successor, Alfred. Later the Danes destroyed the nunnery; but Edward the Confessor replaced it with a college of secular canons which survived till 1547. In the Middle Ages the town prospered on the wool trade and as a market, with a noted school founded “to teach grammar to all corners”, which continues as Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, with l9th-century buildings, just South of the minster. Today Wimborne Minster remains a market town, and market-gardens on quite a major scale. It also has some manufacturing industry.

The minster, with its chequered dark-red and almost white stone exterior and crown-like central tower, is like no other church. It is of all periods from Norman to 15th-century, a good deal of it Norman. Its central tower bore a spire until one day in 1600 when it was “strangely cast down” in a “mist”. On the north face of the west tower a wooden “quarter Jack” (1613), once a monk, now a Grenadier, strikes the quarter hours. Inside, despite 19th-century restoration, it retains much grandeur and a wealth of excellent detail that makes purchase of its admirable guide book essential. Particularly not to be missed are two 16th-century effigy tombs, the Norman Purbeck marble font, the enormous clock (c. 1320), and, above the vestry, the chained library, including churchwardens' accounts from 1403, a 14th-century manuscript on vellum and l7th-century sermons.

East of the minster, the 16th-century Priest's House Museum specializes in local history. A little West, through Cornmarket, is displayed a model of the entire town reduced by nine-tenths. The road North from the Square has some good Georgian buildings, and on the north-west edge of the town, beside the Blandford road, St Margaret's Leper Hospital, now almshouses, has a medieval chapel with remains of l5th-century murals.

About 15 miles South East at Canford Magna is the gigantic 19th-century Gothic mansion that is now Canford School. It contains an elaborately carved staircase and grandiose hail ceiling.Always open is the nearby part-Norman church. Both are beside the River Stour at its most beautiful.

Nearby towns: Blandford Forum, Bournemouth, Poole, Ringwood

Nearby villages: Almer, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Broadstone, Canford Cliffs, Canford Magna, Chalbury, Charlton Marshall, Corfe Mullen, Daggons, East Parley, Edmondsham, Ferndown, Gussage St Michael, Hampreston, Hamworthy, Holton Heath, Hurn, Long Crichel, Lytchett Matravers, Lytchett Minster, Morden, Northbourne, Parkstone, Pimperne, Poole, Shapwick, Spetisbury, St. Leonards, Sturminster Marshall, Tarrant Hinton, Tarrant Keynston, Tarrant Monkton, Tarrant Rushton, Three Legged Cross, Verwood, West Moors, West Parley, Wimborne St. Giles, Witchampton

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