Visit Sherborne and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Sherborne, Dorset. A mainly yellow-stone town, with Blandford Forum the most architecturally consistent in Dorset, it also has the greatest wealth of medieval buildings. From 705, when the Anglo-Saxon King Ine of Wessex decided to divide the vast diocese of Winchester, till 1075 when the see was transferred to Old Sarum, it was a cathedral city, with St Aidheim its first bishop. From 864 to 1539 it had a monastery, the monks taking over the cathedral as their abbey church, rebuilding it in the 12th century and again, to its present proportions, in the 15th. Ever since its monastic days, education has been its most famous business: it has major boys' and girls' public schools and several others, both private and state. Since 1740 it has made silk, and since 1871 gloves, and now has mineral water, soft drinks, printing, dairying, fibreglass and other industries. None of these is obtrusive: its centre remains compact and unindustrialized.
The supreme thing in the abbey is the 15th-century vaulted Ham-stone roof covering its entire length. By putting money in a slot (attached to a pillar in the south aisle) you can floodlight the choir. In the Lady Chapel behind the choir is an engraved glass reredos (1968) by Laurence Whistler, and a brass in the abbey says two kings, Ethelbald (860) and Ethelbert (866), were buried in it. In the west wall is an Anglo-Saxon doorway.
Just South West of the abbey the almshouses, founded in 1437 and extended in the 19th century, have an attractive chapel with an exceptional triptych painted on oak (c. 1475), probably Flemish or German. East of the Abbey, beside Cheap Street, the conduit was the monks' wash-house, dating from the 14th or 15th century and not much restored. Sherborne School for boys is immediately North of the Abbey. Founded in 1550, it took over many of the dissolved monastery's buildings. The chapel was the Abbot's Hall. Also worth hunting out are the 17th-century schoolhouse, the Library and the Abbot's Kitchen. Long Street, Hound Street, Newland and the Green all have rows of pretty houses. Lord Digby's School, built c. 1720, towers grandly above a wall North of Newland. The building contains paintings by Sir James Thornhill. William Macready, the actor, once lived here.
Just East of the town are its two castles, locally known as the Old and New, the one very ruinous, the other a stately home and open to the public. The Old was built c. 1107-39 by Bishop Roger, Henry I's Chancellor; was twice besieged and taken by Cromwell's forces in the Civil War and was afterwards destroyed by them. The core of the ugly but interesting New was built by Sir Walter Raleigh in c. 1594. In 1592 he had rented the Old with the intention of modernizing it as his home, but soon decided to build a new house instead. It was here, it is said, that, while smoking tobacco he had brought back from Virginia, he was doused with beer by his servant who thought he was on fire. Four wings were added to the building in 1625. In it William of Orange is believed to have printed his Proclamation to the English People (1688). The artificial lake between the two castles and the grounds of the New were designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century.
Nearby towns: Blandford Forum, Dorchester, Shaftesbury, Sturminster Newton, Wincanton, Yeovil
Nearby villages: Aldsworth, Asthall, Bibury, Black Bourton, Bledington, Bourton-on-the-Water, Brize Norton, Burford, Carterton, Clapton, Coln Rogers, Eastleach, Eastleach Martin, Eastleach Turville, Farmington, Filkins, Great Barrington, Great Rissington, Guiting Power, Hampnett, Hatherop, Hawling, Holwell, Kingham, Little Barrington, Little Rissington, Lower Slaughter, Lower Swell, Naunton, Northleach, Notgrove, Quenington, Salperton, Sherborne, Shilton, Shipton-under-Wychwo, Southrop, Stow-on-the-Wold, Swinbrook, Turkdean, Upper Slaughter, Westcote, Widford, Windrush, Winson, Wyck Rissington, Yanworth
Have you decided to visit Sherborne or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Sherborne bed and breakfast (a Sherborne B&B or Sherborne b and b)
- a Sherborne guesthouse
- a Sherborne hotel (or motel)
- a Sherborne self-catering establishment, or
- other Sherborne accommodation