Sunday 12 October 2014

A Quick Visit to Sherborne, Dorset

A couple of weeks ago, on 26th September 2014 I decided, on a whim, to take the day off work and go out somewhere with my wife. We chose to visit Sherborne, a place of historical interest that we could get to in an hour or so, as we had to get back in time to pick up our younger daughter from school.

On the way we stopped for breakfast in Frome. We went to a place that looked nice, The Garden Cafe, and it was good enough to gain a mention here. Hmm, those poached eggs were yummy!

Sherborne's history

Wikipedia describes Sherborne's history as follows:

The town was named scir burne by the Saxon inhabitants, a name meaning "clear stream" (see: Bourne (placename)) and is referred to as such in the Domesday book.
Sherborne was made the capital of Wessex, one of the seven Saxon kingdoms of England, and King Alfred's elder brothers King Ethelbert and King Ethelbald are buried in the abbey. In 705 the diocese was split between Sherborne and Winchester, and King Ine founded an abbey for St Aldhelm, the first bishop of Sherborne. The bishop's seat was moved to Old Sarum in 1075 and the church at Sherborne became a Benedictine monastery. In the 15th century the church was burnt down during tensions between the town and the monastery, and rebuilt between 1425 and 1504 incorporating some of the Norman structure remains. In 1539 the monastery was bought by Sir John Horsey and became a conventional church. Sherborne was the centre of a hundred of the same name for many centuries.
In the 12th century Roger de Caen, Bishop of Salisbury and Chancellor of England, built a fortified palace in Sherborne. The palace was destroyed in 1645 by General Fairfax, and its ruins are owned by English Heritage.
In 1594 Sir Walter Raleigh built an Elizabethan mansion in the grounds of the old palace, today known as Sherborne Castle.
Sherborne became home to Yorkshireman, Captain Christopher Levett who came to the West Country as His Majesty's Woodward of Somersetshire, and who remained in Sherborne when he turned to a career as a naval captain and early explorer of New England.
It is a lovely, picturesque town, with a bustling high street, that didn't seem to be quietened at all by the drizzle that fell on the day we visited.

We didn't have a massive amount of time to spend there, so we elected to focus our attention on Sherborne Abbey.

Sherborne Abbey

There has been a church on the site since the early 8th century and perhaps even earlier, as there may have been a Celtic Christian church there before the diocese of Sherborne was created in 705 by King Ine of Wessex. It is now a beautiful building, with vaulted ceilings and sumptuous stained glass windows. I would recommend visiting to anyone with an interest in history or architecture.

After a little bit of shopping (I was with the wife, after all!), we had a great lunch at The Three Wishes.

It was a great day out, and I'd like to go back with a bit more time to visit the other places of interest in and around the town like Sherborne Castle.

If you are in the vicinity and looking for somewhere to visit, I would thoroughly recommend Sherborne.