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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 50°56′57″N 2°31′06″W / 50.9491°N 2.5183°W / 50.9491; -2.5183

Sherborne is located in Dorset

 Sherborne shown within Dorset
Population 9,350 [1]
OS grid reference ST638165
District West Dorset
Shire county Dorset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Sherborne
Postcode district DT9
Police Dorset
Fire Dorset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament West Dorset
List of places: UK • England • Dorset

Sherborne is a market town in northwest Dorset, England. It is on the River Yeo and A30 road, on the edge of the Blackmore Vale 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Yeovil.

40.8% of the population is retired.[citation needed] Sherborne is famous for its history, including its abbey, castles, manor house and private schools. The picturesque town is a popular, though relatively unknown, tourist town.

Much of the town, including many medieval and Georgian buildings, is built from distinctive ochre ham stone, including the Abbey.

The town is served by Sherborne railway station.



The town was named scir burne by the Saxon inhabitants, a name meaning "clear stream" (see: Bourne (placename)).

Sherborne Abbey

The town 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 deliberately burnt down during tensions between the town and the monastery, and was rebuilt between 1425 and 1504, though some of the Norman structure remains. In 1539 the monastery was bought by Sir John Horsey and became a conventional church. Sherborne was for many centuries the centre of a hundred of the same name.

See the article Sherborne Abbey for more on the history of the abbey.
The Conduit

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 the 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 was also home to Captain Christopher Levett, a Yorkshire native who came to the West Country as His Majesty's Woodward of Somersetshire, and who remained in Sherborne as he turned to a career as a naval captain and early explorer of New England.[2]


There has been a school in Sherborne since the time of King Alfred, who was educated there. The school was refounded in 1550 as King Edward's public school, using some of the old abbey buildings, though it is now known simply as Sherborne School.

The school remains one of the top fee-paying schools in Britain, boasts numerous successful alumni, including Alan Turing, Jeremy Irons, Chris Martin and John le Carré. Until 1992 there were also two Grammar Schools, Foster's School for boys and Lord Digby's School for girls. The tradition of education within the town was continued with the founding of Sherborne School For Girls (now known as Sherborne Girls) in 1895, another leading Independent School. Eminent past pupils of Sherborne Girls include soprano Emma Kirkby actress Maria Aitken, novelist Santa Montefiore, psychotherapist and founder of the charity Kids Company, Camilla Batmanghelidjh. More recently, the other senior schools established in Sherborne are The Gryphon School and the Sherborne International College (for children from overseas).

Sherborne House

Historical buildings

Other notable historical buildings in the town include the Almshouses of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, founded in their current form in 1438 and expanded in the Victorian Era in indistinguishable medieval style architecture. The conduit, Hospice of St Julian, and Lord Digby's school, now known as Sherborne House (designed by Benjamin Bastard) are also well preserved old buildings in the town.

References in literature and popular culture

The Almshouses

International relations

Twin towns

Sherborne is a founding member of the Douzelage, a town twinning association of 23 towns across the European Union. This active town twinning began in 1991 and there are regular events, such as a produce market from each of the other countries and festivals.[3][4]



  1. Pitt-Rivers, Michael, 1968. Dorset. London: Faber & Faber.
  2. The 1985 AA illustrated guide to the towns and villages of Britain.


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Sherborne is a small town in England.


Sherborne [1] is currently celebrating winning a multitude of awards at the regional heat of Britain in Bloom 2007, including recognition as the best market town in the South West and receiving the prestigious overall gold award for the region. Take a leisurely stroll around the town to discover why!

Sherborne Abbey [2] has one of the finest examples in Britain of a fan vaulted ceiling.


Sherborne's old and new castles are definitely worth a visit. The impressive 'new' castle [3]was built in 1594 by Sir Walter Raleigh, and on the opposite side of Sherborne Lake lie the ruins of the 'old' castle [4], destroyed in 1645 by a fierce siege. Also, take a look inside Sherborne Abbey [5] to see it's impressive fan-vaulted roof, and visit the nearby Fleet Air Arm Museum [6] with its comprehensive collection of naval aircraft.


Sherborne is an excellent place for a spot of retail therapy - the town's boutiques offer delightful and varied shopping, and its antique shops are full of fascinating finds. The ever-popular town markets [7] and Farmers' Markets [8] offer the perfect opportunity to purchase some tasty local produce and unique gifts.


Whether you prefer some heart-warming pub grub, elegant high teas, fine cuisine or simply a family-friendly dining experience, you can be sure that Sherborne will offer you many delicious local specialities to tempt your tastebuds! Visit for some mouthwatering suggestions of places to eat out, or contact Sherborne Tourist Information Centre [9] for some expert advice.


Whether you're looking for a self catering retreat, an elegant hotel, friendly bed and breakfast or guesthouse, a hospitable inn or a farm stay, Sherborne and the surrounding towns and villages of West Dorset are sure to meet your needs. Visit for details of National Quality Assessed accommodation in West Dorset.

  • I just stayed in the new Bed and breakfast in 63 Cheap st, Sherborne, and it is great, I had a lovely comfortable room facing the abbey, with my own bathroom, and being so central was handy as I had a birthday meal with friends in the restaurant opposite, so very handy for a few glasses of wine and then cross the road to be home! I had a delicious DIY breakfast in my room, which was lovely to do in my own time and in my dressing gown ( also provided) my little fridge was full with berries, yogurt, pancakes and juice, it was really nice not to have to dress to be in a dining room for a set time. I enjoyed my coffee and toast in bed( a hot breakfast is available apparently on request.) After a nice hot shower, It was just 6 mins walk to my train. This place has only just opened and I was only the second customer , but what a find! very handy to know. the owner is Angela, lovely friendly lady, her email is


Sherborne TIC are currently celebrating winning South West Tourism's prestigious gold award for the best tourist information centre in the South West! The Tourism Excellence Awards, known as 'Tourism Oscars,' celebrate 'the best in the South West' and aim to promote and reward the very best in the tourism industry. Email or visit for further information about Sherborne and the surrounding area.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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