Tourist Information in Dorset
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Sherborne Town Information

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Lying on the Dorset-Somerset border, Sherborne once occupied a strategic location and was the Saxon capital of Wessex. It still has reminders of its importance in the shape of an abbey and two castles. The novelist Thomas Hardy re-named it ‘Sherton Abbas’ in his book ‘Woodlanders’.

Sherborne Castle and Lake - Photo © John Allan
Sherborne Castle and Lake - Photo: John Allan CCL

Sherborne Abbey dates back to the 8th century and was used as a cathedral. It had to be rebuilt in the 15th century and contains the remains of two of Alfred the Great’s brothers as well as Thomas Wyatt, the 16th century poet. Sherborne School has occupied part of the abbey since 1550.

A local 12th century castle was offered to Sir Walter Raleigh as a gift by Elizabeth I. Although he graciously accepted this prize he quickly built a more comfortable version of it - an Elizabethan manor house now known as Sherborne Castle.

The ruins of an historic palace, now owned by English Heritage, lie close by. It was built by the Bishop of Salisbury, Chancellor of England, but was destroyed in 1645 during the Civil War.