|Population||10,365 (2021 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||124 mi (200 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Dorset and Wiltshire|
|Arms of Sherborne Town Council|
|Crest||Out of an Ancient Crown Or a double headed and twin-tailed Wyvern displayed Argent armed and langued Gules.|
|Torse||Argent and Azure|
|Blazon||Azure a Cross triparted and fretted Argent between four Double Roses Gules on Argent en soliel barbed and seeded Gold.|
|Supporters||On either side a Griffin segreant reguardant the aquiline parts Argent beaked and gorged with an Ancient Crown Or the leonine parts also Or armed and langued Gules.|
|Motto||Soli Deo Honor Et Gloria (To God Alone Be Honour And Glory)|
|Badge||A Crozier Or enfiling a Tower with a portal Argent.|
Sherborne is a market town and civil parish in north west Dorset, in South West England. It is sited on the River Yeo, on the edge of the Blackmore Vale, 6 miles (10 kilometres) east of Yeovil. The parish includes the hamlets of Nether Coombe and Lower Clatcombe. The A30 road, which connects London to Penzance, runs through the town. In the 2011 census the population of Sherborne parish and the two electoral wards was 9,523. 28.7% of the population is aged 65 or older.
Sherborne's historic buildings include Sherborne Abbey, its manor house, independent schools, and two castles: the ruins of a 12th-century fortified palace and the 16th-century mansion known as Sherborne Castle built by Sir Walter Raleigh. Much of the old town, including the abbey and many medieval and Georgian buildings, is built from distinctive ochre-coloured ham stone.
The town is served by Sherborne railway station.
In 705 the diocese of Wessex was split between Sherborne and Winchester, and King Ine founded an abbey for St Aldhelm, the first Bishop of Sherborne, which covered Dorset, Somerset, and Devon. King Alfred the Great's elder brothers, King Æthelbald and King Æthelberht, are buried in the abbey. The large Sherborne diocese lasted until about 909 when it was further sub-divided into three sees, with Sherborne covering Dorset. In 933, King Æthelstan granted land at Sherborne to the nuns of Shaftesbury Abbey under the condition that they would recite the Psalter once a year on All Saints' day and say prayers for the king. The bishop's seat was moved to Old Sarum in 1075 and the church at Sherborne became a Benedictine monastery. In 1437 the Abbey was damaged by fire after tensions between the town and the monastery came to a head, but much of the Norman structure stands today. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, in 1539, the vacated monastery buildings were bought by Sir John Horsey and became the parish 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. During the English Civil War, the palace was destroyed in 1645 by General Fairfax. Its ruins are now owned by English Heritage.
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.
In the UK national parliament, Sherborne is within the West Dorset parliamentary constituency. As of 2021[update], the Member of Parliament (MP) Chris Loder of the Conservative Party. In local government, Sherborne is administered by Dorset Council at the highest tier, and Sherborne Town Council at the lowest tier.
In national parliament and local council elections, Dorset is divided into several electoral wards, with Sherborne forming two of these: Sherborne West and Sherborne East. In county council elections, Dorset is divided into 42 electoral divisions, with Sherborne's two wards together forming Sherborne Electoral Division.
There has been a school in Sherborne since the time of King Alfred, who was educated there. The school was re-founded in 1550 as King Edward's grammar school, using some of the old abbey buildings, though it is now known simply as Sherborne School. The school is one of the independent schools in Britain, with alumni such as Alan Turing, Jeremy Irons, Chris Martin, John le Carré, Hugh Bonneville and John Cowper Powys. Sherborne School operates Sherborne International, a school which seeks to integrate international students into the British public school tradition.
Sherborne Preparatory School is located opposite Sherborne School, and many of its pupils choose to go on to Sherborne School or Sherborne Girls.
The town also has two primary schools, Sherborne Abbey Primary School and Sherborne Primary School.
Notable historic buildings in the town include:
The conduit: originally built in the Abbey Cloister c.1520 as the Monks' wash place, but moved to the Market Place in 1560;
No. 101 Newland: built 1297;
Lord Digby school, now known as Sherborne House (designed by Benjamin Bastard). Sherborne House, famed for its mural by Sir James Thornhill, was a subject for the BBC's Restoration programme in 2004, and was sold in 2008 by Dorset County Council to a developer, Redcliffe Homes, for £3 million. Its renovation included rebuilding an unstable rear wall.
St Emerenciana's Chapel (now known as Nethercoombe Farm); built in the late 14th century. The only building in the country to have been dedicated to this saint.
There are 378 listed buildings within the town and 23 in Castleton (considered to be an inclusion of Sherborne), totalling 401, including 14 Grade I listed buildings and 21 Grade II* listed buildings.
The parish church, known as Sherborne Abbey is the most prominent building in the town.
There is a Catholic Church, Church of St Aldhelm and the Sacred Heart, on Westbury.
Cheap Street Church is a joint Methodist and United Reformed congregation.
- Mike Davis, a rugby player and coach with England.
- The social reformer and moralist Rev Sir James Marchant died here in 1956.
- Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson (1976–2013) lived here.
- Olympic field hockey player Michael Walford lived and worked here for many years before his death in 2002.
Environment and community
Sherborne has an active green community, with various environmental and sustainability organisations in the area. The Quarr Local Nature Reserve at the northern end of the town makes use of an old quarry and landfill site, Sherborne Area Partnership oversees a successful environment forum and, in 2009, Sherborne became an official Transition Town, running a number of projects and events as a community response to climate change and peak oil.
Pack Monday Fair
The town has for centuries hosted an annual street fair, Pack Monday Fair, starting on the Monday following 10 October (Old Michaelmas Day). Originally an agricultural fair, it is now devoted to stalls, sideshows and a funfair.
Sport and leisure
Sherborne is a founding member of the Douzelage, a town twinning association of 24 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. Discussions regarding membership are also in hand with three further towns (Agros in Cyprus, Škofja Loka in Slovenia, and Tryavna in Bulgaria).
- Sherborne Hundred for more on the history of the hundred
Sources and references
- Pitt-Rivers, Michael, 1968. Dorset. London: Faber & Faber.
- The 1985 AA illustrated guide to the towns and villages of Britain.
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- "South West Region". civicheraldry.co.uk. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
- "Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics – Sherborne (Parish)". Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Age Structure, 2011 (KS102EW) – Sherborne (Parish)". Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "History of Sherborne". Retrieved 11 May 2020.
- Studies in the Early History of Shaftesbury Abbey. Dorset County Council, 1999
Baxter, James Phinney; Levett, Christoper (1893). Christopher Levett, of York, the pioneer colonist in Casco Bay. Portland, Maine, USA: Gorges Society. p. 7. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
christopher levett sherborne.
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- "Welcome to Cheap Street Church". Cheap Street Church. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
- "Largest Sailing Race in 24 Hours (Multiple Venues)". guinnessworldrecords.com. Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 18 January 2018.
- "Sherborne". Transition Network. Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
- Roud, Steve (2006). The English Year. London: Penguin Books. pp. 385–387. ISBN 978-0-140-51554-1.
- "Douzelage.org: Home". douzelage.org. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
- "Douzelage.org: Member Towns". douzelage.org. Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
- "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 July 2013.