Wimborne Minster

Coordinates: 50°48′14″N 1°58′41″W / 50.804°N 1.978°W / 50.804; -1.978
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Wimborne Minster
Wimborne Minster is located in Dorset
Wimborne Minster
Wimborne Minster
Location within Dorset
Population15,552 (2014 estimate ONS built-up area)
OS grid referenceSU015005
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBH21
Dialling code01202
FireDorset and Wiltshire
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
50°48′14″N 1°58′41″W / 50.804°N 1.978°W / 50.804; -1.978

Wimborne Minster (often referred to as Wimborne, /ˈwɪmbɔːrn/) is a market town in Dorset in South West England, and the name of the Church of England church in that town. It lies at the confluence of the River Stour and the River Allen, 5 miles (8 km) north of Poole, on the Dorset Heaths, and is part of the South East Dorset conurbation. According to Office for National Statistics data the population of the Wimborne Minster built-up area as of 2014 was 15,552.[1][2]


The town and its administrative area are served by eleven councillors plus one from the nearby ward of Cranfield.[3] The electoral ward of Wimborne Minster is slightly bigger than the parish, with a 2011 population of 7,014.[4] Wimborne Minster is part of the Mid Dorset and North Poole parliamentary constituency.

After 2019 structural changes to local government in England, Wimborne Minster is covered by Wimborne Minster and Colehill and Wimborne Minster East for elections to the Dorset Council unitary authority.

Buildings and architecture[edit]

Wimborne has one of the foremost collections of 15th-, 16th- and 17th-century buildings in Dorset. Local planning has restricted the construction of new buildings in areas such as the Cornmarket and the High Street, resulting in the preservation of many of the original buildings. Examples include the church of Wimborne Minster, Wimborne Minster Town Hall, the Museum of East Dorset and dozens of 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century fronted shops and pubs. The town is home to the Tivoli Theatre, a 1930s art deco cinema and theatre.

Wimborne Minster Church[edit]

Tomb of John Beaufort

This is a Saxon church, with Norman and Gothic architecture. It is famed for its chained library and the tomb of King Ethelred, the brother of Alfred the Great, as well as the tombs of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, and his duchess, the maternal grandparents of King Henry VII of England.[5] The tombs are made of Dorset Limestone and New Forest Stone.

Wimborne Model Town[edit]

The model town is one of the largest and longest-established model towns in England. It depicts Wimborne at the time the model was made, in the 1950s. It is at 1:10 scale, resulting in the model of the Minster being several feet high. The model shop windows accurately show the goods which the real shops were selling at the time. The exhibition also includes a model railway based on Thomas the Tank Engine, which was opened by Christopher Awdry, and expanded in 2014.


At weekends and national holidays, the town crier can be seen in the main square and around the Minster.[6] The legacy and position of the town crier date back to the English Civil War. The town has a large civil war reenactment society, which performs every year.

The town has a well-established and large market, the Wimborne Market. The market is held on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was previously located in the town centre but moved out several years ago to a site on the edge of town to accommodate its size.[7]

Every year Wimborne hosts the longest fireworks display in Dorset, as part of its Guy Fawkes celebrations; a county record that it has held since 2004. The bonfire and pyrotechnics display is held each year in the grounds of St Michael's Church of England Middle School and is well supported by many thousands of people from the town, Colehill village and the surrounding area. All proceeds are donated each year to local schools, and since 2004 over £61,000 has been raised for local school projects and equipment.[8]

Every two years in mid-August, the Park Initiative, an interchurch charity working on Leigh Park estate, holds a community event called "Alive in the Park" in the centre of the estate using a large marquee.[9]

Wimborne Minster Folk Festival[edit]

Alton Morris at Wimborne Folk Festival 2011

Every summer in June the town holds the Wimborne Minster Folk Festival.[10] Founded in 1980, the annual event of traditional folk dance and music has become the focal point for one of the largest gathering of dance teams and musicians in the South of England. The festival involves morris dancing, Appalachian dancing, concerts, workshops and children's activities, with parts of the town being closed to traffic.

The Festival planned for 2020 did not go ahead due to the health precautions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, with the cooperation of local businesses and Wimborne Minster Town Council,[11] the Folk Festival committee made use of Café @ The Allendale, a local community hub, to provide food and meals for those in difficulties, e.g. as a result of having to self-isolate or not being able to work during the lockdowns. The 2021 Festival also had to be cancelled but an online event took place over the usual second weekend in June.[12]

Education and schools[edit]

The town has three first schools (St John's, Wimborne and Pamphill) and two middle schools (St Michael's and Allenbourn). Wimborne First School, formerly Wimborne Primary School, has been educating the children of Wimborne Minster to primary level since 1911.[13] Wimborne and the adjacent area of Merley are served by two upper schools: Corfe Hills School and Queen Elizabeth's School.

Queen Elizabeth's School has very close links with the Minster and was founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1497. After her death the school became Wimborne Grammar School. Although the Grammar School buildings still remain they have now been converted to flats. The school was established on its current site in 1972 after the merging of Wimborne Grammar School and the County Modern School.

Dumpton School is located nearby. The nearby first schools of Hayeswood and Colehill serve Wimborne.


Wimborne Cottage Hospital[edit]


Local news and television programmes are provided by BBC South and ITV Meridian. Television signals are received from the Rowridge TV transmitter[19] and the local relay transmitter situated in Winterborne Stickland.[20] BBC West and ITV West Country can also be received from the Mendip TV transmitter.[21]

The town's local radio stations are BBC Radio Solent on 96.1 FM, Heart South on 102.3 FM, Nation Radio South Coast on 106.6 FM, Greatest Hits Radio South on 105.8 FM and Radio Wimborne, a community radio station that broadcast on 94.6 FM.[22]

Local newspapers that served the town are the Dorset Echo and Bournemouth Daily Echo.


The local football club Wimborne Town F.C. play in the Southern Football League.

In rugby union, Wimborne R.F.C. has been in existence in its present form since 1950 and is based in Leigh Park, Gordon Road on the eastern side of the town.

Cricket has been played in Wimborne since at least 1793, when the club was known as Hanham's Cricket Club, playing on the green in the centre of town from 1860. In 2010, the club moved to its new ground at The Leaze as part of the planning application which allowed Waitrose to build a new supermarket on the site of the original Wimborne Cricket Club. The club's 4 adult teams play in the Dorset Cricket League and the 1st XI have won the Dorset Premier League title in 1997, 2012, 2016 and 2018. Dorset County Cricket Club played home matches at Wimborne sporadically from the 1957 until 1979 before returning in 2018 to Wimborne's current ground at The Leaze.


Wimborne Minster Town Hall

The aerospace company Cobham plc has headquarters in Wimborne. Home decoration company Farrow & Ball began in the town, and is still headquartered nearby in Ferndown. The economy of the town is dedicated towards leisure and has shops, restaurants and pubs. Tourism is an aspect in the town's economy. The town is also served by a Waitrose located on the old Cricket Green and a Co-op supermarket.


From 1847 to 1977 Wimborne was served by a two-platform railway station.[23] The station was built for the Southampton and Dorchester Railway, later part of the London and South Western Railway. It was expanded when the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway was constructed between Bath and Poole. Wimborne was used as a reversing point on the Somerset and Dorset, but its importance was reduced when an avoiding line was built from Bailey Gate to Broadstone Junction. The station had a large goods yard, the site of which is used for the weekly Wimborne Market. The station was closed to passengers in 1964 and sundries (parcels and light goods) in 1966, as a result of the Beeching Axe programme.[24] The final goods trains ran in May 1977.

Buses now serve as the only means of public transport to and from Wimborne. Wilts & Dorset subsidiary Morebus operates half-hourly routes 4 to Poole and 13 to Bournemouth.

Twin towns[edit]

Wimborne Minster is twinned with

Notable people[edit]

Thomas Hardy's house (1881 to 1883), Avenue Road


  1. ^ "CityPopulation.de".
  2. ^ "Love My Town".
  3. ^ "Councillors – Wimborne Minster Town Council". www.wimborne.gov.uk. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  5. ^ Ltd, Triple W Software. "Wimborne Minster and the Northern Churches, Dorset". www.wimborneminster.org.uk. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  6. ^ BBC. "BBC - Radio 4 - Home Truths - Town Crier". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Wimborne Market". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  8. ^ Wimborne Bonfire and Fireworks Evening Archived 7 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Leigh Park Initiative". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  10. ^ Wimborne Minster Folk Festival
  11. ^ "Volunteer group founded to help Wimborne residents".
  12. ^ "Cafe can keep delivering 500 free meals a week to those in need thanks to donation".
  13. ^ "Wimborne First School - Home". www.wimbornefirst.dorset.sch.uk. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  14. ^ Matron’s Annual Letter to Nurses, No.3, Matron's Annual Letter to Nurses, 1894–1916; RLHLH/N/7/2, No.3, June 1896, 12; Barts Health NHS Trust Archives and Museums, London.
  15. ^ Annie Mary Lindsay, Register of Sisters and Nurses; RLHLH/N/4/1, 112; Barts Health NHS Trust Archives and Museums, London
  16. ^ a b Rogers, Sarah (2022). 'A Maker of Matrons'? A study of Eva Lückes's influence on a generation of nurse leaders:1880–1919' (Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Huddersfield, April 2022)
  17. ^ Annie Lindsay, RG14/12260, 128; The General Record Office, The England and Wales Census 1911 for Stoke upon Trent, Staffordshire; The National Archives, Kew [Available at: www.ancestry.co.uk, accessed on 26 October 2017]
  18. ^ Annie Mary Lindsay, Register of Probationers; RLHLH/N/1/3, 62; Barts Health NHS Trust Archives and Museums, London
  19. ^ "Full Freeview on the Rowridge (Isle Of Wight, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  20. ^ "Freeview Light on the Winterborne Stickland (Dorset, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  21. ^ "Full Freeview on the Mendip (Somerset, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  22. ^ "Radio Wimborne". Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  23. ^ "Wimborne Railway Station". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  24. ^ "History of the Somerset and Dorset joint railway". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Dorset Twinning Association List". The Dorset Twinning Association. Archived from the original on 21 June 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  26. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns [via WaybackMachine.com]". Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  27. ^ "New community centre honours web inventor". Dorset Echo. Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  28. ^ Handwritten letter by John Creasey, 28 April 1941
  29. ^ Leopold George Wickham Legg, Matthew Prior: A Study of His Public Career and Correspondence, Cambridge University Press, 2010. pp. 2–3.

External links[edit]