In his book "England's Thousand Best Churches" Sherborne Abbey is ranked within the
top 18 and is credited with some of the finest vaulting in the country. Simon Jenkins,
the author, writes "I would pit Sherborne's roof against any contemporary work of
the Italian Renaissance".
Visitors would do well to plan their visit to coincide with the Abbey's annual music
festival, for the sound within the Abbey adds a special dimension to each performance.
See Dorset Map's Event Section in May 2009 for more details and you can visit the
festival web site www.sherborneabbey.org for booking information. The festival highlights
include Julian Lloyd Webber & The European Union Chamber Orchestra along with Dame
Emma Kirkby in Handel's Messiah.
History: Sherborne Abbey was founded in 705 A.D. by St. Aldhelm. 1,300 years ago
it became the cathedral of the West Saxons.
The building came about when the See of Sherborne was created (in 705 A.D.) when
the great Diocese of Winchester was divided in two, and Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmsbury
, was appointed as the first Bishop of the West Saxons. The new Cathedral of Sherborne
served St Aldhelm and twenty-six succeeding Saxon Bishops.
Features: The chief glory of the Abbey is its roof, the earliest great fan vault
You will also see the medieval misercords in the Choir, some fine Tudor monuments,
the Ascension reredos behind the High Alter and the engraved glass reredos by Whistler
in the Lady Chapel. The most recent feature is the Great West Window by John Hayward,
for which the dedication of was attended by Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness
the Duke of Edinburgh