I like Sherborne a lot – and hopefully will return there next summer for another visit, to catch up on the parts I missed this time. I have already written about Sherborne Abbey here, but the town itself is also worth a wander. It struck me as very clean and bright and traditional. The Sherborne Town website calls it “without doubt, one of the most beautiful towns in England” and it is probably not wrong.
The Saxons called it scir burne – the place of the clear stream – and made it the capital of Wessex. I suppose the stream must be the River Yeo, which flows through Sherborne. I didn’t notice it, but I see on a map that it does run to the south of the town.
I hadn’t realised when I wrote about the abbey that two of King Alfred’s elder brothers, King Ethelbert and King Ethelbald, are buried in the abbey. They reigned in Wessex in the 9th century, but there had been a place of worship here since AD 705. There’s more about the abbey in my earlier post.
I believe the building above is The Julian, an early 16th century house originally the hospice of St Julian of Norwich. St Julian was an anchoress (hermit) and an important Christian mystic and theologian.The hospice was given by Margaret Gough in 1437 towards the endowment of the present almshouse of Saints John the Baptist and Evangelist, which I mentioned in my post about the abbey.
I took a picture of this next object but had to research what it was. It’s known as the Conduit and is apparently a hexagonal washing area originally used by the monks in the abbey. On the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in the 16th century it was moved to its current site in Cheap Street. “Cheap” means something like “market” and you may be interested in reading more about that in my post on Words: Cheapside, Chepstow and all sorts of chaps…
We had a light lunch at the Three Wishes coffee shop in Cheap Street, which was good. We’d go again, although maybe next time I should try Oliver’s coffee house in Cheap Street, as they were kind enough to re-Tweet my post about the abbey!
After lunch, while my husband was having a haircut, I also bought my diary for next year. I had decided that would be one of the things I would treat myself to while on holiday. I bought it in the excellent Winstone’s independent book shop. After dithering over illustrated diaries, some featuring beautiful plants, I plumped for a businesslike plum-coloured Moleskine diary.
Pretty well everything I took pictures of is in or around this main shopping street.
I also “collect” pub signs and there are a couple of good ones here…
Maybe next time I will get around to visiting Sherborne Old Castle and Sherborne Castle. The first was built in the 12th century by Roger de Caen, Bishop of Salisbury and Chancellor of England. But it was taken by the Parliamentarians in the Civil War, in 1645, and now only ruins remain.
Meanwhile Sir Walter Raleigh had earlier tried to modernise the old castle but instead built an Elizabethan mansion in the grounds, around 1594. The Digby family have lived in the mansion since 1617. This is now referred to as Sherborne Castle. If I visit it I may also spot the River Yeo, as it seems to have been made into a 50-acre lake at Sherborne Castle as part of the landscape created by Capability Brown. I REALLY must visit as the gardens look wonderful! See the website here.