The Royal Coat of Arms on Sherborne Abbey

Sherborne’s name comes from the Saxon Scir Burn meaning a clear brook or stream. Settled from Roman times, Sherborne was the gateway to rich lands lying to the west of the dense forest of Penselwood with water meadows, chalk down-lands and gentle slopes over biscuit-coloured stone. The Romans valued the pastures. The Saxons sought safety here from the invading Danes and by 705 a Saxon cathedral was founded here by Aldhelm who was appointed the first bishop of the see of Western Wessex. Alfred the Great may well have been schooled in the Cathedral where his brothers Ethelbert and Ethelbald are buried.

In 998 the Cathedral became a Benedictine Abbey and it is the teaching ethic of the monks that became a feature of the town from that time on. 500 years later, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the monastic buildings became Edward Vl’s Sherborne School – his crest can be seen both at the entrance to the school and on the part of the Abbey Church used by the Head Master as his private lodgings.

The iconic building of The Conduit ©AndréDurand

The Lavatorium, originally a washing place for the monks, was moved out of the Monastic cloisters in the mid-16th century and, renamed the Conduit, it is now a Sherborne icon situated in The Parade.

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