Famous people with Sherborne connections

Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 – 1618):  He called Sherborne his ‘Fortune’s Fold’ and purchased a 99-year lease on the Old Castle and its park in 1592 after his marriage to Elizabeth Throckmorton. However, finding the property to be too damp he abandoned it in 1594 and started building the New Castle. After the death of Queen Elizabeth I he fell out of favour with James I and his Sherborne estates were forfeited. They later came into the hands of the Digby family who still own the New Castle today. The living link between the Old Castle and Sir Walter Raleigh is the clove pink with grows in clumps on its banks.  Sherborne tradition credits Lady Elizabeth Raleigh with having introduced Dianthus caryophyllus ‘Simplex Major’ which is known in the town as Lady Betty’s Pink. For special occasions, flowers are cut to decorate Leweston Chapel in Sherborne Abbey where Sir Walter and Lady Betty sat for services.

William Macready (1793 – 1873):  Famous actor-manager who lived in Sherborne House from 1850 to 1860 and whose guests included William Makepiece Thackeray and his close friend Charles Dickens who gave one of his famous readings in the drawing room of the house.

Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928): The novelist and poet in whose book ‘The Woodlanders’ Sherborne features as ‘Sherton Abbas’ where Giles Winterborne sold his apple trees in the Market Place and which also includes references to Sherborne Abbey.

The boys and girls of Sherborne’s famous schools are a familiar sight on Sherborne’s ancient streets and, over the years, many of those young faces have become instantly recognisable including: David Cornwell (John le Carré), the author of “The Spy who came in from the Cold”, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “Smiley’s People”.  Tom Bradby, author and a senior correspondent for ITN. Cecil Day-Lewis, Poet Laureate. Sir Richard Eyre, film, opera and theatre director. Sir Michael Hopkins, architect of the bicentenary stand at Lords Cricket Ground and Glyndebourne Opera House. John Le Mesurier, BAFTA award-winning actor (Dad’s Army). Jeremy Irons, Oscar winning actor.  Dr. Colin Lucas, Master of Balliol College, Oxford.  Chris Martin, lead singer and founder member of the band, Coldplay. Sir Alastair Pilkington, inventor of the ‘float glass’ system.  James Purefoy, actor. Lord Sheppard, former Bishop of Liverpool and England test cricketer. Alan Turing, Enigma code breaker. Charlie Cox, actor.

Old Girls from Sherborne Girl’s School include: Dame Emma Kirkby, soprano. Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company. Sophie Kinsella, author, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, TV personality and socialite and Maria Aitken, actress.

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