Wimborne:famed for the chained library and tomb of King Ethelred( not the Unready!)

Wimborne is situated five miles north of Poole and is most famous for it's Minster.

wimborne minster

Getting here

There is no railway station serving the town however there are regular bus services from Poole and

Bournemouth For timetable go the the Dorset and Wiltshire Bus website If you are coming by car the best way would be to come off the A31 at the B3073 to the east of the town and follow this road into Wimborne.Park in the car park off Allenview Road

From here it is only a few minutes walk to the town centre.

The Minster

The Minster can bee seen from which ever direction you come from.It is dedicated to St.Cuthburga a sister of King Ina,a King of the West Saxons.

wimborne minster

She founded a Benedictine Nunnery here in A.D 705.At one time 500 women were trained here,many of whom went to Germany to convert the pagan tribes that abounded there.

Alas the nunnery was destroyed by the Danes in 1013 and never rebuilt.

The greater part was built by the Normans between 1120 and 1180.

In 1318 Edward II declared the Minster a Royal Peculiar and was exempt from all diocesan jurisdiction. This was very useful later for Henry VIII as it allowed him to use the Minster as a way keeping an eye on things using people who owed their loyalty to him rather than the Pope.

The Minster can easily be reached from the town centre on foot.Entry is free though there is a box for donations.

The most unusual part of the Minster is the Chained Library located above the Choir Vestry.The books contained there were chained to prevent theft.Founded in 1686 this is one of the first public libraries in England and is accessed up a tight spiral staircase.There are manuscripts here going back to 1343.

Here also are some of the earliest printings of the Gospels in Hebrew,Greek and Latin.

The room is a bit of a tight squeeze if you are a large group but worth a visit.

Opening hours are 1030am to 1230pm and 2 to 4pm from Easter to October.In winter the library is open 1030 to 12 noon on Saturdays.

Also worthy of note is the astrological clock in the west tower built by a monk in the fourteenth century,as is the crypt which houses the burial vault of the Bankes family big property owners particularly round Corfe Castle

Museum,garden and culture.

After leaving the Minster you can reach the Priest's House Museum & Garden at No 23 High Street.It is one of the oldest buildings in Wimborne.Each room shows life from different periods,Victorian and Georgian for example.You can also enjoy the 100m long garden at the rear.

Going north from The Square up West Borough after about 100m you will come to the Tivoli Theatre.This was once an art deco film house but closed down in 1979.

tivoli theatre

It remained empty for several years but reopened in 2007 and now shows both film and live stage shows.For what's on right now go the Tivoli website here

Walford Mill Craft Centre

Continue up this street further,then turn left into Stone Lane.First right will bring you to the Walford Mill Craft Centre.

walford craft centre

Entry is free to this former mill which now houses works by local artisans including a silk weaver and jeweller.Exhibitions are also held of works by local woodturners and glassmakers.

There is also a shop if you are so moved to buy what you have seen.Don't be put off by the glass floor which allows views of the stream which runs under the building.

The mill is open 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 11 to 4 on Sunday.Post code is BH21 1NL.

Eating Out

There is a restaurant besides the mill which overlooks the River Allen otherwise head back into town and check out Long Crichel Bakery & Tea Rooms at 7 Cook Row BH21 1LB opposite the Minster.

wimborne tea room

As well as baking their own bread they do great soup, organic coffee and cakes.Great feel about the place and good views of the Minster.


Check out the Wimborne Folk Festival held from 12th to 14th June 2009.Acts confirmed include Anna Shannon and Crowfoot.The festival website is here Or try the Model Town in King Street BH21 1DYwhich is a 1/10th scale model of the town as it looked in the 1950s.open everyday 10am to 5pm March to November.

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