Summer Holiday: Pt 17 – Wimborne Minster, Dorset

The day after we completed our epic day out by train to the three Hampshire Cities (Southampton, Winchester and Portsmouth), we resumed travel by car, and made our way towards the two seaside town of Poole and Bournemouth, via Wimborne Minster. Wimborne Minster is the name of the place, which also contains a Minster, so when we got there I had great fun talking about Wimborne Minster Minster…

Wimborne Minster:

Status: East Dorset, Dorset, Town, England

Date: 15/08/2013

Travel: Car

Eating & Sleeping: N/A

Attractions: Minster, Model Town, Priest’s House Museum, Tivoli Theatre, Chained Library etc

Wim 1

We parked up in a small car park very close to the Minster, and the first we found was this map of the town, similar to the one we found in the small Welsh city of St Asaph. It lists everywhere of interest, but in truth we didn’t have time to explore the whole town, as our main destinations for the day were the large towns of Poole and Bournemouth. We had only a few days left in Dorset and Wimborne Minster was somewhere I really wanted to see so we had a quick visit to look at the Minster.

Wim 2

Wimborne Minster Minster is a beautiful building, and the largest landmark in the town. I have heard of it before and it sounded intriguing so I wanted to come and visit it. It was built around 705 AD as a Benedictine Abbey dedicated to Saint Cuthburga (died 718). Although the monastery part was destroyed by the Danes in 1013, the main building survived and was rebuilt and expanded upon in the centuries to come. A 95 feet tall tower stands in the centre of the building, with an 84 feet tall one at the front.

In 1318 King Edward II made the minster a Royal Peculiar, making it exempt from the local diocesan, and the ministers there could now wear robes also worn in Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle. This came to an end in 1846 and the Minster is now open to the public as an attraction and a place of worship.

Wim 3

The Minster is well decorated inside, with lots of fine detail on carvings and in stonework. Up a small stone staircase at one end of the building, you will find a Chained Library, where each book is fixed to the bookshelf on a metal chain to stop you removing it from the room. This is one of only a few others left in the world, including at Hereford Cathedral. Its a fascinating thing, and its in remarkably good condition.

Wim 4

Wandering back to the car the long way round from the Minster, we went down the high street to sample some of the architecture of the town. It’s a very well kept town, with nice bright buildings kept clean, and the old stonework looks fabulous.

Wim 5

There is a central square in the middle of the town, and the Town Council is housed in a Georgian Chamber in an old brick building (out of shot).

Wim 6

This is a photo I took looking up the high street, you can see the Minster in the background, rising up majestically.

There are other things to see in the town that we didn’t have time for:

Wimborne Model Town:

The Model Town is an exact replica in miniature of Wimborne Minster in the 1950’s, showing the town used to look. Even the shop display windows are highly detailed, and it is a must see for visiting tourists.

Priest’s House Museum

This museum sits directly opposite the Minster itself, and is set in a 16th Century Town House. It has exhibits on rural life in the county of Dorset as well as a history of the markets held there. Certain rooms in the house have been kept and are shown in their original form, such as the 17th century hall and the 18th century Victoria Parlour.

Wimborne Minster is a lovely little town, unspoilt and nicely rural. There are no trains stations in the town but main A roads take you to the local towns of Poole, Bournemouth and Blandford Forum, as well as further afield. So if you like history and beautiful English towns, Wimborne is the place for you.

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