Wimborne Minster has something to offer visitors of all ages. As well as the fine Norman architecture there is the famous Astronomical Clock, the Quarterjack - a life-size soldier on the west tower and a unique chained library.
For hundreds of years the Minster has been a centre for pilgrimage, prayer and worship. It is not a museum, although it has inherited some wonderful treasures and artefacts. It is an ancient building sitting majestically in the middle of the town of the same name. Its two Towers are visible as one enters the Town and from various vantage points within the Town.
The foundation goes back to c.705AD when Cuthburga, sister to Ina, King of the West Saxons, founded a nunnery on the site. 500 nuns are reputed to have lived at Wimborne, many of whom followed St. Boniface to the then pagan Germany, as missionaries.
The Nunnery was destroyed by the Danes in 1013 but an old Saxon Chest still remains in the Minster today.
The present building dates from c.1120 with many additions spanning the centuries, making it a truly interesting building to visit.
Education has always been a priority. Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry V11 founded a school at Wimborne Minster in 1497 and her parents tomb is in the Minster.
A Chained Library was established in 1695 although the first books were donated in 1686. The Chained Library, one of only four in the country, is open to the public from Easter to the end of October most weekdays.
In 1612, the Quarter Jack was placed on the north side of the West Tower where he can be seen striking his bells every quarter-hour throughout the day and night.
‘Time’ became important to local people in the 14th century. The famous Astronomical Clock in the West Tower and the three-faced sundial outside are both worth noting.
Other attractions include the Man in the Wall, the Man with two left feet and the only memorial brass dedicated to a king in the country. The Minster also boasts a fine set of thirteen bells.
Address: Parish Office, Church House, High Street, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 1HT
Telephone: 01202 884753
Contact: Penny Baxter (Parish Secretary) or Anthony Oliver (Chair - Minster Tourism Committee)
Open All year, daily, 9.30am to 5.30pm (4.00pm in January/February) - subject to services, especially on Sundays