Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Strolling around Ancient Sherborne

I had some JibJab videos of our family that Mum wanted on a DVD so the nearest shop that could do that for us was in Sherborne, a town dating back to A.D.705. It is swamped in history, with many old buildings, Sherborne Castle built by Sir Walter Raleigh, Sherborne Abbey, the ruins of a 12th-century abbey to list a few. I would have loved to have spent a whole weekend just in this town with camera and tripod, but this vacation was more about me spending quality time with Mum than it was sightseeing, so I knew I wouldn't get to visit many of these sites. Most days we never left the house until noon or after and today was no different.
We passed a roundabout with its bear figures decorated as Santas.
Looking down on Sherborne. Note the public footpath sign by the gate indicating a trail that could be walked through farmland. I so wish this was done in America.
We walked up a hill lined with ancient buildings to the video store. The road was called Cheap Street but contained a lot of expensive shops. The butcher shop was popular but we didn't linger. 
We did step into an art shop which had some beautiful paintings in its window, and immediately I was drawn towards this painting called "Pinks Arrived, Schvelnig Sands, Holland" by Richard Henry Nibs. Only £7500. so if anyone would like to buy me this, I'd be eternally grateful. I wanted to just sit in a chair and stare at this beautiful stormy scene.
We found the video store and gave them the files to burn to a DVD which would then be sent to Mum. Our next job was to find a cafe so we could have lunch and we found a nearby place called Oliver's Coffee House.
We had an amazing lunch here of stuffed jacket spuds with fresh salad and pots of tea. I took the photo above of another customer's trays. Everything here looked delicious, and the place was packed.
All the shops on Cheap Street were like this one, looking like they'd been there for hundreds of years. No modern glass windows or steel columns anywhere, thank God.
The post box outside the post office had been painted gold from it's traditional red and we spotted a plaque on the side saying that it was gold to celebrate Peter Wilson, a Dorset man, who won a gold medal in the London 2012 Olympics for the Men's Double Trap Shotgun Shooting event. He holds the world record for this event too.
A cute mug with English robins.
Cheap Street Church and the Cross Keys Pub sign.
Dusk was falling as we walked down to the bottom of Cheap Street, enjoying the historic old buildings. We turned the corner to find ourselves gazing up at the magnificent Sherborne Abbey. Lit up from below it was a beautiful sight and just seemed huge from our perspective. In 705 it was a Saxon cathedral, later in 998 becoming a Benedictine abbey until 1539 and is now a parish church. The tomb of Sir Thomas Wyatt, the first English poet to write a sonnet, is inside and Sir Walter Raleigh and his wife attended services here.
St John's Almshouses, founded in 1437, are next to the abbey. An interesting article about them is here.
We couldn't stay much longer in Sherborne, night was falling and Mum was tired. It had been wonderful to walk once again around a town steeped in so much history. After living in the States with its new buildings and recent history, I'd forgotten how amazing it is to walk in the footsteps and explore the buildings the same way folks had done several hundreds of years before. I'd taken this all for granted when I lived here so it was nice to feel as a visitor does and learn a new respect for my homeland and its treasures. We drove back to West Moors and I mentally chalked this small market town on my list of places to return to and investigate more fully in the future.

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