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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.
Minster Guides are happy to share their knowledge of the history of this unique building with visiting schools, groups and thousands of tourists. Special tours can easily be arranged by contacting the Parish Office. A bit more of the history.
Details of Services can be found on the Minster website or by telephoning the Parish Office.
Everyone is welcome to come into the Minster whilst it is open. If you arrive during a service please come in and worship with us. There will be an opportunity to wander around the magnificent building after the service.
Admission is free but donations are welcome towards the upkeep of this unique historic building and its Ministry. There is wheelchair access.
The King Street public car park beyond the Minster gives pedestrian access to the Church and the Town. Coaches can disembark their passengers in King Street alongside the Minster.
Opening times at the Minster
Sadly, due to Covid restrictions, the Minster is currently closed to visitors though there is limited opening for some services and private prayer.
Starting Tuesday, June 22. Initially the Minster will be open to visitors 10am - 4pm on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday of each week and for published services. We hope to extend the opening to include other days if possible: please watch Visitor Information for further updates. We look forward to seeing you!
Normal Opening Times:
Mondays to Saturdays - 9.30 am to 5.30 pm (See notes below)
Sundays - Mornings - for Services only; Afternoons - 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm.
From the first week of November to the end of February the Minster closes at 4.00 pm.
The Minster usually closes at 12 noon on the Bank Holidays following Christmas and on New Year’s Day.
General access may be restricted in the case of special services and events: please check the Forthcoming Events.
Public toilets are available 30m from the Minster, across the Green.
There is signposted disabled access to the Minster via St George’s door, on the same side of the church as the main door. There is no disabled access to the Chained Library, but you can watch a filmed tour of the Library.
The Chained Library is open to the public most days of the week from April until the end of October, from 10.30am - 12.30pm and 2.00pm - 4.00pm.
For winter opening and other times, please contact the Parish Office.
The Parish Office located in Church House is open - Mondays to Thursday 10.00am to 12.00 noon.
To contact the Minster
Please write to: The Minster, Church House, High Street, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 1HT
Telephone: 01202 884753 or email: email@example.com
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