Sherborne, Abbey of

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Originally a house of secular canons in Sherborne, Dorset, England. Its establishment is attributed to St. al dhelm, at the time of the foundation of the See of Sherborne in 705, though it may already have existed in the time of King Cenwalh (643674). It was rebuilt and converted into a benedictine monastery c. 993, the bishop remaining head of the house until it was raised to the dignity of an abbey in 1122. The abbey was rebuilt after the greater part of it was destroyed by fire in 1436 during a riot between the monks and townspeople over rights in the abbey church. The abbey was dissolved in 1539 under Henry VIII, and in the next year for 100 marks (about £67 of the period) the parishioners purchased the church, which has been the town's parish church ever since.

Bibliography: j. hutchins, The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset, ed. w. shipp and j. w. hodson, 4 v. (3d ed. Westminster, England 186174) v.4. d. knowles, The Monastic Order in England, 9431216 (2d ed. Cambridge, England 1962). The Victoria History of the County of Dorset, ed. w. page (Londonn.d.) v.2.

[j. l. grassi]