discovering Dorset
Shaftesbury Abbey

Local Weather Forecast:

Shaftesbury Abbey Museum & Garden

Park Walk













Shaftesbury was one of three Dorset 'burhs' built on a flat-topped spur of a high down in the northern part of Dorset founded around 880 AD. Alfred founded a Benedictine abbey for nuns in 888 AD which grew to be the largest and richest nunnery. The nunnery's fortress walls offered protection for the nuns and may have been intended to safeguard the grave of Edward the Martyr which lay within the grounds.

By the time of the Domesday Survey the town had in the region of 1,000 inhabitants and was the largest of Dorset's five Domesday boroughs. In 1252 the town gained a royal charter which provided visits from the king's justices. The 14th century saw the entrance of a mayor and constables. The abbey and the king continued to benefit from the town market and tolls.

Inevitably friction grew between the abbey, with its prestige and wealth, the town and surrounding areas. The population of  Sherborne would have made do with a far lesser church and there would have been restriced access to the grounds of the wealthy Shaftesbury abbey.

In 1539, after the abbey's dissolution, the moastery was granted to Sir Thomas Arundell whose heir let the monastery deteriorate until its stone was used for other purposes.

Today the monastery has an award-winning museum where visitors can see the casket thought to have held Edward's remains, undertake an audio tour, and experience an interactive virtual tour.

Walk around the foundations of the Abbey Church and sample the aromas of the Anglo-Saxon herb collection in the peaceful garden.

Opening Days & Times:

10:00 - 17:00

Open 1st April - 31st October

Admission Prices:

Location Map:

Contact Information:

Telephone: (01 747) 852 910



Find Local Accommodation: