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Wimborne Minster (often referred to locally as Wimborne) is a market town in the East Dorset district of Dorsetmarker in South West England, and the name of the Church of England church in that town. The central town has a population of 6,418 (according to the 2001 Census) and is situated at the confluence of the River Stour and River Allen, five miles north of Poolemarker.

The Mayor of Wimborne is currently John Burden, who has held the position since May 2009. The previous mayors of Wimborne were Robin D. Cook and Anthony Oliver, respectively. The town and its administrative area is served by eleven councillors and one from the nearby ward of Cranfield. Wimborne is twinned with Valognesmarker, Francemarker and Ochsenfurtmarker, Germanymarker.

Buildings and architecture

The architecture of Wimborne is regarded as one of the foremost collections of 15th, 16th and 17th century buildings in Dorsetmarker. Local planning has restricted the construction of new buildings in areas such as the Corn Market and the High Street, which has preserved almost all of the original buildings. The most interesting examples of English architecture include the centuries-old Wimborne Minstermarker, the Town Hall, the Priest's House Museummarker and dozens of original 16th, 17th and 18th century fronted shops and pubs. The town is also home to the Tivoli Theatremarker, a 1930's art deco cinema and theatre.

Wimborne Minster Church

This is a Saxon Church, with Norman and Gothic architecture. It is famed for its unique chained library and the tombs of King Ethelred, the brother of Alfred the Great, as well as the tombs of John Beaufort, Duke of Somersetmarker, and his duchess, the maternal grandparents of King Henry VII of England.

Wimborne Model Town

The model town is one of the largest and most established model towns in England. It depicts Wimborne at the time it was made, in the 1950s. It is at 1/10 scale, so the model of the Minster is several feet high. The shop windows accurately show the goods the shops were selling at the time. The exhibition also includes a model railway based on Thomas the Tank Engine, which was opened by Christopher Awdry. Children are invited to complete a quiz sheet (there are several, graded by age).


Wimborne Minster was winner of the regional Britain in Bloom Awards and Silver Gilt medallist in the national competition. The town welcomes visitors each summer with a display of flowers in six large gardened areas of the town.

On weekends and national holidays, the town crier can be seen in the main square and around the Minster. The legacy and position of the town crier date back to the Civil War. The town has a large civil war re-enactment society, which performs every year.

The town has a well-established and large market. The market is held on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was previously located in the Town Centre but moved out several years ago to a site on the edge of town to accommodate its size.

Every two years in mid-August, the Park Initiative, an inter-church charity working on Leigh Park estate, holds a community event called "Alive in the Park" in the centre of the estate using a large marquee.

Folk Festival

Every summer in June the town holds the Wimborne Folk Festival. Founded in 1980, the annual event of Traditional Folk Dance and Song has become the focal point for the largest gathering of dance teams and musicians in the South of England. The festival is considered by many to be the town's major event of the year and is highly regarded nationally as one of the largest events of its kind in the country. The festival involves Morris Dancing. The regional festival is attended by over 15,000 people across its weekend with parts of the town being closed to traffic.

Famous residents

Famous ex-residents

Twin Towns

Wimborne Minster is twinned with


Wimborne has many pubs. Many of these pubs are centuries old, with some dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Below is a list of pubs in central Wimborne.
  • The Coach and Horses
  • The Cricketers Arms
  • The Rising Sun
  • The Bell
  • The Albion
  • The Kings Head
  • The Oddfellows Arms
  • The White Hart
  • The Pudding and Pye
  • The Green Man
  • The Crown and Anchor
  • The Olive Branch

Education and schools

The Town has three First Schools and two Middle Schools. Wimborne First School, formerly Wimborne Primary School, has been educating the children of Wimborne Minster to primary level, since 1911. Wimborne and the area of Merleymarker are served by two Upper Schools in the local region: Corfe Hills Schoolmarker andQueen Elizabeth's Schoolmarker.

Queen Elizabeth's Schoolmarker, has very close links with the Minster and was founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1497. After her death the school became Wimborne Grammar School. Although the Grammar School buildings still remain they have now been converted to flats. The school was established on its current site in 1972 after the merging of Wimborne Grammar School and the County Modern School.

Perhaps the most famous of educational institutions in Wimborne include the private Canford Schoolmarker on the edge of Wimborne, Merley and Canford. There is also a local Roman Catholic primary school, St Catherine'sin Colehill. The nearby first schools of Hayeswood and Colehill also serve Wimborne.


Wimborne Rugby Club has been in existence in its present format since 1950 and is located at Leigh Park, Gordon Road on the eastern side of the market town of Wimborne. The Club boasts two playing pitches, changing rooms and a Clubhouse, comprising a large bar and function room, shop and excellent catering facilities. The Club supports a full range of teams from Minis through Juniors and Colts to Senior XV's, including a Veterans team and a very successful Girls/Ladies team.


The historically important aerospace company Cobham plc has headquarters in Wimborne and employs a large proportion of its residents. The economy of the main town is dedicated towards Leisure and has many shops, restaurants and pubs. Tourism is an important aspect in the town's economy.

Wimborne Railway Station

From 1847 to 1977 Wimborne was served by a two platform railway stationmarker.. The station was built for Southampton and Dorchester Railway, later part of the London and South Western Railway. It was later expanded when the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway was constructed between Bathmarker and Poolemarker. Wimborne was as a reversing point on the Somerset and Dorset, but its importance was reduced when an avoiding line was built from Bailey Gatemarker to Broadstone, Dorsetmarker. The station also had a large goods yard, of which the present site today is occupied by the weekly Wimborne Market. The station was closed to passengers in 1964 and sundries (parcels and light goods) in 1966 as a result of the Beeching Axe programme. The final goods trains ran in May 1977.

External links


  1. Mayor of Wimborne Minster
  2. Wimborne Minster Town Councillors
  3. Wimborne Twinned with Valognes
  4. Wimborne - Valognes Twinning Association
  5. Wimborne Minster, Church
  6. 2004 Silver Medallist 'in bloom awards'
  7. Town Crier
  8. Wimborne Market
  9. Leigh Park Initiative
  10. Wimborne Folk Festival
  11. About the Wimborne Folk Festival
  12. Wimborne First School
  13. Wimborne Railway Station
  14. History of the Somerset and Dorset joint railway

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