If you cannot find the information you require on our website please contact us:

Tel: 01935 713777

Option 1: Parish Administrator/General Enquiries: Mrs Joanna Sams Joanna.Sams@sherborneabbey.com
Option 2: Rector’s PA/Parish Secretary:
Mrs Sue Lee Sue.Lee@sherborneabbey.com
Option 3: The Verger Team: vergers@sherborneabbey.com
Option 4: Team Rector: The Reverend Martin Lee Rector@sherborneabbey.com
Option 5: The Abbey Shop Manager: Phil Prout shop@sherborneabbey.com
Option 6: The Treasurer: Nigel Chappell Treasurer@sherborneabbey.com
Option 7: The Digby Memorial Church Hall, Manager: Marcus Bray churchhall@sherborneabbey.com


This Benefice takes very seriously its responsibilities surrounding the safeguarding of children, young people, and adults who may be at risk, and works in partnership with the Diocese of Salisbury to ensure that we operate in accordance with best practice at all times. We have adopted the Church of England’s 2017 Church of England Promoting a Safer Church Policy Statement and we are also using the Church of England Parish Safeguarding Handbook.

If you have any concerns please contact our Parish Safeguarding Officers: Mr David and Mrs Lyn Rayner (email: safeguarding@sherborneabbey.com)

Alternatively contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer safeguarding@salisbury.anglican.org  or telephone 01722 438651 – press Option 3.

Out of hours (5.00 pm Friday to 10.00 pm Sunday) telephone the cover service (Thirtyone:eight) on 0303 003 1111.

In an emergency you should call 999.

Parish churches – including the Abbey – have, historically, been key venues for the conducting of marriages.  Indeed, across the country, the Church of England continues to welcome tens of thousands of couples each year who wish to be married in the presence of God and who seek God’s blessing on their life together.

We would love to welcome you.

However, in order to be married at the Abbey or its associated churches you will need to fulfil what is called a ‘Qualifying Connection’.  In summary, these are as follows:

  • One of the couple was baptised or prepared for confirmation in the parish;
  • One of the couple has lived in the parish for six months or more;
  • One of the couple has at any time regularly attended public worship in the parish for six months or more;
  • One of the couple’s parents has lived in the parish for six months or more in their child’s lifetime;
  • One of the couples parents has regularly attended public worship there for six months or more in their child’s lifetime;
  • One of the couple’s parents or grandparents were married in the parish.

A member of the clergy team sees every couple at the start of the process of being married in one of the churches (including Castleton, Longburton and Lillington) and you should contact the Rector’s PA for an appointment by email, telephoning the Parish Office on 01935 713777 or writing to The Parish Office, 3 Abbey Close, Sherborne DT9 3LQ

Baptism is fundamentally about ‘belonging’ and ‘commitment’.  It is the way by which a person joins the Christian community and takes on responsibilities as a follower of Jesus Christ.  And it is a sign of commitment in two directions: firstly, it is a sign of God’s commitment to the person being baptised; and secondly, it is a sign of that person’s (or his or her parents’) commitment to God and their desire to follow Jesus Christ.

Many people come for Baptism or Christening when a child has been born and they want to give thanks and desire to bring up that child in the Christian faith.  As well as a ceremonial opportunity for giving the child a name, and a celebration for family and friends, a service of Baptism marks the point where a child begins his or her own personal journey as a follower of Jesus Christ.  And it recognises that they will need the love, care and nurture of their parents, godparents and the Christian community to help them.

Confirmation is a service, led by a bishop, for those who have been baptised as children and who now want to make an adult commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

If you live in the parish of Sherborne you may obtain a leaflet describing baptism from the Parish Office in Abbey Close, together with a copy of the words used during the baptism service and an application form. Forms should be completed and returned to the Parish Office. One of the clergy will then arrange to come and visit you. For further information click here to email the Parish Office.

Please note that if you do not live in the parish you must write to the Rector’s PA at The Parish Office,  3 Abbey Close, Sherborne DT9 3LQ in the first instance.


If you are reading this because you have recently been bereaved, and would like to enquire about a Funeral Service, please accept our condolences.  Your appointed Funeral Directors will make all of the necessary arrangements including any arrangements made with the Abbey. Once the arrangements are in place a member of the clergy team appointed for the funeral will make contact with you to discuss orders of service etc.


Sherborne Abbey is open daily 365 days a year and we welcome visitors wishing to come and admire the beauty of the building, take time for personal reflection, come and pray, or participate in one of our regular services. There is no charge to come in as we rely entirely on donations and we would be grateful if you would leave a donation in one of the boxes, if you are able to do so, as you leave the building.

Currently The Abbey is open to visitors on Mondays to Saturdays 8.00 am – 5.00 pm and on Sundays 11.00 am – 5.00pm. (No entry fee.)

Alterations to Visiting Hours

The Abbey is open to visitors as per the above visiting hours but, as a working church, please bear in mind that visiting and tours may occasionally be disrupted due to special services, events or for conservation work. Please either check the notices as you enter in case there is a service taking place in which case we ask that you visit quietly and considerately.  You are also welcome to contact the Parish Office for more information. Thank you.

Where possible, details of baptism & funeral services, weddings and other events are posted here:

School Rehearsals – Wednesday 26 June (4.00 pm), Thursday 27 June (10.00 am), Monday 1 July (2.30 pm).

School Services: Thursday 27 June (3.30 pm), Friday 28 June (11.00 am), Saturday 29 June (11.00 am), Friday 5 July (2.00 pm).

Choir Rehearsal – Saturday 6 July (2.00 pm).

On Thursday 13 & Friday 14 June from 10.00 am, there will be a large group of school children visiting but the Abbey will still be open to visitors.


In addition to a colour guidebook, which can be purchased inside the main door, we have free leaflets which will give you information about the building which you can take away after your visit. In addition to English these are available in many European languages, also Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Ukrainian. Additionally, our Guardians and Vergers will be pleased and do their best to answer any questions you might have about the building. For our younger visitors we also have a selection of Abbey Trails for them to complete as they go around the building.


The Abbey is, for the most part, disabled friendly. The entrance has no steps and is wheelchair friendly. There are, however, some areas on different levels and a disabled visitor may find access to the Lady Chapel difficult. Whilst we do not allow dogs, Guide Dogs and Assistance dogs are welcome. The Abbey does not have any public accessible lavatories.

Guided Tours (free of charge)

During the summer months, from w/c 1 April 2024 until Friday 29 November 2024, we offer free guided tours lasting approximately 45 minutes to an hour, on Tuesday & Thursday mornings at 10.30am and Wednesday & Friday afternoons at 2.00pm.

In addition, between Saturday 6 July 2024 and Sunday 8 September 2024, tours are run on Saturday mornings at 10.30 am and on Sunday mornings at 11.15 am (or 2.00 pm should there be a baptism in the morning – please check with the Parish Office or see below).

You can join these without pre-booking – a guide will be waiting in the Abbey’s entrance porch.

Please note that sometimes our regular guided tours, as above, cannot take place due to a service. We try and keep this to a minimum but please contact the Parish Office especially if you are travelling a distance to double check – we can always arrange a private tour on the different date/time for you!

Due to services/events, the following regular tours will NOT take place on: Fri 5 July, Fri 12 July, Sun-Sat 14-20 July inclusive, Sat 27 July, Fri 23 August & Sat 31 August 2024.

Due to a baptism taking place in the Abbey in the morning, the tour on Sunday 11 August 2024 will take place at 2.00 pm.

Tours can be arranged by prior arrangement between December – March by ringing Joanna at the Parish Office on 01935 713777.

Group Tours (free of charge)

Additionally, we can book guided tours for pre-arranged groups – again, we do not make a charge for these tours but appreciate any donation made to The Abbey you may wish to give. Please book in advance through the Parish Office, by telephoning 01935 713777 Option 1. (Very occasionally guided tours have to be cancelled to allow funerals or other services to, rightly, take priority.)

Please note that as from 2024 we shall be asking groups organised by tour companies to make a donation of £5.00 per head for their guided tours.

We hope you will enjoy your visit to The Abbey and Sherborne and we look forward to welcoming you.

Reviews of Guided Tours:

“We really appreciated our tour of the Abbey and I know our other guests really enjoyed the tour.  Please will you thank our guides for their enthusiasm and ability to convey so much about the history of the Abbey in such a short time.”

“Thank you so much for all your help in organising our trip. We had a really lovely time and your guides did a fantastic job – do thank them for us. The children were engaged during the tour and loved searching for the animals in the Abbey. We all felt the timings were just right for the ages of the children.”

“I wanted to reach out and express my gratitude to you and the team for all the hard work you put in yesterday for our tour. The guides remained patient and professional throughout and I’m pleased to say that everyone had a wonderful time and was completely in awe of the experience. I hope we have the opportunity to showcase Sherborne’s wonderful Abbey again in the future.”

“We just wanted to thank you and your colleague so much for your time and patience with us on Saturday!  We felt very honoured that you would take the time and trouble to show us the beautiful Abbey with its incredible ceiling, organ, sarcophagus and imaging the feuds and battles that went on over the centuries. You certainly were able to bring much of the artefacts alive!  All the girls that took part learnt from the public transport challenges and the two amazing historical buildings and I feel very humbled that you both were so welcoming to us.” 

“We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to your beautiful abbey and were so impressed with the way it is looked after – positively sparkling! Mike guided us both with great knowledge and great wit. It was an exemplary tour.  All in all an excellent visit.”

“Just a note to say thank you very much for organising our guided tour of the Abbey today.  It proved to be very successful occasion and the group really enjoyed the guides’ commentaries.  They were very informative and encouraged questions.”

The Abbey is open for public visiting Monday to Saturday 8.00 am until 5.00 pm and Sundays between 11.00 am and 5.00 pm, unless services are taking place.

There is no admission charge – donations are welcome.


Sherborne Abbey

Book of Common Prayer Communion 8.00 am Sunday
Parish Eucharist 9.30 am Sunday
Choral Evensong 6.00 pm Sunday
Morning Prayer 8.30 am daily Monday to Saturday

Daily Holy Communion

Monday 9.00 am
Tuesday 12 noon
Wednesday 10.30 am
Thursday 12 noon
Friday 9.00 am
Saturday 9.00 am

Requiem Holy Communion – 1st Friday of every month at 9.00 am.

Remembering the Fallen – 3rd Friday of every month at 11.00 am.

Benefice Churches

Castleton 11.15 am Sunday
Lillington 9.30  am Sunday
Longburton, 10.00  am Sunday
St Paul’s@theGryphon, 10.30 am Sunday

The Abbey provides a wonderful setting for musical events and is particularly popular with choral groups. Because Sherborne has a relatively small population and because there are many other activities going on in the Abbey, the number of concerts per year is limited to approximately one per month. Our concert schedule therefore tends to be booked up well in advance, so we advise you to make enquiries in good time.

For queries regarding concerts please contact the Concerts Administrator, Rachel Greaves, concerts@sherborneabbey.com or contact the Director of Music, James Henderson.

Below is a summary of the Abbey’s main concert facilities.



The Abbey’s seating is mainly fixed pews which hold up to approximately 620 people. It is possible to increase this with extra chairs (most of which need to be hired in) to around 700.

Facilities for performers

The Abbey has a three manual organ which was rebuilt in 2004/5 by Kenneth Tickell and Co. Further information can be found here. A chamber organ is also available for use. Extra charges apply for both.

A grand piano (suitable for accompaniment but not for solos) is available within the normal hire charge.

Rehearsal time on the day is usually available from 2.00pm to 5.00pm but needs to be requested by contacting the Director of Music.

The Abbey has its own flexible modular staging which is available to hire. Exact costs depend on the layout.

There are very limited backstage facilities in the Abbey and there are no public toilets. The choir vestry can be used for small groups; for larger groups we recommend that you hire the Digby Memorial Church Hall, just a couple of minutes’ walk away.

Facilities for audiences

The Abbey does not have its own box office, but a number of local outlets regularly sell tickets for Abbey concerts for a small commission charge.

Concert promoters are responsible for providing stewards and the box office on the night of the concert. Some stewarding help may be available on request.


Concert promoters are responsible for marketing their own events, however the Abbey can provide some limited help with publicising your concert:

  • All concerts are included on the Abbey website and A4 posters can be displayed in all the churches of the Benefice for 6 weeks before the concert; flyers can also be displayed inside the Abbey.

All concerts are included in the weekly Pewsheet distributed to Abbey congregations the Sunday before each concert and in the monthly events bulletin.

Sherborne Abbey welcomes visiting choirs, of a good standard, when our own Abbey choir is not in residence. Typically this is during the school holiday periods of half term and the longer vacations. The Abbey Choir is in residence for major festival services such as Christmas and Easter.

There are two sung services on a Sunday and visiting choirs are welcome to sing one, but preferably both. The morning Parish Eucharist (9.30am) requires a Mass setting of no more than 12 minutes and one or two motets to be sung during the distribution. The evening service (6.00pm) is a sung or choral evensong requiring an Introit, Precis and Responses, a canticle setting, and an anthem. We also enjoy choirs singing evensong during weekdays at 5.00pm.  The Abbey has a fine 3 manual organ, the details of which can be found here. The choir would be required to bring their own organist.

Availability and further details and details of local accommodation can be obtained from the Parish Office on 01935 713777 or by email Sue.Lee@sherborneabbey.com. Office hours are weekdays 9.00am – 3.00pm.