If you cannot find the information you require on our website please email the Parish Office using the contact form on the right or telephone us on 01935 713777

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Safe Guarding
Getting Married within the Sherborne Benefice
Baptism and Confirmation in the Sherborne Benefice
Funerals and Memorial Services
Visiting Sherborne Abbey
Hiring the Abbey for Concerts and Recitals
Visiting Choirs
Useful links
Safe Guarding

Safeguarding Officers: Mr David and Mrs Lyn Rayner (email: safeguarding@sherborneabbey.com) In their absence the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer can be contacted, on 07500 664800 or email safeguarding@salisbury.anglican.org
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.

Getting Married within the Sherborne Benefice

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 Parish Secretary 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 and Confirmation in the Sherborne Benefice

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 Secretary.

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

Funerals and Memorial Services

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.

Visiting Sherborne Abbey

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 Thursdays 11.00 am – 4.00 pm, on Fridays and Saturdays 11.00 am – 3.00 pm and on Sundays 2.00 pm – 5.00pm.

Alterations to Visiting Hours

On Saturday, 11 September 2021, The Abbey will open from 11.00 am until 2.30 pm only, due to a wedding.

On Friday, 17 September 2021, The Abbey will only be open between 11.30 am and 12.30pm, due to the Remembering the Fallen service in the morning and an afternoon wedding.

On Wednesday, 22 September 2021, The Abbey will only be open between 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm, due to a funeral.


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 Russian, Chinese and Japanese. 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.


If  you are intending to bring a large group or coach party please book in with the Parish Office in advance (01935  713777)  so that we can accommodate you.  Please be aware that the Abbey will not be open to visitors in the event of a service and we may have to alter or cancel your booking.


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

During the summer months, between April and October, we offer free guided tours, lasting about an hour, on Tuesday mornings at 11.00am and Friday afternoons at 2.00pm and you can join these without pre-booking by being at the back of the Abbey at their starting point. Additionally, we can book guided tours for pre-arranged groups for a charge of £4.00 per person. These must be booked in advance through the Parish Office by clicking on Visits or telephoning 01935 713777. Occasionally guided tours have to be cancelled to allow funerals or other services to, rightly, take priority.

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

Hiring the Abbey for Concerts and Recitals

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.

Concerts and lunchtime recitals will restart post COVID-19, and after the arrival of The Abbey’s new Team Rector, The Reverend Martin Lee, in September.   For queries regarding concerts please contact the Concerts Administrator, Rachel Greaves, concertadministrator@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.

Visiting Choirs

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 (5.00pm in winter and 6.00pm in the summer) 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 5.30pm.  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 Secretary on 01935 713777 or by email parishsecretary@sherborneabbey.com. Office hours are weekdays 9.00am – 1.00pm.