From June 1991 to June 1993 we lived in Dorset, and taught at Queen Elizabeth's School in Wimborne Minster (that's QEI, not II, as you will see below). We lived in Wimborne for the first year, before moving to Parkstone, a suburb of Poole.
We both have fond memories of Wimborne, which remains a lovely market town of about 6,500 people. We visited in 2003, and Sally visited in 2005.
The Minster church was founded in AD 705 by Cuthburga, the sister of the King of the West Saxons, Ina. St. Cuthburga founded a Benedictine Nunnery. The nunnery was destroyed by the DAnes in 1013 and never rebuilt. Most of the current church was built by the Normans between 1120 and 1180. In 1318 Edward II declared the Minster a Royal Peculiar which exempted it from all diocesan jurisdiction.
In 1496 Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, grand-daughter of John of Gaunt and mother of Henry VII, founded a small chapel in the Minster and the priest attached to it was solemnly adjured to be in permanent residence and 'to teach grammar to all comers'. That was the beginning of the school associated with the Minster. In 1562 a grant was obtained from Queen Elizabeth I by which part of the property formerly belonging to the college, together with all ecclesiastical rights and prerogatives was returned to Wimborne and vested in twelve governors. The church still has 12 governors, and they are represented on the Board of Governors of the current Queen Elizabeth's School.
Below: The Minster, with its twin towers. The central tower (12th century) once had a spire, which fell off in 1600, during a service. Noone was hurt.
Below: I love this rather louche fellow, Sir Edmund Uvedale. He died in 1606. He requested that no ceremony should be used at his funeral and 20s. was paid for his burial fees at the Minster, where a memorial was erected.
Below: This sarcophagus belongs to Anthony Ettricke, a lawyer. He was convinced he would die in 1691 because of the magical quality of the numbers (the same eith way up) and had this date inscribed. He survived, however, to 1703, hence the change. He is called 'The Man In the Wall' because he is supposed to have sworn in a fit of rage after falling out with the Minster congregation that he would not be buried in the church or churchyard, and then arranged to buried in a hole in the church wall.
Below: The Minster's Chained Library, founded in 1686 by the Reverend William Stone, as a free library for the people of Wimborne. It was one of the first free libraries. The children in the town's orphanages and residents of the workhouse made the chains. The room used to be the Treasury, until the treasures were confiscated by Henry VIII.
Below: The nave of the Minster
Below: The astronomical clock, which rings every hour.
Below: Tombs of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset and his wife, the maternal grandparents of King Henry VII, constructed out of alabaster and Purbeck Marble and dating from 1444.
Below: The Cornmarket, Wimborne Minster. The market house is from 1738. A monthly farmers' market is held in the square.
Below: The White Hart pub in the Cornmarket. Very nice beer garden, and tasty food!
Below: The town. High St
Below: Cloisters cafe. What will we have?
Below: The same answer - always : "Dorset Apple Cake, please!" Cloisters makes the best DAC anywhere. People travel 20 000kms for it. With clotted cream, of course.
Below: More town
Below: Wimborne has at least a dozen pubs. Here's another.
Below: The front of Queen Elizabeth's School. It hasn't changed. But there is a re-building programme happening soon.