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Sherborne is quite possibly the prettiest of all Dorset towns. Indeed, with its mainly fifteenth-century beautiful Abbey Church and general atmosphere it is often thought of as being akin to a small cathedral city. The town is not only known for its abbey, though, but also for a wealth of other historic buildings, including a medieval conduit and almshouses, manor house, two castles, and world-renowned private schools. Much of the old town, including the abbey and many medieval and Georgian buildings, is built from a distinctive ochre-coloured limestone. Sherborne was at one time the capital of Wessex, one of the seven Saxon kingdoms of England. King Alfred himself was educated in the town. Indeed, such as Sherborne's position during the Saxon period, King Alfred's elder brothers King Ethelbert and King Ethelbald are buried in the abbey. In the twelfth century a castle was built in Sherborne, the ruins of which are now owned by English Heritage and open to visitors. Then, at the end of the sixteenth century, Sir Walter Raleigh built an Elizabethan mansion in the grounds of the old castle. This rather fine building is today known as Sherborne Castle. With its unique feel and wealth of history along with its wide range of restaurants and cafes, plethora of fascinating individually owned shops, antique, fine art, and book stores, Sherborne is without a doubt a wonderfully attractive town.
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