Abbeylands has been in continuous use as a school boarding house since 1872.
This area lay within the Precinct of Sherborne Abbey, which had been founded as a Benedictine institution in 998, hence the house’s modern name.
Abbeylands is the combination of two separate properties. The main part running east and west and fronting Abbey Road has been used as a boarding house since 1872. In the early part of the 19th century the house was occupied by John Melliar (1757-1840) (Old Shirburnian and School Governor). John Melliar bequeathed the property to the Reverend Richard Cutler (1795-1873), son of Headmaster John Cutler (1756-1833), from whose descendants the School first rented and in 1921 purchased the property for £4,187.
In 1924-1925, the neighbouring premises fronting Cheap Street was incorporated into Abbeylands and the old timber frontage exposed and restored. This section of the building dates from the late 16th century and has a projecting upper storey and three gables. The front door is said to be constructed from ancient beams found on the premises and bears above it the date 1649. The premises were at one time occupied by a firm known as the Sherborne Coal, Timber, Corn and Cake Co. Ltd. (the company was liquidated in 1921). Legend has it that an underground passage runs from the cellars at Abbeylands to Sherborne Abbey, but this has never been substantiated.
Former Abbeylands boys have included Herbert Buckmaster (founder of Buck’s Club and namesake of the Buck’s Fizz), Godfrey Mohun Carey (England Rugby International), Arnold Cortesi (journalist, New York Times foreign correspondent, Pulitzer Prize winner), Colin Lucas (historian, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University), Colin Payne (England Rugby International), Jon Pertwee (actor best known for The Navy Lark, Dr Who and Worzel Gummidge), Steuart Pringle (Royal Marines Commando, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust).
House letter: f.
House colours: red and black.
House magazines: Landmark.
1872 William Lonsdale Hetherington (1845-1912)
1880 James Rhoades (1841-1923)
1893 Charles Herbert Hodgson (1857-1922)
1900 Henry Robinson King (1855-1935)
1919 Merrick Elderton (1884-1939)
1940 John Randolph (1898-1975)
1955 Geoffrey Watkins (1907-1992)
1966 James Gibb (1919-2005)
1973 Robert Glen (1926-2008)
1983 Ian Elliott
1995 Michael Weston
2003 Richard Bool
2008 Steve & Vicky Clayton
2019 Rhidian McGuire
- Abbeylands House Photographs
- Memories of Abbeylands 1919-1966 by Mary Watkins (née Elderton)
- Abbeylands boys’ accounts of the bombing of Sherborne on 30 September 1940
- History of Sherborne School’s Boarding Houses
For further information about the Sherborne School Archives please contact the School Archivist
Return to the School Archives homepage