Saint Aldhelm, whose name is perpetuated in this church, was born into a noble family around 640A.D. He was educated at Malmesbury under an Irish monk by the name of Maildulf, and went on to complete his education at Canterbury.
After travelling to Rome and mixing with, and impressing, other great scholars of his day, he returned to Malmesbury and succeeded Maildulf as Abbot. He was 35 or 36 years old by this time.
He had proved himself to be a master of learning, he could read, write and speak in Latin and Greek as well as Anglo-Saxon English. He could also read the scriptures in Hebrew.
To add to these accomplishments St Aldhelm was a musician and a skilled architect. He drew the plans for, and had built, several churches in Wessex.
When the diocese of Sherborne was formed in 705 A.D. he became its first Bishop, whilst also remaining as Abbot at his monk’s insistence.
He travelled on foot the length and breadth of the diocese teaching the scriptures through his own poems and songs and accompanying himself on the Lyre. He impressed the people by speaking to them in their own language and dialect and drew large crowds wherever he went. This great and good man of whom it is written that ‘no man could be found who would speak ill of him’ died after only 4 years as Bishop, but 33 years as Abbot on May 25th 709 A.D. He was 69 years old. A true pastor to his people.