Newsletter from the Education Department, Dorchester Abbey

Above: Mixed age R-KS2 artworks produced in an art workshop at one of the Angel themed school visits. Below are some extracts from an angel themed poetry workshop:

‘Angels, shining like the sun ‘Angel, angel make us happy
They like to help But not in darkness –
They fly around Angels bring light
But they do speak to me.’ To people in darkness’

‘Angels are like butterflies Angels are beautiful
That are swooping in the sky Wonderful, kind
Angels have big wings True hearts
To help them go down Love inside
To us and up high.’ Helpful and loving.’

‘Angels guide us ‘Angels are here to remind us of God
They are a light of hope They sing to Jesus
in darkness They like to praise him
Angels shine brightly’ Angels are happiness’


Angels in the Abbey, Advent and Epiphany

In the autumn term leading up to Christmas the Abbey welcomed images of a range of fantastic artworks with angels in them from the National Gallery and other galleries, which we hung in the Abbey. We also had a number of school visits, all of whom really enjoyed engaging with the Abbey space, the artworks and creatively responding to them. Children were able to write poems and create artworks, as well as recreate scenes from the artworks in a tableau (‘picture freeze’) grand finale in front of fellow classmates! Teachers loved the experience too, as these comments indicate:
‘Thank you for yesterday’s visit. All of the school really enjoyed it and the teachers have lots of information and inspiration for whole class work.’
‘Thank you so much for such a wonderful day!  The children were buzzing all the way back to school – I will be planning some follow on activities for the next couple of lessons.  Thank you for giving us such an inspirational (and aspirational!) start to our new Unit of learning in RE.’

Anglo-Saxon Experience Days

This time of the year, as usual, has proved very popular with schools booking our Anglo-Saxon Experience Days, we have had several bookings. They love the different monthly themed rituals the children can participate in, particularly February, which is Solmonth, or Month of the Cakes – eating the specially made honey oatcakes as part of the Anglo-Saxon gods ritual is always a big hit with the children and their teachers!

Roman Experience Day

For well over a year now we have been running our Roman Experience days, a natural development from our Anglo-Saxon Experience Days. We had another visit this term, but a rather chilly and damp one! This didn’t prevent the students from having a great time, eating the Roman bread, experiencing the Roman smells, making their curse tablets and focusing on the ‘Roman water shrine’! We are also now looking forward to more of our Roman Archaeological Experience Days linked to the local Discovering Dorchester dig in July. This summer will sadly see the last year of the dig here in Dorchester. We are hoping schools will take advantage of this fantastic opportunity and book their visit, as it will be the last time they will be able to do so!

Below: Our version of a ‘Roman water shrine’! Do you recognise it?


LIGHT: A Spiritual Journey, 20th October 2018 – 6th January 2019

Looking forward to the autumn term, we will be hosting a fabulous art, music and science linked exhibition on the theme of LIGHT: A Spiritual Journey. This will include a series of specially created individual ‘theatres of light’, created by the local artist Adrian Brooks, accompanied by commissioned music from a local composer and projected images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Adrian’s artworks will be made of resin and decorated with patterns referencing pilgrimage shrines and medieval art. We will be linking this to the Abbey’s pilgrimage history related to our Anglo-Saxon founding St. Birinus and our replica Birinus Shrine. Schools will have the opportunity to take part in literacy workshops on poetry, as well as a selection of RE, science, history and art workshops and be able to participate in the creation of their own theatre to take back to school to display to their whole school. Make your pilgrimage to Dorchester this autumn to see the exhibition in action!

Below: Adrian Brooks’ scale model of our Cloister Gallery, where his exhibition will be located. This gives you a slight taster of how he imagines the exhibition looking, with a large circular screen with projections from the Hubble Space Telescope seen at a slight distance as you enter the Gallery. His ‘theatres of light’ will be located at different locations in the gallery leading you on your pilgrimage towards the heavenly projections.


Dorchester Abbey Education

Margaret Craig, Education Officer. You can contact me via email on

Or call and speak to me about making a booking or further information on any of our educational visits 01865 343164 (Mondays and Tuesdays.

See our website for more details

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Posted on March 13, 2018 in Events in and around Dorchester

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