|St Aldelm's Head|
|Standing on the east side of Weymouth
Bay and 350ft above sea level is what is once believed to be the end of
the world, a tiny little square shaped chapel built in Norman Times, it
has neither chancel nor tower and there is only one windows. This sturdy
little building has stood here for around 800 years fighting back the
force of the storms of the English Channel.
A beacon used to be here as a warning to ships and from here the coastguard have kept vigil in this isolated hut when on 6th June 1944 thousands of ships and aircraft stretched out into the channel en route for the beaches of Normandy as the allies departed from Portland and Weymouth.
Many people cannot pronounce the name and it is often referred to as St Albans but the alternative spelling is St ALDHELM .
There is not a lot known about the basic details of Aldhelms life but he was said to be one of the most influential men to have come from Malmesbury.
Born in 640AD he was almost certainly from noble stock, Wessex not being converted to Christianity until 635AD so his parents may welll have been recent converts. He studied at a community that had not long existed at Malmesbury by Maildub and was a very gifted person and when he had finished his studies he journeyed to Canterbury then on to Rome.
He returned on instructions from Rome and founded the monastery at Malmesbury and he was abbot here for 33 years and in that time the size and the influence of the community increased substantially and it was in 705AD that he became Bishop of the newly created diocese of Sherborne and he occupied this position till he died four years later.
He was a well loved charismatic person and crowds would flock the the river bank to listen to his stories and in his stories unbeknown to a lot of his listeners he was introducing the Christian message and would persuade many to undertake baptism. The bridge where this took place is called St John's Bridge after John the Baptist and the field nearby is St Aldhelm's Mead which was so called in honour of the fair that was held there. He was said to be one of the pre-eminent scholar of his time and his writings carried many riddles on subjects as diverse as a cloud and even the elephant. It is said the had miraculous powers and that while he was in Rome a baby was born in the house of the Pope's chamberlain, rumours abounded that the father was in fact Pope Sergius. But Aldhelm is said to have asked the infant itself who was only nine days old, and in a clear voice it replied that the holy father was pure and undefiled and always had been
It was in 705AD that Aldhelm came to Dorset, he left Malmesbury to be consecrated as the first Bishop of Sherborne and to make the 1300th anniversary celebrations wee held on 28th May 2005 and a pilgrimage took place from Sherborne to St Aldhelm's Chapel on the headland