The history of the Abbey can be divided into three. A period until the conquest when the building was the cathedral seat of St Aldhelm and other bishops of Sherborne, a period up to the Reformation when it served as a Benedictine monastery and since as a parish church. The tracery in the vaulting throughout the church is spectacular as is the carving behind the high alter. Its retention is due in no small measure to the restoration undertaken in the 19th Century by R C Carpenter and William Slater. Major repairs over one hundred years later consolidated this work.