SDFHS Sherborne Events, and events where the SDFHS will be represented

For enquiries about SDFHS events at our Sherborne Family History Centre e-mail or phone: 01935 389611. Please note that places are limited for all Sherborne events, so early booking is advised.

You can now book and pay for Sherborne events, securely, using our online shop.

If you prefer to send a sterling cheque, please download the booking form, complete it and post it to: SDFHS Events, PO Box 4502, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 6YL.

Download booking form

Details of SDFHS Group events throughout Somerset and Dorset can be found on individual Group pages, click here.

* indicates SDFHS attendance at an event organised by another FHS or organisation.




Apr 26, 2017 to May 24, 2017

Essential Family History

The first session of a five week evening course, with Ted Udall. Also on 3, 10, 17 and 24 May

7.00pm - 9.00pm.

SDFHS members £30 for the five sessions. Non-members £35. includes hand-outs. 

Download booking form above or book online.



Apr 29, 2017 - 02:00 PM to 04:30 PM

From Slavery to the Workhouse: The Poor Laws in England

Ted Udall, Secretary of the SDFHS, and an experienced family historian will outline the origins and development of the various "Poor Laws" enacted in England between the 16th and 19th centuries and discuss some of the documentation which sheds light on our ancestors' lives.

SDFHS Members: £8. Non-members: £10. Includes refreshments.

Download booking form above or book online.


May 20, 2017 - 02:00 PM to 04:30 PM

‘A Freezing Horror’: the wreck of the Halsewell, 1786

One of the most dramatic shipwreck disasters on an English shore will be the subject of talks by Dorset writer, Philip Browne. Drawing on his recent book, The Unfortunate Captain Peirce and the Wreck of the Halsewell, he will describe the terrible events that shocked the nation when a huge East India Company ship was wrecked on the Purbeck coast. On board were the Captain’s teenaged daughters, his nieces and several other young ladies, bound for India in search of rich husbands. Despite the dramatic rescue of some of the crew, Captain Peirce and all the young ladies were drowned. In 1786, the peculiar circumstances of this disaster caught the public imagination and filled the newspapers for weeks. More than two centuries later, the story of the Halsewell still has the power to move us.

SDFHS Members: £8. Non-members: £10. Includes refreshments. 

Download booking form above or book online.


Jun 24, 2017 - 02:00 PM to 04:30 PM

The King is Dead: the Royal Tombs of Great Britain

During this afternoon, Dr Aidan Dodson will explore the royal tombs of England, Scotland and the United Kingdom, beginning with those of the early English kingdoms (which included Sherborne Abbey), and ending with the tomb-chapel added to Windsor's St George's Chapel for the interment of George VI. Our journey will extend over much of mainland Britain, with excursions to the Continent to view the burial places of rulers whose dominions extended there - or whose careers ended there in exile - and to both magnificent standing buildings and to those reduced to no more than foundations.

Dr Aidan Dodson is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology & Anthropology at the University of Bristol. He is the author of The Royal Tombs of Great Britain (2004), with a new edition, British Royal Tombs, due for publication shortly.

SDFHS Members: £8. Non-members: £10. Includes refreshments.

Download booking form above or book online.


Aug 12, 2017 - 11:30 AM to 04:00 PM

Rid(e)out Family Gathering
Whether you are a Ridout or a Rideout, the chances are that you descend from good Dorset stock... although a few of family members did pop over the borders into Wiltshire and Somerset too.
This special day (11.30-4.00pm), led by Dr Karen Francis, will comprise a couple of short presentations, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, followed by informal group discussions about the Rid(e)outs in Sherborne, Blandford and several surrounding towns & villages. Together we'll explore current research which has linked some of our family trees together and, finally, Karen will show you how a yDNA study is connecting many Rid(e)outs with their true ancestral roots... and could help you too. Who knows but maybe we'll all learn something special on the day so perhaps you could bring along any old photos, documents or memorabilia to show us?
The day will include (probably 1-2pm) an hour's break and participants are welcome to bring a packed lunch with them - we will provide soft drinks/tea/coffee. Alternatively there are many cafés and restaurants very close to our Centre.
Karen has been studying RIDOUT family history since 2005, runs a yDNA one-name project and published her first book The Ridouts of Sherborne in 2014.
SDFHS Members £8. Non-members: £10. Includes afternoon refreshments, and soft drinks at lunch time.
Download booking form above or book online.

Sep 23, 2017 - 10:00 AM to 04:30 PM

SDFHS Open Day and AGM 2017

The SDFHS annual Open Day, including the Annual General Meeting, is being organised by our Taunton Group and will be held in Cheddon Fitzpaine Village Hall. Exact times are to be confirmed.

Full details of the programme for the Day, a booking-form for lunch, and papers for the AGM will be circulated with the June/August issues of The Greenwood Tree.

This is a free event and there is no need to book to attend.


Oct 21, 2017 - 10:30 AM to 01:00 PM

SDFHS Photographic Project Open Day

The Society has created a fully-searchable database of photographs of named people from Somerset and Dorset and to make this project a success we need contributions from members and friends. At this fourth Open Day local members are invited to bring photographs in to the Family History Centre so that they can be scanned and the data inputted by our team. For more details see:

There is no charge for this event and no need to book in advance.


Nov 25, 2017 - 02:00 PM to 04:30 PM

Tales of local railways

This afternoon we will hear two talks about railways in the Sherborne/Yeovil area.

Roger Marsh will discuss the 1913 railway disaster at Yeovil Pen Mill station. 

Graham Bendell will summarise the coming, development, decline and renaissance of the railway in Sherborne.

SDFHS Members: £8. Non-members: £10. Includes refreshments.

Download booking form above or book online.