Although Wimborne (Wimburn) has been identified with the Vindogladia of the Antonine Itinerary, the first undoubted evidence of settlement is the entry of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, under the date 718, that Cuthburh, sister of King Ine, founded the abbey here and became the first abbess; the house is also mentioned in a somewhat doubtful epistle of St Aldhelm in 705.
When Maildulf died, Aldhelm was appointed in 675, according to a charter of doubtful authenticity cited by William of Malmesbury, by Leutherius, bishop of Dorchester from 671 to 676, to succeed to the direction of the monastery, of which he became the first abbot.
The early chroniclers declare that St Aldhelm founded a church near Wareham about 701, and perhaps the priory, which is mentioned as existing in 876, when the Danes retired from Cambridge to a strong position in this fort.
A monastery existed here in the 8th century, of which St Aldhelm was abbot at the time of his being made bishop of Sherborne in A.D.
It is first mentioned in 705 as the place where St Aldhelm fixed his bishop-stool for the new diocese of Western Wessex, being chosen probably for its central position.
Maildulphus, a Scottish or Irish monk, who came into England about 635, built a hermitage near the site of the modern Malmesbury (Maildulphi-urbs, Maldelmesburh, Malmesbiri) and gathered disciples round him, thus forming the nucleus of the later abbey of which Aldhelm his pupil became the first abbot.