Saints and Stones: Malmesbury Abbey

Malmesbury Abbey was founded as a Benedictine monastery around 676 A.D. by the scholar-poet St. Aldhelm, a nephew of King Ine of Wessex. By the 11th Century it contained the second largest library in Europe and was considered one of the leading European seats of learning.

It was one of the few English houses with a continual history from the 7th Century through to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Abbey was substantially completed by 1180. The 431 foot tall spire, and the tower it was built upon, collapsed in a storm around 1500 destroying much of the church, including two thirds of the nave and the transept. The west tower fell around 1550, demolishing the three westernmost bays of the nave. As a result of these two collapses, less than half of the original building stands today.

Two additional notables are connected with the abbey. King Athelstan of England was buried in the Abbey in 941 A.D. The foremost English historian of the 12th Century, William of Malmesbury, resided and wrote at the abbey. There is a stained-glass window of St. Aldhelm and William of Malmesbury in the church.

About Malmesbury Abbey

Malmesbury Abbey Homepage
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: Malmesbury
Sacred Destinations; Malmesbury Abbey
Wikipedia: Malmesbury Abbey
Wikipedia: St. Aldhelm
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Aldhelm
Wikipedia: William of Malmesbury

Journey to Malmesbury Abbey

Malmesbury Abbey is located in the town of Malmesbury off the A429 in Wiltshire in southwest England. It is approximately 30 miles from Bristol.

Ordnance Survey Map (ST9318387373)

Visitors Information

Visitors information for Malmesbury Abbey may be found at the Malmesbury Abbey website. For general tourism information for Wiltshire, see the Visit Wiltshire website.

Additional Photos of Malmesbury Abbey

Information Board Outside Malmesbury Abbey
Malmesbury Abbey Tower
The Main Entrance and South Porch of Malmesbury Abbey
Flying Buttresses on the Exterior of Malmesbury Abbey
Functional Gargoyle on Exterior of Malmesbury Abbey
Main Entrance Doorway to Malmesbury Abbey
Close-Up of Main Entrance Doorway to Malmesbury Abbey
Main Altar in Existing Part of the Nave in Malmesbury Abbey
Ceiling, Arches, and the Monks' Watching Loft in Malmesbury Abbey
Celing in Malmesbury Abbey
Close-Up of the Ceiling in Malmesbury Abbey
Edward Burne-Jones Window in Malmesbury Abbey
Abbots of Malmesbury Abbey Placard
Statue of St. Aldhelm with His Harp, Malmesbury Abbey
Stained-Glass Window of St. Aldhelm and William of Malmesbury, Malmesbury Abbey
Close-Up of Stained-Glass Window of St. Aldhelm and William of Malmesbury, Malmesbury AbbeyMalmesbury Abbey

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