Visit Malmesbury and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Malmesbury, Wiltshire. High on a hill between the Avon and a lesser river, Malmesbury was well situated for defence. Perhaps that is why its history stretches back for centuries, and an abbey was founded here in the 7th century.
One of the oldest boroughs in England, this attractive small town, built mostly in stone, originally grew rich from weaving. The town's history may be traced through the architecture.
The Old Bell Inn has a l3th-century window, and was probably part of the old castle. The White Lion may originally have been one of the abbey buildings. In the high street stands a fine octagonal Gothic market cross dating back to the start of the 16th century “Right faire”, commented Leland. There is also attractive 17th- and 18th-century building, and a l3th-century window in the St John's Almshouses.
The abbey, soaring above the town, is Malmesbury's chief glory. Once it was a vast cruciform building. Today the porch and nave, divided into three stories, remain and are used as a parish church. The abbey was originally Norman, with l4th-century additions, and the south porch has some of the best Romanesque sculpture in this country. The 12th-century arches are magnificent, as are the later clerestory, and the projecting boxlike watch-tower. Sections of the 15th-century rood-screen remain, and, although empty, there is a l5th-century tomb to King Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the abbey was handed over, at a price, to one Master Stumpe, a rich clothier, who set up his looms here. However, it is thanks to him that the abbey was turned into a most noble parish church. The last restoration was made in 1928.
Thomas Hobbes, who wrote Leviathan, was born in Malmesbury. So, too, was Oliver, an 11th-century, monk, who fixed wings to his hands and feet and jumped from the abbey tower. Sadly such initiative left him lame for life. In the churchyard lies one Hannah Twynoy, who met her end by a “Tyger fierce” in 1703.
Some pleasing villages lie within easy reach of Malmesbury. Charlton, 2½ miles north east, boasts Braydon Pond, the largest lake in Wiltshire, some pretty cottages and Charlton Park which is 17th-century. Crudwell, 4 miles north, has a green and a stream which feeds the source of the Thames. Easton Grey, 3½ miles west, is another village on a river and has old houses and a splendid 16th-century bridge.
Nearby towns: Chippenham, Chipping Sodbury, Cirencester, Swindon, Tetbury, Wootton Bassett
Nearby villages: Beverstone, Brokenborough, Corston, Crudwell, Easton Grey, Garsdon, Great Somerford, Grittleton, Hankerton, Hullavington, Milbourne, Oaksey, Seagry, Sherston, Shipton Moyne, Stanton St Quintin
Have you decided to visit Malmesbury or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Malmesbury bed and breakfast (a Malmesbury B&B or Malmesbury b and b)
- a Malmesbury guesthouse
- a Malmesbury hotel (or motel)
- a Malmesbury self-catering establishment, or
- other Malmesbury accommodation