Malmesbury ... a potted guide

Places worth visiting...

Athelstan Museum

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Malmesbury Abbey

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The attractive hilltop town of Malmesbury in the southern Cotswolds is steeped in history and is the oldest borough in England, created around 880 AD by charter from Alfred the Great. 

Built on the site of a 2,800-year-old Iron Age hill fort, this market town became prominent in the Middle Ages as a centre for learning focused on and around Malmesbury Abbey, the bulk of which forms a rare survival of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. 

The Abbey guest house, now the Old Bell Hotel, dates back to 1220 and lays claim to be the oldest hotel in England. Athelstan Museum, with its collection of artefacts, tells the fascinating history of Malmesbury.

Malmesbury natives can be nicknamed Jackdaws, originating from the colony of these birds that inhabit the Abbey walls and roof. Indeed, for a few years in the early part of the 21st Century there was a community newspaper in Malmesbury called The Jackdaw. 

The current population of Malmesbury is about 5,400 and the area's main employer today is Dyson, which has its headquarters on the edge of the town, and employs around 1,600 people, although it is mainly a design base, with manufacturing carried out in Malaysia.

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© Loving The Cotswolds. 2019.