A few years ago I stayed in the charming town of Malmesbury for a few days. The town is on the edge of the Cotswolds and is a particularly quaint example of an English “Olde Worlde” town.

 The hotel I stayed in was in the centre of town next to Malmesbury Abbey making it was easy to explore the Abbey’s grounds.  The Abbey  building is very impressive and can be seen for miles around.  The Abbey was founded nearly 700 years after the birth of Jesus Christ as a place of prayer and Christian community by St. Aldhelm, who was originally a member of the Wessex royal family.

Today, the Abbey is a third of its original size.  During the middle ages it had a tall central spire which William of Worcester recorded as being 431ft high making it even taller than the spire on Salisbury Cathedral, which is the tallest spire in England today.  Unfortunately the spire was unstable and collapsed destroying part of the Abbey as it fell.

When the Monastery closed during the Dissolution in 1539, a wealthy clothier called William Stumpe purchased the Abbey from Henry VIII for £1517.  William Stumpe used the building as a factory for his weaving looms before giving it to the people of Malmesbury in 1541 for use as their parish church.  It is still the parish church today.

Just behind the Abbey and its cloister garden are the delightful Abbey House Gardens.  The current owners, Ian and Barbara Pollard, bought Abbey House in 1994 as a family home.  In 1996 they decided to create a garden and open it to the public with a view to attracting visitors from all around the world.  The garden was started with 2,000 roses but it now contains more than 10,000 different species of plants and trees, which gives it interest throughout the year.  There are many different areas (rooms) in the garden and even a riverside walk.  There is much of interest in the garden so I recommend you visit the official website to see how wonderful the garden is. I would rank it in my top three gardens alongside Powis Castle and Hodnet Hall.

On the day I visited the garden, it had rained heavily overnight and it was quite chilly first thing in the morning but as I entered the garden, the sun came out making the garden look fresh and bright. Perfect conditions for a garden visit.

The town of Malmesbury has a lot of historical interest including many other historical buildings such as a very fine example of a market cross that was built at the end of the 15th century and a rather curious lone spire which is all that remains of what was once St Paul’s church.  The spire houses 8 bells for the Abbey.

1 thought on “Malmesbury

  1. How beautiful. That soft russet of the brick on the Abbey is just glorious – and no doubt glows at the end of the day, or in shafts of sunlight after rain. You have definitely excited my gardens of the world bug – and I will head straight to the link to check it out. Thank you.

    January 12, 2013 | Soosie
    Oh my. They are incredible. And I loved the bird song on the introductory video. I would be a bit bothered about ‘naked gardening’ in amongst all those roses though.

    January 12, 2013 | Soosie
    It looks just as I would imagine a town in the Cotswolds would look. Love how you take me to places I’ll probably never have the opportunity to visit and see. What a beautiful little place..and those gardens are incredible!

    January 12, 2013 | Marcie
    Such a lovely place! I appreciate the bit of history, as well as the structure of the homes and the Abbey.

    January 12, 2013 | Deborah
    I popped over to ‘view the gardens’ and chuckled when I read they planted 24,000 tulips. And I thought I was doing something by planting 24 bulbs! Beautiful gardens; would love to visit them!

    I love the little garden planters that show up in unexpected places in your photo, Cherry. Charming.

    January 12, 2013 | Sue
    You know me, Cherry: this is what I love about Europe in general (the old spires) and about England in particular (the gardens). In my handful of trips to your country thus far, I have learned to say, “This is so English!” I wish I could be a fly on the wall of every place you see. THAT would be an education. Thank you.

    January 12, 2013 | Ginnie
    what a dreamy place to travel alongside of you
    through this post….thanks for stretching my vision:)

    January 12, 2013 | Jennifer Richardson
    Sigh, this makes me homesick for all things England!! 🙂 Malmesbury is indeed a beautiful and very special place, have only been there once and actually at a similar time of year as this, but the Cotswolds in general are so beautiful. Thanks for the lovely word and image reminder 🙂

    January 12, 2013 | Eliza
    Lovely and an area I want to visit so I will note this wonderful garden and town

    January 12, 2013 | Donna@Gardens Eye View
    Thank you so much Cherry for the tour! I read all about Ian and Barbara. I bet they would be a hoot to meet! Thank you for sharing! One day when we all have some time (ha ha!) wouldn’t it be fun to put a page together and list all the places that we’ve been, so when we plan travel we can just contact the person that has been there for insights and suggestions!

    January 12, 2013 | Gotham Girl Aka Robin
    I can just imagine the light and quiet in the gardens! It would be lovely to wander here for awhile ~ thanks, Cherry, for sharing such a beautiful image and good information.

    January 12, 2013 | Susan
    The Cotswolds ….a visit there is on my bucket list. Your capture and snippet of history here has moved it up a notch in the bucket. Lovely.

    January 12, 2013 | Barbara
    Oh, thank you so much for this little tour… it looks and sounds like such a lovely place.

    And now I am off to peek at those gardens!

    January 13, 2013 | Kelly
    Love it when you Ladies post these awesome pictures of England! It takes me back to that magical time in my life (pre-Puna) when I lived in England and traveled all over the Kingdom seeing sights just like this. Thank you! BTW, I love history, too!

    January 13, 2013 | Big Daddy
    Malmesbury Abbey is a magnificent building, it must have been impressive in its original size. The garden looks beautiful, especially in connection with the adjacent buildings. I can easily imagine that I could spend many hours there taking photos and enjoying the views. But well, I can’t imagine living in the Abbey House, it seems like living in another dimension. A dreamy dimension?? 🙂

    January 13, 2013 | Petra
    Wonderful place, thanks for sharing

    January 13, 2013 | Zena (Healingmoments)
    I always like to read about the history of an interesting place. What a great photograph and story.

    January 13, 2013 | Mary Gilmartin
    Thank You Ladies and Big Daddy 🙂

    I am glad you enjoyed the virtual visit. If you have the chance to visit England I would love to meet up with you 🙂

    January 13, 2013 | CherryPie
    The beautiful Cotswolds (my favorite area in England), beautiful Malmesbury. I was in Malmesbury the day Princess Diana died in Paris, and the entire country was in some kind of shock. Although it was very first day, flowers already piled up at the Abbey.
    This makes me want to go to England again, to drive along the honey colored little Cotswold villages. To stop at a pub in the evening for a simple pub meal and a pint of bitter. Cheers!

    January 13, 2013 | Carola
    What a beautiful place. I’ve never been to England and had no real interest in going there until visiting some bloggers that live there and learning a bit more about the country. Now it’s on my must see list!

    January 15, 2013 | Maery Rose

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