Monthly Archives: May 2016

Man’s first flight in Malmesbury UK

Market Cross in Malmesbury Malmesbury town will not seem boring and provincial after reading its story. The town is located at the confluence of two streams from the River Avon and the unusually picturesque banks lend a unique charm to the town. The history of Malmesbury is amazing and interesting, ever since in the year 600AD, a Celtic monk, known as Mael Dub founded a monastic house and started his school. A wooden church was built which through the centuries transformed into a beautiful cathedral. The town was eventually named after him from Maeldub to Maildubery then to Maldubesburg subsequently Meldunesburg and eventually Malmesbury.

In ancient documents there is a mention about an Iron Age fort in Malmesbury, which helped Tomb of Ethelstad in Malmesbury to provide protection against Viking attacks during Alfred the Great’s time. The first king of England and the grandson of Alfred the Great, Ethelstan (894 – 939), was buried nearby and an effigy tomb has been erected in the Abbey.

Malmesbury AbbeyThe first abbot of the Abbey was Aldhelm, a pupil of Mael Dub, known in history as a latin poet and scholar of Anglo-Saxon literature, who was venerated as a saint after his death. He also became the architect of the Abbey and in addition, Aldhelm created the first pipe organ in England. Some time later, the wooden abbey was destroyed by fire and a new structure made of stone was erected with a spire of 130 meters in height.

The Old Bell hotelIn 1222, on the site of an old ruined castle next to the cathedral, a guesthouse was built to provide accommodation for visitors to the Malmesbury Abbey Abbey, which boasted the first school of Latin in England; students mainly came to study manuscripts. The guesthouse was rebuilt several times in its history and is known today as the Old Bell, the oldest hotel in England.

In 1480 an incredible event took place, the main spire of the abbey plummeted to the ground  Malmesbury AbbeyMarket Cross in Malmesburyand was completely destroyed and later the western tower was also destroyed. The cathedral was never adequately repaired and today it looks quite mysterious. Some fragments of the old towers can be found around the area as decorations. In 1490 from the limestone of the ruined part of Abbey, the Market Cross in the town centre was erected and carvings of several saints are still  Malmesbury Abbeyvisible on some lanterns.

Man’s first flight in Malmesbury By 1540 during the Reformation the abbey had been dissolved. Henry VIII sold the land and buildings to a local rich merchant, who converted the abbey into cloth making factory. The town of Malmesbury was now a wool trading centre and the guesthouse played an important role.

Bible in Malmesbury AbbeyMany relics of the abbey have survived, one of them is a four-part Bible made 600 years ago in scriptorium from a Belgian monastery with pages made from vellum, a fine parchment made from calfskin.

An interesting story about the first human flight is connected with the cathedral. In 1010 a monk named Eilmer, constructed some form of primitive wings attached to his arms and then jumped from the top of the tower, Eilmer flew over 180 meters before braking both his legs upon landing but survived and went into the history of human flight.

The most significant reconstruction of the guesthouse took place in 1906, when Joe Moore TheOld Bell hotel Malmesbury bought it and invested a huge sum, about £1 million pounds in today’s value. Joe Moore became Mayor of the town in 1894 till 1905. The guesthouse got it’s new name The Old Bell Hotel and still serves it’s original purpose of a guesthouse.

Every street and every house of this town has kept it’s history. In the city centre there stands the Tower House, where it is said that Henry VIII dined after hunting in the nearby forest. The mother of US President Abraham Lincoln was born in Malmesbury and lived most of her life there.

 Malmesbury Many unusual fun facts and legends exist about Malmesbury The first hotel in the UK. The first known flight of man with wings. The Malmesbury first pipe organ in England. There are also a couple of stories about ghosts: like Lady Grey appearing in some rooms of the Old Bell hotel. But nothing compares with the story about two pigs in 2008, which escaped from a local abattoir before they were about to be  Malmesbury slaughtered. They swam the River Avon and lived in an orchard for a week. Local media published the story and the pigs became famous. After capture the pigs were sent to a rare Breeds Centre where they can be visited today.

That’s Malmesbury, a quiet provincial town with it’s legends, history and funny stories. By the way, in a few days, on the 25 of May the feast of Aldhelm, first Abbot of Malmesbury is celebrated.

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Gloucester, capital of the Cotswolds

Gloucester, capital of the CotswoldsThe County of Gloucestershire is unique with it’s three areas of natural beauty: The ancient Royal Forest of Dean, the Cotswold Hills Gloucester, capital of the Cotswoldsand the river Severn valley the longest in Britain, where the city of Gloucester, is nestling between the vales.

The Cotswolds are known for their outstanding natural beauty and are the largest in England and Wales, Gloucester, capital of the Cotswoldswith the biggest area of hills stretching into the county of Gloucestershire. The Cotswolds natural beauty is combined with an aura of magic and mystery and Gloucestershire’sGloucester, capital of the Cotswolds set of honey-coloured cottages flaunting the hills have a specific charm. Most of the Cottages, mansions and churches in this region are built with limestone, which has been locally quarried by hand since ancient times.


The Romans who built a fort on the river Severn founded Gloucester in 97 AD. In 577 the Gloucester, capital of the CotswoldsGloucester, capital of the CotswoldsSaxons captured the town. There are more churches and chapels in this city than anywhere else. Oliver Cromwell once declared that Gloucester had “more churches than godliness”. Up to now people still use the aphorism “as sure as God’s in Gloucester”.


Gloucester, capital of the Cotswolds

The most remarkable building is Gloucester Cathedral built in Roman and Gothic styles; in 1541 it was transformed from the Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy Indivisible Trinity, which had originated in 678. In the cathedral Gloucester, capital of the Cotswoldsthere are a lot of historical relics, magnificent stained-glass windows, monuments and burial places of famous people like King Edward II. Parts of the cathedral figured in episodes of the Harry Potter films.

Gloucester, capital of the CotswoldsSt Mary de Lode Church outside the Cathedral yard is the first Christian church in Britain. In the grounds nearby, there is a Gloucester, capital of the Cotswoldsmonument to Bishop John Hooper who was martyred in 1555, for refusing to accept the new beliefs imposed during the time of Queen Mary.

As well as many medieval towns, the county of Gloucester has Gloucester, capital of the Cotswoldsnumerous half-timbered Tudor houses, the best known being the pub and restaurant called the New Inn, built in 1450 by a monk. Pilgrims seeking to bow to the relics of the Saint king Oswald of Northumbria, whose remains are buried here, used this guesthouse.


The river Severn runs through the city and one of the first channels Gloucester, capital of the CotswoldsGloucester, capital of the Cotswoldswas constructed in Gloucester in 1759, which is one of the widest and deepest in Britain, now a significant tourist sight with beautiful yachts and ships moored alongside.

After a brisk walk around the city on a spring sunny day, it was fun to visit a pub called the Regal that will always be remembered by me over other pubs. It was originally constructed as a Cinema in 1939 and redesigned as a pub and restaurant in 1996 incorporating some famous cinematic objects in the décor, like the Oscar and King Kong.

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