The Founding of Malmesbury Abbey

MaidulphThe founding of the Christian church in Malmesbury is reasonably well documented but often by authors writing centuries after the event.

A monk of Malmesbury writing in c1366 in a book titled the Eulogy of Histories tells of Maidulph’s coming to Malmesbury. “A certain monk Maidulph by name who in his own country was so worn out by the depredations of thieves … he decided to escape and made his way to England … he at length came to rest under the castle of Bladon, called by the Saxons which had been built by a British king … named Dunwallo Molmutius in the year 642 … there was a royal residence belonging now to the pagans and now to the Christians at Caindurburgh which is now called Brakeburg or Brokenburg. The aforesaid Maidulph chose a place beneath the castle as a site for a hermitage and obtaining leave from the garrison constructed a cell. When … he began to be short of the necessities of life he gathered some scholars around him to make a living … the school grew into a small convent. Aldhelm brought up in this community made the best use of his opportunities.”

In 675 a charter from Leutherius, fourth bishop of the west Saxons, states “ to hand over and present the land which is called Mealdumesburg to the priest Aldhelm to lead a life according to rule”.

Bede writing about the year 705 says when Hedda, Bishop of the west Saxons “died the see was divided into two dioceses … the other to Aldhelm who presided over it vigorously for 4 years … Aldhelm, while he was still a priest and abbot of the monastery known as Mailduf’s town”

The story continues with Aldhelm’s building of many early churches.