I have been promising pictures of Malmesbury for a wee while now but I had no idea where my camera was so I pestered Chris last night to download his photographs...and here they are....well, some of them anyway......I thought I would start with Malmesbury Abbey since it kinda dominates the landscape.
There is a rather lovely story about this Abbey concerning Eilmer the flying Monk (I just love the idea of a flying Monk!!). He was born in 980AD and is best remembered for making a flight from the tower of Malmesbury Abbey in 1010 when he was a young monk there. Apparently he fastened wings to his arms and his feet and then launched himself from the top of the tower. According to the story he managed to cover a distance of around 200 metres (which is pretty darn good really!!) before the Abbot told him to stop being so silly whereupon he panicked and came crashing down breaking both legs. The limping Eilmer became a distinguished scholar and was a familiar sight around Malmesbury.
Another wee bit of history for you....The Abbey used to have a large tower and spire which collapsed in a storm around 1500 and a west tower which fell around 1550....as a result of these two collapses there is less than half of the original building standing today. (But it still looks fab.....as you can see!!)
The Abbey Gardens (which we've not visited yet because they are closed to the public at the moment) are home to the famous Naked Gardeners (I kid you not!!). You can visit any day (when it's open obviously!!) but you need to be aware that they have special 'Clothes Optional' Day's (Ha, you'd certainly see more than you bargained for if you went on one of them!!). Apparently there is no pressure to dress or undress (Thank god for that!!) but they give those who wish to do so the opportunity to look round the gardens without their clothes on. Purchasing a ticket on these days enters you into an agreement to respect everyone else's freedom of choice without comment!! I want to see the Gardens but I think I might pass on the whole naked thing....although it would be rather funny to take guests there without telling them just to see the look on their faces!!! (Does that make me a bad person??). Aaarrrggg.....I now have nasty images in my head.....people bending over to smell flowers....
Aherm, moving swiftly on.....There are a set of stairs that lead from the gardens up to the actual Abbey which have commemorative placques detailing the history of the place....I find that kind of thing fasinating (as those of you that read Only In Thailand will know). They start at 500 BC it says 'An Iron Age community occuptied the Hillfort here' and go right up to the Millenium.
The really nice thing about the Abbey is that it's still used today and not just for worship. Last week they opened their door and turned it into a skate park for the local kids...put down a false floor and everything :-)
We Other by Sue Bentley
1 day ago