After the disappointing departure of the BBC History Festival from Malmesbury, Barbara Pollard of Abbey House decided that the town should organise its own heritage festival. The result is Wessex Week, a packed programme of different historically themed events from 16-23 October 2016. You can see the full programme at www.discoverymalmesbury.life. Some highlights that might interest you include:
Tom Holland ‘The Life of Athelstan’ Sunday October 16, 4.00 pm at Abbey House, tickets £10. Tom is one of the leading historians of his generation and has just published a new biography of Athelstan for Penguin Books. Athelstan was of course buried in Malmesbury Abbey.
Mike and Alison Lewis ‘A Visit to Editha- Athelstan’s Half Sister’ Thursday October 20 7.30 pm at Abbey House, tickets £5.00. Mike and Alison will be telling the story of their trip to Magdeburg in Germany in pursuit of information about the Anglo-Saxon Princess Editha. They will show a brief film in English describing the remarkable archaeological discoveries that were made when the tomb of Editha was excavated.
Julian Luxford ‘The tomb of Athelstan’ Saturday 22 October 11.30 am at Malmesbury Abbey, tickets £7. Julian is an art historian from St Andrew’s University and the world’s leading authority on the mysterious tomb of Athelstan in Malmesbury Abbey. He will explain the likely reasons why, many centuries after the death of Athelstan, the monks built a new tomb and tried to encourage pilgrims to visit Malmesbury.
Tony McAleavy ‘Henry II & the Massacre in Malmesbury 1153’ Sunday 23 October at 2.30 pm at Abbey House, tickets £7.00. Tony will tell the little-known but dramatic story of how the future Henry II besieged Malmesbury in 1153 as a key part of his successful bid to seize the crown of England. This was the culmination of many years of violent struggle for the control of Malmesbury Castle and the siege of 1153 led to a terrible massacre of townsfolk and monks in the Abbey church.
The tickets for all these events are available from Abbey House, the Museum and the Abbey.