Wessex Week 2017

7th-15th October 2017,

Wessex Week is packed full of talks, walks, story-telling, music and Anglo-Saxon fun!

More information on 2017’s edition to Wessex Week coming soon, Tickets to be available soon!


2016’s Events included

*Event free unless otherwise identified. 

Thursday 20th October

9.30 – 3.00 : Anglo Saxon Fun for Children
Dress up, Make crowns/brooches/monk’s purses or try runic writing
At Abbey House Gardens Belvedere (access by prior collected tickets from above outlets. No charge, donation only)

Dressing up, making crowns, brooches, monks purse’s and trying out runic writing with Athelstan Museum.   Aimed at Primary school children specific arrangements have been made with Malmesbury Primary School and St. Joseph’s.   If your child would like to be involved but does not attend either of these schools please get in touch for a slot later in the day.

19.30: A Visit to Editha, King Athelstan’s Half Sister – Mike & Allison Lewis
At Abbey House Library (Tickets £5 access by prior collected ticket)

The evening includes an illustrated talk by Mike and Alison Lewis about to their visit to Magdeburg Cathedral in 2012. This is followed by a short film, in English, about the excavation of Editha’s tomb in 2008 made by the German archaeology team involved and their exciting discovery.  

Friday 21st October

20.00: The Flight of the sparrow
Kevan Manwaring, storyteller, Monarchs, mortality and morality in tale and song
At Abbey House Library (Tickets: £7 access by prior collected ticket)

monarchs, mortality and morality in tale and song

Stroud-based storyteller Kevan Manwaring (author of Oxfordshire Folk Tales & contributor to English Folk Tales, both published by The History Press) and Wiltshire songstress Chantelle Smith explore the lives of Saxon kings, queens and saints in this enchanting ‘scop’ show for adults. With clarsach, percussion, Anglo-Saxon riddles, poetry and songs of the mead-hall, the duo will illuminate the time of Athelstan.

Saturday 22nd October

11.00: C15th Lute music* Mark Willcocks
At Malmesbury Abbey by Athelstans Tomb (Access By prior collected tickets from above outlets. No charge, donation only)

11.30: Athelstan’s Tomb, Dr Jullian Luxford of St Andrew’s University
At Malmesbury Abbey (tickets: £7 access by prior collected ticket)

Jacqueline Tong will set the scene by reading “The Battle of Brunanburgh’  by Alfred Lord Tennyson .

A translation from the original Anglo-Saxon written in 937

‘The tomb of Athelstan’, Dr Julian Luxford, Reader in Art History, University of St Andrews

We are delighted that Dr Julian Luxford has agreed to come down from St Andrew’s University in Scotland to give a talk about the story of the late medieval tomb of Athelstan in Malmesbury Abbey. The tomb is a mysterious object and Dr Luxford is just about the world’s leading authority on the subject. It was commissioned by the monks of Malmesbury many centuries after the death of Athelstan. Julian will investigate the probable story behind the tomb and a devotional cult of Athelstan that the monks promoted in the late middle ages. The Abbey has kindly agreed to arrange the seating so that people attending the talk will get a good view of the tomb itself as Julian gives his talk. Dr Luxford is Reader in Art History at St Andrew’s and his specialist field is medieval monastic art.  The talk will be preceded by a performance of late medieval lute music at the tomb from 11.00 am by Mark Willcocks.

13.00 & 14.00: Warden & Freeman History
Oliver Pike At Courthouse (access by prior collected tickets from above outlets. No charge, donation only)

A half hour explanation of the origins of the Warden & Freemen conducted in their own Courthouse.  A rare and golden opportunity to learn more about Malmesbury’s oldest families and to see yet more of their artefacts and archives on display.

13.40: Athelstan’s Men* – Playlet,
At Courthouse

14.40: Walk Malmesbury’s Saxon Footprint –
Starts at Courthouse with Campbell Ritchie (access by prior collected tickets from above outlets. No charge, donation only)
Explore some of the traces of ‘Wessex’ embedded in the fabric and history of the Town. A 90 minute guided walk looking at Malmesbury from the arrival of the Saxons up to 1066.

Starts at Courthouse with Campbell Ritchie limited numbers

Sunday 23rd October

11.00: Walk on the Kings Heath* Guided by Elizabeth Snell / Graeme Brown (access by prior collected tickets from above outlets. No charge, donation only)
Share cars from the Long Stay car park.  From the Foxley Road out of Malmesbury keep left onto Common Road at the first fork.  Continue keeping left until you arrive at the point shown on the map below.

Click HERE for the Map to show the meeting point to park and start the walk at King’s Heath

The walk will start at the east end of Road No.1 Bridleway MALW43.

From this bridleway you can see almost all of the 5 hides of land given to the men of Malmesbury by King Athelstan for helping him win a battle against the Danes.

(Please allow about 2 hours for the walk.)

14.30: Henry II & Massacre in Malmesbury 1153
Tony McAleavy – At Abbey House Library (tickets £7 access by prior collected ticket)

Tony McAleavy is well known in Malmesbury as a local historian. His talk will focus on the brief but spectacular history of Malmesbury Castle and the dramatic events of 1153 when the castle was besieged and there was a massacre of townsfolk. The massacre of 1153 has been given almost no attention in previous histories of the town. Tony will be drawing upon recent research into the castle that he has undertaken for a new booklet on the little-known but important story of the castle.  He will explain the central role that Malmesbury Castle played in the national politics of the 12th century and he will describe why the castle was demolished precisely 800 years ago in the year 1216.