Malmesbury Abbey 670-1539
Title Details

298 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

25 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press

Malmesbury Abbey 670-1539

Patronage, Scholarship and Scandal

by Tony McAleavy

  • Description
  • Contents
Malmesbury Abbey was an institution of national significance throughout the Middle Ages and this book is the first full-length study of its history. Drawing upon particularly rich surviving documentary sources, it describes the monastery's evolution from the late seventh century to the Dissolution in 1539. The place was home to two particularly eminent writers: Aldhelm and William of Malmesbury. The Abbey had many royal connections. It housed the mausoleum of Æthelstan, first king of all England, and was effectively re-founded by King Edgar as part of an elite network of Benedictine communities intended to offer prayers on behalf of the royal house of Wessex. Queen Matilda, wife of Henry I, took a close interest in the monastery's affairs. Henry Plantagenet was present when a massacre took place in the Abbey church in 1153. In the 1320s the monks became caught up in the conflict between Edward II and his baronial opponents. The Abbey was also important architecturally. The church was completely rebuilt at the behest of Bishop Roger of Salisbury, chief minister of Henry I, and the surviving south porch contains some of the finest Romanesque sculpture in England.

Previously neglected or unexamined sources are used extensively. The book reveals for the first time the identity of the Malmesbury monk who wrote the chronicle known as Eulogium Historiarum in the 1360s; his name was Thomas of Bromham and he envisaged a messianic role for the Black Prince. New light is shed on the extraordinary careers of abbots such as William of Colerne who transformed the Abbey's economic fortunes and John of Tintern who was accused of murder and arson. The turbulent final years of the Abbey's existence receive considerable attention, including an account of the spectacular breakdown in discipline in 1527 when Abbot Richard Camme was attacked by a gang of rebellious monks.
Prologue: Before the monastery

1. From Máeldub to Aldhelm
2. Aldhelm's community
3. Royal patronage and exploitation: 710-960
4. Malmesbury and the late Anglo-Saxon Benedictine reform movement
5. Responding to the Conquest: 1066-1100
6. William of Malmesbury and Queen Matilda
7. The ascendancy of Bishop Roger of Salisbury
8. The Abbey and the Anarchy
9. The dispute with the bishops of Salisbury: 1142-1217
10. A self-confident age: the Abbey in the thirteenth century
11. The Despenser years and the criminal career of Abbot John of Tintern
12. Thomas of Bromham and theEulogium Historiarum
13. After the Black Death
14. The abbots of Malmesbury: 1396-1480
15. The Tudor Abbey

Epilogue: After the departure of the monks

Bibliography
Index

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9781783277148

September 2023

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Title Details

298 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

25 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press