Forgotten monk links Malmesbury with German town

A TOWN in Germany wants to form a link with Malmesbury because it was founded by a monk from the abbey more than 1275 years ago.

Bad Hersfeld in Hesse, still holds a festival every October to celebrate St Lullus, who left the Benedictine monastery in the 730s and began a mission to convert the German tribes to Christianity.

In contrast to Eilmer the flying monk, he has virtually been forgotten back home in Malmesbury.

Economist and keen historian Dr Sigmar Gleiser decided to it was time to try to revive a previous attempt at twinning 25 years ago, when he visited the UK last summer and discovered a reference to Lullus in a town brochure.

Now both towns are looking at forming a friendship.

Malmesbury historian Cllr Charles Vernon, who has been in contact with Dr Gleiser, explained there was a problem with an official twinning because Malmesbury already has German twin, Niebull.

“But there is interest in forming a link,” he said. “And it has been taken to the twinning association.”

Lullus was made the first regular archbishop of Mainz by Pope Hadrian I and died five years later in 786 in Hersfeld Abbey. He was canonised in 852.

Bad Hersfeld, which has a population of more than 30,000, is famous in Germany for its annual Bad Hersfeld Festival held in the ruins of its abbey since 1951.

It has also staged Lullusfest, the oldest folk festival in Germany, since 852.

The town was fought over and the abbey destroyed in 1761 during the Seven Years War. In 1945 it was saved from destruction when two officers who had been prisoners of war guaranteed a peaceful hand over to the Americans.

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