A HISTORIAN will dive into Malmesbury's fascinating history to mark a special anniversary.  

Tony McAleavy is set to give an insightful talk at Malmesbury Town Hall at 7.30pm on Saturday, June 29 which aims to unpick the reasons behind why King Athelstan was buried at Malmesbury Abbey.

His talk is one of many events - which includes an archaeological dig, an Anglo-Saxon picnic and a carnival procession - which have been planned to celebrate the 1100th anniversary since Athelstan became King.

A team of volunteers from various organisations in Malmesbury - including Athelstan Museum, Malmesbury Town Council and Malmesbury Town Team - have launched the Athelstan 1100 project to highlight the town's rich history with the first King of England.

Mr McAleavy's talk will kick start the month-long programme of speakers.

The well-known historian studied history at Oxford University and penned Malmesbury Abbey: 670-1539, the first ever full-length history of the abbey.

His talk will consider the religious, military and political significance of Malmesbury to Athelstan and the way the King was remembered by monks and townsfolk throughout the Middle Ages.  

Mr McAleavy said: “With 2024 marking 1100 years since Athelstan became King, it is a great opportunity to look at the life and history of the man regarded as the first King of England.

“It’s a pleasure and a privilege to play a part in the speaker programme and the many events that are being planned in Malmesbury to mark this important date in our nation’s history.”

Another highlight of the speaker programme will be a talk from broadcaster Michael Wood, on how Athelstan influenced the development of English law, culture and governance, at Malmesbury Abbey on Friday, July 5.  

Campbell Ritchie, who is leading the Athelstan 1100 project, said: “Having a king buried at the abbey puts Malmesbury on the map in terms of historical importance.

"We’re looking forward to welcoming people to join our celebrations at Tony’s opening talk and the other great Athelstan 1100 talks, events and experiences taking place this year.”

Tickets for each talk will be available online from Thursday, March 28.

To book visit shorturl.at/jxzT7