Malmesbury Road, SM4

PLACE NAME

Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire was founded as a Benedictine monastery in AD676 by the scholar-poet Aldhelm, later St Aldhelm, who is thought to have been a nephew of King Ine of Wessex. It is one of a few abbeys that can trace a continuous history from its foundation through to its closure by Henry VIII in 1539 during his cull of the monasteries. It developed an illustrious reputation for academic learning under the rule of abbots such as Aldhelm, John Scotus Eriugena, Alfred of Malmesbury and Aelfric of Eynsham, and by the 11thCentury contained the second largest library in Europe. It was also the site of an early attempt at human flight when, during the early 11thCentury, the monk Eilmer attached wings to his body and flew from a tower. He flew over 200 yards before landing and breaking both legs. He later said that the only reason he did not fly further was because he did not have a tail on his glider. Like many of the roads on the St Helier’s estate this is named after British monasteries and abbeys in remembrance of the area’s historic ownership by Westminster Abbey. The road names are in alphabetical order, of which Aberconway Road in the north west of the estate is first.

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