King Athelstan - 924 ~ 2024

Athelstan 1100 is the biggest and most participative community commemoration and celebration of Malmesbury’s local history in a generation.

Athelstan 1100

From June 2024 to October 2024 Malmesbury will be celebrating the 1100th anniversary of Athelstan becoming king. Athelstan was the first King of England and has a very special relationship with our historic town. His hero was Malmesbury’s first Abbot, Aldhelm, he gave significant gifts to Malmesbury Abbey, and he chose to be buried here. His name is all over town and he’s at the heart of the remarkable story of Malmesbury’s Warden and Freemen organisa6on, which still exists today.

Confidence in Athelstan 1100

Athelstan 1100 is being planned and delivered by an experienced project team with the involvement of key organisations, qualified archaeologists, historians and skilled enthusiastic volunteers. Project Leadership, banking and bookkeeping facilities are being provided by Malmesbury Town Team CiC, a Community Interest Company working directly for the benefit of Malmesbury.


The Steering Group includes the Mayor of Malmesbury, the Town Clerk of Malmesbury Town Council and representatives from Malmesbury Abbey, Malmesbury Museum, Malmesbury Town Team, the Warden and Freemen of Malmesbury, Malmesbury Civic Trust, Malmesbury History Society, Malmesbury Carnival, and Wessex Week. Malmesbury schools led by the Athelstan Trust are fully involved in Athelstan 1100.


Our objective is to deliver a set of memorable, fun, accessible and inclusive experiences and events under the banner of Athelstan 1100 in 2024, with legacy outputs that will support interest in Malmesbury and Athelstan into the future.


Our programme has elements for everyone. History fans of levels of seriousness. Casual visitors and Malmesbury fans. Budding archaeologists and beer drinkers. Children and adults. There are significant and important parts of the programme we have set ourselves the goal of making free to attend, including the Malmesbury’s Big Athelstan Dig, ‘Anglo-Saxon Malmesbury’, the Anglo-Saxon food, drink and craft fair, the children’s Big Athelstan picnic and Athelstan Museum’s special


Athelstan 1100 Steering Group

Some members of the Athelstan 1100 Steering Group at Malmesbury Town  Hall.
Photo: Athelstan 1100


It's not like Malmesbury hasn't done an Athelstan celebration before!

This is a picture of the procession in Malmesbury in 1924 to mark the  1000th anniversary of Athelstan becoming king.
Photo: Malmesbury Civic Trust


'Malmesbury - there is a sense of expectancy here; so near, as though we ourselves were pilgrims from the past'

John Betjeman, Poet Laureate (1972-1994).
Photo: Jackie Peel


Athelstan 1100 is absolutely dependent for its success on the strong support of local community organisations, an army of willing volunteers, the commitment of local businesses and civic bodies and our own ability to directly create resources.

Our speaking programme, publications, merchandising, ‘By Appointment of Athelstan 1100’ and ‘Friends of Athelstan 1100’ are all making a significant contribution to our costs.

We are supplementing this income through grants, with some applications still pending. Malmesbury Town Council, the Warden and Freemen of Malmesbury and the James Dyson Foundation have generously provided start-up funding and practical support.

We have very skilled and committed volunteers supplying hundreds of hours of time without charge.

We are already receiving many services from local businesses on a pro bono or matching basis, (for example our website and PR), and direct donations from local businesses.

Our Athelstan 1100 story telling is being helped by students from the University of Winchester, Bath Spa University and Boom Satsuma Film School and pupils form all our local schools.

All this support is being acknowledged by Athelstan 1100 on our website, in our programme, in our PR and at the delivery of events.

But we still have some way to go!

If you, or your business or your organisation would like to support Athelstan 1100 please do contact us at


Malmesbury is a beautiful ancient hilltop town surrounded by picturesque rivers. A rich and rewarding history. A lively town centre with interesting independent shops and great places to eat, drink and stay. A packed programme of arts and local events. A thriving community. A wonderful place to visit.