King Athelstan - 924 ~ 2024

Remembering Athelstan in the Middle Ages and modern times

Malmesbury is not the only place that remembered Athelstan with gratitude during the Middle Ages. The people of the village of Long Newnton between Malmesbury and Tetbury also claimed that their village common had been granted to them by Athelstan and they celebrated this gift each year on Trinity Sunday until the seventeenth century. Much further away in Beverley in Yorkshire Athelstan was revered as the patron of the minster. As in Malmesbury the people of Beverley preserved a tradition that he had granted them privileges documented in a charter. In Barnstaple in Devon, as in Malmesbury, there was also a tradition in the Middle Ages that Athelstan had granted a charter to the town allowing the townspeople rights and privileges. Memories of Athelstan faded after the Middle Ages and he was generally seen as much less important than Alfred the Great. His reputation has recently been restored by historians including Sarah Foot and Tom Holland who have emphasised his achievements. Athelstan also features in the highly popular Lost Kingdom novels of Bernard Cornwell which have been adapted for television.