Local businesses and organisations back Athelstan 1100 celebrations in Malmesbury

By Nick Batten on 30 April, 2024

More than 60 local businesses and organisations have already backed an ambitious calendar of events in and around Malmesbury to celebrate 1100 years since Athelstan became the first King of England and his special relationship with the town. 

Malmesbury is celebrating #Athelstan1100 throughout the summer of 2024.  World famous historians are visiting to speak – including broadcaster and historian Michael Wood and Professor Sarah Foot who are both experts in Athelstan’s important place in English history. 

Four packed weeks of activities start on Friday 28th June and these will include a Big Dig weekend, a dramatic live event in Malmesbury Abbey, a Big Picnic, a craft fair and a large-scale re-enactment – all with an Anglo-Saxon theme. 

Malmesbury Town Team chair, Cllr Campbell Ritchie will lead the team of volunteers who are organizing the programme of events. He said, “We’re overwhelmed by the support of local businesses to date – they have embraced this opportunity to celebrate the history of Malmesbury and to be part of Athelstan 1100 and we are confident even more businesses will join us over the coming weeks. We’d like to thank them all for their commitment to this exciting project and to helping make so many brilliant events happen for the benefit of all of us. 

“Businesses and organizations have contributed in various ways. There have been cash donations as well as donations of time and services, such as the Athelstan 1100 website, the supply of PR expertise and providing essential equipment. Malmesbury Town Council and Wiltshire Council are already providing invaluable support.”

Businesses in and around Malmesbury’s High Street are joining in with the fun of a ‘By Appointment of King Athelstan’ scheme and visitors can expect to see plenty of locally made Athelstan 1100-themed products using the project’s exclusive Athelstan 1100 logos and designs. Many businesses are also ordering special Athelstan 1100 stickers and stamps to show their support.

Helen Chapman, who runs Fabric Shack on the High Street – a business that has already created its own merchandise with the Athelstan 1100 branding – said, “It’s great for us to get involved and to support the range of activities taking place. It was natural for us to take the logo and print it onto a fabric which can be used by our customers to create whatever they like – from clothing to cushion covers, tea towels to curtains!”

Justin Jeffrey of Mindvision is also backing the project. He said, “We at Mindvision are delighted, as a Malmesbury team, to be supporting this historic project. As specialist web and app developers, our contribution has been to design and build the official Athelstan 1100 website. With a special affinity to our treasured town, it’s a great honour to be able to do our bit in promoting and celebrating King Athelstan’s incredibly special relationship with our historic town.”

Before the end of May Athelstan 1100 will become fully visible as 50 Athelstan 1100 banners will be unfurled across the town centre, many including designs by local school children, assisted living and care home residents, local artists and Malmesbury residents from a call-out for designs that is currently underway. These banners will remain in place throughout the summer.

It was in 924 AD that Athelstan, the grandson of Alfred the Great, became King of Mercia and Wessex, the first steps on his journey to becoming the first King of England. 

Many events are free and tickets for paid-for events are already on sale with a 10 per cent discount until 19th May.   

For details visit: athelstan1100.co.uk/events-ticketing.

 Pictured above: Helen Chapman of the Fabric Shack with her Athelstan-themed fabric