February 2023

MALMESBURY’S ATHELSTAN MUSEUM CELEBRATES THE UNVEILING OF A DRAWING OF THE MARKET CROSS BY ARTIST THOMAS ROWLANDSON

Malmesbury Market Cross Exhibition. MUSEUM VOLUNTEER Anne Goodyer will explore the history of the Market Cross in Malmesbury. She’ll do it by launching an exhibition to celebrate the recent acquisition of a drawing of the famous landmark by the English artist and caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson.

Anne is a member of the Malmesbury History Society and a volunteer at the museum. She’s an expert on the Market Cross. ‘When the drawing ‘Market Day at Malmesbury Market Cross’, came to the museum it seemed an ideal opportunity to bring the picture, the history and items from the collection together in the one exhibition,’ Anne said.

Anne Goodyer - Malmesbury Market Cross Exhibition
Anne Goodyer – Malmesbury Market Cross Exhibition

About the exhibition

The exhibition, on Tuesday March 7, will explore the cross’s history from its construction in 1490 to the present day. Visitors will be able to look one of the replaced gargoyles in the eye. They can also view historic images of the cross on an interactive display tablet.

‘I particularly enjoyed researching the statues at the top of the Market Cross, as they’re usually quite hard to see. These are now the subject of a short film on the Explore Malmesbury website.’

The exhibition runs from Tuesday March 7 to Tuesday May 30. (You can view The Explore Malmesbury website here: https://exploremalmesbury.com/#/poi)

Teatime talks

On Wednesday March 15, the museum’s popular Teatime Talks return to the Rausing Building. Vieve Forward will share her research into Malmesbury-within-the-walls (Bineport) in the late 13th century. It’s based on three cartularies (charter books) of Malmesbury Abbey. The talk will also concentrate on the market area before the building of the Market Cross. It will include St Paul’s Church and what are now Oxford Street and Gloucester Street.

The talk also touches on:

  • The textile industry in Malmesbury
  • The plight of lepers
  • The location of the guildhall and the people who might have lived, 750 years ago, on the site where the Rausing Building now stands.

‘I came across the MA Medieval Studies at Bristol quite by accident. By the time I had to choose a subject for my dissertation, I had already made up my mind to write something about Malmesbury. I’d bought an old book on an online auction site called the Registrum Malmesburiense. It’s a transcription of one of the cartularies of Malmesbury Abbey, and it fascinated me.’

To be able to read the cartulary, as well as others from the abbey, Vieve had to take Latin courses. She’s based her talk on the research for her dissertation.

I hope those attending my talk will go away having heard something new and interesting about medieval Malmesbury that they hadn’t heard before. I also hope they’ll be able to tell me things I didn’t already know myself.’

Tickets for Vieve’s talk, which begins at 2.30pm on the March 15 are £6.50 (which includes tea). They’re available from the museum shop or online: https://athelstan-museum.arttickets.org.uk/



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