According to the British Listed Buildings website, the name of this church is the Abbey Church of St. Mary and St. Aldhelm, however, everyone seems to
simply call it Malmesbury Abbey. It is still very much a place of worship, and when not being used for this purpose it is open to the public.
Inside, the Abbey feels very 'grand' - you know you are somewhere important to history. The atmosphere is welcoming and serene. What is left of the original building is still
impressive. If you have the change to visit the Abbey, just sit for a while look around - there is so much to see and as you look you notice more and more. Carvings adorn the
walls and arches, there is a passage hidden half way up a wall, memorials that are hundreds of years old and some beautiful windows to admire. One particular feature we found fascinating
are the bosses in the ceiling - normally they are too high up to see in any detail, but with the aid of the camera's zoom lens, we can see more of them (although the quality of the photographs
suffered as a result of using the zoom). There are a couple of these stones at ground level and they are much bigger than we expected - it must have been quite a feat to have placed them
so high up. There is a mirror at ground level to help you see the bosses without having to look up and strain your neck.
The staff - members and friends - at the Abbey are always available to answer questions. They obviously care a great deal about their building to give up their spare time to allow
visitors in when otherwise it would be closed to us. A couple of years ago we visited to take some photographs for two people who knew their ancestors had memorials in the
Abbey, but who lived too far away to visit and the Church members/friends who were on duty at the time even went to the bother of moving a large chest so we could photograph a brass plaque
that it partly covered. That's service for you!
The entry in John Aubrey's Wiltshire Collections book - see link above -
includes sketches of Burton Hill and Bournvale Chapels, both of which no longer exist.
A couple of websites that may be of interest to you: