Malmesbury abbey (Wilts.) grew from a community established by an Irish hermit in the mid-7th cent. This was soon expanded by Aldhelm, later bishop of Sherborne. It received the patronage of Wessex kings, especially Athelstan, who was buried there. The community was reformed as a Benedictine house during Edgar's reign. A substantial library was built up during the abbacy of Godfrey (c.1090–1105) and a monk, William of Malmesbury (c.1095–c.1143), was the greatest historian of 12th-cent. England. The abbey continued to flourish till the Dissolution, when it had a net income of c.£800.
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