par / mercredi, 13 août 2014 / Published in pédagogie, vie sociale

Malmesbury accueille le centre de formation Abbey Communication en Grande Bretagne. Cet article (in english of course) de Bill REED présente les charmes de cette ville médiévale en mettant en valeur son cadre historique, touristique et économique. L’environnement idéal pour suivre une formation intensive en anglais en parfaite immersion ! .

“The Irish monk Maeldulf established a hermitage here in the seventh century, and the settlement known as Maeldulfsburg grew as a centre of learning and worship. By the fourteenth century, when the great spire of Malmesbury Abbey still rose high into the sky, outstripping even that of Salisbury Cathedral (which is the tallest in Europe), pilgrims and travellers – on foot or on horseback – would see their goal from afar. Crossing a ford or a bridge, they would make their way up Holloway, or to the Postern Gate, or to Westport, where they would gain admittance to the precincts of the Abbey and mingle with the bustle and noise of the merchants clustered around it.

Nowadays, the visitor arriving by car drives past a spanking new ecologically-designed supermarket, James Dyson’s world-famous research and development headquarters employing around 1,500 people, and the modern sport and leisure centre, to find a full range of twenty-first century shops, pubs, restaurants and services catering to new, dynamic generations of residents, professionals and workers.

But the layout of the town centre has not changed since the Civil War. The fabric of some of the stone-built (and stone-roofed) cottages incorporates fragments salvaged from the Abbey after the spire came crashing down in an electrical storm around 1500; their gardens stretch out to the infant River Avon, which meanders on through Bath and Bristol to the sea. The High Street rises to the Market Cross, a stone building in the shape of a birdcage, erected around 1490 to shelter “poore market folke when rayne cometh”. Behind it, the massive bulk of the Abbey still dominates the town, and the green fields and trees of the river valleyconservation area. Its west tower was the launch site chosen by the eleventh-century monk Elmer, who attached wings to his back and managed to glide down towards the river. Some say he was he first man to fly.The Abbey itself, the adjacent Abbey House Gardens and the recently-modernised Athelstan Museum are popular visitor attractions.

Located on the edge of the Cotswolds and described as “the Queen of hilltop towns”, Malmesbury is home to around 5,000 inhabitants with a strong community spirit, evidenced by a plethora of associations, activities, churches and clubs – music, gardening, history, cinema, sports, drama, art, photography, nature – which reach a climax of activity in the August carnival every year.

The town is also host to an annual Philosophy Weekend (the seventeenth century philosopher Thomas Hobbes was born here), a History Weekend sponsored by the BBC, a Kite Festival, and the annual WOMAD festival of world music,which in 2014 attracted 40,000 visitors, in the extensive grounds of Lord Suffolk’s Charlton Park.

In Malmesbury, the old and the new sit companionably side by side. The effect is bewitching. Many of those who come to live here more or less by accident – as I did more than thirty years ago – find it impossible to leave.”

Bill Reed

August 2014


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