In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Malmesbury like this:
Malmesbury.-- market town, Wilts, on river Avon, 16 miles NW. of Swindon and 94 W. of London by rail, 325 ac., pop. 3133; P.O., T.O., 2 Banks. Market-day, Saturday. This is a pleasantly situated, ancient, and highly interesting town. William of Malmesbury refers to its monastery having been founded in 670. Of several relics of antiquity existing in the district the best known is the abbey church, the ruins of which are very interesting. Brewing and silk mfr. are the industries of the place. William of Malmesbury (12th century) was precentor of the abbey; and Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), the philosopher, was a native. Malmesbury is a corporate town, and the governing charter (8th William III.) recites previous charters of Athelstan, Henry IV., and Charles I. It returned 2 members to Parliament until 1832, and 1 member from 1832 until 1885.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Malmesbury has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of North Wiltshire. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Malmesbury and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Malmesbury in North Wiltshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 11th December 2013
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