Weʼre raising £100,000 to erect a statue to Aethelstan, First King of All England.
- Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England
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Aethelstan was the First King of All England but few know his name despite being Alfred the Great's Grandson, son to Edward the Elder and nephew to Aethelflaed Lady of the Mercians.
Aethelstan died in Gloucester in 939 and asked to be buried at Malmesbury Abbey which he had endowed with many made gifts and where his ancestor Aldhelm had been the first Abbot. His bones lie in Malmesbury soil though the memorial in the Abbey is empty so it is fitting that we erect a statue to him in sight of the Abbey in Birdcage Walk
It is written that Aethelstan was audacious and forceful, much beloved by his subjects for his courage and humility and like a 'thunderbolt' to rebels with his invincible steadfastness. It was said that he could rule by terror in his name alone
Athelstan was an able administrator and made many good laws, which combated theft, oppression and fraud and mitigated severity to young offenders. He was charitable and popular and like his great-grandfather Ethelwulf, made provisions for his poorer subjects.
The great historian William of Malmesbury wrote of him, 'no one more just or learned administered the state.’
Even abroad he was considered 'a pillar of dignity in the western world’ (Annals of Ulster)
Although Aelthelstan's was the first image of a monarch to ever be reproduced (seen on a manuscript being shown giving a copy of Bede to St. Cuthbert) he is not well commemorated. Our statue in Malmesbury will change that as a focus for residents and visitors alike and we will be building links with other communities in England that share historic moments in Aethelstan's life.
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About the fundraiser
Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England
I'm Barbara Pollard. From my bedroom window in Malmesbury I look out over the soil where Aethelstan lies and wonder why he is not better known - England's first King after all and one of the greatest for creating an efficient system of government, justice and administration.