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St. Maeldulph
Mid-7th Century


Near the 7th century, an Irish monk named Maeldulph or, more properly, Maeldubh, became a voluntary exile from the land of his nativity and took up his abode among the solitudes of the vast forests which then covered the north-eastern districts of Wiltshire. He seems to have formed himself a cell nestled in a hillside near the Saxon Royal palace of Ingelburne.

Maeldulph, after living for a short time as a hermit, found it necessary to secure for himself a less precarious subsistence by instructing the youths of the neighbouring districts. Thus, the hermitage became, gradually, a seat of learning and continued to be inhabited by Maeldulph's scholars after his death. People gave, to the place, the name of Maeldulph's bury, which, softened down into Malmesbury, it still retains; and the town's great abbey, established under St. Aldhelm, became the successor of these humble beginnings. 

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