Malmesbury is in the north-west of the county of Wiltshire in England. It is about 95 miles west of London and 30 miles north-east of Bristol, and is situated five miles north of junction 17 of the M4 motorway. Its population is around 6000.
Malmesbury is one of the oldest continously inhabited sites in Britain. The first Christian community was established in the mid-7th century, and the Abbey which dominates the centre of the town dates from about 1180.
Malmesbury has its own Town Council which conducts its business from the Town Hall. In April 2009, a new unitary authority, Wiltshire Council, was created. The parliamentary constituency is North Wiltshire, and the present MP is James Gray. The town comes within the European region of South West England.
Malmesbury has been twinned with the German town of Niebüll for more than 20 years. Early in 2000, a partnership was created with Gien from the Loire region of France. Since 2005, a close relationship has been forged with Malmesbury in South Africa.
The above is a view of town from the River Avon near Daniel's Well. On the horizon, the Abbey can be seen to the left, while St. Paul's tower stands out more clearly. The tower is all that remains of what had been the town's parish church, when the Abbey belonged to the Benedictine Monastery, a totally separate community. In the 17th century the rest of the church was demolished as it was unsafe, but the tower still stands proud and contains a fine peal of bells.