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Malmesbury - History

Monday, 19 April 2010 14:05

elmer_flying_monkEilmer was a monk of Malmesbury Abbey who in circa 1010 attempted to fly from the top of the Abbey using a ‘glider’ he had fashioned for himself. He managed to cover more than a furlong (just over 200m) in active flight before falling and breaking both of his legs. When he attributed his lack of proper success to having to tail, and wished to try again, the Abbot refused to allow him and he returned to his talents in astronomy, living to a good age.

Eilmer’s flight makes him the first recorded aeronaut in the world. A stain-glassed window depicting Eilmer can be seen in Malmesbury Abbey.


Hodge, Dr. Bernulf., A History of Malmesbury (5th Edition; The Friends of Malmesbury Abbey, Minety: 1990).

Luce, Major-General Sir Richard H., The History of the Abbey and Town of Malmesbury (The Friends of Malmesbury Abbey, Minety: 1979).



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