King Aethelstan's Tomb – Malmesbury, England - Atlas Obscura

King Aethelstan's Tomb

The last known resting place of the king who united England. 

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King Aethelstan, the grandson of Alfred the Great, is considered by many scholars as the first true King of England. Upon his death, he did not wish to be buried alongside his father and grandfather at Winchester. Instead, he chose to be interred at Malmesbury Abbey, the resting place of those in his family who had fought alongside him at the battle of Brunanburh. Athelstan also did not want to be buried in the city that openly opposed his rule. 

During the Reformation and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, knowledge of the exact location of his remains were lost. However, he is still memorialized in a quiet corner of this countryside town abbey, although the tomb is empty. 

Know Before You Go

Venture to the furthest corner from the abbey's main entrance (although the other corners also contain treasures worth exploring) and you will find his honorific tomb, along with information about his life and a collection of artifacts.

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September 29, 2019

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