Detail from a statue at the entrance of the Abbey Gardens at Malmsbury Abbey – Nikon D3000 with 18mm – 200 mm lens in RAW -
Title: The Wrestlers
size 2.25m / 90in
Artist: ian Rank-Broadley
Thank you Yampimon for googling this for me
The Wrestlers depict two heroic male figures, one black, one white, at the peak of athletic prowess pitting their strength and skill against each other. This work presents a multitude of different viewpoints and engages the spectator with the relative positions of the intertwined figures.
Malmesbury’s hill-top has been inhabited for centuries. Evidence of an Iron Age fort was uncovered in 1999. Material from the excavation of a coffin found in the grounds of The Abbey House in 1997 is the first recorded evidence that the Romans were in Malmesbury.
A religious site was established by Maelduf around 642, and his pupil Aldhelm became the first abbot of the Benedictine Monastery in 675. Athelstan, Alfred’s grandson and the first king of all England- crowned at Kingston – was buried at Malmesbury Abbey in 935. William of Malmesbury writes 200 years later that Athelstan’s body was removed from The Abbey and placed in the Abbot’s garden to avoid Norman desecration.
By the 12th century the current Abbey is completed and enjoying status as the third most important religious centre in England after Canterbury and Winchester. With the arrival of Abbot William of Colerne in 1260 a building programme begins including a new Lady Chapel, a new shrine to St. Aldhelm and new Abbot’s lodging with herbarium and vinery.
The Lady Chapel was severely damaged when the Abbey spire fell by 1500. William of Worcester recorded the spire as 431 ft. high; 28 ft. taller than Salisbury Cathedral’s spire and six times higher than the remaining ruined arch today.
Malmesbury Abbey was one of the last Monasteries to close at the Dissolution in 1539. William Stumpe, a wealthy clothier, bought numerous properties from Henry VIII including Abbey House and was instrumental in the acquisition of the Abbey building itself for the people of the town to use as their Parish Church. William built the central part of the house you see today after l542 using the 13th century former Abbot’s House as its foundations.