Most visitors to Malmesbury Abbey will walk past this reminder of one of the more formative events in England’s history. But those in-the-know should pause to the west of the main entrance, where they’ll see the deep impacts of musket shots believed to be from events carried out during the English Civil War.
Early in the war, Malmesbury was a Royalist (Cavalier) stronghold, but it was eventually besieged by the Parliamentarians (Roundheads). According to local historians, when the town fell, the leaders of the resisting forces were rounded up and brought for execution against the town abbey.
Although details of the executions carried out here are scant, the methodical positioning of the musket shot damage on this abbey casts a haunting shadow. The small marks are an invitation to reflect on the great affect the war had on English history.