St Aldhelm’s Way, 7 days, 74 miles – Aldhelm came to Malmesbury in 676AD and founded a monastery there, another at Frome, and another at Bradford-on-Avon. He built many local churches and became the first Bishop of Sherborne. Aldhelm spoke Latin and Greek fluently. He used music to draw crowds and would then preach to them. He was credited both in his life and after his death with many miracles. Aldhelm died on May 25th, 709AD in Doulting near Shepton Mallet in Somerset. After Aldhelm’s death he was venerated as a saint, his feast day is May 25.
There is a story that shortly after dying, Aldhelm appeared in a vision to his friend, Ecquin the Bishop of Worcester commanding him to come to Doulting, which he duly did, and at once made arrangements for Aldhelm’s body to be carried by monks to Malmesbury, where he was buried. The historian William of Malmesbury (1095-1143) tells that stone crosses were later erected at 7 mile intervals along the route, at points where his body had rested. The final cross for Aldhelm was in the cloisters of the monastery at Malmesbury. He also writes that all of the seven crosses were still there in the twelfth century. Sadly, nearly all traces of the stone crosses have now disappeared, but a few probable fragments remain. Various suggestions have been made as to the route that the funeral procession might have taken but the route creators have followed the route suggested by Bishop Browne, the Bishop of Bristol, who wrote a book on the life of Aldhelm in 1903.
St Aldhelm’s Way passes from Doulting, through Frome, Westbury, Bradford-onAvon, Bath, Colerne, Littleton Drew and ends in Malmesbury. There are fragments of Saxon stones in the churches at Frome, Colerne, and Littleton Drew.
Written walking directions can be found in the embedded PDF.