Malmesbury - History
In circa 1118, a castle at Malmesbury was built by Roger le Poer (Bishop of Salisbury). The chosen location was to the West of the Abbey, in close proximity to the Monastery, and its location quickly created friction with the monks of Malmesbury Abbey. Pope Alexander even gave the Abbot authority to excommunicate the members of the castle garrison for their ‘depredations on the Abbey’ and for interfering with their water supply.
Despite being unpopular with the monks, the castle played a key role in the 12th century. The siege of Malmesbury in 1153 saw the castle playing a vital role in the conflict between King Stephen and the challenger to the throne, Henry, the Duke of Anjou. One section of the defences, known as ‘Jordan’s Tower’, managed to hold out for an extended period of time, but fell after a long siege.
In 1215, the Abbot of Malmesbury Abbey sent a plea to King John to remove the castle. He obliged and the Abbot was allowed to demolish the structure, after existing for no more than 100 years. It is difficult to ascertain the location that the castle once occupied, but it is believed that it may have occupied the site where the Old Bell Hotel is currently located.
Bowen, John. (Edited By Allnatt, Graham), A Story of Malmesbury (Hackman Print, Rhondda: 2000).
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).