Arsonists target 12th century Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire

Call the Friar brigade! Residents and locals save 12th century Wiltshire abbey from blaze after it was targeted by arsonists

  • Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire was targeted by arsonists at 9pm on Friday 
  • Local residents and staff from near by restaurants helped save the abbey 
  • By the time the fire brigade arrived at the scene the blaze under control 

A 12th Century abbey was saved from an arson attack by residents and restaurant staff who rushed to extinguish the flames with buckets of water.

Firefighters rushed to reports of a blaze at Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire shortly after 9pm on Friday evening .

But after a 10-mile dash from from Chippenham the fire crew discovered that the blaze was under control.

Local residents, including staff from The Bird Cage restaurant, The Old Bell Hotel and Co-op Food store, brought the flames under control using buckets of water and extinguishers.

One local resident praised their efforts on social media, writing: ‘It could have been a very different ending without everyone being so incredible. Well done everyone!’

Firefighters rushed to reports of a blaze at Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire shortly after 9pm on Friday evening after the 12th century building was attacked by an arsonist

Local residents and businesses were able to extinguish the blaze before the arrival of the fire brigade 

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters used one hose reel, drags and a thermal imaging camera to fully extinguish the flames.

The fire is believed to have started when yobs set fire to waste and refuse outside the abbey, which dates from the 12th century.

The Grade I listed abbey is built on the site of a former Saxon monastery dating back to AD700.

Athelstan, the first king of all England, was buried in Malmesbury Abbey when he died in 939.

By the 12th-century it was an important Benedictine Abbey and a noted seat of learning.

At that time it possessed the second largest library in Europe and one of its community was the 12th-century historian William of Malmesbury.

It was given a Grade I listing in 1949, having survived previous fires and the English Civil War.

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