Malmesbury is a town in Wiltshire, England and situated on the River Avon. Its population is 4,631 (as of 2001). Malmesbury is the oldest borough in England and known for its dating from the 12th century abbey. but the monastery itself is older, because King Athelstan is considered their patron. Much of the abbey is still preserved, although fire and Henry VIII have destroyed some parts.. Among the most famous personalities of the abbey from the Middle Ages include the historian William of Malmesbury and the Benedictine monk Eilmer of Malmesbury, where a first gliding flight in the 11th century is attributed.