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Wiltshire Community History

Wiltshire History Questions Search Results

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Question Date :

Tuesday 15th July 2003 18:51

Question:
Did the “Row de Dow” path in Wootton Bassett lead to Malmesbury Abbey, and if so what route did it take?

Answer:
The Row de Dow path in Wootton Bassett cuts along eastward from Victory Row (just off Wood Street) and past the bottom of Springfield Crescent.

It is a popular misconception that this path once led to Malmesbury Abbey. P. J. Gingell, in his history of Wootton Bassett, notes that the misconception may come from an attempt to corrupt “Row de Dow” to “Rue de Dieu”, referring to a path the monks of the Priory of St John are supposed to have taken on their way to Malmesbury Abbey. Gingell suggests that the corruption is “surely a non starter”. We can find no other sources which suggest that the path did go to Malmesbury Abbey.

Bibliography:
“The History of Wootton Bassett : a very ancient mayor towne” by P. J. Gingell, Wootton Bassett Historical Society in association with the Woodshaw Trust, 1977

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