I Fell In Love With Glastonbury

Within the remains of the Glastonbury Abbey we found the tomb of the legendary King Arthur.  In 1184, the monastery and the church in burn down, leaving the abbey in serious financial condition.  Luckily the remains of Arthur and Queen Guinevere were discovered in 1190 and authenticated by the crown.  The remain received further legitimacy by the presence of King Edward I who attended the interment in the Abbey in 1278.  This made Glastonbury and the Abbey a destination for pilgrims, and the community incredibly wealthy.   https://www.damninteresting.com/king-arthurs-grave/

Within the remains of the Glastonbury Abbey we found the tomb of the legendary King Arthur.  In 1184, the monastery and the church in burn down, leaving the abbey in serious financial condition.  Luckily the remains of Arthur and Queen Guinevere were discovered in 1190 and authenticated by the crown.  The remain received further legitimacy by the presence of King Edward I who attended the interment in the Abbey in 1278.  This made Glastonbury and the Abbey a destination for pilgrims, and the community incredibly wealthy.  https://www.damninteresting.com/king-arthurs-grave/

It was misting lightly as we drove into Glastonbury, which only added to the unique mystical atmosphere of the village.   Glastonbury has a reputation for leaning toward the unconventional, and as result draws people toward it who lean toward the spiritual and mystic. 

The quaint little main shopping district reflects the inhabitant’s attitude toward spirituality and is lined with shops offering charms, bohemian style clothing, sculpture, crystals and books giving direction in subjects ranging from eastern religions, magic spells, potions, and how to the organize of covens. 

The art galleries deserve their own mention with an outstanding variety of oils, acrylics, watercolors, multimedia and drawings.  Subjects include free flowing abstracts, traditional landscapes of the surrounding countryside, portrayals of spiritual and mystical spirits which inhabit the land.  I found a style for every taste in each genre from the sophisticated, to the primitive and price ranges to match.

We had heard that Glastonbury was a one-of-a-kind place in the United Kingdom.  We were told it draws like-minded “living-on-the-edge” types of people to it.  There were also generalities about “and now we know where they are and it’s a good place for them.”

Perhaps it is my age and the environment of my youth, but it was precisely the throwback to the 60s, which I found most charming and fascinating about Glastonbury and it’s residents.  There is a character we found nowhere else in England, reflected in it’s people and their approach and openness to life in general.

To enter the abbey ruins is like walking aback in time.  The great walls and entrances, which remain, reminded me of how important the spiritual side of life was in the Middle Ages.  Walking through the ruins, I could imagine the monks at their tasks of copying manuscripts, studying, praying and carrying out the daily tasks of monastery life. 

Walking down the main street, through the shops and visiting with the locals, I had a glimpse of an alternative approach to daily living in the modern world, which I found refreshing.

Glastonbury was a tremendous way to spend an afternoon.  Someday, I would like to go back, if only for another shirt.

PS.  Our tour did not include it but I want to mention the Glastonbury Music Festival.  Five days of some of the best bands in pop and rock and roll.  Typically around 175,000 people attend each year.  The festival has been cancelled for 2018, but plans are in the works for 2019.  http://us.hellomagazine.com/celebrities/2017062640132/glastonbury-festival-2018-cancelled/

Just inside the entrance to the Glastonbury Abbey are two of the Glastonbury Holy Thorne trees of Glastonbury which according to legend trace their beginnings back to Joseph of Arimathea (who provided the temporary tomb after Jesus’ body was removed from the cross) .  The Holy Thorn trees are unusual because they flower twice a year, once around Easter and again around Christmas.  Found in medieval writings and associated with bringing Christianity to England the legend says that when Joseph of Arimathea visited Glastonbury in 63 CE ( https://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/abbey-of-glastonbury  ) he and his eleven companions climbed Wearyall Hill about 1 kilometer southwest of Glastonbury.  They spent the night on the hillside where Joseph jammed his staff into the ground.  By morning the staff had rooted and grew into the Holy Thorn Tree.  The original tree was cut down in the 17th century by superstitious Puritan soldiers but cuttings had been taken and were growing all over the Glastonbury area.  The two trees at the abbey entrance are recent replacements.  A spray is cut at Christmas from the Holy Thorne in the yard of St. John’s church and sent to the Queen of England by the Vicar and Mayor of Glastonbury

Just inside the entrance to the Glastonbury Abbey are two of the Glastonbury Holy Thorne trees of Glastonbury which according to legend trace their beginnings back to Joseph of Arimathea (who provided the temporary tomb after Jesus’ body was removed from the cross) .  The Holy Thorn trees are unusual because they flower twice a year, once around Easter and again around Christmas.  Found in medieval writings and associated with bringing Christianity to England the legend says that when Joseph of Arimathea visited Glastonbury in 63 CE (https://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/abbey-of-glastonbury ) he and his eleven companions climbed Wearyall Hill about 1 kilometer southwest of Glastonbury.  They spent the night on the hillside where Joseph jammed his staff into the ground.  By morning the staff had rooted and grew into the Holy Thorn Tree.  The original tree was cut down in the 17th century by superstitious Puritan soldiers but cuttings had been taken and were growing all over the Glastonbury area.  The two trees at the abbey entrance are recent replacements.  A spray is cut at Christmas from the Holy Thorne in the yard of St. John’s church and sent to the Queen of England by the Vicar and Mayor of Glastonbury

Thank you for reading this blog.  Send a note or leave a comment, I will answer all. Rob

T  his photo of the remains of the north transept in the direction of the east choir.  Notice the tour group standing in the opening.   The great church was 220 feet long and 45 feet wide.  The choir was 155 feet long and transept was 160 feet long.  The complex of the churches and support buildings were set on 36 acres.  Much is open to the public.

This photo of the remains of the north transept in the direction of the east choir.  Notice the tour group standing in the opening.   The great church was 220 feet long and 45 feet wide.  The choir was 155 feet long and transept was 160 feet long.  The complex of the churches and support buildings were set on 36 acres.  Much is open to the public.

The kitchen is the only complete building to remain.  I watched as a docent gave a short talk about the kitchen tools and cooking methods and demonstrated how bread was made to a class of French students.  The Abbot’s Kitchen is one the best-preserved medieval kitchen in Europe.  Inside are four large fireplaces.  The kitchen was originally attached to the 80 foot long abbot’s hall.

The kitchen is the only complete building to remain.  I watched as a docent gave a short talk about the kitchen tools and cooking methods and demonstrated how bread was made to a class of French students.  The Abbot’s Kitchen is one the best-preserved medieval kitchen in Europe.  Inside are four large fireplaces.  The kitchen was originally attached to the 80 foot long abbot’s hall.