Glastonbury has so many legends wrapped around it it’s ridiculous. And Glastonbury Tor is taller than it looks!
It was a steep climb up a long hill, with the remnants of a church on top. I told Tim he ought to run to the top and he took off! As my jaw dropped, Bryan said he’d wait 5 minutes, then go after him to pick up the pieces. So we huffed and puffed and all made it. Views were fabulous, lovely countryside. The plains flood, which turns the tor into an island that comes and goes – Avalon. Definitely brought Mists of Avalon to life.
We stopped at a place called The Chalice Well, a lovely garden and mediation place. Legend has it that the Holy Thorn tree there is one brought by Joseph of Arimithea (we’ve been learning a lot of the other legends of the area, too). The gardens and fountains are gorgeous, with lots of nooks and crannies to just sit, and we wandered quietly. The boys drank from the healing well, and we just soaked in the peace after climbing the Tor and before touring the Abbey.
The Glastonbury Abbey is remnants, the treasures taken when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, and the walls torn down to use in building other things over the years. The church was huge! The Lady Chapel is still largely intact, and the remnants of the small chapel at the other end is s-o-o-o far away. The round kitchen building is still there, all together, mostly because it didn’t have anything anyone could use.
The Abbey is also supposed to be where Arthur and Guinevere are buried. The monks needed money (maybe five centuries ago?) and people weren’t coming to visit anymore, so they decided to follow up the old legend that King Arthur’s grave was there. They dug around and found two graves with bodies, which in modern times have been dated to the 5th/6th century. So who knows? And more visitors did come.
Modern Glastonbury is an interesting place. There’s a big music concert every year, but it’s also a draw for anything and everything New Age. Shop after shop of alternative healing, magic, occult, crystals, dragons, etc., etc. Even the bookstores were all “alternative.” I was fascinated.