Note: Click on any image to see a larger view, then click on back to return to this page.
|The ruin of Glastonbury Abbey. This was the largest Cathedral in England before Henry VIII's men destroyed it in 1539 during the Dissolution.
Glastonbury, located six miles south of Wells, was the center of the legendary Isle of Avalon, a region rich with mystical associations. The Abbey's choir holds the alleged tomb of Arthur and Guinevere, which is today marked with a stone that appears to be a meteorite.
|Legend says that Jesus Christ visited the area with His uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, when He was a child. Additionally, Joseph of Arimathea is believed to have brought Christianity to the British Isles when he returned after Christ's death. At that time, Joseph rested against his staff which took root and became the Glastonbury Thorn. Reportedly, this is the only location other than the Holy Land where this type of tree is found.
Today's Thorn is said to have been grafted from the original which was hacked down by Henry's men during the Dissolution. (Thorn photo to be added later.)
|Built over a Celtic monastery founded in the 4th or 5th century and a Saxon stone church built in c.720, Glastonbury Abbey is the oldest Christian foundation in England. Prior to the Celtic and Saxon constructions, one legend says that Jesus built Glastonbury's first church of wattle and daub in honor of the Virgin Mary.|
|Detail of carved stone.|
|Near the center of this image, just beyond the walkway, was where King Arthur's grave was located prior to the Dissolution. A small sign and a stone mark the spot.|
|Even in February, the grounds were lush and green.|
|Interior view of the ruins.|
|The Glastonbury Tor. This site was of religious importance to the many civilizations who have lived there. Ruins exist beneath the present structure that predate the Christian era.
The Tor has an elevation of 521 feet ASL and is a conspicuous landmark easily seen from many miles around. From the top of the Tor, you can see vast views of Wells, the Quantocks, the Mendips, the moors rolling out to the sea and sometimes the Welsh mountains. Evidence of past structures and earthworks can be seen in the surrounding fields.
|St. Michael's Tower is all that's left of a 14th century church that was located atop the Glastonbury Tor. Note the relative size of the tower and me standing to the left.|
|The view from the Tor. Looking down at the Plains of Avalon. According to a local museum, the plains are covered with Earthen mounds which physically resemble the signs of the Zodiac. No one knows who was responsible for designing and constructing these mounds or when they were built. This is one of the many, but little publicized, mysteries of the Earth's ancient civilizations.|