Gothic Image Tours P.O.Box 2568, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 8XR Tel: 01458 831281 website Fabulous unusual tours into undiscovered secret corners of Britain and Ireland. Sacred journeys to the heart of ancient lands for the spiritual pilgrim in search of inner peace and renewal. For further details of our tours through England, Scotland and Ireland, we invite you to take a browse around our website.
Somerset Routes website For a county with a history as rich and diverse as its countryside, Somerset boasts an amazing number of museums and heritage attractions. Somerset Routes is a unique map and guide which highlights over 100 of the counties best heritage sites to visit.
Taking the form of a ‘tube map’, the county has been broken down into seven different lines to travel on, spread across the country and taking in the best sights and things to do. Each line takes you to the museums, historic railways, castles, gardens, stately homes and archaeological sites that make Somerset’s heritage unique.
The Chalice Well Trust & Gardens The Chalice Well Trust, Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 8DD Tel: 01458 831154 email website This ancient Holy Well set in beautiful landscaped gardens at the foot of Glastonbury Tor is wrapped in the myths of Joseph of Arimathea and the Arthurian legends. This peaceful sanctuary is a place that soothes the soul and revives the spirits. With bird song and the sounds of tumbling water as a background, you will find “many rooms” in this garden and our onsite shop sells plants of the season, superb jewellery and books to remind you of your visit. We have late night openings when the gardens are candlelit and music is played for a truly magical summer atmosphere. We offer a free entrance with a yearly subscription to the gardens.
Tors Tour of the Tor Tel: =44 (0) 1458 899428 Mobile: +44 (0) 7813 156784 website Tors Tour of the Tor has been enjoyed by many over the years. Tor Webster is a local to Glastonbury. He will show you the hidden mysteries of The Magic Isle, with his own style no holds Bard. If your looking for a Real Glastonbury Experience... call him.
Glastonbury Abbey The Abbey Gatehouse, Magdalene St. Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 9EL 01458 832267 email website
The Abbey is set in 37 acres of beautifully peaceful parkland in the centre of the ancient market town of Glastonbury. It is traditionally the first Christian sanctuary in Great Britain, visited, so legend has it, by Joseph of Arimathea and Saints David & Patrick. Many believe that the Holy Thorn tree that can be seen in the grounds originated from Joseph of Arimathea's staff and others are convinced that King Arthur was buried in the Abbey beside his lovely wife Queen Guinevere. Whatever one believes the facts are that the ruins are unique, the grounds provide a spot of peace and tranquility in an otherwise hectic world, and if the weather is poor there is the new Visitor's Centre with award winning Museum which includes a model of the Abbey as it might have looked in 1539, together with a display of the Town, a children's Display and the magnificent 16th century Othery Cope.
For the pilgrim the landscape of Avalon is a treasure trove where sacred sites abound. The most obvious to the visitor is Glastonbury Tor which can be seen from a great distance rising enigmatically above the flat Summerland meadows.
There are many myths and legends associated with the Tor - it is the home of Gwyn ap Nudd, the Lord of the Underworld, and a place where the fairy folk live.
Over the last few years there has been discussion about the significance of the terracing of the Tor. It was proposed first by Geoffrey Russell and then expanded on by Geoffrey Ashe, the well-known Arthurian scholar, that the terracing on the slopes of Glastonbury Tor is the remains of a great three-dimensional neolithic labyrinth, a ceremonial way dedicated to the ancient British Goddess.
Whether it will ever be proved that the labyrinth was constructed in the neolithic era or not is a matter for future archeology, but since it was first suggested many thousands of people have walked it in a sacred manner. And this is no mean feat since it takes from 4-6 hours to walk in and out of the labyrinth. It provides the perfect setting for a present day ceremonial journey whether it was or not in the past. The Tor is now owned and cared for by the National Trust and there is free access to the public at all times.
Between April & October the Tor Bus runs between the Magdalene Street car park and the base of the Tor. As there is no parking around the Tor this is recommended.
This 15th Century building (known as the Tribunal) is where the Glastonbury Tourist Information Centre is housed on the ground floor along the the world-famous Glastonbury Lake Village Museum on the first floor. It is in the centre of Glastonbury between the Church of St John the Baptist and the George & Pilgrim Hotel and is open to the public during TIC hours.
Millennium Trail Route Guide available from the Tourist Information Centre
If the thought of walking around the Tor is too much, why not try our Glastonbury Millennium Trail. At your feet your find a series of town trail markers set into the pavement. This circular walking trail will help you to explore more about our town and learn about its fascinating history. A series of information panels help you to discover more about Glastonbury and its architectural heritage - from the Pump House built in 1752 to cater for the thousands of visitors who flocked to drink the Chalice well water to St. John's Church Tower, built in the late 1400s (look for the bagpiper near the top). Discover 'Gropecuntlene' - once named on medieval deeds as a short cut to St. Benedicts Church, find out which pub was originally the home of Glastonbury surgeons for over 250 years or seek out the butts area where the medieval longbow men practised their archery.
Originally dedicated to St. Benignus, an Irish Saint who died at Meare 470 A.D. and whose remains were transferred to the Abbey in 1091 when then first church was built on the site. Built by Abbot Bere circa 1500 the present building is of Perpendicular design with the south Aisle added in 1896. The porch contains an interesting arched altar recess and small window facing the Abbey Gatehouse. Also has a fine set of roof corbels.
Of the original church on this site little is known. However, recent excavations in the chancel, together with others in the nineteenth century in the nave, revealed early foundations. The excavations indicate a large central tower that possibly dated from Dunstan’s abbacy, c. 950, and a later Norman nave arcade on the same plan as the existing one. A central tower survived until the fifteenth century. The Church of the blessed Saint John the Baptist of Northbinne, as it is called in the early charters, was one of the seven local churches over which, from Saxon times, the Abbey of Glastonbury had claimed complete ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
This led to disputes with the Bishop of Wells, and in 1170 these churches became a special Archdeaconry with the Abbot as Archdeacon. About this time, when a Master Alvred was the incumbent, there were attempts by the Abbey to appropriate the revenues of the church. This finally happened on the resignation of Ralph the Chaplain in 1203 and the Sacrist of the Abbey was then to appoint the future vicars and to pay them a stipend. This was confirmed in 1225 by Pope Honorius III, when it was stated that the revenues were appropriated to help the Abbey’s building fund. (The Abbey had been burnt down in 1184). The parishioners also had to pay rent of 6s. 9d. to the Abbey.
At the dissolution of the Abbey in 1539, the church passed to the Crown, and the rent was raised to £1 2s. 2d. In 1649 it passed to the Bishop of Bath and Wells, who is the patron of the living. St. Benedict's Church, Glastonbury, and West Pennard Church were originally chapels of the mother church of St. John's. They always had their own churchwardens, and eventually became separate parishes, but were served by the same incumbent, except between 1846 and 1980.
In medieval times the churchwardens were a corporate body owning considerable property in the town. We are fortunate that the number of their account rolls from the year 1366 onwards have been preserved, although with many gaps and doubts about the dates of some of them. They give much useful information about the church, the town and its people.
St Margaret’s Chapel, the Magdalene Almshouses and Quiet Garden website
St Margaret’s Chapel, the Magdalene Almshouses and Quiet Garden are situated in a small, secluded site in a conservation area off Magdalene Street, Glastonbury. They have witnessed prayer and healing since the 13th Century when they were part of Glastonbury Abbey. The site is now managed by the Mary & Margaret Charity. The end Almshouses include a simple iconography display and in the summer an iconographer can often be seen at work here. One Almshouse is also open to visitors to get a sense of life here in the 16th century. The gardens are tended beautifully, and are lovely to sit in. From the garden beyond the West gable you can appreciate the scale of original 12th century hospital.
Town Hall Magdalene Street, Glastonbury 01458 831769 website
Although a charter was granted to the town in 1705, following a petition citing the lack of local justice which stated "whereof the morall of the inhabitants are corrupt, and cavill and breach of the peace are frequent", it was not until 1813 when an order was placed with a Mr.Beard of Somerton to draw up plans for a Town Hall.
The early Corporation, composed of capital and inferior burgesses, held meetings in the market house which, because of its poor condition made change inevitable. After years of discussion a Mr.Down offered a piece of ground next to the gateway beside the Red Lion one which to build a new market hall on the ground floor and a Town Hall above.
The Council Chamber remains there today, above a small meeting room which is part of the whole complex.
The first meeting of the Council in the new Town Hall took place in December 1814, but "later adjourned to the White Hart to consider how to find £100", presumably for further costs. The debt was still not repaid in 1865.
Today the building houses the office of the Town Clerk, a large hall with three fine chandeliers widely used for receptions, dances, musical entertainments and meetings. The small hall below the Chamber is also popular for smaller meetings and functions.
Three rooms are now licensed for civil weddings, including the Council Chamber where the monthly meetings of the Council take place on the first Tuesday in every month. Meetings are held under the watchful eye of Sir Peter King, Baron Ockham, Speaker of the House of Lords and Lord Chancellor. A barrister with local family connections, Peter King became the first Recorder of the town under the Charter.
The Town Hall today is entirely funded by the town and the range of activities it attracts and is adjoined by St.Dunstan's Car Park, recently acquired by the Council. This park is capable of holding more than 60 cars and coaches and is the starting point for the local bus which regularly takes visitors around the Tor during the summer months
Wearyall Hill is an elongated low hill lies to the southwest of the town. It is here that Joseph of Arimathea is said to have placed his staff in the ground when he landed all-wear from his journey from the Holy Land.
His staff sprouted and became the Holy Thorn, the descendants of which still blossom today at Christmastide. A cutting of the Holy Thorn is sent just before each Christmas to the Queen\'s table. The hill is open to the public.
The Holy Thorn was vandalised in December 2010 but it is hoped that with proper care it will regrow its crown.
Glastonbury was once an island and water rises and falls from it’s heart in profusion. Full of mystery and symbolism, two springs rise within feet of each other at the base of the Tor - the holy hill of Avalon. One, tasting sweet with calcium, leaves a white trail. The other, tasting metallic with iron, leaves its mark in red. We sought to create a Temple here in honour of the Spirit of the White Spring. The White Spring water flows through it, as does the Ley Line known as the Michael line. Cavernous and set apart, in blackness or candle lit, mysterious it remains. A stark contrast to the wonderful gardens of Chalice Well of the Red Spring.