History Ancient & Recent
In the darktimes of pre-recordered history there are legends of The Isle of Avalon as the place of the dead. A sacred burial ground and later a druidical college. Legends tell us of the arrival of Joseph of Arimathea after the crucifixion of Jesus and as we move into historical times we see the great Benedictine Abbey of Glaston dominating the town. Through archaeology we can see something of the early history of Glastonbury. The Tor and some of the surrounding land was an island joined to the mainland by a narrow peninsular. The island was surrounded by tidal marshes which gave good natural protection.
In Neolithic times there were people living in Lake Villages near the island but there seem to have been few if any resident inhabitants. The island appears to have been treated as sacred place from the earliest days.
In the middle ages we see Glastonbury emerging as great centre of pilgrimage. The reason for the importance of this small town in a remote part of Somerset was partially the ancient tradition of the Isle of Avalon as a sacred site and partially the Christian history and tradition personified by the great Benedictine Abbey. The heart of the Abbey was the Abbey Church where the choir monks lived a life of prayer complemented by writing, teaching, illuminating manuscripts, caring for the sick and poor and looking after the pilgrims visiting the monastery. These activities were supported by the secular work of the monks, the managing of their land and farms. All this was in turn supported by the town - by the shopkeepers, farmers, craftsmen and professionals of every kind.
We are not going to attempt to produce a history of Glastonbury on this site. What we will attempt to do is compile a list of links to other sites that are relevant. Please contact us if you have a site you wish to be added.
|A Personal History of Glastonbury|
John Brunsdon MBE
|BBC Domesday Reloaded - Glastonbury 1986|
Written accounts of Glastonbury in 1986. In 1986 the BBC launched an ambitious project to record a snapshot of everyday life across the UK for future generations. A million volunteers took part…
Now, 30 years later you can explore the archive online, see the pictures, update the information and make your mark on this fascinating record of our collective history.
|Glastonbury Antiquarian Society|
The Society’s extended library is now based in the County Library in Archers Way. Members of the Society have access to the Library and the Lake Village collection at such times that the Archers Way Library and the Tribunal TIC are open to the public. Members also enjoy a range of public lectures and field trips—usually of Glastonbury related subjects.
|Glastonbury Conservation Society|
The Glastonbury Conservation Society was founded in 1971 in appreciation of our built and natural environment here at Glastonbury, in Somerset, England.
|Glastonbury History and a Glastonbury Timeline|
Conventional and unconventional views on the history of Glastonbury. This page contains too many links to other resources for us to be able to list them here..
|The High Street 70 years ago |
Eric King’s memories of the High Street in the 1940s before, during and after the war.
|The Rutland Boughton Music Trust|
Rutland Boughton was born in Aylesbury on 23 January 1878. After studying under Sir Charles Stanford at the Royal College of Music, he spent some years as a musician in various London theatres before being offered a permanent teaching post by Sir Granville Bantock at Birmingham\'s Institute of Music. There he became known as a composer of orchestral and choral music. In 1914, and with the support of the Clark family (of shoe manufacturing fame), he established the first of his Glastonbury Festivals in order to provide a platform for his works and for any other music that accorded with his artistic ideals. The Festivals, the first of their kind to be seen in England, continued with increasing success and sophistication until the end of 1926, by which time he had mounted over 300 staged performances and 100 chamber concerts, besides related lectures, exhibitions and a series of innovative Summer Schools.
An audio-visual documentary in four parts tracing the changes to Glastonbury High street from 1900 to the year 20. Select Programmes from the website menu.