Visit Glastonbury and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Glastonbury, Somerset. Many people still believe that under the waters of a spring on the slopes of its Tor, which is topped by a basically 14th-century, church tower, Joseph of Arimathea buried the chalice used at the Last Supper; that when, on a nearby hill, he thrust his thorn staff into the ground it took root to produce the distinctive Glastonbury winter-flowering thorn-tree; and that, on what was later to be the site of the great abbey round which the town grew, he built a church of daub and wattle and there made the first conversions to Christianity in Britain. This, briefly, is the Legend of Glastonbury, still the cause of pilgrimages.
At the time of the Crucifixion the place would have been an island amid marshes and lakes, surrounded by lake-villages. In c. 688, King Ine of Wessex gave it a monastery. This was rather larger than Wells Cathedral and became one of the richest and most beautiful in the land, as is still clear from the ruins of its church. A later legend says King Arthur and Queen Guinevere were re-buried in the abbey; and the spot, like everything else in the now excellently maintained precinct, is informatively sign-boarded. Two of the buildings remain intact: the kitchens containing a minor museum, and the 14th-century Abbot's Barn.
The other best buildings are in the High Street. St John's Church. with an exceptionally fine tower (1475), contains a tomb which legend once held to be Joseph of Arimathea's and some l5th-century stained glass. It is tall, slender-pillared and splendid, and there is a Glastonbury thorn in the churchyard. The splendidly stone-faced George Inn was built in the 15th century to lodge pilgrims. The handsome Market Cross is 19th-century.
The walk to the Tor, which the superb view makes almost compulsory, is from the junction of Chilkwell Street and Wellhouse Lane (Shepton Mallet road); very near here is Chalice Well. The waters were formerly considered to be curative. Weary-All Hill, where St Joseph's staff is supposed to have taken root, is to the South West. The original thorn-tree was hacked down by a Roundhead who, it is said, also hacked off his leg in the process.
The town was a wool centre from the 13th to the 19th century. It now goes in for sheepskin products and has a livestock market.
One of the lake-villages where archaeologists made major finds was about 1 mile North West but has little to show the layman. Another was at Meare.
Nearby cities: Wells
Nearby towns: Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Langport, Shepton Mallet, Street
Nearby villages: Alford, Aller, Ashcott, Baltonsborough, Barton St. David, Butleigh, Chapel Allerton, Charlton Mackrell, Cheddar, Compton, Compton Dundon, Dundon, East Lydford, East Pennard, Edington, Emborrow, Godney, Greinton, High Ham, Hornblotton, Keinton Mandeville, Mark, Meare, Middlezoy, North Barrow, North Wootton, Othery, Pilton, Pitney, Polsham, Rodney Stoke, Shapwick, South Barrow, Sparkford, Sutton Mallet, Walton, Wedmore, West Lydford, West Pennard, Westbury, Wookey, Wookey Hole
Have you decided to visit Glastonbury or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Glastonbury bed and breakfast (a Glastonbury B&B or Glastonbury b and b)
- a Glastonbury guesthouse
- a Glastonbury hotel (or motel)
- a Glastonbury self-catering establishment, or
- other Glastonbury accommodation