Glastonbury

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Glastonbury is a small town in Somerset
Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

, England, situated at a dry point
Dry point
In geography a dry point is an area of firm or flood-free ground in an area of wetland, marsh or flood plains. The term typically applies to settlements, and dry point settlements were common in history....

 on the low lying Somerset Levels
Somerset Levels
The Somerset Levels, or the Somerset Levels and Moors as they are less commonly but more correctly known, is a sparsely populated coastal plain and wetland area of central Somerset, South West England, between the Quantock and Mendip Hills...

, 23 miles (37 km) south of Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

. The town, which is in the Mendip
Mendip
Mendip is a local government district of Somerset in England. The Mendip district covers a largely rural area of ranging from the Mendip Hills through on to the Somerset Levels. It has a population of approximately 110,000...

 district, had a population of 8,784 in the 2001 census. Glastonbury is less than 1 miles (2 km) across the River Brue
River Brue
The River Brue originates in the parish of Brewham in Somerset, England, and reaches the sea some 50 km west at Burnham-on-Sea. It originally took a different route from Glastonbury to the sea, but this was changed by the monastery in the twelfth century....

 from the village of Street
Street, Somerset
Street is a small village and civil parish in the county of Somerset, England. It is situated on a dry spot in the Somerset Levels, at the end of the Polden Hills, south-west of Glastonbury. The 2001 census records the village as having a population of 11,066...

.

Evidence from timber trackways such as the Sweet Track
Sweet Track
The Sweet Track is an ancient causeway in the Somerset Levels, England. It was built in 3807 or 3806 BC and has been claimed to be the oldest road in the world. It was the oldest timber trackway discovered in Northern Europe until the 2009 discovery of a 6,000 year-old trackway in Belmarsh Prison...

 show that the town has been inhabited since Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 times. Glastonbury Lake Village
Glastonbury Lake Village
Glastonbury Lake Village was an iron age village on the Somerset Levels near Godney, some north west of Glastonbury, Somerset, England. It has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and covers an area of north to south by east to west....

 was an Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 village, close to the old course of the River Brue and Sharpham Park
Sharpham
Sharpham is a village and civil parish on the Somerset Levels near Street and Glastonbury in the Mendip district of Somerset, England.It is located near the River Brue.-Governance:...

 approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Glastonbury, dates back to the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

. Centwine
Centwine of Wessex
Centwine was King of Wessex from circa 676 to 685 or 686, although he was perhaps not the only king of the West Saxons at the time.The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that Centwine became king circa 676, succeeding Æscwine...

 was the first Saxon patron of Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey was a monastery in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. The ruins are now a grade I listed building, and a Scheduled Ancient Monument and are open as a visitor attraction....

, which dominated the town for the next 700 years. One of the most important abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

s in England, it was the site of Edmund Ironside
Edmund Ironside
Edmund Ironside or Edmund II was king of England from 23 April to 30 November 1016. His cognomen "Ironside" is not recorded until 1057, but may have been contemporary. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it was given to him "because of his valour" in resisting the Danish invasion led by Cnut...

's coronation as King of England in 1016. Many of the oldest surviving buildings in the town, including the Tribunal
The Tribunal, Glastonbury
The Tribunal in Glastonbury, Somerset, England was built in the 15th century as a medieval merchant's house. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building....

, George Hotel and Pilgrims' Inn
George Hotel and Pilgrims' Inn, Glastonbury
The George Hotel and Pilgrims' Inn in Glastonbury, Somerset, England was built in the late 15th century to accommodate visitors to Glastonbury Abbey. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building. It is the oldest purpose built public house in the South West of England.The front of the 3...

 and the Somerset Rural Life Museum
Somerset Rural Life Museum
The Somerset Rural Life Museum is situated in Glastonbury, Somerset, UK. It is a museum of the social and agricultural history of Somerset, housed in buildings surrounding a 14th century barn once belonging to Glastonbury Abbey....

, which is based in an old tithe barn
Tithe barn
A tithe barn was a type of barn used in much of northern Europe in the Middle Ages for storing the tithes - a tenth of the farm's produce which had to be given to the church....

, are associated with the abbey. The Church of St John the Baptist
Church of St John the Baptist, Glastonbury
The Church of St John the Baptist in Glastonbury, Somerset, England dates from the 15th century and has been designated as a Grade I listed building....

 dates from the 15th century.

The town became a centre for commerce, which led to the construction of the market cross, Glastonbury Canal
Glastonbury Canal
The Glastonbury Canal ran for just over through two locks from Glastonbury to Highbridge in Somerset, England, where it entered the River Parrett and from there the Bristol Channel. The canal was authorised by Parliament in 1827 and opened in 1834. It was operated by The Glastonbury Navigation &...

 and the Glastonbury and Street railway station
Glastonbury and Street railway station
Glastonbury and Street railway station was the biggest station on the original Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway main line from Highbridge to Evercreech Junction until closed in 1966 under the Beeching axe...

, the largest station on the original Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway
Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway
The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway – almost always referred to as "the S&D" – was an English railway line connecting Bath in north east Somerset and Bournemouth now in south east Dorset but then in Hampshire...

. The Brue Valley Living Landscape
Brue Valley Living Landscape
The Brue Valley Living Landscape is a UK conservation project based on the Somerset Levels and Moors and managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust. The project commenced in January 2009 and aims to restore, recreate and reconnect habitat...

 is a conservation
Conservation biology
Conservation biology is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction...

 project managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust
Somerset Wildlife Trust
Somerset Wildlife Trust is a wildlife trust covering the county of Somerset, England.The trust, which was established in 1964, aims to safeguard the county's wildlife and wild places for this and future generations and manages almost 80 nature reserves. Examples include Fyne Court, Westhay Moor,...

 and nearby is the Ham Wall
Ham Wall
The Ham Wall National Nature Reserve, west of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels in the valley of the River Brue in Somerset, England is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds....

 National Nature Reserve
National Nature Reserve
For details of National nature reserves in the United Kingdom see:*National Nature Reserves in England*National Nature Reserves in Northern Ireland*National Nature Reserves in Scotland*National Nature Reserves in Wales...

.

Glastonbury has been described as a New Age community
New Age communities
New Age communities are places where, intentionally or accidentally, communities have grown up to include significant numbers of people with New Age beliefs. The intentional communities have specific aims but have a variety of structures, purposes and means of subsistence. These include...

 which attracts people with New Age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 and Neopagan beliefs, and is notable for myths and legends often related to Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor is a hill at Glastonbury, Somerset, England, which features the roofless St. Michael's Tower. The site is managed by the National Trust. It has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument ....

, concerning Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea was, according to the Gospels, the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus' Crucifixion. He is mentioned in all four Gospels.-Gospel references:...

, the Holy Grail
Holy Grail
The Holy Grail is a sacred object figuring in literature and certain Christian traditions, most often identified with the dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and said to possess miraculous powers...

 and King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

. In some Arthurian literature Glastonbury is identified with the legendary island of Avalon
Avalon
Avalon is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend. It first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's 1136 pseudohistorical account Historia Regum Britanniae as the place where King Arthur's sword Excalibur was forged and later where Arthur was...

. Joseph is said to have arrived in Glastonbury and stuck his staff into the ground, when it flowered miraculously into the Glastonbury Thorn
Glastonbury Thorn
The Glastonbury Thorn is a form of Common Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna 'Biflora' , found in and around Glastonbury, Somerset, England. Unlike ordinary hawthorn trees, it flowers twice a year , the first time in winter and the second time in spring...

. The presence of a landscape zodiac
Landscape zodiac
A landscape zodiac is a map of the stars on a gigantic scale, formed by features in the landscape, such as roads, streams and field boundaries. Perhaps the best known alleged example is the Glastonbury Temple of the Stars, situated around Glastonbury in Somerset, England...

 around the town has been suggested, along with a collection of ley line
Ley line
Ley lines are alleged alignments of a number of places of geographical and historical interest, such as ancient monuments and megaliths, natural ridge-tops and water-fords...

s, but no evidence has been discovered. The Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury Festival
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, commonly abbreviated to Glastonbury or even Glasto, is a performing arts festival that takes place near Pilton, Somerset, England, best known for its contemporary music, but also for dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts.The...

, held in the nearby village of Pilton
Pilton, Somerset
Pilton is a village and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated on the A361 road in the Mendip district, 3 miles south-west of Shepton Mallet and 6 miles east of Glastonbury. The village has a population of 935...

, takes its name from the town.

Prehistory


During the 7th millennium BC the sea level rose and flooded the valleys and low lying ground surrounding Glastonbury so the Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 people occupied seasonal camps on the higher ground, indicated by scatters of flints. The Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 people continued to exploit the reedswamps for their natural resources and started to construct wooden trackways. These included the Sweet Track
Sweet Track
The Sweet Track is an ancient causeway in the Somerset Levels, England. It was built in 3807 or 3806 BC and has been claimed to be the oldest road in the world. It was the oldest timber trackway discovered in Northern Europe until the 2009 discovery of a 6,000 year-old trackway in Belmarsh Prison...

, west of Glastonbury, which is one of the oldest engineered roads known and was the oldest timber trackway
Timber trackway
A timber trackway was typically used as the shortest route between two places in a bog or peatland and have been built for thousands of years as a means of getting between two points. Timber trackways have been identified in archaeological finds in Neolithic England, dating to 500 years before...

 discovered in Northern Europe, until the 2009 discovery of a 6,000 year-old trackway in Belmarsh Prison
Belmarsh (HM Prison)
HM Prison Belmarsh is a Category A men's prison, located in the Thamesmead area of the London Borough of Greenwich, in south-east London, England. Belmarsh Prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service...

. Tree-ring dating (dendrochronology
Dendrochronology
Dendrochronology or tree-ring dating is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree-rings. Dendrochronology can date the time at which tree rings were formed, in many types of wood, to the exact calendar year...

) of the timbers has enabled very precise dating of the track, showing it was built in 3807 or 3806 BC. It has been claimed to be the oldest road in the world. The track was discovered in the course of peat digging in 1970, and is named after its discoverer, Ray Sweet. It extended across the marsh
Marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

 between what was then an island at Westhay
Westhay
Westhay is a village in Somerset, England. It is situated in the parish of Meare, north west of Glastonbury on the Somerset Levels, in the Mendip district.The name means 'The west field that is enclosed by hedges' from the Old English west and haga...

, and a ridge of high ground at Shapwick
Shapwick, Somerset
Shapwick is a village on the Somerset Levels, in the Sedgemoor district of Somerset, England. It is situated to the west of Glastonbury.-History:Shapwick is the site of one end of the Sweet Track, an ancient causeway dating from the 39th century BC....

, a distance close to 2000 metres (1.2 mi). The track is one of a network of tracks that once crossed the Somerset Levels
Somerset Levels
The Somerset Levels, or the Somerset Levels and Moors as they are less commonly but more correctly known, is a sparsely populated coastal plain and wetland area of central Somerset, South West England, between the Quantock and Mendip Hills...

. Built in the 39th century BC, during the Neolithic period, the track consisted of crossed poles of ash
Ash tree
Fraxinus is a genus flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45-65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The tree's common English name, ash, goes back to the Old English æsc, while the generic name...

, oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

 and lime (Tilia
Tilia
Tilia is a genus of about 30 species of trees native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The greatest species diversity is found in Asia, and the genus also occurs in Europe and eastern North America, but not western North America...

) which were driven into the waterlogged soil to support a walkway that mainly consisted of oak planks laid end-to-end. Since the discovery of the Sweet Track, it has been determined that it was built along the route of an even earlier track, the Post Track, dating from 3838 BC and so 30 years older.
Glastonbury Lake Village
Glastonbury Lake Village
Glastonbury Lake Village was an iron age village on the Somerset Levels near Godney, some north west of Glastonbury, Somerset, England. It has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and covers an area of north to south by east to west....

 was an Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 village, close to the old course of the River Brue
River Brue
The River Brue originates in the parish of Brewham in Somerset, England, and reaches the sea some 50 km west at Burnham-on-Sea. It originally took a different route from Glastonbury to the sea, but this was changed by the monastery in the twelfth century....

, on the Somerset Levels near Godney
Godney
Godney is a village and civil parish near Glastonbury on the River Sheppey on the Somerset Levels in the Mendip district of Somerset, England.-Governance:...

, some 3 miles (5 km) north west of Glastonbury. It covers an area of 400 feet (122 m) north to south by 300 feet (91 m) east to west, and housed around 100 people in five to seven groups of houses, each for an extended family, with sheds and barns, made of hazel
Hazel
The hazels are a genus of deciduous trees and large shrubs native to the temperate northern hemisphere. The genus is usually placed in the birch family Betulaceae, though some botanists split the hazels into a separate family Corylaceae.They have simple, rounded leaves with double-serrate margins...

 and willow
Willow
Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

 covered with reeds, and surrounded either permanently or at certain times by a wooden palisade
Palisade
A palisade is a steel or wooden fence or wall of variable height, usually used as a defensive structure.- Typical construction :Typical construction consisted of small or mid sized tree trunks aligned vertically, with no spacing in between. The trunks were sharpened or pointed at the top, and were...

. The village was built in about 300 BC and occupied into the early Roman period (around 100AD) when it was abandoned, possibly due to a rise in the water level. It was built on a morass on an artificial foundation of timber filled with brushwood, bracken, rubble and clay.

Sharpham Park
Sharpham
Sharpham is a village and civil parish on the Somerset Levels near Street and Glastonbury in the Mendip district of Somerset, England.It is located near the River Brue.-Governance:...

 is a 300 acres (1.2 km²) historic park, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Glastonbury, which dates back to the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

.

Middle Ages


The origin of the name Glastonbury is unclear but when the settlement is first recorded in the 7th and the early 8th century, it was called Glestingaburg. The burg element is Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon may refer to:* Anglo-Saxons, a group that invaded Britain** Old English, their language** Anglo-Saxon England, their history, one of various ships* White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, an ethnicity* Anglo-Saxon economy, modern macroeconomic term...

 and could refer either to a fortified place such as a burh
Burh
A Burh is an Old English name for a fortified town or other defended site, sometimes centred upon a hill fort though always intended as a place of permanent settlement, its origin was in military defence; "it represented only a stage, though a vitally important one, in the evolution of the...

 or, more likely, a monastic enclosure, however the Glestinga element is obscure, and may derive from an Old English word or from a Saxon or Celtic personal name.

William of Malmesbury
William of Malmesbury
William of Malmesbury was the foremost English historian of the 12th century. C. Warren Hollister so ranks him among the most talented generation of writers of history since Bede, "a gifted historical scholar and an omnivorous reader, impressively well versed in the literature of classical,...

 in his De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie gives the Old Celtic Ineswitrin (or Ynys Witrin) as its earliest name, and asserts that the founder of the town was the eponymous Glast, a descendant of Cunedda
Cunedda
Cunedda ap Edern , was an important early Welsh leader, and the progenitor of the royal dynasty of Gwynedd.-Background and life:The name Cunedda derives from the Brythonic word , meaning good hound. His genealogy is traced back to Padarn Beisrudd, which literally translates as Paternus of the...

.

Centwine
Centwine of Wessex
Centwine was King of Wessex from circa 676 to 685 or 686, although he was perhaps not the only king of the West Saxons at the time.The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that Centwine became king circa 676, succeeding Æscwine...

 (676–685) was the first Saxon patron of Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey was a monastery in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. The ruins are now a grade I listed building, and a Scheduled Ancient Monument and are open as a visitor attraction....

. In 1016 Edmund Ironside
Edmund Ironside
Edmund Ironside or Edmund II was king of England from 23 April to 30 November 1016. His cognomen "Ironside" is not recorded until 1057, but may have been contemporary. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it was given to him "because of his valour" in resisting the Danish invasion led by Cnut...

 was crowned king at Glastonbury. After his death later that year he was buried at the abbey. To the southwest of the town centre is Beckery, which was once a village in its own right but is now part of the suburbs. Around the 7th and 8th centuries it was occupied by a small monastic community associated with a cemetery.

Sharpham Park was granted by King Eadwig to the then abbot Æthelwold
Æthelwold of Wessex
Æthelwold was the youngest of three known sons of King Æthelred of Wessex. His brother Oswald is recorded between 863 and 875, and Æthelhelm is only recorded as a beneficiary of King Alfred's will in the mid 880s, and probably died soon afterwards...

 in 957. In 1191 Sharpham Park was conferred by the soon-to-be King John I
John of England
John , also known as John Lackland , was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death...

 to the Abbots of Glastonbury, who remained in possession of the park and house until the dissolution of the monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

 in 1539. From 1539 to 1707 the park was owned by the Duke of Somerset
Duke of Somerset
Duke of Somerset is a title in the peerage of England that has been created several times. Derived from Somerset, it is particularly associated with two families; the Beauforts who held the title from the creation of 1448 and the Seymours, from the creation of 1547 and in whose name the title is...

, Sir Edward Seymour
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, 1st Earl of Hertford, 1st Viscount Beauchamp of Hache, KG, Earl Marshal was Lord Protector of England in the period between the death of Henry VIII in 1547 and his own indictment in 1549....

, brother of Queen Jane
Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour was Queen of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution for trumped up charges of high treason, incest and adultery in May 1536. She died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of...

; the Thynne
Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquess of Bath
Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquess of Bath KG was a British politician who held office under George III serving as Southern Secretary, Northern Secretary and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Between 1751 and 1780 he was known as Lord Weymouth...

 family of Longleat
Longleat
Longleat is an English stately home, currently the seat of the Marquesses of Bath, adjacent to the village of Horningsham and near the towns of Warminster in Wiltshire and Frome in Somerset. It is noted for its Elizabethan country house, maze, landscaped parkland and safari park. The house is set...

, and the family of Sir Henry Gould. Edward Dyer
Edward Dyer
Sir Edward Dyer was an English courtier and poet.-Life:The son of Sir Thomas Dyer, Kt., he was born at Sharpham Park, Glastonbury, Somerset. He was educated, according to Anthony Wood, either at Balliol College, Oxford or at Broadgates Hall , and left after taking a degree...

 was born here in 1543. The house is now a private residence and Grade II* listed building. It was the birthplace of Sir Edward Dyer
Edward Dyer
Sir Edward Dyer was an English courtier and poet.-Life:The son of Sir Thomas Dyer, Kt., he was born at Sharpham Park, Glastonbury, Somerset. He was educated, according to Anthony Wood, either at Balliol College, Oxford or at Broadgates Hall , and left after taking a degree...

 (died 1607) an Elizabethan
Elizabethan era
The Elizabethan era was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign . Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history...

 poet and courtier, the writer Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding was an English novelist and dramatist known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones....

 (1707–54), and the cleric William Gould.

In the 1070s St Margaret's Chapel was built on Magdelene Street, originally as a hospital and later as almshouses for the poor. The building dates from 1444. The roof of the hall is thought to have been removed after the Dissolution, and some of the building was demolished in the 1960s. It is Grade II* listed, and a Scheduled ancient monument
Scheduled Ancient Monument
In the United Kingdom, a scheduled monument is a 'nationally important' archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorized change. The various pieces of legislation used for legally protecting heritage assets from damage and destruction are grouped under the term...

. In 2010 plans were announced to restore the building.
During the Middle Ages the town largely depended on the abbey but was also a centre for the wool trade until the 18th century. A Saxon-era canal
Glastonbury Canal (medieval)
The medieval Glastonbury canal was built in about the middle of the 10th century to link the River Brue at Northover with Glastonbury Abbey, a distance of about . Its initial purpose is believed to be the transport of building stone for the abbey, but later it was used for delivering produce,...

 connected the abbey to the River Brue. Richard Whiting
Richard Whiting (the Blessed Richard Whiting)
Blessed Richard Whiting was an English clergyman and the last Abbot of Glastonbury. He presided over Glastonbury Abbey at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII of England, and was executed for unclear reasons in 1539...

, the last Abbot of Glastonbury, was executed with two of his monks on 15 November 1539 during the dissolution of the monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

.

During the Second Cornish Uprising of 1497
Second Cornish Uprising of 1497
The Second Cornish Uprising is the name given to the Cornish uprising of September 1497 when the pretender to the throne Perkin Warbeck landed at Whitesand Bay, near Land's End, on 7 September with just 120 men in two ships...

 Perkin Warbeck
Perkin Warbeck
Perkin Warbeck was a pretender to the English throne during the reign of King Henry VII of England. By claiming to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the younger son of King Edward IV, one of the Princes in the Tower, Warbeck was a significant threat to the newly established Tudor Dynasty,...

 surrendered when he heard that Giles, Lord Daubeney's troops, loyal to Henry VII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

 were camped at Glastonbury.

Early modern


In 1693 Glastonbury, Connecticut
Glastonbury, Connecticut
Glastonbury is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States, founded in 1693. The population was 31,876 at the 2000 census. The town was named after Glastonbury in Somerset, England. Glastonbury is located on the banks of the Connecticut River, 7 miles southeast of Hartford. The town...

 was founded and named after the English town from which some of the settlers had emigrated. It was originally called "Glistening Town" until the mid-19th century when it was changed in line with Glastonbury, England. A representation of the Glastonbury thorn is incorporated onto the town seal.

The Somerset towns charter of incorporation was received in 1705. Growth in the trade and economy largely depended on the drainage of the surrounding moors. The opening of the Glastonbury Canal
Glastonbury Canal
The Glastonbury Canal ran for just over through two locks from Glastonbury to Highbridge in Somerset, England, where it entered the River Parrett and from there the Bristol Channel. The canal was authorised by Parliament in 1827 and opened in 1834. It was operated by The Glastonbury Navigation &...

 produced an upturn in trade, and encouraged local building.

The parish was part of the hundred of Glaston Twelve Hides
Glaston Twelve Hides (hundred)
The Hundred of Glaston Twelve Hides is one of the 40 historical Hundreds in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, dating from before the Norman conquest during the Anglo-Saxon era although exact dates are unknown. Each hundred had a 'fyrd', which acted as the local defence force and a court...

.

Modern history


By the middle of the 18th century the Glastonbury Canal drainage problems and competition from the new railways caused a decline in trade, and the town's economy became depressed. The canal was closed on 1 July 1854, and the lock and aqueducts on the upper section were dismantled. The railway opened on 17 August 1854. The lower sections of the canal were given to the Commissioners for Sewers, for use as a drainage ditch. The final section was retained to provide a wharf for the railway company, which was used until 1936, when it passed to the Commissioners of Sewers and was filled in. The Central Somerset Railway merged with the Dorset Central Railway to become the Somerset and Dorset Railway. The main line to Glastonbury closed in 1966.

In the Northover district industrial production of sheepskins, woollen slipper
Slipper
A slipper or houseshoe is a semi-closed type of indoor/outdoor shoe, consisting of a sole held to the wearer's foot by a strap running over the toes or instep. Slippers are soft and lightweight compared to other types of footwear. They are mostly made of soft or comforting materials that allow a...

s and, later, boot
Boot
A boot is a type of footwear but they are not shoes. Most boots mainly cover the foot and the ankle and extend up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece....

s and shoes, developed in conjunction with the growth of C&J Clark
C&J Clark
C. and J. Clark International Ltd, trading as Clarks, is a British, international shoe manufacturer and retailer based in Street, Somerset, England...

 in Street. Clarks still has its headquarters in Street, but shoes are no longer manufactured there. Instead, in 1993, redundant factory buildings were converted to form Clarks Village
Clarks Village
Clarks Village is a designer outlet shopping complex at Street in the English county of Somerset. The centre includes more than 90 shops. There are also coffee shops, refreshment stalls and a dining area shared by fast food chains , mostly selling goods at a discount to high street prices.It is...

, the first purpose-built factory outlet in the United Kingdom.

During the 19th and 20th centuries tourism developed based on the rise of antiquarian
Antiquarian
An antiquarian or antiquary is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient objects of art or science, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts...

ism, the association with the abbey and mysticism of the town. This was aided by accessibility via the rail and road network, which has continued to support the town's economy and led to a steady rise in resident population since 1801.

Glastonbury received national media coverage in 1999 when cannabis
Cannabis
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that includes three putative species, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. These three taxa are indigenous to Central Asia, and South Asia. Cannabis has long been used for fibre , for seed and seed oils, for medicinal purposes, and as a...

 plants were found in the town's floral displays.

Mythology and legends



Glastonbury is notable for myths and legends concerning Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea was, according to the Gospels, the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus' Crucifixion. He is mentioned in all four Gospels.-Gospel references:...

, the Holy Grail
Holy Grail
The Holy Grail is a sacred object figuring in literature and certain Christian traditions, most often identified with the dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and said to possess miraculous powers...

 and King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

. The legend that Joseph of Arimathea retrieved certain holy relics was introduced by the French poet Robert de Boron
Robert de Boron
Robert de Boron was a French poet of the late 12th and early 13th centuries who is most notable as the author of the poems Joseph d'Arimathe and Merlin.-Work:...

 in his 13th-century version of the grail story, thought to have been a trilogy though only fragments of the later books survive today. The work became the inspiration for the later Vulgate Cycle of Arthurian tales.

De Boron's account relates how Joseph captured Jesus' blood in a cup (the "Holy Grail") which was subsequently brought to Britain. The Vulgate Cycle reworked Boron's original tale. Joseph of Arimathea was no longer the chief character in the Grail origin: Joseph's son, Josephus, took over his role of the Grail keeper.
The earliest versions of the grail romance, however, do not call the grail "holy" or mention anything about blood, Joseph or Glastonbury.
In 1191, monks at the abbey claimed to have found the graves of Arthur and Guinevere to the south of the Lady Chapel of the Abbey Church, which was visited by a number of contemporary historians including Giraldus Cambrensis
Giraldus Cambrensis
Gerald of Wales , also known as Gerallt Gymro in Welsh or Giraldus Cambrensis in Latin, archdeacon of Brecon, was a medieval clergyman and chronicler of his times...

. The remains were later moved and were lost during the Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

. Many scholars suspect that this discovery was a pious forgery to substantiate the antiquity of Glastonbury's foundation, and increase its renown.

In some Arthurian literature Glastonbury is identified with the legendary island of Avalon
Avalon
Avalon is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend. It first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's 1136 pseudohistorical account Historia Regum Britanniae as the place where King Arthur's sword Excalibur was forged and later where Arthur was...

. An early Welsh poem links Arthur to the Tor in an account of a confrontation between Arthur and Melwas, who had kidnapped Queen Guinevere
Guinevere
Guinevere was the legendary queen consort of King Arthur. In tales and folklore, she was said to have had a love affair with Arthur's chief knight Sir Lancelot...

. According to some versions of the Arthurian legend, Lancelot
Lancelot
Sir Lancelot du Lac is one of the Knights of the Round Table in the Arthurian legend. He is the most trusted of King Arthur's knights and plays a part in many of Arthur's victories...

 retreated to Glastonbury Abbey in penance following Arthur's death.

Joseph is said to have arrived in Glastonbury by boat over the flooded Somerset Levels. On disembarking he stuck his staff into the ground and it flowered miraculously into the Glastonbury Thorn
Glastonbury Thorn
The Glastonbury Thorn is a form of Common Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna 'Biflora' , found in and around Glastonbury, Somerset, England. Unlike ordinary hawthorn trees, it flowers twice a year , the first time in winter and the second time in spring...

 (or Holy Thorn). This is said to explain a hybrid Crataegus monogyna (hawthorn) tree that only grows within a few miles of Glastonbury, and which flowers twice annually, once in spring and again around Christmas time (depending on the weather). Each year a sprig of thorn is cut, by the local Anglican vicar and the eldest child from St John's School, and sent to the Queen.

The original Holy Thorn was a centre of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages but was chopped down during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

. A replacement thorn was planted in the 20th century on Wearyall hill (originally in 1951 to mark the Festival of Britain
Festival of Britain
The Festival of Britain was a national exhibition in Britain in the summer of 1951. It was organised by the government to give Britons a feeling of recovery in the aftermath of war and to promote good quality design in the rebuilding of British towns and cities. The Festival's centrepiece was in...

; but the thorn had to be replanted the following year as the first attempt did not take). Many other examples of the thorn grow throughout Glastonbury including those in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey, St Johns Church and Chalice Well
Chalice Well
Chalice Well is a holy well situated at the foot of Glastonbury Tor in the county of Somerset, England. The natural spring and surrounding gardens are owned and managed by the Chalice Well Trust , founded by Wellesley Tudor Pole in 1959.Archaeological evidence suggests that the well has been in...

.

Today Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey was a monastery in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. The ruins are now a grade I listed building, and a Scheduled Ancient Monument and are open as a visitor attraction....

 presents itself as "traditionally the oldest above-ground Christian church in the world," which according to the legend was built at Joseph's behest to house the Holy Grail
Holy Grail
The Holy Grail is a sacred object figuring in literature and certain Christian traditions, most often identified with the dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and said to possess miraculous powers...

, 65 or so years after the death of Jesus. The legend also says that as a child, Jesus had visited Glastonbury along with Joseph. The legend probably was encouraged during the medieval period when religious relics and pilgrimages were profitable business for abbeys. William Blake
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

 mentioned the legend in a poem that became a popular hymn, "Jerusalem" (see And did those feet in ancient time
And did those feet in ancient time
"And did those feet in ancient time" is a short poem by William Blake from the preface to his epic Milton a Poem, one of a collection of writings known as the Prophetic Books. The date on the title page of 1804 for Milton is probably when the plates were begun, but the poem was printed c. 1808...

).

Glastonbury zodiac


In 1934 artist Katherine Maltwood
Katherine Maltwood
Spelled Katharine Emma MaltwoodBirth: London, England, 1878Death: Victoria, Canada, 1961Throughout her childhood, Maltwood was reared to be an artist. Her parents were progressive, and they pushed each of their children equally to achieve their potential...

 suggested a landscape zodiac
Landscape zodiac
A landscape zodiac is a map of the stars on a gigantic scale, formed by features in the landscape, such as roads, streams and field boundaries. Perhaps the best known alleged example is the Glastonbury Temple of the Stars, situated around Glastonbury in Somerset, England...

, a map of the stars on a gigantic scale, formed by features in the landscape such as roads, streams and field boundaries, could be found situated around Glastonbury. She held that the "temple" was created by Sumerians about 2700 BC. The idea of a prehistoric landscape zodiac fell into disrepute when two independent studies examined the Glastonbury Zodiac, one by Ian Burrow in 1975 and the other by Tom Williamson and Liz Bellamy in 1983. These both used standard methods of landscape historical research. Both studies concluded that the evidence contradicted the idea of an ancient zodiac. The eye of Capricorn identified by Maltwood was a haystack. The western wing of the Aquarius phoenix was a road laid in 1782 to run around Glastonbury, and older maps dating back to the 1620s show the road had no predecessors. The Cancer boat (not a crab as in conventional western astrology) consists of a network of 18th-century drainage ditches and paths. There are some Neolithic paths preserved in the peat of the bog formerly comprising most of the area, but none of the known paths match the lines of the zodiac features. There is no support for this theory, or for the existence of the "temple" in any form, from conventional archaeologists. Glastonbury is also said to be the centre of several ley line
Ley line
Ley lines are alleged alignments of a number of places of geographical and historical interest, such as ancient monuments and megaliths, natural ridge-tops and water-fords...

s.

Governance and public services



The town council is made up of 12 members, and is based at the Town Hall, Magdalene Street. The town hall was built in 1818 and has a two-storey late Georgian
Georgian architecture
Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United...

 ashlar front. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Glastonbury is in the local government district
Non-metropolitan district
Non-metropolitan districts, or colloquially shire districts, are a type of local government district in England. As created, they are sub-divisions of non-metropolitan counties in a so-called "two-tier" arrangement...

 of Mendip
Mendip
Mendip is a local government district of Somerset in England. The Mendip district covers a largely rural area of ranging from the Mendip Hills through on to the Somerset Levels. It has a population of approximately 110,000...

, which is part of the county of Somerset
Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

. It was previously administered by Glastonbury Municipal Borough. The Mendip district council is responsible for local planning
Planning permission
Planning permission or planning consent is the permission required in the United Kingdom in order to be allowed to build on land, or change the use of land or buildings. Within the UK the occupier of any land or building will need title to that land or building , but will also need "planning...

 and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health
Environmental health
Environmental health is the branch of public health that is concerned with all aspects of the natural and built environment that may affect human health...

, markets and fairs, refuse collection and recycling
Recycling
Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

, cemeteries and crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism. Somerset County Council
Somerset County Council
Somerset County Council is the county council of Somerset in the South West of England, an elected local government authority responsible for the most significant local government services in most of the county.-Area covered:...

 is responsible for running the largest and most expensive local services such as education
Local Education Authority
A local education authority is a local authority in England and Wales that has responsibility for education within its jurisdiction...

, social services, the library, road maintenance, trading standards
Trading Standards
Trading Standards is the name given to local authority departments in the UK formerly known as Weights and Measures. These departments investigate commercial organisations that carry out trade in unethical ways or outside the scope of the law.-History:...

, waste disposal and strategic planning.

The town's retained
Retained firefighter
A retained firefighter, also known as a Firefighter working the Retained Duty System , RDS Firefighter, part-time firefighter or on-call firefighter, in the United Kingdom and Ireland is a professional firefighter who may have full-time employment outside of the fire service but responds to...

 fire station
Fire service in the United Kingdom
The fire services in the United Kingdom operate under separate legislative and administrative arrangements in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales...

 is operated by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is the statutory fire and rescue service covering the counties of Devon and Somerset, including the unitary authorities of Plymouth and Torbay, in South West England...

, whilst police and ambulance services are provided by Avon and Somerset Constabulary
Avon and Somerset Constabulary
Avon & Somerset Constabulary is the territorial police force in England responsible for policing the non-metropolitan county of Somerset, the city & county of Bristol and the unitary authorities of South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset; before 1996 these districts...

 and the South Western Ambulance Service
South Western Ambulance Service
The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is the authority responsible for providing ambulance services for the National Health Service in the English counties of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset...

. There are two doctors' surgeries
General practitioner
A general practitioner is a medical practitioner who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education for all ages and both sexes. They have particular skills in treating people with multiple health issues and comorbidities...

 in Glastonbury, and a National Health Service
National Health Service
The National Health Service is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom...

 community hospital operated by Somerset Primary Care Trust which opened in 2005.

Glastonbury falls within the Wells constituency
Wells (UK Parliament constituency)
Wells is a county constituency centred on the city of Wells in Somerset. It elects one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, by the first past the post voting system...

, represented in the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP)
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 by the first past the post system of election. The Member of Parliament is Tessa Munt
Tessa Munt
Tessa Jane Munt is a British Liberal Democrat politician. She is the Member of Parliament for Wells in Somerset.-Political career:...

 of the Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

. It is within the South West England (European Parliament constituency)
South West England (European Parliament constituency)
South West England is a constituency of the European Parliament. For 2009 it elects 6 MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation, reduced from 7 in 2004.-Boundaries:...

, which elects six MEPs using the d'Hondt method
D'Hondt method
The d'Hondt method is a highest averages method for allocating seats in party-list proportional representation. The method described is named after Belgian mathematician Victor D'Hondt who described it in 1878...

 of party-list proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting systems emphasizing proportional representation in elections in which multiple candidates are elected...

.

Glastonbury is twinned with the Greek island of Patmos
Patmos
Patmos is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. One of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese complex, it has a population of 2,984 and an area of . The highest point is Profitis Ilias, 269 meters above sea level. The Municipality of Patmos, which includes the offshore islands of Arkoi ,...

, and Lalibela, Ethiopia.

Geography



The walk up the Tor
Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor is a hill at Glastonbury, Somerset, England, which features the roofless St. Michael's Tower. The site is managed by the National Trust. It has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument ....

 to the distinctive tower at the summit (the partially restored remains of an old church) is rewarded by vistas of the mid-Somerset area, including the Levels which are drained marshland. From there, on a dry point
Dry point
In geography a dry point is an area of firm or flood-free ground in an area of wetland, marsh or flood plains. The term typically applies to settlements, and dry point settlements were common in history....

, 158 metres (518.4 ft) above sea level, it is easy to appreciate how Glastonbury was once an island and, in the winter, the surrounding moors are often flooded, giving that appearance once more. It is an agricultural region typically with open fields of permanent grass, surrounded by ditches with willow
Willow
Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

 trees. Access to the moors and Levels is by "droves", i.e., green lanes. The Levels and inland moors can be 6 metres (20 ft) below peak tides and have large areas of peat
Peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

. The low lying areas are underlain by much older Triassic
Triassic
The Triassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about 250 to 200 Mya . As the first period of the Mesozoic Era, the Triassic follows the Permian and is followed by the Jurassic. Both the start and end of the Triassic are marked by major extinction events...

 age formations of Upper Lias
Early Jurassic
The Early Jurassic epoch is the earliest of three epochs of the Jurassic period...

 sand that protrude to form what would once have been islands and include Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor is a hill at Glastonbury, Somerset, England, which features the roofless St. Michael's Tower. The site is managed by the National Trust. It has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument ....

. The lowland landscape was formed only during the last 10,000 years, following the end of the last ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

.

The low lying damp ground can produce a visual effect known as a Fata Morgana
Fata Morgana (mirage)
A Fata Morgana is an unusual and very complex form of mirage, a form of superior mirage, which, like many other kinds of superior mirages, is seen in a narrow band right above the horizon...

. This optical phenomenon
Optical phenomenon
An optical phenomenon is any observable event that results from the interaction of light and matter. See also list of optical topics and optics. A mirage is an example of an optical phenomenon....

 occurs because rays of light are strongly bent when they pass through air layers of different temperatures in a steep thermal inversion where an atmospheric duct
Atmospheric duct
In telecommunication, an atmospheric duct is a horizontal layer in the lower atmosphere in which the vertical refractive index gradients are such that radio signals are guided or ducted, tend to follow the curvature of the Earth, and experience less attenuation in the ducts than they would if...

 has formed. The Italian name Fata Morgana is derived from the name of Morgan le Fay
Morgan le Fay
Morgan le Fay , alternatively known as Morgane, Morgaine, Morgana and other variants, is a powerful sorceress in the Arthurian legend. Early works featuring Morgan do not elaborate her character beyond her role as a fay or magician...

, who was alternatively known as Morgane, Morgain, Morgana and other variants. Morgan le Fay was described as a powerful sorceress
Magician (fantasy)
A magician, mage, sorcerer, sorceress, wizard, enchanter, enchantress, thaumaturge or a person known under one of many other possible terms is someone who uses or practices magic that derives from supernatural or occult sources...

 and antagonist
Antagonist
An antagonist is a character, group of characters, or institution, that represents the opposition against which the protagonist must contend...

 of King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

 and Queen Guinevere
Guinevere
Guinevere was the legendary queen consort of King Arthur. In tales and folklore, she was said to have had a love affair with Arthur's chief knight Sir Lancelot...

 in the Arthurian legend.

Glastonbury is less than 1 miles (2 km) across the River Brue
River Brue
The River Brue originates in the parish of Brewham in Somerset, England, and reaches the sea some 50 km west at Burnham-on-Sea. It originally took a different route from Glastonbury to the sea, but this was changed by the monastery in the twelfth century....

 from the village of Street
Street, Somerset
Street is a small village and civil parish in the county of Somerset, England. It is situated on a dry spot in the Somerset Levels, at the end of the Polden Hills, south-west of Glastonbury. The 2001 census records the village as having a population of 11,066...

. At the time of King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

 the Brue formed a lake just south of the hilly ground on which Glastonbury stands. This lake is one of the locations suggested by Arthurian legend as the home of the Lady of the Lake
Lady of the Lake
The Lady of the Lake is the name of several related characters who play parts in the Arthurian legend. These characters' roles include giving King Arthur his sword Excalibur, enchanting Merlin, and raising Lancelot after the death of his father...

. Pomparles Bridge stood at the western end of this lake, guarding Glastonbury from the south, and it is suggested that it was here that Sir Bedivere
Bedivere
In Arthurian legend, Sir Bedivere is the Knight of the Round Table who returns Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. He serves as King Arthur's marshal and is frequently associated with Sir Kay...

 threw Excalibur
Excalibur
Excalibur is the legendary sword of King Arthur, sometimes attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Great Britain. Sometimes Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone are said to be the same weapon, but in most versions they are considered separate. The sword was...

 into the waters after King Arthur fell at the Battle of Camlann
Battle of Camlann
The Battle of Camlann is best known as the final battle of King Arthur, where he either died in battle, or was fatally wounded fighting his enemy Mordred.-Historicity:...

. The old bridge was replaced by a reinforced concrete arch bridge in 1911.

Until the 13th century, the direct route to the sea at Highbridge was prevented by gravel banks and peat near Westhay. The course of the river partially encircled Glastonbury from the south, around the western side (through Beckery), and then north through the Panborough-Bleadney gap in the Wedmore
Wedmore
Wedmore is a village and civil parish in the county of Somerset, England. It is situated on raised ground, in the Somerset Levels between the River Axe and River Brue, often called the Isle of Wedmore. It forms part of Sedgemoor district...

-Wookey
Wookey
Wookey is a village and civil parish west of Wells, on the River Axe in the Mendip district of Somerset, England. Wookey is often confused with its sister village Wookey Hole which is perhaps best known today for the Wookey Hole Caves...

 Hills, to join the River Axe just north of Bleadney. This route made it difficult for the officials of Glastonbury Abbey to transport produce from their outlying estates to the abbey, and when the valley of the River Axe was in flood it backed up to flood Glastonbury itself. Some time between 1230 and 1250 a new channel was constructed westwards into Meare Pool
Meare Pool
Meare Pool was a lake in the Somerset Levels in South West England....

 north of Meare
Meare
Meare is a village and civil parish north west of Glastonbury on the Somerset Levels, in the Mendip district of Somerset, England. The parish includes the village of Westhay.-History:...

, and further westwards to Mark Moor. The Brue Valley Living Landscape
Brue Valley Living Landscape
The Brue Valley Living Landscape is a UK conservation project based on the Somerset Levels and Moors and managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust. The project commenced in January 2009 and aims to restore, recreate and reconnect habitat...

 is a conservation
Conservation biology
Conservation biology is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction...

 project based on the Somerset Levels and Moors and managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust
Somerset Wildlife Trust
Somerset Wildlife Trust is a wildlife trust covering the county of Somerset, England.The trust, which was established in 1964, aims to safeguard the county's wildlife and wild places for this and future generations and manages almost 80 nature reserves. Examples include Fyne Court, Westhay Moor,...

. The project commenced in January 2009 and aims to restore, recreate and reconnect habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

, ensuring that wildlife is enhanced and capable of sustaining itself in the face of climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

, while guaranteeing farmers and other landowners can continue to use their land profitably. It is one of an increasing number of landscape scale conservation
Landscape scale conservation
Landscape scale conservation is a concept that has arisen, primarily in the UK since the mid-1990s, in response to both the challenges of climate change and a perceived excessive focus on site based conservation...

 projects in the UK.
The Ham Wall
Ham Wall
The Ham Wall National Nature Reserve, west of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels in the valley of the River Brue in Somerset, England is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds....

 National Nature Reserve
National Nature Reserve
For details of National nature reserves in the United Kingdom see:*National Nature Reserves in England*National Nature Reserves in Northern Ireland*National Nature Reserves in Scotland*National Nature Reserves in Wales...

, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west of Glastonbury, is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Bird Notes and News was first published in April 1903.The title changed to 'Bird Notes' in 1947. In the 1950s, there were four copies per year . Each volume covered two years, spread over three calendar years...

. This new wetland habitat has been established from out peat diggings and now consists of areas of reedbed, wet scrub, open water and peripheral grassland and woodland. Bird species living on the site include the Bearded Tit
Bearded Tit
The Bearded Reedling is a peculiar small passerine bird. It is also frequently known as the Bearded Tit due to some similarities to Long-tailed Tits, or Bearded Parrotbill since it was later placed with these after it was removed from the true tits in the family Paridae...

 and the Bittern
Bittern
Bitterns are a classification of birds in the heron family, Ardeidae, a family of wading birds. Species named bitterns tend to be the shorter-necked, often more secretive members of this family...

.

The Whitelake River
Whitelake River
The Whitelake River is a small river on the Somerset Levels, England.The river rises between two low limestone ridges, part of the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. The confluence of the two small streams that make the Whitelake River is on Worthy Farm which is the site of the Glastonbury Festival...

 rises between two low limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 ridges to the north of Glastonbury, part of the southern edge of the Mendip Hills
Mendip Hills
The Mendip Hills is a range of limestone hills to the south of Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England. Running east to west between Weston-super-Mare and Frome, the hills overlook the Somerset Levels to the south and the Avon Valley to the north...

. The confluence
Confluence (geography)
In geography, a confluence is the meeting of two or more bodies of water. It usually refers to the point where two streams flow together, merging into a single stream...

 of the two small streams that make the Whitelake River is on Worthy Farm, the site of the Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury Festival
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, commonly abbreviated to Glastonbury or even Glasto, is a performing arts festival that takes place near Pilton, Somerset, England, best known for its contemporary music, but also for dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts.The...

, between the small villages of Pilton
Pilton, Somerset
Pilton is a village and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated on the A361 road in the Mendip district, 3 miles south-west of Shepton Mallet and 6 miles east of Glastonbury. The village has a population of 935...

 and Pylle
Pylle
Pylle is a village and civil parish south west of Shepton Mallet, and from Wells, in the Mendip district of Somerset, England. It has a population of 176...

.

Climate


Along with the rest of South West England
South West England
South West England is one of the regions of England defined by the Government of the United Kingdom for statistical and other purposes. It is the largest such region in area, covering and comprising Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. ...

, Glastonbury has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country. The annual mean temperature is approximately 10 °C (50 °F). Seasonal temperature variation is less extreme than most of the United Kingdom because of the adjacent sea temperatures. The summer months of July and August are the warmest with mean daily maxima of approximately 21 °C (69.8 °F). In winter mean minimum temperatures of 1 °C (33.8 °F) or 2 °C (35.6 °F) are common. In the summer the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

 high pressure affects the south-west of England, however convective cloud sometimes forms inland, reducing the number of hours of sunshine. Annual sunshine rates are slightly less than the regional average of 1,600 hours. In December 1998 there were 20 days without sun recorded at Yeovilton. Most the rainfall in the south-west is caused by Atlantic depressions or by convection
Convection
Convection is the movement of molecules within fluids and rheids. It cannot take place in solids, since neither bulk current flows nor significant diffusion can take place in solids....

. Most of the rainfall in autumn and winter is caused by the Atlantic depressions, which is when they are most active. In summer, a large proportion of the rainfall is caused by sun heating the ground leading to convection and to showers and thunderstorms. Average rainfall is around 700 mm (27.6 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, and June to August have the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the south-west.

Economy



Glastonbury is a centre for religious tourism and pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

. As with many towns of similar size, the centre is not as thriving as it once was but Glastonbury supports a large number of alternative shops.

The outskirts of the town contain a DIY shop a former sheepskin
Sheepskin
Sheepskin is the hide of a sheep, sometimes also called lambskin or lambswool.Sheepskin may also refer to:* Parchment, a thin material made from calfskin, sheepskin or goatskin** Diploma, originally made of sheepskin...

 and slipper factory site, once owned by Morlands
Morlands
Morlands is a manufacturer of sheepskin jackets, boots and other footwear, based in Glastonbury in Somerset, England.-History:In 1870, John Morland bought a tannery in Glastonbury, particularly attracted by the water , which he described as being "of unusual purity".John Morland was Chairman from...

, which is slowly being redevoped. The 31 acres (12.5 ha) site of the old Morlands factory was scheduled for demolition and redevelopment into a new light industrial park, although there have been some protests that the buildings should be reused rather than being demolished. As part of the redevelopment of the site a project has been established by the Glastonbury Community Development Trust to provide support for local unemployed people applying for employment, starting in self-employment and accessing work-related training.

Landmarks


The Tribunal
The Tribunal, Glastonbury
The Tribunal in Glastonbury, Somerset, England was built in the 15th century as a medieval merchant's house. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building....

 was a medieval merchant's house, used as the Abbey courthouse and, during the Monmouth Rebellion
Monmouth Rebellion
The Monmouth Rebellion,The Revolt of the West or The West Country rebellion of 1685, was an attempt to overthrow James II, who had become King of England, King of Scots and King of Ireland at the death of his elder brother Charles II on 6 February 1685. James II was a Roman Catholic, and some...

 trials
Bloody Assizes
The Bloody Assizes were a series of trials started at Winchester on 25 August 1685 in the aftermath of the Battle of Sedgemoor, which ended the Monmouth Rebellion in England....

, by Judge Jeffreys. It now serves as a museum containing possessions and works of art from the Glastonbury Lake Village
Glastonbury Lake Village
Glastonbury Lake Village was an iron age village on the Somerset Levels near Godney, some north west of Glastonbury, Somerset, England. It has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and covers an area of north to south by east to west....

 which were preserved in almost perfect condition in the peat after the village was abandoned. The museum is run by the Glastonbury Antiquarian Society. The building also houses the tourist information centre.

The octagonal Market Cross was built in 1846 by Benjamin Ferrey
Benjamin Ferrey
Benjamin Ferrey, F.S.A., F.R.I.B.A. was an English architect who worked mostly in the Gothic Revival.-Family:Benjamin Ferrey was the youngest son of Benjamin Ferrey Snr, a draper who became Mayor of Christchurch. He was educated at Wimborne Grammar School....

.

The George Hotel and Pilgrims' Inn
George Hotel and Pilgrims' Inn, Glastonbury
The George Hotel and Pilgrims' Inn in Glastonbury, Somerset, England was built in the late 15th century to accommodate visitors to Glastonbury Abbey. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building. It is the oldest purpose built public house in the South West of England.The front of the 3...

 was built in the late 15th century to accommodate visitors to Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey was a monastery in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. The ruins are now a grade I listed building, and a Scheduled Ancient Monument and are open as a visitor attraction....

, which is open to visitors. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building. The front of the 3-storey building is divided into 3 tiers of panels with traceried heads. Above these are 3 carved panels with arms of the Abbey and Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

.

The Somerset Rural Life Museum
Somerset Rural Life Museum
The Somerset Rural Life Museum is situated in Glastonbury, Somerset, UK. It is a museum of the social and agricultural history of Somerset, housed in buildings surrounding a 14th century barn once belonging to Glastonbury Abbey....

 is a museum of the social and agricultural history of Somerset, housed in buildings surrounding a 14th-century barn
Barn
A barn is an agricultural building used for storage and as a covered workplace. It may sometimes be used to house livestock or to store farming vehicles and equipment...

 once belonging to Glastonbury Abbey. It was used for the storage of arable produce, particularly wheat and rye, from the abbey's home farm of approximately 524 acres (2.1 km²). Threshing and winnowing would also have been carried out in the barn, which was built from local "shelly" limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 with thick timbers supporting the stone tiling of the roof. It has been designated by English Heritage
English Heritage
English Heritage . is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport...

 as a grade I listed building, and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument
Scheduled Ancient Monument
In the United Kingdom, a scheduled monument is a 'nationally important' archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorized change. The various pieces of legislation used for legally protecting heritage assets from damage and destruction are grouped under the term...

.


The Chalice Well
Chalice Well
Chalice Well is a holy well situated at the foot of Glastonbury Tor in the county of Somerset, England. The natural spring and surrounding gardens are owned and managed by the Chalice Well Trust , founded by Wellesley Tudor Pole in 1959.Archaeological evidence suggests that the well has been in...

 is a holy well
Water well
A water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers. The well water is drawn by an electric submersible pump, a trash pump, a vertical turbine pump, a handpump or a mechanical pump...

 at the foot of the Tor, covered by a wooden well-cover with wrought-iron decoration made in 1919. The natural spring has been in almost constant use for at least two thousand years. Water issues from the spring at a rate of 25000 gallons (113,652.3 l) per day and has never failed, even during drought. Iron oxide
Iron oxide
Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen. All together, there are sixteen known iron oxides and oxyhydroxides.Iron oxides and oxide-hydroxides are widespread in nature, play an important role in many geological and biological processes, and are widely utilized by humans, e.g.,...

 deposits give the water a reddish hue, as dissolved ferrous oxide becomes oxygenated at the surface and is precipitated, providing chalybeate
Chalybeate
Chalybeate waters, also known as ferruginous waters, are mineral spring waters containing salts of iron.-Name:The word "chalybeate" is derived from the Latin word for steel, "chalybs", which follows from the Greek word "khalups"...

 waters. As with the hot springs in nearby Bath, the water is believed to possess healing qualities. The well is about 9 feet (2.7 m) deep, with two underground chambers at its bottom. It is often portrayed as a symbol of the female aspect of deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, with the male symbolised by Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor is a hill at Glastonbury, Somerset, England, which features the roofless St. Michael's Tower. The site is managed by the National Trust. It has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument ....

. As such, it is a popular destination for pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s in search of the divine feminine, including modern Pagans
Neopaganism
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

. The well is however popular with all faiths and in 2001 became a World Peace Garden.

Transport



The Glastonbury Canal
Glastonbury Canal
The Glastonbury Canal ran for just over through two locks from Glastonbury to Highbridge in Somerset, England, where it entered the River Parrett and from there the Bristol Channel. The canal was authorised by Parliament in 1827 and opened in 1834. It was operated by The Glastonbury Navigation &...

 ran just over 14 miles (22.5 km) through two locks from Glastonbury to Highbridge
Highbridge, Somerset
Highbridge is a small market town situated on the edge of the Somerset Levels near the mouth of the River Brue. It is in the County of Somerset, and is approximately north west of Taunton, the county town of Somerset. Highbridge is in the District of Sedgemoor, being situated approximately north...

 where it entered the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
The Bristol Channel is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It extends from the lower estuary of the River Severn to the North Atlantic Ocean...

 in the early 19th century, but it became uneconomic with the arrival of the railway in the 1840s.

Glastonbury and Street railway station
Glastonbury and Street railway station
Glastonbury and Street railway station was the biggest station on the original Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway main line from Highbridge to Evercreech Junction until closed in 1966 under the Beeching axe...

 was the biggest station on the original Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway
Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway
The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway – almost always referred to as "the S&D" – was an English railway line connecting Bath in north east Somerset and Bournemouth now in south east Dorset but then in Hampshire...

 main line from Highbridge to Evercreech Junction
Evercreech Junction railway station
Evercreech Junction was a railway station at Evercreech on the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway.Originally opened in 1862 as "Evercreech" on the original S&D line from Burnham-on-Sea to Broadstone, it became in 1874 the junction for the northwards extension towards Bath that bankrupted the company...

 until closed in 1966 under the Beeching axe
Beeching Axe
The Beeching Axe or the Beeching Cuts are informal names for the British Government's attempt in the 1960s to reduce the cost of running British Railways, the nationalised railway system in the United Kingdom. The name is that of the main author of The Reshaping of British Railways, Dr Richard...

. Opened in 1854 as Glastonbury, and renamed in 1886, it had three platforms, two for Evercreech to Highbridge services and one for the branch service to Wells
Wells
Wells is a cathedral city and civil parish in the Mendip district of Somerset, England, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. Although the population recorded in the 2001 census is 10,406, it has had city status since 1205...

. The station had a large goods yard controlled from a signal box
Signal box
On a rail transport system, signalling control is the process by which control is exercised over train movements by way of railway signals and block systems to ensure that trains operate safely, over the correct route and to the proper timetable...

. The site is now a timber yard for a local company. Replica level crossing gates have been placed at the entrance.

The main road in the town is the A39
A39 road
The A39 is an A road in south west England. It runs south-west from Bath in Somerset through Wells, Glastonbury, Street and Bridgwater. It then follows the north coast of Somerset and Devon through Williton, Minehead, Porlock, Lynmouth, Barnstaple, Bideford, Stratton, Camelford, Wadebridge and St...

 which passes through Glastonbury from Wells
Wells
Wells is a cathedral city and civil parish in the Mendip district of Somerset, England, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. Although the population recorded in the 2001 census is 10,406, it has had city status since 1205...

 connecting the town with Street
Street, Somerset
Street is a small village and civil parish in the county of Somerset, England. It is situated on a dry spot in the Somerset Levels, at the end of the Polden Hills, south-west of Glastonbury. The 2001 census records the village as having a population of 11,066...

 and the M5 motorway
M5 motorway
The M5 is a motorway in England. It runs from a junction with the M6 at West Bromwich near Birmingham to Exeter in Devon. Heading south-west, the M5 runs east of West Bromwich and west of Birmingham through Sandwell Valley...

. The other roads around the town are small and run across the levels generally following the drainage ditches. Local bus services are provided by Badgerline, Nippy Bus
Nippy Bus
Nippy Bus is a privately owned company that operate a number of bus services around Somerset, England. It operates local town services in Yeovil under contract to the County Council as well as rural services. An ex-London Transport Routemaster bus is available for private hire work...

, National Express
National Express
National Express Coaches, more commonly known as National Express, is a brand and company, owned by the National Express Group, under which the majority of long distance bus and coach services in Great Britain are operated,...

 and local community groups.

Education


There are several infant and primary schools in Glastonbury and the surrounding villages. Secondary education is provided by St Dunstan's Community School
St Dunstan's Community School
St Dunstan's School is a secondary school in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. The school has 586 students between the ages of 11 and 16 years. It is named after St...

. As of 2009, the school had 639 students between the ages of 11 and 16 years. It is named after St. Dunstan, an abbot of Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey was a monastery in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. The ruins are now a grade I listed building, and a Scheduled Ancient Monument and are open as a visitor attraction....

, who went on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury in 960 AD. The school was built in 1958 with major building work, at a cost of £1.2 million, in 1998, adding the science block and the sports hall. It was designated as a specialist Arts College
Arts College
Arts Colleges were introduced in 1997 as part of the now defunct Specialist Schools Programme in the United Kingdom. The system enabled secondary schools to specialise in certain fields, in this case, the performing, visual and/or media arts...

 in 2004, and the £800,000 spent at this time paid for the Performing Arts studio and facilities to support students with special educational needs.

Strode College
Strode College
Strode College is a tertiary institution and further education college situated in Street, Somerset, England. It provides education for students aged 16 and over, after they leave secondary school. These courses are usually A-levels or BTECs...

 in Street
Street, Somerset
Street is a small village and civil parish in the county of Somerset, England. It is situated on a dry spot in the Somerset Levels, at the end of the Polden Hills, south-west of Glastonbury. The 2001 census records the village as having a population of 11,066...

 provides academic and vocational courses for those aged 16–18 and adult education. A tertiary institution and further education
Further education
Further education is a term mainly used in connection with education in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is post-compulsory education , that is distinct from the education offered in universities...

 college, most of the courses it offers are A-levels or Business and Technology Education Councils (BTECs). The college also provides some university-level courses, and is part of The University of Plymouth Colleges network
The University of Plymouth Colleges network
The University of Plymouth Colleges network is a partnership between the University of Plymouth and local colleges to deliver a range of higher education courses in Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, as well as the Channel Islands. The network began in 1989 with the Polytechnic South...

.

Religious sites



Glastonbury may have been a site of religious importance in pre-Christian times. The abbey was founded by Britons
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

, and dates to at least the early 7th century, although later medieval Christian legend claimed that the abbey was founded by Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea was, according to the Gospels, the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus' Crucifixion. He is mentioned in all four Gospels.-Gospel references:...

 in the 1st century. This fanciful legend is intimately tied to Robert de Boron
Robert de Boron
Robert de Boron was a French poet of the late 12th and early 13th centuries who is most notable as the author of the poems Joseph d'Arimathe and Merlin.-Work:...

's version of the Holy Grail
Holy Grail
The Holy Grail is a sacred object figuring in literature and certain Christian traditions, most often identified with the dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and said to possess miraculous powers...

 story and to Glastonbury's connection to King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

, which dates at least to the early 12th century. Glastonbury fell into Saxon hands after the Battle of Peonnum
Battle of Peonnum
The Battle of Peonnum was fought approximately AD 660 between the West Saxons under Cenwalh and the Britons of what is now Somerset. It was a decisive victory for the Saxons, who gained control of Somerset as far west as the River Parrett...

 in 658. King Ine
Ine of Wessex
Ine was King of Wessex from 688 to 726. He was unable to retain the territorial gains of his predecessor, Cædwalla, who had brought much of southern England under his control and expanded West Saxon territory substantially...

 of Wessex
Wessex
The Kingdom of Wessex or Kingdom of the West Saxons was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the West Saxons, in South West England, from the 6th century, until the emergence of a united English state in the 10th century, under the Wessex dynasty. It was to be an earldom after Canute the Great's conquest...

 enriched the endowment of the community of monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

s already established at Glastonbury. He is said to have directed that a stone church be built in 712. The Abbey Church was enlarged in the 10th century by the Abbot of Glastonbury, Saint Dunstan
Dunstan
Dunstan was an Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, a Bishop of Worcester, a Bishop of London, and an Archbishop of Canterbury, later canonised as a saint. His work restored monastic life in England and reformed the English Church...

, the central figure in the 10th-century revival of English monastic life. He instituted the Benedictine Rule at Glastonbury and built new cloisters. Dunstan became Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

 in 960. In 1184, a great fire at Glastonbury destroyed the monastic buildings. Reconstruction began almost immediately and the Lady Chapel
Lady chapel
A Lady chapel, also called Mary chapel or Marian chapel, is a traditional English term for a chapel inside a cathedral, basilica, or large church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary...

, which includes the well, was consecrated in 1186.
The abbey had a violent end during the Dissolution
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

 and the buildings were progressively destroyed as their stones were removed for use in local building work. The remains of the Abbot's Kitchen (a grade I listed building.) and the Lady Chapel
Lady chapel
A Lady chapel, also called Mary chapel or Marian chapel, is a traditional English term for a chapel inside a cathedral, basilica, or large church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary...

 are particularly well-preserved set in 36 acres (145,687 m²) of parkland. It is approached by the Abbey Gatehouse which was built in the mid-14th century and completely restored in 1810.

The Church of St Benedict was rebuilt by Abbot Richard Beere
Richard Beere
Richard Beere was an English Benedictine abbot of Glastonbury, known as a builder for his abbey, as a diplomat and scholar, and a friend of Erasmus.-Life:...

 in about 1520.

The Church of St John the Baptist
Church of St John the Baptist, Glastonbury
The Church of St John the Baptist in Glastonbury, Somerset, England dates from the 15th century and has been designated as a Grade I listed building....

 dates from the 15th century and has been designated as a Grade I listed building. The church is laid out in a cruciform
Cruciform
Cruciform means having the shape of a cross or Christian cross.- Cruciform architectural plan :This is a common description of Christian churches. In Early Christian, Byzantine and other Eastern Orthodox forms of church architecture this is more likely to mean a tetraconch plan, a Greek cross,...

 plan with an aisled nave
Nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

 and a clerestorey of seven bays. The west tower has elaborate buttress
Buttress
A buttress is an architectural structure built against or projecting from a wall which serves to support or reinforce the wall...

ing, panelling and battlements. The interior of the church includes four 15th-century tomb-chests, some 15th-century stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

 in the chancel, medieval vestments, and a domestic cupboard of about 1500 which was once at Witham Charterhouse
Witham Charterhouse
Witham Charterhouse was the earliest of the ten medieval Carthusian houses in England.-History:It was established at Witham Friary, Somerset in 1178/1179 from a founding party led by a monk called Narbert from the Grande Chartreuse...

.

The United Reformed Church
United Reformed Church
The United Reformed Church is a Christian church in the United Kingdom. It has approximately 68,000 members in 1,500 congregations with some 700 ministers.-Origins and history:...

 on the High Street was built in 1814 and altered in 1898. It stands on the site of the Ship Inn where meetings were held during the 18th century. It is Grade II listed.

The Glastonbury Goddess Temple was founded in 2002 and registered as a place of worship the following year. It is self-described as the first temple of its kind to exist in Europe in over a thousand years.

Sports



The local football side is Glastonbury Town F.C.. They joined the Western Football League
Western Football League
The Western Football League is a football league in the south west of England, covering Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, western Dorset, parts of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and parts of South Wales...

 Division Two as Glastonbury in 1919 and won the Western Football League
Western Football League
The Western Football League is a football league in the south west of England, covering Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, western Dorset, parts of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and parts of South Wales...

 title three times in their history. They changed their name to Glastonbury Town in 2003. For the 2010–11 season, they are members of the Somerset County Football League
Somerset County Football League
The Somerset County Football League is a football competition based in England. It sits at step 7 of the National League System. It is a feeder to the Western League Division One and has promoted a club in five of the last seven seasons - Hengrove Athletic, Portishead, Radstock Town, Oldland...

 Premier Division.

Glastonbury Cricket Club
Glastonbury Cricket Club
Glastonbury Cricket Club is an English amateur cricket club based in Glastonbury, Somerset. The club's first team plays in the West of England Premier League which is an accredited ECB Premier League, the highest level for recreational club cricket in England and Wales.-History:The first record of...

 competes in the West of England Premier League
West of England Premier League
The West of England Premier League is the top level of competition for recreational club cricket in the West of England and is a designated ECB Premier League....

, one of the ECB
England and Wales Cricket Board
The England and Wales Cricket Board is the governing body of cricket in England and Wales. It was created on 1 January 1997 combining the roles of the Test and County Cricket Board, the National Cricket Association and the Cricket Council...

 Premier Leagues
ECB Premier Leagues
In 1997 the ECB published "Raising the Standard", the ECB Management Board Blueprint for the Future Playing Structure of cricket. This introduced the concept of ECB Premier Leagues, designed to raise the playing standard of the top tier of club cricket and to bridge the gap between recreational...

, the highest level of recreational cricket in England and Wales. The club plays at the Tor Leisure Ground
Tor Leisure Ground
Tor Leisure Ground, previously known as Morlands Athletic Ground until 1986, is a former first-class cricket ground located in Glastonbury, Somerset. It hosted first-class matches for Somerset County Cricket Club between 1952 – 1973, and List A cricket between 1969 – 1978...

, which used to stage Somerset County Cricket Club
Somerset County Cricket Club
Somerset County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Somerset...

 first-class
First-class cricket
First-class cricket is a class of cricket that consists of matches of three or more days' scheduled duration, that are between two sides of eleven players and are officially adjudged first-class by virtue of the standard of the competing teams...

 fixtures.

Culture


Glastonbury has been described as a New Age community
New Age communities
New Age communities are places where, intentionally or accidentally, communities have grown up to include significant numbers of people with New Age beliefs. The intentional communities have specific aims but have a variety of structures, purposes and means of subsistence. These include...

 where communities have grown up to include people with New Age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 beliefs.

In a 1904 novel by Charles Whistler
Charles Whistler
The Reverend Charles Watts Whistler MRCS, LSA, was a writer of historic fiction that plays between 600 and 1100 AD, usually based on early English/Saxon chronicles, Norse or Danish Sagas and archeological discoveries....

 entitled A Prince of Cornwall Glastonbury in the days of Ine of Wessex
Ine of Wessex
Ine was King of Wessex from 688 to 726. He was unable to retain the territorial gains of his predecessor, Cædwalla, who had brought much of southern England under his control and expanded West Saxon territory substantially...

 is portrayed. It is also a setting in the Warlord Chronicles a trilogy of books about Arthurian Britain
Sub-Roman Britain
Sub-Roman Britain is a term derived from an archaeological label for the material culture of Britain in Late Antiquity: the term "Sub-Roman" was invented to describe the potsherds in sites of the 5th century and the 6th century, initially with an implication of decay of locally-made wares from a...

 written by Bernard Cornwell
Bernard Cornwell
Bernard Cornwell OBE is an English author of historical novels. He is best known for his novels about Napoleonic Wars rifleman Richard Sharpe which were adapted into a series of Sharpe television films.-Biography:...

. Modern fiction has also used Glastonbury as a setting including The Age of Misrule
The Age of Misrule (series)
The Age of Misrule is a three-book modern fantasy novel series, written by Mark Chadbourn. It is set in Britain and the faery Otherworld around the beginning of the third millennium....

 series of books by Mark Chadbourn
Mark Chadbourn
Mark Chadbourn is an English fantasy, science fiction and horror author with fifteen novels published around the world.Born in the English Midlands from a long line of coal miners...

 in which the Watchmen appear, a group selected from Anglican priests in and around Glastonbury to safeguard knowledge of a gate to the Otherworld on top of Glastonbury Tor.

The first Glastonbury Festivals were a series of cultural events held in summer, from 1914 to 1926. The festivals were founded by English socialist composer Rutland Boughton
Rutland Boughton
Rutland Boughton was an English composer who became well known in the early 20th century as a composer of opera and choral music....

 and his librettist Lawrence Buckley. Apart from the founding of a national theatre, they envisaged a summer school and music festival based on utopia
Utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

n principles. With strong Arthurian
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

 connections and historic and prehistoric associations, Glastonbury was chosen to host the festivals.

The more recent Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts
Glastonbury Festival
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, commonly abbreviated to Glastonbury or even Glasto, is a performing arts festival that takes place near Pilton, Somerset, England, best known for its contemporary music, but also for dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts.The...

, founded in 1970, is now the largest open-air music and performing arts festival
Music festival
A music festival is a festival oriented towards music that is sometimes presented with a theme such as musical genre, nationality or locality of musicians, or holiday. They are commonly held outdoors, and are often inclusive of other attractions such as food and merchandise vending machines,...

 in the world. Although it is named for Glastonbury, it is held at Worthy Farm between the small villages of Pilton
Pilton, Somerset
Pilton is a village and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated on the A361 road in the Mendip district, 3 miles south-west of Shepton Mallet and 6 miles east of Glastonbury. The village has a population of 935...

 and Pylle
Pylle
Pylle is a village and civil parish south west of Shepton Mallet, and from Wells, in the Mendip district of Somerset, England. It has a population of 176...

, 6 miles (9.7 km) east of the town of Glastonbury. The festival is best known for its contemporary music, but also features dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret
Cabaret
Cabaret is a form, or place, of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance, and theatre, distinguished mainly by the performance venue: a restaurant or nightclub with a stage for performances and the audience sitting at tables watching the performance, as introduced by a master of ceremonies or...

 and many other arts. For 2005, the enclosed area of the festival was over 900 acres (3.6 km²), had over 385 live performances and was attended by around 150,000 people. In 2007, over 700 acts played on over 80 stages and the capacity expanded by 20,000 to 177,000. The festival has spawned a range of other work including the 1972 film Glastonbury Fayre
Glastonbury Fayre
Glastonbury Fayre is a 1972 documentary film directed by Nicolas Roeg and Peter Neal of the 1971 Glastonbury Festival which was held on 20–24 June 1971.-About the film:...

 and album
Glastonbury Fayre (album)
Glastonbury Fayre is a triple album released in 1972, comprising performances by acts who had appeared at the Glastonbury Festival in 1971...

, 1996 film Glastonbury the Movie
Glastonbury the Movie
Glastonbury the Movie is a 1996 documentary film about the Glastonbury Festival produced and directed by William Beaton, Robin Mahoney and Matthew Salkeld.-About the film:...

 and the 2005 DVD Glastonbury Anthems
Glastonbury Anthems
Glastonbury Anthems is a DVD featuring live performances from the Glastonbury Festival from 1994 to 2004. The performances on the DVD were voted for by fans on the official festival website...

.

The Children's World charity grew out of the festival and is based in the town. It is known internationally (as Children's World International). It was set up by Arabella Churchill
Arabella Churchill (charity founder)
Arabella Spencer-Churchill was an English charity founder, festival co-founder, and fundraiser.In 1971, Churchill played a major role in the development of the Glastonbury Festival. In 1979, she set up the Children's Area of the Festival and also the Theatre Area. Until her death, she ran the...

 in 1981 to provide drama participation and creative play and to work creatively in educational settings, providing social and emotional benefits for all children, particularly those with special needs. Children's World International is the sister charity of Children's World and was started in 1999 to work with children in the Balkans, in conjunction with Balkan Sunflowers and Save the Children
Save the Children
Save the Children is an internationally active non-governmental organization that enforces children's rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries...

. They also run the Glastonbury Children's Festival each August.

Glastonbury is one of the venues for the annual West Country Carnival
West Country Carnival
The West Country Carnival is an annual celebration featuring a parade of illuminated floats , in the English West Country. The celebration dates back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The purpose is to raise money for local charities....

.

Notable people


Glastonbury has been the birthplace or home to many notable people. Peter King, 1st Baron King
Peter King, 1st Baron King
Peter King, 1st Baron King PC, FRS was an English lawyer and politician, who became lord chancellor of England.-Life:He was born in Exeter in 1669....

 was the recorder of Glastonbury in 1705. Thomas Bramwell Welch
Thomas Bramwell Welch
Thomas Bramwell Welch was the inventor of the pasteurization process to prevent the fermentation of grape juice.-Birth and emigration:...

 the discoverer of the pasteurisation process to prevent the fermentation
Fermentation (food)
Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol...

 of grape juice
Grape juice
Grape juice is obtained from crushing and blending grapes into a liquid. The juice is often sold in stores or fermented and made into wine, brandy, or vinegar. In the wine industry, grape juice that contains 7-23 percent of pulp, skins, stems and seeds is often referred to as "must"...

 was born in Glastonbury in 1825. The judge John Creighton
John Creighton (judge)
John Creighton was a founding father of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. He led the settlement through the tubulent times of Father Le Loutre's War, the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. He represented Lunenburg County in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1770 to 1775...

 represented Lunenburg County in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly
Nova Scotia House of Assembly
The Nova Scotia Legislature, consisting of Her Majesty The Queen represented by the Lieutenant Governor and the House of Assembly, is the legislative branch of the provincial government of Nova Scotia, Canada...

 from 1770 to 1775. The fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

 collector Thomas Hawkins
Thomas Hawkins (geologist)
Thomas Hawkins was an English fossil collector and dealer especially of Ichyosaurs and Plesiosaurs.He lived in Glastonbury.Hawkins paid for fossils exposed by erosion at Lyme Regis on the Dorset Coast, and quarrymen at inland quarries at Street and Edgarley in Somerset...

 lived in the town during the 19th century.

The religious connections and mythology of the town have also attracted several authors. The occultist and writer Dion Fortune
Dion Fortune
Violet Mary Firth Evans , better known as Dion Fortune, was a British occultist and author. Her pseudonym was inspired by her family motto "Deo, non fortuna" , originally the ancient motto of the Barons & Earls Digby.-Early life:She was born in Bryn-y-Bia in Llandudno, Wales, and grew up in a...

 (Violet Mary Firth) lived and is buried in Glastonbury. Her old house is now home to the writer and historian Geoffrey Ashe
Geoffrey Ashe
Geoffrey Ashe is a British cultural historian, a writer of non-fiction books and novels.-Early life:Born in London, Ashe spent several years in Canada growing up, graduating from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, before continuing at Cambridge.-Work:Many of his historical books are...

, who is known for his works on local legends. Frederick Bligh Bond
Frederick Bligh Bond
Frederick Bligh Bond was an English architect, illustrator, archaeologist, and psychical researcher.-Early life:...

, archaeologist and writer. Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle is a German-born Canadian resident, best known as the author of the The Power of Now and A New Earth, which were written in English. In 2011, he was listed by the Watkins Review as the most spiritually influential person in the world...

, a German-born writer, public speaker, and spiritual teacher lived in Glastonbury during the 1980s. Eileen Caddy
Eileen Caddy
Eileen Caddy MBE was a spiritual teacher and new age author, best known as one of the founders of the Findhorn Foundation community at the Findhorn Ecovillage, near the village of Findhorn, Moray Firth, in northeast Scotland...

 was at a sanctuary in Glastonbury when she first claimed to have heard the "voice of God" while meditating. Her subsequent instructions from the "voice" directed her to take on Sheena Govan
Sheena Govan
Sheena Govan was an informal spiritual teacher, and the daughter of evangelist John George Govan. Later in life she became an early influence on what would become the Findhorn Foundation...

 has her spiritual teacher, and became a spiritual teacher and new age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 author, best known as one of the founders of the Findhorn Foundation
Findhorn Foundation
The Findhorn Foundation is a Scottish charitable trust registered in 1972, formed by the spiritual community at the Findhorn Ecovillage, one of the largest intentional communities in Britain....

 community. Sally Morningstar
Sally Morningstar
Sally Morningstar is a Wiccan High Priestess and the author of at least twenty-six books on magic, astrology, Ayurveda, Wicca, divination and spirituality. She is a self-described hedgewitch, and is a teacher, psychic, and healer. She is also a musician on the bodhran, an Irish hoop drum, and...

, a Wiccan High Priestess and the author of at least twenty-six books on magic
Magic (paranormal)
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

, astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

, Ayurveda
Ayurveda
Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

, Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, divination
Divination
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

 and spirituality teaches Hedge Witchcraft and Natural Magic in Glastonbury, and lives in Somerset.

Popular entertainment and literature is also represented amongst the population. Rutland Boughton
Rutland Boughton
Rutland Boughton was an English composer who became well known in the early 20th century as a composer of opera and choral music....

 moved from Birmingham to Glastonbury in 1911 and established the country's first national annual summer school of music. Gary Stringer, lead singer of Reef
Reef (band)
Reef are an English band from Glastonbury. The band members includes Gary Stringer on vocals, Kenwyn House on guitar, Jack Bessant on bass and Dominic Greensmith on drums.-Early days:...

, was a local along with other members of the band, as are the band Flipron
Flipron
Flipron are a psychedelic pop band from Glastonbury, England, consisting of singer and songwriter Jesse Budd, pianist/organist Joe Atkinson, and drummer Mike Chitty...

. The juggler Haggis McLeod
Haggis McLeod
Haggis McLeod is a juggler who has performed for years as half of the comedy street show duo Haggis and Charlie.He was born Ian McLeod, son of Harold Leonard Hodges. He specialises in solo club juggling, club passing and hat juggling...

 and his late wife, Arabella Churchill
Arabella Churchill (charity founder)
Arabella Spencer-Churchill was an English charity founder, festival co-founder, and fundraiser.In 1971, Churchill played a major role in the development of the Glastonbury Festival. In 1979, she set up the Children's Area of the Festival and also the Theatre Area. Until her death, she ran the...

, one of the founders of the Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury Festival
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, commonly abbreviated to Glastonbury or even Glasto, is a performing arts festival that takes place near Pilton, Somerset, England, best known for its contemporary music, but also for dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts.The...

, lived in the town. The author and dramatist Nell Leyshon
Nell Leyshon
Nell Leyshon is a British dramatist and novelist.She was born in Glastonbury, England, and lives in the county of Dorset. She attended the University of Southampton, gaining a first in English Literature.Leyshon writes regularly for Radio 4 and 3...

 and she has set much of her work in the local area. Sarah Fielding
Sarah Fielding
Sarah Fielding was a British author and sister of the novelist Henry Fielding. She was the author of The Governess, or The Little Female Academy , which was the first novel in English written especially for children , and had earlier achieved success with her novel The Adventures of David Simple...

, the 18th-century author and sister of the novelist Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding was an English novelist and dramatist known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones....

, lived in the town. Michael Aldridge
Michael Aldridge
Michael William ffolliott Aldridge was an English actor. While it was his role as Seymour in the television series Last of the Summer Wine which made him widely recognised, his long career as a successful character actor on stage and screen dated back to the 1930s.-Early life:The son of Dr...

, a character actor
Character actor
A character actor is one who predominantly plays unusual or eccentric characters. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a character actor as "an actor who specializes in character parts", defining character part in turn as "an acting role displaying pronounced or unusual characteristics or...

 who appeared as Seymour in the television series Last of the Summer Wine
Last of the Summer Wine
Last of the Summer Wine is a British sitcom written by Roy Clarke that was broadcast on BBC One. Last of the Summer Wine premiered as an episode of Comedy Playhouse on 4 January 1973 and the first series of episodes followed on 12 November 1973. From 1983 to 2010, Alan J. W. Bell produced and...

, was born in Glastonbury. The conductor Charles Hazlewood
Charles Hazlewood
Charles Matthew Egerton Hazlewood is a British conductor and advocate for broadening access to orchestral music. Renowned for his widespread presence across the BBC, he conducts orchestras around the world, making his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Orchestra of the Age of...

 lives locally and hosts the "Play the Field" music festival on his farm nearby. Bill Bunbury
Bill Bunbury
Bill Bunbury is a former radio broadcaster and producer for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and an accomplished historian and writer.-Early life:...

 moved on from Glastonbury to become a writer, radio broadcaster, and producer for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly referred to as "the ABC" , is Australia's national public broadcaster...

.

Athletes and sports players have also been resident. Cricketers born in the town include Cyril Baily
Cyril Baily
Cyril Alexander Highett Baily was an English cricketer. He was a right-handed batsman who played for Somerset. He was born in Glastonbury and died in Burnham-on-Sea, both in Somerset....

 in 1880, George Burrough
George Burrough
George Baker Burrough was an English cricketer. He was a slow bowler who played for Somerset. He was born in Glastonbury and died in Butleigh....

 in 1907, and Eustace Bisgood
Eustace Bisgood
Eustace Denis Piers Bisgood was an English cricketer who played for Somerset. He was born in Glastonbury, Somerset and died at Cotmaton, Sidmouth, Devon....

 in 1878. The footballer Peter Spiring
Peter Spiring
Peter Spiring is an English former footballer who played in the Football League playing as a Winger for Bristol City, Luton Town and Hereford United, and in the North American Soccer League for Washington Darts....

was born in Glastonbury in 1950.

External links