‘Did those feet really walk on England’s mountain green?’

August 31, 2016

Wearyall Hill 

SPIRITUAL ROOTS: According to references in Father John Ives’ book Cloud of Witnesses and other sources, the Glastonbury Thorn blossomed at Easter and Christmas, in contradiction of the natural seasonal cycle. The ribbons cover up the deliberate damage caused to the thorn when it had its branches hacked off in 2010.

 Chalice Well 1

WELL SOURCED: My companion for the day Karl by the part of the well where the water turns red. Legend says it is red due to the Grail being buried here and was used to collec t the blood of Jesus at the Resurrection. More realistically the red tinge comes from iron deposits. The founder of the well, Wellesley Tudor, once said: “Water from a particular well or Source never loses its affinity from the place from which it has been taken.”

 Chalice Well 2

HEALING PROPERTIES: Having persuaded to roll my trousers up and bath in the well’s water associated with reports of healing. There is a subtler, more profound dimension to ‘water-as-healer’ which lies in its capacity to store and transmit energetic information.

 View from Tor

TOR VIEW: This the view to the north of Glastonbury from the Tor, looking out towards Shepton Mallet and beyond.

Approaching Tor

WESTERN APPROACH: Coming onto the Tor from the West side looking towards St MIchael’s Tower. It is a Grade 1 Listed Building and Scheduled Monument and in its infancy was said to be an early church hermitage. The whole area is owned and managed by the National Trust.


A PERSONAL pilgrimage to key three key landmarks around Glastonbury has revealed why they are considered so important by the Christiand and alternative communities.

According to Father John Ives’ book Cloud of Witnesses, the Orthodox priest claims Joseph of Arimathea came to ancient Britain with 12 disciples and arriving by sea through the marshes and landing at the foot of Wearyall Hill.

Legend that the grand-uncle of Jesus planted his wooden staff in the hillside and it grew into a three-pronged thorn tree to represent the Christian Trinity.

It inexplicably proceeded to blossom not once but twice a year with pure white blossom on the day of the Incarnation of Christ at Christmas in winter and on the day of the Resurrection – Easter Day.

An attempt to remove all three trunks at the time of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth was thwarted when two were cut down and a splinter from the third flew into the axeman’s eye leaving him temporarily blinded.

To this day a tradition is maintained of sending a cutting from the thorn to the reigning monarch – Elizabeth II – by the Mayor of Glastonbury to decorate her Christmas tree. The sprig is picked by oldest pupil of St John’s Infant School in Glastonbury is part of a special ceremony.

The original ‘Thorn’ was cut down and burned as a relic of superstition during the same period mentioned above and its replacement was planted in 1951 but had its branches hacked off in 2010. The thorn has not got any plaque indicating what it is and is now covered in coloured ribbons that have been attached by members of the town’s alternative community but interestingly, many of them have been written in German.

I was not aware of this but the Queen sent a cross to Glastonbury with the following words subscribed: “The cross, the symbol of our faith, the gift of Queen Elizabeth II marks a Christian event so ancient that only legend can record its origin.”

Legend in alternative sources and references to the book mentioned earlier this article says that Joseph of Arimathea brought the Chalice or Cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper he and his group of followers concealed the Grail in well itself and hence how it takes its name.= The Chalice Well.

The water has a reddish tinge due to the iron deposits within it but some believe it is a representation of the blood Joseph collected in the Grail from Jesus’ wounds as he hung upon the Cross, hence why it has been sometimes referred to as the ‘Red Spring’ or ‘Blood Spring’.

The Christian link is one of many attributed to the well. The gardens are in the vale between the Chalice Well and the Tor. It is a garden of many ‘rooms’ each with different qualities and planning, all designed to connect the visitor to nature and the source of life.

The Lion’s Head drinking fountain is the only place in the gardens where the water is safe to drink. The water is regularly tested for quality and safety and being iron-rich, it should be only drunk in small sips, not large quantities.

Wellesley Tudor, founder of the Chalice Well Trust, said of the well’s association with healing properties, many of which have been reported and chronicled said: “Water from a particular well or Source never loses its affinity from the place from which it has been taken.”

Tudor Pole established the observance of a “silent minute” which became a regular routine at 9pm broadcasts during the Second World War and the Chalice Well holds a silent minute at 12pm and 3pm via the ringing of an old school bell.

Glastonbury Tor is a conical hill of Blue Lias and clay rising out of the Somerset Levels. It was formed when softer deposits eroded leaving a cap of sandstone exposed. The hill’s slopes are terraced.

The Tor is linked to Celtic mythology – particularly in regard to legends about King Arthur and the St Michael’s Tower is where the last Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey Richard Whiting, and his acolytes Roger Law and John Thorn were beheaded by agents of King Henry VIII at the Reformation.

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