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marionXXXOffline
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 12:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

JerryB wrote:

Also, the hill is higher than the Tor - in fact it's the highest point in all of Somerset Wink



I thought Dunkery Beacon was the highest point?

I guess if you aren't on a spiritual path places are just what they physically appear to you,along with the science and written history, any other argument is gonna start sounding like one of those Christian V Non-Christain flare-ups we get here.
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marionXXXOffline
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 12:35    Post subject: Re: Gasps of Dismay Reply with quote

FraterLibre wrote:

You mean to say it wasn't a landing site for the motherships from the planet Avalon?


Nah that was all across in Warminster Very Happy
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Jerry_BOffline
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 13:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndroMan wrote:

I Just like that picture of it being surrounded by marsh and fenland, sticking out like a real island and with something, now removed and replaced by the chapel (of which only a tower now remains), on its summit.
It needn't have been very imposing, a sacred grove, is all.
And supposing the mediaeval strip fields following the contours of the terraces round the Tor, were making use of a pre existing maze path?
Perhaps, there was originally a sacred apple orchard/grove maze? Sacred apples to make the sacred nectar of the Gods in that part of ancient Britain: Scrumpy! Wink


Well, IMHO that's dressing it all up to be something it's not. As I've said, the whole 'mystical' side of the Tor etc. is a hangover from the tourist/pilgrim trade started up by the locals monks - who became extremely rich as a result Wink And IIRC, apple growing was really kick-started by the Anglo-Saxons in that part of the world...
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 13:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

JerryB wrote:

And IIRC, apple growing was really kick-started by the Anglo-Saxons in that part of the world...
I suppose that would be cause the conditions there are ideal for apple growing.

The 'Celts' loved their apples, matey Jim. I've had some very fine cider from Normandy and Brittany.

Quote:
'Timescapes (Land & History): Glastonbury Tor'

[B]Avalon When mist, like sea, surrounds the Tor, it rises from the Levels like a magical island of ancient lore. Indeed in Celtic times it was known as the Isle of the Dead - the threshold of the spirit world where wisdom and knowledge were revealed. Its Celtic name was Ynys Witrin; it is the faery Isle of Glass where the Lord of the Underworld resides. Most famously, legend knows Glastonbury as the Isle of Avalon. Literally meaning 'The Place of Apples', Avalon was a legendary paradise associated with the Celtic Otherworld - the Summerland Annwn. In Romance, Avalon is where Arthur's great sword Excalibur was forged; it is where Arthur went to heal his wounds and where his sister Morgan Le Fay lived. Christian legend knows the Vale of Avalon as the place where Joseph of Arimathea landed with the Holy Grail.
:p
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 13:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marion wrote:

I thought Dunkery Beacon was the highest point?

I guess if you aren't on a spiritual path places are just what they physically appear to you,along with the science and written history, any other argument is gonna start sounding like one of those Christian V Non-Christain flare-ups we get here.


My mistake - I meant in south Somerset. Got me metres/feet mixed up Wink

I think the main spiritual path about Glastonbury is a Christian-orientated one, and that's about it. The whole Arthurian thing got mixed in, but people tend to forget that the Medieval versions of that story are heavily Christianised. This is what the monks drew on to boost the vistor numbers to the area. Delve into Somerset folklore some more and you find that the Tor and the town are pretty 'mundane' in comparison.
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 13:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

JerryB wrote:

This is what the monks drew on to boost the vistor numbers to the area. Delve into Somerset folklore some more and you find that the Tor and the town are pretty 'mundane' in comparison.
'Scuse me, what else were they drawing on as a source, do you suppose. Must have had some local seed to plant that grew into the coffins of Arthur and Guinivere, don't you think? Wink
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 13:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Androman - perhaps so, but apple growing and associated folkore in Somerset are distinctly Anglo-Saxon (i.e. wassailing at Carhampton, every January). Personally, I'm not sure where all of the 'celtic' references to the Tor WRT 'Avalon' etc. actually come from. I tend to think that they're patched on things that were applied later. IMHO, if the Tor was indeed such a very important religious site, the archaeology doesn't suggest so. There is better evidence for Iron Age and Romano-Celtic religious sites elsewhere nearby. Roman re-use of any given pre-Roman site is usually a good pointer to any given site having a longer religious history.
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Jerry_BOffline
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 13:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndroMan wrote:

'Scuse me, what else were they drawing on as a source, do you suppose. Must have had some local seed to plant that grew into the coffins of Arthur and Guinivere, don't you think? Wink


No, not really. Arthur was a popular romantic Medieval figure. They tapped into that. I don't think this suggests that there was any previous history. If there was, I don't think they would have resorted (allegedly) to creating dodgy 'ancient' Arthurian artefacts to back up their claims. Perhaps they conflated Arthur with another hero - Alfred, who was very active in Somerset, and has similar themes in his life (i.e. a guerilla war against a foreign invader).
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 13:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

JerryB wrote:

Perhaps they conflated Arthur with another hero - Alfred, who was very active in Somerset, and has similar themes in his life (i.e. a guerilla war against a foreign invader).
Hmm. Perhaps I'm beginning to detect the hint of a pro-Anglo Saxon agenda here? :p
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 13:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndroMan wrote:

Hmm. Perhaps I'm beginning to detect the hint of a pro-Anglo Saxon agenda here? :p


No, not at all - I'm just trying to point out that the whole celtic mystical side of the Tor and Glastonbury is, well, a bit far off of the mark. If anything, I'm trying to show that the site is a Christian one, more than anything else, and that the whole Arthurian thing got mixed in with the later New Age stuff to produce the tourist/mystical image we have of the place today.
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rynner
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 14:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

The above posts were split off from the Leys thread. Smile
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 16:30    Post subject: Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas Legend! Reply with quote

Quote:
The Christmas Thorn of Glastonbury
(A Legend Of Ancient Britain)
Adapted From William Of Malmesbury And Other Sources


There is a golden Christmas legend and it relates how Joseph of Arimathea -- that good man and just, who laid our Lord in his own sepulcher, was persecuted by Pontius Pilate, and how he fled from Jerusalem carrying with him the Holy Grail hidden beneath a cloth of samite, mystical and white.

For many moons he wandered, leaning on his staff cut from a white-thorn bush. He passed over raging seas and dreary wastes, he wandered through trackless forests, climbed rugged mountains, and forded many floods. At last he came to Gaul where the Apostle Philip was preaching the glad tidings to the heathen. And there Joseph abode for a little space.

Now, upon a night while Joseph lay asleep in his hut, he was wakened by a radiant light. And as he gazed with wondering eyes he saw an angel standing by his couch, wrapped in a cloud of incense.

"Joseph of Arimathea," said the angel, "cross thou over into Britain and preach the glad tidings to King Arvigarus. And there, where a Christmas miracle shall come to pass, do thou build the first Christian church in that land."

And while Joseph lay perplexed and wondering in his heart what answer he should make, the angel vanished from his sight.

Then Joseph left his hut and calling the Apostle Philip, gave him the angel's message. And, when morning dawned, Philip sent him on his way, accompanied by eleven chosen followers. To the water's side they went, and embarking in a little ship, they came unto the coasts of Britain.

And they were met there by the heathen who carried them before Arvigarus their king. To him and to his people did Joseph of Arimathea preach the glad tidings; but the king's heart, though moved, was not convinced. Nevertheless he gave to Joseph and his followers Avalon, the happy isle, the isle of the blessed, and he bade them depart straightway and build there an altar to their God.

And a wonderful gift was this same Avalon, sometimes called the Island of Apples, and also known to the people of the land as Ynis-witren, the Isle of Glassy Waters. Beautiful and peaceful was it. Deep it lay in the midst of a green valley, and the balmy breezes fanned its apple orchards, and scattered afar the sweet fragrance of rosy blossoms or ripened fruit. Soft grew the green grass beneath the feet. The smooth waves gently lapped the shore, and water-lilies floated on the surface of the tide; while in the blue sky above sailed the fleecy clouds.

And it was on the holy Christmas Eve that Joseph and his companions reached the Isle of Avalon. With them they carried the Holy Grail hidden beneath its cloth of snow-white samite. Heavily they toiled up the steep ascent of the hill called Weary-All. And when they reached the top Joseph thrust his thorn-staff into the ground.

And, lo! a miracle! the thorn-staff put forth roots, sprouted and budded, and burst into a mass of white and fragrant flowers! And on the spot where the thorn had bloomed, there Joseph built the first Christian church in Britain. And he made it "wattled all round" of osiers gathered from the water's edge. And in the chapel they placed the Holy Grail.

And so, it is said, ever since at Glastonbury Abbey -- the name by which that Avalon is known to-day -- on Christmas Eve the white thorn buds and blooms.



Story from Good Stories for Great Holidays by Frances Jenkins Olcott (1914)


Last edited by Guest on 22-11-2003 16:32; edited 1 time in total
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marionXXXOffline
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 17:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner wrote:

The above posts were split off from the Leys thread. Smile


Oh no,now you'll have to merge it with the other Glastonbury thread Very Happy

I don't buy the Arthur connection myself and to be honest never thought it was important, I always believed it was something dreamed up by the monks to get the pilgrims coming in (always a tourist place this) Maybe they did find a grave and used a bit of wishful thinking.

There were standing stones,megaliths, recorded here in antiquity and some were mentioned as still existing into the 1960s , maybe some were field markers (I believe the ones marked on the slightly older OS maps from the 70s were) but that would indicate pre-Christian activity.

I believe churches were built on pre-Christian sacred sites and great churches were built on great ones, they wouldn't just have plonked a cathedral or abbey or even a parish church in a meaningless greenfield site if they wanted to attract the locals to the new religion ,or supress the old beliefs.
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Jerry_BOffline
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 17:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's also some folklore from north Somerset that tells of how Jesus visited the county in his youth - I've even heard one version where he was brought along by Jospeph of Arimathea. IIRC, this partly inspired the hymn 'Jerusalem', which was written in Somerset...(or so the story goes)...
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Jerry_BOffline
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PostPosted: 22-11-2003 17:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Originally posted by Marion [B]
There were standing stones,megaliths, recorded here in antiquity and some were mentioned as still existing into the 1960s , maybe some were field markers (I believe the ones marked on the slightly older OS maps from the 70s were) but that would indicate pre-Christian activity.

I believe churches were built on pre-Christian sacred sites and great churches were built on great ones, they wouldn't just have plonked a cathedral or abbey or even a parish church in a meaningless greenfield site if they wanted to attract the locals to the new religion ,or supress the old beliefs.


Those old stones may have been hundred stones - they wre often misidentified as something else in the past.

True, there was an older church site at Glastonbury that predates the abbey, but this may just have been because the nearby wells had some religious significance in some way - or not. It may just have been a good dry spot. But I still stick to the theory that nothing of any major import was going on at the site aside from teh Christian stuff. The abbey just got bigger and bigger as the monk's wealth increased. Compare it with the abbey up the road at Muchelney, which itself got pretty big (despite the fact that the monks who lived there supposedly led a rather more licentious lifestyle) - it used to be the major religious building group before Glastonbury was established AFAIK. IIRC, it was twice destroyed by the Vikings. The site seems to have been chosen simply because it was a large good piece of dry land ('Muchelney' means 'the increasingly great island'), and the monks there did alot to drain the surrounding land before Glastonbury abbey took over the job.

The reason I got interested in Somerset history and folklore was my initial interest in Glastonbury Arthurian stuff when I was a teenager. But over th eyears when I did a little more digging into the whole subject, it became clear that Glastonbury isn't really a big contender for anything pre-Christian in origin in a religious sense. Especially not when compare to other local sites.
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