Friday, 21 February 2020

On Tour: Visiting Glastonbury Abbey, Glastonbury Tor and King Arthur


I know that this blog is titled Mike's Cornwall but at times I do travel further than my home county. So I thought I would occasionally write posts on interesting places I visit. Today that is Glastonbury, I guess this is about 130 miles from Cornwall. So not too far from home.


I find Glastonbury a fascinating place as it has links to the legendry King Arthur - as does Cornwall.

The first two photos show what is left of Glastonbury Abbey. It's still an interesting place to visit and the grounds of the Abbey are very attractive - and, what's more, there is a connection to King Arthur. He may have once been buried here. 

There is a sign, as below, which reads: Site of the ancient graveyard where in 1191 the monks dug to find the tombs of Arthur and Guinevere.


There is yet another sign stating: Site of King Arthur's Tomb. In the year 1191 the bodies of King Arthur and his Queen were said to have been found on the south side of the Lady Chapel.

On 19th of April 1278 their remains were removed in the presence of King Edward I and Queen Eleanor to a black marble tomb on this site. This tomb survived until the dissolution of the abbey in 1539.

So there we have it King Arthur was buried here and, as we know, he was supposedly born in Tintagel Castle, Cornwall - well so the story goes.


Judging by the remains of the Abbey it would have once been quite a wonderfully ornate building.


What does remain intact is The Abbot's Kitchen said to be one of the best preserved medieval kitchens in Europe.

The kitchen was built in the 1300s to provide meals for the abbot and his guests. As head of the richest monastery in England, after Westminster, the abbot lived and dined in great splendour.


The monks had their own kitchen and dining room. Their diet though was plain and the eating of meat was restricted. The abbots food was far more elaborate.


I came across the very old picture below which showed the Abbey and grounds as it was in the 1300s.

On the picture 1 is the Abbey, 2 is the Abbots Kitchen and 3 is Glastonbury Tor.

Moving on to Glastonbury Tor, this can be seen from the Abbey grounds.


Below is Glastonbury Tor close up. It's a bit of a climb to reach but not too difficult. There are some lovely views from the top. Weather permitting it's possible to see three counties: Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire.


For many the Tor is a sacred pilgrimage. There are various legends to the area often mentioning King Arthur and Avalon. Some believe that the Holy Grail is buried somewhere on the Tor.

The word Tor has a Celtic origin meaning hill. The conical nature of Glastonbury Tor is natural. It is made up of horizontal bands of clays and limestone with a cap of hard sandstone.



At the top of the Tor is St. Michael's Tower, part of a church which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1275.

The last abbot of Glastonbury Abbey was Richard Whiting, sometimes shown as Whyting. He was hanged, drawn and quartered as a traitor on Glastonbury Tor in 1539.


So there we go, many interesting places to visit besides Cornwall, but I'm always happy  to return home.

2 comments:

  1. I think you're allowed a diversion occasionally Mike. I often venture outside Lincolnshire!
    The legends & history of King Arthur are fascinating and I found your tour of the area interesting. The dissolution of the monasteries robbed us of an insight into lives and times of that period, imagine if the Abbeys & Monasteries had survived intact how wonderful they would be for us to visit today.
    Another fact filled post, backed up by great photo's.

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  2. You are so right about the dissolution of that monasteries - such destruction. Would love to travel to the past and see the buildings in all of their glory.
    So many stories about Arthur, always remember the Knights of the Round Table from a child.
    Thanks David.

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