The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Glastonbury Tor

Sacred Hill


This morn after having heard Cathedral Service very well and decently performd at Wells, we proceeded to Glastonbury. Saw Tor hill, a very remarkable Point of view all over the Countrey, being a hill detachd from everything else, on the Top of which stands a tower which was the steeple of a church dedicated to St Michael, which is now totally demolishd and nothing but the shell of the Tower left standing. About the sides of this hill searchd for Lathyrus luteus, but without success - fancy it is hardly yet come into flower. From hence proceed to bloody well, a Spring so Calld from the reddish rust colour with which it tinges the stones over which it Passes. It has a very mineral appearance, but very little taste. The people here hold it in great Repute for astma, scurvy and Dropsy telling of several cures it has and continues to make every day. Not far from this on the other side of town, is the hill on which the Glastonbury thorn is said to have grown, but it has been dead several years, so long that we have not met with anybody who remembers it.
I imagine the bloody well is the Chalice Well though I certainly wouldn't say the water tasted of nothing. This is from "Journal of an Excursion to Eastbury and Bristol, etc., in May and June, 1767" by Sir Joseph Banks, published in the Proceedings of the Bristol Naturalists' Society v9 (1898).

Elsewhere I see it is called the 'Blood Spring' which was perhaps less damaging to delicate ears.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th November 2011ce
Edited 3rd April 2016ce

Comments (1)

Nah - it tastes of feet, from all the millions of visitors that paddle in it within the gardens before it gets to the spout! ;)

Nice article tho! I notice it mentions that the thorn died sometime before it was written (1767). What with the recent vandalism, I wonder if it's had several incarnations, and the sturdy thing keeps re-growing from whatever remains of it?

G x
goffik Posted by goffik
8th November 2011ce
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