When I recall
five weeks Ispent in England
and Scotlandthis past spring, I get incrediblynostalgic and sentimental/ Iremember getting caught in adownpour in the English coun-tryside, seeing Mick Jagger
disco in London, travelingthrough the Scottish Highlands'and wishing that I could smugglea lamb back into the States, ex-perimenting with various Englishales, and daydreaming in Har-rod's.I miss all these things andmany others, but what I probablymiss the.*
is my visit toGlastonbury.
As far back as I can remember,I've always
interested inEnglish history, especially when itdealt with knights, chivalry,
and King Arthur.While
was in Britain, I wanted tosee many of the historic placesthat I've read about.
especiallywanted to see Tintagel, where thecastle ruins of Arthur's childhoodhome
But, alas, the CornishCoast, where Tintagel is located,is very difficult to get to without acar, so
opted for another spotsteeped in Arthurian
That's when my roommate, Gina,who is a total Arthurphile, sug-gested
venture to Glastonbury.Glastonbury is a
ofhistory and legend. The problemis that the history and legends areso intermingled, that they
in-separable. Most of the town's. history involves King Arthur andthe Holy Grail. Glastonbury Ab-bey is the alleged burial place ofKing Arthur and
consort,Guinevere, the stream flowingunder Palimer Bridge is
the ChaliceWell Garden is the protector ofthe Holy Grail.
on Friday, the 13th of May,(an appropriate day for seekingout legends), Gina and I set outfor our Arthurian adventure.
combinationtrain and bus ride, we finally ar-rived in Glastonbury.The first stop in, our journeywas Glastonbury Abbey. The Ab-| bey was dissolved in 1539 byHenry
when he abolished theRoman Catholic Church
in-| stituted the Churchh of England.
As a result, the Abbey was aban-doned and now only the ruins re-main. Pieces of the structurestand out against the landscape-like redwood trees in a meadow.Amid the ruins is Arthur's allegedburial plot. Surprisingly, there isno shrine, only a simple marker.Whether this is Arthur's realburial
ace no one will everknow, but I would like to
buried here. There's such apeacefulness here that befits sucha legend as Arthur.Also among the ruins is the'Thorn Tree of
ofArimathea, a follower of Jesus.He came to England in hopes ofconverting the pagans, but he
wasn't having much luck. So toshow the pagans that his God wassupreme, he
his staff into
and it took root andblossomed. Supposedly/
since then, it blooms twice a year,at Christmas and Easter.
Finally we left the ruins, feelinglike we momentarily stepped backin time.The next place we wanted to go
Holy Grail is supposed-ly hidden, but we didn't knowhow to get there, so
into an antique
The owner of theantique store,
woman by thename of Barbara Cox, not onlygave directions, but she also toldus many of the legends andmysteries of Glastonbury. Mrs.Cox is presently working on adocumentary film on King Arthurfor CBS, so we were lucky to beable to talk to an expert on thesubject.
about Excalibur andthe Chalice Well Gardens. Abouta mile from the Abbey is PalimerBridge, which now covers a smallstream. Apparently, at One timethe stream was a slow-movingriver with an island in the middle.This island (the Isle of
on) isnow present-day Glastonbury andthe river, which flows around theIsle,is where Excalibur wasthrown. Legend has- it that whenArthur fought his
woundedand taken to the Isle of Avalon torecover. Before
left for the Isle,he instructed one of his loyalknights, Perceval, to toss hissword, Excalibur, into the river.So that's
is sup-posedly hidden 'somewherebeneath Palimer Bridge.
we left Mrs. Cox and made
way to the Chalice WellGardens. The Gardens containbeautiful
waterfalls,fountains, and, of course, theChalice Well. As legend goes, St.Joseph of Arimathea brought theHoly Grail (the chalice that Christused at the Last Supper) with himwhen he came to convert thepagan Britons, and
somereason he hid the grail in this well.The water which flows from the, well happens to be red. (Don't tellanyone, but the reason that thewater
has large irondeposits.) This water is supposedto have curative-
powers andpilgrims from
the worldcome to drink it.
The area surrounding the wellmysteriously has a high magneticfield, and mediums and psychicscome here to
cording to Barbara Cox,, a few
ago, psychics met here andprevented the end of the world.At
we finally made
to thefoot of Tor. The Tor is
hill with a ruined chapelatop. The hike up the Tor is ex-hausting, but the view from thetop is worth it. It was a beautiful,clear day and I could see formiles. The top was so windy that Ihad to hold my glasses on to keepthem from blowing off my face.On the way down the Tor, Ginaand I met up with a
flock i of
freely roam the Tor,so
have to watch where youstep.
According to Barbara Cox, awhite
sect, TheEssenes, hold mysterious
atop the Tor. So apparently, theTor has more than a nice
To end our
Adven-ture,we ate dinner in a 500-year-old restaurant and drifted back intime.Editor's Note: Chris
Communications major atMercyhurst.
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