Thursday, 12 July 2007

land of Arthur--Glastonbury Abbey

The magnificent Glastonbury Abbey was once the largest cathedral in the nation. The grounds are still beautiful with lavender, hollyhock and all manner of herbs. Ruins of the cathedral remain but what was once a flourishing center is now a shadow of its former self. Our favorite villain, Henry VIII, was the cause of the destruction of Glastonbury. We learned that not only was the Abbey sacked and the wealth of the Abbey transported to London, but that the local town and townspeople experienced great poverty as many of the townspeople depended on the economic engine of the Abbey for their livelihood. In 1536 there were 800 monasteries in England; in 1541 they had all been closed or dismantled.

For readers of the Arthurian legend, the grave of Arthur is said to be at Glastonbury Abbey. The grave is just to the right in this photo. There are remains of a king that were found on the Abbey grounds and transferred to this site. Malory gives us the great epitaph that is said to be on Arthur's grave stone: Rex Quondam, Rex Futurus--the once and future king. But as readers of Malory know, Malory writes that he is not saying this is so, but what others believe.