Not content with just epic misogyny as his legacy, Henry VIII systematically dismantled houses of prayer and worship because he was strapped for cash and could steal Catholic goods and money. (How’s that for a gross oversimplification of a complex historic event?) This complex event is known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries and hit Glastonbury Abbey particularly hard in 1538. This is after their abbot was hanged, drawn and quartered for not disavowing his faith – not a good way to go.
It stands today as a ruin of its former glory, but still sort of glorious in its starkness against the blue sky. I love that nature has reclaimed it as well.
Glastonbury was a big deal before the Dissolution. It’s said that only Westminster Abbey was fancier at the time. Glastonbury also hosts a thorn said to have been planted by Joseph of Arimathea himself, which also gave rise to Holy Grail connections (read: MacGuffin of the Middle Ages). There is a supposed burial site at the Abbey for King Arthur and Guinevere, but that was faked by the monks as a publicity stunt – no one was really buying it when it was “discovered” in the 12th century either.
Glastonbury’s modern claim to fame is as the site for the largest outdoor music festival in the world. In 1970, the first year the festival was held, £1 got you entrance to the festival and a pint of milk. This year, tickets ran £210 for the five-day festival, and that did not include milk. Pretty sure that’s still cheaper than Disneyworld though.
Glastonbury is a pretty crunchy town. Both because of the music festival and its connections to King Arthur and Druidic practice, it draws a New Age element and a distinct essence of… patchouli. I saw at least four Wiccan shops on the High Street.
Title quote: MidwestMagellan herself, upon viewing the ruins at Glastonbury Abbey.