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Glastonbury (derivation: the fortified place of the people of “Glaston”(?).) is an ancient market town in Somerset, England, famous for its Tor, its annual “Festival of Modern Performing Arts”, and for all things Arthurian.

Few places in England can claim as long a link with Christianity. Joseph of Arimathea is said to planted a thorn tree there. (A descendant grows in the grounds of the Church of St. John the Baptist in the High Street. It is reputed to be the site of the first Christian Church on the island, created either by Joseph himself in about AD 63 or about 100 years later by Roman missionaries at the request of a British royal convert.)

The town grew up around the Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary which, when laid waste during Henry VIIIs “Dissolution of the Monasteries”, was one of the oldest and richest in the realm. St. Dunstan was abbot during the tenth century. St. Patrick is claimed to be buried there as were Arthur and Guinevere. (The “Holy Grail” is said to have been a chalice of Christ’s blood brought to England by Joseph.)

The Glastonbury Tor, a natural landmark that looks man-made, overlooks the town. The renovated ruins of the tower of a medieval church sit on top, giving the Tor a distinctive feature that can be seen for many miles around.

See Also: Avalon