History & Myth

We are not going to attempt to produce a history of Glastonbury on this site. What we will attempt to do is compile a list of links to other sites that are relevant. Please contact us if you have a site you wish to be added.

Glastonbury AbbeyIn the darktimes of pre-recordered history there are legends of The Isle of Avalon as the place of the dead. A sacred burial ground and later a druidical college. Legends tell us of the arrival of Joseph of Arimathea after the crucifixion of Jesus and as we move into historical times we see the great Benedictine Abbey of Glaston dominating the town. Through archaeology we can see something of the early history of Glastonbury. The Tor and some of the surrounding land was an island joined to the mainland by a narrow peninsular. The island was surrounded by tidal marshes which gave good natural protection. In Neolithic times there were people living in Lake Villages near the island but there seem to have been few if any resident inhabitants. The island appears to have been treated as sacred place from the earliest days. In the middle ages we see Glastonbury emerging as great centre of pilgrimage. The reason for the importance of this small town in a remote part of Somerset was partially the ancient tradition of the Isle of Avalon as a sacred site and partially the Christian history and tradition personified by the great Benedictine Abbey. The heart of the Abbey was the Abbey Church where the choir monks lived a life of prayer complemented by writing, teaching, illuminating manuscripts, caring for the sick and poor and looking after the pilgrims visiting the monastery. These activities were supported by the secular work of the monks, the managing of their land and farms. All this was in turn supported by the town – by the shopkeepers, farmers, craftsmen and professionals of every kind.

Glastonbury – British History Online
A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 9, Glastonbury and Street. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2006.


Glastonbury History and a Glastonbury Timeline
Conventional and unconventional views on the history of Glastonbury. This site contains too many links to other resources for us to be able to list them here.


Glastonbury Antiquarian Society
An interesting collection of articles is available online and linked from the website. The Society’s extended collection is now based in the Library Hub in Archers Way.


Glastonbury Conservation Society
An online collection of the society’s newsletters, many of which contain articles on the history of the town.


Old Postcard Views of Glastonbury



Tracing the MapTracing the Map
An audio-visual documentary in four parts tracing the changes to Glastonbury High street from 1900 to the year 2000.


A Personal History of Glastonbury
John Brunsdon MBE



ley mapThe Ancient Landscape around GlastonburyPalden Jenkins



Glastonbury ZodiacThe Glastonbury Zodiac




Glastonbury Town Past & Present
Facebook group. Glastonbury through the ages, and nothing to do with Pilton or Pop festivals. Just good old History & Architecture.