World Reviewer rating

Worth a visit
Rating 0.5 (206 votes)

St. Michael's Tower, Glastonbury Tor

Listed under Sacred Spaces in West Country, United Kingdom.

Pin It

The earliest knowledge of the Tor comes from legends of prehistoric times, when it was the home of Gwyn ap Nudd, Lord of the spirit world of Annwn. Immortalized in folklore as a Fairy King, the realm of Annwn became the mystic isle of Avalon. Long a holy place of pagan spirituality, the 170 meter tall hill shows extensive signs of being contoured by human hands in Neolithic times.

These contours, indistinct after the passage of thousands of years, mark the course of a spiraling labyrinth, which encircles the hill from base to peak. Ancient myths tell that pilgrims to the sacred island would moor their boats upon the shore and, entering the great landscape labyrinth, begin a long ascent to the hilltop shrine. By following the winding route of the labyrinth, rather than a more direct line, a deep attunement with the Tor's terrestrial energies was gained.

Archaeologists dismiss such legends, not understanding their deeper meanings, yet studies by folklorists, dowsers and other earth mystery researchers suggest that these myths may be dim memories of long forgotten realities. Evidence exists of an enigmatic topographical alignment across southern England, linking Glastonbury Tor with Avebury stone ring, St. Michael's Mount and numerous Neolithic, Celtic and early Christian holy places.

Local folklore also tells of a visit of the young Jesus and his uncle, Joseph of Arimathaea, the later return of Joseph with the Holy Grail, and the burial of that sacred object near the enchanted Chalice Well. Another intriguing mystery concerns the ruins of the Glastonbury Abbey, once the greatest monastery of medieval Europe. An analysis of its ground plan reveals proportions of sacred geometry equal to those found at nearby Stonehenge, and a line running through the axis of the Abbey runs straight to that famous stone ring, indicating a connection between the two holy places in deep antiquity.

The Glastonbury region and its Abbey also have strong associations with Arthurian legends. In 1190 AD, the discovery was made of two coffins buried in the Abbey. Contained within the coffins were the bones of a man and a woman, and an inscribed cross identifying the bodies as those of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere.

Glastonbury Tor on the Sacred Sites Website.

Written by  Martin Gray.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Glastonbury Abbey

Now graceful ruins, Glastonbury Abbey is thought to be one of the world’s oldest above ground Christian churches. Founded by monks in 63 AD legend says Joseph of Arimathea bought the Grail here to be buried. King Arthur’s grave was also supposedly discovered in the abbey’s cemetery in the 12th Century, buried with his queen in a hollowed out oak with the translated inscription: "Here lies interred the famous King Arthur on the Isle of Avalon". Left to crumble during the 16th Century Dissolution of the Monasteries, the current ruins date from the 7th Century but were added to over the next millennium.

Post a comment, review or question

I want to
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?

Who's been here

Similar Experiences

  • Angkor Wat

    There are two great complexes of ancient temples in Southeast Asia, one at Bagan in Burma, the other at Angkor in Cambodia. The…

  • The Great Pyramid

    The Great Pyramid is the most substantial structure of the ancient world, and one of the most mysterious. Constructed from appr…

  • The Parthenon

    The supreme expression of ancient Greek architectural genius, the Parthenon has enchanted painters and poets for two thousand y…

Nearby Experiences

  • Glastonbury Festival

    If high-profile bands, celebrities in their best sloppy outfits and camping alongside 150,000 other dedicated music lovers soun…

  • Edgar Wight’s Sandford (Hot Fuzz)

    Hot Fuzz (Dir: Edgar Wright, 2007) Edgar Wright could pretty much be my friend. If I was him I would make exactly the same k…

  • Wells Cathedral

    Wells Cathedral was begun c1180 and completed as a Cathedral in 1245. The style is middle English Gothic, and this is one of th…

Related links

Contribute to this page