Glastonbury Tor history
Glastonbury Tor is one of the most mythical places in Britain today. Glastonbury Tor rises like a beacon almost 500 feet above the Somerset plain. Remnants of an Iron Age settlement dating around 300-200 BC have been found. During this period, the Tor looked very much different than today.
It was once an island surrounded by fenland, a type of wetland. This meant that it was easily fortified and defended. Archaeologists have found Neolithic flint tools, suggesting that the tor has been visited or occupied throughout human prehistory.
A legendary site
According to Celtic mythology, Glastonbury Tor is said to be hollow, housing the kingdom of the lord of the wild hunt. According to legend his kingdom is populated by fairies. Some people still to this day claim that the fairy king haunts Glastonbury Tor.
Remains of a 5th century fort have been found atop the Tor. Some sources claim that these are the remains of a Christian community founded by Joseph of Arimathea in 63AD, thus tying in with the beliefs that Glastonbury Tor is one of the possible resting places of the Holy Grail.
Glastonbury has also been closely linked with the legends of King Arthur. In some texts he rescues Queen Guinevere from an evil knight holding her captive in the fort on top the Tor, other literary sources mention the fort as belonging to Arthur himself or being seized by him.
Most famous is perhaps the notion that Glastonbury Tor is the basis for the mythical isle of Avalon where Arthur is brought after his final battle to heal his wounds and await a time when his country will once again need him.
The tower of today
The fort was later replaced by a medieval church, dedicated to St Michael. It remained intact until 1275 when a particularly powerful earthquake ruined it. A new church was built in 1360s to replace it. The second one lasted until 1539 when Henry the 8th carried out the dissolution of monasteries. This involved having the last abbot of Glastonbury, Richard Whiting, hanged on the top of the Tor, along with two of his monks.
The tower that remains on top of the Tor is called St Michaels tower and is all that remains of the second church. It has been restored in later days.
Why visit Glastonbury Tor ?
Glastonbury Tor is one of the most mystical sites on whole United Kingdom. Looking down from the tower, visitors can se that the hill is made up of seven terraces. The reasons for the existents of these terraces have been debated. Some claim they have agricultural purposes for plantations or cattle gracing.
Others have put forth the theory that the terraces are in actuality defence structures. Another theory that ties well in with the tor´s mythical heritage is that the seven terraces make up a three dimensional labyrinth made in a remote past for ritualistic purposes. It would spiral around the Tor 7 times and eventually bring the worshiper up to the top where the tower now stands.
Looking out over the plains you can see for miles, and on a clear day you may even se as far as Cadbury Castle.
Glastonbury Tor location
Glastonbury Tor is located on the the Somerset plain, near the city of Glastonbury in southern England, United Kingdom.