This was the first Christian settlement in England, according to legend, founded by Joseph of Arimathea in the 1st century. It has been said that Joseph brought the Holy Grail - the chalice that Christ used at the Last Supper – to Glastonbury, where it remains buried.
Historically, evidence shows that the first stone church was built in the 7th century. The church was enlarged over the centuries, and after the Norman conquest of 1066, it was improved and expanded further by skilled Norman craftsman. The monastery complex was destroyed by fire in 1184, however, monks at Glastonbury made known that they found the tombs of Joseph of Arimathea and King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. Pilgrims continued coming here and by the 14th century, Glastonbury was the second wealthiest Abbey in England, famous for its tremendous library.
At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the last Abbot was Blessed Richard Whiting whom King Henry VIII executed for treason, and whose head was impaled on a spike on the abbey gate and his body quartered and sent throughout the country as a warning to others. Blessed Richard is considered a martyr and has been beatified by the Catholic Church. Glastonbury Abbey fell into destruction and only a portion of the Chapel of the Virgin remains.
Accommodation: Hotels and inns and bed-and-breakfasts are plentiful in the area.
Transportation: Glastonbury Abbey is approximately a 3-4 hour drive from London (134 miles). It can be reached via the M3, M4, and M5. Train: The nearest train station to Glastonbury is Castle Cary. From the station, take a taxi to Glastonbury. Bus: First Group provides buses from Bristol and Taunton.