Glastonbury Tor


Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, England

Rising like a beacon from the flat Somerset plain, the Tor seems to beckon the pilgrims who journey in their thousands to this remarkable spot, once described as ‘this holiest earth’. People come in search of many things: the Grail; enlightenment; inspiration. Many claim to have found their goal, and remain in the peaceful market town to the bewilderment of the local inhabitants.

On top of Glastonbury Tor stands the tower of the church of St. Michael.

Beneath the Tor is said to lie a subterranean kingdom ruled over by the Lord of the Wild Hunt, Gwynn ap Nud, a powerful other-worldly figure who was once banished by the Celtic St. Collen, but who is still believed to haunt the hills around Glastonbury. A recent theory claims the existence of a man-made, sevenfold maze, carved out of the Tor itself. This, it is said, was once a sacred processional way, used by priests and priestesses to reach the stone circle which then crowned the Tor. Modern pilgrims still trace its path to the summit and speak of visionary experiences when they have done so.

From the summit of the Tor, which rises some 500 feet above sea level, there is a panaromic view of the surrounding countryside. Cadbury Castle can be glimpsed away to the south, and Brent Knoll rises away to the west, near the Bristol Channel. The Tor was probably once an island, hence its identification with the mysterious Island of Avalon, a place between the worlds, where tradition says that Arthur came to be healed of his wounds and to await his recall in a time of great need. This is the most likely reason for the legend of his grave being found in the abbey ruins below the hill.