Category Archives: England

Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor

One of the most infamous landmarks of Glastonbury is the Tor. It is extremely popular from the Arthurian legends. The Tor is a tall hill that ascends over 158 meters from Glastonbury and hosts panoramic views of the English countryside, viewing the three counties of Somerset, Dorset, and Wiltshire. During the legendary Isles of Avalon, this would have been the highest point on the isles. Geologically the Tor rises from Lower lias clays and limestones from the Middle and Upper Lias to a deposit of hard midford sand at the cap 521 feet and called the “Tor Burr”. The Tor has a conical shape made up of horizontal bands of limestone, clays, and capped with sandstone. As erosional forces dug away with limestone and clays, the sandstone lasts resisting erosion creating steep slopes. Historically, this Tor would have towered as an island above the flooded Somerset Levels, but as the levels were drained over the ages for agriculture and other uses, it is now a hill blended ito the landscape. The terraces on the slopes date to Medieval times where the hillside was one of the few dry locations where locals could farm and graze animals. The Tor is believed to have been a sacred site of pilgrimage for over 10,000 years and still used today. It is believed to be a gateway to the Otherworld. Lithics and other artifacts show presence of humans here for thousands of years.

It was said that Joseph of Arimathea in 63 C.E. founded a settlement here. Archaeologically the earliest found was a 6th century settlement, the earliest found in Glastonbury and many believe was the first Christian community in the area founded by Joseph. Evidence from the 6th century was found during excavations of 1964-1966 that exposed occupation during this time, and a second phase of occupation from 900-1100 C.E. by the finding of a head of a cross that were probably monks cells cut into the rock on the summit, a tradition of a monastic site on the Tor was confirmed by the 1243 charter granting permission for a fair at the Monastery of St. Michael at this location.

During the 8th century, the Great Abbey was built on the site of the present abbey ruins in the 8th century and then rebuilt becoming the wealthiest abbey in Britain, but destroyed in 1539 by the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

In the 13th century it is said the first Church on the Tor to be built was St. Michael’s Church in the charter of 1243 C.E.

These ruins are what you see today the most notable part of which is St. Michael’s Tower. These ruins are from the 2nd church replacing the original that was destroyed in the 1275 C.E. earthquake. This second church lasted until 1539 until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The earliest legend after Joseph of Arimeathea is the mid-thirteenth century story of St. Patrick coming from Ireland and becoming the leader of the hermits here. He was said to have discovered an ancient Oratory in ruins atop the Tor after climbing through dense woods.

In the historic era, this is the location where Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury, and some of his monks were hung.

    “Glastonbury Tor, one of the most famous and sacred landmarks in the West Country. From the summit at 158 metres, you can get amazing views over three counties – Somerset, Dorset, and Wiltshire. What is the tor? “Tor” is a West Country word of Celtic origin meaning hill. The conical shape of Glastonbury Tor is natural – due to its rocks. It is made up of horizontal bands of clays and limestone with a cap of hard sandstone. The sandstone resists erosion, but the clays and limestone have worn away, resulting in the steep slopes. A historic landscape: Before modern drainage, the tor in winter would have towered as an island above the flooded Somerset Levels. The terraces on the slopes date back to medieval times when the hillside was one of the few dry places where people could grow crops and graze animals. A place of pilgrimage: The tor has been a place of pilgrimage for over 10,000 years. Many thousands of people still visit each year, some for its links with religion, legends and beliefs, and others because it is such a renowned landmark. History of the Tower: on the summit is St. Michael’s Tower, part of a 14th century church. It was built to replace a previous church which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1275. The second church lasted until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. At this time, the tor was the scene of the hanging of Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury. The Tor was the site of a 6th century settlement, the earliest yet found in Glastonbury. Some believe this was the first Christian community in the area, said to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea in AD 63. 8th Century: The great Abbey: A stone church was built on the site of the present abbey ruins in the 8th century. It was rebuilt and became one of the wealthiest abbeys in Britain, but was destroyed in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. 13th century: A church on the tor – The first written record on St. Michael’s Church on the tor is in a charter of 1243. The building was destroyed in an earthquake in 1275. 14th century- St. Michael’s Tower – in the 14th century, a new church was built on the tor, which survived until the Dissolution. St. Michael’s tower is all that remains. Glastonbury Tor rises from the Lower lias clays and limestones through the Middle and Upper Lias to a deposit of hard midford sand on the cap, 521 ft. high known locally as Tor Burr. This is more resistant to erosion than the lower levels making the slopes steep and unstable. These steep sculptured slopes, rising dramatically from the isle of Avalon in the flat somerset levels, have encouraged much speculation about the origin of the Tor in legend. The earliest reference is a mid-thirteenth century story of St. Patrick’s return from Ireland in which he became a leader of hermits at glastonbury and discovered an ancient ruined oratory on the summit after climbing through a dense wood, scattered fines of prehistoric, roman, and later objects suggest the Tor was always used by man, but evidence for actual occupation from the 6th AD was uncovered in the excavations of 1964-6, a second phase of occupation between 900-1100 was distinguished by the head of a cross and what were probably Christian monk’s cells cut into the rock on the summit, the tradition of a monastic site on the Tor is confirmed by a charter of 1243 granting permission for a fair at the monastery of St. Michael there. The present tower though later modified, is essentially 15th century and is associated with the second of two major churches which stood on the summit. The second one was probably built after the destructive earthquake of 1275. The monastic church of St. Michael closely associated with the Great Abbey in the town below fell into ruin after the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 when Richard WHiting the last abbot of Glastonbury was hanged on the Tor.” ~ information signs on the Tor, Glastonbury, England.

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Beckery Chapel, Hill, and Bride’s Mound (Glastonbury)

Beckery Hill and Chapel
https://historysshadow.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/beckery-chapel-monasticism-and-the-legend-of-king-arthur/

During my 2011 and 2012 trips to Glastonbury I spent some time wandering around the remains, ruins, and legends of the Beckery Chapel. It is the legendary tromping grounds of King Arthur. Several years ago, Archaeologists found seven skeletons with dates of 5th-6th century C.E. at the same location that in the 1960’s exposed over 50 other human bodies. It is now believed to be the monastic cemetery of the Glastonbury Abbey and town. Whether or not King Arthur resided here during his legend or not, it is a impressive historical cache. Of course it wasn’t until Geoffrey of Monmouth’s publications claims of King Arthur that brought attention to this place since the mid-12th century, and scholars believe it was hoaxed by the local monks to attract tourism dollars, attention, and a come-back to the church. England saw the ruling Angevin kings claiming descent off of Arthur, and many of England’s rulers claimed to be his true heir. The revelations of the early monasticism of Glastonbury and that which surrounds King Arthur made it a central place in the history of Christianity in England for over 1500 years. It is this hill that is believed to be the central location of the Arthurian legends. This is where Joseph of Arimathea disembarked after his journey from the Holy Land, planted his staff into the ground and gave birth to the legend of the Glastonbury Thorn. His staff turned into this thorn species, sprouting from his staff, and the name of the hill adapted to cover this story as “Wirral Hill” from etymology of when Joseph and his group climbed the hill they were all “weary” and therefore birthed the name “Wearyall”, or so the legend goes. As the thorn is said to have originated from the Middle East, it is believed to been spread to the area from a Crusader, and/or his staff made of its wood. For many years this thorn was celebrated atop Wearyall Hill. During the dissolution of the Abbeys, and destruction of Glastonbury Abbey, the mythos was moved to this chapel and hill. The most revered version of the thorn was re-planted atop the hill during the 1951 Festival of Britain, but in December of 2010, someone decapitated the holy thorn causing a local tragedy and killing the plant. A replacement met the same fate as did two other saplings planted in town destroyed. the only remaining are on the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey and St. John’s Church. “Beckery” is said by some to mean “Little Ireland” to refer to the monks crossing the sea from Ireland to be at Beckery and the Abbey when St. Patrick was the Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey. Others say “Beckery” referred to the site as a Bee Keeper’s Island. Other myths claim the area was once a site of a Druidic Women’s College, but no archaeology exists to support these legends. Many believe the site was pledged to the Irish Saint Bridgid who supposedly visited the site in 488 C.E. to the community and chapel that existed there. It combined Celtic Paganism with Christianity. To those in Glastonbury, Brighid is called “Bride” and is central to the old settlement on Bride’s Mound. The name of Beckery is first recorded in a charter dated 670 C.E. by the Saxon King Cenwealdh when he gave the site to Glastonbury Abbey. References to “Bride’s Mound” seem relatively modern being labelled sometime around the excavations thoughthe area has been called Bride’s Hill for some time and Bride’s Hay or Bridget’s Island. A 1628 entry in the rental of the Cavendish estates called it “Bridhill” ‘neare Backrey mill”. This is the old Baily’s building at Bride’s Mill. 1799 sale called it “Bride’s Hill in the Occupation of Robert Bath.”

In the Arthurian Legends, the Grail Romance “Prose perceval” and “y seint Grael” – the High History of the Holy Grail had claims to have been written here with the stories archived in the Glastonbury Abbey’s Library. It describes a hermit spread out on the altar with the Virgin Mary and the Devil fighting for his soul. It is believed John of Glastonbury – one of Arthur’s chroniclers having access to the High History inspired him to locate the chapel at Beckery whose doors were guarded by two hands holding flaming swords and is where Mary gave Arthur a crystal cross. The Hill is supposed to be the location where the knight Bedivere casts Excalibur back into the waters after King Arthur is wounded during the final battle and is believed to be the bridge over the River Brue at this hill and is called “Pomparles”. It is also the chapel where King Arthur received a vision of Mary Magdelene and the baby Jesus. Were these waters Bride’s Sluice or Well? or the lost Blue Spring?

The site has shown use since Neolithic times through the Iron Age and the Roman period.The Chapel is a holy shrine dating over 1500 years of age to late Roman or early Saxon occupation of the site. The site was a small island off of Glastonbury surrounded by wetlands and cut off from the general villagers. There were rudimentary buildings made of wattle and daub at the time. There were no original stone buildings. The site is believed to have been abandoned after Vikings invaded in the 9th century during their attack of Somerset. It was in 789 C.E. that the Vikings began attacking England. The site fell in disuse and slowly dissolved into agricultural use, the ruins of the chapel were visible until the late 1790s. There is suggestion that the land may have continued to be used as a shrine since prehistoric times, Christian sites built atop old Pagan sites. William of Malmesbury wrote 1129 C.E. an Anglo-Saxon charter of 670 including Beckery island as one of the seven islands granted to Glastonbury Abbey by the Saxon King Cenwealth – the seven islands were the Isles of Avalon, Beckery, Godney, Martinsea, Meare, Panborough, and Nyland. Papal harter of 1168 claimed Beckery as the first of the islands of the the Glastonbury Abbey Estates. It is here that it was believed that St. Bridget visited in 488 C.E. from Ireland and stayed for several years on the island of “Beokery” where there was a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene that was later re-dedicated to St. Bridget.

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Blue Spring or Bride’s Well (Glastonbury)

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England.

Blue Spring or Bride’s Well
~ Glastonbury, England ~

There is not much known about this Spring as all I heard about it was from locals and that it was one of many springs welling up from the caverns underneath the Glastonbury Tor. Some pointed in the direction of the White Spring and the Red Spring (Chalice Well). Some say it is the the Red Spring before Joseph of Arimathea brought the Grail to the Chalice Well turning it Red. Others claim it to be the forgotten (and long vanished) Bride’s Well at Beckery Chapel and Hill. That would be the location I would go with.

In the Arthurian Legends, the Grail Romance “Prose perceval” and “y seint Grael” – the High History of the Holy Grail had claims to have been written here with the stories archived in the Glastonbury Abbey’s Library. It describes a hermit spread out on the altar with the Virgin Mary and the Devil fighting for his soul. It is believed John of Glastonbury – one of Arthur’s chroniclers having access to the High History inspired him to locate the chapel at Beckery whose doors were guarded by two hands holding flaming swords and is where Mary gave Arthur a crystal cross. The Hill is supposed to be the location where the knight Bedivere casts Excalibur back into the waters after King Arthur is wounded during the final battle and is believed to be the bridge over the River Brue at this hill and is called “Pomparles”. It is also the chapel where King Arthur received a vision of Mary Magdelene and the baby Jesus. Were these waters Bride’s Sluice or Well? or the lost Blue Spring?

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England.

Bride’s Well at Beckery

The site has shown use since Neolithic times through the Iron Age and the Roman period. The Chapel is a holy shrine dating over 1500 years of age to late Roman or early Saxon occupation of the site. The site was a small island off of Glastonbury surrounded by wetlands and cut off from the general villagers. There were rudimentary buildings made of wattle and daub at the time. There were no original stone buildings. The site is believed to have been abandoned after Vikings invaded in the 9th century during their attack of Somerset. It was in 789 C.E. that the Vikings began attacking England. The site fell in disuse and slowly dissolved into agricultural use, the ruins of the chapel were visible until the late 1790s. There is suggestion that the land may have continued to be used as a shrine since prehistoric times, Christian sites built atop old Pagan sites. William of Malmesbury wrote 1129 C.E. an Anglo-Saxon charter of 670 including Beckery island as one of the seven islands granted to Glastonbury Abbey by the Saxon King Cenwealth – the seven islands were the Isles of Avalon, Beckery, Godney, Martinsea, Meare, Panborough, and Nyland. Papal harter of 1168 claimed Beckery as the first of the islands of the the Glastonbury Abbey Estates. It is here that it was believed that St. Bridget visited in 488 C.E. from Ireland and stayed for several years on the island of “Beokery” where there was a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene that was later re-dedicated to St. Bridget.

In the 1920’s a Pilgrimage route was created by Alice Buckton from Benedict Street and Porchestall Drove through what is now called “Friend’s Land” where they would stop to hang “clooties” or wishing rags on a wishing tree or thorn tree near the sluice known as “lost Bride’s Well” seeking blessings or healing before going up Bride’s Mound. This is also where it is purported that Dr. John Goodchild in 1897 received a vision to bury a blue bowl that he got in Bordighera, Italy as soon as possible after his father’s death. He placed it in the pond by this sluice near Bride’s Mound as instructed by his omen. He pilgrimaged to this lost well every year from 1899 to 1906 (minus 1905). In 1906, Janet and Christine Allen found the bowl in the pond but replaced it, then that October Kitty Tudor Pole removed it and took it to a family shrine in Bristol. The bowl was returned to Glastonbury and is protected by the Trustees of the Chalice Well. At Bride’s Mound there is a stone marker showing where the blue bowl was found but it is unknown if this is the exact location where the pond and sluice (lost Bride’s Well or Blue Spring) was.

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England.

Some claim that the Blue Spring got its name “Blue” from the Blue Bowl that once existed there.

More information:

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. Searched for on 8/1/2011, 6/14/2012 and couldn’t be found. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England. June 14, 2012: Exploring from Glastonbury to Dundon Beacon, England. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. More info about the Blue Spring: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3414 & Beckery Hill/Chapel http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3416
(expected publication July 2012). More info on the UK: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=890. More information about Glastonbury: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3403
(expected publication July 2012).
For more information visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/
For travel tales, visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/

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Chalice Well

Chalice Well
~ Glastonbury, England * http://www.chalicewell.org.uk/index.cfm/glastonbury/ ~

Enter in the legends of King Arthur and the Holy Grail thou shalt enter the Chalice Well. It is one of the most infamous holy wells found in Britain and Europe. It is a classic example of a magical spring full of legends and lore surrounding it. It is located at the base of Glastonbury Tor. Its chalybeate waters are legendary and known to flow ceaselessly at a steady rate and temperature that is said to never vary. Many believe its the representation of the blood of Christ that miraculously sprang forth from the ground when Joseph of Arimathea buried or washed the cup used at the Last Supper (The Holy Grail). To Pagans, it is the blood spring of the Earth Mother, the essence of all life, and her unbounded life force. Some say the spring evokes peace, love, and the essence of all life. The Lion’s Head fountain is where visitors can drink of the water and fill up bottles to take home with them. The gift shop sells empty bottles for visitors to do this. The Red Spring is portrayed as a symbol of the feminine aspect of Deity while the Tor is symbolized as the male aspect of Deity. The Blade and the Chalice. The Tower and the Well.

The well is also called the Red Spring or Blood Spring as it displays a reddish hue from the ferrous oxide oxidized at the surface. The reddish color is said to represent the rusting nails of the Cross that Jesus died on. The Well springs out 25,000 gallons of warm water a day and is said to have never failed even during times of drought. Legend has it the waters possess healing powers. The Chalice Well Trust maintains and protects the Spring, established in 1959 by Wellesley Tudor Pole preserving the space for pilgrims to enjoy the magical spring. The Spring and its buildings are labeled Grade 1 Listed Building in England Preservation. The Well was researched by the Exeter University School in 2009. They determined the well is fed by a deep aquifer in the lower levels of the Pennard Sands.

There is archaeological evidence on and around the Spring of lithics, pottery, and artifacts dating to the Paleolithic and Mesolithic Age. There is a shard of pottery dating to the Iron Age. Other shards date to Roman and Medieval Times. It is estimated that this site has been used for over 2000 years.

A garden has been established around the Spring centered around spirituality, meditation, and tranquility. Many events take place here annually. The major events are World Peace Day, Michaelmass, Samhain, Summer Solstice, and Winter Solstice. The Chalice Well charges admission to enter the gardens and to visit the well. A free outpouring is just outside the fence. Just to the East is another natural spring called the White Spring, possessing colorless waters originating from a shallow aquifer. This has been built into a temple. There is no charge to visit the White Spring.

bird @ Chalice Well, Glastonbury, England. June 14, 2012: Exploring from Glastonbury to Dundon Beacon, England. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. More info on the Chalice Well: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3407
(expected publication July 2012). More info on the UK: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=890. More information about Glastonbury: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3403
(expected publication July 2012).
For more information visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/
For travel tales, visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/

Christian Legend:
Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail (the cup that Christ used at the last supper to give his servants wine) to England and hid the cup here. When he did the waters were said to have turned red. It is said that Glastonbury is King Arthur’s tromping grounds. Over the well is the well cover for the Chalice Well that was designed as it was by church architect and Archaeologist Frederick Bligh Bond gifted to the gardens after the Great War in 1919. The two interlocking circles create the symbol of the Vesica Piscis and within the well lid design is a spear or sword bisecting these two circles, perhaps referencing Excalibur, the legendary sword of King Arthur who is believed to be buried at Glastonbury Abbey. Foliage on it represents the Glastonbury Thorn. William of Malmesbury who first recorded the well described the well waters gushing as sometimes red and sometimes blue. Some say this is the legendary Blue Spring that has vanished and the Red Spring was the Blue Spring before Joseph of Arimathea brought the Grail here turning it Red.

Local Lore:
The waters of the well is attributed to human blood – because the waters are red, the water coagulates as does hemoglobin, and the waters are warm. The Well is also a symbol and inspiration for the Eye of Elena in Sarah J Mass’ Throne of Glass series and featured in the Kingdom of Mei series as Christianity being a cyclical cataclysm.

Cornish, Welsh, and Irish Mythology:
Wells are seen as gateways to the spirit world or Other World, overlapping the inner and out worlds.

Islamic Mythology:
Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad in his commentary on the Quran considered the possibility that the story of the Seven Sleepers (from surah 18, Al-Kahf, “The Cave”) was based on the earlier legend of Joseph of Arimathea having come to Glastonbury, with the cave being a metaphor for England, though he considered the Catacombs of Rome a more likely source of the legend. (wikipedia)

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011, 6/14/12. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

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Glastonbury

Glastonbury, England

Oh beautiful yet bizarre Glastonbury. I’ve been in and out of this village on backpacking trips since 2008 and haven’t been back since 2013. Glastonbury is a small village and civil parish located in Somerset England at the dry end of the low-lying Somerset levels 23 miles south of Bristol. The 2011 census stated it had a population of 8,932. The town has been inhabited since Neolithic times and there are evidence of timber trackways such as “Sweet Track” laying history in the area. The Glastonbury Lake Village was a bustling Iron Age Village located right next to the River Brue and Sharpham Park 2 miles to the west dating to the Bronze Age. Glastonbury was home to the Glastonbury Abbey that controlled the tow for 700 years. Many historic structures remain in the town from the Tribunal, George Hotel, Pilgrim’s Inn, Somerset Rural Life Museum, and the Church of St. John the Baptist.

Glastonbury was known as a center for commerce especially during the Middle Ages. This enabled the construction of the Market Cross, Glastonbury Canal, and the Glastonbury & Street railway station. Today it is considered a New Age community attracting spiritual people from all walks of life especially within the New Age Movement and Neo-Paganism much attracted to the legends of King Arthur, Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail, and Glastonbury Tor.

Legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea stuck his staff into the ground and it mysteriously blossomed into the Glastonbury Thorn. There is legend of a landscape zodiac surrounding the town although no evidence of this exists. It is home to the Glastonbury Festival held in the neighboring village of Pilton that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

During the 7th millenium B.C.E. Glastonbury was inundated by floods caused by sea level rise that caused Mesolithic peoples to occupy seasonal camps on higher grounds in the area. Archaeological evidence of dated flints have helped archaeologists date occupation from the Mesolithic and Neolithic of the area. The Neolithic inhabitants exploited the reed swamps for the natural resources constructing wooden trackways through the area – “Sweet Track” trackway located to the west of Glastonbury dates to being built around 3806 BCE according to dendrochronology and is one of the oldest engineered roads in Europe. It was the oldest until the 2009 discovery of a 6000 year old trackway in Belmarsh Prison. The road extended across the marsh between the then island at Westhay and a ridge of high ground at Shapwick for approximately 2000 meters and was part of a network of tracks once crossing the Somerset Levels. It was built of crossed poles of ash, oak, and lime driven into the waterlogged soil to create a walkway of oak planks laid end-to-end and was built along the route of an earlier track known as the “Post Track” dating from 3838 BCE.

The Lake Village was built around 300 BCE and had around 100 inhabitants from 5-7 groups of houses each for an extended family with sheds, barns, and dwellings made of hazel and willow covered with reeds surrounded by a wooden palisade. The Village was occupied until the Roman period ca. 100 C.E. after which it was abandoned due to water level rise as it was built on a morass artificial foundation of timber filled with brushwood, bracken, clay, and rubble.

This evolved into the settlement that came to be called “Glastonbury” around the 7-8th century as “Glestingaburg” referring to Anglo-Saxon names for a person or kindred group settled in a fortified place. It is believed the founder of the town was named Glast, a descendant of Cunedda. There is reference to it being first called Ineswitrin or Ynys Witrin according to William of Malmesbury’s “De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie”. Centwine was the first Saxon patron of the Glastobury Abbey 676-685 C.E.

Legend has it that Saint Collen came to Glastonbury as one of the first hermits to settle on the Tor before the Abbey was built by Saint Patrick. Collen had struggles with the local faeries living in the area and was summoned by Gwyn ap Nudd at the summit of the Tor upon arriving entered a hovering mansion and King Gwyn’s armies, courtiers, and palace folk who attempted to lure him into the Otherworld. Collen dispersed the apparitions with holy water. According to Druidic mythology, this palace was made of glass and was able to receive the spirits of the dead who depart from the Tor, a passageway to the Otherworlds. This was why the chapel then church of Saint Michael was built on the Tor as Saint Michael was the chief patron against diabolic attacks which the monks believed the Faerie King Gwyn caused. The Tor was named after this palace of glass for the dead.

By the Middle Ages the town was largely dependent on the Abbey but also became a center for the Wool Trade until the 18th century. A Canal was built for trading connecting the Abbey to the River Brue. The dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 saw the execution of the remaining Abbot and his monks.

The town was revived in 1705 C.E. being granted a charter of incorporation and was dependent on an economy of trade relying on the drainage of the surrounding moors, an opening of the Glastonbury Canal and became a local parish part of the hundred of the Glaston Twelve Hides until the 1730’s when it became a borough of its own. By the 19th century it had many troubles caused from the Glastonbury Canal drainage and competition from the new railways causing a dip in trade and depression set in its economy. The Canal was closed in 1854 and dismantled, being replaced the same year by a railway. A wharf was built for the railway and used until 1936 when it was filled in. the Main line to Glastonbury closed in 1966. Industrial production of woollen slippers, sheepskins, boots, and shoes became the mainstay but saw folding manufacture in 1993 converting to form Clarks Village – a purpose-built factory outlet. In the 19th-20th century tourism became the mainstay accompanying the rise in antiquarianism associating the Abbey and mysticism of the town.

Many Archaeologists believe that the Monks of the local Abbey connected the fables of King Arthur, the Holy Grail, and Joseph of Arimathea with Glastonbury to meet the challenges of a financial crisis caused by a devastating fire burning the Abbey. This was perpetuated by writing of historians such as William of Malmesbury, Venerable Bede, Gerald of Wales, and Geoffrey of Monmouth. In 1191 the Abbey’s monks claimed to have found the graves of King Arthur and Guinevere to the south of the Lady Chapel of the Abbey Church. The remains were later moved and were lost during the Reformation. In modern times this led to the four year study by Archaeologists stated “we didn’t claim to disprove the legendary associations, or would we wish to” and “that doesn’t dispel the Arthurian legend, it just means the pit excavated (where Arthur is said to be buried) he rather over-claimed.” It is however believed a hoax to substantiate the antiquity of Glastonbury’s foundation and increase its renown. The Glastonbury Zodiac came from a 1934 artist rendering by Katherine Maltwood suggesting the landscape formed a map of the stars on a gigantic scale formed by features in the landscape such as the fields, roads, and streams situated around Glastonbury. She claimed the Temple was created by Sumerians in 2700 BCE. Ian Burrow, Tom Williamson, and Liz Bellamy, scholars studying this myth from 1975-1983 used landscape historical research concluded contradicted the idea. For example the eye of Capricorn she labelled was a haystack, the western wing of the Aquarius Phoenix was a road laid in 1782 to run around Glastobury, the Cancer boat consisted of a network of 18th century drainage ditches and paths and there is no support of the theory that a “temple” in any form existed. Today Geomancers claim Glastonbury to be the center of several ley lines.

Below is a list of places I visited and reviewed. I hope to have this expanded to a complete list of resources and places of interest within the next few years.

Sites of Interest:

More to come …

Lodging:

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    Glastonbury & Surrounding Area, a set on Flickr.

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Traditional English Breakfast

Full English Breakfast
~ Anglo-Saxon rooted European Countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, Scotland, and England. ~

I was first introduced to the Full English Breakfast while travelling in Europe in 2005. It is also called a “Full Breakfast” in other parts of Europe. It is a common breakfast found in English-based cultured European countries like England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man respectively. It typically includes bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, tomatoes, and coffee and/or tea. It has regional variants but is also called a “fry up”, “Full English”, “Full Irish”, “Full Scottish”, “Full Welsh”, “Full Cornish”, “Ulster Fry”, etc. depending on where in Anglo Europe you are dining. It is really popular and common in all of Ireland and the United Kingdom being found in pubs, restaurants, cafes, and other establishments usually offered at any time of the day as an “all day breakfast”. It became a National Dish dating back to the 13th century very commonly originating from the country houses of the gentry who in old Anglo-Saxon tradition of hospitality would provide such to their guests, friends, neighbors, and relatives. It especially became popular in the U.K. and Ireland during the Victorian Era and is a suggested breakfast as found in Isabella Beeton’s Book of Household Management published in 1861.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Experience Courtyard

The Glastonbury Experience Courtyard
~ Glastonbury, England * https://www.unitythroughdiversity.org/glastonbury-experience-courtyard.html ~

One of the must see sections of Glastonbury as I experienced on my 2011 backpack tour of England is the Glastonbury Experience Courtyard. It was founded in 1978 by a Dutch couple named Willem and Helene Koppejan who bought the retain properties at the foot of Glastonbury High Street and converted to a shopping mall of unique shops and function rooms called the “Glastonbury Experience”. Most of the shops began with specialization on “arts and crafts” focused on contemporary spirituality. Willem passed before they finished their dream. For several years the project came out at a loss being supplemented by Helenes private funds until in 1987 Helene met Barry Taylor who was a management and financial consultant who also had a strong interest in spirituality. They incorporated Barry’s plan to turn everything around. It came about when a section of Glastonbury’s residents were also inspired to re-create Glastonbury as a great center for learning, teaching, and spirituality mimicking what they saw it was in the Middle Ages but appropriate for the 21st century. Several key institutions moved in and became based in the Glastonbury Experience including the Isle of Avalon Foundation, The Library of Avalon, and the Goddess Temple. A Pilgrim Reception Center and Sanctuary was also formed. By 1992 Barry and Helene set up the Glastonbury Trust whose purpose was to benefit the public through the advancement of religion and education as a charity. In 1997 they established an agreement that in the event of their deaths the ownership of the Glastonbury Experience would pass on to a new charity. In 1998 Helen died and the Experience was transferred to the Glastonbury Trust Limited. The Trust began setting up a center offering help, guidance, training, and healing for all aspects of spiritual growth and ecological awareness.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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The Goddess Temple (Glastonbury)

The Glastonbury Goddess Temple
~ 2-4 High St, Glastonbury, England BA6 9DU, UK Phone: +44 1458 837977 https://www.goddesstemple.co.uk/ ~

I first encountered the Glastonbury Goddess Temple during my 2011 backpacking trip around the U.K. and have since visited in 2012 and 2013. The Temple was founded in 2000 as a pop-up Temple then again in 2003 as a public permanent Goddess Temple space in the Courtyard of the Glastonbury Experience and house of worship. The Temple claims to the be first formally recognized public indigenous British Goddess Temple in Europe for over 1500 years. The temple is open to the public every day from noon to 4 pm for prayer, meditation, celebration, and worship of Goddess. It is a home base for 21st century Goddess worshipers to meet one another, network, converse, pray, worship, do rituals, and share the Love of the Goddess(es). The Temple moved to the Goddess Hall on Benedict Street in 2008 where they hold larger seasonal ceremonies, offer teachings, and Priestess training. They opened a gift shop also in the Courtyard offering spaces for Goddess artisans, crafters, makers, writers, and Priestesses to sell their creations to the public. In 2016 they expanded to the Goddess House on Magdalene Street for their Goddess Healing Temple and Education Center. A sharing library of Goddess Books is also available. There are various function rooms that can be hired by groups for Goddess-based lectures, workshops, rites, or classes.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011, 6/14/12. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Methodist Church Drinking Fountain

Glastonbury Methodist Church Drinking Fountain
~ Lambrook Street, Glastonbury, England BA6 8BY Phone 01458 442313 http://somersetmethodists.org/somerset_mendip_circuit_029.htm ~

There is not much available about this font, drinking fountain, and/or well. The Methodist chapel was built around 1843. To the left of the chapel where the well font currently sits was a pond for washing carts – this was covered over to form a brick-arched reservoir which was first mentioned in 1821 property deeds. The reservoir is underneath the lawn and contains over 31,500 gallons of water still accessed by the Fire Department when necessary and is owned by Bristol Water. The Well font is believed to connect to this and appears to be for drinking. At the time of my visit, there was a blue ribbon attached to it and a cup filled with water sitting in the font. No signs stating whether safe to drink or not but assumed such.

It is known by tourists as a “drinking fountain” and is inset into the front stone wall of the churches’ facade opening onto the street. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1250671 The sign to the left of it says “commit no nuisance.” Near the apex of the ornate drinking fountain is a hand that points to the right (or south) around which is inscribed “TO THE TOR”.

This is also the Methodist church that has the “Glastonbury Thorn Trees” on its property that oddly blooms twice a year instead of once and is from whence the budded branch during Christmas is sent to the Queen.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Chocolate Love Temple, Glastonbury, England


Chocolate love temple, Glastonbury, England

Chocolate Love Temple, 86 High St, Glastonbury, England BA6 9DZ, UK Phone: +44 1458 835479

A great little delicious shop in the heart of Glastonbury I discovered during my backpacking tour of 2011. Its intriguing, alternative, and ecstatic … the chocolatier within calls themselves alchemist artisans who focus on raw chocolate as a healing medicine. Offered is a variety of chocolates, cakes, treats, medicinal mushrooms, love drops, supplements, and super foods like bee pollen. A must drop-in for any chocolate enthusiast.

Rated: 4.5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Abbey and Gardens

Glastonbury Abbey and Garden
~ Magdalene Street, Glastonbury, England BA6 9EL – www.glastonburyabbey.com ~

A backpacking trip around Europe during the Summer of 2011 allowed me to explore these magical historic ruins. The Glastonbury Abbey was a Monastery founded in Glastonbury Somerset, England around 712 C.E. and is one of Britain’s scheduled monuments and grade I listed buildings. It is a popular tourist spot especially amongst pilgrimages to Glastonbury. It was said to have been the richest monastery in the country according to the English Domesday Book 1086 C.E. It is also said to be the burial grounds for Edgar the Peaceful, Edmund I, Edmund Ironside, and King Arthur.

A glass works was founded on the site during the 7th century. The Danes destroyed the area during the 9th century. Archaeology shows it was expanded in the 10th century. In 960 C.E. Dunstan became the Archbishop of Canterbury and in 967 King Edmund was buried here. By 1016 Edmund Ironside was buried here as well. The Glastonbury Canal was erected in the area during the 10th century and linked to the Abbey via the River Brue in order to transport stones to build the abbey, transport produce, grains, fish, and wine from the abbey’s properties. The 11th century saw rise of the abbey becoming central to the large water based transportation network from the canals and channels made connecting the Meare estate with the Bristol channel. 1066 C.E. the Abbey was in its prime for wealth and Turstin the Norman Abbot expanded the church adding an eastern segment to the east of the older Saxon church and further from the ancient cemetery. This was drawn back together by the abbot Herlewin constructing a larger church. By 1077 C.E. Thurstin was dismissed whence his armed retainers killed numerous monks by the High altar. In 1184 C.E. it was completely destroyed by a fire and then rebuilt during the 14th century. The Abbey controlled most of the surrounding lands and was responsible for the drainage projects on the Somerset Levels. By the late 15th century a Inn called the “George Hotel and Pilgrim’s Inn” was built for visitors to the Abbey. With the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 C.E. all 850 monasteries, nunneries, and friaries in England were dissolved and all 15000 monks and nuns dispersed, lands and buildings sold off or leased to new lay occupants. 1539 C.E. All the silver, gold, and remaining assets were stripped from the abbey. It was suppressed by King Henry VIII during the Dissolutioin of the Monasteries and Richard Whiting the last abbot was hung, drawn, and quartered atop the Glastonbury Tor in 1539 C.E. as a traitor.

August 1, 2011: Glastonbury Tor, Glastonbury, England. (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=4287) (c) 2011-2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. Glastonbury Tor, one of the most famous and sacred landmarks in the West Country. From the summit at 158 metres, you can get amazing views over three counties – Somerset, Dorset, and Wiltshire. What is the tor? “Tor” is a West Country word of Celtic origin meaning hill. The conical shape of Glastonbury Tor is natural – due to its rocks. It is made up of horizontal bands of clays and limestone with a cap of hard sandstone. The sandstone resists erosion, but the clays and limestone have worn away, resulting in the steep slopes. A historic landscape: Before modern drainage, the tor in winter would have towered as an island above the flooded Somerset Levels. The terraces on the slopes date back to medieval times when the hillside was one of the few dry places where people could grow crops and graze animals. A place of pilgrimage: The tor has been a place of pilgrimage for over 10,000 years. Many thousands of people still visit each year, some for its links with religion, legends and beliefs, and others because it is such a renowned landmark. History of the Tower: on the summit is St. Michael’s Tower, part of a 14th century church. It was built to replace a previous church which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1275. The second church lasted until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. At this time, the tor was the scene of the hanging of Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury. The Tor was the site of a 6th century settlement, the earliest yet found in Glastonbury. Some believe this was the first Christian community in the area, said to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea in AD 63. 8th Century: The great Abbey: A stone church was built on the site of the present abbey ruins in the 8th century. It was rebuilt and became one of the wealthiest abbeys in Britain, but was destroyed in 1539

Legends of King Arthur surround Glastonbury as many believe it to have been Avalon with links suggesting the medieval monks of the Abbey having a connection to Arthur and that the abbey was founded by Joseph of Arimathea during the 1st century. Archaeological evidence suggests the abbey was founded by Britons early 7th century C.E. even though Roman and Saxons had occupied the site through its course in history. Many myths and legends place it as the setting for King Arthur tales and the Holy Grail. Archaeology tells us that Glastonbury fell into the hands of the Saxons during the Battle of Peonnum 658 C.E. as far west as the River Parrett and allowed the British Abbot Bregored to remain in power during the time. Bregored died in 669 C.E. and replaced by Berhthwald, an Anglo-Saxon abbott for several years.

Legend has it that King Arthur’s tomb as well as Queen Guinevere are buried beneath the High Altar. This was recorded in 1191 C.E. by Giraldus Cambrensis in the De Principis instructione where the Abbott henry de Sully discovered a massive hollow oak trunk containing two skeletons 16 feet beneath the altar, above it under the covering stone was a leaden cross with unmistakable inscription “Hic jacet sepultus inclitus rex Arthurus in insula Avalonia” (Here lies interred the famous King Arthur on the Isle of Avalon). Archaeologists and Historians claim it was merely a publicity stunt at the time to raise funds to repair the Abbey from the fire.

The ruins were stripped of lead and dressed stones hauled away to construct other buildings and the site was given to the Duke of Somerset, Edward Seymour by Edward VI. Seymour established a colony of Protestant Dutch weavers on the site. 1559 C.E. Elizabeth I granted the site to Peter Carew posting it in private holdings until the 20th century, stripping the ruins of more stones leaving only the Abbot’s Kitchen which was converted to a Quaker meeting house. The remainder of the site remained a quarry. The Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1882 halted any more destruction to the site. The Bath and Wells Diocesan Trust purchased the lands and ruins in 1908 C.E. This was passed on to the Glastonbury Abbey Trust. By 1924 numerous pilgrimages to the Ruins began making it a tourist destination.

An occurence of the Glastonbury Thorn, a species subset of the Common Hawthorn was found on site. This was mentioned in the 16th century manuscript “Lyfe of Joseph of Arimathea” to having flowered twice in a year once normal on “old wood” in Spring and once on “new wood” in the winter. The tree is believed to have been propagated by graftings and cuttings with the cultivar “Biflora” or “Praecox” creating a custom of sending a budded branch to the Queen at Christmas initiated by james Montague the Bishop of Bath and Wells during James I’s reign. Trees have survived from earlier grafts including two other Holy Thorns on the grounds of St. John’s Church.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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White Spring

White Spring
~ Wellhouse Lane, Glastonbury, England BA6 8BL, UK +44 7340 288392 * https://www.whitespring.org.uk/ ~

Official Article: http://www.technogypsie.com/naiads/?p=4373

While backpacking Europe during the Summer of 2011 this was one of my favorite sacred spaces to visit, even more so than the infamous Chalice Well. The White Spring is a free-to-visit spring welling up in a Victorian pump house that has been converted to a temple and pilgrimage site. It offers calcium-rich spring water to all for free unlike the Chalice Well that charges high admission to enter their sacred garden. It was the concept and dedication to the well that strengthened the birthing of my decision to be a Water Protector and Springs Guardian for the remainder of my life. This space was monumental for this change from a Protector of the Ancestors (Archaeologist) to Water Guardian as my life’s purpose.

Within a few feet from one another, the two Isle of Avalon mysteries wells forth from the Earth bestowing blessings, magic, and healing to its visitors and pilgrims. Each offer different healing properties, the Chalice Well being the Red spring rich with iron, the other white with calcite, both from the magical caverns beneath Glastonbury Tor, with rumors of Merlin’s magic. There is actually a third Blue Spring that has since vanished.

A temple has been built here at the White Spring offering the gift of pure water that is cavernous, mysterious, dark, Gothic, and magical as contrary to the Chalice Well in a well lit open-aired garden. The interior has three domed vaults standing at 16 feet height with beautiful bowed floors some say mimic the illusion of a hull of a boat moored at the portal to the Otherworld.

The pools within were designed and constructed based on sacred geometry following the Michael ley line that flows through the space with shrines added honoring ancient energies and the Spirits of Avalon.

A company of volunteers watch over the Spring and temple who designed it, built it, and care for it on a daily basis. The site sees pilgrimages and visitors daily. Group ceremonies and meditations are also conducted daily during opening hours, including celebrations of the turning of the seasons, the full moon, and the new moon. Private ceremonies can be arranged. There is no charge or expectation of donations and all caretakers do not get paid.

The sanctuary is candle-lit and dark, the sound of the water flowing can meditatively be heard and is a guide for ceremony and contemplation. Talking or conversations is strictly discouraged as silence other than the Spring is desired, though songs are welcome and check with the well keeper if wanting to play musical instruments. No Cameras, mobile phones, or electronic equipment is permitted in the sanctuary.

Legend has it that Glastonbury is England’s most sacred site and is where the foundations of the earliest church in Britain was formed and may be the site of the earliest church in the world second to Jerusalem and was dedicated to Mary. (There is no archaeological evidence to support this legend) The Glastonbury Tor or the Holy Hill of Albion is also believed to be England’s most sacred mountain and a place of Ancient Goddess worship. The Tor and its caverns beneath host numerous aquifers and springs that well forth from its base. Many of the springs have dried up except the Red Spring (Chalice Well) and the White Spring. There is evidence of a monastic site at the summit of the Tor and archaeological excavations revealed it is likely that early Celtic Christian hermits once lived on the sacred site of the White Spring. In 1872 a well house was constructed over the spring creating a reservoir that was used by townsfolk who were suffering from cholera and therfore destroyed the beautiful combe that once was there. A historic document by George Wright in 1896 stated ““And what was Glastonbury like then? One thing that clings to me was the beautiful Well House Lane of those days, before it had been spoilt by the erection of the reservoir. There was a small copse of bushes on the right hand running up the hill, and through it could be, not seen, but heard, the rush of running water, which made itself visible as it poured into the lane. But the lane itself was beautiful, for the whole bank was a series of fairy dropping wells – little caverns clothed with moss and vedure, and each small twig and leaf was a medium for the water to flow, drop, drop, drop into a small basin below. This water contained lime, and pieces of wood or leaves subject to this dropping became encrusted with a covering of lime. For a long time I attended those pretty caverns with affectionate care, and Well House Lane was an object of interest to all our visitors”

The reservoir fell into dis-use as the high calciferous waters often blocked the pipes and by the 19th century water was piped into Glastonbury from out of town, the well house falling into dis-use and forgotten. In the 1980’s it was re-opened and reconstructed being used for drinking water for the town. The walls, floors, water pipes, and chemical paint added in the 80’s was removed. The high ceilings, bowed floors, and original stone walls were uncovered unveiling the cathedral-like structure you see today. By 2004 a new owner took over the building and erected the sacred space you can visit now. The temple was consecrated in 2005. In October 2009 various pools were built inside based on sacred geometry. Its design and layout is always changing. The seasonal altar changes at each turn of the wheel. The bower that forms the Brigid shrine is rebuilt with fresh hazel for Imbolc and a February 1st celebration held in conjunction with Chalice Well and Bride’s Mound.

The White Spring is dedicated to the Goddess Brigid – the Celtic Fire Goddess and Guardian of the Sacred Springs within, and a perpetually burning Brigid Flame flickers her magic. A shrine in honor of the Lady of Avalon is within as well as a shrine in honor of the King of the World of Faerie at the portal to the Otherworld. Legend has it that the nun named Brigid who was said to be a child in 525 C.E. filled with the spirit of the Goddess Brigid who was born in Ireland from a Druidic father named Dubtach and a Christian slave mother named Brocessa. She was raised in both traditions and chose to enter a monastery – making her an Abbess as well as a nun. Legend states she lived and learned at the Beckery in Glastonbury before founding her abbey Cill Dara in Kildare Ireland.

The Lady of Avalon is seen at the White Spring as the Lady of ancient feminine primary power as Mother, Earth Mother, Mother of God, and Mother of us all. She is forever conceiving and birthing yet remains unchanged as herself self-fulfilled as the Virgin Mother. She is a dark lady like the earth – dark, womb-like, safe, hidden, mysterious, vast, abstract, and protective. She is also called the Black Madonna.

The King of the Faeries represents nature as wild, beautiful, majestic, diverse, interdependent, and powerful. He represents the Fae, the Otherworld, and is King of the World of Faerie as well as all the nature spirits of this world. He represents the unity of both worlds.

It is said that the White Spring is a portal to the Celtic Otherworld. It is said that Gwyn Ap Nudd was said to ride through here.

More Information: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-white-spring-glastonbury-england

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Glastonbury Labyrinth

Glastonbury Tercentennial Labyrinth
~ St. John the Baptist Church, High Street,Glastonbury, England * https://www.unitythroughdiversity.org/tercentennial-labyrinth.html ~

While backpacking around England during the Summer of 2011 I had the pleasure to walk this labyrinth sitting in the Churchyard of St. John the Baptist Church off High Street downtown Glastonbury. It is a carved grass labyrinth made of seven circuit designs – and the path is delineated by blue lias stonework locally mined and the same from Glastonbury Tor.

This Labyrinth has no ancient roots or historic origins, it was a communal creation done in 2007 by students from St. Dunstan’s school and incorporated volunteers from the community varying in spiritual persuasion and walks of life.

The Labyrinth project came from the local geomancer and author Sig Lonegren. He proposed it in 2002 to mark the 300th year of a very important event in Glastonbury’s history. They founded a committee and discussed various sites but were turned down by objections from residents near the sites. The Reverend Maxine Marsh talked to her congregation about placing it in the Churchyard and was approved. Once constructed, they hosted a simple and meaningful interfaith ceremony weaving Christian and Celtic symbolism in blessing the four quarters.

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Backpackers – Crown Hotel

Glastonbury Backpackers at the Crown Hotel
~ 4 Market Pl, Glastonbury, England BA6 9HD, UK +44 1458 833353 ~

Currently Closed. The summer of 2011 I visited this indifferent hostel and stayed a couple of nights. While staff were friendly they were short and seemed too busy to handle guests. The Price however at the time was decent and it fulfilled my needs. I did not completely feel safe there at the time and it may have been a location where my internet use was hacked and one of my credit cards compromised causing much frustration and necessities to save loss of funds.

Within a 16th-century coaching Inn above a local pub called “The Crown”, this was a popular backpacker’s hostel with budget twins, doubles, and dorms – some en suite with male and femal dorms, and six private rooms. Most of the rooms have showers and toilets, others are shared.

It is a popular cheap lodging option for those visiting Glastonbury and quite over-accomodated during festivals and events. The bar below is lively and hosts DJ’s, music, and events. Closed down and proclaimed closed permanently in July 2016. A January 2018 article states it might re-open summer of 2018.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Glastonbury Tribunal

Glastonbury Tribunal
~ Glastonbury, England ~

Late 15th century Townhouse. During my backpacking trip through England and Scotland the summer of 2011, I visited this unique 15th century merchant’s house called “The Tribunal”. It is one of Britain’s Grade I historically designated buildings. Much of the building’s history is unknown except that it was built in the 15th century atop an old 12th century wooden structure. The front wall seen in the pictures were added in the 16th century. Originally used as a merchant’s house, it may have been both a shop and a schoolhouse. Today it is the Lake Village Museum. The first floor has original Elizabethan Era window and ceiling panels. Upstairs in the front room sits an braced arched wooden truss roof. Owned by the English Heritage as a Lake Village Museum as well as a tourist information centre. It house various artifacts such as the “Glastonbury Bowl” that dates to the Iron Age. Other artifacts in the Museum center around the Iron Age as well as works of art from Iron Age Glastonbury Lake Village – the man made “crannog” island that was abandoned near Godney 3 miles northwest of Glastonbury. The village was built in 300 B.C.E. and lasted to the Early Roman period (100 C.E.) abandoned due to a rise in water levels. There were originally about 100 people living in the village in 5-7 groups of houses with sheds, barns, and a wooden pallisade. It was built atop a artificial foundation of timber filled with bracken, rubble, and clay. Local legend states it was a Tribunal, hence the name, for the local Abbey where secular justice was administered for the Glastonbury Twelve Hides, but there is no archaeological or historical evidence to support this. Legend also suggests it was the site for trials by Judge Jeffreys for the Bloody Assizes after the Monmouth Rebellion, yet no evidence exists to verify that legend. There is no recorded information why its called a Tribunal.

The door is an original and hosts a Tudor rose with the arms of Richard Beere who was an Abbot from 1493 to 1524. There is a possibility the house was used as a hospice during 1716 as there is a document describing “Beere’s Hospital” though unknown if its the same building. There are documents that seem to point to it being a commercial school for young gentlemen during the later 18th century.

There are two rooms with an attached kitchen on the ground floor. There is a staircase leading to the living quarters on the first floor. The front room may have been a storefront like neighboring buildings but wasn’t used as such after installation of the new front wall during the 16th century. There are also evidence that this room was originally partitioned. Within the room are recesses on both sides of the arched fireplace . The rear room is a hall with 16th century panels and four light windows and the remains of a large fireplace with a chimney blocked after the downstairs fireplace was installed. Ceilings have Elizabethan Era plaster decorations. Wooden stairs to the first floor replaced an earlier stone staircase which still have rubble extending from the wall. The roof has braced arched wooden trusses.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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August 1, 2011: Glastonbury Tribuna (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=38787)l: Late 15th century town house. (c) 2011-2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. Glastonbury: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3403

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Hadley’s Fish and Chips (Whitby, England)

Hadley's Fish n' Chips
Hadley's Fish n' Chips, Whitby, England

Hadley’s Fish and Chips
* 11 Bridge Street Whitby, North Yorkshire YO22 4BG, United Kingdom
01947 604 153 *

In the heart of the Yorkshire coast, in the little historic fishing village of Whitby, I couldn’t think of a better place where I’d crave fish n’ chips than this location. There were many places to choose from for such a scrumptuous meal … and i settled for Hadley’s Fish and Chips. I’m glad I did, as I was quite pleased. Fast service, quick turnaround, friendly staff, clean restaurant, and a delicious meal. Even came with a cup of tea and a slice of toast? Nonetheless, I was happy. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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Whitby Abbey

The Gothic Abbey
The Gothic Abbey, Whitby, England

The Whitby Abbey
* Abbey Lane, Whitby, North Yorkshire – YO22 4JT *

I have always been drawn to the iconography of the Gothic Abbey atop the hills of Whitby, England. It is that vaguely interwoven backdrop of the gothic culture that is drawn to this city that once was home to Bram Stoker and the concept of “Dracula”. This fabulous monastic ruins was founded in 657 of the Common Era by King Oswy of Northumbria as a “double monastery” Anglo-Saxon style masterpiece housing both men and women. Equip with a decent visitor center and museum, one can walk the majestic ruins of this Yorkshire image. The 1220 Early English Gothic style ruins belong to the church of the Benedictine abbey re-founded on its site by the Normans. Embracing the sky with high richly carved pinnacle d east and north end transepts brandishing the marks of war, nature, and history as it is slowly reclaimed by the Earth. Definitely a spectacular monument not to be missed. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

081211-007

It was this Abbey, belonging to the Benedictine order, that was left in ruin after the dis-establishment after the Dissolution of the Monasteries under the auspices of King Henry VIII. Now preserved, monitored, and cared for by the English Heritage with its museum housed inside the Cholmley House. One of North Yorkshire’s most memorable monuments, it has been used for numerous photo shoots, films, documentaries, and settings. Whitby was originally called “Streoneshalh” (named after Fort Bay or “Tower Bay”, of the Roman settlement that stood here first) and was home to the first Anglo-Saxon monastery here in 657 C.E. by Oswy (Oswiu), the King of Northumbria at the time. Lady Hilda, the abbess of Hartlepool Abbey, and grand-nieces of the first Christian King of Northumbria, Edwin, was appointed founding abbess of this “Streona’s Settlement”. This was a “double monastery”, managed and occupied by Celtic nuns and monks. It was also the home of the great poet Caedmon. By 867-870, the Danes led successive raids of the monastery, leaving it in ruins for almost 200 years. When Reinfrid, one of WIlliam the Conqueror’s soldiers travelled to this site as a monk, it was called “Prestebi” meaning “white settlement” in Old Norse. He founded a new monastery atop the ruins of St. Peters with two carucates of land, joined by the founder’s brother Serlo de Percy, they began Benedictine rule. In 1540, Henry VIII declared the Dissolution of Monasteries, thereby falling into destruction and ruin. Locals mined stones from its structures, leaving it but a crumbling ruin on the landscape. It however was still used as a landmark by sailors coming into port, and was heavy inspiration for Bram Stoker when writing “Dracula”. In 1914, it was shelled by German battle cruisers by a mis-fire giving it un-repairable considerable damage.

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Bradford Interchange / Bradford Exchange


Bradford Exchange, Bradford, England

The Bradford Interchange (originally called Bradford Exchange) is a major hub of activity for traffic of travelers, commuters, pedestrians, and passengers coming to Yorkshire. It is a combined coach, bus, and railway station located in Bradford, England. Originally the Bradford Exchange as a train station, it was completely rebuilt on the same site in 1880 with 10 bay platforms and two arched roofs with wrought iron, glass, timber, slate, and plain stone wall construct in a classic corinthian style. Originally designed as a show piece for European design (its current design), it was created in 1962 and opened in 1971. he station was rebuilt again in 1973 to a smaller size. The Bradford Crown court, Magistrates’ and Coroner’s Courts took over the un-used space. In 1977 a bus station was built alongside the train station and re-named to the Bradford Interchange linking together bus and train traffic. By 1999 another rebuilding of the bus station took place with a grand opening in 2001. On its lower level is a main entrance where taxi services, passenger pickup, and a car park is located. Upstairs is the train and bus platforms. Within the central concourse downstairs are ticket booths, information, a news agent, a cafe, fast food outlet, and a few shops. Phones, ATM, refreshment machines, and toilets are located just off the main concourse. In the railway station is a British Transport Police Office and lost luggage desk. The station is monitored by close circuit television as well as patrolling police and security officers. There are separate train and bus ticket outlets in the concourse. The Bus/Metro office also covers National Express coach services. The bus station, managed by Metro, includes First West Yorkshire, Arriva Yorkshire, Centrebus, Geldards Coaches, Transdev, Stagecoach Yorkshire, TLC Travel, and National Express. Station sees regular services to London Kings Cross via Pontefract and Doncaster.

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The Sirena: Ferry Service from Harwich to Esbjerg

MS Dana Sirena
* directferries.co.uk * http://www.directferries.co.uk/dfds_seaways_dana_sirena.htm * http://www.directferries.co.uk/harwich_esbjerg_ferry.htm *

The Dana Sirena, named just like a ship out of folklore, appropriate since my first journey on her was embarking on a voyage from Jorvik to Norway for my first Viking festival. This brilliant RoPax ferry carries over 620 passengers and 435 cars. It is also a freight ferry. Its a pretty comfortable ferry, with all passengers having their own onboard cabins and/or reserved seating. Facilities such as free wifi, restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, and a children’s area are located within. The beds were comfortable, showers were nice, rooms came with bedding, towels, and wardrobe space. As I was on a budget, I packed my own food for the journey, so can’t comment on the restaurant or bar services. I’ve been told there is sufficient variety offered. I didn’t partake of the shopping, and was able to catch some of the entertainment. The entertainment was mediocre, but some of the passengers seemed pleased. Apparently there was a featured “films on demand” service, of which I cannot comment on since I didn’t use it. The ship sails from Harwich, England to Esbjerg, Denmark, and back. The Sirena is built of iron and steel in 2001 originally named the “MS Golfo Dei Delfini” owned by Lloyd Sardegna, acquired by the DFDS Tor Line then DFDS Seaways, then renamed the “Dana Sirena” after 2003. In 2001-2002 its port of registry was Olbia, Sardinia; then in 2002 registered in Esbjerg, Denmark. It was built by Stocznia Szczecinska in 2001. It is 22,382 GT tonnage, with a 654.2 ft length and a 78″3 height. It travels at 23 knots. I quite enjoyed the ferry trip, much better than most ferries I’ve been on. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.


The Sirena Ferry, Harwich to Esbjerg

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Stonehenge Festival

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Stonehenge Festival, a set on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
The Summer Solstice Stonehenge Celebration at Stonehenge, Salisbury, England, UK. June 20-21, 2012.

To learn more about Stonehenge, visit my page at: www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=126

In the near future, photos and articles relating to the 2012 festival will be posted here (estimated July 2012) www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3365

Photos by Leaf McGowan and/or Thomas Baurley. purchase and/or use permission can be obtained here: www.technogypsie.com/photography.html

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Captain Cook Museum (Whitby, UK)

Captain Cook Museum

Captain Cook Memorial Museum
* Grape Lane Whitby North Yorkshire, YO22 4BA, United Kingdom
01947 601900 *

After having followed Captain Cook’s life from his place of death in Hawaii, and embarking on part of the 2012 circumnavigation of Australia this summer aboard the HMB Endeavour, I could think nothing better than to finish my summer journey by going to Cook’s birthplace – Whitby. The Captain Cook Museum was my target. The museum is located in the actual house where Cook began his apprenticeship in the 17th century that began his adventures. Packed within this small building on its many different floors are exhibits about Cook’s life, achievements, maps, models, letters, and historical artifacts. Some of the rooms are furnished as they were in Cook’s time. For any Captain Cook fan or individual interested in his history, this is a not-to-miss place for the knowledge it shares. Those who really lack interest in Cook, it can be skipped. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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The Dracula Experience, Whitby, England

Dracula Experience
Dracula Experience

The Dracula Experience
* 9 Marine Parade North Yorkshire, Whitby YO21 1EA, United Kingdom * 01947 601 923 *

How could one come to Whitby? the home of Bram Stoker, without thinking about peeking one’s curious head into the “Dracula Experience”. Well, bother not. It’s a chain horror shop that can be found throughout the UK. Very cheesy, kitch, and boring. Of course i did his when no live actors were running around, so I got in for only a few pounds. Still, i can’t imagine the live actors justifying the price they are asking. It was a quick walkthrough. They do attempt the tale of Dracula in this creepy town with its famous Gothic abbey with animated scenes, electronic special effects, and live actors. Not impressed. 1 star out of 5.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Boscastle YHA

Boscastle YHA
* http://www.yha.org.uk/find-accommodation/south-west-england/hostels/boscastle-harbour/index.aspx?hostelid=000026 * Palace Stables * Boscastle * Cornwall, United Kingdom * PL35 0HD *
Tel: 0845 371 9006 * Fax no: 01840 250977 * Email: boscastle@yha.org.uk *

A nice little YHA is the Boscastle Harbour, nestled right in the fishing village central of the heart of North Cornwall’s amazing coastline. Its a break from technology as it has no internet accessibility within the hostel and is a warm family-atmosphere retreat. Located right next to the Museum of Witchcraft, this is the place to stay for any researchers of the odd and unknown. It is also a great stop-off for hikers and Cornwall coastline footpath walkers. The hostel was quite affordable (at 10.00 per person/day (2011)) and you’re left on your own much of the time visiting. Great self-catering kitchen and cozy recreation room/lounge. The hostel operates from April through November. Reception is open from 8 am until 10 am, 5 pm until 10 pm daily. No onsite parking available. I strongly enjoyed my visit and hope to visit again. Rating : 4 stars out of 5. Review by Tom Baurley 7/18/2010.

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Wishing Trees


Wishing Tree @ Brigid’s Well in Kildare, Ireland

Wishing Trees
“Wishing Trees” are very common throughout Ireland, England, and Scotland. They are usually individual trees upon which “folk magic”, “folk spells”, “faerie offerings”, or “prayers” are offered. Sometimes it is particular to a specific species, where the tree lives, or how it looks. Many times they are associated with faeries or a particular Deity. They are very common alongside sacred wells in Ireland and the UK. The practice usually involves petitions or offerings made to the tree, a nature spirit associated with the tree, a Saint, a God/dess, or the ancestors with a request for a wish to be fulfilled. Coin trees involve offering of coins to a particular tree. These are often hammered into an old trunk, branch, or small tree. Sometimes these are oaks, rowan trees, hawthorns, ash, or thorn trees. Some hawthornes serve for fertility magic such as a common one in Argyll, Scotland by the Ardmaddy House. Sometimes hundreds of coins are hammered into the bark and wood with the belief that a wish will be granted for each of the coins added. A similar one that is well known is by the sacred well of ST. Maree in Loch Maree, Gairloch, Scotland that has hundreds of coins hammered into it. Also all over the Yorkshire Dales, such as in the pictures shown here I took during a hike, are found with hundreds of coins offered to nature spirits and/or faeries for a granting of a wish. Clootie Wish Trees are found next to sacred wells throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. This involves the practice of tying a piece of cloth, often called “clouties”, “clooties”, or “cloughties” to ask for a answer to a prayer, a wish, and/or a petition. One of the most well known “wishing trees” is the Madron Well in Cornwall. With the Madron well, a sacred well of healing, it is believed that as the cloth rots, the ailment that one is seeking a cure for disappears. Even Charles Darwin recorded the finding of a “wishing tree” in his travels in Argentina called “Walleechu” which was treated by the local inhabitants as a Deity. It was festooned with offerings such as cigars, food, water, and cloth hung from the branches by bright strips of colored thread. Popular wishing trees in Hong Kong is the “Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree” near the “Tin Hau Temple” in Lam Tsu where paper tied to an orange and thrown up in the trees that stick will grant the petitioner a wish. The wishing tree next to Brigid’s Well in Kildare is a common tree for petitioning healing requests.


Penny offerings for good luck
and as gifts to the Fae

“Wishing Tree”
Yorkshire Dales, England

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Driving on the Left hand side of the road

Driving on the Left
Ireland and the United Kingdom

It’s always pretty intriguing how different customs are with all the various countries and how to understand why cultures do what they do. Such as with the differences between driving on the left or the right side of the road in some countries. Coming from America where we drive on the right side, having only ever driven on the left before in the Bahamas, it took some getting used to on my trip driving around Ireland. Of course the cars in each of these countries are usually arranged to the way you drive on the road – so left hand side road, the gear shifter is on your left and the steering wheel on the right side of the car; right hand side of the road – gear shift is on the right, and the steering wheel is on the left hand side of the car. Confusing, eh? The driver always sits on the side closest to the center line – except mail carriers and some delivery personnel who need to sit on the side closest to the side of the road. If renting a car, get full insurance, especially if you’ve never driven on the opposite side of the road. We had a side mirror collision within 20 minutes of renting the car (not me – but could have been). Just remember there is now a “whole lotta car” on your left. Also keep in mind that the roundabouts can be tricky, especially if you’re from somewhere like America where they are rare. These are intersections designed to keep the flow of traffic moving at a constant pace. As you approach them, you’ll see a large green sign with white lettering displaying the upcoming roundabout with details on the roads coming from them. Prepare for your exit. Yield to oncoming traffic coming from the right. Movement is clockwise. So who drives on the left? Approximately 1/4 of the world drives on the left hand side of the road, most of which are British oriented or old British colonies. This is because in the past everyone travelled on the left side as it was the most sensible option for feudal, violent societies as most people were right-handed, and swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer an opponent and their scabbard further from them – plus it reduced the chance of the scabbard (worn on the left) from hitting other people. Additionally, a right-handed person finds it easier to mount a horse from the left side, as it would be very difficult to do so otherwise if wearing a sword (which is worn on the left) – safer to mount and dismount towards the side of the road, rather than middle of traffic, so if one mounts on the left, then the horse should be ridden on the left side of the road. Crazy, eh? It simply hadn’t changed from traditional times. In the 1700’s though, in France and the United States saw difficulties with hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses, and the driver’s seat was at the rear of the horse with the driver on the left rear – so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team – since he was sitting on the left, he wanted everyone to pass him on the left so he could look down and make sure he was clear of oncoming wagon wheels – thereby staying to the right side of the road. The French Revolution of 1789 gave a big push for right-hand travel in the rest of Europe, as the aristocracy travelled on the left of the road, forcing the peasantry over to the right, and after the storming of the Bastille, aristocrats wanted to keep a low profile and started joining the peasants on the right. It was in 1794 in Paris that an official “Keep Right” rule was introduced, then paralleled in Denmark as compulsory in 1793. Napoleon spread right sided driving to the Low Countries of Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemborg, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Russia, and most of Spain and Italy. Britain, Austro-Hugarian Empire, and Portugal resisted Napoleon. Sweden ceded Finland to right driving Russia after the Russo-Swedish War in 1809, and decreed in 1858 to make Finland swap sides. Left hand driving was made mandatory in Britain in 1835. Japan on its own had its traffic going to the left since the Edo period in 1867 when the Samurai ruled the country, and by 1872 it was official. Early colonization of the Americas was once left sided, but after independence from England, they changed to right hand driving. The first American law to keep right was passed in Pennsylvania in 1792, New York in 1804, and New Jersey in 1813. Canadians didn’t leave the left until shortly after the 2nd World War. British Columbia switched to the right in the 1920s to conform with the rest of Canada and the U.S. Newfoundland drove on the left until 1947. After Germany annexed Austria in 1938, Hitler ordered traffic to move from the left to the right overnight. American Cars were designed to be driven on the right by locating driver’s controls on the vehicle’s left side. Today only four European countries drive on the left: Ireland, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, and Malta. Samoa was the first country to ever change from the right hand side to the left hand side (done on September 7, 2009) and was done so to make it easier to import cheap cars from left-hand driving Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Turn signals are mounted normally on the left side of the steering column, including right handed vehicles in the UK and the left handed vehicles in America and the rest of Europe. But Vehicles built in Australia and Japan, have the turn signal lever mounted on the right.

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Rock n’ Bowl Hostel (Bristol, England)


Rock n’ Bowl Hostel

Rock n’ Bowl Hostel
* 22 Nelson Street * Bristol, UK BS1 2LE, United Kingdom * 0117 325 1980 * http://www.rocknbowlmotel.com/ *
A great hidden gem in the hostel world – this hostel is central and is relatively new to Bristol, or at least appears so, as it was under modeling or re-modeling while I was visiting. Located above a bowling alley and bar, right in the heart of Bristol’s shopping district, close to the Harbour and night life, bus stations, and the heart of city activities near the historic city wall … I found the hostel affordable and very pleasant during my stay. Free wifi and a friendly desk staff. Great little lounge and its own theater where they would do movies though most of when I was there a band was rehearsing. They have double beds, private twin rooms, co-ed dorm rooms, and female only dorms. Retro cool bowling alley with the “Lanes” bar and diner downstairs. Self cook kitchen and fridges upstairs, laundry room, and lounge. Beds as low as 13 GBP a night or 65 GBP a week. Clean bedrooms and establishment, though the self-kitchen area was in a bit of disarray. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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Bodmin and Bodmin Moor

BODMIN & THE BODMIN MOORCornwall, United Kingdom

One of Cornwall’s oldest towns … Bodmin has just over 13,000 citizens which stands as a civil parish in Cornwall, England located just southwest of the Bodmin Moor. It was formerly the county town of Cornwall until the Crown Courts moved to Truro. The name is believed to have come from an archaic word in the Cornish “bod” (meaning dwelling) and a contraction of “menegh” (or “Monks”) and may have referred to a early monastic settlement that was in the area that was instituted by St. Guron (St. Petroc) in the 6th century. The Black Death killed half of the town’s population in the mid 14th century. The town was the center of three Cornish uprisings – (1) 1497 when a Cornish army led by Michael An Gof marched to Blackheath in London where they were defeated by 10,000 men of the King’s army under Baron Daubeny. (2) Autumn of 1497 when a man named Perkin Warbeck tried to usurp the throne from Henry VII. (3) 1549 when Cornishmen rose once again in rebellion against Edward VI’s new Prayer book since the Cornish were very attached to Catholicism. This was called the Prayer Book Rebellion. The Bodmin Moor is a rough toor of granite moorland in northeastern Cornwall that is approximately 208 sq. kilometers in size. The geology dats from the Carboniferous period and is one of five granite batholiths in Cornwall. The landscape is eery and gives great background to the mythology, murders, and mysteries attributed to the area. There are approximately 500 holdings in the Moor with an estimated 10,000 cows; 55,000 breeding ewes; and 1,000 horses/ponies. The area is deemed a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and officially designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Moor is also the source of several of Cornwall’s rivers such as the River FOwey, the Rivery Tiddy, the River Inny, River Lynher, River Camel, De Lank River, River Warleggan, and the River Tamar. The Moor is also home to the legendary Dozmary Pool where the Lady of the Lake theoretically gave King Arthur Excalibur. This is Cornwall’s only natural inland lake and is glacial in origin. By the 20th century, three reservoirs were constructed on the Moor – Colliford Lake, Siblyback Lake, and Crowdy Reservoir. These support much of the county’s population with fresh water. 10,000 years ago, on the Kilmar Tor, hunter-gatherers wandered the Moor and left incredible remains of flint scatters all across the region. During the Neolithic (4,500-2,300 BC) – the Moor began to be cleared and farmed. Megalithic monuments were constructed across the Moor consisting of long cairns and stone circles. By the Bronze Age, monuments increased with over 300 cairns and more stone circles, rows, and over 200 Bronze Age settlements with enclosures and field patterns. The Moor is also the legendary place for “King Arthur’s Hall” which is believed to have been a late Neolithic or early Bronze Age ceremonial site to the east of St. Breward. Quarrying and mining in the Moor took place during the Medieval period. The Moor is filled with legends … such as “The Wild Horse on Bodmin Moor”; “Dozmary Pool”; “Lady of the Lake”; “Jan Tregeagle”; and “The Beast of Bodmin“.

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The Bodmin Beast

The Bodmin Beast
The Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, United Kingdom

There is a legend in Cornwall – and it really is not unique to the Bodmin Moor. Giant cats and panthers are believed to wander and roam all over Cornwall. But these legendary beasts get their infamous label of “The Bodmin Beast” for the most popular sightings take place on the Bodmin Moor, which is of course a creepy landscape full of faerie lore and horror tales. The legends abound on this moor with its wild and rugged landscape full of mysteries. I remembered momentarily visualizing camping on the moor and a chanceful glance at the panther. The authorities will tell you though … there are no giant cats in England. However, the locals will tell you a different story … sightings all over no different than the Mountain Lions in Colorado or the Panthers in Florida – which certifiably exist. Some locals say they are pet panthers and cougars that were let go in the wild. The Bodmin Beast consists of over 60 sightings a a large black panther-like cat that is 3-5′ long with white-yellow eyes that supposedly prey on local livestock. The evidence was strong enough that the government ordered an official investigation in 1995 but resulted inconclusive (no evidence against it, no evidence to prove it). After the governmental report, a small boy found a leopard skull lying on the banks of the Fowey River, but was later determined to be a part of a disposed leapardskin rug. More sightings continued until someone caught video footage of a black animal about 3 1/2 feet long in 1998.

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Colliford Lake

Colliford Lake
Bodmin Moor, Bodmin, Cornwall, United Kingdom

I had the pleasure of visiting legendary Colliford Lake this summer as it was the mystical location of the Three Wishes Faerie Festival. Colliford Lake is a popular reservoir on the Bodmin Moor in mystical Cornwall. It covers over 900 acres of land and is the second largest lake in Cornwall. Right off the A30 trunk by Bolventor it is also close to Bodmin. A 50 acre adventure and nature park called “Colliford Lake Park” is along its shores featuring hiking and themed trails, footpaths, play areas, mazes, miniature golf course, wetlands, picnic and camping areas. THere is also lodging, a restaurant, bar, and a cafe. Colliford Lake is home to the mythological headwaters of “Dozmary Pool” where the Lady of the Lake is believed to have bestowed King Arthur with Excalibur. The pool is located south the A30 a mile or so down a twisty lane that begins across from the infamous Jamaica Inn at Bolventor winding its way into the Bodmin Moor where the legendary Beast is believed to roam. The legend states that King Arthur’s sword “Excalibur” was hurled into the pool only to reappear held up by a ghostly arm of the “Lady of the Lake” before disappearing beneath the dark surface. While the pool has dried completely up during very hot summers, the locals claim it is bottomless.

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