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 ( Late 15th century town house. (c) 2011-2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, Glastonbury:

Walking the streets of Glastonbury. August 1, 2011: Glastonbury, England. (c) 2011-2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, Glastonbury:

August 1, 2011: Gothic Image shop, Glastonbury, England. (c) 2011-2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, Glastonbury:

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