Tag Archives: holy grail

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.

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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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