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Glastonbury History

From flint finds on the Tor to the dug out canoes of the iron age lake villages the history of Glastonbury goes back a long way. Just outside of the town is Beckery where there was the earliest monastery in the UK of the 4th or 5th century. But you will see a grassy mound where it lies now. The earliest visible history in the town are at the time of the end of the Saxon period and early Norman period when the churches are built.

The abbey remains were built on top of a saxon church - more detail on its page. A number of other churches are found very close to the abbey.

St Johns church is the large church in the middle of the High Street. It is a 15th century church built on top of earlier ones, possibly back to the saxon times.

St Benedicts is also large medieval type but less visible as it is down the side street of Benedicts Street. Originally part of an 11th century one it has been expanded over the centuries.

Across from the abbey is Magdelene Street where you can find the 11th century St Margarets Chapel and Alms House. The small building is worth a visit and open every day and has a quiet pleasant garden.

In the middle of the High Street are some very prominent old buildings. The first one is The Tribunal. This is now the tourist infomation center so worth a visit but it was once a merchants house and possibly the abbey court house. Within it is also a museum which contain many of the ancient finds from the lake villages and peat digging on the moors. The building is in the care of English Heritage which has an external linked page about it.

Only a few shops away you come to a similar looking building which is called the George Hotel and Pilgrims Inn. Originally an Inn during the 15th century, it is the oldest of its type in the South West of England. It continues to be a hotel.

At the back of the Abbey grounds heading towards the Tor is an old tithe barn and outbuildings which make up the Somerset Rural Life Museum.

Images of Glastonbury with a historical element to them can be found here.

 
St Johns

St Johns

 
St Benedicts

St Benedicts

 
The Tribunal

The Tribunal