2013 (MMXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2013th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 13th year of the 3rd millennium, the 13th year of the 21st century, and the 4th year of the 2010s decade.
2013 was designated as:
International Year of Water Cooperation
International Year of Quinoa
January 10 – More than 100 people are killed and 270 injured in several bomb blasts in Pakistan.
January 11 – The French military begins a five-month intervention into the Northern Mali conflict, targeting the militant Islamist Ansar Dine group.
January 16–20 – Thirty-nine international workers and one security guard die in a hostage crisis at a natural gas facility near In Aménas, Algeria.
January 27 – An estimated 233 people die in a nightclub fire at the Kiss nightclub in the Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
February 12 – North Korea conducts its third underground nuclear test, prompting widespread condemnation and tightened economic sanctions from the international community.
February 15 – A meteor explodes over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,489-1,492 people and damaging over 4,300 buildings. It is the most powerful meteor to strike Earth’s atmosphere in over a century. The incident, along with a coincidental flyby of a larger asteroid, prompts international concern regarding the vulnerability of the planet to meteor strikes.
February 21 – American scientists use a 3D printer to create a living lab-grown ear from collagen and animal ear cell cultures. In the future, it is hoped that similar ears could be grown to order as transplants for human patients suffering from ear trauma or amputation.
February 28 – Benedict XVI resigns as pope, becoming the first to do so since Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294.
March 13 – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is elected the 266th pope, whereupon he takes the name Francis and becomes the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere.
March 24 – Central African Republic President François Bozizé flees to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after rebel forces capture the nation’s capital, Bangui.
March 25 – The European Union agrees to a €10 billion economic bailout for Cyprus. The bailout loan will be equally split between the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, the European Financial Stability Facility, and the International Monetary Fund. The deal precipitates a banking crisis in the island nation.
April 2 – The United Nations General Assembly adopts the Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the international trade of conventional weapons.
April 15 – Two Chechnya-born Islamist brothers (one of whom was a United States citizen) explode two bombs at the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States, killing 3 and injuring 264 others.
April 24 – The 2013 Savar building collapse, one of the worst industrial disasters in the world, kills 1,134 people in Bangladesh.
April 30 – Willem-Alexander is inaugurated as King of the Netherlands following the abdication of Beatrix.
May 6 – Three women, missing for more than nine years, are found alive in Cleveland, Ohio. Police arrest Ariel Castro, their abductor, later that day.[importance?]
May 15 – In a study published in the scientific journal Nature, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University in the United States describe the first production of human embryonic stem cells by cloning.
May 22 – British Army soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is murdered in Woolwich, southeast London by Islamic terrorists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.
May 31 – The El Reno tornado, near El Reno, Oklahoma, United States, having a record-breaking width 2.6 miles (4.2 km), with maximum wind speeds up to 301 mph (484 km/h), is the widest tornado ever recorded on earth.
June 6 – Former CIA employee Edward Snowden discloses operations engaged in by a U.S. government mass surveillance program to news publications and flees the country, later being granted temporary asylum in Russia.
June 25 – Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani abdicates and his son Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani assumes power.
Kevin Rudd defeats Julia Gillard in an Australian Labor Party leadership ballot and consequently becomes Prime Minister of Australia, three years after Gillard replaced Rudd.
United States v. Windsor (570 U.S. 744) decided in the Supreme Court of the United States, overturning a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act and hence granting federal recognition to same-sex marriage in the United States.[importance?]
July 1 – Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union.
July 3 – Amid mass protests across Egypt, President Mohamed Morsi is deposed in a military coup d’état, leading to widespread violence.
July 21 – Philippe is sworn in as King of the Belgians, following the abdication of Albert II.
August 14 – Following the military coup in Egypt, two anti-coup camps are raided by the security forces, leaving 2,696 dead. The raids were described by Human Rights Watch as "one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history".
August 21 – 1,429 are killed in the Ghouta chemical attack during the Syrian Civil War.
August 29 – The United Kingdom Parliament votes against UK military attacks on Syria.
2013 Australian federal election: The Liberal/National Coalition led by Tony Abbott defeats the Labor Government led by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Abbott would be sworn in on September 18th.
The International Olympic Committee awards Tokyo the right to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
September 21 – al-Shabaab Islamic militants attack the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 62 civilians and wounding over 170.
October 10 – Delegates from some 140 countries and territories sign the Minamata Treaty, a UNEP treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
October 18 – Saudi Arabia rejects a seat on the United Nations Security Council, making it the first country to reject a seat on the Security Council. Jordan takes the seat on December 6.
November 5 – The unmanned Mars Orbiter Mission is launched by India from its launchpad in Sriharikota.
November 8 – Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record, hits the Philippines and Vietnam, causing devastation with at least 6,241 dead.
November 12 – Three Studies of Lucian Freud, a series of portraits of Lucian Freud by the British painter Francis Bacon, sells for US$142.4 million in a New York City auction, setting a world record for an auctioned work of art.
November 15 – The PlayStation 4 was released, the week before the release of the Xbox One.[importance?]
November 17 – Fifty people are killed when Tatarstan Airlines Flight 363 crashes at Kazan Airport, Russia.
November 21 – Euromaidan pro-EU demonstrations begin in Ukraine after President Viktor Yanukovych rejects an economic association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine in favor of closer ties to Russia.
November 24 – Iran agrees to limit their nuclear development program in exchange for sanctions relief.
December 7 – Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization delegates sign the Bali Package agreement aimed at loosening global trade barriers.
December 14 – Chinese unmanned spacecraft Chang’e 3, carrying the Yutu rover, becomes the first spacecraft to "soft"-land on the Moon since 1976 and the third ever robotic rover to do so.
December 15 – Fighting between ethnic Dinka and Nuer members of the presidential guard break out in Juba, South Sudan, plunging the country into civil war.
December 25 – 38 people are killed in the Christmas Day bombings in Iraq.
July 22 – Prince George of Cambridge
Further information: Category:2013 deaths
January · February · March · April · May · June · July · August · September · October · November · December
Main article: Deaths in January 2013
January 1 – Patti Page, American singer (b. 1927)
January 2 – Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, Uruguayan footballer (b. 1945)
January 3 – Sergiu Nicolaescu, Romanian film director, actor, and politician (b. 1930)
David R. Ellis, American film director (b. 1952)
Jiřina Jirásková, Czech actress (b. 1931)
James M. Buchanan, American Nobel economist (b. 1919)
Sakine Cansız, Kurdish activist (b. 1958)
Mariangela Melato, Italian actress (b. 1941)
Nguyễn Khánh, Vietnamese general and politician (b. 1927)
Aaron Swartz, American programmer (b. 1986)
January 14 – Conrad Bain, Canadian-American actor (b. 1923)
January 15 – Nagisa Oshima, Japanese film director (b. 1932)
January 19 – Stan Musial, American baseball player (b. 1920)
January 21 – Michael Winner, British film director and producer (b. 1935)
January 22 – Said Ali al-Shihri, Saudi Arabian deputy leader (b. 1971)
January 23 – Józef Glemp, Polish cardinal (b. 1929)
January 31 – Hassan Habibi, 1st Vice President of Iran (b. 1937)
Main article: Deaths in February 2013
Robert Coleman Richardson
Donald A. Glaser
February 1 – Ed Koch, American lawyer and politician (b. 1924)
February 2 – Chris Kyle, United States Navy sniper (b. 1974)
Donald Byrd, American trumpet player (b. 1932)
Reg Presley, British singer, songwriter and musician (b. 1941)
Ronald Dworkin, American philosopher and lawyer (b. 1931)
Reeva Steenkamp, South African model (b. 1983)
Mindy McCready, American country singer (b. 1975)
Tony Sheridan, British singer, songwriter, and musician (b. 1940)
Kevin Ayers, British singer, songwriter, and musician (b. 1944)
Chieko Honda, Japanese voice actress (b. 1963)
Otfried Preußler, German children author (b. 1923)
Armen Alchian, American economist (b. 1914)
Robert Coleman Richardson, American Nobel physicist (b. 1937)
February 22 – Wolfgang Sawallisch, German conductor and pianist (b. 1923)
February 23 – Julien Ries, Belgian cardinal (b. 1920)
February 25 – Carmen Montejo, Cuban-Mexican actress (b. 1925)
February 26 – Stéphane Hessel, French diplomat and writer (b. 1917)
Van Cliburn, American pianist (b. 1934)
Dale Robertson, American actor (b. 1923)
February 28 – Donald A. Glaser, American Nobel physicist (b. 1926)
Main article: Deaths in March 2013
March 1 – Bonnie Franklin, American actress (b. 1944)
March 3 – Luis Cubilla, Uruguayan footballer (b. 1940)
Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela (b. 1954)
Paul Bearer, American professional wrestling manager (b. 1954)
Stompin’ Tom Connors, Canadian country-folk singer (b. 1936)
Alvin Lee, British guitarist (b. 1944)
Peter Banks, British guitarist (b. 1947)
Damiano Damiani, Italian film director and screenwriter (b. 1922)
March 8 – Hartmut Briesenick, German athlete (b. 1949)
Larisa Avdeyeva, Russian mezzo-soprano (b. 1925)
Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland (b. 1915)
March 12 – Clive Burr, British drummer (b. 1957)
March 13 – Malachi Throne, American actor (b. 1928)
March 14 – Ieng Sary, Vietnamese-born Cambodian politician (b. 1925)
José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz, Argentine executive and policy maker (b. 1925)
Jason Molina, American singer-songwriter (b. 1973)
March 19 – Harry Reems, American pornographic actor (b. 1947)
March 20 – Zillur Rahman, 18th President of Bangladesh (b. 1929)
Chinua Achebe, Nigerian writer (b. 1930)
Pietro Mennea, Italian athlete (b. 1952)
March 22 – Bebo Valdés, Cuban pianist, bandleader, and composer (b. 1918)
Boris Berezovsky, Russian businessman (b. 1946)
Joe Weider, Canadian-born American bodybuilder and publisher (b. 1919)
March 27 – Hjalmar Andersen, Norwegian skater (b. 1923)
March 28 – Richard Griffiths, English actor (b. 1947)
Main article: Deaths in April 2013
April 1 – Moses Blah, 23rd President of Liberia (b. 1947)
April 2 – Jesús Franco, Spanish film director and screenwriter (b. 1930)
April 3 – Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, German-born British novelist and screenwriter (b. 1927)
April 4 – Roger Ebert, American film critic and writer (b. 1942)
April 6 – Bigas Luna, Spanish film director (b. 1946)
Annette Funicello, American actress and singer (b. 1942)
Sara Montiel, Spanish singer and actress (b. 1928)
Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1979–1990) (b. 1925)
April 9 – Paolo Soleri, Italian-born American architect (b. 1919)
April 10 – Robert Edwards, British Nobel physiologist (b. 1925)
Maria Tallchief, American prima ballerina (b. 1925)
Jonathan Winters, American comedian and actor (b. 1925)
Hilary Koprowski, Polish virologist and immunologist (b. 1916)
April 13 – Chi Cheng, American musician (b. 1970)
Colin Davis, British conductor (b. 1927)
Armando Villanueva, 121st Prime Minister of Peru (b. 1915)
Deanna Durbin, Canadian-born singer and actress (b. 1921)
Carlos Graça, 6th Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe (b. 1931)
April 18 – Storm Thorgerson, British graphic designer (b. 1944)
Allan Arbus, American actor and photographer (b. 1918)
François Jacob, French Nobel biologist (b. 1920)
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Russian-American terrorist (b. 1986)
April 22 – Richie Havens, American folk singer (b. 1941)
April 26 – George Jones, American country music singer (b. 1931)
April 28 – János Starker, Hungarian-born American cellist (b. 1924)
Main article: Deaths in May 2013
Jorge Rafael Videla
May 2 – Jeff Hanneman, American guitarist (b. 1964)
Christian de Duve, Belgian Nobel biochemist (b. 1917)
Morgan Morgan-Giles, English admiral and politician (b. 1914)
César Portillo de la Luz, Cuban guitarist and composer (b. 1922)
May 6 – Giulio Andreotti, Italian politician, 41st Prime Minister of Italy (b. 1919)
May 7 – Ray Harryhausen, American filmmaker and creator of visual effects (b. 1920)
Jeanne Cooper, American actress (b. 1928)
Bryan Forbes, English film director, screenwriter, film producer, actor and novelist (b. 1926)
May 13 – Kenneth Waltz, American political scientist (b. 1924)
May 15 – Henrique Rosa, President of Guinea-Bissau (2003–2005) (b. 1946)
May 16 – Heinrich Rohrer, Swiss Nobel physicist (b. 1933)
May 17 – Jorge Rafael Videla, Argentinian politician, 42nd President of Argentina (b. 1925)
Steve Forrest, American actor (b. 1925)
Nam Duck-woo, 12th Prime Minister of South Korea (b. 1924)
May 20 – Ray Manzarek, American keyboardist (b. 1939)
May 22 – Henri Dutilleux, French composer (b. 1916)
May 23 – Georges Moustaki, French singer and songwriter (b. 1934)
May 26 – Jack Vance, American novelist (b. 1916)
May 31 – Jean Stapleton, American actress (b. 1923)
Main article: Deaths in June 2013
Frank Lautenberg, American politician (b. 1924)
Jiah Khan, Indian actress (b. 1988)
Jerome Karle, American Nobel Prize-winning chemist (b. 1918)
Esther Williams, American swimmer and actress (b. 1921)
Pierre Mauroy, Prime Minister of France (b. 1928)
Richard Ramirez, American serial killer (b. 1960)
Yoram Kaniuk, Israeli writer (b. 1930)
Taufiq Kiemas, 5th First Gentleman of Indonesia (b. 1942)
June 9 – Iain Banks, British novelist (b. 1954)
June 11 – Robert Fogel, American Nobel Prize-winning economic historian (b. 1926)
Heinz Flohe, German footballer (b. 1948)
Stan Lopata, American baseball player (b. 1925)
Kenneth G. Wilson, American Nobel Prize-winning physicist (b. 1936)
Josip Kuže, Croatian footballer and coach (b. 1952)
Ottmar Walter, German footballer (b. 1924)
James Gandolfini, American actor (b. 1961)
Gyula Horn, Prime Minister of Hungary (1994–1998) (b. 1932)
Bobby Bland, American singer and songwriter (b. 1930)
Richard Matheson, American author and screenwriter (b. 1926)
June 24 – Emilio Colombo, 40th Prime Minister of Italy (b. 1920)
June 26 – Marc Rich, Belgian-born American commodities trader and criminal (b. 1934)
June 27 – Alain Mimoun, French track and field athlete (b. 1921)
Margherita Hack, Italian astrophysicist (b. 1922)
Jim Kelly, American martial artist and actor (b. 1946)
Main article: Deaths in July 2013
Princess Fawzia Fuad of Egypt, Queen consort of Iran (1941–1948) (b. 1921)
Douglas Engelbart, American computer scientist and inventor (b. 1925)
July 3 – Radu Vasile, Romanian politician, 57th Prime Minister of Romania (b. 1942)
July 12 – Amar Bose, American engineer and entrepreneur (b. 1929)
July 13 – Cory Monteith, Canadian actor and musician (b. 1982)
Mel Smith, British comedian and actor (b. 1952)
Bert Trautmann, German-born British footballer (b. 1923)
July 20 – Helen Thomas, American journalist (b. 1920)
July 22 – Dennis Farina, American actor (b. 1944)
Emile Griffith, American welterweight boxer (b. 1938)
Djalma Santos, Brazilian footballer (b. 1929)
Walter De Maria, American sculptor and composer (b. 1935)
Bernadette Lafont, French actress (b. 1938)
July 26 – JJ Cale, American singer and songwriter (b. 1938)
July 28 – Eileen Brennan, American actress and singer (b. 1932)
July 29 – Christian Benítez, Ecuadorian footballer (b. 1986)
July 30 – Antoni Ramallets, Spanish footballer (b. 1924)
July 31 – Michael Ansara, American actor (b. 1922)
Main article: Deaths in August 2013
Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau
August 5 – George Duke, American keyboardist (b. 1946)
August 8 – Karen Black, American actress (b. 1939)
László Csatáry, Hungarian war criminal (b. 1915)
Eydie Gormé, American singer (b. 1928)
August 12 – Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, (b. 1968)
August 14 – Gia Allemand, American actress (b. 1983)
August Schellenberg, Canadian-American actor (b. 1936)
Marich Man Singh Shrestha, 28th Prime Minister of Nepal (b. 1942)
Lisa Robin Kelly, American actress (b. 1970)
August 18 – Dezső Gyarmati, Hungarian water polo player (b. 1927)
Cedar Walton, American pianist (b. 1934)
Lee Thompson Young, American actor (b. 1984)
Elmore Leonard, American novelist (b. 1925)
Marian McPartland, British-born pianist (b. 1918)
August 21 – C. Gordon Fullerton, American astronaut (b. 1936)
August 24 – Julie Harris, American actress (b. 1925)
August 25 – Gylmar dos Santos Neves, Brazilian footballer (b. 1930)
August 30 – Seamus Heaney, Irish Nobel poet (b. 1939)
August 31 – David Frost, British journalist and broadcaster (b. 1939)
Main article: Deaths in September 2013
Pál Csernai, Hungarian footballer and manager (b. 1932)
Tommy Morrison, American boxer (b. 1969)
Ronald Coase, British Nobel economist (b. 1910)
Frederik Pohl, American writer (b. 1919)
Sushmita Banerjee, Indian writer (b. 1963)
Rochus Misch, German bodyguard of Adolf Hitler (b. 1917)
Ray Dolby, American engineer and inventor (b. 1933)
Otto Sander, German actor (b. 1941)
September 17 – Eiji Toyoda, Japanese industrialist (b. 1913)
Ken Norton, American boxer (b. 1943)
Marcel Reich-Ranicki, German literary critic (b. 1920)
Hiroshi Yamauchi, Japanese businessman (b. 1927)
Saye Zerbo, 3rd President and 4th Prime Minister of Burkina Faso (b. 1932)
September 22 – David H. Hubel, Canadian-born American Nobel neuroscientist (b. 1926)
Main article: Deaths in October 2013
Peter Broadbent, English footballer (b. 1933)
Tom Clancy, American writer (b. 1947)
Giuliano Gemma, Italian actor (b. 1938)
October 3 – Sergei Belov, Russian basketball player (b. 1944)
October 4 – Võ Nguyên Giáp, Vietnamese General (b. 1911)
October 5 – Carlo Lizzani, Italian film director (b. 1922)
Patrice Chéreau, French opera and theatre director, filmmaker, actor and producer (b. 1944)
Ovadia Yosef, Israeli religious leader (b. 1920)
October 9 – Wilfried Martens, Belgian politician, 44th Prime Minister of Belgium (b. 1936)
October 10 – Scott Carpenter, American astronaut (b. 1925)
María de Villota, Spanish racing driver (b. 1980)
Erich Priebke, German SS captain and convicted war criminal (b. 1913)
George Herbig, American astronomer (b. 1920)
Oscar Hijuelos, American novelist (b. 1951)
October 14 – Bruno Metsu, French football coach (b. 1954)
October 16 – Ed Lauter, American actor (b. 1938)
October 17 – Lou Scheimer, American producer (b. 1928)
Jovanka Broz, First Lady of Yugoslavia (b. 1924)
Lawrence Klein, American Nobel economist (b. 1920)
October 23 – Anthony Caro, British sculptor (b. 1924)
October 24 – Manolo Escobar, Spanish singer (b. 1931)
Hal Needham, American stuntman, film director, actor and writer (b. 1931)
Bill Sharman, American basketball player and coach (b. 1926)
Marcia Wallace, American actress and comedian (b. 1942)
October 27 – Lou Reed, American singer, songwriter, and musician (b. 1942)
October 28 – Tadeusz Mazowiecki, 1st Prime Minister of Poland (b. 1927)
Main article: Deaths in November 2013
November 1 – Hakimullah Mehsud, Emir of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (b. c. 1979)
November 2 – Walt Bellamy, American basketball player (b. 1939)
November 7 – Amparo Rivelles, Spanish actress (b. 1925)
Al Ruscio, American actor (b. 1924)
John Tavener, British composer (b. 1944)
November 15 – Glafcos Clerides, 4th President of Cyprus (b. 1919)
November 17 – Doris Lessing, British Nobel writer (b. 1919)
November 19 – Frederick Sanger, British Nobel biochemist (b. 1918)
November 20 – Joseph Paul Franklin, American murderer (b. 1950)
Bill Foulkes, British footballer (b. 1932)
Chico Hamilton, American drummer and bandleader (b. 1921)
Arik Einstein, Israeli singer, songwriter, and actor (b. 1939)
Tony Musante, American actor (b. 1936)
November 27 – Nílton Santos, Brazilian footballer (b. 1925)
November 28 – Mitja Ribičič, Slovene politician, 25th Prime Minister of Yugoslavia (b. 1919)
Paul Walker, American actor (b. 1973)
Yury Yakovlev, Soviet and Russian film actor (b. 1928)
Main article: Deaths in December 2013
December 1 – Heinrich Boere, Dutch-German Nazi war criminal (b. 1921)
December 2 – Vernon Shaw, 5th President of Dominica (b. 1930)
Nelson Mandela, 1st President of South Africa and Nobel laureate (b. 1918)
Colin Wilson, English writer, philosopher and novelist (b. 1931)
December 7 – Édouard Molinaro, French film director and screenwriter (b. 1928)
December 8 – John Cornforth, Australian–British Nobel chemist (b. 1917)
December 9 – Eleanor Parker, American actress (b. 1922)
December 10 – Jim Hall, American guitarist and composer (b. 1930)
Jang Sung-taek, North Korean politician (b. 1946)
Tom Laughlin, American actor, director, screenwriter, author, educator and activist (b. 1931)
Audrey Totter, American actress (b. 1917)
December 14 – Peter O’Toole, British-Irish actor (b. 1932)
Harold Camping, American evangelist (b. 1921)
Joan Fontaine, Japanese-born British American actress (b. 1917)
December 16 – Ray Price, American singer and songwriter (b. 1926)
December 18 – Ronnie Biggs, British criminal (b. 1929)
December 20 – Lord Infamous, American rapper (b. 1973)
December 21 – Peter Geach, British philosopher (b. 1916)
Mikhail Kalashnikov, Russian inventor (b. 1919)
Yusef Lateef, American jazz musician and composer (b. 1920)
Vito Rizzuto, Italian-Canadian mobster (b. 1946)
December 26 – Marta Eggerth, Hungarian-American singer and actress (b. 1912)
December 28 – Joseph Ruskin, American actor (b. 1924)
Wojciech Kilar, Polish composer (b. 1932)
Eero Mäntyranta, Finnish Olympic cross-country skier (b. 1937)
December 31 – James Avery, American actor (b. 1945)
Chemistry – Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel
Economics – Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert J. Shiller
Literature – Alice Munro
Peace – Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Physics – François Englert and Peter Higgs
Physiology or Medicine – James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, and Thomas C. Südhof
The George and Pilgrims’ Inn in Glastonbury, Somerset, England was built in the late 15th century to accommodate visitors to Glastonbury Abbey. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building. It is the oldest purpose built public house in the South West of England.
The front of the 3 storey building is divided into 3 tiers of panels with traceried heads. Above these are 3 carved panels with arms of the Abbey and Edward IV
Glastonbury (/ˈɡlæstənb(ə)ri/) is a town and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated at a dry point on the low-lying Somerset Levels, 23 miles (37 km) south of Bristol. The town, which is in the Mendip district, had a population of 8,932 in the 2011 census. Glastonbury is less than 1 mile (2 km) across the River Brue from Street, which is now larger than Glastonbury.
Evidence from timber trackways such as the Sweet Track show that the town has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Glastonbury Lake Village was an Iron Age village, close to the old course of the River Brue and Sharpham Park approximately 2 miles (3 km) west of Glastonbury, that dates back to the Bronze Age. Centwine was the first Saxon patron of Glastonbury Abbey, which dominated the town for the next 700 years. One of the most important abbeys in England, it was the site of Edmund Ironside’s coronation as King of England in 1016. Many of the oldest surviving buildings in the town, including the Tribunal, George Hotel and Pilgrims’ Inn and the Somerset Rural Life Museum, which is based in an old tithe barn, are associated with the abbey. The Church of St John the Baptist dates from the 15th century.
The town became a centre for commerce, which led to the construction of the market cross, Glastonbury Canal and the Glastonbury and Street railway station, the largest station on the original Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. The Brue Valley Living Landscape is a conservation project managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust and nearby is the Ham Wall National Nature Reserve.
Glastonbury has been described as a New Age community which attracts people with New Age and Neopagan beliefs, and is notable for myths and legends often related to Glastonbury Tor, concerning Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and King Arthur. Joseph is said to have arrived in Glastonbury and stuck his staff into the ground, when it flowered miraculously into the Glastonbury Thorn. The presence of a landscape zodiac around the town has been suggested but no evidence has been discovered. The Glastonbury Festival, held in the nearby village of Pilton, takes its name from the town.
2Mythology and legends
3Governance and public services
10Religious sites and faith groups
During the 7th millennium BC the sea level rose and flooded the valleys and low-lying ground surrounding Glastonbury so the Mesolithic people occupied seasonal camps on the higher ground, indicated by scatters of flints. The Neolithic people continued to exploit the reedswamps for their natural resources and started to construct wooden trackways. These included the Sweet Track, west of Glastonbury, which is one of the oldest engineered roads known and was the oldest timber trackway discovered in Northern Europe, until the 2009 discovery of a 6,000-year-old trackway in Belmarsh Prison. Tree-ring dating (dendrochronology) of the timbers has enabled very precise dating of the track, showing it was built in 3807 or 3806 BC. It has been claimed to be the oldest road in the world. The track was discovered in the course of peat digging in 1970, and is named after its discoverer, Ray Sweet. It extended across the marsh between what was then an island at Westhay, and a ridge of high ground at Shapwick, a distance close to 2,000 metres (1.2 mi). The track is one of a network of tracks that once crossed the Somerset Levels. Built in the 39th century BC, during the Neolithic period, the track consisted of crossed poles of ash, oak and lime (Tilia) which were driven into the waterlogged soil to support a walkway that mainly consisted of oak planks laid end-to-end. Since the discovery of the Sweet Track, it has been determined that it was built along the route of an even earlier track, the Post Track, dating from 3838 BC, and so 30 years older.
Glastonbury Lake Village was an Iron Age village, close to the old course of the River Brue, on the Somerset Levels near Godney, some 3 miles (5 km) north west of Glastonbury. It covers an area of 400 feet (120 m) north to south by 300 feet (90 m) east to west, and housed around 100 people in five to seven groups of houses, each for an extended family, with sheds and barns, made of hazel and willow covered with reeds, and surrounded either permanently or at certain times by a wooden palisade. The village was built in about 300 BC and occupied into the early Roman period (around 100 AD) when it was abandoned, possibly due to a rise in the water level. It was built on a morass on an artificial foundation of timber filled with brushwood, bracken, rubble and clay.
Sharpham Park is a 300-acre (1.2 km2) historic park, 2 miles (3 km) west of Glastonbury, which dates back to the Bronze Age.
Hospital of St Mary Magdalene
The origin of the name Glastonbury is unclear but when the settlement is first recorded in the 7th and the early 8th century, it was called Glestingaburg. The burg element is Anglo-Saxon and could refer either to a fortified place such as a burh or, more likely, a monastic enclosure; however the Glestinga element is obscure, and may derive from an Old English word or from a Saxon or Celtic personal name. It may derive from a person or kindred group named Glast. The name however is likely related to an Irish individual named Glas mac Caise ‘Glas son of Cas’. Glas is an ancient Irish personal name meaning ‘green, grey/green’. It is stated in the Life of St Patrick that he resurrected a swineherder by that name and he went to Glastonbury, to an area of the village known as Glastonbury of the Irish. This was known to the Irish as Glastimbir na n-Gaoidhil ‘Glastonbury of the Gaels’. (The Archaeology and History of Glastonbury Abbey – Courteney Arthur Ralegh Radford). This is the earliest source for the name Glastonbury. The modern Irish form for Glastonbury is Glaistimbir.
Hugh Ross Williamson cites a tale about St. Collen, one of the earliest hermits to inhabit the Tor before the Abbey was built by St. Patrick, which has the Saint summoned by the King of the Fairies, Gwyn, to the summit of the Tor. Upon arrival there he beholds a hovering mansion inhabited by handsomely dressed courtiers and King Gwyn on a throne of gold; holy water disperses the apparition. This is from Druid mythology, in which the mansion is made of glass so as to receive the spirits of the dead, which were supposed to depart from the summit of the Tor. This was the chief reason why the chapel, and later the church, of St. Michael were built on the high hill; St. Michael being the chief patron against diabolic attacks which the monks believed the Fairy King to be numbered among. Accordingly, Williamson posits that the Tor was named after the glassy mansion of the dead.
William of Malmesbury in his De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie gives the Old Celtic Ineswitrin (or Ynys Witrin) as its earliest name, and asserts that the founder of the town was the eponymous Glast, a descendant of Cunedda.
Centwine (676–685) was the first Saxon patron of Glastonbury Abbey. King Edmund Ironside was buried at the abbey. The Domesday Book indicates that in the hundred of Glastingberiensis, the Abbey was the Lord in 1066 prior to the arrival of William the Conqueror then tenant-in chief with Godwin as Lord of Glastingberi in 1086.
To the southwest of the town centre is Beckery, which was once a village in its own right but is now part of the suburbs. Around the 7th and 8th centuries it was occupied by a small monastic community associated with a cemetery. Archaeological excavations in 2016 uncovered 50 to 60 skeletons thought to be those of monks from Beckery Chapel during the 5th or early 6th century.
Sharpham Park was granted by King Eadwig to the then abbot Æthelwold in 957. In 1191 Sharpham Park was gifted by the soon-to-be King John I to the Abbots of Glastonbury, who remained in possession of the park and house until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. From 1539 to 1707 the park was owned by the Duke of Somerset, Sir Edward Seymour, brother of Queen Jane; the Thynne family of Longleat, and the family of Sir Henry Gould. Edward Dyer was born here in 1543. The house is now a private residence and Grade II* listed building. It was the birthplace of Sir Edward Dyer (died 1607) an Elizabethan poet and courtier, the writer Henry Fielding (1707–54), and the cleric William Gould.
In the 1070s St Margaret’s Chapel was built on Magdelene Street, originally as a hospital and later as almshouses for the poor. The building dates from 1444. The roof of the hall is thought to have been removed after the Dissolution, and some of the building was demolished in the 1960s. It is Grade II* listed, and a Scheduled ancient monument. Hospital of St Mary Magdalene, Glastonbury In 2010 plans were announced to restore the building.
17th-century engraving of Glastonbury
During the Middle Ages the town largely depended on the abbey but was also a centre for the wool trade until the 18th century. A Saxon-era canal connected the abbey to the River Brue. Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury, was executed with two of his monks on 15 November 1539 during the dissolution of the monasteries.
During the Second Cornish Uprising of 1497 Perkin Warbeck surrendered when he heard that Giles, Lord Daubeney’s troops, loyal to Henry VII were camped at Glastonbury.
In 1693 Glastenbury, Connecticut was founded and named after the English town from which some of the settlers had emigrated. It is rumored to have originally been called "Glistening Town" until the mid-19th century, when the name was changed to match the spelling of Glastonbury, England, but in fact, residents of the Connecticut town believe this to be a myth, based on the Glastonbury Historical Society’s records. A representation of the Glastonbury thorn is incorporated onto the town seal.
The Somerset town’s charter of incorporation was received in 1705. Growth in the trade and economy largely depended on the drainage of the surrounding moors. The opening of the Glastonbury Canal produced an upturn in trade, and encouraged local building. The parish was part of the hundred of Glaston Twelve Hides, until the 1730s when it became a borough in its own right.
By the middle of the 19th century the Glastonbury Canal drainage problems and competition from the new railways caused a decline in trade, and the town’s economy became depressed. The canal was closed on 1 July 1854, and the lock and aqueducts on the upper section were dismantled. The railway opened on 17 August 1854. The lower sections of the canal were given to the Commissioners for Sewers, for use as a drainage ditch. The final section was retained to provide a wharf for the railway company, which was used until 1936, when it passed to the Commissioners of Sewers and was filled in. The Central Somerset Railway merged with the Dorset Central Railway to become the Somerset and Dorset Railway. The main line to Glastonbury closed in 1966.
In the Northover district industrial production of sheepskins, woollen slippers and, later, boots and shoes, developed in conjunction with the growth of C&J Clark in Street. Clarks still has its headquarters in Street, but shoes are no longer manufactured there. Instead, in 1993, redundant factory buildings were converted to form Clarks Village, the first purpose-built factory outlet in the United Kingdom.
During the 19th and 20th centuries tourism developed based on the rise of antiquarianism, the association with the abbey and mysticism of the town. This was aided by accessibility via the rail and road network, which has continued to support the town’s economy and led to a steady rise in resident population since 1801.
Glastonbury received national media coverage in 1999 when cannabis plants were found in the town’s floral displays.
Mythology and legends
Holy Thorn, summer 1984. Died in 1991.
Glastonbury is notable for myths and legends concerning Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and King Arthur as recorded by ancient historians William of Malmesbury, Venerable Bede, Gerald of Wales and Geoffrey of Monmouth. Many long-standing and cherished legends were examined in a four-year study by archaeologists, led by Professor Roberta Gilchrist, at the University of Reading, who, amongst other findings, speculated that the connection with King Arthur and his Queen, Guinivere, was created deliberately by the monks in 1184 to meet a financial crisis caused by a devastating fire. Other myths examined include the visit by Jesus, the building of the oldest church in England, and the flowering of the walking stick. Roberta Gilchrist stated, "We didn’t claim to disprove the legendary associations, nor would we wish to". The site of King Arthur’s supposed grave contained material dating from between the 11th and 15th Centuries. Gilchrist said, "That doesn’t dispel the Arthurian legend, it just means the pit [20th Century archaeologist Ralegh Radford] excavated he rather over-claimed." The study made new archaeological finds; its leader found Glastonbury to be a remarkable archaeological site. The new results were reported on the Glastonbury Abbey Web site, and were to be incorporated into the Abbey’s guidebook; however, the leader of the study, who became a trustee of Glastonbury, said "We are not in the business of destroying people’s beliefs … A thousand years of beliefs and legends are part of the intangible history of this remarkable place". Gilchrist went on to say, “archaeology can help us to understand how legends evolve and what people in the past believed.” She noted that the project has actually uncovered the first definitive proof of occupation at the Glastonbury Abbey site during the fifth century—when Arthur allegedly lived.
The legend that Joseph of Arimathea retrieved certain holy relics was introduced by the French poet Robert de Boron in his 13th-century version of the grail story, thought to have been a trilogy though only fragments of the later books survive today. The work became the inspiration for the later Vulgate Cycle of Arthurian tales.
De Boron’s account relates how Joseph captured Jesus’ blood in a cup (the "Holy Grail") which was subsequently brought to Britain. The Vulgate Cycle reworked Boron’s original tale. Joseph of Arimathea was no longer the chief character in the Grail origin: Joseph’s son, Josephus, took over his role of the Grail keeper. The earliest versions of the grail romance, however, do not call the grail "holy" or mention anything about blood, Joseph or Glastonbury.
History of Christianity
Catholic Church in England and Wales
Calendar of saints
(Church of England)
Joseph of Arimathea
Legend of Christ in Britain
Christianity in Roman Britain
Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Dissolution of the Monasteries
Puritanism and the Restoration
English Civil War
18th Century Church of England
19th Century Church of England
Church of England (Recent)
In 1191, monks at the abbey claimed to have found the graves of Arthur and Guinevere to the south of the Lady Chapel of the Abbey Church, which was visited by a number of contemporary historians including Giraldus Cambrensis. The remains were later moved and were lost during the Reformation. Many scholars suspect that this discovery was a pious forgery to substantiate the antiquity of Glastonbury’s foundation, and increase its renown.
An early Welsh poem links Arthur to the Tor in an account of a confrontation between Arthur and Melwas, who had kidnapped Queen Guinevere.
Remains of St. Michael’s Church at the summit of Glastonbury Tor
Joseph is said to have arrived in Glastonbury by boat over the flooded Somerset Levels. On disembarking he stuck his staff into the ground and it flowered miraculously into the Glastonbury Thorn (or Holy Thorn). This is said to explain a hybrid Crataegus monogyna (hawthorn) tree that only grows within a few miles of Glastonbury, and which flowers twice annually, once in spring and again around Christmas time (depending on the weather). Each year a sprig of thorn is cut, by the local Anglican vicar and the eldest child from St John’s School, and sent to the Queen.
The original Holy Thorn was a centre of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages but was chopped down during the English Civil War. A replacement thorn was planted in the 20th century on Wearyall hill (originally in 1951 to mark the Festival of Britain, but the thorn had to be replanted the following year as the first attempt did not take). The Wearyall Hill Holy Thorn was vandalised in 2010 and all its branches were chopped off. It initially showed signs of recovery but now (2014) appears to be dead. A new sapling has been planted nearby. Many other examples of the thorn grow throughout Glastonbury including those in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey, St Johns Church and Chalice Well.
Today Glastonbury Abbey presents itself as "traditionally the oldest above-ground Christian church in the world," which according to the legend was built at Joseph’s behest to house the Holy Grail, 65 or so years after the death of Jesus. The legend also says that as a child, Jesus had visited Glastonbury along with Joseph. The legend probably was encouraged during the medieval period when religious relics and pilgrimages were profitable business for abbeys. William Blake mentioned the legend in a poem that became a popular hymn, "Jerusalem" (see And did those feet in ancient time).
Main article: Temple of the Stars
In 1934 artist Katherine Maltwood suggested a landscape zodiac, a map of the stars on a gigantic scale, formed by features in the landscape such as roads, streams and field boundaries, could be found situated around Glastonbury. She held that the "temple" was created by Sumerians about 2700 BC. The idea of a prehistoric landscape zodiac fell into disrepute when two independent studies examined the Glastonbury Zodiac, one by Ian Burrow in 1975  and the other by Tom Williamson and Liz Bellamy in 1983. These both used standard methods of landscape historical research. Both studies concluded that the evidence contradicted the idea of an ancient zodiac. The eye of Capricorn identified by Maltwood was a haystack. The western wing of the Aquarius phoenix was a road laid in 1782 to run around Glastonbury, and older maps dating back to the 1620s show the road had no predecessors. The Cancer boat (not a crab as in conventional western astrology) consists of a network of 18th-century drainage ditches and paths. There are some Neolithic paths preserved in the peat of the bog formerly comprising most of the area, but none of the known paths match the lines of the zodiac features. There is no support for this theory, or for the existence of the "temple" in any form, from conventional archaeologists. Glastonbury is also said to be the centre of several ley lines.
Governance and public services
The Town Hall
The town council is made up of 16 members, and is based at the Town Hall, Magdalene Street. The town hall was built in 1818 and has a two-storey late Georgian ashlar front. It is a Grade II* listed building.
Glastonbury is in the local government district of Mendip, which is part of the county of Somerset. It was previously administered by Glastonbury Municipal Borough. The Mendip district council is responsible for local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection and recycling, cemeteries and crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism. Somerset County Council is responsible for running the largest and most expensive local services such as education, social services, the library, road maintenance, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning.
The town’s retained fire station is operated by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. Police and ambulance services are provided by Avon and Somerset Constabulary and the South Western Ambulance Service. There are two doctors’ surgeries in Glastonbury, and a National Health Service community hospital operated by Somerset Primary Care Trust which opened in 2005.
There are 4 electoral wards within Glastonbury having in total the same population as is mentioned above.
Glastonbury falls within the Wells constituency, represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. The Member of Parliament is Conservative, James Heappey, who replaced Tessa Munt of the Liberal Democrats in the 2015 General Election. It is within the South West England (European Parliament constituency), which elects six MEPs using the d’Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
Glastonbury is twinned with the Greek island of Patmos, and Lalibela, Ethiopia.
Street and Glastonbury Tor viewed from Walton Hill
The walk up the Tor to the distinctive tower at the summit (the partially restored remains of an old church) is rewarded by vistas of the mid-Somerset area, including the Levels which are drained marshland. From there, on a dry point, 158 metres (518 ft) above sea level, it is easy to appreciate how Glastonbury was once an island and, in the winter, the surrounding moors are often flooded, giving that appearance once more. It is an agricultural region typically with open fields of permanent grass, surrounded by ditches with willow trees. Access to the moors and Levels is by "droves", i.e., green lanes. The Levels and inland moors can be 6 metres (20 ft) below peak tides and have large areas of peat. The low-lying areas are underlain by much older Triassic age formations of Upper Lias sand that protrude to form what would once have been islands and include Glastonbury Tor. The lowland landscape was formed only during the last 10,000 years, following the end of the last ice age.
The low-lying damp ground can produce a visual effect known as a Fata Morgana. This optical phenomenon occurs because rays of light are strongly bent when they pass through air layers of different temperatures in a steep thermal inversion where an atmospheric duct has formed. The Italian name Fata Morgana is derived from the name of Morgan le Fay, who was alternatively known as Morgane, Morgain, Morgana and other variants. Morgan le Fay was described as a powerful sorceress and antagonist of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere in the Arthurian legend.
Glastonbury is less than 1 mile (2 km) across the River Brue from the village of Street. At the time of King Arthur the Brue formed a lake just south of the hilly ground on which Glastonbury stands. This lake is one of the locations suggested by Arthurian legend as the home of the Lady of the Lake. Pomparles Bridge stood at the western end of this lake, guarding Glastonbury from the south, and it is suggested that it was here that Sir Bedivere threw Excalibur into the waters after King Arthur fell at the Battle of Camlann. The old bridge was replaced by a reinforced concrete arch bridge in 1911.
Until the 13th century, the direct route to the sea at Highbridge was prevented by gravel banks and peat near Westhay. The course of the river partially encircled Glastonbury from the south, around the western side (through Beckery), and then north through the Panborough-Bleadney gap in the Wedmore-Wookey Hills, to join the River Axe just north of Bleadney. This route made it difficult for the officials of Glastonbury Abbey to transport produce from their outlying estates to the abbey, and when the valley of the River Axe was in flood it backed up to flood Glastonbury itself. Some time between 1230 and 1250 a new channel was constructed westwards into Meare Pool north of Meare, and further westwards to Mark Moor. The Brue Valley Living Landscape is a conservation project based on the Somerset Levels and Moors and managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust. The project commenced in January 2009 and aims to restore, recreate and reconnect habitat, ensuring that wildlife is enhanced and capable of sustaining itself in the face of climate change, while guaranteeing farmers and other landowners can continue to use their land profitably. It is one of an increasing number of landscape-scale conservation projects in the UK.
The town centre in summer 2010
The Ham Wall National Nature Reserve, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west of Glastonbury, is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. This new wetland habitat has been established from out peat diggings and now consists of areas of reedbed, wet scrub, open water and peripheral grassland and woodland. Bird species living on the site include the bearded tit and the bittern.
The Whitelake River rises between two low limestone ridges to the north of Glastonbury, part of the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. The confluence of the two small streams that make the Whitelake River is on Worthy Farm, the site of the Glastonbury Festival, between the small villages of Pilton and Pylle.
Along with the rest of South West England, Glastonbury has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country. The annual mean temperature is approximately 10 °C (50.0 °F). Seasonal temperature variation is less extreme than most of the United Kingdom because of the adjacent sea temperatures. The summer months of July and August are the warmest with mean daily maxima of approximately 21 °C (69.8 °F). In winter mean minimum temperatures of 1 or 2 °C (33.8 or 35.6 °F) are common. In the summer the Azores high pressure affects the south-west of England, however convective cloud sometimes forms inland, reducing the number of hours of sunshine. Annual sunshine rates are slightly less than the regional average of 1,600 hours. In December 1998 there were 20 days without sun recorded at Yeovilton. Most the rainfall in the south-west is caused by Atlantic depressions or by convection. Most of the rainfall in autumn and winter is caused by the Atlantic depressions, which is when they are most active. In summer, a large proportion of the rainfall is caused by sun heating the ground leading to convection and to showers and thunderstorms. Average rainfall is around 700 mm (28 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, and June to August have the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the south-west.
The High Street
Glastonbury is a centre for religious tourism and pilgrimage. As with many towns of similar size, the centre is not as thriving as it once was but Glastonbury supports a large number of alternative shops.
The outskirts of the town contain a DIY shop, a former sheepskin and slipper factory site, once owned by Morlands, which is slowly being redeveloped. The 31-acre (13 ha) site of the old Morlands factory was scheduled for demolition and redevelopment into a new light industrial park, although there have been some protests that the buildings should be reused rather than being demolished. As part of the redevelopment of the site a project has been established by the Glastonbury Community Development Trust to provide support for local unemployed people applying for employment, starting in self-employment and accessing work-related training.
According to the Glastonbury Conservation Area Appraisal of July 2010, there are approximately 170 listed buildings or structures in the town’s designated conservation area, of which eight are listed grade I, six are listed grade II* and the remainder are listed grade II.
The Tribunal was a medieval merchant’s house, used as the Abbey courthouse and, during the Monmouth Rebellion trials, by Judge Jeffreys. It now serves as a museum containing possessions and works of art from the Glastonbury Lake Village which were preserved in almost perfect condition in the peat after the village was abandoned. The museum is run by the Glastonbury Antiquarian Society. The building also houses the tourist information centre.
George Hotel and Pilgrims’ Inn
The octagonal Market Cross was built in 1846 by Benjamin Ferrey.
The George Hotel and Pilgrims’ Inn was built in the late 15th century to accommodate visitors to Glastonbury Abbey, which is open to visitors. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building. The front of the 3-storey building is divided into 3 tiers of panels with traceried heads. Above the right of centre entrance are 3 carved panels with arms of the Abbey and Edward IV.
The Somerset Rural Life Museum is a museum of the social and agricultural history of Somerset, housed in buildings surrounding a 14th-century barn once belonging to Glastonbury Abbey. It was used for the storage of arable produce, particularly wheat and rye, from the abbey’s home farm of approximately 524 acres (2.12 km2). Threshing and winnowing would also have been carried out in the barn, which was built from local "shelly" limestone with thick timbers supporting the stone tiling of the roof. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building, and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Cover of the Chalice Well
The Chalice Well is a holy well at the foot of the Tor, covered by a wooden well-cover with wrought-iron decoration made in 1919. The natural spring has been in almost constant use for at least two thousand years. Water issues from the spring at a rate of 25,000 imperial gallons (110,000 l; 30,000 US gal) per day and has never failed, even during drought. Iron oxide deposits give the water a reddish hue, as dissolved ferrous oxide becomes oxygenated at the surface and is precipitated, providing chalybeate waters. As with the hot springs in nearby Bath, the water is believed to possess healing qualities. The well is about 9 feet (2.7 m) deep, with two underground chambers at its bottom. It is often portrayed as a symbol of the female aspect of deity, with the male symbolised by Glastonbury Tor. As such, it is a popular destination for pilgrims in search of the divine feminine, including modern Pagans. The well is however popular with all faiths and in 2001 became a World Peace Garden.
Just a short distance from the Chalice Well site, across a road known as Well House Lane, can be found the "White Spring", where a temple has been created in the 21st century. Whilst the waters of the Chalice Well are touched red with iron, the water of the latter is white with calcite. Both springs rise from caverns underneath the Tor and it is claimed that both have healing in their flow.
The building now used as the White Spring Temple was originally a Victorian-built well house, erected by the local water board in 1872. Around that time, an outbreak of cholera in the area caused great concern and the natural caves were dug out, and a stone collection chamber was constructed to ensure the flow of a quality water supply. Study of the flow of water into the collection chamber has shown that the builders also tapped into other springs, besides the White Spring and judging from the high iron content of one of these springs, it appears that a small offshoot of Chalice Well finds its way under Well House Lane to emerge beside the White Spring. However, after building the reservoir, the water board soon discovered that the high calciferous content of the water caused pipes to block and by the end of the 19th century water was piped into Glastonbury from out of town. After lying derelict for many years, the water board sold off the well house, which is now maintained by a group of volunteers as a "water temple". On the outside of the building is a tap where visitors and locals can collect the water of the White Spring.
Glastonbury Tor from Street
The Glastonbury Canal ran just over 14 miles (23 km) through two locks from Glastonbury to Highbridge where it entered the Bristol Channel in the early 19th century, but it became uneconomic with the arrival of the railway in the 1840s.
Glastonbury and Street railway station was the biggest station on the original Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway main line from Highbridge to Evercreech Junction until closed in 1966 under the Beeching axe. Opened in 1854 as Glastonbury, and renamed in 1886, it had three platforms, two for Evercreech to Highbridge services and one for the branch service to Wells. The station had a large goods yard controlled from a signal box. The site is now a timber yard for a local company. Replica level crossing gates have been placed at the entrance.
The nearest railway station is at Castle Cary but there is no direct bus route linking it to Glastonbury. There are convenient bus connections between Glastonbury and the railway stations at Bristol Temple Meads (over an hour travelling time) and at Taunton.
The main road in the town is the A39 which passes through Glastonbury from Wells connecting the town with Street and the M5 motorway. The other roads around the town are small and run across the levels generally following the drainage ditches. Local bus services are provided by WebberBus, Nippy Bus, National Express and local community groups. Glastonbury’s bus services have suffered in cuts made from 2012 to 2014. The main routes are to Bristol via Wells, to Bridgwater, to Yeovil via Street and to Taunton.
There are several infant and primary schools in Glastonbury and the surrounding villages. Secondary education is provided by St Dunstan’s School. In 2017, the school had 327 students between the ages of 11 and 16 years. It is named after St. Dunstan, an abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, who went on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury in 960 AD. The school was built in 1958 with major building work, at a cost of £1.2 million, in 1998, adding the science block and the sports hall. It was designated as a specialist Arts College in 2004, and the £800,000 spent at this time paid for the Performing Arts studio and facilities to support students with special educational needs.. Tor School is a pupil referral unit based on Beckery New Road, which caters for 14-16 year old students who have been excluded from mainstream education, or who have been referred for medical reasons.
Strode College in Street provides academic and vocational courses for those aged 16–18 and adult education. A tertiary institution and further education college, most of the courses it offers are A-levels or Business and Technology Education Councils (BTECs). The college also provides some university-level courses, and is part of The University of Plymouth Colleges network.
Religious sites and faith groups
Ruins of Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury may have been a site of religious importance in pre-Christian times. The abbey was founded by Britons, and dates to at least the early 7th century, although later medieval Christian legend claimed that the abbey was founded by Joseph of Arimathea in the 1st century. This legend is intimately tied to Robert de Boron’s version of the Holy Grail story and to Glastonbury’s connection to King Arthur, which dates at least to the early 12th century. William of Malmesbury called this structure "the oldest church in England," and, henceforth, it was known simply as the Old Church, it had existed, for many years prior to the 7th century as a Celitc religious center. In his "History of the English Church and People," written in the early eighth century, the Venerable Bede provides details regarding its construction to early missionaries. Glastonbury fell into Saxon hands after the Battle of Peonnum in 658. King Ine of Wessex enriched the endowment of the community of monks already established at Glastonbury. He is said to have directed that a stone church be built in 712. The Abbey Church was enlarged in the 10th century by the Abbot of Glastonbury, Saint Dunstan, the central figure in the 10th-century revival of English monastic life. He instituted the Benedictine Rule at Glastonbury and built new cloisters. Dunstan became Archbishop of Canterbury in 960. In 1184, a great fire at Glastonbury destroyed the monastic buildings. Reconstruction began almost immediately and the Lady Chapel, which includes the well, was consecrated in 1186.
The abbey had a violent end during the Dissolution and the buildings were progressively destroyed as their stones were removed for use in local building work. The remains of the Abbot’s Kitchen (a grade I listed building.) and the Lady Chapel are particularly well-preserved set in 36 acres (150,000 m2) of parkland. It is approached by the Abbey Gatehouse which was built in the mid-14th century and completely restored in 1810.
The Church of St Benedict was rebuilt by Abbot Richard Beere in about 1520. This is now an Anglican church and is linked with the parishes of St John’s Church in Glastonbury and St Mary’s & All Saints Church in the village of Meare as a joint benefice.
Church of St John the Baptist
Described as "one of the most ambitious parish churches in Somerset", the current Church of St John the Baptist dates from the 15th century and has been designated as a Grade I listed building. The church is laid out in a cruciform plan with an aisled nave and a clerestorey of seven bays. The west tower has elaborate buttressing, panelling and battlements and at 134½ feet (about 41 metres), is the second tallest parish church tower in Somerset. Recent excavations in the nave have revealed the foundations of a large central tower, possibly of Saxon origin, and a later Norman nave arcade on the same plan as the existing one. A central tower survived until the 15th century, but is believed to have collapsed, at which time the church was rebuilt. The interior of the church includes four 15th-century tomb-chests, some 15th-century stained glass in the chancel, medieval vestments, and a domestic cupboard of about 1500 which was once at Witham Charterhouse.
In the centuries that followed the Reformation, many religious denominations came to Glastonbury to establish chapels and meeting houses. For such a relatively small town, Glastonbury has a remarkably diverse history of Christian places of worship, further enriched by the fact that several of these movements saw break-a
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