Glastonbury Abbey, Glastonbury, England

Glastonbury Abbey – Judges Ltd
Publisher: Judges Ltd

Google Street View.

Glastonbury Abbey: Archaeological Investigations 1904–79 (online book)

The abbey holds a special place in English identity and popular culture. In the middle ages it was reputed to be the burial place of the legendary King Arthur and his queen Guinevere, and was regarded as the site of the earliest church in Britain, thought to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea. According to the Gospels, Joseph was the man who had donated his own tomb for the body of Christ following the crucifixion.
Glastonbury Abbey Archaeology

“The First Christian Church in Britain.”

The abbey was founded in the 7th century and enlarged in the 10th. It was destroyed by a major fire in 1184, but subsequently rebuilt and by the 14th century was one of the richest and most powerful monasteries in England. The abbey controlled large tracts of the surrounding land and was instrumental in major drainage projects on the Somerset Levels. The abbey was suppressed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII of England. The last abbot, Richard Whiting (Whyting), was hanged, drawn and quartered as a traitor on Glastonbury Tor in 1539.

When the monastic buildings were destroyed in the fire of 1184, the medieval monks needed to find a new place to worship. There is evidence that the 12th century nave was renovated and used for this purpose for almost 30 years, until some of the work was completed on the new church. The monks reconsecrated the Great Church and began services there on Christmas Day, 1213, most likely before it was entirely completed.
Glastonbury Abbey

Choir & Site of High Altar, Glastonbury Abbey
Same publisher as “Abbot’s Kitchen” card at bottom

Glastonbury Abbey Ruins West End
Publisher: Photochrom Co. Ltd.

Glastonbury Abbey Ruins North End
Publisher: Photochrom Co. Ltd.

North door to Lady Chapel, Glastonbury Abbey

Google Street View

Glastonbury Abbey – The Norman Doorway
Publisher: Pictorial Stationery Company

The Norman Door – Glastonbury
Postmarked 1904
Publisher: Wrench

Glastonbury Abbey, Chapel of St. Mary (St. Joseph)
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

Google Street View.

The Lady Chapel dedicated to ‘Our Lady’, the Blessed Virgin Mary, was the most sacred part of the medieval abbey. It owes its unusual position at the west end of the church, rather than the east, to its construction on the site of the wooden ‘Old Church’ (vetusta ecclesia), destroyed in the fire of 1184. The chapel was built quickly following the fire and was ready for use by 1186.
Glastonbury Abbey Archaeology (includes digital recreation)

Glastonbury Abbey. Chapel of S.S. Mary & Joseph

The Crypt, St Mary’s Chapel, Glastonbury Abbey.
Publisher: Valentine & Sons

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Glastonbury Abbey. The Lady Chapel
Publisher: Goodalls, Glastonbury

Glastonbury Abbey St Joseph’s Chapel
Publisher: Photochrom Co. Ltd.

Abbot’s Kitchen & Refectory, Glastonbury
Same publisher as “Choir & site of altar” card, second from top

More views of kitchen.

In the 14th century, as the head of the second wealthiest abbey in Britain (behind Westminster Abbey), the Abbot of Glastonbury lived in considerable splendour and wielded tremendous power. The main surviving example of this power and wealth is to be found in the Abbot’s Kitchen – part of the magnificent Abbot’s house begun by John de Breynton (1334-42).
Glastonbury Abbey

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