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11 10 JOseph OF ARIMATheA and the Holy Thorn Legend has it that st Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of Jesus, made several voyages to england where he traded for tin with miners in cornwall. on one such trip he brought his young nephew. In turn, Jesus is said to have lived or worked briefly at Priddy, a village seven miles from Glastonbury where there was ancient surface mining. this legend was the basis of William Blake s famous verses Jerusalem with its rhetorical question And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England s mountains green Years later, after the crucifixion, in 63 AD st Joseph returned to somerset as a christian missionary leading a party of 12 monks from the Holy Land. He paused on Wearyall Hill at Glastonbury where he planted his staff in the ground. It is said to have miraculously burst into leaf showing that it was near here he should settle and build a church. on the hill today a successor winter and easterflowering hawthorn tree is still called the Glastonbury thorn. Another, in the abbey grounds, supposedly grew from a cutting of the original thorn. A flowering branch from the tree is sent from the abbey each year to decorate the Queen s breakfast table for christmas Day. Aviragus, king of this region, granted st Joseph and his followers twelve hides 1440 acres of land around Glastonbury see page 15 and the very first christian church in Britain a circular hut made of wattles like those of the ancient lake villages was built here in Glastonbury where the present day ruins of the abbey stand. Above The Glastonbury Thorn, a Middle Eastern variety, supposedly the living symbol of the first introduction of Christianity into Britain. Below Left A decorative mount from Meare Village East drawn by Mike Rouillard. Below Right The bronze Glastonbury Bowl from Glastonbury Lake Village, Godney. Evidence of fine copper and tin metalwork.
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