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Glastonbury

29 28 GLAsTONbURy TOR at the centre of the world A rounded hill shaped somewhat like a female breast, rising above the east side of the town not far beyond the abbey, Glastonbury tor consists of layered clay and blue lias stone with a cap of hard Midford sandstone. From its 520 ft summit there are magnificent views across the somerset levels surrounding it of the Bristol channel to the west and the Mendip Hills to the north. scattered finds of prehistoric, Roman and later objects suggest it has long been used by man. Indications of christian monks cells from 9001100 AD have been found cut in the rock on the summit. some believe that the sculptured terraces which wind around the slopes of the tor were built the monks as a processional pathway to the summit. others think the terraced slopes constituted a much earlier mystical maze or labyrinth below, from Russell Scott Geoffrey Ashe. It has been suggested that such an ancient pagan ritual pathway was connected with worship of the earth Mother goddess. A more conventional view is that the terraces were made by the monks for the purpose of growing produce or planting vines. When there was a 19th century resurgence of interest in celtic Mythology, the tor became associated with Gwyn ap nudd who was first Lord of the Underworld, and later King of the Fairies. Above and below Views of Glastonbury Tor. After the 19th century Celtic renaissance the Tor was often described as an entrance to the under world or realm of the fairies. A supposedly earlier myth was that St Collen, a hermit and an early Abbot of Glastonbury, once climbed to the top of the Tor by hacking his way through thick undergrowth. Once there he found a great gathering of the fairy folk who were feasting and making music. They invited him to join them but in alarm the monk took out a flask of holy water and sprinkled it over them causing them to disappear and leaving him alone on the hilltop. Today the Tor is managed by the National Trust who have spent considerable money repairing and stabilising the tower of St Michael s church on the summit.
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