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37 36 thus the old prophecy was fulfilled with the wretched Whiting a most unexpected fish being caught upon the tor. the great abbey of Glastonbury was doomed. the other 40 monks were driven out of the abbey and whatever treasures could be found were confiscated and sold off. the deeds of its extensive land holdings were gathered by agents of the crown and appropriated by the King. one of the greatest losses was that of the Glastonbury library, which had housed rare ancient histories of england and many unique early christian documents like illuminated manuscripts which must have equalled such treasures as the Book of Kells. there were alchemical texts and books of learning that could never be replaced. When Henry VIII s librarian John Leland first saw these literary treasures he fainted with wonder, but the library was looted and dispersed and priceless manuscripts used in local shops as wrapping paper. It is, however, likely that the most prized treasures were concealed by the monks on the orders of Abbot Whiting before he was arrested and hanged. even under torture he never revealed their whereabouts. the abbey was left closed and empty following the dissolution of 1539. But soon the people of Glastonbury and the surroun d ing country were helping themselves to whatever remained. It became a quarry with stone being plundered and used to build or repair houses in the town. Much went into construction of the new causeway road to Wells. carts removed the best building stone, and for 300 years stone moved from the abbey into the town. DIspeRsAL AND DeCAy the loss of the library Above The old market cross, with the Bacchuslike figure of Jack Stagg on top. Below Another view of the ruined abbey.
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