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Wearyall Hill
Glastonbury, Somerset

[Friday - 05/07/99] According to the medieval tradition, while Christianity was in its earliest infancy, the Virgin Mary's uncle, Joseph of Arimathaea, landed in the Isle of Avalon, then isolated from the surrounding country by the sea, and built a little Church of Wattles from whose primitve building arose Glasonbury Abbey. Supposedly, he also brought a pair of cruets, containing a relic of the Holy Blood and of the sweat of our Lord. While romances with which he is connected refer to the Holy Grail, no Glastonbury author ever pretended that the Grail was in the keeping of the Abbey. A depiction of Joseph with these cruets is in the fifteenth-century glass in the east window of Langport Church and in the north transept of St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Glastonbury. There is frequent mention of the cruets in the late days of the Abbey.

Arriving by ship, Joseph walked inland and climbed the middle hill (of which the Tor is the highest of the three). Weary after his long journey, he planted his staff, which promptly burst into leaf and flower! Thereafter, the hill was named Wearyall, and a scion of the original thorn tree (the product of Joseph's staff) may still be seen there today. Progeny of that original thorn can also be seen (and we did!) in the yards of Glastonbury Cathedral, St. John the Baptist Parish Church, and above the Lion's Head Font in the Chalice Well Garden. The Holy Thorns (Monogyna Praecox) can only be grown by grafting them on to a native Hawthorn for them to flower twice a year on Christmas and Easter. They won't flower if they're grown from cuttings or seeds. Each grafted tree lasts about 100 years.

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Last modified on Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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