Go to 'Forthcoming Events' to see the programme for the 2016/2017 season

17 February 2017, at 7.30pm

Dr Adam Stout will speak on:

A Town In Need of a Miracle

Spas sprang up everywhere in eighteenth-century England but there was never a spa quite like the one at Glastonbury. Tens of thousands of people flocked to drink its miraculous waters during the 1750s. Fraud, delusion, something more? Religion, politics and a town in dire need all contributed to the heady cocktail. Dr Adam Stout presents a decade's worth of new thinking and research on this topic, including a hitherto-unknown account of the discovery of Chalice Well.




The Glastonbury Studies Seminar III

Saturday 28 January 2017

10 am - 4.30 pm


The Other Avalonians: Scholars and Eccentrics of Glastonbury's Romantic Era


'Lo, the monks were back at Glastonbury!': George Wright, the Holy Grail and the sale of Chalice Well.

By Paul Ashdown M.A.

In 1934, Violet Firth celebrated those she singled out as 'the Avalonians'; other key figures, however, also helped shape changing perceptions of Glastonbury at the beginning of the twentieth century. The earliest of these was George Wright, who in 1886 crafted a new mythology which still flourishes today.

Cardinal Gasquet and the Making of Monastic History.

By Dr. Aidan Bellenger.

Dom Aidan Gasquet (1846–1929), Prior of Downside 1878-1885, was both a pioneer scholar and a propagandist. This emerges in his Henry VIII and the English Monasteries (1888-9) and his study of The Last Abbot of Glastonbury (1895), which set the tone of Roman Catholic devotion at Glastonbury in the first half of the twentieth century. Made Cardinal in 1914, he was Britain's advocate at the Vatican during the First World War.

Armitage Robinson, Glastonbury and the Problems of History.

By Rev. Prof. Mark Chapman.

This paper charts the cautious and critical approach to history of Joseph Armitage Robinson (1858-1933), a leading Cambridge scholar of early Christianity. On becoming Dean of Wells from 1911, he turned his attention to the Glastonbury legends and St Dunstan in an effort to separate fact from fantasy.

'The Silly Vicar of Glastonbury': Lionel Smithett Lewis, Glastonbury and the Holy Grail.

By Dr. Timothy Hopkinson-Ball.
This talk will address the career of Glastonbury's most famous Anglican vicar, Rev. Lionel Smithett Lewis. Although best known as the author of works such as St Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury and Glastonbury: Her Saints, less well known is Lewis' interest in the Holy Grail and his attempt to secure the Nanteos Cup for the town.



Monitoring the Glastonbury Lake Village groundwater levels

Phil Brewin has just received some initial data from our new groundwater level monitoring stations in the Glastonbury Lake Village (peat soil). Here is a link to the installation at the Lake Village:


These charts show the first month of data (October 2015), collected at 15min intervals using a pressure sensor and data logger. There is a bit more work to do to relate the ground water level to a known datum, and also add ditch water level data and rainfall data to the analysis, to allow us to compare groundwater levels with local ditch water levels and assess responsiveness to rainfall.

These initial data are reassuring as they confirm the loggers are working, and clearly show some important characteristic and differences between the clay and peat soils. For example, the peat soil groundwater is higher than the clay and much more responsive to rainfall. This is not unexpected, but it is still helpful to have the data to improve our understanding of groundwater levels in Somerset. The Lake Village data will be particularly useful in allowing us to assess the below ground water environment and the risk to the archaeology, which must be kept wet, during hot dry summers. Here's hoping we have a good summer next year for the sake of furthering our knowledge of groundwater hydrology in Somerset.



Paul Ashdown's talk A Certain Royal Island (Glastonbury, Abbey and Throne before the Normans) is now reproduced on a separate page (see list at left)


To see the 10 Glastonbury Drawings by Sheppard Dale

go to Artists, Witnesses & Plans and open

the page 1864 Sheppard Dale 


Also extra on 1610 William Camden, 1825/6 Skinner & 1545 Leland for his description of Glastonbury


New Pages:

The Municipal History of Glastonbury

by the Rev. Preb. Grant R.D. (1904)


The Streets, Highways & Byways of Gastonbury in 1904

by J G L Bullied, the Society's founder


Street, William Strode & the Civil War

by W S Clark, 1904 Presidential Adress


When Was Glastonbury Abbey Founded?

latest thoughts by Stephen Morland when aged 90


XII Hides Terrier and Perambulations

by H Scott Stokes



Go to: LINKS / Society of Antiquries

 for talks given at the 2013 Glastonbury Symposium





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