Welcome to the Glastonbury Antiquarian Society Website
We have now reached the end of our spring lecture series. Our last talk was on Friday 19th of May by Francis Thyer. Francis discussed John Hinde: "Street" Photographer (1916 – 1997), a little known, but immensely influential photographer and member of the Clark family of Street. Lectures will resume in the autumn. Please watch this space for details.
After our talk on Friday 14th April, by Francis Farr-Cox on Water Management Through History on the Somerset Levels and Moors with an Emphasis on the Lower Brue, several members enquired where they could access LiDAR and other relevant materials. Francis has suggested the following site which includes interactive LiDAR maps and much more: https://archiuk.com
Please lend a hand and consider joining our committee
We need help from some keen and interested society members, to run the Society’s business. If you’re interested in standing for the committee, do get in touch with our Chair. If we all do our bit, it will really help a lot. For more information, please look at 'The committee and Officers' page.
Field Trip 2023
The Antiquarian Society Field Trip this year will be to Avalon Marshes Archaeology Park, Shapwick Road near Westhay. (The Avalon Marshes Centre was the old Peat Moor Visitors Centre in case that helps.)
Natalie Watson and Richard Brunning will give a guided tour of the Park (see https://avalon-archaeology.com/ ) which will feature the Anglo Saxon long hall, the Roman villa, Viking boat, Iron Age roundhouse and the Bulleid and Gray excavation hut. Fees for entry and the tour will be paid by the Society. The tour will start at 10.30am and last for about two hours.
Then we can proceed to the Meare Farmhouse, where Robyn Look, the farmer, has kindly offered us the facility to park on the grass in front of the house. From the farmhouse, you can visit the parish church next door (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mary%27s_Church,_Meare ). Mr Look has said we can cross his field and visit the Abbots Fish House as well (see: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/meare-fish-house/ ). We should be finished by about 2pm.
This outing is for Society members only, who will be contacted directly. Numbers are limited to 20, so please let us know if you intend to come along – by 21st June at the latest.
At our first talk this season, on Friday 10th March, the Chairman spoke on a number of Glastonbury curiosities, including the visit of Kanalak, the 4-ton elephant, who starred in the film ‘Elephant Boy' in 1937. He visited Glastonbury, pitching up on the old fair field on May 21st, 1938, as part of ‘Sir Robert Fossett’s New Super Circus’.
This photograph of Kanalak and his partner was taken in front of ‘N. Squire’, the fellmongers and general stores, now ‘Man, Myth & Magik’, next to the abbey gatehouse, in March, 1938.
For an update on the museum, please see the 'Glastonbury Museum at the Tribunal' page on this website.
The Godney Canoe
The canoe is housed in the Tribunal on Glastonbury High Street. Wood samples from the canoe were sent for carbon dating earlier this year. Tests revealed that the canoe is not of Iron Age date as had been previously assumed, but is actually of Anglo-Saxon manufacture. Dating from between the early 6th to early 7th century, it is the only Anglo-Saxon boat to have been found in Somerset.
A paper containing all the latest research on the canoe can be found at the bottom of this page.
(Dr T.F Hopkinson-Ball, Chairman, Glastonbury Antiquarian Society)
The Godney Canoe, photographed soon after its discovery in 1892.
The Godney Canoe today, housed in the Tudor Kitchen at Glastonbury Museum at the Tribunal.