Is a flourishing market town in the hundred of Glaston Twelve Hides, situate 124 miles from London, 3 miles from Wells, and 16 from Bridgwater. It lies on the slope of a hill that rises in the midst of a marshy flat, which was called Avalon by the Britons, from its great produce of apples. The Saxons named it Glastney, a word meaning island, and when the monastery was erected there.it was called Glastn-a-byrig, whence its present name. It is a place of great antiquity, and owes its celebrity to the memorable Abbey, the ruins uf which still exist, and attract travellers from all parts of the country. This Abbey was said to have been founded by Joseph of Aramathea, who came to preach Christianity, and first made his resting-place on a hill near the present town,still called Weary-all-hill, and by him was the first society of christians founded in Britain. Such is the legend, and in pursuance of it, Glastonbury is styled in ancient charters, "the foundation and origin of all religion in the realm of Britain." A great many legends relative to the after fortunes of this abbey are extant, but to relate them would be out of place in a book of business like this, where truth and not romance is looked for. It is a pretty well ascertained that the celebrated king Arthur was buried here. It was visited by St. Augustine, who tried to introduce the rules of the order of St. Benedict but in vain, Ina, king of the West Saxons, re-built the abbey. The renowned Dunstan was afterwards its Abbot, and by him the building was much enlarged and improved, till it became the most splendid establishment of its kind in Christendom.
King Edgar, who had a palace within two miles of the town, at a place still called Edgarly, endowed it with many estates, and gave it several privileges. The Abbots were made sovereigns within the isle of Avalon, and neither king nor bishop could enter it, without their permission first obtained. William the Conqueror reduced these powers of the Abbots, clipt their privileges, and deprived them of a portion of their rich estates, but many of these were restored by his successor Henry of Blois, brother of King Stephen, who was afterwards Abbot, and under him it regained its original splendour and reputation.
In 1184, a great part of the Abbey was destroyed by fire, and Henry II. magnificently rebuilt it. The next remarkable event in its history, was a contest between the monks and the bishops of Wells, about the appointment of Abbots, which lasted almost to its destruction.
In 1276, the Abbey was greatly injured by an earthquake, which threw down the church of St. Michael, on the Tor Hill. It was almost the last of the religious houses to experience the destructive fury of the monster King Henry VIII. Its Abbot Whityng long resisted the court, but was at length accused of treason, underwent a mock trial, was hanged, drawn and quartered on the Tor Hill. The Abbey was soon afterwards dissolved, its magnificent structure overthrown, and its rich revenues seized by the rapacious tyrant and his favourites. Such, in a few words, is the outline of the. history of this celebrated place.
The Abbey itself, with its courtleges and gardens, covered a space of nearly 60 acres. The ruins consist of the Abbot's kitchen, almost entire, of an octagonal-form, with four fire places, a finely vaulted roof, and an octagonal pyramid rising from the centre, crowned with a double lantern of curious design, the chapel of St. Joseph, and some remains of the church. They should be visited by all lovers of antiquities.
The town lies on the slope of a hill, and has a respectable appearance, having of late years undergone great improvements. The George Inn was formerly devoted,by the Abbey, as a place of entertainment for pilgrims visiting the shrine of St. Dunstan. The streets are paved and lighted with gas, and well supplied with water from a copious spring that rises at the top of a hill, about three quarters of a mile from the town, where it is collected in an antique stone basin, and conveyed by pipes to the streets.
The town of Glastonbury lies in the two parishes of St Benedict aud St. John the Baptist. It has several charities. In 1666 James Sevenston bequeathed property yielding £20. per ann. which is applied to the support of a national school, where 30 boys are educated. The Earl of Godolphin gave a rent charge of £4 to a schoolmistress, for teaching 12 children and Mrs. Honora Gould gave £5 per ann., for teaching 12 girls to read and sew. The Abbots of the Monastery were the founders of the upper and lower alms-houses, the former for 10 aged men, and the latter for 10 aged women. They are now supported by an annual grant from the crown. A small chapel is attached to each, and an additional tenant is permitted to reside in expectation of the first vacancy. Near the town, on Weary-all-hill, is the celebrated Glastonbury thorn, which blossoms yearly at Christmas. The legend is, that Joseph of Arimathea stuck his staff into the earth here, and that it took root and became the holy thorn we now see. This is of course a fable. On the Tor hill is the tower of St. Michael, the only part now remaining of the magnificent church and monastery perched there.
This town was the birth-place of Fielding, the celebrated novelist, whose parents resided at Sharpham Park. Many Saxon Kings and other illustrious personages are buried here. It formerly gave the title of Baron to the Grevilles.
Glastonbury is governed by a corporation elected under the Municipal Corporation Act, 5 and 6 William the 4th. The corporation consists of a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 burgesses, with town clerk, and other lesser officers. The mayor, and the late mayor are justices of the peace within the borough. Quarterly courts of session, are held for the trial of all offenders. A court leet for the hundred is held in this town. W. B. Naish, Esq. is Lord of the manor.
The manufacture of stockings and gloves is the principal employment of the population. The canal, that has lately connected the town with the river Parret, has tended much to advance its prosperity. There are places of worship here for Baptists, Methodists, the Society of Friends, and Independents. The last have an endowment of £80 a year.
The population of the town at the last census was 2984. The parishes of St. Benedict and St. John are united. The living is a donative in the peculiai jurisdiction of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, of the net annual value of £ 195 endowed with £800 private benefaction, £400 royal bounty, and £600 parliamentary grant. Patron; the Bishop of Bath and Wells. In 1839, they contained 211 registered electors, of whom 178 were freeholders, 1 leaseholder, and 22 occupying tenants. They are in the electoral division of East Somerset, polling place at Wells. They are in the Wells union, to which they jointly send 3 guardians. The annual amount of poor relief previous to the New Poor Law, was £1597. It is in the magisterial division of Wells.
Hours of Post.—The box for the Western letters, closes at 10, post departs at half past 10. The London box closes at half-past 3, and post departs at 4.
Market.—The 3rd Monday in every month.
Fairs.—Second Tuesday in Easter week.—Tor fair for horses, September 19th.—Michaelmas fair, October 11th.
Borough Magistrates,—J. H. Barcep, Esq. Mayor, J. P. Newman, Esq. Justice.
Days of Meeting.—Second Monday in the month.
Clerk.—Richard Periam Prat, Esq. Solicitor.
Mechanics' Institution.—High Street, supplies reading-room, with newspapers, library, and lectures.—Secretary, Mr. Edward Fry Hewitt.
National School for boys, Robert Munden, Master. Ditto for girls, Miss Maguire, Mistress.
Places of Worship.
St. John's Church.—Rev. Thomas Parfitt, Perp. Curate.
St. Benedict's Church.—Rev. Henry Salter, Lecturer.
Independent Chapel, High-street.—Rev. W. H. Lewis.
Independent Chapel, Magdalen-street.—Rev. Robert James,
Weslevan Chapel.—-Rev. Robert Coleman, and the Rev. William Trampleasure.
Baptist Chapel, Benedict street.—Rev. John Little.
Post Office.—Ellen Ball, Mistress, High-street.
Stamp Office.—James Rood, High-street.
Registrar of Births, Deaths, See.—R. P. Prat, Esq.
Deputy Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.—Thos. Serel, Cbilkwell-street.
Relieving Officer.—John Harvey, St. Benedict-street.
Parish Clerk of St. John.—Joseph Brooks, Sen.
Parish Clerk of St. Benedict.—Richard Vincent, Sen,
Cotton,Fanny and Eliza,Chilkwell-st., Ladies' Boarding and Day school
Crow, Geo. St. Magdalen st. Boy's Boarding and Day school
Draper, Benjamin, High-st. Boy's and Girl's Day school
Hawkins, William, Chilkwell street, Boy's Boarding and Day school
Lewis, George, Market-place, Boy's Boarding and Day school
Smith, Eliza, Chilkwell-street, Ladies' Boarding and Day school
Ralls, Thos., St. Benedict-st.
Say, Richard, Lambrook-st.
Tucker, John, Lambrook-st.
Hopkins, Mr. Market-place
Bath, Richard, Bovetown
Holman, Stephen, High-street
James, Robert, High-street, Agent to the Phoenix Fire, the Crown Life Ass. Fire and Life, and Norwich Union Life Assurance Companys, Com. for taking acknowledgements of married women
Naish, William Benjamin, High-street
Prat, Richard, Chilkwell-street Com. for taking acknowledgements of married women, Registrar of Births and Deaths
Prat, Samuel, Chilkwell-st. Clerk to Glastonbury Canal Company
Auctioneers and Appraisers.
Hopkins, Thomas, St. Magdalen-street
Say, Richard, Chilkwell-st,
Tucker, John, Chilkwell-st.
Griffin, John, High-street
Harding, Robert, High-street
Jeanes, Samuel, High-street
Kerslake, Henry, Market-place
White, James, Magdalen-st.
Stuckey's, High-street. T. P. Porch, Esq. Local Director, hours of business 10 to 3
West of England and South Wales District Bank, High street, Richard Chapman, Manager, hours of business 10 to 3
Harrington, Geo. North Load street
Harrington, John, Market-pl.
Wills, John, High-street
Booksellers and Stationers.
Ball, Ellen, High-street, Ag. to Standard of England Life Ass. Com, and General News Agent Hewitt, Edward Fry, High-st. Agent to London and Westminster mutual Life Ass. Com, and General News Agent
Boot and Shoe Makers.
Brooks, Joseph, Jun. Market place
Brooks, Joseph, Sen. St. Magdalen-street
Brooks, Peter, St. Magdalen street
Fry, James and Thos. Messrs. Northload-street
Fry, William, High-street
Payne, John, High-street
Taunton, Giles, High-street
Edwards, Jas. St. Benediet-st.
Harding, Robert, High-street
Brick and Tile Makers.
Bolton, Robert, Bovetovvn
Down, Henry Wilcox, North Load-street
Norman, John, Bovetown
Day, Samuel, High-street
Hunt, Robert, Benedict-st
Bath, George, High-street
Court, Chas., St. Benedict-st.
Court, Robert, Magdalen-st.
Grey, Benjamin, High-street
Grey, Joseph Ma sh, ditto
Grey, William, ditto
Griffin, Edward, ditto
Lane, Sarah, North Load-st.
Lovell, James, High-street
Somers, James, ditto
Windmill, James, ditto
Windmill, Joseph, ditto
Aplin, Thos, St. Benedict-st.
Day, Samuel, High-street
Godfrey, Fred. Benedict-st.
Godfrey, Wm., North Load-street
Godfrey, Geo., ditto
Hunt, Robt, St. Benedict-st.
Hopkins, Thomas, Market-pl.
Lawrence, James, Bovetown
Lovell, Jas., North Load-st.
Smart, Joseph, High-street
Smart, John, ditto
Edwards, Thomas, High-st.
Hayes Philip, North Load-st.
Martin, Cornelius, High-st.
Scriven, Robt., St. Benedict-street
Whitehead, John, Baltons-borough
Chemists and Druggists.
Alexander, John, High-street, Agent to the National Provident society
Rood, James, Market-place
Clock and Watch Makers.
Burch, William, High-street
Toomer, John, St, Benedict-street
Carnell, Wm., Market-place
Davey, Matthew, Sen. Mag-dalen-street
Godfrey, George, Market-pl.
Edwards, Jas. St. Benedict-st.
Hunt, Robt., North-Load-st
Quick, Robert, Hill-head
Adams, Jane, Market-place
Harding Robert, High street
Kerslake, Henry, North Load-street,
White Jas, Magdalen-st.
Brooks, Jno. & Jas., Messrs, Market-place
Chapman, Edgar, Kigh-st.
Bishop, Joseph, High-street.
Bullied, John, High-street
Carnell, William, Market-pl.
Griffin, Chas., High-street
Godfrey, Geo., ditto
Haine, Thomas, ditto
Jacob, James, ditto
Marquand, Peter, ditto
Lester, Thos. Chilkwe!l-st.
Masters, Thomas, ditto
Best, Thomas, Noaks, and Co., High-street
Vowles, Joseph, St.Benedict-street
Gentry and Private Families.
Bath, Robert. Bovetown
Clare, Samuel, Chilkwell-st.
Emery, Sarah, High-street
Hanham, Richard, Bovetown
Holeman, Jno., St.Benedict-st.
Moxham, Anna, High-street
Naish, Ann, Bovetown
Newman, Jonathan Payne, High-street
Newman, Samuel, St. Magdalen-street
Porch, Thomas Porch, the Abbey
Roach, Elizabeth, Bovetown
Roach, Thos. Haines, ditto
Underwood, Moses, Bovetown
Vincent, John, Sen., Agent to the West of England Fire and Life Insurance Office
Jacob, James, High-street
Grocers and Tea Dealers.
Cotterel, Jas. Knight, High-st.
Davey, Matthew, Sen., Magdalen-street
Dover, Joseph, ditto
Griffin, Edward, High-street
Lovatt, Betsy, ditto
Pearse, Harriet, ditto
Swanton, Edwin, ditto, and Agent to the ' Somerset County Gazette.'
Smart, William, High-street
White James, St. Magdalen-street
Windmill, Joseph, High-st.
Windmill, Mary, ditto
Rood, James, ditto
Palmer, Joseph, High-street
Lovell, James, ditto
Vile, George, High-street
Adams, John, Benedict-st.
Merick, Win. Jun., Cart-lane
Swanton, John ditto
House and Land Agents.
Hopkins, Thomas, St. Magdalen-street
Say, Richard, ditto
Tucker John, Chilkwell-st.
Bell; Win. Swanton. St. Magdalen-st., Beerhouse
Crown ; Joseph Jeiley, High-street
George Hotel and General Coach Office, Margaret Booth, High-street
Glastonbury Arms ; William Edghill, ditto
KingWilliam; Jao. Ruddock, North Load-st., Beerhouse
Lamb, Thos. Hart, ditto
Newmarket, John Harrington, Market-place, Beerhouse
Queen's Head ; James Adams, High-street
Red-Lion; John Barnett, St. Magdalen-street
Ring of Bells; James Ellis, St. Benedict-st., Beerhouse
Rose and Crown; James Wilcox; High-street
Tor House; James Croker, Chilkwell-street
White Hart ; James Denner, High-street.
Best, Thomas, High-st., and Agent to the Sun Fire and Life Ass. Co.
Grange, William, Market-pl.
Pearse, Harriet, High-street
Smith. John, ditto
Mat and Rug Manufacturers.
Down, Rood, and Company, Baltonsborough
Jacob, James, High-street
Pratt, Edward, Beckery Mill
Underwood, John, Canal Wharf
Milliner and Dress Makers.
Davis, Elizabeth, St. Magdalen-street
Horlock, Anne, ditto
Pike, Maria, High-street
Ministers of Religion,
Coleman, Rev. Robert, High-street, Wesleyan Minister
Lewis, Rev. Wm. Howell, Chilkwell-street, Independent Minister
Parfitt, Rev. Thomas, Chilkwell-street, perpetual Curate
Salter, Rev. Henry George, St. Magdalen-street
Trampleasure, Rev. William Chilkwell-street, Wesleyan Minister
Wood, Rev, Henry, Kigh-st. Established Church
Best, J. N. and Co., Canal head
Lovibond, John. (R. Say Ag.) Market-place
Stuckey and Baghot, Canal Head
Nursery and Seedsmen.
Bassett, Joseph, North Load street
Dowdney, John, Bovetown
Painters, Plumbers and Glaziers.
Collins, Thomas, North Load street
Munden, Robert, High-street
Ruddock, John, North Load street
Pastry Cook and Confectioner.
Grist, James, High-street
Davey, Matthew, Market-pl.
Plaisterers and Tilers.
Bath, Peter, St. Magdalen-st,
Ball, Ellen, High-street
Hewitt, Ed. Fry, High-street
Welch, William, St. Magdalen-street
Gas works, North Load-street
Independent Chapel, Higb-st. Rev. W.H. Lewis, Minister
Wesleyan Chapel, Chilkwell, Rev, R. Coleman, Minister Magdalen-street,
Independent Chapel, Rev. R. James, Minister
Infant School, Bovetown
Market House and Town-hall, St. Magdalen-street
Hucker, Peter, High-street
Pouney, Robert, ditto
Swanton, Edwin, High-street, and Agent to "Somerset County Gazette"
Churchill, Henry, North Load street
Shepperd, Martin, Bovetown
Wright John, High-street
Walter, John, North Load-st.
Serel, Jane, St. Benedict-st.
Applin, Mary, ditto .
Champion, Richard, North Load-street
Masters, James, Chilkwell-st.
Straw Bonnet Makers.
Mackintosh, Sarah, High-st.
Fry, Eliza, Northload-street
Burgess, Jobn Henry, High-st.
James. Wm. Tice, Chilkwell street, Medical referee to Crown Life Ass. Com.
Ling, Theodore, St. Magdalen street.
Newman, George, ditto, Agent to Stand. of England Life Ass. Com.
Bennett, William, High-st.
Edghill, James, ditto.
Taunton, John, ditto.
Vincent, Alfred, St. Magdalen Stieet,
Vincent, James, ditto.
Vincent, John, St. Benedict
Vincent, Richard, St. Magdalen st.
Vincent, Thomas, North load-street.
Down, Rood and Company Baltonsborough.
Symonds, John, Northover.
Jacob, James, High-street.
Tinmen and Braziers.
Smith, John, High-street
Smith, Samuel, ditto
Godfrey, Frederick, St. Benedict-street:
Smart, John, High-street
Smart, Joseph, ditto
Trimby, Richard, St. Benedict street
Wine and Spirit Merchants.
Whitehead, John, Baltensborough
Cotterell, J. K. High-street
Whitehead, John, Baltonsborough
Down, Francis, Bovetown
Golledge, Abraham, Chilkwell-street
Down, Thomas, Park-corner.
Gardener, Jeremiah, Bovetown
Haine, John, Northload-st.
Masters, Edgar, Chilkwell-st.
Masters, William, ditto.
Masters, Robert, St. Benedict-street.
Summers, John, Chilkwell-st.
Porch, John, Prospect Farm.
Summers, John, High-street.
Bath.—Union daily, at ½ past 2.—White Hart, daily at past 2.—Retaliator, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at ¼ past 1.—Mail daily at 4.—Martin's, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.—Vampire, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 4. a. m.
Bridgwater and Taunton.—Swiftsure, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at 8. p. m.—Union, daily at 12.— White Hart, daily at ½ past 10.—Martin's, Tuesday Thursday, and Saturday.—Mail, daily at 10. a. m,
Bristol.—Retaliator, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at 2. p. m.—Royal Dorset, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, at 12.
Exeter.—Mail, daily at 10. a. m.—Vampire, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at 12 noon.
Lyme Regis.— Retaliator, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 12.
Weymouth.—Royal Dorset, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at 12.
London.—Swiftsure, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 9 a. m. Mail daily at 4 a.m.