|The Glastonbury Thorn September 2011|
The tree on Wearyall Hill was claimed to be a descendant of The Holy Thorn associated with the Legend of Joseph of Arimathea, who on arriving in Britain after the crucifixion landed at the Isle of Avalon and climbed Wearyall Hill and thrust his wooden staff into the ground where it took root and grew into the Glastonbury Thorn, nearly 2,000 years ago.
For those who find this legend a little hard to swallow there is the alternative suggestion that the Thorn was brought back from the Crusades and propagated by the monks of Glastonbury.
Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads cut down the tree during the English Civil War, but local people managed to salvage the roots of the original tree, hiding it in secret locations around Glastonbury. Its descendant was then replanted on Weary Hill in 1951 which survived nearly sixty years until that December night last year. Fortunately other cuttings were also grown and planted around the town, including the Abbey.
We visited Glastonbury in early September and before returning home walked up Wearyall Hill in the pouring rain to see if the Glastonbury Thorn was recovering from its plight. Although in a sorry state after its ordeal there were signs of fresh growth sprouting. Even so it should have made a better recovering than this some nine months after the attack, but there was still hope while it was putting out fresh growth, although alone on that hill it did seem rather vulnerable.
|Shoots of Recovery September 2011|
Local councillor John Coles said it will be replaced with a new one grafted from the original branches which were hacked off.
'Mr Coles said, “People don't realise the damage they are doing. I am forever removing these ribbons because they block sunlight to the trunk.”
He added, “we've had people pulling things off - the new growth and bark on the trunk. We think it would have survived if it was just left alone. There is still life in the trunk but we doubt that it will ever recover. It is very sad but we think the best thing is to replace it.”
The new tree has been grafted by experts at Kew Gardens and is likely to be planted nearby to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Holy Thorn of Glastonbury Vandalised - Arthurian Review of 2010, Clas Merdin, 28 Dec 2010
Killed off after 2,000 years - Mail Online 19 September 2011
Pictures: the Author
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