The staff that sprang into a tree, that’s the story of the Glastonbury Thorn. The folklore says that Joseph of Arimathea came from the Holy Lands on a mission to spread the word of the Christ. He arrived in Glastonbury on Christmas Day and plunged his staff into the earth of Wearyall Hill, it immediately took root and from it sprang a thorn tree.
There are many legends surrounding this tree but what is its truth? How did a tree not natural to our lands take here in England’s pleasant lands? How does one go about finding the true story as to whether this tree existed or where it came from? Was it brought from the holy lands as legend states? Does it really flower on Christmas day?
Adam Stout is the author of the newly released book ‘Glastonbury Holy Thorn-Story of a Legend.’
This is a beautifully bound book and wonderfully written, the author is not out to debunk any of the theories, mysteries or tales about the Glastonbury thorn but wants to give a concise chronological history of what is known and said about the thorn. It is illustrated throughout with black and white as well as plenty of colour photos and as Adam writes, he gives a scholarly, yet amusing account of a tree that has many tales ascribed to it.
When Joseph came to England from Arimathea, he brought a fragment from a special tree with him. That fragment he planted in the grounds of the mystical town known as Glastonbury. That tree sprouted and along with it grew mythical tales about it that would form a basis for pilgrims to come from all over the world to visit it. This tree that was planted became the inspiration for many stories and legends that will be familiar to many.
What Adam Stout’s book does is to collect these myths, truths and historical tales together into one charming volume, thus bringing together a rich blend of spirituality, religion and history to the legends of the Glastonbury Thorn, covering an A-Z of characters from Druids to Cromwell.
This Holy Tree of trees has a lot of symbolism attached to it, of course the Christ Story is a major part of it but so are the tales of King Arthur, who is also heavily associated with Glastonbury and the idea of the sacred isle of Avalon. This book covers the history that this tree has seen and how it has been involved with royalty, civil wars throughout the centuries as well as inspiring poets and artists, bringing forth a wealth of literature, poetry and art projects that try to capture the myth and sacredness of this Holy Tree.
The author also looks at the many projects made to restore the tree as it has been desecrated, chopped down and demolished on numerous occasions, yet grafts have been taken from it over the years so that it has been re-established in Glastonbury as well as grafts taken and planted in other sites around the world keeping its spirit alive.
Whatever the truth is about this thorn tree it still holds a spell over people today and long may it continue to do so.
‘Glastonbury Holy Thorn-Story of a Legend’ is published by Green and Pleasant and is available now.