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Joseph of Arimathea

Joseph of ArimatheaStories of a sacred vessel dear to the Celts became entwined with the story of Christ's Last Supper and the Christian Holy Grail which inspired quests and crusades across England, Europe and the Far East.

The Glastonbury and Somerset legends involve the boy Jesus together with his Great-Uncle, Joseph of Arimathea building Glastonbury's first wattle and daub church. These legends gave rise to the continuing cult of the Virgin on the site of the present Lady Chapel and inspired the title 'Our Lady St. Mary of Glastonbury', which is still used today.

After the crucifixion of Jesus lore has it that Joseph of Arimathea (who according to the Bible donated his own tomb for Christ's interment after the Crucifixion) came to Britain, bearing the Holy Grail - the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper and later by Joseph to catch his blood at the crucifixion.

When Joseph landed on the island of Avalon, he set foot on Wearyall Hill - just below the Tor. Exhausted, he thrust his staff into the ground, and rested. By morning, his staff had taken root - leaving a strange oriental thorn bush - the sacred Glastonbury Thorn.

For safe keeping, Joseph is said to have buried the Holy Grail just below the Tor at the entrance to the Underworld. Shortly after he had done this, a spring, now known as Chalice Well, flowed forth and the water that emerged brought eternal youth to whosoever would drink it.

Intertwining the myths and legends of Glastonbury Abbey's history, it is widely believed that finding The Holy Grail Joseph is said to have hidden was years later the purpose behind the quests of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.