According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Glastonbury was established by
King Ine of Wessex. Legends contend it was founded much earlier by Joseph
(or c. 166 when King Lucius requested that the pope send
Archæological evidence shows that Celtic monks lived there
as early as the V Century. Whatever its origins, the monastery was a
wealthy center of education and a popular pilgrim's destination in the
Middle Ages and Renaissance. The monastery is a central image in Arthurian
and English mythology as well. St. Dunstan was its abbot c. 940-988. He
introduced Benedictine rule, and his tomb was an object of veneration.
Kings also were buried at Glastonbury, and in 1191, the monks claimed to
have found and reinterred the bones of Arthur and Guinevere. (Modern
scholars doubt this story and doubt as well that Dunstan's tomb was at
Glastonbury). Abbot John of Taunton increased the monastery's reputation
by developing scientific farming methods and reforming its monastic
discipline. The monastery contained a large library and extended many
charitable services. Monastic discipline began to decline in later
centuries, and Glastonbury was dissolved in 1539.
Karen Rae Keck
Return to St Pachomius Library.