Glastonbury Parish Church, Somerset

Although more famous for its Abbey and Tor, Glastonbury’s Parish Church is also a structure with a venerable age to it. Excavations have revealed what appear to be the footings of a great central tower dating to around 950 AD – this would make it a seriously large piece of Saxon engineering and one which clearly indicates a long-standing church of great importance. The Normans were also here and rebuilt the church.

Late in the 14th Century it would appear that the central tower may have collapsed. In 1404 the church was almost entirely re-roofed, something very similar happened about fifty years later and the nave roof was rebuilt once more.

In 1484 a tower is mentioned at the west end of the church, so by that time the Saxon tower was most certainly gone. The tower of 1484 is the second tallest in Somerset. It was supposed to have been constructed on the orders of Abbot Selwood of the Abbey and is noticeably more ornate than the rest of the church.

The church porch and parvis were completed at the end of the Wars of the Roses, probably shortly after the tower was completed, largely leaving us with the church of today.

Sir George Gilbert Scott – on his seemingly never ending campaign of church rebuilding – arrived here in 1856 and spent £3,000 reconstructing and renovating, this time with a reasonable degree of care to the original look of the place.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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