The Chalice Well of Glastonbury, England
Reading Kiersten White’s The Guinevere Deception has put legends – particularly that of King Arthur – at the front of the mind, bringing back memories of Glastonbury. The town of Glastonbury is one place with deep roots in the Arthurian legend. Some sources (okay yes, monks with a financial stake in the matter) say that the graves of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere were here, at Glastonbury Abbey, before they were spirited off or destroyed (conveniently happening at a time when the abbey was in desperate need of fundraising). Some even try to associate this Somerset English town with the legendary Avalon. Whatever the truth, the Arthur legend is laden with Christian overtones, and Glastonbury’s King Arthur tendrils reach further than the Abbey and Glastonbury Tor. And then there’s the Chalice Well. Chalice, you say? Sounds Arthurian. Archeology says the Chalice Well has been in constant use for at least 2,000 years, possibly longer. Fed by a deep aquifer, the well, also known as the Red Spring, produces 110,000 litres of water tinted with a reddish hue per day (never failing, even in drought). Now surrounded by a well-manicured Sacred Garden, the Chalice Well lid has concentric designs bisected by a sword, likely Excalibur. Other myths say that this is where biblical Joseph of Arimathea hid the chalice containing Jesus’ blood – hence the water’s red colour. King Arthur of course is also linked to the Holy Grail, said to have searched for this holy relic with his famed knights. What myth came first? Is this place called the Chalice Well because King Arthur is supposedly buried nearby? Or was it this well’s holy connection that inspired the claim that Glastonbury is Arthur and Guinevere’s final resting place? Likely, we’ll never know. Regardless, this is a beautiful spot, and worth a visit on any tour (tor?) of Glastonbury.
Pro tip: This place is magical in spring. Use the regional Georgian (and Roman!) town of Bath as your base to venture on day trips around Somerset. Combine your trip to Glastonbury with a stop at the magnificent Wells Cathedral, one of England‘s most famous churches. Learn more about visiting the Chalice Well and Sacred Garden.
More Burial Sites of Mythic Heroes
- Knocknarea Hill – Legendary tomb of Queen Maeve?
- Yorkshire – Home to Robin Hood’s Grave?
- The Giant’s Causeway – Built by warring giants?
- The Gauja River Valley – Site of tragic lovers the Rose of Turaida & Victor?
- Lake Snagov – Tomb of a vampire – Dracula?
- Teruel, final resting place of Les Amantes de Teruel?