Glossary entry for
Church of St. John

The Church of St. John is a real church located in Glastonbury, in the county of Somerset, south-west England. The following text is extracted from a page at the "Guide to Glastonbury" Web site: Almost entirely rebuilt in the Perpendicular style during the 15th century on Norman foundations, it possesses one of the finest towers in Somerset. Has a fine spacious interior with high arches supported on slender pillars. Among its contents are a domestic cupboard of 1500, a large chest bought second-hand in 1421, an Italian marble nativity relief, and needlework of the martyred Abbot Whiting. Also has 15th century glass in the sanctuary side windows in addition to an iron Armada  chest and chained books . From a later period come the communion table of Archbishop Laud's time and the arms of Charles II.

The churchyard has a fine specimen of the Glastonbury Thorn, the original of which on Wearyall Hill was destroyed during the Commonwealth era. Each Christmas sprigs of thorn are spent to the Queen.

Frank LoPinto notes that

    [legend holds that] the Glastonbury Thorn ... was planted by Joseph of Aramathea. It was hacked to bits by a "zealot" whose motivations were never uncovered. The plant was never completely killed and was kept alive from cuttings taken by people over the years.

    This plant had in fact been in existance on Wearyall Hill from time immemorial and has been a botanical wonder from the beginning. The Thorn, or Holy Thorn, or Glastonbury Thorn is actually a freak hawthorn or applewort (Crataegus oxyacantha) which blooms every year on or about January 6th which was the day of Christ's birth before the Gregorian calander was officially adopted. It does not bear fruit. In 1929, King George V accepted a gift of "Winter Blossoms" from The Thorn. The yearly gift of the blossom to the Throne has continued ever since.

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