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Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed

10 Dec 10 - 04:04 AM (#3050185)
Subject: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Keith A of Hertford

It is said that Joseph of Arimathea put his staff in the ground, and it took root and became the miraculous thorn that flowered every Christmas and Easter.
It was cut down by the Puritans in 16thC, but locals kept cuttings and re established it.
It really was found to be of Middle Eastern origin.
Vandals cut it down yesterday.
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2010/12/10/Vandals-take-ax-to-Glastonbury-Thorn/UPI-37641291964666/


10 Dec 10 - 04:10 AM (#3050190)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Keith A of Hertford

Some images here.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1337159/Glastonburys-2000-year-old-Holy-Thorn-Tree-hacked-vandals.html?ito=feeds-newsxml


10 Dec 10 - 04:17 AM (#3050192)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

Let's hope it'll grow again, which it might do as hawthorn traditionally thrives on this sort of treatment. Even so - a supreme act of idiocy, but symbolic of the wider abuse of the old green & pleasant over the years - hedgerows (and hawthorns) in particular.


10 Dec 10 - 04:29 AM (#3050194)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Silas

Frtunatly there are quite a few examples of this tree in and arund Gastonbury. The one on earyall Hill is not orignal anyway


10 Dec 10 - 04:31 AM (#3050195)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Van

Surprising to read that it did not have a tree preservation order on it.


10 Dec 10 - 05:57 AM (#3050222)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST

I'm all for trees, I think, although they do have a habit of killing stuff that tries to grow beneath them. Nature green in leaf and branch, so to speak?

Why people should choose to believe that:

1. Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury
2. With a stick
3. Planted said stick
3. Stick grew into tree
4. Tree lasted 2000(?) years

Is a complete mystery to me. But, that's probably none of my business.

But, but, but I am tempted to suggest to those that have decided to believe that one JC died and rose (?) again that bits of this tree can easily be replanted, as they clearly have done off and on, and this might be a symbol of the said 'raising from the dead'of one JC.

L in C#
With clearly nothing better to do


10 Dec 10 - 06:34 AM (#3050240)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

Why people should choose to believe that:

Why should anyone believe anything? It's what people do best - they believe in stuff that has meaning to them. Isn't that what Folk is all about anyway? Looking for religious meaning & experience in a sort-of traditional continuity which is, after all, just as unlikely as Joseph O'Arimathea planting his staff in Weary-All Hill.


10 Dec 10 - 06:34 AM (#3050241)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Leadfingers

Bearded Bruce started a BS thread (Firewood ) yesterday


10 Dec 10 - 06:50 AM (#3050249)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Bi-Polar Bear (S O'P in Festive Mood)

Looking for religious meaning & experience in a sort-of traditional continuity

I dare say there'll be plenty of that in the Unthanks documentary on BBC4 tinight! Wonder if they'll do Fluffy Morris? Shame if they don't...


10 Dec 10 - 07:01 AM (#3050252)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie

Ah, that's better. The log burner in Willie's study burns hotter with hardwood. Might let this latest load season a bit first though, seems a bit green still.

Ok, vandalism is wrong, but if you steer away from The Daily M*il story, you may find the financial situation of the land owners could, just possibly, steer Morse & Poirot away from investigating wanton vandalism?


10 Dec 10 - 07:26 AM (#3050262)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

Well Sean, I guess it's the difference between faith & trust

Cheers
Les


10 Dec 10 - 09:14 AM (#3050313)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

Didn't you say you were reading The Imagined Village for the second time, Les? Once was enough for me! Not sure about trust, but it just about finished off my Folk Faith. I'm even putting off reading my recently borrowed copy of Fake Song in favour of the Miles Davis Autobiography for light relief... Personally, I find it a lot easier to believe in The Glastonbury Thorn legend than I do in the 1954 Definition and other shibboleths of a revival which was nothing sort of wholesale cultural revision.


10 Dec 10 - 09:26 AM (#3050316)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Silas

Joseph was (apparantly) JC's Uncle. He visited Glastonbury on his way to Wigan where he set up a Mint Ball Factory.


10 Dec 10 - 09:30 AM (#3050318)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Keith A of Hertford

That is why we hang balls on our Christmas trees.


10 Dec 10 - 09:31 AM (#3050320)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

Ah ha! As usual you raise many interesting issues your Sublimeness.

Reading I.V. for the 3rd time now. I don't do faith. I like to think I do trust based on evidence, contemplation and such like but maybe I just think what I like and ignore what I don't.

I think the I.V. clears a lot of things up. The first 'Revival' wasn't a much of a revival. Collectors seemed to have taken songs prisoner, allowing some out on parole - as long as they didn't scare anyone and locked the rset up in CSH.

The real Revival was the 'second' one from the 50's bursting through the 60's and against all odds doing pretty well today.

As for J of A, if no evidence of any kind exists about him and his stick and people want to believe otherwise I guess it's none of my business but I'm not sure what I am supposed to say if it's raised in discussion.

Have a great time in Sheffield - a City close to the hearts of The EFDSS I understand

Les


10 Dec 10 - 04:05 PM (#3050573)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Van

Surely part of "Folk music" is a desire to preserve our myths and traditions? And so I would expect that we would all be concerned to see a a part of one of those myths mindlessly destroyed.


11 Dec 10 - 03:40 AM (#3050790)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

One one hand you have the old songs & singers, on the other the increasingly academic gloss of a revival which stands in stark and bitter social constrast to the natural context of a music which is now lost to us. These things operate at a significant remove, but whilst the revival might touch upon a certain lingering potency, it also engenders a religious orthodoxy which ensures Folk Music enjoy the cultural status it no doubt deserves - i.e. cranky middle-class boffins re-enacting the songs of a long vanished rural / urban working-class once serving long vanished industries or else writing songs about them and their various hardships. In other words forever singing about how good the old one was with the worthy zeal that they are somehow preserving something or else carrying on tradition which is, I think, a far greater matter of faith than transubstantiation. For me it's been very necessary to a) focus on the old songs & singers to the exclusion of the various aesthetic and theological conceits of the Revival (as far as this is possible of course because by no means do I see it as being all bad or else I wouldn't bother at all) and b) to see the the old songs & singers as part of the very human tradition of Popular Music as a whole, which is still with us and still thriving, of course.

Just my opinion, although once-bitten I remain twice-shy of saying such things on a forum on which heretics are routinely excommunicated and persecuted thereafter.

Whatever the case, the Glastonbury Thorn, like The Gower Wassail, is a corporeal part of my cultural landscape and time was my old Xtian Somerset friends would send me blossoms at the Winter Solstice - from the tree by the church in the high-street rather the one recently chopped down; and several Pagan ones too for whom the tree is doubly sacred much as Mid-Winter is doubly sacred. But that sacredness, for me, is always human - it is our capacity to believe and wonder, to seek within myth and legend for a meaning that touches us far deeper than any objective truth ever could. My problem with religion, as with folk, is when zealots insist (on pain of eternal damnation) that it is objectively true, thus killing it stone dead in the living human waters through which it once swam.


11 Dec 10 - 04:42 AM (#3050809)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

I suspect we are not far apart Sean. As for Revivals what 'The Real Revival' did, after the 1950's was get the songs out and sing them and that's why it was The Real Revival.

Yes we owe a debt to the collectors (pun intended) but a greater debt to the people who song the old and strange songs and kept them alive because the loved singing them. They were generally the rural working class and we mostly were not.

Many of us came from working class backgrounds and as eduaction and employment patterns changed we became white collar, middle and professional class people. That doesn't stop us singing and enjoying the old and strange songs.

When we sing in small friendly places the songs work just as they did for the rural working class for hundreds of years.

L in C#


11 Dec 10 - 05:08 AM (#3050819)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

PS - Even in these days of light pollution I might find delight in the night sky. Watching the recent The Sky at Night edition on Ursa Major I was struck by the mix of science, folklore & mythology that made the programme as delightful to watch as its no-budget production values (studio garden sets that would shame Rent-a-Ghost inter cut with b/w stills of the night sky!). Astronomers tell it differently to Astrologers but the Mythologiocal dimension is just as vital as the scientific - just as human certainly, Astrology takes faith, Astronomy likewise & whilst I take both with a pinch of lo-salt (must watch my blood-pressure!) I love the human ancientness of both.

So what is the Revival in relation to the Old Songs? Myth or Science? The old songs exist regardless - much of the stuff I'm looking into right now comes from collections that pre-date Cecil Sharp by 100 years (The Colliers Rant for one, which was sung in my family). My feeling is always for the essential creativity of the idiom and for the people who made these songs - the Tommy Armstrongs and the George Bruce Thompsons, those all-too-few names we have of the makers of songs which in being designated Folk or Traditional the Revival would have us believe grew under gooseberry bushes. It seems to me supremely ironic that the right-wing orthodoxy of the first revival saw the same collective human mulch as did the second, albeit differently - the empowered proletariat rather than the obliging servile peasantry, entirely innocent of the preciousness of their fragile heritage. But, as with any musical genre, it is the creativity of the individuals that is the key to the thing - the mastery that gave us these songs & ballads which in being anonyous might appear to be the product of something entirely unique to Folk Music, but nothing, I fear, could be further from the truth.

So - old songs, new songs, borrowed songs & blue songs (!); music is music is music & Tradition defines every single vibrant genre from the songs sung by Harry Cox and the Copper family to the notes played by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. And crucially, though the knight at arms may yet be palely loitering no horse sings....


11 Dec 10 - 05:12 AM (#3050820)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

Cross-post there, Les - but I agree - the potency endures and the remains the important thing!


11 Dec 10 - 07:46 AM (#3050884)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,kendall

I don't believe in religion but I do believe in history. I also believe that vandals should pay for their stupidity.


11 Dec 10 - 08:11 AM (#3050890)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

"I also believe that vandals should pay for their stupidity. "

I guess most of us do. I always feel afronted, or something when people destroy small growing trees in urban places. They somehow suggested hope and get destroyed for no reason

L in C#


11 Dec 10 - 08:49 AM (#3050911)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Geoff the Duck

Have faith in the noble hawthorn. Hawthorns are well noted for their ability to regrow following serious pruning.
Hedge laying relies on cutting the tree/bush near ground level to form a hinge, laying the trunk sideways (and weaving into a living fence) so that it can grow afresh from the base.
Cutting branches off at a high level is likely to see it growing as a pollard rather than a coppice, but hawthorns have a proven record of regrowth following damage, whether natural or deliberate.
A small amount of reading (and earlier in the thread) tells me that this tree is not the original, but grown from a cutting of the original. There also seem to be trees grown from other cuttings, which apart from their specific location are just as legitimate cloned offspring as the one in the news. They could even try to root the cutting taken to decorate the Queen's Christmas table.
Quack!
Geoff the Duck.
(p.s. Suibhne. Since you started using your current "guest" sign in, I always misread it. Despite all I tell my brain, it still always reads it as Suibhne Ashtray.)


11 Dec 10 - 12:34 PM (#3051030)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

All good stuff Mr Duck but "but grown from a cutting of the original" the original what? Does anybody seriously believe:

1. Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury
2. With a stick
3. Planted said stick
3. Stick grew into tree
4. Tree lasted 2000(?) years

Sure all trees in the end are related all the way back to the beggining of life, as we are ourselves.

L in C#


11 Dec 10 - 10:11 PM (#3051392)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,julia L

I think the point here is not whether it will grow back (as it probably will) but the arrogant destruction of a beautiful tree and the insult to a belief system. Just the act of wantonly cutting the tree is reprehensible. Was it done to attack the validity of the legend? Only the vandal can tell us.
In any case, it is a sad thing
julia


12 Dec 10 - 04:39 AM (#3051589)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

"Was it done to attack the validity of the legend?"

I could be wrong but that's not the level vandals generally work on is it?

L in C#


12 Dec 10 - 05:07 AM (#3051596)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Silas

"destruction of a beautiful tree"

With the best will in the world, you could not describe this tree as beautiful! It was a stunted windswept gargole of a tree. (Not to distract from its cultural significance though....)


12 Dec 10 - 05:36 AM (#3051609)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Shimrod

Undoubtedly this is a stupid and reprehensible act of vandalism, but, as G the D says above, the tree will almost certainly grow back and might be stronger and healthier as a result.

Mind you wanton destruction of nature is nothing new and Christianity has a lot to answer for by elevating Man above Nature. The destruction of old and venerable trees is nothing new either. In the 19th Century the Northamptonshire poet, John Clare mourned the loss of Langley Bush, a venerable hawthorn which grew near his native village of Helpston and was much loved by shepherds, gipsies and other 'dwellers in the fields'. This was ruthlessly swept away by the enclosers and Clare could only mourn for it:

"By Langley bush I roam but the bush hath left its hill
On Cowper Green I stray tis a desert strange and chill"

Currently, one of my favourite wild areas (full of hawthorns) here, in South Manchester, is threatened by development - and no-one cares except me and a few friends (the hawthorns haven't been 'sanctified' by dubious myths). Thus is the world sterilised bit by bit, drip by drip.


12 Dec 10 - 05:56 AM (#3051618)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

Is that you Dave?

Les


12 Dec 10 - 07:27 AM (#3051666)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Shimrod

Who? Les ...


12 Dec 10 - 09:59 AM (#3051731)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,julia L

I thought it was beautiful... eye of the beholder I guess

No doubt rape and exploitation of the natural world is an unfortunate tradition globally. Doesn't excuse it

And sometimes myth / belief / religion actually protects an area against destruction. How about the fairy tree in Ireland around which they diverted a road?

Julia


12 Dec 10 - 07:50 PM (#3052123)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Nicholas Waller

We scattered some of my father's ashes at the tree. Not for religious reasons, but because he was born in Street, separated from Glastonbury by about three fields, and when he was four or five he lived in a house actually on the south side of Wearyall Hill.


13 Dec 10 - 03:29 AM (#3052266)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Keith A of Hertford

"Does anybody seriously believe:
1. Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury"

Merchants did trade between Middle East and SW England in those times.
Cornwall and N Devon were the main suppliers of tin to make bronze.


13 Dec 10 - 06:39 AM (#3052339)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: The Fooles Troupe

"p.s. Suibhne. Since you started using your current "guest" sign in, I always misread it. Despite all I tell my brain, it still always reads it as Suibhne Ashtray.)"

To me it looks like Sublime Ashtray, sorry about that ...


13 Dec 10 - 07:27 AM (#3052362)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Chris P

There is a suggestion/assertion in the Daily Mail comments (some crazy people around, eh?) from a Glastonbury resident that it was done by the landowner, who is already in trouble from the failure of his currency exchange company, as an act of spite because he was refused planning permission to build houses there. No doubt unfounded of course. And it's only 49 years old anyway, so irritation rather than hysterics, eh?


13 Dec 10 - 09:27 AM (#3052432)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

"There is a suggestion/assertion in the Daily Mail"

Well, the DM is clearly a safer source than then gospels themselves, as we all know.

"And it's only 49 years old anyway, so irritation rather than hysterics, eh? " Interesting - any evidence to this effect?

L in C#


13 Dec 10 - 02:42 PM (#3052666)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Jack Blandiver

Sublime Ashtray is cool by me.

Ever been to the Fortingall Yew? We visited there a few years ago & were suitably humbled / impressed - 5,000 years...

As I said above I've no problem with the Glastonbury Thorn legend; we head for Glastonbury whenever we're passing and by-passing the hippy hype of the High Street there is a lingering sweetness about the place that legend has graced with feet such as those.


13 Dec 10 - 03:03 PM (#3052677)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

I bet you believe in Father Christmas Oh Sublimeness

Les


14 Dec 10 - 10:27 AM (#3053283)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Hilary

Wait, what's only 49 years old? The tree? I thought this particular one has been around since it got replanted after the Puritans cut it down.      
    I can't believe that someone would do something as awful as vandalizing Glastonbury thorn. To me, that's like if someone went into Stonehenge and toppled over the stones. Yes, they can be put back with some work, but it's still sacrilegious.


14 Dec 10 - 11:37 AM (#3053352)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

Just a couple of small points. The Stones are infact thousands of years old, extremely sophisticated and unique in human history. The bush in question is probably none of these things.

But I wish it and it's supporters the best of luck with planting cuttings which I think I mentioned earlier christians might find symbolic of 'born again -ness'

L in C#


14 Dec 10 - 01:40 PM (#3053449)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

I bet you believe in Father Christmas Oh Sublimeness

See my post HERE.


14 Dec 10 - 02:13 PM (#3053474)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

Intrestin Sean, still think your holding on to the possibility of SC/FC. I think throwing in fake evidence is dodgy but they all do it.

We visited the Church of St Nicholas in Turkey earlier this year, Intrestin for sure. batted along for a thousand odd years as an Orthodox St of no particular standing until Czar Nicholas visited and kicked all sorts off. Throw in some present giving from holland and that red coat from Coca Cola and Turkey is forgotten (! get that?)

Cheers
Les


14 Dec 10 - 05:39 PM (#3053596)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

In comes I old Father Christmas.
Am I welcome or am I not ?
I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot
As Christmas comes but once a year
And when it comes it brings good cheer,
A pocketful of money and a cellar full of beer,
Roast beef, plum pudding and mince pies:
Who likes that any better than I ?


All the best, Les! Have a good one...


15 Dec 10 - 03:38 AM (#3053794)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

And yourselves also

Les


15 Dec 10 - 08:14 AM (#3053915)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Hilary

I know the stones are thousands of years old. To me it makes no difference. They're both cultural symbols associated with legend.


15 Dec 10 - 08:15 AM (#3053917)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: Les in Chorlton

I know but

"The Stones are infact thousands of years old, extremely sophisticated and unique in human history. The bush in question is probably none of these things."

L in C#


15 Dec 10 - 08:40 AM (#3053937)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
From: GUEST,Silas

Hilary, it's just a tree. It has a tenuous connection with the Grail Legends, but this particuar tree had really not been there long and there are far better examples in Glastonbury itself. It appears that it was neither old enough or important enough to have TPO and it will almst certainly grow back. The vandalism is inexcuseable, but it is really not as big a deal as some people make out.