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Climbing Glastonbury Tor

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Somerset, England

The Church of Saint John the Baptist,The Church of Saint John the Baptist, High Street, Glastonbury

Renovations over the centuries indicate that there was a large tower on this site dating from around 950. By 1203 there was a Norman church on the site that had much the same floor plan as the present church. It is believed the current tower was built around 1475, at near the same time as the George and Pilgrims Inn, and by the same fellow, Abbot John Selwood. Standing some 134+ feet tall, the tower is highly ornamented (more so than the rest of the building) and highly visible. The tower today has a chiming clock, but no clock face. The present building was completed by the end of the fifteenth century but changes and renovations continued for many years.

Inside, as stated in 1534 by a historian named Leland,  it is 'A fair lightsome church'. The stained glass and carvings are magnificent. The building is made of Doulting stone, Street stone, and the local Tor burr and almost seems to glow on a sunny day. There is a lovely labyrinth on the grounds used for mediations and prayer and the church bells are musical and breathtaking to hear.

There have been bells in the church since 1403AD. The oldest bell today was made in 1612 and was recast in 1992. There are currently eight bells in the church and the bell ringers practice on Thursday evenings (which make Thursday evenings a treat to sit in the Abbey grounds across the lane and enjoy the sounds!)

Sometimes on public holidays or Saturdays they open the tower to visitors. The view from the top is well worth the wee climb of 150 steps. Be sure to bring your camera!

For those wanting to attend services...

First Sunday

8.00am - Holy Communion (BCP)
9.30am - Informal Worship
6.00pm - Choral Evensong

Second Sunday

8.00am - Holy Communion (BCP) at St Benedict's Church
9.30am - Parish Communion

Third Sunday

8.00am - Holy Communion (BCP)
9.30am - Parish Communion

Fourth Sunday
8.00am - Holy Communion (BCP)
9.30am - Joint Parish Communion with St Benedict's Church at St John's (odd months)
10.30am - Joint Parish Communion with St Benedict's Church at St Benedict's (even months)
6.00pm - The Quiet Service

Fifth Sunday
8.00am - Holy Communion (BCP)
Joint Parish Eucharist with St Benedict's Church and St Mary's Church, Meare.
The service is held in each church in rotation and at the time of that church's regular Sunday service.

10.00am - Holy Communion

St John's church is open every day for prayer, contemplation, and for visitors to view the building.



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