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Somerset, England

George and Pilgrims Hotel, SomersetGeorge and Pilgrims Hotel 

The George and Pilgrim Hotel dates from around 1475 (or earlier) and is one of the few pre-Reformation inns still left in England. It was built to house the overflow of visitors wanting to stay at Glastonbury Abbey during it’s heyday as a place of learning, and some of the Abbey’s monks kept their rooms (cells) there. The highest ranking visitors where housed within the Abbey grounds, and the inn held the less important (or those less likely to be able to give large donations). The inn was supervised by Abbey officials. 

At different points in its history the building has been decorated with figures of the twelve Caesars, a figure representing charity, and today’s mullioned windows were also later additions. Inside the building you’ll find Dutch tiles, chairs modeled after medieval designs, old timber beams carved with angels, death masks of monks, rooms named such things as The Nun’s Cell or The Confessional, a great pub atmosphere, and good beer. The room named The Henry VIII  is said to be the place where that charming king watched the burning of the Abbey in 1539. 

I’ve not stayed at the George yet myself, my visits to town being more spur of the moment and not planned far enough in advance to be able to get a vacant room, but I’ve talked to a number of people who have stayed there and have gotten very mixed reviews of the inn. One lady went on endlessly about the filthiness of the rooms (all four of the rooms she demanded she be moved to), but the vast majority say the place is clean, pleasant, and comfortable and the staff helpful and friendly. Many I’ve interviewed say they wouldn’t stay anywhere else when in the area, but there does seem to be a body of people that state some things are “subject to change without notice” in terms of breakfast times, etc. (Perhaps it depends upon how cranky you are when asking?)

One couple I interviewed complained with some heat about the lack of “proper things” at the inn. Apparently they wanted the ambiance of a building built over 500 years ago but with all the modern conveniences of a gym, indoor pool, and “tastefully” decorated rooms (perhaps a nice southwestern motif?). For them the rooms were too small, the floors too old, the ceilings too low, the lighting too dark, the beds too small, the plumbing atrocious, the smell of beer in the pub sickening, etc, etc. And there wasn’t even a MacDonald’s on the premises. I mean, really! 

I guess I’m of the mind that if I want to live a bit of history, I get to enjoy the historical parts. I’d be grateful for ANY sort of indoor plumbing, happily use candlelight, and be thrilled as blazes just getting to sleep in rooms filled with so much history and drama. However, having been inside the inn a few times I can assure you that things are far from primitive; candlelight is used only by choice for romantic endeavors. My advice for those staying there: ask questions, get confirmation, take things in stride, and remember where you are and how bloody awesome that really is.

There are reports of ghosts and sounds that go bump in the night. There are no reports that anyone has been hurt by said ghosts. Pour a glass a wine and follow them around? Sounds a great way to learn some history first hand. :D

George and Pilgrims Hotel, Somerset



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