Glastonbury Abbey celebrates King Arthur and his final resting place
By abbie_glasto | Thursday, February 07, 2013, 09:55
Glastonbury Abbey are celebrating the reign of the legend of King Arthur by holding a special conference this April.
Julie Hayes at the site of King Arthur’s tomb at Glastonbury Abbey
King Arthur's last resting place is said to be Glastonbury Abbey and his remains, along with those of Queen Guinevere, were found by the monks in 1191
In 1278 the bones were placed in caskets and moved, during a state visit by King Edward I, to a black marble tomb before the High Altar in the Abbey Church.
A century later in 1278 the bones were placed in caskets and transferred, during a state visit by King Edward I, to a black marble tomb before the High Altar in the great Abbey Church.
This was where they remained for fifty years until the Abbey was vandalised after the dissolution in 1593.
Julie Hayes, the Abbey's education coordinator, said: "As Arthur is the main theme for the festival it is called 'In the Footsteps of Arthur'.
"There are different perceptions of Arthur and here at the Abbey, our view is based on the historical fact that King Edward I came here and placed bones of a person he considered to be King Arthur, into a casket, which he then placed into a black marble tomb.
"Whether you believe in the existence of King Arthur or not, the fact remains that there have been many written references to him throughout the centuries.
"In a sense, the stories of Arthur are part of the claim to fame of the entire south-west of England." She said, "He is widely believed to have been born in Tintagel and no-where but Glastonbury Abbey makes the claim of being his last resting place.
"The cult of Arthur was important for the monks of the medieval period, because it helped to attract pilgrims and visitors to the Abbey.
She added: "It is easy to imagine the Somerset countryside with hill forts or castles on the high places and dragons sleeping in the wild parts where only knights dare venture."
The conference will take place at Glastonbury Town Hall on April 19 and guest speakers include experts such as Geoffrey Ashe, Professor Ronald Hutton and Dr Cheryl Green.
Tickets cost £20 for adults, £18 for concessions and include lunch. They are available to buy from the Abbey Shop or via the Glastonbury Abbey website.