The Telegraph and The Independent are reporting that the Holy Thorn at Glastonbury was vandalized last night, hours after the annual sprig was cut for the Queen’s Christmas table. All of the branches were hacked off and left laying in piles around the tree, only a stump now. Photo in the Telegraph article here.
Some of the claims made for the “Holy Thorn” tree always amaze me. The subtitle to the story claims that the tree’s roots go back to the origins of Christianity 2000 years ago. Yet, it says the original thorn tree was cut down during the English civil war and this tree was replanted in 1951! Quite a relic of the origins of Christianity. While this is one of the many holy thorns at Glastonbury it is believed to be the most important because it grew from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, “the Virgin Mary’s uncle” who was carrying the holy grail to Britain. (Somehow modern versions of the story tend to leave the grail out, as if that makes it less credible.) It is claimed that the thorn blooms twice a year, at Christmas and Easter.
Speculation on why it was vandalized is running wild from a religious attack by modern Puritans to a revenge attack on the landowner who was recently arrested in a banking scandal. Hopefully all the other holy thorns, the chalice well and Arthur’s grave will be guarded until the case if solved just to be on the safe side!
Richard Savill (9 Dec 2010) Vandals destroy Holy Thorn tree in Glastonbury. The Telegraph.
Emma Hallett (9 Dec 2010) Vandals destroy sacred thorn tree. The Independent.