Charities we support
IT has been my lot during the last fifty years to look daily over the pleasant valley
of the Brue, as it stretches east and west under the low hills of Kingweston and
Butleigh, of Street and the Polden ridge. It has charm at all seasons of the year.
In spring at times the flooded levels make a lake with many little islands, in the
summer we have the glory of the sheets of buttercups, in the autumn the low-
Until early in the last century the road from Glastonbury to Street and the west was the hill road outside the southern fence of Wyrral Park, which at the dissolution of the monastery sheltered a hundred deer. Southward of the road were the Vineyards, so called to this day. At the western end the road reaches the levels at the hamlet of Northover where there is a bridge, Bumbaley Bridge, over the millstream. Thence the present road passes due south over Pomparles Bridge and the artificial "Causeway " to the town of Street.
In 1912 I wrote at some length on the history of Pomparles Bridge -
In the year 1881 drains were being laid in the fields to the east of the "Causeway"
and thereby an ancient road was discovered which had been long buried and forgotten.
It ran nearly parallel with the "Causeway" at a distance of 50 or 60 yards. It was
partially examined at that time by myself and others, and the results are recorded
in the Proceedings, xxvii, ii, 43-
The conclusions then arrived at were, that the road was probably Roman and not British,
and that the River Brue was probably crossed by a wooden bridge, for at the site
of the excavation which was just south of the river there were found on the flanks
of the road portions of mortised oak, and in the construction of the road itself
massive horizontal oak beams and deeply-
In 1921, forty years later, our attention was again called to this buried road, this time through the parching of the turf by the long drought, which caused a burnt streak along its course straight as an arrow from the Brue to the "Mead" at Street, but slightly deflected to the west from the north bank of the Brue to Northover.
It seemed desirable to make a new exploration as there were several points which
needed clearing up. Firstly, its Roman origin needed to be put beyond question. Secondly,
its normal structure needed further attention, for clearly in the neighbourhood of
In 1921, with the consent of the tenant Mr. Mapstone, we excavated at two points,
both of them to the north of the river, the one just opposite the excavation of 1881
where the sup-
At the site just to the north of the northern bank of the river we reached the surface
of the road at a depth of 3ft. 2ins., the soil removed being the very firm clay of
the levels, entirely flood-
As I was unable to examine all the substructure personally, I insert Stephen C. Morland's report :
"The Substructure of the old Causeway from Northover to Street (Plate XIX).
" As is usual with all such causeways, brushwood (alder brushwood) formed the lowest stage of the foundation. The fact that the peat on the east side of the road contained many thick alder roots suggests that the builders had not far to look for their material. Above a few inches of this small brush were laid split alder boughs, 2 or Sins. in diameter, transversely across the causeway, flat side down to lessen their tendency to disappear into the marsh.
"So far the structure of the causeway had been perfectly normal, but I believe that
the carefully laid oak planks that covered the alder boughs are an unusual feature.
Unfortunately for the antiquary, the layer of stones that rests upon the oak boards
has so efficiently drained the causeway, that the peat-
"Longitudinal boards, it appears, were first laid along each side of the road and held in position by stakes and piles. Across them, and for the most part resting on them, were other oaken boards, in the nature of sleepers, while a narrow plank near the middle of the track and parallel with the sides lay across them, possibly to hold them down. We found no traces of pegs holding the boards together, but in two or three instances it appears that the sleepers were split down the centre, and that the lateral or central timbers were held in the fork thus made. This seems to be the probable interpretation of the way in which the direction of the grain changed on the surface of the wood, which had rotted almost to a pulp. In order to prevent the road embankment slipping into the marsh, a number of oak piles and alder stakes were used. The piles were about 3 feet in length, rectangular and with chamfered edges.
Owing to the extreme hardness of the points of one or two of them, I should think
they were sharpened by burning. Some were as much as 9ins. across at the top, almost
"The position of the stakes and piles shows little order or arrangement. On the east
side of this section of the road, about 12 feet in length three piles and one stake
were found in the embankment, while two more stakes were where two of the lateral
timbers were joined, one actually being beneath the timber. On the other side of
the road we found a group of two piles and three stakes supporting what was probably
a join in the lateral timbers, but nothing supporting the embankment which here was
almost as wide as the road. It is worth remarking that the piles nearly reached through
to the stone surface of the road. -
At the old border of the marsh the road was continued in a direct line northward
resting directly on the clay of the hill without any substructure ; the stones however
were of the same character. It was covered by a certain amount of flood-
Search was made for any relics of the northern bridge-
We scarcely hoped to find in such a partial examination of the road, the two sections
together being about 12 yards, any contemporary relics, but we were more fortunate
than we expected. At a depth of nearly a foot below the brushwood of the substructure
was found the remains of a small bowl 5ins. in diameter, of thin grey "Upchurch"
ware, turned on the wheel. It is clearly of the Roman period, and is like fragments
found on the course of the hill-
Just below the surface of the road amongst the stones there were found an iron punch
and a gouge about 14ins. in length. The latter was probably fitted with a wooden
handle, but some who have seen it think it might have been used as an auger with
On the surface of the road was found the most important relic, an iron spur, figured
We can now come to definite conclusions on the five points left uncertain in 1881.
In the first place the road, or Packhorse track, or Causey, or Calcetum, was certainly
Roman, but was not built in the earliest period of the occupation, for Roman pottery
was found underneath. We can at once dismiss any thought of a later period (post-
The work seems to presuppose a considerable population to be served by it to make it worth while. We have so far but little direct evidence of Roman occupation in Glastonbury itself. The road looks like an attempt to extend Roman influence.
As suggested already, it is not improbable that a track of British origin already
crossed the marsh on this line, for here the bad ground is at its narrowest, and
I would suggest that at the Wyrral end it connected up with a previously existing
British track. In the southward direction the old way points directly to Street Cross,
and further in the line of the present road to "Portway" and thence to Marshall's
Elm, where it would connect with the Roman road along the Polden Hills. A little
further in this direction we come to the site of several Roman villas in the neighbourhood
of Littleton and Somerton. I have no doubt that in this old road we have but one
of many subordinate ways made in Roman times. The exceptional interest is that here
we have a complete section of road which has been sealed up and so preserved for
the last seven hundred years and that we see it just as it was last used in the XII-
The normal structure of the road has been described. There is no longer doubt as
to the wooden bridge, confirmed as it is by the finding of a tool used in its repair.
We also most clearly found that the road was carried through to Glastonbury and that
it remained in use till at least the end of the XII Century. If the road was made
in the IV Century, it was in use for eight hundred years, and the mystery of the
This was probably written before William visited Glastonbury and he may have had good reasons to revise his criticism both of its history and its site ; but, the road which we have described was undoubtedly the identical road that William found here on his arrival and travelled over if he proceeded further westward.
It would be fascinating to picture the many wayfarers from the west who must have trodden these stones. Kings, bishops and abbots, soldiers and peasants, Romans, Britons, Saxons, Danes and Normans, but my paper will be quite long enough, so I must leave its extension to the readers.
There remains the consideration of the reason for the disuse of this old way.
In 1912 I wrote an account of the so-
We must then conclude that as the Roman road with its wooden bridge was used up to the end of the XII Century, that this round arched bridge about 60 yards to the west replaced the old structure and the new causeway took the place of the old one. Whilst the early work was 9ft. wide, the new road and bridge measured 12ft. It may be that with new prosperity in the country it was desirable to make the new road for convenience. I believe, however, that there was another reason at work. The earliest Pens Perilis was as we have seen of possible XII Century work. Was there at about this time any abbot who would be likely to have planned it? The end of the XII Century found the Abbey in considerable difficulty. Savaric was abbot and bishop 1192 to 1205, and the chroniclers bitterly complain of the confusion and losses occasioned by him. Manors were alienated and debts incurred, so that for years economy was necessarily the order of the day. Neither of the three succeeding abbots are reported to have been builders, but the times gradually improved and in 1235 Abbot Michael of Ambresbury was elected and for seventeen years ruled the monastery. Of this abbot the chronicler Adam of Domerham writes with enthusiasm. He was clearly an excellent man of affairs as well as a judicial ruler. The value of the monastic property rapidly increased, and on his retirement he not only left the treasury free from debt, but the demesnes and farms were full of live stock with food enough in store for a year ahead. The inventory tells of 111 carucas or plough teams of oxen, eight in a team, 892 in all. This shows the large proportion of arable land, as the milking cows numbered 233 only. Somerset was not yet one great milk farm. Bulls, heifers and young stock numbered 407, sheep 6,717.
Of Michael we read also that he was a great builder. About a hundred houses either within the Abbey enclosure or outside were erected by him. But a passage to which I would call attention is on p. 505 of Hearne's edition of Adam of Domerham. Ten mills he added to the Church, namely either in places where they had never been he raised from the foundations, or in other cases by law proceedings he regained those which were wrongly occupied. Probably we shall do well to look upon the round figures of one hundred houses and of ten mills, as being traditional in the time of the chronicler ; whilst the details as to cattle and sheep are clearly taken from an extant inventory.
Now the building of a new water-
Someone has done a work of this character at Glastonbury. The River Brue is embanked
for 1,800 yards from Plungen to Prior's Weir, ("Clyse Hole") and the mill-
Beckery Mill is not mentioned in Domesday, nor in Henry de Soliaco's Inquisition in 1189.
"Prior's Weir" is founds 1415 in a hundred court roll, and Beckery Mill was evidently an old mill in Abbot Beere's time.
To sum up, the spur proves that the new bridge was not built in 1200 a.d. Its masonry, however, shows it was built at a time when XII Century masonry was still in use. Abbot Michael built many mills about the middle of the XIII Century ; therefore we may fairly conclude that he built this bridge as a part of the mill scheme for Beckery.
Can we now take the history of "Pons Perilis" and of the levels a little further ? The early bridge had a very high sill for the flow of water ; in fact this sill was higher than the spring of the arch of the 1826 bridge, and only 6 feet lower than the present top of the bank of the river above. Before these banks were made the river could not have been more than 2 to 3 feet deep. As the arches of Abbot Michael's bridge were the only openings in the continuous "causeway" across the valley to Street, it is clear that the land above it must have been almost continuously flooded, and as the river above Prior's Weir was now confined in a narrow channel by embankments, the water quickly and constantly brought down mud which was deposited on this floor of land. This may possibly have been foreseen by the abbot. At first it was a great advantage ; the useless bog was quickly covered with rich soil and in summer would grow much herbage for cattle. After a course of years, however, further deposit of mud became unnecessary and it was then an object to avoid such frequent floods. Therefore in the XIV Century or early in the XV Century a further arch and waterway was provided by excavating on the northern bank of the river, the sill of which was at a lower level. This seems to be the history of the pointed arch.
It was possibly the work of Abbot John Chinnock. The order of the hundred court in 1415 directed the scouring of the Brue from "Pons periculosus to Prior's Weir." This was probably after the new arch had been erected, and shows anxiety that the waterways should be kept open so that the new grass lands might be kept dry.
The surface of the old road was of course above the bog by 2 feet or more. It is
now 3 feet below the present level of the turf. Its depression is clearly due to
the pressure of the accumulated flood-
Below Pons Perilis, Leland reported that the river divided, one part going through
the moor and the other round by Glastonbury. The course of the Glastonbury portion
of the ancient river seems to have been round the northern side of "Brides" under
the old chapel, and of Beckery Island to a point near the present railway station,
where the river-
At the north-
P.S. The writer of this paper is much indebted to Mr. F. Bligh Bond, F.R.I.B.A., for the following note, written after reading the manuscript and considering the evidence. Whilst Mr. Bligh Bond concurs generally with the conclusions arrived at, including the building of Beckery Mill, he demurs as to the date of Pons Perilis which he would place fifty years earlier. The writer must not extend this paper further or he would explain why he still holds to his original opinion. The reproduction of Mr. Phelps's woodcut (Plate XX) is inserted so that the reader may understand the details referred to in the paper and in this note.
Note by Mr. Bligh Bond as to the probable date of the medieval bridge.
"The sketch of the bridge in Phelps's work shows two arches, that on the north being
pointed, and suggestive of late XIV Century or early XV Century work, whilst the
southern arch is round-
"The presence of the additional cutwater on the south of the round arch, taken in conjunction with the long piece of plain walling in continuation to the south strongly suggests that at one time there must have been a third arch to this bridge, to the southward of the others. The width of the stream in Phelps's sketch seems to call for this. The position of the 1820 bridge would just cover the width of the missing arch, and would correspond, with its single span to the conjoint width of the southern arch shown by Phelps, plus this vacant space of walling mentioned. Mr. Morland has submitted me a drawing showing how the two overlap in this manner.
"The inference I should draw would be that there were originally three equal arches to the bridge, and I think that if the smaller arch or culvert existing a little way to the south were counted in, then, Mr. Morland suggests, we should have the explanation of the four arches mentioned by Leland.
"I wish we knew something of the width of the river-
"As regards the date of the circular-
"Now the bridge would be needed for heavy traffic, and the heaviest traffic that this bridge would be likely to have known would be that associated with the hauling of local stone for the new Abbey building after the great fire of 1184 a.d. For such haulage it is most probable that the old road would be unsuitable, and the older bridge certainly so. Mr. Morland, in fact, finds that the old road was not used for such purposes. But great quantities of lias were undoubtedly used in the laying of the new foundations, in the years immediately following the great fire. Hence my reading of the history of this bridge would be that it was built after the great fire, to meet the emergency of the new builders. The arches plain at first, and of rough stone, as shown in the southern arch of Phelps's sketch, would be such as one might associate with a strong utilitarian work. And as regards the Gothic arch on the north, this I would suppose to have been built about Abbot Chinnock's time, as a reconstruction of an older one; on more mature and deliberate lines, reflecting the taste of the Abbey builders. Mr. Morland has preserved details of the northern abutment of the bridge exposed during the rebuilding. These show several courses of fine squared stones, vertically tooled, in the lower part, and above these, for about a third of the vertical height to the spring of the former arch, appear four or five courses of untooled and inferior masonry.
"This difference seems to support the view that the pointed arch was a later reconstruction of a previously existing arch, and to this must be added the evidence of the central cutwater whose form implies another arch to the north.
"I would add that I see no reason to dissent from Mr. Morland's view that Abbot Michael
may have been responsible for the mill work (1235-
Fredk. Bligh Bond.
October 22nd, 1922.
Identification of Wlgar's Bridge, Pynneslake, Dunstan's Dyke and Kineward's bridge (Plate XXI).
I will now pass from the old road and its varied interests to the valley lying to the east.
The Proceedings for 1916 (Vol. lxii, 1-
The ritual of beating the bounds was a very serious matter in days when printed records
and maps were unknown and the memory of man was all important. In the present day
the ordnance survey has I fear ousted a very picturesque ceremony. Abbot Beere starts
with a specially summoned band of twenty-
I have gone over the ground once more with the help of these records and of the ordnance map. I have come to some conclusions which are new, and which I venture to put forward. The two documents agree remarkably when we take into icount that they are probably separated by 300 or 400 years, buit there are at the same time some noticeable differences.
The boundary begins at Brutasch, the early record saying near Street Bridge. The abbot and his retinue go in the same direction from Northover, but the way across the valley must have been different. William of Malmesbury's "Streetebrugge" was the earlier wooden bridge of the Roman packhorse way, whilst the abbot and his retinue took the wider road of Abbot Michael, over the stone bridge. Brutasch seems be the name of the first rising ground at Street; it is referred to also in the section dealing with the principal places within the XII Hides (Hearne's John of Glaston., p. 15). It is not referred to as a manor by either chronicler.
From this point to the southern "capud" of "Baltenesberge Bridge," William says simply
that you keep to the southern edge of the marsh. The "perambulation" is much more
explicit. You go eastward to the northern angle of "Brutes aische," then westward
of an enclosure called "Ankerhey" and on its north side by a certain ditch, to its
eastern end. "Ankerhey" is certainly "East Mead"; turning somewhat southward up the
same ditch you reach " Growthamsoke" where the Street boundary ends. Mr. W. S. Clark
possesses a copy of a pre-
We can trace all this on the ordnance map. The fossatum we have followed is now called the Old Rhyne, a natural running stream which collects the waters of the brooks flowing into the valley of the Brue from the south. The rhyne follows the edge of the moor from Moorhouse near Baltonsborough to Street. It then in former times appears to have found a way across, or through the marsh to join the Brue at a point somewhat east of the Roman road. The course of the perambuation was along its southern bank as far as Moorhouse. The upper course of the stream which rises in the hill above Butleigh is called the "Washbrook" but it was a continuous watercourse, whether called Washbrook, Old Rhyne, or fossatum, and was about five miles in length. At "Attelake" it strikes the course of the present modern Glastonbury road to Butleigh Wootton, and runs alongside it to the foot of the Butleigh Wootton hill. Here the "Growtham" flows into it. From this point the route is continued by the same fossatum which divides "pratum and moram," mead and moor, all the way to the Bridge of Wlgari Middebard, who was the builder of this bridge in the time of St. Dunstan. The older account calls it the bridge of "Baltenesberge," built by "Wlgari cum barba." The clues to the site of this bridge are these : Firstly, the route by the fossatum between mead and moor leads to the southern head of this bridge. Secondly, it was north of Wlgar's house. Thirdly, just after the bridge is passed, we come to a "caucetum" which we must follow through the middle of the marsh to "Pynneslake" and so on to "Baltenesberge Mill." Further, we may note it is only the early record which calls it the bridge of Baltenesberge, whilst in the later a further bridge is named at "Pynneslake." The map and the locality show that the "fossatum," the Old Rhyne, struck the route from Butleigh to Baltonsborough at a place called Moorhouse ; this is named in Warner's sketch map ; it is about 600 yards west of the present Baltonsborough bridge over the Brue. Above this point the ground rises and a house might well be built. It is possible that it was on the site of Butleigh Court. Incidentally, it was here in Abbot Beere's time that the cook provided bread and beer for luncheon. Just below Moorhouse the bog is reached, and a "calcetum" or causeway is necessary in order to cross to the mill. Now in the records, the "calcetum " follows after Wlgar's Bridge. I would point out that we are dealing with a Saxon bridge The Saxons were not great road or bridge makers ; a small stone bridge at that time would be notable. There is a well known early bridge between West Pennard and Pilton, called "Steanbow." It occurs in William of Malmesbury's record; this bridge in Abbot Roger's time is called "la Bowe," as eminently the bridge par excellence. Now that bridge crosses but an insignificant stream, Whitelake, which comes down from Pylle. The facts suggest that it is at Moorhouse itself we ought to find Wlgars Bridge. Now just at this point a brook, the Wash Brook, does now cross the roadway by two culverts, and I would suggest that the bridge the work of Wlgar was at this point on the track between the two villages just where the Wash Brook joined the fossatum. It would be the first bridge on the way to Baltenesberge and might well be called its bridge. Up to this point the perambulation was on the south bank of the stream which was now crossed to reach the " Calcetum " and the marsh.
In the Perambulation we are told that at Pynneslake in the middle of the marsh there was a bridge of two arches, the one maintained by the homage of Butleigh, the other by that of Baltonsborough. At this point the bounds of Baltonsborough were reached, and its Prepositus and eleven men conducted the party further. What was Pynneslake ? I would suggest that it was simply the name of the water of the Brue river at this point. There seems some evidence that the name Brue as applied to the river as a whole was not in general use. In Hamden's "Britannia" we read the Parret "meeteth another rliver called of some Brius," a curious phrasing showing uncertainty. Again, Leland when at Glastonbury does not call it the Brue, but "the Briwetun River." Is it not probable that the identity of the river was lost when its waters passed into the marsh, much in the same way as if they had passed into the sea ? In this case when a stream, possibly only a seasonal stream, was found in the marsh, it might well be called by a local name like Pynneslake. The term lake for a flow of water in the moor was very common in this neighbourhood. We have Whitelake and Bedlake, which at a lower point become Hartlake. Possibly they also lost their identity in the bogs of Queen's Sedgmoor. One may note here that in no place in the Glaston XII hide does the river Brue form the boundary; in the low levels it is generally formed by the margin of the moor.
It may be urged that if we identify the site of the present Baltonsborough bridge with the ancient bridge of two arches we have to explain why no mention of a bridge at this point was made by William of Malmesbury. Is it not probable that on the course of the calcetum there may have been a waterway, or very possibly several waterways, joining the bog on the two sides of the road, but that being crossed by timber bridges of no great pretension they might well not be named ? Wlgar's Bridge was in a different category. It was probably a stone bridge and it was necessary to mention it, as here the calcetum began. As to the calcetum itself, it is likely it was a work very similar to the old road at Northover, and possibly also of Roman origin.
The fact that local people at the present time associate the name of Walyer's Bridge with the bridge over the Brue seems to me vitiated as evidence, because it has been so named on the ordnance maps for a good many years.
For some distance beyond Pynneslake the route of the record is quite easy to follow.
Nogger Bridge is certainly the bridge over the mill-
The diverted water is led round the hill, embanked where necessary at the level of the 50ft. contour line of the ordnance map. It is not a large stream, but at times it brings down much water. Why should Abbot Dunstan make such a dyke? The reason is clear ; it was in order to provide water for the mill at Baltonsborough, which was no doubt also built by him. This, unlike Beckery, is a Domesday bridge worth, then, "5 solidos"; in Abbot Michael's "Rentalia" we find it worth Five Pounds and that it was part of the cook's revenue. When this work was undertaken there was no other supply for the mill available ; the river Brue was flowing in its original channel which is now Cunlease Bhyne at a lower level. The length of |the stream from the bridge below Southwood to the Mill is two miles, not an insignificant piece of work. The final proof that this is really Dunstan's Dyke is the curious " alias." If we follow up this stream for a mile we come to the neighbourhood of Dial's Green, where there is a notable mineral spring, probably magnesian and highly medicinal. I am assured by Mr. F. J. Hayes, C.A., that within his memory this spring flowed into this brook, though now it has been diverted towards Catsham.
At a later date, possibly by Abbot Michael of Ambresbury, the main river was embanked and taken across the valley from Tootle Bridge to a weir called Baltonsborough Flights, so named probably from the .stepping of the stonework. A road, Honey Mead Lane, accompanies the river which forms the communication between Barton and Keinton and Baltonsborough. This work has been erroneously named Dunstan's Dyke on the ordnance maps, a regrettable error which should be collected, as also that of Walyer's Bridge, in any further issue.
The reason for the formation of this embankment is evidently to prevent the too frequent flooding of the moor to the west, and also to supply a further and constant supply of water for the mill, for which the brook conveyed by the real Dunstan's Dyke has proved insufficient.
Tootle Bridge and the embankment are probably part of the same scheme. This bridge, one of the prettiest on the river, appears to me of XIII Century work. It has a fine cutwater buttress on the eastern side, the capstone of which has a square socket which doubtless carried a cross or crucifix. The suggestion that this is the work of Abbot Michael is strengthened by the assertion made by the monks in the articles against Bishop Joscelyne (see Hearne's Adam of Domerham, p. 452) that the Bishop had caused the mills of Baltonsborough, and of Street to be damaged (frangi fecit). It seems likely that twenty years later the mill at Baltonsborough and the waterways leading to it would be in urgent need of renovation.
Just under the south-
If it is an ancient stone , and was in the position in which it was found, before the building of the bridge, and the diversion of the Brue , it might possibly be a mark used in the mensuration of the land by the Romans, as it is only about a mile from the Fosseway from which a base line could have been carried to this stone without any obstruction.
If the identification of Dunstan's Dyke is correct, the bridge which crosses it is quite certainly Kineward's Bridge. The bridge as it now exists is worthy of much more scientific attention than I can give. It is now a bridge of a single arch, but on the eastern side up stream there appear to be remains of a stepped buttress like a cutwater, and I think it will be found that originally there were two arches. The arch of the bridge is probably modern, but the river walls under the arch are very curious. They are built of 4in. lias rock and are exceptionally regular, each course set back lin., whilst in the same work continued on the cutwater each course is set back 2ins.
It is possible that this bridge replaces the original bridge of Kineward, and that
it was built about the time of the building of Tootle Bridge and of the diversion
of the Brue. At the present time I see little evidence of traffic across this bridge.
The footpath marked in the 6-
As the boundary of the XII Hides now leaves the Brue, my task is at an end. There are many points of interest in the survey, especially in connection with the waterways in the great moors beyond North Wootton, to which I may possibly recur at some future time.
Some Doubtful Dedications of Somerset Churches
Street. No dedication is given by Browne Willis in 1733, but in the enlarged 'Ecton' it is assigned to the Holy Trinity.
The first to question this was Preb. Bates-
John Bayly, 1545. The churchyard of Sayncte Geld of Strete;
John Rode, 1545. The churchyard of St Gelys yn Strete.
He was led by the second of these passages to assign the church to St Giles.
The latest volume of the Somerset Record Society throws a welcome light on the question : for there we read (S.R.S. xli 150):
Essoin taken before the king in the chapel of St Gyldas near Glastonbury on Monday the morrow of Easter, in the sixth of King Edward (18 April 1278).
The explanation of this is found in Adam of Domerham (ed. Hearne, p. 588), who relates how Edward I was staying at Glastonbury for Easter in the year 1278, and wished to hold the assizes there ; bat the abbot pleaded that this would be a violation of the immemorial privileges of his abbey, and the king ordered the said assizes to be held at Street, outside the Twelve Hides (apud Strete extra duodecim hydas}. It is clear therefore that 'the chapel of St Gildas near Glastonbury' was at Street.
Confirmation of this comes to us from John of Glastonbury, who gives us (p. 75) an account of St Gildas, abbreviated from the Life of that saint by Caradoc of Lancarvan (c. 1140).1 He says that after staying awhile with the abbot of Glastonbury Gildas desired to return to the solitary life. Accordingly 'on the bank of the river that is near Glastonburv he built a church in the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity.' John of Glastonbury here adds to Caradoc's narrative the words : ' et vocatur capella fortunarum'; and, after recording the burial of St Gildas in the Old Church at Glastonbury, he goes on to say: 'In that same place where he thus lived the solitary life there is now a parish church dedicated in the name of the same saint.'
This 'church of St Gildas' can be no other than the parish church of Street, which curiously enough has come again to be known by the old dedication to the Holy Trinity. It may indeed be questioned whether this latter dedication was on the part of the hagiographer Caradoc more than a guess: for he makes both Gildas and Cungar build chapels in two places one after the other in honour of the Holy Trinity.
What explanation can we offer of the romantic designation 'capella fortunarum '? Is it possible that here we have a fresh trace of the appropriation of the Arthurian legend?
Note 1 Caradoc also wrote the Life of St Cungar, a fragment of the earliest form of which is now preserved in the Wells Chapter Library. For this I must refer to articles in the Journal of Theological Studies on St Cungar (xx, 97 ff.) and on St Cungar and St Gildas (xxiii, 15 f).
The Brue at Glastonbury
The Roman Road, Pons Perilis and Beckery Mill: a regional survey
By JOHN MORLAND (1922)
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