Dr. Richard Brunning who headed the excavations on Brides Mound last Spring has written:
“The seven individuals we dated from the cemetery ranged from the 5th to 9th centuries so it appears to have been used for 300-400 years.
The display at the Red Brick building is scheduled for the 12th of March but times not finalised yet.
Some work has just been done on the gateways to the site that it might be good to let your members know about. The entrance by the industrial estate has shifted sideways by about 20m so that it will lie outside the area of the industrial buildings, but just inside the rather imposing metal security fence. The gate by the roadside will eventually shift over as well. All the pedestrian gates into the chapel field have had kissing gate arrangements installed. This is to prevent unauthorised horses being brought onto the site and to keep the boundaries secure for stock, as we hope to have sheep in this year. This gets round the problem of people accidentally forgetting to close the gates. The other thing to mention is that the apple trees have been grafted with some other heritage varieties to increase the diversity. All the trees appear to be doing well.”
Archaeology on the Mound – August 2016
Richard Brunning of Southwest Heritage Trust led a team doing the first archaeological dig on the Mound since Philip Rahtz’s dig in the 1960s. Initially GeoFlo surveyed the area, which clearly showed up the third building that Beth Francis of Avalon Archaeology Group had found when doing the resistivity survey for the Friends in the 1990s. They also found traces of a ditch around the buildings and a possible site for the Well. GeoFlo are now arranging with the Friends to do a survey of the ridge field, which has never been fully surveyed, though Beth did survey part of it.
Richard and team uncovered the eastern end of the chapels and removed some of the skeletons. 35 of these had been removed by Philip Rahtz in the 1960s and were dated to approximately 700AD, but radiocarbon dating in those days was less exact than it is now, so these were wanted for more accurate dating and for analysis of the bones, to attempt to determine where the people had come from. Hopefully, this time the skeletons will be re-interred after the analysis has been done.
They also dug a trench across the building Beth had found and discovered that it had lots of pottery and animal bones, suggesting that it was a place where people stayed and therefore might have been a pilgrims hostel. The legends state that pilgrims used to come across the ford of the river at the end of the ridge field and stay for 24 hours at the chapel before going on up to the Abbey.
A third trench was dug across the ditch that Geoflo had found in their survey but nothing of any note showed up in the area that they covered, although it was confirmed that a ditch did exist and seems to enclose the chapels, priests house and the newly established site of a possible kitchen building.
It was really lovely to see the chapels and Bob Croft of South West Heritage Trust is planning to mark the walls of the chapels on the surface of the Mound so that we can get a better feel for the area that they cover. I was surprised to see that the chapel is not on the top of the Mound, but on the southern slope. It’s siting does however give a particularly good view of the Tor!
Chair’s Report January 2016
The search for the original position of Brides Well is now waiting for permission to be granted for an archaeological study of the Mound, including the Ridge in our field and down to the river, which we hope will take place this summer.
We are also waiting to see what the relocation of the County Councils newly negotiated entrance into the Chapel Field will look like when the proposed industrial units are built. At present no work has been carried out.
In a fabulous turn of events, the number of stewards in our team at Glastonbury Festival this coming year has increased to 15 which will mean we will be given almost £2,000 for their work at the Festival this year. Thank you to all those who worked there in 2015. We are truly grateful. If you are interested in stewarding this year please contact us to be put on a waiting list.
I must say a big thank you to all of you who support Friends of Brides Mound financially with your friendship fees, standing orders and donations. If you would like to renew your Friendship, make a donation or set up a standing order please go to http://friendsofbridesmound.com/friends
A funeral celebration was held on the mound on 16/01/16 for a good friend of our land, Cath Hope. I spent several days working with Cath over the years. She liked to do the small pottering type jobs. She was one of those people who do things quietly and modestly, the kind of energy that invites fairies. She was a compassionate person always there to listen, barely letting on that she had problems of her own. I shall miss her and the land will miss her peaceful presence.
Friday 1 February 2008
St Bridget’s Day and Imbolc Celebration
Sacred Fire and Blessed Water
A joint event between:-
The White Spring, Chalice Well, Friends of Bride’s Mound
Meet 9.30 a.m. in Wellhouse Lane for ceremonies in White Spring and Chalice Well.
Pilgrim Walk to Bride’s Mound
Walking from Chalice Well gates at 12 noon to follow the old processional route down through town and out to Bride’s Mound where we will be arriving just after 1 PM to walk the Ridge and share a small ceremony
refreshments in Bridie’s Yard afterwards.
Sunday 14 October 2007 2:30pm
A walk to Bride’s Mound and a talk on the Mound by Dr. Serena Roney-Dougall.
Meet at the Market Cross to proceed down Porchestall Drove and onto Bride’s Mound. (Meet us outside Tovey Coal entrance at 3:15pm if preferable). Talk about the Mound, discovery place of the Blue Bowl and any questions about the Waterlinks project to take place on the Mound or at Bride’s Yard if wet. Thank you to Serena Roney-Dougall and the current owners, the South West Regional Development Agency.
Refreshments available afterwards at Bride’s Yard Food Co-Op.
Donation for the walk.
Monday 5th March 2007 7:30pm to 9.30pm Annual General Meeting
Glastonbury Town Hall (Small Hall)
Thursday 1st February – Imbolc
There will be a gathering and blessing in the morning organised between Chalice Well, White Spring and Friends of Bride’s Mound at the first two springs in the morning, details to follow. Approximately midday we will set out on our traditional pilgrimmage to Bride’s Mound and the Beckery Ridge, where we will hold a circle and a short ceremony.
Work began on clearing the Ridgefield, the first of many work-parties to tackle various jobs on the land. Over the Winter we plan to revive the hedges by removing some of the dead wood, clearing the rhynes to create open water and some planting is scheduled to happen. We were blessed with lovely sunshine and had a picnic between the hard graft.
Sunday, October 1st: – The Blue Bowl Centennial.
Centennial of the retrieval of the Blue Bowl from the sluice was celebrated at Chalice Well, in whose custody the bowl is. The Blue Bowl was retrieved by Catherine (Kitty) Tudor Pole from the sluice well at the Ridgefield in Beckery, near the spot now marked by a stone inscribed: ‘Bride’s Well’, at the behest of her Brother Wellesley Tudor Pole. Wellesley prepared an oratory for the bowl at their home in Bristol following its discovery a month earlier by Christin and Janet Allen (the exact dates are disputed).
Thursday, September 21st: – U.N. International Day of Peace (est. 1981)
The perpetual Brigid/Avalon flame is taken to the Chalice Well Gardens as a part of a special peace pole planting and dedication ceremony, – along with the Horoshima peace flame, and water from many sacred sites around the world.
First Monday in September: – The Blue Bowl Centennial
In 1906, Christine and Janet (later Sr. Brigid) Allen find the Blue Bowl at the Well where it had been buried by John Arthur Goodchild on the first Monday (moon-day) in September, exactly eight years earlier, as a psychic experiment (Patrick Benham:The Avalonians).
Wednesday, August 9th
One translation of Lughnassadh is Lugh’s oath or Lughs wedding and, according to one of the many Celtic customs, this is traditionally celebrated on the full moon closest to the mid-point between solstice and equinox, marking the beginning of harvest. All of the four elements were brought together in this way; earth and water in the corn maiden – fire and air in Lugh’s spear.
© Philip David, All Rights Reserved
February 1stImbolc is traditionally celebrated in Glastonbury and this year’s events were planned and co-ordinated between the Friends of Bride’s Mound, The White Spring and Chalice Well. The morning began in Wellhouse Lane between the Red and White Springs, where all three groups were represented and welcomed people. We entered the White Spring which was beautifully decorated for the occasion with flowers and branches. We stood in darkness and silence then the light was brought in by a young maiden and as everyone lit their tea-lights so light spread throughout the room. We were treated to some beautiful music and time to move from space to space leaving candles in every crevice. Water was gathered in containers to take with us as we crossed the road into Chalice Well where we proceeded to the well-head where the waters of the Red and White Springs were symbolically and ritually mixed and later shared out amongst us all. We meditated and listened to poetry and music. This was followed by refreshments, which were appreciated by those of us who then started out on our annual pilgrim walk through the town via the old pilgrim route carrying the water with us in a special jug and a flame which is perpetually burning in the White Spring.
On the Mound at the site of the old chapel, we formed a circle and asked for a blessing and a round of wishes and dreams for the New Year to be seeded on this day. Our special wish for this year is to find the site of the real Bride’s Well, as according to folklore there was a healing well or spring on the site, but the exact location has been lost. We then feasted on heart-shaped biscuits, spring water and shared a few songs.
Meanwhile a group of Druids had come from a starting point in Holy Trinity Churchyard at Street to the Ridge on what is now our land where they awaited us. Two circles were prepared – one for fire in a bowl to represent the perpetual flame that once burned here and one for water edged by willows to represent the missing well. The blessed water was carried down from the chapel site and poured into the water circle, glistening as it fell through the air hitting the grass. The fire was lit by the Avalon flame. A good circle was held.
In the evening Friends of Bride’s Mound organised a small ceremony and a big party at the Glastonbury Assembly Rooms, which featured the launching of our new C.D: ‘Songs of Bride’, all tracks donated by the artists, some of whom played live throughout the evening including the legendary Glastonbury band Silver on the Tree.
Three fields, including the Ridgefield containing the Western end of the Mound, totaling twenty-five acres were purchased by the Friends. This puts us in a better position to negotiate with the South West Regional Development Agency who owns the Mound as we are now neighbours.
February 2nd – ImbolcOn this day the Perpetual Brigid-Avalon flame was kindled on Bride’s Mound, – on the site of the altar of St. Brigid’s Chapel.
The temporary ornamental garden included a circular entrance, representing the hole in the south wall of the old stone chapel – which is said to have had healing powers.
2000Friends of Bride’s Mound gave evidence at the Public Inquiry for the District Local Plan establishing that the whole chapel field is outside the Morland’s development limit. The Inspector supported our intentions that this place should be respected for its spiritual significance and reported that any use of the site which fails to respect the setting of the chapel will not be allowed.
Brides Mound – a journey to the edge of Glastonbury
A Glastonbury Net Radio production – listen here
November 1995 The Friends of Bride’s Mound was formed to preserve, protect and enhance the land at Beckery also known as Bride’s Mound.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:Rahtz P. and Hirst L. – Beckery Chapel, Glastonbury 1967-8 – report on excavations
Rahtz P. and Watts L. – Glastonbury – Myth and Archaeology
Benham P. – The Avalonians published in 1991 and revised in 2006 by Gothic Image Publications for the full story of the Blue Bowl and much more.