I ATTENDED the recent public meeting in Glastonbury regarding the destruction of the Holy Thorn on Wearyall Hill, in which various proposals were made including for a possible replacement later this year.

This is a copy of the letter I wrote subsequently to the Conservation Society, after the last remains of the Thorn and its cage were removed. I have not received a reply or even an acknowledgement.

I regularly walk on Wearyall Hill and watched with dismay the Thorn's demise.

As I arrived in Glastonbury as a small boy, around the time it was planted, I felt a close affiliation with the Thorn and felt a great sense of loss at its passing.

However, I have to say, now that the remains have been (more or less) completely removed, that it seems as if a great weight has been lifted and its earlier presence now seems quite dismal and even a source of conflict.

There is a wonderful feeling now of open space and a connection with the surrounding sacred landscape.

I had not previously realised what a disruptive presence the Thorn had become although I hated the ever growing litter of clouties and the never ending visiting spiritual groups who took possession of it.

As endless visitors now frequent the Tor, Wearyall Hill's tranquility is ever more precious and worthy of preservation.

Speaking personally, I have become convinced that it would be better if it was not replaced.

A tree would be beautiful, but if it required a cage to protect it, it would be bad feng shui, to say the least!

The horrible habit of leaving clouties would again choke the atmosphere of Wearyall Hill as it did increasingly in recent years. Whoever it was who last cut it down would doubtless be back to do it again.

If it were deemed necessary to commemorate the Thorn, I would advocate a site nearer to its original position as far as it is known, or at least in a more discreet and private place. Perhaps Bride's Mound might be considered.

I realise of course that the issue of the Holy Thorn is full of contention and no doubt there are many conflicting views about its future replacement, but I hope that my thoughts can be added to the mix towards deciding the eventual outcome.

The atmosphere of the hill is so much improved that I expect many will now feel the same way, no matter how upsetting the loss was to the Glastonbury community at the time.


Somerset County Gazette:

Time to move on? PICTURE: Soo Hooper/Somerset Camera Club