Glastonbury Abbey: St. Pol and St. Patrick

I have this week updated my 2013 piece “on the antiquity of the church of Glastonbury Abbey”,  after finding that at other Celtic Christian abbeys of the fourth to sixth centuries in Gaul, Ireland, and western Britain, the church and the founder’s cell were the first structures to be built, and the founder was invariably remembered and highly honoured in much the same way as Glastonbury remembered and highly honoured St. Patrick as its founder. Examples include, in approximate date order, Legugé and Marmoutiers (St. Martin), Whithorn (St. Ninian), Kildare (St. Bride), Bangor Fawr (St. Deiniol), and of course St. David’s (St. David).

I also took a fresh look at what William of Malmesbury wrote about St. Patrick at Glastonbury in his History of the Kings of England. So I’ve changed and extended the St. Patrick section of that post. The estmated date for St. Patrick’s building of the Old Church (the vetusta ecclesia) and with it founding of the Abbey is c450CE.

I’ve also expanded the section on St. Pol de Leon, and narrowed the indicative date range for his improvements to the Old Church at Glastonbury (the vetusta ecclesia) to 520CE, plus or minus at the outside 15 years. This takes better account of what the church dedicated to him at Staverton, Devon, says about itself, and the indications I could glean about when he lived and worked in Brittany.

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