For opening times, car parking restrictions and other visitor information please see the official Chalice Well internet site.
Chalice Well garden, Glastonbury, is an astoundingly peaceful and beautiful refuge from the hectic hustle and bustle of modern life. Rich in legend and sacred symbolism, the Garden is sited upon two potent leylines (known as the 'Michael and Miary' lines). These leylines cross paths at the region of the garden known as 'King Arthur's Court' along their routes between Cornwall, Glastonbury Abbey, Glastonbury Tor, the Avebury Stone Circle and Norfolk. A shallow healing spa is located at the cross over point of these great, powerful energy lines and the waters here have been famed for centuries for their curative properties (on a single day in the early 1750's, 10,000 people seeking relief from their various maladies attended the spa to sample its miraculous waters).
The water feeds from the Chalice Well Spring which has an outflow of 25,000 gallons per day and has never been known to run dry. The water is known for its extreme purity and is rich in iron, giving it a red ppearance. Because of this, it is sometimes known as the Red Spring.
Legend tells that Chalice Well sprung from the spot where the 'Holy Chalice' (the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper) was buried. This cup also contained blood from Jesus' crucifixation and is said to have been placed here by Joseph of Arimathea. Another legend holds that the well was built by the Druids. A further legend says that the red water symbolises the iron nails used at Jesus' crucifixation. Visitors to Chalice Well may collect water from the Lion's Head, located a little way beyond the spa, and it is believed that just a few drops of it added to a natural drink and taken four times a day can have curative effects.
Amongst the visual splendour of its landscaped grounds and pretty flowers and other plant life (many of which are attractive and hold interest even through the cold, darker months of Winter), visitors will notice an unusual design replicated through Chalice Well garden. This geomtrical device is known as the Vesica Piscis and can be seen built into gates, paths, the large pool as well as othe rplaces and it can be an intriguing passtime to wander through the garden looking out for these features.
The Vesica Piscis is an ancient symbol representing the union of forces - the spirit and that the body, dream and reality, the masculine and the feminine etc.
The symbol has also been used in the design on the cover of the Chalice Well itself. This emblem, created by local archaeologist Frederick Bligh Bond also incledes a sword passing through the two interlocking circles and the addition of the five pointed Glastonbury Holy Thorn leaves. The lid was dedicated by people of various traditions in a ceremony of World peace in 1919. The design was later produced by Hamish Miller in 2004, on the underside of the well cover so that it could be viewed when the well lid was open.
As well as its picturesque flowers, Chalice Well's four acre garden is also home to some fine examples of ancient Yew trees. Yew trees have long been associated with churchyards and some churches have even been built next to these magnificent trees because of the sacred symbolism attached to them. The remains of an 18,00 year old Yew tree close to the Chalice Well itself illustrates the real antiquity of the sacred atmosphere Chalice Well possesses.
Several examples of Glastonbury's famous Holy Thorn trees are also contained in Chalice Well Garden. Legend records that Joseph of Aramathea brought the original tree to Glastonbury during his visit in during his crusade to bring Christianity to the country. The original Glastonbury Thorn was planted on the nearby Wearyall Hill but numerous cuttngs of the tree have been raised and now grow on various sites around the town. A very curious aspect of all these Glastonobury Holy Thorn is that itflowers twce a year - once at Christmas and again at Easter. Thorn trees in Britain normally ony flower at Easter, but the Glastonbury Holy Thorn seems to have held a memory of its original Middle East flowering time also. It is said that trees growing from cuttings of the Glastonbury Holy Thorn lose this memory when grown outside of Glastonbury.
The Rare Second Blooming of The Glastonbury Thorn
(Chalice Well Gardens -Oct. 2007)
The two Glastonbury Holy Thorn trees in Chalice Well are located above the Lion's Head spring and (the larger of the two trees) below the Yew trees near the Visci Piscis pool.
Chalice Well Gardens, plus its adjoining 4 acre orchard, were purchased by Wellesby Tudor Pole in 1959. In re-establshing the Chalice Well Trust, Tudor demonstrated the foresight to secure tha area's future as a place of tranquility, inspiration and spiritual growth. Tudor was also the founder of the practice of WW2 Silent Minute and this tradition is continued in the Garden at mid-day and again at 3p.m. each day.
Today, the Trust continues the ideals inaugorated by Tudor and in 2001 Chalice Well became a World Peace Garden. Run by both employers of the Trust and volunteers, the grounds also contain a 17th Century retreat and an Edwardian lodge - access to which is available to Chalice Well companions - details on how to become a companion are available on Chalice Well's official webite.
A small shop, selling various esoteric merchandise such as New Age books, music, jewellry and Healing Flower Essence (made from the infusion of Glastonbury Holy Thorn flowers in Chalice Well water) can be found at the Garden exit.
For those wishing to partake of Chalice Well water without having to pay the entrance fee to the grounds, the spring water can be collected freely at the exterior wall to the Gardens: