Glastonbury Holy Thorn Cutting Ceremony

Where: Glastonbury, Somerset at St John's Church on the High Street
When: Early to mid December (near 13th)
Time: 10.30am



Holy Thorn

The Glastonbury Thorn is a descendant of the tree which legend has it grew from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, who placed Christ’s body in the Tomb. The Holy Thorn flowers at Christmas each year and a sprig is sent to the Queen to decorate her dining table on Christmas Day. Puritans destroyed the original tree as idolotous, but cuttings survived from which the current tree is descended. The Cutting Ceremony takes place on a schoolday in mid- December and local schoolchildren sing a special song – the eldest child or children of St John’s Infant School  cut the sprig aided by the Mayor and there is a brief blessing by the Vicar.

Helpful Hints

The original thorn tree grew on Wearyall Hill but the tree from which the sprig is cut resides in the churchyard for safekeeping to the left of the main path to the South porch (and rightly so, as another descendant of the original tree planted on Wearyall Hill was chopped down by vandals in 2010).

While the ceremony always takes place in mid-December and used usually to be held on a Wednesday, in some years it has to move to another day so that all the participants are available to attend and is now sometimes on a Friday. In 2017 it took place on Friday December 14th- 2018 date is yet to be announced.

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