Melkin and Glastonbury Abbey
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Establishing connections between the Grail material in Britain and the romances emanating from France. Finding the answer to why Melkin’s Prophecy and the Grail romances both refer to Joseph and why the wattle church becomes a focal point for the proof of Glastonbury’s association with Joseph.
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John of Breynton was Abbot of Glastonbury from 1334 to 1342, and John of Glastonbury's Cronica suggests that he proactively advanced the standing of the Abbey and opposed moves by the Abbey of Wells to dominate over them. Breynton was the Abbot in charge of the Abbey archives while Glastonbury was enjoying a new resurgence of interest in Joseph of Arimathea, due mostly, to the proliferation of the Romance stories and their own manipulation of the prophecy of Melkin so that it appeared to apply to Glastonbury. The romances had revitalized much interest in Arthur, which the monks previously and miraculously had found on the grounds of the Abbey about 150 years before hand.
The next abbot Walter de Monington took over in 1342 AD and he was known to have kept the Abbey in profit, and continued during his time to carry out building projects on the estate grounds to improve its status and establish its ecclesiastical precedence. John of Glastonbury's Cronica was finished just as Monington arrived at the Abbey as Abbot. It was due to the amalgamation of all the prior sources of John of Glastonbury's Cronica, much of the content revolving around Joseph of Arimathea's mission to Glastonbury, that in 1345 they applied for a Royal permit, to search Glastonbury grounds to unearth the body of Joseph of Arimathea. By this time the Glastonbury monks had begun to believe the propaganda of earlier generations, but Joseph was not found.
From when the next Abbot Chinnock arrived on the scene in 1375 until 1420, big changes happened at Glastonbury. In 1382 Chinnock restored the ruined chapel in the cemetery and re-dedicated it to St. Michael and St Joseph of Arimathea, also adorning the Abbey with excerpts from John of Glastonbury's Cronica in the main church encouraging those who came into the Abbey to read of the legend. Anything that promoted the Abbey by associating it still further with Joseph of Arimathea was acceptable. The end result of all this self-promotion of Glastonbury Abbey was at last, to be independent of the See of Wells, and through their associations with the illustrious Arthur and Joseph, the Abbey continued to gain primacy, wealth, and pilgrims.
Figure 20 Showing the remains of Glastonbury Abbey and King Arthur’s supposed resting place in the foreground marked by the plaque seen in figure 21.
The Abbey at last, through its own propaganda, had freed itself from the pressures of royal taxes, interference from other Bishops and neighbouring landlords by its saintly supremacy, and its immoderate claim to an array of holy relics, that had been uncovered since the disinterring of Arthur's grave. Realistically, over this period of time, the chroniclers of Glastonbury Abbey had set out to increase the prestige of their own monastic order and this was mainly established by erroneous “proofs” of their past associations. In 1497 William Whyche wrote a continuation of John's Cronica and since John of Glastonbury very rarely wrote in his own words but mostly extracted from other sources, it is probably from this that some of the misrepresentations to Melkin’s prophecy really happened, if indeed they had not happened earlier. We know that John of Glastonbury recorded faithfully what others had said, without too much interpretation, but we do not know if we have any other source for the prophecy and that other chroniclers did not use John as their source. It would seem by William Whyche’s lection,( his later interpretation in his own words), that much of the errors of interpretation and interpolation from Melkin’s prophecy became even more exacerbated. In effect the Abbey chroniclers by degree, changed the purport of Melkin’s prophecy, but what we cannot be certain about is whether it was Melkin’s intention that later generations were to be misled into thinking that Avalon was Glastonbury. If it was known in the sixth century that the church at Glastonbury was originally built by Joseph, then there is a possibility of Melkin’s conscious misdirection. However, as we have witnessed already this seems unlikely as early chroniclers saw no connection between the unknown location of Glastonbury and Avalon.
William of Malmesbury witnessing in his time that no explicit records had survived on the subject and that it was, therefore, to no avail to speculate further regarding the Joseph Tradition.
After Chinnock died, Richard Bere 1492-1524, built a shrine to Joseph and established the coat of arms of Glastonbury; using Evelak’s shield as an associative emblem, becoming Joseph’s shield, which depicted a green knotted cross with Golden jug like beer vessels on each side of the cross on the shield, with drops of blood dripping down. This even further established the association of Joseph of Arimathea with Glastonbury, as it now became their heraldic shield and confirmed the Abbey's relationship with Melkin’s prophecy in that these jugs were synonymous with the ‘duo fassula’.
Figure 19a, Sixteenth century Glass in the Chapel of St. John showing the arms of Glastonbury depicting the green gnarled cross from the thorny bush that sprung from Jacobs staff which grows at Glastonbury. The heraldic shield is probably based upon Evalak's shield, but depicts the misinterpretation of the 'duo fassula' as vessels containing the blood of Christ and the blood is depicted by the droplets.
Basically John's entire Cronica is put together extracting verbatim from other sources, but wherever possible the Glastonbury establishment’s tentative connections with Arthur and Joseph were portrayed as more substantial than the previous sources. John's main sources for his Cronica were William of Malmesbury, Ranulph Higdon, Giraldus Cambrensis and Adam of Domerham. All of his early Glastonbury regurgitation came from William’s ‘De Antiquitae Glastonie Ecclessie’ which was written in 1130. It can be seen from William’s later work, how his ‘Antiquitaes’ was unscrupulously meddled with, by a considerable number of interpolations by scribes from the Glastonbury institution. Little by little, and at every turn, over time..... a false belief was established that Joseph was buried at Glastonbury.
Showing the partial ruins of Glastonbury Abbey.
In William of Malmesbury’s Gesta Regnum, this later work just referred to, he says ‘the Britons would have come utterly to nought but for their new king Ambrosius the sole survivor of the Romans, who kept the Saxons in check through the notable efforts of warlike Arthur’.
Then he follows on by saying ‘this is the Arthur, concerning whom the idle tales of the Britons rave wildly even today; a man certainly worthy to be celebrated not in foolish dreams of deceitful fables but in truthful history’; John of Glastonbury seeing things in a completely different light, promoted Arthur as being an integral part of Glastonbury's history.
It was Adam of Dommerham writing before John who gave the account of the annexation of Glastonbury Abbey to the See of Wells by Bishop Savaric and told of the visitation to Glastonbury in 1278, of Edward I, when the tomb of Arthur was opened for the second time and his bones were reinterred to the high altar. John of Glastonbury used many sources when on the trail of Joseph of Arimathea, and gave quotes from the gospel of Nicodemus, the Vulgate cycle of the Arthurian romances, which included Robert de Boron's Merlin, Lancelot, Le Mort d’Arthur, Le Queste del Saint Grail, the Estoire and of course from Melkin. It is from the Estoire that John tells us of Joseph's release from prison and of his arrival in Britain and the gift of‘Ynis witrin’ from Arviragus and of his building of the wattled church 31 years after the crucifixion.
One can see with all the various sources that provided the Joseph and Arthur material from which John drew; that it was bound to throw up conflicting information. It becomes muddled though when he himself had a hidden agenda. What few people realise is that much of this information had been revealed by the Book of the Grail and had been embellished and corrupted by the Grail writers in France, but the initial source for that book had been Melkin. The real reason that much of this distorted information had arrived in Glastonbury was due to a previous Abbot, Henry Blois and we will see what a large part he played in this saga shortly.
John of Glastonbury also used as source material Giraldus Cambrensis who wrote two books ‘ De Principis Instructione’ c. 1193-9 and his ‘Speculum Ecclesiae’ of c. 1217 both from which, John sourced his material. It was from Giraldus’s first book that we hear of the original discovery in 1191 of Arthur's body, but then in his second book 20 years later, he wrote a different version where he dates the incident to the reign of Henry II, but the king had died in 1189. In Giraldus’s first book he tells of King Arthur having had a special devotion to St. Mary of Glastonbury, of whose church he was a generous patron and whose image he painted on his shield and kissed its feet in the hour of battle, as was quoted above, but prior to this time, there was no connection between Arthur and the church at Glastonbury. The root cause again for this fabrication is Glastonbury trying to gain an association between its church and Arthur, purely because of the ‘adorandam virginem’ mentioned in Melkin’s prophecy because it was Arthurs disinterrement that makes Glastonbury credibly synonymous with Avalon.
When Giraldus talks of Arthur's body he says ‘fanciful tales were told and that his body was carried off by spirits to remote regions, and was not subject to death but one day would return’. After Arthur’s disappearance he is reiterating the old rumours regarding what had happened to Arthur. How could such a famous figure have no burial site except the one fabricated by the Monks. Giraldus goes on to say ‘in our times it was discovered buried deep in the earth in a hollow oak between the two stone pyramids in the cemetery of Glastonbury’ and then goes on to quote another version of Arthur’s burial with Guinevere. Giraldus says ’two thirds of the sepulchre contained the bones of the King. The remainder, those of his wife, were at his feet with a yellow lock of the Queen's hair that turned to dust when touched by a monk’. He then adds credibility for the find by saying that, the brethren had become aware of the tomb’s location ‘from writings, which they possessed’ and other information was gleaned from letters carved on the pyramids and then again through visions and revelations made to some of their order. But most of all, it was King Henry, who had plainly told them the whole matter as he had heard it from an ancient historical poet of the Britons’. Giraldus is trying to infer that it connects King Henry with Melkin and thereby Melkin’s prophecy (which relates to Joseph only), but by the inference now associates Arthur. However it should not go un-noticed that Henry was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine and as we shall see, she and her family were the owners of the Book of the Grail.
Giraldus continues on to say ‘how's that deep down, 16 feet below the ground’, should they dig, ‘they would find a body not in a marble tomb but in a hollow oak’. The reference here to a marble tomb was in fact drawing attention to an association with the well-known prophecy intonating ‘unlike Joseph’s tomb of marble’. The word ’Marmore’ for marble from Melkin’s prophecy has a completely different meaning ‘by the sea’ as the reader will be made aware, when we investigate the prophecy more deeply. The reason Giraldus offers for the secrecy of this tomb and the fact that it was buried so deep, was apparently a desire to hide the body from Arthur’s old enemies the Saxons. The rational reason for having to discover a body at such depths is most probably a gambit by the monks, covering the fact that previous searches for Joseph in the same place, had never uncovered Arthur.
Then again Giraldus, establishes Avalon with Glastonbury for posterity by saying ‘Glastonia was anciently called‘Insula Avalonia’, for it is an island surrounded by marshes; wherefore in the British language it is named ‘Inis Avalon’, that is to say Island of Apples. Then he relates that Morganis, who was ruler of these parts and who was allied to King Arthur by blood carried him there after the battle of ‘Kemale’ for the healing of his wounds and now the island is called ‘Glastonia’. He also relates that the island had been called in the British tongue ‘Inis Gutrin’which is ‘Insula Vitrea’ which the Saxons who came after, changed its name to‘Glastingburi’ because ‘Glas’ in their language is the same as ‘vitrum’ and‘buri’ is like ‘castrum’, so rendering, Glastonbury.
Giraldus adding further evidence to substantiate the Glastonbury claim, then goes on to relate that King Arthur’s bones were of‘enormous size and his shinbone came some distance above the knee of the tallest man in this place, his head was prodigiously large and it had 10 wounds or more, all of which had healed up except one’, which seemed to indicate Arthur’s death blow.
The date given by Ralph of Coggeshall, who wrote at the same time as Giraldus’ first account for the unearthing of King Arthur’s bones was 1191. Ralph writes that they were found when a grave was being dug for a monk who had specially desired to be buried between the two pyramids. He also gives an alternative inscription on the leaden cross not mentioning Queen Guinevere. Since the Guinevere connection is only found in both of Giraldus’ accounts, it seems that he is the most guilty of Glastonbury's self-promotion setting its history records conveniently on course to concur with information given in Perlesvaus regarding Guinevere’s burial with Arthur as we just covered. This makes the Perlesvaus Avalon’s location at Glastonbury and both Arthur and Joseph of Arimathea's burial ground. As startling as it is, that three Glastonbury chroniclers Ralph of Coggeshall, Giraldus and Leland all attest to having had the lead cross discovered with Arthur in their possession, all three of them were unable to agree exactly what was written on it.
Not only were there three different renditions of what was written on the cross unearthed with Arthur, one with Guinevere: ‘cum wenneveria uxore sua secunda’, but there was another which came from Leyland, a witness who stated that he held the cross in his hand circa 1540 and actually measured it. There are later chroniclers who give a completely different translation: ‘hic jacet gloriosissimus Rex Britonum Arturus’ (here lies the renowned British king Arthur) that it makes one wonder what the cross, which the monks had obviously fabricated themselves, actually had written upon it. Now we know why Giraldus found it necessary to introduce Guinevere, (for he quotes the epitaph twice) to fit in with more recent accounts of Arthur emanating through the romances, both accounts differ which does highlight his invention. In the first quote, having ‘cum wenneveria uxore sua secunda’ coming before ‘in insula Avallonia’ and in the second place after it. Giraldus specifically says that he had read the quotes from the cross, so we will never understand why, having gone to the trouble to fabricate the cross in the first place, the Glastonbury chroniclers couldn't sing from the same hymn sheet. It actually makes little difference what was written on the cross, for its sole purpose was to establish Glastonbury as Avalon.
Figure 21 Showing the plaque in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey today still insistent that Arthur is buried beneath. The situation of the plaque is shown in figure 20.
This era 1190, to 1230 when the Grail legends became prevalent, was the time when it became a necessity for Glastonbury to find a solution to its problem. To maintain its independence and ecclesiastical standing, its status and primacy, it had to be three things; the burial place of Joseph, the burial place of Arthur, and the Island of Avalon. As long as it could maintain to the world that these things were true it would always remain a sacred place. It was due to the proliferation of the Grail romances and their connection with Joseph and Arthur that at this time it shone a light on Avalon.
Just to recap then……after Geoffrey’s book had reached popular consciousness stating that Arthur was buried in the Isle of Avalon; it was necessary for Glastonbury to produce King Arthur. (Geoffrey’s source for this information was one of the books left in Britain by Melkin). The discovery of Arthur in the Abbey cemetery in 1191 established that Glastonbury was the Island of Avalon, the island that is the subject of Melkin's prophecy. The obvious inference was that Joseph was buried there also . This quick transmutation, has been pointed out already because when William of Malmesbury looked through Glastonbury's records in 1120 and from the time when Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his history of the Kings of Britain in 1135, neither of them up to that date had ever associated Avalon, with Glastonbury and as we have covered already, William of Malmesbury asserting that King Arthur’s burial place was unknown.
It is for this reason most scholars believe the prophecy to be a fake of the twelvth or thirteenth century. Why, one must one ask, are the monks so keen to associate the abbey with this prophecy if it is merely a fabrication? Why, if it is a fabrication do the three clear instructions contained within it, point to the place where Joseph is buried?
As William wrote a comprehensive history of Glastonbury ‘De antiquitae Glatoniensis ecclesie’ around 1130 which related many legends in connection with the Abbey, but made no mention of either Arthur's grave or a connection of Glastonbury to the name Avalon, it becomes plain that Glastonbury is not Avalon.
So it would seem that between the dates of 1135 and 1191, the plan was hatched to produce Arthur probably taking place due to necessity straight after the Abbey fire. The contemporary authors of the time of the discovery gave different reasons for Arthur suddenly being disinterred. Giraldus in his ‘de Instructione Principis’written in 1193, relates that King Henry had been informed by the Welsh Bard that Arthur’s body would be found in this exact location 16 feet beneath the ground. However, Ralph of Coggeshall writing a few years after the disinterment says that Arthur's grave was found haphazardly as a grave was being prepared for one of the monks of the Abbey, who had asked to be buried between the two pyramids that existed just outside the Abbey. Both of these writers seemed to be relating inconsequential narrative, but one wonders why it was so essential to proffer a reason for having uncovered Arthur’s bones, and like so many polemicists, they are seen to be entrapped in their own guile.
Where there is a connection there is often a grain of truth that lays behind the rumour. In 1152 Eleanor became engaged to Henry II who became King in 1154. Eleanor had a strong connection to Melkin’s Book of the Grail as we shall find out and since no one knew at this stage where Avalon was, it seems likely that the Queen having come from France had informed King Henry of the ‘Matter of Britain’. King Henry died in 1189 two years before Arthur’s supposed unearthing. The only place in England to have a Joseph tradition was Glastonbury. Eleanor knew both Arthur and Joseph were buried in Avalon, so are Henry and Eleanor with their proprietary knowledge from the Book of the Grail, responsible for emboldening the Monks to make the connection between their tradition of Joseph and that of the emergent King Arthur from the Grail stories, both buried in Avalon. Joseph could not be produced for reasons given already, so the monks duly uncover Arthur out of necessity, requiring funds from pilgrims to rebuild.
Arthur’s body was never discovered and as we shall reveal shortly, it is still buried in the Island of Avalon. Even though, in all probability, Joseph had in fact established the first church at Glastonbury, the real reason for the inventions propagated by Glastonbury, were due to the fact that in 1184, the Abbey had been burnt down. What does again seem a little convenient to fit with Melkin’s ‘adorable virgin’ translation is the consecration in 1186 of the ‘Lady Chapel’ at Glastonbury Abbey straight after the fire which Dugdale says was ‘better known as the chapel of Saint Joseph’. This tends to show the churches traditional connection to Joseph but implies a later wish to carry that association further to comply with Melkin’s ‘adorandam virginem’ which puts the‘oratori’ in Avalon.
The ancient manuscripts that would have provided Glastonbury with evidence of its illustrious past had been burnt along with other books Melkin had written that remained in Britain. One however, the ‘Book of the Grail’ had left for France in the Saxon era after the death of Arthur; the historical content of which was slowly filtering back into Britain, but it was now transformed and barely recognisable as the same Joseph heritage upon which Glastonbury had its reputation before the fire. The version was now mixed with arcane ancient knowledge derived from the Jerusalem temple that had been intermingled with historical accounts of Jesus’ death that involved Joseph's journey with his body in an oil filled coffin to an island and allegorical accounts of the illustrious bloodline that followed.
This was all accomplished by troubadours who were not aware of the substance of the source material from which they composed their tales . These troubadours, encouraged and commissioned by European courtiers, most of whom at this time were either Templars or were connected to them, were at the centre of court entertainment. How flattering if one of their names were weaved into these tales as the rest of the court listened on.
This Grail material concerning Joseph as it filtered into Britain must have trivialised what the ‘Glastonbury institution’ had previously viewed as their monopoly, by virtue of possessing the wattle church. By association with the wattle church and Joseph, they needed a quick fix to re-establish themselves as the only serious location to have direct historical associations with Joseph.....especially now these foreign romances had infiltrated and told of Avalon..... the same as Melkin had done. The ploy worked and the discovery of Arthur’s body, accompanied by the ‘Leaden Cross’ found with it, not only spelled out the location it was found in, but was immediately accepted as genuine. The Glastonbury institution gained enormously from this promotion and from that date forward, Arthur and Glastonbury were inextricably linked.
Establishing Joseph’s connection with Glastonbury however, remained a little more elusive. It was through William of Malmesbury who tells us how St. Joseph was sent over by St. Philip, and how a king of Britain, (to who he gives no name), gave Joseph and his companions the island called ‘Ynyswitryn’, where, by admonition of the Archangel Gabriel appearing to him in a vision, he built a chapel which he dedicated to the Virgin, but this could of course be later interpolation. After which two other kings, whom again he does not name, gave the twelve holy men the ‘Twelve Hides’ of Glastonbury. It was through William relating that St. Philip had sent Joseph of Arimathea to proselytise the British that Glastonbury (if genuine) had written precedent and this was only by way of an ‘ut ferunt’ meaning ‘as is reported’. So after William had casually alluded to Joseph, it was not until St. Patrick's Charter was fortuitously found in 1220 in the chapel at the top of the tor that Joseph's name was concretely linked to Glastonbury. It seems apparent that this timely find was in fact a fabrication of a non-existent document, supposedly burnt in the fire, which had been fortuitously duplicated and therefore saved for posterity. For every monastic order, church or Abbey, it was essential to have as its head, a patron saint and Joseph was Glastonbury's, by a long-standing tradition not able to be substantiated except by a now fired wattle church. After the first fire, the re-establishment or firming up of Joseph’s connection with Glastonbury came mainly through John of Glastonbury's Cronica, which was written in 1340 and this as we have seen, consolidated all the previous chroniclers to concur that Glastonbury was the Isle of Avalon.
Geoffrey of Monmouth established the Welsh Arthurian tradition and Merlin prophecies which must have come from a Melkin source originally(as it tells of Arthur in Avalon), while England had an already established Joseph tradition based upon Melkin's manuscripts and especially latterly through the massaging of the prophecy of Melkin. Arthur was king of Dumnonia, the Belerion of Pytheas that nowadays constitutes most of Devon and Cornwall, as is attested in the Life of Gildas related by Caradoc of Llancarvan. He states that the King of Somerset had carried off King Arthur's wife, Guinevere, so that King Arthur brought up the whole forces of Cornwall and Devon to affect her release.
It is not known how widely Melkin’s works had permeated into other monasteries before the dissolution, but it would appear there had been a suppression of his work in Saxon times. Melkin's manuscripts or even fragments of them, could still have existed before the dissolution, at the Abbey, as is attested, however the material extrapolated from them is scantly recorded. Melkin arrived in popular consciousness at the production of John of Glastonbury's Cronica quoting directly from the book of Melkin. It seems likely that Geoffrey of Monmouth's British ‘book of great antiquity’ which he says is his source, could have been one of Melkin's manuscripts but Geoffrey had flights of fantasy and may have used Melkin’s work for ideas that eventually metamorphosed Arthur into a consolidated British king.
The other reference we have that there was a Book of Melkin, is from John Hardyng’s English history and he tells us citing Melkin as the source, that Joseph of Arimathea baptised King Arviragus and that Scotland was named after Scota the daughter of a Pharaoh, indicating by this new detail that he had seen another source quoting Melkin or a copy of his book was still extant after the fire. There is no reason to disbelieve Hardyng and it is interesting to note that Melkin probably understood more about a connection with Egypt, than is commonly accepted, but the subject is related in a muddled fashion by the Grail romances. However, regarding Arviragus the younger brother of Cuiderius (Gwyddyr) who succeeded Cymbeline.....he would certainly have been a contemporary at the time of Joseph of Arimathea's arrival in Southern England. As Arviragus recieved the Duchy of Cornwall....it would be feasible that he gave or sold the Island of Avalon (Sarras) to Joseph of Arimathea as legend attests.
Hardyng also says, as if he were quoting Melkin directly, ‘Galahad created the order of the knights of Saint Graall, and was made King of Sarras, and that Galahad would achieve the Grail, and mentions the configuration of the table of the Knights.
‘Where thenne he (Galahad) made twelve knightes of the Saint Graal,in full signifycacyon of the table which Joseph was the founder, at Avalon, as Mewyn (Melkin) made relacyon; in token of the table refyguracyon, of the brotherhede of Christes souper and maundie, afore his death,of highest dignytee’.
Not only did Hardyng introduce previously unrecorded information from Melkin, but refers to him directly in the above text. This does imply that a book written by Melkin mentioning Avalon (apart from Melkin’s prophecy) had survived in Britain..... because one of his books is said to have been about Arthur and the round Table. However the very mention of ‘Saint Graal’ means that Hardyng has definitely sourced French material also.
Hardying has a problem with Scota however and calls her (and thereby the Scots) ‘Doughte and bastard of kyng Pharao’. To Hardying the belief in the story of Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Grail fitted in with his political agenda of the right of the English to rule Scotland which may have been just a reaction against a Scottish aspersion that Arthur was a bastard.
‘Mewynus the cronycler in Britayne tonge full fine’ is mentioned only in Hardying's short Chronicle as if he were newly discovered. Hardying definitely had heard of Melkin’s prophecy because he refers to Joseph being buried at Glastonbuy along with his two ‘fyls’ as mentioned in the long version, but ‘Mewynus’ does not get a mention by name in that earlier long version. In the short version however melkin is referred to five times, but he does not mention the phials in this version which might suggest...... when writing the long version, he had not known of the derivation of the information regarding Joseph and the two phials. He seems to have come across a book in the interim and that book was written by Melkin.
Hardyngs first reference in the short version to Mewynus was as his source for Joseph’s conversion of King Arviragus:
‘Joseph converte this kynge Arviragus
By his prechynge to knowe the lawe devyne
And baptised hym as wretn hath Mewynus
The cronycler in Britayne tonge full fine.’
Scholars seem to think Melkin did not exist because they qusetion .....why would he have written such a strange puzzle and secondly because William of Malmesbury does not mention him. But it can be understood that his deference to Joseph stories are based upon his unwillingness to associate with anything connected to the Grail because he considers it a fable.
It is easier to think that Melkin and his prophecy are an invention, but then why are chronichlers always appealing to him as a sound and ancient witness and why are his directions to the Island of Avalon so precise. It is even posited by some commentators that are unwilling to accept Melkin as a real person...... that Hardyng in this last extract is using the word ‘Mewynus’ to rhyme with Arviragus (not as a reference to a historical person) which is extraordinary.
I think the gift of Avalon by Arviragus to Joseph is confused with the twelve hides that may have been given at Glastonbury. We could assume Hardyng has just obtained this book since the Long version came out and this new information concerning the Shield of Evalak and Avalon is genuinely exposed in this British book...... and has not come from Grail literature. This cannot be proved, but to think that there was no Melkin and there was no book that Hardying is referencing is plain ridiculous. Just because scholars can’t work out the puzzle..... it does not mean that it is a twelveth or thirteenth century invention. Why invent something no-one understands? Why invent a puzzle that purportedly leads to a burial site of Joseph of Arimathea in Glastonbury that no-one has ever found, but actually contains precise geometry that leads to an Island that can be associated historically (as Ictis) to have connection to Joseph.
Anyway, scholars tend to think that..... because Hardying does not have Arviragus convert in the first long version and then susequently convert in the later shorter version..... Mewynus is a fabrication. Mewynus to modern commentators just becomes a devise used for a rhyme with Arviragus to add credibility to the conversion story and therefore Mewynus as a source is not genuine.
Melkin is Mewyn because the name Mewyn pops up only two verses later in Hardyngs text on the subject of the red-cross shield which Joseph presents to Arviragus, yet we know it was Evalaks shield and as we will discuss later.... this duplication of Graal material was from an ancient source found in Britain (and who in Britain linked Melkin with Evalack's shield)..... and so it reiterates the fact that Melkin is Mewyn.
‘The Armes were used in all Britayne
For comoun signe eche man’ to knowe his nacioune
Fro his enemyse which nowe we call certayne
Seynte Georges armes by Mewyns ynformacioun
Which armes here were hade after Crist passioun
Full longe afore seynt George was generate
Were worshipped hee of Mekell elder date.’
If Hardyng had invented his source to substantiate his theory (substantiating primacy in the establishment of Chrisianity over Scotland) and merely inventing a proof to look as if it was derived from antiquity; why appeal to Mewyn. Especially, if as most say, he was a fabrication or even his prophecy was. Hardyng was accessing information from a Melkin Manuscript, because by appealing to Melkin he makes credible his claims of ancient English association with Joseph as his critics would know that there is no older source to appeal to. It would also be a coincidence if Hardyng had linked the French Grail material to Melkin because it is only in this expose called 'And Did Those Feet' that this connection has been posited that Melkin had written the Grail material.
Now the next reference to Mewyn comes when Hardyng again casts aspersions on the antecedents of the Scots and after referring to an account in the ‘Historia Regnum Britannie’ which states that the Scots are descended from intermarriage of the Picts and the Irish…….clearly here, he is referencing Melkin as a respected source as he says Melkin is contradicting this view. We can never know if Melkin had any view on this subject!
‘But Mewynus the Briton cronyclere
Saith in his cronycles other wise’.
In his first and longer version he had simply followed Goeffrey of Monmouth’s account, but now he had come across Melkin who he respects and uses as a source……… so he then goes on to rather give his more correct account that the Scots had descended from the marriage of Gadolus and Pharaoh’s Daughter Scota as we mentioned before.
‘This Scota was as Mewyn the Sage saith Doughter and bastarde of Kynge Pharao that day’.
We have discussed that Melkin wrote a book and it deals with King Arthur in connection with the Siege Perilous.
‘Which Joseph saide afore tyyme full’ longe
In Mewyns boke the Britouns cronyclere
As wreytn’ is the Brritouns Iestes amonge
That Galahaad the Knyght and virgyne clere
Shuld it escheue………’
If Mewyns book were being confused with Merlyns from Geoffrey how does this follow then in the next verse
‘But the Knyghtes all than’of the Rounde Table
Conseived well and fully than beleued
He was the same person incomparable
This has to be the Melkynus of John of Glastonbury. Hardying says that Joseph was endowed with Avalon and Joseph baptizes Arviragus and shows him a figure of ‘Cristes pyne’ and gives him a shield bearing a red cross ‘of his own blode whiche from his neck did rynne’
Hardyng's real intent is more engaged in letting the reader know that…….. from ancient antiquity is this story of the establishment of the cross of St George. Of course the primacy this would establish of having been connected with Joseph of Arimathea is the goal…i.e comoun signe eche man to knowe his nacioun/from hys enemyse’…. thus establishing from antiquity St. George as patron saint of the Garter and of England.
Hardyng reveals that Galaad travels to Avalon to get Joseph’s Shield with the red cross which he takes to the Holy land but when he dies his heart is brought back to Avalon :
‘It to entere at Avalon anente
The sepultur and very monument
Whare Joseph lyeth of Aramathy so gode’…
This could well be the Avalon as an Island by the Sea that we are seeing as the one meant by Melkin rather than the fictitious one at Glastonbury created by the Monks. This whole scenario has duped investigators into thinking that Glastonbury is Avalon that we have scholars such as James Carley stating:
‘The ‘Facts’ of the story- that is that Joseph’s relics were never located-seem incontestable, although it is difficult to understand why this is the case. Why would the later medieval community at Glastonbury not undertake some sort of exhumation, the finds of which could be associated with Joseph? Why did Melkin prophecy put the unearthing of Joseph’s grave squarely within an apocalyptic tradition? Surely it would have been more convenient to have physical relics on display to corroborate the so called ancient writings and to stand as an ecclesiastical parallel to the Arthurian relics’.
The fact that Joseph was never disinterred there, is because he is on an Island in Devon. They could not take the risk like they had done with Arthur.... for where was the Grail. Of course it would have been convenient to have relics on show, but their corroboration in regards to complying to details in Melkin’s prophecy is the very fact that establishes the prophecy's antiquity..... and thus proves that Melkin existed and his Prophecy was understood to be profound..... even though it, at that time, was not decipherable. It is modern scholarship’s presumption that Avalon is Glastonbury Tor. The fact that no corpse has been found gives rise to the questionability of whether Melkin existed in most modern commentators minds.... but as we shall find out, Joseph’s body is still yet to be discovered in Avalon.
Hardyng stands out as an independent source and not part of the Glastonbury brotherhood of polemicists. The only other citation, that is said to come directly from Melkin, is in Capgrave’s‘Nova Legenda Angliae,’ where Melkin's original prophecy is so reduced, (most probably because of the difficulties with its meaning) that the whole thing could have been précised from John's Cronica. John Hardyng writing his chronicle, starts the provenance of the English through Brutus the Trojan, first born of Locrinus and ‘heir to that part of Britain now called England’, then continuing his chronicle through Arthur to the end of his history. The interesting thing is that Hardyng comments that he follows the tradition of “Mewn the Britayn chronicler” thereby confirming that Melkin was a collator who drew from an ancient source. This tradition which he is following, we must assume is contrary to that in which Geoffrey of Monmouth has embellished Arthur’s Welsh and British role as opposed to a more historic southern tradition derived from Devon and Cornwall. This tradition of Arthur’s genealogical connection to Joseph.
John Leland relates that he came across fragments of Melkin’s ‘Historiola De Rebus Britannnicis’ in the Glastonbury library and it is from these fragments that Leland tells us, that Melkin was the most famous and erudite of British writers, well-respected and was renowned since great antiquity. It is implied also by Leland, that Melkin thinks Arthur is buried at Glastonbury. This surely must be Leland's conclusion based upon the connection of the‘oratori’ in Melkin’s prophecy because in his ‘Assertio Arturii’, Leland names Glastonbury as Arthur’s burial place, yet as we know Arthur is buried in Avalon and Melkin knew this since he has left specific instructions to show us where it is.
Leland who wrote around 1530 says that the document here quoted is ‘a very treasured possession in the old Library of the Abbey. He calls it 'a fragment of history written by ‘Melchinus an Avalonian'. The passage below from his Nova Legenda Angliae, is from a translation by Skeat and indicates the interest that Melkin’s prophecy generated....... and the seriousness with which it was treated was a reflection of its hidden veracity. It was taken seriously as a venerated ancient text, but no one really understood what it meant and why it was made so ambiguous.
'The Isle of Avalon, hungry for the burial of the pagans, once adorned, above all others in the world, by oracular circles ('sperulis vaticinantibus') of prophecy, will for the future also be furnished with worshippers of the Highest. Abbadare, mighty in judgement, noblest of natives, with one hundred and four knights ("milibus" for "militibus") fell asleep there. Amid whom, Joseph of Marmor, name of "Armathia", found his perpetual rest. And he lies inside the forked line near the southern angle of the oratory erected there (of wattles prepared before), over ("super potentem adorandam virginem") the powerful adorable virgin, by that circle of thirteen inhabiting the spot. Joseph forsooth, has with him in his tomb two cruets, white and silvery, filled with the blood and sweat of the prophet Jesus. When his sepulchre shall be found, it will be seen in future years complete and undamaged, and it will be open to the whole world. Thenceforth, neither dew nor rain shall ever fail those who inhabit this most noble island. Long before the judgement day in Josaphat, these things will be open and manifested to living people.'
It is evident from the time Melkin lived (sometime after Arthur’s death) up to the 11th century, that Melkin had played a big part in perpetuating the Joseph tradition in English history. He had single-handedly and effectively altered the English psyche by his occult riddle that gave directions to Joseph's resting place. This riddle somehow implied or transformed the finding of Joseph's tomb into a quest...... that interchangeably became a quest for the Holy Grail. This seems to be rather circuitous, because it was through Melkin’s mention of the ‘duo fassula’ in association with Joseph that we are made to assume a receptacle (or two) and this eventually becomes synonymous with the Grail as an object, the story of which emanated from France...... but both sources originating from Melkin.
The French Grail romances perpetuated a connection between Arthur and Joseph that had derived from Melkin’s 'Book of the Grail' which shows no sign of acknowledgement of any Glastonbury connection. This is typical of the French vulgate cycle and shows that Melkin’s intent for his 'Book of the Grail' was to convey historical information. This account contained the arrival of Joseph and the arcane information which arrived with him. Much of this arcane or occult knowledge lodged within the book, clearly went over the original Troubadours and Grail writers’ heads and a four to five hundred year period that involved the royal family of Grail Keepers was intermingled so that sometimes Arthur and Joseph are presented anachronistically. We shall see what vestiges of historical truths are left, when we look at the Middle English poem called 'Joseph of Aramathie' the Alliterative poem written supposedly and dated by its meter to around 1330. It’s content shows it is highly original and unique in that it adheres to what Melkin presented as fact and should be regarded as a more accurate portrayal of Josephs arrival in Britain.
Although the Estoire, the book of the‘Sanctum Graal’ is cited as a source from which John of Glastonbury drew much of his Joseph material...... the early writings at Glastonbury distance themselves from association with the Graal from France because they seem to be trivialising what Glastonbury had always assumed was its monopolistic heritage of Joseph through its church. For this reason largely, the scholastic commentators have assumed that Melkin's prophecy was a fabrication. William of Mamesbury and Henry Blois were more than aquaintances....... William skirting over the Joseph legend and yet Henry being responsible for consolidating the Perlesvaus, but having to do so incognito. This highlighting the obvious suppresion of Graal material being found as unacceptible in the early Glastonbury community. I believe there was a concerted effort to disassociate the French material at Glastonbury as fable or somehow trivialising what was an already established Joseph tradition. It is thus for this reason we find William's reticence against the mention of Graal material and hence by association Melkin's prophecy. This in turn has led many to belive that not only Melkin's prophecy was an invention and thereby he himself is one also.
This standpoint cannot be maintaind once the purport of the prophecy is decoded as the directions maintained within it lead to the Island of Avalon.... the place where we are informed Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus are buried. This could be easily proved and settled at once, if the present owners of the Island would grant permission to locate the tomb.
Overtime, the French Grail becomes a vessel from the obvious connection with (vassula) and the fact that Joseph had purportedly brought both (the vassula and the Grail), and thus they become inextricably entwined. The Graal in the French version of Melkin’s work was originally based upon ‘Arcane knowledge’ and the ‘duo fassula’ in Melkin’s English prophecy was understood to hold liquid, but this was only due to Melkin’s subtlety in constructing his riddle. The Duo fassula is the Turin Shroud,(duplico Fasciola) which we are getting echoes of in the Perlesvaus: Joseph himself placed the shroud of Christ in the Perilous Chapel and after his death his own body was buried outside the Grail castle.
This misconception eventually transformed the Graal into a receptacle which coincided with Helinand’s description as a plate. Melkin’s understanding of the Gradale and the knowledge he was trying to convey, had to do with processional stages or the three grades to gnosis which shall be elucidated later as well as being an object. The processional of the Grail is a misunderstood romanticised version of a divine plan that was originally conveyed in its Hebrew form by Joseph to Britain. This accompanied with references to the ‘bleeding spear’ in the French Grail book and the fact that the vessel purported to hold Jesus’ blood collected from the spear wound, got mixed up with Jesus’ role in the Divine plan which really was the substance of the French material as well as alluding to an oil filled chest.
The Menorah also being alluded to in the French material from the original ‘Book of the Grail’, plays a definite allegorical part in this processional or gradual steps as the Divine plan unfolds. This arcane knowledge, as relating to the candelabra of the Grail processional, is confirmed in the Biblical book of Zechariah: 4.
Most of the information within Melkin’s manuscripts in the intervening years from his death to the 11th century had initially been suppressed by the Saxons, probably in a bid to deny national pride and therefore his works were not widely known. For the same reasons but to do with the question of primacy in the church.... some suppresion may have come about through the Roman Catholic permeation as we shall cover later in our investigation.
It is also probable that those that understood and had knowledge of these traditions rather than being repressed themselves, eventually found safer haven with their Breton brothers, rather than living under Saxon rule, hence moving these traditions and original Latin 'Book of the Grail' into France which eventually triggered the proliferation of the Grail romances.
The Melkin prophecy as we have seen did not locate Avalon at Glastonbury, but a continual polemical transformation was in progress as is apparent from John's Cronica when he interprets part of Melkin’s prophecy, he states that ‘Joseph sepultus est et positus in linea bifurcara iuxta oratorium predictum’. 'Joseph is buried, and positioned in a line that bifurcates where the oratory was’. It appears that because of John's inference and reference that the ‘linea bifurcata’ is a dividing line associated to the position of the old wattle church; John has for ever more, located Joseph in Glastonbury. It could have been a scribal change of the latin word ‘orari’ an adjective meaning ‘of the sea, or sea shore’(where Avalon actually is located), or even ‘ora tor’ to ‘oratori’ in Melkin’s original text..... that has prevented Joseph's resting place from being discovered. It is possible that the amendment occurred in Melkin’s original work by a scribe, to be followed by all subsequent chroniclers. This cannot be stated unequivocally, but this would seem to be the case if others who have borne witness, to having seen Melkin’s manuscript, did not pick up on this discrepancy. Conversely Melkin played a deliberate ‘double entendre’ on the words ‘ora’ and ‘tor’ knowing that by association to Joseph’s established church at Glastonbury, everyone would conclude he was near the ‘oratori’. But then one has to question why would Melkin give such precise geometrical instructions leading to the genuine Isle of Avalon.
This conundrum, we will never know as he could never have foreseen the active polemicism that was carried out by Glastonbury at a much later date. He might have assumed that if Joseph was never found at Glastonbury someone would keep looking for Avalon until it was found, but he could never have conceived that Glastonbury would become Avalon.
The fact that the word ‘oratori’ is followed by the word ‘cratibus’, meaning ‘wattled’ would tend to unhinge the supposition that it was not intentional obfuscation, unless of course Melkin had originally written ‘orari crater preparatis’, which would suggest a pre-prepared cave by the sea. We will see just how many scenario’s and permutations there are when we dissect Melkin’s prophecy, but it would seem that the inclusion of ‘adorandam virginem’in addition to ‘oratori’ and ‘cratibus preparatis’....( if no scribal changes took place), is a direct attempt by Melkin to perpetuate an association with the wattled church at Glastonbury.
This leads to the question of how could Melkin know that we would find the St. Michael Ley line. However, we will deal with this point when disentangling Melkin’s prophecy shortly. If there had been a scribal correction, the total misunderstanding of the location of Avalon is compounded in the Lection which prefaces John's Cronica, that tells of St. David, adding a new chapel at the West of the old wattle church and at the point where the two chapels joined, ‘a pyramid on the exterior to the northern part on the outside and the platform (raised step) on the inside in the South, a straight line divided them, according to certain of the ancients, St. Joseph lies buried along with a great multitude of saints’. Relevance for the inclusion of this information was to act as a conduit for redirecting people's thoughts back to the original triangles and squares that were associated with the mystery inferred by William of Malmesbury.
Plainly, Joseph being joined by a multitude is a reference to the 104,000 saints which is how many exegetes translated Melkin’s riddle. It was William who had intonated that the solving of the geometrical puzzle would reveal Joseph's burial place within the Abbey grounds. It is because of these various assertions and possible interpolations that Joseph’s resting place has remained undiscovered until the present day.
Before moving on we should quote William of Malmesbury for the respect he confers on the old wattle church as pertaining to the relevance of the word ‘cratibus’-wattle, which initially confines any search for the Holy Grail, or Joseph's grave to Glastonbury by its association with the old church:
The church of which we are speaking, from its antiquity called by the Angles, by way of distinction, "Ealde Chirche," that is, the "Old Church," of wattle work, at first, savoured somewhat of heavenly sanctity even from its very foundation, having breathed it over the whole country; claiming superior reverence, though the structure was rudimentary. Hence, here arrived whole tribes of lower orders, thronging every path; here assembled the opulent divested of their pomp; and it became the crowded residence of the religious and the literary. For, as we have heard from men of old time, here Gildas, a historian neither unlearned nor inelegant, to obtain among other nations, captivated by the sanctity of the place, took up his abode for a series of years. This church, then, is certainly the oldest I am acquainted with in England and from its circumstance, derives its name. In it are preserved the mortal remains of many saints, some of whom, we shall notice in our progress, nor is any corner of the church destitute of the ashes of the holy. The very floor, inlaid with polished stone, and the sides of the altar, and even the altar itself above and beneath are laden with the multitude of relics.
Moreover in the pavement may be remarked on every side stones designedly inter-laid in triangles and squares, and figured with lead, under which if I believe some sacred mystery to be contained, I do no injustice to religion. The antiquity, and multitude of its saints, have enhanced the place with so much sanctity, that at night scarcely anyone presumes to keep vigil there, or during the day to spit upon its floor: he who is conscious of pollution shudders throughout their whole frame: no one ever brought hawk or horses within the confines of the neighbouring cemetery, who did not depart injured either in them or in himself. Within the memory of man, all persons who, before undergoing the ordeal of fire or water, there put up their petitions, exulted in their escape, one only excepted: if any person erected a building in its vicinity, which by its shade obstructed the light of the church, it forthwith became a ruin. And it is sufficiently evident that the men of that province had no oath more frequent, or more sacred, than to swear by the Old Church, fearing the swiftest vengeance on their perjury in this respect.
The truth of what I have asserted, if it be dubious, will be supported by testimony in the book which I have written, on the antiquity of the said church, according to the series of years."
We should look at an extract from Dugdale's ‘Monasticon Anglicanum’, who plainly believes the legend of the arrival in Britain of Joseph of Arimathea, and who also attests that it was Joseph who built the first church, but he like other sources are overly keen to stress its construction to match in with Melkin’s‘Cratibus’ ."Here St Joseph, who is considered by the monkish historians as the first abbot, erected, to the honour of the Virgin Mary, of wreathed twigs, the first Christian oratory in England."
And again from the same source: The ancient church of wood or wicker, which legend spoke of as the first temple reared on British soil to the honour of Christ, was preserved as a hallowed relic, even after a greater church of stone was built by Dunstan to the east of it. And though not a fragment of either of those buildings still remains, yet each alike is represented in the peculiar arrangements of that mighty and now fallen minster. The wooden church of the Briton is represented by the famous Lady Chapel, better known as the chapel of Saint Joseph ; the stone church of the West-Saxon is represented by the vast Abbey church itself. Nowhere else can we see the works of the conquerors and the works of the conquered thus standing, though but in a figure, side by side. Wherein is proved by all kinds of testimonies, and authorities, that for certain, S. Joseph of Aramathia, "with divers other holy Associates, came into, preached, lived, dyed, and was buryed in Britayne, at the place now called Glastenbury in Summersetshire."
However John of Glastonbury waxes lyrical about the old church saying;
'No other human hands made the church of Glastonbury, but Christ's disciples founded and built it by angelic doctrine; an unattractive structure, certainly, but, adorned by God with manifold virtue; the high priest of the heavens himself, the maker and Redeemer of humankind, our Lord Jesus Christ, in his true presence dedicated it to himself and his most holy mother. On account of its antiquity the English called this church, the ‘ealdechirche’, which is ‘the old church’, and it is quite evident that the men of that region hold no oath more sacred or binding than one on the Old Church and they shun nothing through fear of punishment for their crime more than perjury. Glastonbury originally built of wattles, is first and eldest of all churches in England. From it the strength of divine sanctity gave forth its scent from the very outset and breathed upon the whole land; and though it was made of unsightly material, it was nevertheless esteemed greatly in worshipful reverence'.
The real puzzle here is to find out whether it was in fact Melkin’s intention for the world to believe (for a time) that Joseph was buried at Glastonbury or was it later scribal changes of Melkin’s prophecy just after the fire, followed by later gradual rationalisation of interpretation, that eradicated any other location as a possible contender for Joseph’s resting place. We should not forget that for Melkin, Glastonbury was never synonymous with Avalon. In Archbishop Usher's‘Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates’ he provides us a Chinese whispers variant of Melkin’s prophecy, which he says was found in the margin of Matthew Westminster's ‘Flores Historiarum’ which plainly shows the prophecy’s evolution:
'Joseph ab Arimathea nobilis decurio in insula Avallonia cum xi. Sociis suis somnum cepit perpetuum et jacet in meridiano angulo lineae bifurcate Oratorii Adorandae Virginis. Habit enim secum duo vascula argentea alba cruore et sudore magni prophetae Jesu perimpleta. et per multum tempus ante diem Judicii ejus corpus integrum et illibatum reperietur; et erit apertum toti Orbi terranum. Tunc nec ros nec pluvial habitantibus insulam nobilissimam poterit deficere’.
'Joseph of Arimathea, the noble decurion, received his everlasting rest with his eleven associates in the Isle of Avalon. He lies in the southern angle of the bifurcated line of the Oratorium of the Adorable Virgin. He has with him the two white vessels of silver which were filled with the blood and the sweat of the great prophet Jesus.And for a long time before the day of judgement, his body will be discovered whole and undisturbed; and will be opened to the whole world. At that time neither dew, nor rain, will lack from that noble island’.
"Nobilis decurio" is St. Jerome's translation in the Vulgate of St. Mark's"honourable counsellor" and also Rabanus Maurus 776 – 856AD the archbishop of Mainz, in 'The Life of St. Mary Magdalene' uses the same appellation along with Helinand. If, (as we shall show later) Helinand is copying directly from his source, then this term of 'Decurion' was used in connection to Joseph, all prior to 800AD, so this is not of the Grail writers invention, but a genuine appellation from different sources. Many have taken it to mean that he was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Some commentators assume Joseph was a member of a provincial Roman Senate as ‘decurions’ are reported as being in charge of mining districts.
The Glastonbury propaganda machine was able to firmly establish Glastonbury as an island, but it could not by any distortion, render its location by the sea. If Melkin did not write the words ‘orari’ or ‘ora’ and‘tor’, the addition of letters to make ‘oratori’ brings the Island of Avalon away from the sea and into the Abbey grounds. Again an unlikely set of events is set out by John in his Cronica to convince the sceptical, that Avalon is in Glastonbury:
'This Glasteing (a person) pursued his sow through the territory inland of the Angles near the village called ‘Escebtiorne’ all the way to Wells, and from wells by a trackless and watery path which is now called the ‘Sugewey’, that is ‘the sow’s way’. He found her suckling her piglets next to the Old Church on the aforesaid island, beneath a fruit tree; hence it continues down to our own day that the fruit of that tree are called‘ealdechirchiness-apple’, that is ’apples of the old church’. This Glasteing, then, after he had entered the island, saw that it was rich in all manner of good things and came to live on it with his whole family. And since at the first, he found apples of the most precious sort in those parts, he called it the ‘Island of Avalon’ in his own tongue, that is ‘island of apples’,and he spent his life there and from his family and progeny, who succeeded him that place was originally populated. Finally, the Saxons who conquered it called the land ‘Glastonbury’ in their own tongue, by translation of the former name, that is ‘Ynswytryn’, for in English or Saxon ‘glas’ means ‘glass’ and ‘bury’ means city'.
Now, in Melkin’s prophecy he had mentioned the word ’cratibus’, loosely meaning a hurdle, wattle or interwoven sticks, precisely the method employed to construct the old wattle church which seems quite a coincidence as the rest of his clues are telling us to look elsewhere. The reader might note from the references above that the construction method of the old church suddenly became unduly highlighted, after the miraculous discovery of Arthur's bones while fiction upon later rationalisations became embedded in popular history.
It was from this time, that it was repeatedly mentioned as part of an intentional confirmation and reassertion that, the original church dedicated to St. Mary was built from wattle by St. Joseph. It is however the ‘adorandam virginem’ which convinces every investigator that Melkin was referring to the ‘oratori’ at Glastonbury; as this spells out the association with the Old Church. Melkin is in fact giving us the most precise detail of the whole puzzle in these words, which lead us to the entrance of the underground vault on the island of Avalon.
Melkin’s prophecy ultimately is what re-establishes Glastonbury Abbey, but it is through the prophecy that the British people believed that Joseph's burial site exists somewhere. The theme perpetuated through a combination of the Grail Romances and Melkin’s prophecy, that alludes to the island of Avalon. This, coupled with the mystery of Joseph of Arimathea's resting place has somehow become a quest or endeavour of occult meaning that has today entered the psyche of the British people. Jesus’ visit to Britain is now celebrated in the anthem Jerusalem which commences with the unanswered question 'did the feet of Jesus in ancient times walk upon Englands green and pleasant land.This same anthem was broadcast abroad to the world at the opening ceremony of the 2012 olympics.
Figure 21a Showing the Ley line from Avalon to Harnhill, where it crosses the St. Michael Ley line at Glastonbury Tor.