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Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor is a conical hill at Glastonbury in Somerset, England. 'Tor' is a local word of Celtic origin meaning 'conical hill'. The tor has a striking location in the middle of a plain called the Summerland meadows, part of the Somerset Levels. For an unknown reason, the slopes of the tor are terraced. Some believe that this formation is the remains of an ancient, perhaps neolithic, sacred labyrinth.

The tor is managed by The National Trust.


Some neolithic flint tools have been recovered from the top of the tor. There is evidence of wooden huts from the Celtic and Roman periods. The Celtic name of the tor was "Ynis Witrin", meaning "Isle of Glass". At this time the plain was flooded, the isle becoming a peninsula at low tide.

Remains of a 5th century fort have been found on the tor. This was replaced by the medieval St. Michael's church that remained until 1275. A second church, built in the 1360s, survived until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. The remains of St. Michael's Tower were restored in modern times.


In Celtic mythology the tor was associated with Gwyn ap Nydd, who was first Lord of the Underworld, and later King of the Fairies. The tor was believed to be an entrance to Annwn or Avalon, the land of the fairies. The mystical significance of the place continued into the Middle Ages, when it was celebrated by an annual Tor Fair. Later the tor, its 5th century fort, and the name Avalon, became identified with the legendary Celtic hero King Arthur.