Glastonbury Abbey in the town of Glastonbury, Somerset was a monastery founded by King Ine of Wessex who is said to have built its first stone church in the 7thCentury. The origin of the name Glastonbury is uncertain but when the settlement is first recorded in the 7th and early 8th century, it was called Glestingaburg. One theory is that it comes from a Saxon or Celtic personal name, Glestinga and the Anglo-Saxon word burh meaning a fortified place, literally Glestinga’s fort. Another is that it is a corruption of Glastan inga burh, which comes from Glastan, meaning a place with oak trees; inga, meaning the people of; and, burh, fortified place. Another school of thought links it to the Life of St Patrick and suggests that it relates to an Irish individual named Glas mac Caise (“Glas son of Cas”). It is stated in the Life of St Patrick that he resurrected a swine-herder by that name and he went to Glastonbury, to an area of the village known as ‘Glastonbury of the Irish’ and this could well be referring to the area of Beckery (Little Ireland) where it is believed an Irish Colony established itself in the 10thCentury. Having been enlarged in the 10thCentury, and rebuilt in 1184 after being destroyed by fire, the abbey subsequently became one of the richest and most powerful monasteries in England. In 1191 it is alleged that the tomb of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere was discovered in its cemetery. Historians today generally dismiss the authenticity of the find, attributing it to a publicity stunt performed to raise funds for the abbey’s repair. These bones were reburied in 1278 within the abbey grounds in the presence of King Edward I. By the 14thCentury they abbey’s wealth was second only to Westminster Abbey. Far too great a prize to pass up, it was seized and closed under the orders of Henry VIII in 1540. Like many of the roads on the St Helier’s estate this is named after British monasteries and abbeys in remembrance of the area’s historic ownership by Westminster Abbey. The road names are in alphabetical order, of which Aberconway Road in the north west of the estate is first.
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