History of the Glastonbury Pilgrimage

In 1932 a petition was presented to the Diocesan Bishop signed by 128 clergy and 3012 laity reinforcing a request first made in 1926 for permission to hold a Eucharist in the ruins, on a temporary altar on the site of the original High Altar. This was again refused, the principal reason being that "this most solemn of all services becomes a spectacle, and of its being, subject to irreverence".

The 1935 Pilgrimage on the 6th July. was the first at which two Bishops preached, Bradford and Bristol, whilst in 1936 three attended; Taunton at 8am, Accra at 11am in St John and Llandaff at Evensong in the Abbey Church.

The total revenue for the year was £79.00 of which £11.00 came from members' subscriptions, £41.00 from the sale of books and badges and £27.00 from collections. In 1937 and 1938, the St Martin's Players from Bristol presented plays taken from The Little Plays of St Francis!! by Laurence Housman.

War broke out in 1939, after the Pilgrimage. Therefore the 1940 event was limited to a Eucharist held in St Joseph's Chapel at 9.00 am and another in St John's at 11.30, The Diocesan Bishop was celebrant at both services. There were no more processions until after the War.... During the war years "Mass was said on the Saturday within the octave of St John Baptist, in St John, Glastonbury. for the intention of the Pilgrimage". Thus Revd Lionel Lewis kept it alive.

Through his enthusiasm the Pilgrimage was revived in 1946, though on a small scale, (12 coaches from Bristol). The Bishop of Trinidad presided.

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