The name Ynys Yr Afalon (Breton for The Isle of Avalon) was given to Glastonbury Tor now surrounded by reclaimed fenland. The Tor once rose as an island from the waters. The Tor is at the epicentre of the mysteries that surround Glastonbury and has long been an important place of worship and ritual from Celtic times onwards.
There is evidence of early Druid activity in the earthworks of the Tor and was also an ancient site of goddess worship. Both Druidism and goddess worship survive today in the Glastonbury area and various events are still held on the Tor.
In the 19th centaury an increased interest in the Celts lead the Tor to be the associated with Gwyn ap Nudd, the first Lord of the Underworld and later the King of the Fairies. The Tor came to be represented as the entrance to Avalon, the land of the fairies. A place of eternal youth where disease is absent and food forever plentiful.
Avalon is also found in the legend of King Arthur, where after the Battle of Camlann the King was taken to recover from his wounds. It is also the place where Excalibur the Kings sword attributed with magical powers and associated with the rightful sovereignty of Great Britain was forged and given to Arthur. This Legend was greater believed in 1190 when Monks at Glastonbury Abbey claimed to have discovered the bones of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere in a grave marked with his inscription.
Christian legend tells of Joseph of Arimathea travelling to Glastonbury after Jesus’ Crucifixion. Having been entrusted with the Holy Grail he buried it under the Tor at the entrance to the underworld. Weary from his travels he struck his staff into the ground of Wearyall Hill, where it took root and the next day the Holy Thorn tree had grown and sacred water had began to flow from a spring.
In this project I am interpreting some of these myths and legends and exploring the themes that they talk about, sometimes offering modern adaptations.—Jameson Kergozou
Jameson Kergozou is a Bristol-based photographer. These photographs were made around his hometown of Glastonbury, which some people believe is the legendary Isle of Avalon.