I was chatting to Bracken after the Dalai Lama’s gig and happened to mention that Mr Stoatie and I had discovered some Tibetan Prayer Wheels outside the Ramala Centre in Glastonbury, as were walking up to the Tor for the Ceremony. This year we decided to walk up to the meet up point outside Chalice Well from the top of the High St and as we were heading over, we happened to come across a sign to the Tor that pointed up through some houses. Thinking it was a short cut we followed it, and were surprised to find the Centre tucked away at the end of the road just before the path entered a Nature Reserve.
It turns out that it was an alternative route to the Tor and it took us to the North Side of the hill where the fabled ‘Tor Bus’ drops off it’s passengers. (That’s the bus I’m never allowed to take!) It’s a gradual incline to the bottom of the Tor with plenty of flat bits in between and when you get to the steep bit it is nice and short, so that I managed to reach the summit without wheezing, feeling nauseous and fighting for breath. Coincidentally Leanne has posted a photo guide of this route on her blog this week.
At the top of the High St we had passed a rather snazzy water fountain and on Sunday evening we walked back up to take some photos. It was about 8.30 and drizzly but they seem to have come out OK. There isn’t a lot about it on the net apart from the details of it’s Listed Building status from English Heritage:
1. 1133 (East Side) Drinking fountain in wall to south of Summer House ST 5039 6/189 II GV
2. Late C19. Neo-Romanesque. Ashlar (that’s parallel stonework to you and me) with polished red marble columns. Triangular gablet (gable roof) over blind round-headed arch of 2 orders with chevron enrichment. Outer order is supported by 2 marble columns with ashlar capitals, annulets (rings encircling a column) and bases.
The 3 exposed faces of capitals have lively carvings of hunting animals, dragons
etc. The well inside the arch consists of a fluted marble basin in form of a Romanesque piscina, niche above contains brass outlet pipe. In apex of gablet is carved fishscale detail, a hand pointing to the right, and ‘To the Tor’ in a kind of Gothic script.
Summer House and Drinking fountain. Nos 86 to 90 (even) High Street, Nos 2 and 4 Bove Town form a group.
Listing NGR: ST5027639011
The fountain is mentioned on the Millennium Trail around Glastonbury, which was devised by Neill Bonham and can be found on the Glastonbury Antiquarians website here but disappointingly there is little actual detail about it.
It is also the location of a geocache, it must be one of the easiest to find in the country!
On the wall to the left of the fountain there is some carving, at the top you can just make out ‘Police Notice’ and underneath it says ‘commit no nuisance’
Below is a detail of the ‘sign to the Tor’ with it’s ‘kind of’ gothic script (I love that ‘kind of’ appearing in an English Heritage report!) It is a fantastic piece of relief lettering. The chevrons round the arches are exactly like the radiating zig zags I get when suffering from a migraine which to me gives the whole thing a rather disturbing ambience, which isn’t helped by the elongated disembodied hand which immediately makes me think of Keats.
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–
I hold it towards you.
I can’t believe a simple piece of Victorian plumbing can set my mind wandering so much.
The carving of the animals and dragons are rather worn and hard to make out on the front of the fountain where the weather has got to them, but at the sides they’re better. The left hand column has animals and the right hand one panels of dragons, including two fighting – maybe the Red and White? They look a bit odd as the left side panels are split into two, whereas the right side just have one large panel.
As normal the harder polished granite has suffered no weathering at all ( I always say to folks looking to buy a headstone, if you want something that will last and clean easily go for granite!!) Look at the colour of the pillar and the size of the crystals, beautiful!!
There was no water running and the little basin was full of pebbles, I confess that I picked one up and dropped it in too. There is something about water and wishes, even when the water has dried up. I wish someone would show this marvelous bit of Victorian whimsy-combined-with-functionality a bit of love!