Railways, Rivalry and the Revival of Pilgrimage in Glastonbury, 1895 and 1897

Bowman, Marion (2015). Railways, Rivalry and the Revival of Pilgrimage in Glastonbury, 1895 and 1897. Religion, Culture, Society: Yearbook of the MTA-SZTE Research Group for the Study of Religious Culture, 2 pp. 168–190.

URL: http://real.mtak.hu/36835/2/SZTE_Religion_Culture_...

Abstract

The coming of the railway to Glastonbury, England, enabled the resumption of large scale, formal pilgrimage to Glastonbury after a gap of over 300 years. First, in 1895 Catholic pilgrims were able to travel from all over Britain to celebrate the beatification of the Glastonbury Catholic Martyrs Whiting, Thorne and James. Then, in 1897, the railway brought an unprecedented number of pilgrims and sightseers to Glastonbury for what was hailed as an ‘international pilgrimage’ organised by the Anglican Church. This paper examines the crucial role of railways in the revival of pilgrimage to and within Glastonbury, and the importance of both the 1895 and 1897 pilgrimages in staking competing claims on Glastonbury’s history and significance – contestation which continues until the present day.

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