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History of the Glastonbury Pilgrimage

So to 1923, after the First World War and depression, as industry suffered from the 'Peace Dividend', Mr Salter, Secretary of the Chapter of St Brendon of the GSS in Bristol wrote to Fr Lionel Lewis. Vicar of St John, Glastonbury proposing The Bristol Anglo Catholic Glastonbury Pilgrimage. This coincided with an approach from the Church Union in Salisbury. All agreed on the 28th June 1924. So charabancs (coaches) principally from Bristol but also from as far away as Salisbury converged.

After a blessing from Fr Arnold Pinchard, Sec. Gen. of the E.C.U. pilgrims took tea, as many as were able crowding into The George and The Crown. Newspaper reports said that the procession from St John to the Abbey comprised some 30 priests, 400 vested, 1500 lay pilgrims. A service of 'Vespers' was held, the Revd Lionel Lewis preaching on a text from Nehemiah, Let us build again the walls of Jerusalem. Singing Hark the sound of holy voices, a procession returned to St John, where the Te Deum was sung as an act of Thanksgiving. This was the first Pilgrimage, essentially an afternoon affair.

We have no records of the 2nd Pilgrimage but we know that the preacher at Evensong was Bishop Wynne Wilson of Bath & Wells.

In 1926, the West of England Pilgrimage Association [W.E.P.A.] was formed under the Presidency of the Earl of Shaftesbury. Interestingly. all the Committee was lay. Mr Salter continued as Organising Secretary. Supported by 17 local Secretaries covering many towns including London, Salisbury Birmingham, Bristol and Exeter. Holy Eucharist was celebrated at 8 am in St Patrick's Chapel and again at 11.00 am in St John.

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