Historic Glastonbury Holy Thorn Tree Destroyed By Vandals (Video)

The historic Glastonbury Holy Thorn Tree was destroyed by vandals on Thursday.
The thorn tree had ties to the early days of Christianity. The vandals sawed off all of its branches down to the stump.

The Glastonbury tree is one of the most celebrated Christian pilgrimage sites in Great Britain.
The AP reported:

The rare thorn tree had ties to the early days of Christianity and pilgrims often left offerings at its base. Local children honored it each year by cutting sprigs to place on Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas dining table.

Now British police want to know who sawed off the historic limbs of the Glastonbury Holy Thorn Tree, reducing it to a stump. And they want to know why.

“I’ve just driven past the site, and people are coming out in tears,” said Glastonbury Mayor John Coles. “I’ve never seen a sadder sight, or a more serious act of vandalism, in my 60 years in Glastonbury.”

Glastonbury, 125 miles (200 kilometers) west of London, is best known for its annual rock music festival that has drawn artists such as Bruce Springsteen since the 1960s. Its mysterious landscape — including the Glastonbury Tor hill, which is believed by some to have magical qualities — has drawn pagan worshippers to the area for many years.

Katherine Gorbing, the director of Glastonbury Abbey, said the tree originally came from the Middle East and is a type of thorn tree common in Lebanon as well as in Europe. It typically lives about 100 years, but locals have kept it going by taking grafts and clippings from the tree to plant new ones when the existing once is nearing the end of its natural life span.

“It’s a sacred tree,” Gorbing said. “Not only for the Christian church, but for many other people.”

The tree itself, located near the summit of Wearyall Hill, is visible from many parts of rural Somerset.

Coles said the nighttime attack came between Wednesday and Thursday shortly after he, the local vicar and schoolchildren participated in the annual sprig cutting for the queen’s Christmas table.

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