Anglo-Saxon Window Glass Discovered at Glastonbury Abbey

From a reader for your Just Too Cool file:

Anglo-Saxon Window Glass Discovered at Glastonbury Abbey (Somerset)

New research led by the University of Reading has revealed that finds at Glastonbury Abbey provide the earliest archaeological evidence for glass-making in Britain.

Professor Roberta Gilchrist of the university’s archaeology department has re-examined the records of excavations that took place at Glastonbury in the 1950s and 1960s. Glass furnaces recorded in 1955–57 were previously thought to date from before the Norman Conquest, but radiocarbon dating has now revealed that they date to much earlier, roughly to the 680s, and are likely to be associated with a major rebuilding of the abbey undertaken by King Ine of Wessex. We have documentary records of glass-making at York and Wearmouth for the 670s, but Glastonbury provides the earliest and most substantial archaeological evidence for glass-making in Anglo-Saxon Britain.

The extensive remains of five furnaces have been identified, together with fragments of clay crucibles and glass for window glazing and drinking vessels, mainly of vivid blue-green colour. It is likely that specialist glassworkers came from what is now France to work at Glastonbury.

[…] An exhibition at Glastonburg Abbey Museum, ‘From Fire and Earth’, tells the story of the abbey’s pioneering role in medieval crafts and technology, and runs until 16 September 2012.


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  1. mike cliffson says:

    This is the material in the service of the holy, a mere token of what was violentaly and criminally stolen from us , but, brief internet surfing alone will still find many canonizing Henry VIII and his vile crew, and praising the dissolution of the monasteries etc as a giant lift on the road to sweetness and light, material progress included.
    If it knocks the church , by definition, it adds to human happiness and progress.
    Of course, nobody today makes public milage with this idea- or do they?

  2. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thanks for this very interesting news! I was just reading about the monastic revival in the 10th-c. (at one time, in England, we would now be in the Octave of the Feast of St. Dunstan!), but this takes things back to an earlier flourishing!

  3. PostCatholic says:

    That is indeed a very neat piece of cultural patrimony.

  4. UncleBlobb says:


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