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Its importance as a place of pagan worship may date back to the time of the Iron Age 'Glastonbury Lake Village,' the earliest known major settlement in the area. It was not until after the Romans had come and gone, however, that Glastonbury began to grow in importance.
Legend has the great Abbey, for which the town is famous, being founded at this time, if not earlier. It was certainly flourishing by AD 680, under the patronage of the Kings of Wessex. The establishment was overlord of Glastonbury until the Dissolution in the mid-16th century.
Glastonbury Tor rises dramatically from the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels, close to the town of Glastonbury, to a height of 158 metres (525 feet). The Tor is topped by the tower of a ruined 15th-century church (St Michael's).
The hill and its approaches are owned by the National Trust, and offer free public access, but visitors are advised to walk there from the town centre, or to take the 'Tor Bus', due to parking restrictions around the site. Views from the summit are stunning in all directions - north to Wells, the Mendips and the Bristol Channel; east to Shepton Mallet and Wiltshire; south to the Polden Hills, west to the Quantocks and Exmoor.
History, myth and legend surround the Tor. Dark Age and Saxon remains excavated here suggested that it was once a Saxon fortress, or perhaps an early Christian hermitage. Alternative conjecture has suggested that the Tor is associated with 'ley lines' and various earth energies; it is claimed to be the home of Gwyn ap Nudd, the Lord of the Underworld, and others consider it to be at the centre of a Zodiac pattern formed by surrounding field boundaries.
Glastonbury has been recently recognised and awarded for its floaral displays by South West in Bloom and Mendip in Bloom.