Glastonbury’s Green Councillors are extremely pleased to post that this week, Glastonbury Town Council voted unanimously to honour one of the town’s well loved, most distinguished residents – the acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe MBE – who was made a Freeman of Glastonbury.
Mr Ashe was nominated by Glastonbury’s Green Mayor Denise Michell and Green Deputy Mayor Jon Cousins, in recognition of his eminent services to Glastonbury as an author and cultural historian.
Born in 1923, Geoffrey Ashe is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has dedicated much of his professional career to unravelling the history, myths, and legends associated with Glastonbury. His seminal work, ‘King Arthur’s Avalon: The Story of Glastonbury’, was published in 1957, and it sparked a revival of academic and cultural interest in the town’s Arthurian and ‘Avalonian’ connections.
The author, editor, and contributor to over 30 books. His focus on Glastonbury has continued throughout the years, noticeably with the publication of ‘Avalonian Quest’ in 1982, and ‘The Landscape of King Arthur’ in 1987. He has also written on a wide variety of other subjects, including: Gandhi; the Art of Writing; Miracles; Kings and Queens; Mythology; …and the Art of Bathing Through the Ages!
Following the vote, Cllr John Coles exclaimed, “It’s about time! This is long overdue.” A delighted Mayor, Denise Michell said, “Geoffrey Ashe’s distinguished work on Glastonbury – a true ‘life-time’s work’ – can have few rivals. Our town’s high regard for him is clearly shared by others throughout the country and establishment. Not only is he a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, but he was appointed MBE by Her Majesty in 2012!”
In the past, a Freeman held all sorts of privileges, and often did not have to pay local taxes! These days, the award is mostly symbolic – however, according to tradition, as a Freeman of Glastonbury Mr Ashe has now been conferred the right to drive his sheep through the centre of the town!