Glastonbury Scripts
Title given to a series of nine booklets edited by Frederick
Bligh Bond containing various automatic writing communications
concerning Glastonbury Abbey and its history (1) The Return
of Johannes, (2) Pages from the Book of Immortal Remembrance,
(3 and 7) Life of Hugh of Avalon, (4) Life of Abbot Ailnoth, (5) The
Vision of Mathias, (6) The Rose Miraculous, (8) The Founding of the
First Christian Church, and (9) King Arthur and the Quest of the Holy
Number 1 contains writing obtained by Bond with the medium
John Alleyne (psudonym of J. Allen Bartlett). The communicator
claimed to be ‘‘Johannes Bryant,’’ a monk of Glastonbury
of the period 1497–1534. Numbers 3, 4, and 7 are the
work of two American sitters to whom the history of the abbey
was unknown.
Number 2 records the writings of a Winchester medium
whose hand was allegedly used automatically without her volition.
The communicators claimed to be monks of the eleventh
and twelfth centuries. According to psychical researcher Nandor
Fodor, ‘‘they were veridical in scores of cases, the most famous
of which is the discovery of the Norman wall of Herlewin’s
Chapel, recorded by Bond in his book The Company of
Avalon’’ (1924). It was the public’s linking this discovery with
psychical research (in Bond’s publications) that led to the
abrupt closing of the excavations in 1922. Bond was suspended
from his directorship of the excavations and forfeited his privileges.
In the atmosphere of the times, when Spiritualism was
considered a crackpot belief by many, the abbey trustees were
alienated. Several of Bond’s findings were allegedly obliterated
by the removal of stones and the filling of trenches.
Numbers 5, 6, 8, and 9 of the Glastonbury Scripts were obtained
by Bond in his sessions with Hester Dowden, who
claimed that his presence and the contact of his fingers on her
hand or wrist was a sine qua non in the process of obtaining
them. The mental contact came through Bond, Dowden said.
Her contribution was the motor power of transmission and the
more mechanical side of the word formation. For this reason
the automatist disclaimed sole copyright, alleging ‘‘dual mediumship.’’
This view was energetically contested by Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle who in conjunction with the Authors’ Society gave his
support to the chancery court action of July 1926 (Cummins v.
Bond), which established the ruling that all automatic scripts
are the sole copyright of the amanuensis, who is thus regarded
by law as the only author.
The story of the Glastonbury Scripts carried on the record
of prediction and discovery as told by Bond in a series of earlier
books The Gate of Remembrance (1918), The Hill of Vision (1919),
and The Company of Avalon (1924). These examples of crosscorrespondence
were obtained through four far-separated mediums.
To these a fifth may be added, since the monk ‘‘Johannes’’
again wrote, in his old style, through the hand of Mina
Crandon of Boston in 1926–27. Part of the record is printed
in the Clark University Symposium of 1926.
Bond, F. Bligh. The Glastonbury Scripts. 9 vols. Glastonbury,
England Abbot’s Leigh, n.d.
Kenawell, William W. The Quest at Glastonbury A Biographical
Study of Frederick Bligh Bond. New York Garrett Publications,
Lambert, G. W. ‘‘The Quest at Glastonbury.’’ Journal of the
Society for Psychical Research 43, 728 (June 1960).