Happy Sunday everyone, a religious theme to today’s blog, every person in the UK will know the very patriotic hymn “Jerusalem,” we all sung it at school, in church, and it’s sung every year in that very British Institution “Last Night of the Proms”. But do you know what the words of the hymn are referring to? To remind you, here are the first two versus:
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Well there are ancient myths that as a child, Jesus spent time in England, courtesy of his uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, who was, by legend. a trader with business ties in England. The places that they visited are written down as Glastonbury, Penzance and Falmouth in the South West of England. So in the hymn “those feet” refer to Jesus’s feet and how he walked on England’s pleasant pastures. It is said that Glastonbury was where Joseph and Jesus first visited, they arrived in Glastonbury by boat over the flooded Somerset Levels. On disembarking Joseph stuck his wooden staff into the ground and it flowered miraculously into the Glastonbury Thorn, (or Holy Thorn – see photo below). This is said to explain a hybrid hawthorn tree that only grows within a few miles of Glastonbury, and which flowers twice annually, once in spring and again around Christmas time (depending on the weather). Each year a sprig of thorn is cut, by the local Anglican vicar and the eldest child from the local St John’s School, and then is taken to London to be presented to Her Majesty Queen (see photo 2 below).