Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

John of Glastonbury

Latin: Johannes Glastoniensis
Lived c. 1340

In the mid-fourteenth century, John Seen (this might be his name), a Benedictine monk of Glastonbury Abbey and a chronicler, composed his Cronica sive Antiquitates Glastoniensis Ecclesie (‘Chronicle or the Antiquities of the Church of Glastonbury’), a comprehensive history of his monastery from earliest times to his own day.

In his chronicle, John included a detailed account of the 1190-91 discovery of King Arthur’s body in the abbey cemetery and several Arthurian genealogies. More important, he quoted fragments from the hitherto unknown prophecy of Melkin the Bard, in which the Grail of French romance tradition reappeared in a metamorphosed form as two cruets containing the blood and sweat of Jesus.

The Cronica survives as a full text over seven manuscripts – and John drew extensively on by William of Malmesbury’s De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie.