Day 312: Swell Close

Laetitia had decided to take her group to another site listed in Bailey and Hurst’s Rude UK —a street called Swell Close. First, however, she took everyone to visit the ruined abbey and monastery at nearby Glastonbury. The abbey appears to date back to the seventh century AD, although there is a legend that Joseph of Arimathea founded it in the first century AD. From the twelfth century on, the abbey and monastery have been associated with the King Arthur legend, and King Arthur is said to be buried there. Before the Reformation, it was one of the largest and wealthiest abbeys in England. Henry VIII suppressed the abbey and gave its lands away to the aristocracy.

Located in West Huntspill, Somerset, Swell Close is relatively short street ending in a cul de sac. At the end of the street is a twelfth-century church. It was Roman Catholic until the Reformation. Then it became Anglican and remained so until a dwindling congregation led to its closure. An influx of Irish Catholic workers to the area led to its reopening as a Catholic Church. A story heard at the West Huntspill pub where they had dinner gave Laetitia the limerick of the day.

In the Swell Close Church, Bess did repose
In a short skirt and sheer pantyhose
Causing Father O’Reilly
To smirk, as he dryly
In his homily, said, “He arose.”