‘Joseph of Arimathea a wealthy Metal Merchant first traded here for lead and copper from Priddy and Greenore in the Mendips, and for tin from Cornwall.
The two former would ship from Pilton’s Harbour which was situated just below where the present Manor House stands and on the way out to sea, he would pass Glastonbury, then an island south-west of Pylle Bay.
After our Lord’s ascension and Pentecost, Joseph would naturally return to preach the Gospel to his old friends here and at Glastonbury and to build a wattle church at each place.
Here, he built a chapel on the side of the hill above the harbour, where probably he baptised his first converts.’
– Traditional History of Pilton Church.
“Does the Pope know about this,” says Wen, her eyes alight, “I can’t believe it’s so brazenly presented and on an information board as well.”
“We may be able to do even better than that,” say I contemplating the church banner with some interest.
“How so?” says Wen.
“Well if the line of the Tor depicted here is correct, it shouldn’t be too difficult to locate the precise spot where they first touched down.”
“No,” says Wen suddenly collapsing into fits of laughter. “No it can’t be that accurate can it? It is probably done by the local kids. And how would they know anyway?”
“It wasn’t done by the local kids.”
“How do you know?”
“I know because the colour symbolism is too precise.”
“You may have to qualify that last statement Mr Sams,” says Wen with something of a crooked grin.
“Not hard,” say I. “The figure in the prow of the vessel adorned by a golden halo, which for arguments sake we will call ‘Jesus,’ is wearing a purple robe.”
“He is,” says Wen.
“The older child who is steering the boat is wearing a purple tunic.”
“He is too. Do we have a name for him?” says Wen.
“I could quite easily give him a name if you would like me to?”
“I am sure you could but that is not quite the same thing. What does the tradition call him?”
“The tradition doesn’t call him anything but if I had to have a wild stab in the dark at what it would call him if asked, I’d say it would call him ‘John’.
“Oh you would, would you? Isn’t he a bit too old for John?”
“We’ve already established that John was at least two years older than Jesus.”
“Okay… and the older figure of course we know only too well from the tradition?”
“And Our Joseph just happens to be wearing a purple head-dress?”
Wen looks from figure to figure and back to me and then moves up close to scrutinise the line and angle of the Tor depicted in the background.
“It’s worth a go,” she says, and swiftly raises her camera…
– Extract from ‘Dark Sage‘