London: Sheed & Ward, 1926. First edition. Original black cloth (7 1/8 inches tall), two printed orange paper labels, original printed dust wrapper. Tiny glue mark to front paper label, mild spotting to fore-edge, early presentation inscription to blank flyleaf, gentle toning to edges of dust wrapper. A near-fine copy. Item #1057
"GLASTONBURY WAS FOR CENTURIES THE MOST ANCIENT AND FAMOUS CENTRE OF CHRISTIANITY IN THE LAND" First edition of this illustrated study of the legends of Glastonbury—"the Cradle of Christianity in Britain." This is a handsome example of an early Sheed and Ward title, complete in the scarce original printed dust wrapper. "Founded in London in 1926 by the English theologian Frank Sheed and Leo Ward, brother of Sheed's historian wife Maisie," the arrival of Sheed and Ward was a milestone in Catholic literary circles: "For an author to appear in one of Sheed & Ward's meticulously edited and beautiful books was a recognized honor in this era, as many tenured Catholic academics at Catholic and non-Catholic institutions discovered to their delight" (Kevin Starr, The Lost World). Abundantly illustrated with black-and-white photographs, historiated initials, and sketches by K.R. Banks, including a frontispiece: "The Great Seal of the Benedictine Abbey of Glastonbury." With a brief author's Note ("A. le S. C. / Glastonbury, / Feast of BB. Richard Whiting and Companions / 1926"), while recognizing "the value of the research of modern critics, the old traditions and legends also have their value and their place, especially in this materialistic age." Chronicling the arrival of Joseph of Arimathea in 63 A.D. to the 'great desolation" of the monastery and the martyrdom of Abbot Richard Whiting, John Thorne, and Roger James on Glastonbury Tor. A brief Epilogue concludes: "The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church and the mystery of the Tor, bedewed with the fruitful blood of Glastonbury's martyrs, to-day, too, remains immutable; for though the lifeless ruin lies in the dust the archangel Michael still hovers protectingly above the holy mount and watches over the children who once again gather around our Lady's shrine." Printed at the Parkminster Press in Sussex. Approbations. Starr. The Lost World: American Catholic Non-Fiction at Midcentury.