Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Trek to see real Christmas bloom

Adam Stout with the Holy Thorn
Christmas traditionally fell on 6 January in today's calendar

A writer has completed a 200-mile (320 km) walk from Yorkshire to Somerset to find out the traditional Pilgrim day that Christmas should fall on.

Adam Stout, from Frome in Somerset, retraced the steps of eccentric John Jackson who made the journey in 1753.

Both men had wanted to find out when Glastonbury's Holy Thorn flowers, which traditionally blooms on Christmas Day.

Mr Stout started 19 days ago in Leeds. He said that going by the flower, Christmas Day should be on 6 January.

He said it had been "a long old walk", but "pretty amazing".

In 1753, John Jackson, who lived in Yorkshire, was among thousands of people rumoured to have travelled to Glastonbury to see when the Holy Thorn would bloom.

Earlier that year, the controversial move was made to change the British calendar from the Gregorian one to a calendar in line with Europe.

The changes in the calendar, which included dropping 11 days from September, had outraged so many they wanted to see if the flower would bloom according to the new timeframe which had been dictated by Parliament - or continue as it always had.

They watched as the flower failed to open on the new 25 December, and instead opened 11 days later on 6 January.

'Complete stranger'

One person Mr Stout stayed with on his trek through Gloucestershire thought he was the reincarnation of King Arthur.

"Throughout this whole trek I've met a lot of unusual and interesting folk and that has been the magic with this trip, just entering into the lives of so many really hospitable and generous people who were only too happy to open up their homes to basically a complete stranger."

The trek was relatively hassle-free, he said, apart from the penultimate day when he got lost on The Mendips.

It's been a bit strange. His eccentricity is one of the best things about him.
Emily Stout

"I walked through beautiful weather and all sorts of various places," he said.

"But on the penultimate day, I was all complacent striding out thinking, 'I'm on the home strait, I know where I'm going', and then the fog came down and I ended up on the wrong road completely.

"I wasn't laughing when I hit the big main road and there was lots of lorries."

Mr Stout nearly missed the blossoming of the flower so he received the last bloom on the tree.

His partner Emily said: "It's been a bit strange. His eccentricity is one of the best things about him."

"It will be nice to wake up tomorrow knowing I won't have to walk 10 to 15 miles," said Mr Stout.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2016 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific