Great age is claimed for the Glastonbury thorn. When Joseph of Arimathea landed from his vessel, he and his company threw themselves down on a tall hill to rest. Joseph thrust his staff of dry hawthorn wood into the ground beside him. Miraculously it straight-way took root, an omen of the fruitfulness of his mission. The tree, always blooming on Christmas night, waxed great as the centuries passed, and its vitality was such that, when its twin stems were uprooted during the Civil War, even castaway fragments flourished where they fell.