Why have we named this site SAVARIC ?
This site is owned by - Savaric Whiting Ltd - the reasons for its name are the two personalites who have influenced the work of the company.
We feel that Savaric Geldewin is a relevant example of what we are looking at today - that is the balance between spirituality and practical action in the material world.
He had an interesting and turbulent career. In 1197 he was Bishop of Bath and Wells and traded the town of Bath to King Richard I - the 'Lionheart' - in exchange for the monastery of Glastonbury.
By this ploy he planned to become both the Bishop of Wells and Abbot of Glastonbury.
This would have been a combining of the mystical abbey with the spiritual but more practical and materially orientated Cathedral ( seen as it is today on the left). We think that Savaric reflects our own experience including the chaos that accompanied many of his actions !
The other half of our name is Whiting
Richard Whiting was the last monk to hold the post of Abbot of the Abbey of Glastonbury before the dissolution of the Abbey. He joined the Abbey as a young monk and attended the Abbey school. His learning made encouraging progress and he was sent by the abbey to Cambridge where he graduated as a Master of Arts. Later in his life returned to Cambridge to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity.
He was a Benedictine monk and his home was Glastonbury Abbey. On returning from his first stay in Cambridge, he settled down once more into the life of the Abbey. He was ordained as a priest and for some years was Chamberlain of the Abbey.
The first few years of Whiting's term as Abbot were, but in the outside world all was turmoil as Henry VIII and his officers set about systematically dissolving the Abbeys of England and confiscating their wealth. In 1535 Glastonbury was investigated by the king’s commissioners. Whilst all was found to be in good order, the opportunity was taken to restrict the abbot’s powers and make all his actions subject to supervision by the officers of the king.
For the next few years, Glastonbury was left in relative peace and by January 1539, Glastonbury was the only monastery left in Somerset. In September of that year three royal commissioners arrived in Glastonbury seeking to speak with the abbot. Whiting was at the abbey’s manor of Sharpham and the commissioners rode out to interview him there.
The commissioners questioned the abbot. They were not satisfied with the answers that he gave and he was arrested and taken first to Glastonbury and then on to London to the Tower. There he was examined by Thomas Cromwell who found him guilty of high treason in that had he refused to reveal to the king’s commissioners, the whereabouts of the abbeys hidden treasure. He was ordered to be taken to Wells there to be tried and sentenced.
Whiting was tried in mid November in the Great Hall of the Bishop’s Palace in Wells. He was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering.
On Saturday 15 November 1539, abbot Whiting was taken to Glastonbury with two of his fellow monks, John Thorne and Roger James. The three were tied upon hurdles and dragged by horses to the top of the Tor. There the gruesome sentence was carried out. The dis-membered body of Richard Whiting was boiled in pitch. His head was fastened over the gate of the abbey and his four quarters were sent to four outlying towns of Somerset to be displayed at Wells, Bath, Ilchester and Bridgewater.
The death of the Abbot was the symbolic and real end of what had been the great Abbey of Glaston.
There is a theory today that at the time of its dissolution, Glastonbury abbey, and some of its monks, held a special secret that enabled them to control an energy that was more powerful than anything at the king’s disposal. The only way to destroy this energy once and for all was by a powerful act of ritual magic. The execution of the Abbot, with a monk on each side of him on the wintry Tor, was such an act of ritual and was designed to fragment and destroy the eternal spiritual power of Glastonbury. This theory holds that the effects of this can still be felt today and the results are to be seen in the splintering of attempts by various aspects of the town to work together. The theory holds that only way in which this damage can be healed is by a formal ceremony in which the dis-membered abbot is Re-Membered.
Glastonbury abounds in myths and legends and maybe this is just another myth. But a myth is often a way of conveying a real truth – maybe the myth of the need to ‘Remember Richard Whiting’ is concealing such a truth.
We feel that Richard Whiting, as the last Abbot of Glastonbury, as a man who ran the Abbey efficiently in ts declining years, and the one who may have been the last of those able to actively practice the magic of Glastonbury, is an appropriate name to join Savaric in the title of our activities.