Catalogue description Papers of Dr. Arthur Bulleid (1862-1951) of Glastonbury

This record is held by Somerset Heritage Centre (South West Heritage Trust)

Details of DD\GDL
Reference: DD\GDL
Title: Papers of Dr. Arthur Bulleid (1862-1951) of Glastonbury

This collection relates to Dr. Arthur Bulleid (1862-1951) of Glastonbury and Midsomer Norton and to his excavations of the Iron Age lake villages at Glastonbury and Meare.


Bulleid discovered the Glastonbury Lake Village in March 1892 and with the help of the recently-formed Glastonbury Antiquarian Society, began work there in the same year. Excavation continued until 1898, and after an interruption, during which Bulleid qualified as a doctor and was married, a further series of excavations took place from 1904-7. Bulleid's collaborator after 1904 was Harold St. George Gray (1872-1963), former secretary and assistant to Lt.-Gen. Pitt-Rivers and from 1901 Secretary of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Work on the lake village at Meare began in 1908, and continued intermittently until 1956, first under the direction of Bulleid and Gray, and after Bulleid's retirement, of Gray alone.


The collection is concerned chiefly with the discovery, excavation and recording of the Glastonbury lake village: notes, sketches and photographs (both prints and original negatives) survive in large quantity, as do drafts and proofs of Bulleid and Gray's The Glastonbury Lake Village (1911/1917), perhaps the first great landmark in Somerset archaeology, and one of the most important works in the history of systematic archaeological recording. A considerable amount of correspondence beginning in the 1890's testifies to the interest and excitement aroused by the discoveries at Glastonbury, and reflects Bulleid's association with such men as John Morland, Gen. Pitt-Rivers, Robert Munro, Professor Boyd Dawkins, Arthur Evans, Wilfrid Jackson, and H.S.L.(Stephen) Dewar. The collection also records the sometimes difficult relationship of Bulleid and Gray, beginning with Gray's first letter to Bulleid in 1897, when he proposed a visit to the Glastonbury lake village, and ending 54 years later with Gray's somewhat reticent obituary of his old colleague.


Though the excavations at Meare are inadequately represented, notes and papers relating to Bulleid's other archaeological and antiquarian interests survive relatively well. The collection also contains a small group of family papers and photographs.


The collection had been roughly bundled and arranged before deposit - chiefly by Mary Flower, daughter of Sir Cyril Flower - and many abstracts of letters had been prepared. With some minor adjustments, original bundling has been respected in the following catalogue.




GLV = Glastonbury Lake Village


MLV = Meare Lake Village


GLV = A. Bulleid and H. St. G. Gray, The Glastonbury Lake Village, vols. i (1911) and ii (1917).


MLV = A. Bulleid and H. St. G. Gray, The Meare Lake Village, vol. i (1948)


PSANHS = Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.

Date: 1849-1975
Held by: Somerset Heritage Centre (South West Heritage Trust), not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Bulleid, Arthur, 1862-1951, archaelogist and doctor, of Glastonbury

Physical description: 1309 items; 24 bundles; 30 volumes; 7 documents; 4 boxes; 1 roll
Immediate source of acquisition:

C/1841; S/1297; S/1705

  • Glastonbury, Somerset
  • Meare, Somerset

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