GLASTONBURY, England, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Many residents of Glastonbury climbed Wearyall Hill Thursday to view the vandalism inflicted on England's most famous tree, the Glastonbury Thorn.
Mayor John Coles told The Guardian what he found on the hilltop was a "sad, sad sight."
"The tree has been chopped down -- someone has taken a saw to it," he said. "Some of the main trunk is there but the branches have been sawn away. I am absolutely lost for words -- I just do not know why people would want to do this."
The Thorn, legend has it, grew from the staff of St. Joseph of Arimathea, who provided a tomb for Jesus after the crucifixion. Joseph is said to have hidden the Holy Grail in the Chalice Well, a Glastonbury spring, and King Arthur and Guinevere to be buried in Glastonbury Abbey.
Paul Fletcher, a trustee of the Chalice Well, said the tree will be replanted as it has in the past. There are a number of trees grown from cuttings of the one on the hill in Glastonbury.
On Dec. 8 every year, the vicar of St. John's Church cuts a sprig from the thorn in the churchyard and sends it to Queen Elizabeth II to decorate the royal table at Christmas dinner. That may be why Wednesday was selected for the vandalism, officials said.