Christine Chapman, 1939–2012

(as remembered by Jim Nagel)
I’ll add updates to this page as people send them to me, so check back in a few days

Funeral Monday September 3 at St John’s, Glastonbury


Christine-at-Tor-c1970.jpg -
78Kb Anyone who lived in Glastonbury between about 1968 and 1974 will remember Christine Chapman. She was one of the first few to take up residence in rustic caravans here during the flower-power years. (Remember Muz Murray of Gandalf’s Garden in the King’s Road, Chelsea?)

Christine died on August 20 at the age of 73; she had suffered a stroke about eight years ago. Although they have lived in other parts of the country for many years, her family want to honour her love of Glastonbury by laying her to rest here. Her funeral was at St John’s church at 11:30 on Monday September 3.

She was buried in sight of the Tor at the Westcombe Hill Nature Reserve near Somerton, in a lovely wicker coffin woven with purple bands, her signature colour, while Josie and Bella, her granddaughters (who inherited Christine’s hair), sent rainbow bubbles aloft. Family and friends gathered afterwards at the Rifleman’s Arms in Glastonbury, which was their favourite pub, to share stories and remember Christine.
[Note correction: I was in error when I told some people the wake would be at the George&Pilgrim.]

Robin Chapman, her husband, rang me out of the blue to tell me the date. I have been trying to put the word around.

How I remember Christine

Christine was one of the first three people I met when I arrived in Glastonbury from Canada in 1970. She and Robin lived in two old caravans parked on the Godney road near the ancient Lake Village site; their neighbours were Liza (who became Anna Herbert) and, across the road, Bill and Corrine Goodall. Before going to the Glastonbury festival at summer solstice 1971 — the first festival at Worthy Farm in Pilton — most of them moved their caravans to “Cinnamon Lane” (actually Kennard Moor Drove alongside the River Brue) to be safer from rednecks throwing rocks from cars. The old Glastonbury borough council dumped lorryloads of dried sewage sludge on the verge of the Godney road to prevent their return.

Christine had a son Tony and then she and Robin had two more sons, Aidan and Rowan. They lived in Northload Street for a time and moved to Haslemere in Surrey about 1975, where Christine found a job as a cleaner for a farm-owner named ... Alison Collyer. This was the connection that eventually led to Alison’s move to Glastonbury in 1980 and the founding of Green Lands Farm, which became another famous chapter in Glastonbury history.

Aidan, the middle son, became a master baker, inspired by a teenage job in the local bakery at Haslemere. He now runs his own fine bakery in Weymouth, Dorset. His parents followed him from Haslemere to Dorset about 12 years ago. Tony still lives near Haslemere; Rowan lives at Worthing.

sign2-400.png - 5Kb Three generations of Christine’s family stayed together at the George&Pilgrim inn in Glastonbury for the nights before and after the funeral. The choice of venue was appropriate: Christine worked at the G&P back in the early 1970s when its front door bore that famous sign: HIPPIES WILL NOT BE ADMITTED. Christine was not afraid of Elsebee Richardson, the ferocious landlady with her imperious cigarette-holder downstairs. Neither did she fear the G&P ghost upstairs — she told co-workers: “Just take Jesus with you.”

I remember Christine with long blonde hair, gentle voice, long skirts and flowing movements like a dancer — an archetype of the Age of Aquarius: her birthday was January 31. The photo on this page of Christine at the Tor dates from about 1970 — perhaps someone reading this has other photos from back then to share.

— Jim Nagel