Legends of the part played by Joseph of Arimathea in the conversion of Britain are closely connected with Glastonbury, the monks of which foundation showed, in the 12th century, considerable literary activity, and it seems a by no means improbable hypothesis that the present form of the Grail legend may be due to a monk of Glastonbury elaborating ideas borrowed from Fecamp. This much is certain, that between the Saint-Sang of Fecamp, the Volto Santo of Lucca, and the Grail tradition, there exists a connecting link, the precise nature of which has yet to be determined.
According to the legends which grew up under the care of the monks, the first church of Glastonbury was a little wattled building erected by Joseph of Arimathea as the leader of the twelve apostles sent over to Britain from Gaul by St Philip. About a hundred years later, according to the same authorities, the two missionaries, Phaganus and Deruvianus, who came to king Lucius from Pope Eleutherius, established a fraternity of anchorites on the spot, and after three hundred years more St Patrick introduced among them a regular monastic life.
In both cases the romance follows the prose rendering of Borron's Joseph of Arimathea and Merlin, and precedes a Mort Artus, thus forming part of a complete cycle.
There the cave was discovered in which Joseph of Arimathea had laid the body of Jesus; and above this cave and the .Hill of the Crucifixion the imposing church of the Holy Sepulchre was built (A.D.