In 1928, Father Francis Burdett of St Mary's church, commissioned Eric Gill to carve a 75cm high statue of Madonna and Child out of Portland stone for a niche on the outside of the west wall of the old church.
In 1927, Christopher Hollis, who was born in Wells, wrote a book about Glastonbury entitled “Glastonbury and England”, and it was dedicated to Father Burdett.
Following the demolition of the former church in 1938, the statue was placed in the convent garden. In 1940 it was purchased by a Cambridge Don, Mr William Mortlock,(1880-1950), who used it as a memorial on his wife Florence's (1888-1940) grave in Glastonbury cemetery.
Here it remained until 1982, when it was rediscovered and found to be by the famous sculptor and returned to St Mary's church. In 2003 it was recognised as a valuable Eric Gill statue and it was moved to a secure vault in Bristol. A half size copy was made by Garnesh Bhatt and is now located in Chalice Well gardens in Glastonbury.
In March 2011, the Eric Gill statue of Madonna and child returned to Glastonbury, and is on permanent display in the visitor centre of Glastonbury Abbey.