Locations associated with Arthurian legend

The following is a list and assessment of sites and places associated with King Arthur and the Arthurian legend in general. Given the lack of concrete historical knowledge about one of the most potent figures in British mythology, it is unlikely that any definitive conclusions about the claims for these places will ever be established; nevertheless it is both interesting and important to try to evaluate the body of evidence which does exist and examine it critically. The earliest association with Arthur of many of the places listed is often surprisingly recent, with most southern sites' association based on nothing more than the toponymic speculations of recent authors with a local prejudice to promote.

Burial placesEdit

  • Mount Etna,[1] the burial place of King Arthur according to Flouriant et Florete, Guillem de Torroella and Gervase of Tilbury.
  • Wormelow Tump, Herefordshire, the burial place of King Arthur's son Amr according to local legend; the mound was flattened to widen the road in 1896.[2]
  • It has been suggested[who?] that the burial place of Tristan is in Douarnenez (in the island named Ile Tristan) and that of King Marc on the Menez-Hom, a small hill in the parish of Dineault.[citation needed]
  • Another contender for Arthur's resting place is the Eildon Hills, Roxburghshire.
  • Amidst the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey are tombstones claiming to mark the final resting place of Arthur and Guinevere. Glastonbury, which was once surrounded by water, is believed by some to be the Isle of Avalon, the place where the dying Arthur was destined to be healed; if this is the case, it follows that Arthur would be brought to the abbey to receive medical attention. However, Arthur's wounds were fatal, and therefore he was buried near the abbey, south of the Lady Chapel.[3] It is said that in the 12th century, monks who wanted to raise money for the abbey dug up two sets of bones (presumably Arthur's and Gwynevere's) from that location and moved them into the abbey in order to attract pilgrims. The bones were supposedly unearthed within a large oak coffin inscribed with the words, "Here lies Arthur buried in Avalon."[4]
  • Richmond Castle. In the tale of Potter Thompson, Arthur and his knights sleep in a hidden cavern under the castle built by Alan Rufus.[5]

Arthur's courtsEdit

The following are real places which are clearly identifiable in historical texts and which are mentioned in Arthurian legend and romance as being places used by Arthur to hold court. In the romances, Arthur, like all medieval monarchs, moves around his kingdom.

Unidentified sitesEdit

CamelotEdit

Various places have been identified as the location of Camelot, including many of those listed above. Others include:

  • Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, where there is evidence of high-status buildings in the 5th and 6th centuries.[6][7] A sea cave below the castle is known as Merlin's Cave.
  • Winchester, Hampshire, is specifically identified as Camelot by Thomas Malory. William Caxton, in his preface to Malory's book, said that the Round Table itself was at Winchester Castle, and that anyone who wished to see it could go there.
  • Camelon, near Falkirk, which was spelled Camelo prior to the 19th century.
  • Cadbury Castle, Somerset, an Iron Age hill fort referred to as a location for Camelot by John Leland in 1542. "At the very south end of the church of South-Cadbyri standeth Camallate, sometime a famous town or castle. . .The people can tell nothing there but that they have heard Arthur much resorted to Camalat...". A well on the ascent is known locally as Arthur's Well, and the highest part of the hill is known as Arthur's Palace, these names being recorded as early as the late 16th century.
  • Colchester, a town in Essex (or its Roman antecedent Camulodunum), has been cited as one of the potential sites of Camelot. Though the name "Camelot" may be derived from Camulodunum (modern Colchester), the Iron Age capital of the Trinovantes, and later the provincial capital of Roman Britannia, its location close to England's east coast – and thus very close to the earliest Anglo-Saxon settlements – places it in the wrong Anglo-Saxon kingdom.
  • The ex-Roman fort of Camboglanna on Hadrian's Wall.
  • Campus Elleti in Glamorgan.
  • Caerwent.
  • Camelford, Cornwall.
  • Camaret, Brittany, France.
  • Saltwell Park in Gateshead.
  • Viroconium, Shropshire.
  • Chard, Somerset.
  • Graig-Llwyn near Lisvane.
  • Camlet Moat near Trent Park, by Enfield Chase, London.
  • Slack, near Huddersfield; as in Colchester, the Romans had a fort named Camulodunum here.
  • Cadbury Camp, Somerset.
  • Roxburgh Castle in the Scottish Borders, proposed by Alistair Moffat in his work Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms.
  • Chester Castle.

AvalonEdit

A possible location of Avalon consistent with the theory of a northern Arthur, is the Roman fort of Aballava. Aballava, also called Avallana, was at the western end of Hadrian's Wall near the modern settlement of Burgh-by-Sands, Cumbria.

Reputed Arthurian battle sitesEdit

Twelve of Arthur's battles were recorded by Nennius in Historia Brittonum.

Places with other associations to Arthurian legendEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Loomis, Roger Sherman Wales and the Arthurian Legend, pub. University of Wales Press, Cardiff 1956 and reprinted by Folcroft Press 1973, Chapter 5 King Arthur and the Antipodes, pps. 70-71.
  2. ^ Goodwin, Nicola (13 November 2014). "Places - Arthurian Connections". BBC Hereford & Worcester. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  3. ^ "King Arthur & Avalon". Glastonbury Abbey. Glastonbury Abbey & Happy Hare Media. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  4. ^ "History and Archaeology". Glastonbury Abbey. Glastonbury Abbey & Happy Hare Media. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Legend of Richmond Castle". Historic UK. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Archaeologists Unearth the Secrets of Tintagel this Summer". English Heritage. 28 July 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  7. ^ Harley, Nicola (August 3, 2016). "Royal palace discovered in area believed to be birthplace of King Arthur". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Bowden Hillfort". West Lothian Archaeology Group. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  9. ^ Bruce, Christopher (1999). "Sicily". In The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8153-2865-6. Retrieved 24 May 2010.

SourcesEdit

External linksEdit