New Arrivals. As the Roman hold on
The Anglo-Saxons. These Germanic tribes are the "Anglo-Saxons" to whom we owe much of our tradition, language, and physical heritage. They poured in upon the Romanized Celts of England much as the Normans would do to them in later times, pushing the inhabitants of the island back into the hills of Wales and Cornwall, creating pockets of Celtic culture and language.
At first the British inhabitants fell back to the heights of the old Iron Age hill forts. There is evidence that many forts were reoccupied in the late 5th century. Gradually, however, even this struggle proved in vain, and the Germanic invaders settled throughout much of south, east, and northeast
The Roman warrior. It is during this push for settlement that the next and greatest British hero was born, the legendary King Arthur. Was King Arthur real? Not in the sense of the wonderful medieval romances popularized by Thomas Malory. There were no knights in shining armour searching for the Holy Grail in Arthur's company. In all likelihood there was no Round Table or Sword in the Stone. What there was instead was a very brave warrior, who may not even have been named Arthur, leading the remnants of romanised British resistance against a steady onslaught of foreign pagan invaders.
Conflicting claims. In researching this material I found definitively that Arthur was Welsh, Celtic, or Breton. That he fought the Saxons in the north, in the south, or in
The real Arthur (maybe). It seems that there was a war leader, whose name we do not know, who defeated the Saxons, checking their advance temporarily. In later years people remembered this leader with longing; "Oh, if we only had ... to lead us now". Eventually the name Arthur adhered to this folk memory, and his list of accomplishments grew. Arthur is in many ways greater because we do not know the truth.
The real Arthur may have been a man named Ambrosius Aurelianus, or perhaps his war leader, who defeated the Saxons in a major battle we know as Mount Badon, (which may possibly be South Cadbury, in Somerset) halting their advance for as long as forty years. In the end, however, the superior might and numbers of the Saxons and their allies were too much for the islanders, and Arthur's efforts became little more than a historical footnote. A terrifically romantic and exciting footnote though, for Arthur and his deeds were woven like a silk thread into the fabric of myth and legend in which Celtic storytellers delight.
There are two main streams of legend that surround
Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph was the Biblical figure who took Jesus' body after the crucifixion. According to some legends he was actually Jesus' uncle, and had visited
At any rate, when Jesus died, Joseph thought it prudent to flee
When Joseph came to
Joseph was said to have established the first church in England at Glastonbury, and archaeological records show that there may well have been an extremely early Christian church here. What happened to the Holy Grail? Some legends have it that Joseph buried the Grail at the foot of Glastonbury Tor, whereupon a spring of blood gushed forth from the ground. There is a well at the base of the Tor, Chalice Well, and the water that issues from it does indeed have a reddish tinge to it, from the iron content of the water.
Other legends have it that the Holy Grail was interred with Joseph when he died, in a secret grave. The search for the mysterious Grail emerges again and again in the tales of
King Arthur and
The association of Arthur and Glastonbury goes back at least to the early Middle Ages. In the late 12th century the monks of
Glastonbury Tor, the enigmatic conical hill that rises above
One final myth of Arthur at
’s Camelot - by Michael J Young London
Alfred, Lord Tennyson was the first English writer to be awarded an hereditary title for his work. Author of many poems of great beauty and deep thought, an early supporter of women’s rights and grown from humble beginnings, as one of eleven children of a clergyman, he became
This is the man whose writings launched the modern myth movement that surrounds the legendary 5th/6th century King Arthur, his court at Camelot, Guinevere, Merlin the Magician, Sir Lancelot and the other Knights of the Round Table, and the quest for the Holy Grail - to mention just a few aspects - that are at the heart of today’s worldwide Arthurian industry. The study of the Arthurian legends brings together scholars, academics, romantics, realists, writers, educationalists, New-Agers, publishers, researchers and many others, in a whirlpool of theories, symbols, disputed facts, speculation, conjecture, individual interpretation and on-going investigation.
Tennyson’s epic story about King Arthur and Camelot was the beautifully written Idylls of the King.
The first of these 12 Arthurian poems was published in 1859. Tennyson’s poetic development of the legends that sprang from the Celtic origins of Camelot - believed by some to have been located at Caerleon-on-Usk, in what is now South Wales, or as proposed by Sir Thomas Malory, in his 15th century literary work"Le Morte d’Arthur", in Winchester, Hampshire - was not well received by some mid-19th century critics. But the Idylls proved enormously popular with the public and have been the source of great interest and study ever since.
It’s not surprising that many mythical connections with the Arthurian legends are encountered throughout southern
It is interesting to note that one of the locally recorded 17th century references to the location traces its ownership back to the family of medieval knight Sir Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, stories of whom abound in the area and whose ghost has been seen to appear in the neighbourhood on several occasions over past centuries.
In 1190 when the monks of Glastonbury claimed to have discovered the bodies of both King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, they produced as proof of the bodies’ identification a leaden cross inscribed "Here lies buried the renowned King Arthur with Guinevere his second wife, in the Isle of Avalon." Many years later, in the18th century, this cross disappeared.
The December 17th, 1981 edition of the Enfield Advertiser newspaper carried a report that an inscribed lead cross, bearing the name of King Arthur and described as "possibly a long lost amulet from the tomb of King Arthur", had been found in the grounds of Forty Hall, Enfield, just three miles from Camlet Moat. The discovery went on to receive major media attention from the Press and television in
About the author
Michael James Young is a London, England-based writer/photographer with a special interest in travel, leisure, and recreation- tel. 020 8449 8263 / fax 020 8440 8315) - email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Feb 22 2001
Article © 2001 Michael J. Young
The "facts ", at least one romantic version of them, are these. In the time of Richard the Lionhearted a minor noble of Nottinghamshire, one Robin of Loxley, was outlawed for poaching deer. Now at that time the deer in a a royal forest belonged to the king, and killing one of the king's deer was therefore treason, and punishable by death.
So Robin took to the greenwood of
Someone, or maybe several someones, named Robin Hood existed at different times. Court records of the
One thing to note about the early legends is that Robin Hood was not an aristocrat, as he was later portrayed, but a simple yeoman driven to a life of crime by the harsh rule of the law of the rich. As such, it is easy to see how his story soon became a favourite folk tale among the poor.
There is, in the grounds of Kirklees Priory, a old grave stone, marking the final resting place of one "Robard Hude". Proof that part of the tale may be true? It would be nice to think so.
For a thorough examination of the Robin Hood legend, spend some time at these fascinating web sites:
Robin Hood Ltd
Robin Hood -- Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood
The Robin Hood Project
The Mabinogion is not one myth but a collection of stories gleaned from the traditions of Welsh bards and storytellers over many centuries. They were passed from one bard to another until anonymously collated in the 12th century. Later versions were written down in the White Book of Rhydderch (now in the Welsh National Library) and the Red Book of Hergest (now preserved at
The Mabonogi (the name means alternately "a story for children" or "a bard's tale" depending on whose translation you prefer) are comprised of 4 branches, entitled "Pwyll", "Branwen", Manawydan", and "Math". Aside from these four branches there are another 8 individual tales in the British and French style. Taken together, these tales of heroes and stirring deeds depict a Celtic vision of enchantment and romance that moves effortlessly between the physical landscape of
In some of the later stories King Arthur appears, though certainly not in the guise of the chivalrous knight known to modern readers. He is a giant, whose deeds involve ridding
Here are some short summaries of several popular tales of the Mabinogion.
Olwen was the daughter of Hawthorn, king of the race of giants. She was so beautiful that any who beheld her were filled with love. Wherever this maiden stepped, four white trefoils grew, which is reflected in her name - Olwen meaning "she of the White Track".
The hero Eilhwch decides that he will find and wed this beautiful maiden, despite the warning that no one ever returned from such a quest alive. In order to win his love, Eilhwch is set a series of heroic (read impossible) tasks by Olwen's father. [Note the similarity to the Hercules myth - that hero was also set twelve seemingly impossible tasks to perform, which he proceeded to do].
Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, took a fancy one day to sit on a mound at Narberth (
Pwyll decided to pursue her himself, but again, no matter how fast he rode, he was unable to catch up to her. Finally, he called out to her, telling her that he loved her. Instantly she stopped, declaring with some humour that "it were better for the horse" that he called out sooner. The Lady Rhiannon said that her family was forcing her to marry someone against her wishes, but now she would have Pwyll or no-one. Sure enough, after many more adventures they were wed.
Branwen and the Invasion of
Bran, the King of
The Irish held their peace, but when they had treturned to
A note: Bran's castle is reputed to be at Harlech (not the much later
Maxen Wledig, Emperor of
Maxen Wledig had a dream in which he beheld a beautiful maiden who sat upon a golden throne. When he awoke he sent his servants out far and wide, and eventually they found the maiden in