Tuesday 24 November 2020

A Flavour of Tintagel Castle and the Story of King Arthur

Today a story and photos of King Arthur's Castle at Tintagel which sits high on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic.

So what is the connection with King Arthur?

 It is often said that King Arthur was conceived and born at the castle, but the story is not that simple.

At the time Uther Pendragon was the king of parts of England and he got the hots for - I mean he fell in love with Ygerna (or Ygraine or Igraine), wife of Gorlois (or Gerlas), Duke of Cornwall.

At a Feast Day Uther made it clear to Ygerna that he intended to have his way with her - in the nicest possible way. This made her husband a bit miffed, to say the least, so he took Ygerna to the fortified castle at Tintagel to keep her safe from the clutches of Uther.

So Uther had a problem but Merlin, the magician or wizard, came to his assistance.

With a magic spell or two Uther was disguised as Ygerna's husband.

Uther therefore was able to access Ygerna's bedchamber and to her in the biblical sense - and Arthur was conceived.

It seems that Gorlois died, or was killed, shortly after this earth moving event, so Uther and Ygerna were able to marry, thus legalising Arthur's birth.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson had a much simpler version. In his Idylls of the King, he describes how Atlantic waves brought the infant Arthur to the shore and Merlin then carried him to safety. Thus the cave at Tintagel has since been associated with Merlin and Arthur.

It's interesting to be surrounded by history and legends for a short while. Did King Arthur really walk these cliffs, along with his Knights of the Round Table - and what about the magician, Merlin - so many mysteries.

Of course there are always spoil sports who will claim that the castle was built after King Arthur was born and that the site was formerly a Celtic monastery.

Such is life, so full of mystery.

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  1. A very interesting story and post from you Mike and supported by lovely photo's too. I particularly liked the photo with all the flowers on the cliff sides.
    I've heard of the legend of King Arthur and it's connections to Cornwall but never the details which are part of the Cornish myths & legends. Whether it's true or if Arthur even existed is irrelevant, we need stories like this to divert our minds away from the very real things that are unfolding around us right now. 😃

  2. Thanks David. Yes, with what is happening now, we do need some magic to brighten our lives. I love these old stories about Arthur, and have been fascinated by him since a boy - the Knights of the Round Table and so on. It's good to get away from reality and all of the negativity in the media.

    Stay well.



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