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 reference to Arthur is in Aneirin's poem Y Gododdin (c. 594). While his fame may have increased in the intervening years, the facts about his life have become less discernible.
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.
- Mount Etna, the burial place of King Arthur by Flouriant et Florete, Guillem de Torroella, Gervase of Tilbury.
- Wormelow Tump, the burial place of King Arthur's son Amr according to local legend. Unfortunately the mound was flattened to widen the road in 1896.
- It has been suggested that the burial place of Tristan is in Douarnenez (in the island named Ile Tristan) and that of the king Marc on the Menez-Hom, a small hill in the parish of Dineault.
- 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 Gwynevere. 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. 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."
- Richmond Castle. In the tale of Potter Thompson, Arthur and his knights sleep in a hidden cavern under the castle built by Alan Rufus.
The following are real places which are clearly identifible in a text and which are mentioned in Arthurian legend and romance as being used by Arthur as a place to hold a court. In the romances Arthur, like all medieval monarchs, moves around his kingdom.
- Caerleon on-Usk in Newport in South Wales from Geoffrey of Monmouth.
- London in Geoffrey of Monmouth
- Quimper in the Lancelot romance
- Carlisle, Cumberland on the western edge of Hadrian's Wall (if Carlisle is really the Carduel of the romances).
- Carhaix in Les premiers faits du roi Arthur.
- Cardigan in Chrétien de Troyes
- St David's One of Arthur's three courts in the Welsh Triads.
- Stirling is named in Beroul's 12th century Romance of Tristan.
- Celliwig in Cornwall. Perhaps the earliest known description of a location of an Arthurian Court. Also in the Triads. Kelly Rounds near St Mabyn Cornwall is cited as one of the potential sites.
- Pen Rhionydd in the Welsh Triads is Arthur's Northern court, possibly near Stranraer in Rheged.
Various places which have been identified as the location of Camelot, including many of those listed above. Others include:
- Tintagel Castle, Tintagel, Cornwall. Also the home of Merlins Cave.
- Winchester is specifically described as being Camelot in Thomas Malory.
- Camelon, near Falkirk, which was spelled Camelo prior to the 19th century.
- Cadbury Castle 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; 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, England (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 Essex location close to the east coast - and so very close to the earliest Anglo-Saxon settlement - places it in the wrong Anglo-Saxon kingdom.
- The ex-Roman fort of Camboglanna on Hadrian's Wall
- Campus Elleti in Glamorgan
- Camelford in Cornwall
- Camaret in Brittany
- Camelon Fort at Falkirk
- Saltwell Park, in Gateshead
- Chard, Somerset
- Graig-Llwyn near Lisvane
- Camlet Moat near Trent Park, by Enfield Chase, London
- Slack, near Huddersfield, Like Colchester, the Romans had a fort named Camulodunum there.
- Cadbury Camp
- Roxburgh Castle in the Scottish Borders, proposed by Alistair Moffat in his work 'Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms'.
- Chester Castle in Chester
- The Isle of Arran
- Ile d'Aval near Lannion
- The city of Avallon in France
- The island of Sein
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 sites
- Battle at the mouth of the river Glein (1st battle), possibly River Glen, Northumberland or River Glen, Lincolnshire.
- Battles of the river Dubglas (2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th battles) in the region of Linnuis. Guesses for the river include the River Trent or the Ancholme. An alternative northern site is the Devil's Water at Linnels on Hadrian's Wall or the River Douglas, near Wigan. However, the strategic location of the River Douglas in Glen Douglas in Lennox, near the portage at Arrochar from Loch Long (the Loch of the Ships) to Loch Lomond, overlooked by Ben Arthur, make it the most likely location.
- Battle of the river of the Bassas (6th battle). Probably a reference to the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth, although possibly also relates to the middle River Witham at Bassingham, the homestead of Bassa's people. An alternative northern location is at Bassington on the River Aln in Northumbria, not far from the River Glen.
- Battle of Cat Coit Celidon (7th battle), possibly Caledonian Woods in the Scottish Lowlands.
- Battle of Fort Guinnon (the White Fort) (8th battle). Possibly the Binchester Roman fort. Or Wedale in southern Scotland.
- Battle of the City of the Legion (9th battle) Hypothesized sites for this battle include:
- Battle of Tibruit (the 10th battle), possibly the mouth of the river Avon near Bo'ness, Scotland, or near Dumfries.
- Battle of Agned (the 11th battle), probably near Edinburgh as Mount Agned was another term for Edinburgh, although possibly at the Roman fort Bremenium, near Rochester, Northumberland
- Battle of Mons Badonicus c. AD 496 (12th battle) The date, location, and contestants of this battle are a matter of considerable debate. Hypothesized sites for Mons Badonicus include:
- Battle of Camlann (Arthur's last and fatal battle) possibly fought in South Somerset or at Camboglanna near the western section of Hadrian's Wall. Alternatively, it has been speculated that could have been fought at Camelon in Falkirkshire or Cwm Llan on Snowdon.
Places with other associations to Arthurian legend
- Alnwick Castle is a contender for Lancelot's Castle Joyous Garde according to Malory.
- The castle of Joyeuse Garde in La Forest-Landerneau.
- Arthur's Seat
- Arthur's Stone, Herefordshire
- The convent at Amesbury in Wiltshire has been suggested as the place of banishment of Guinevere.
- Brocéliande forest is in Brittany
- The Arthur's cave, the Arthur's Castle and the Castle of Morgane in Huelgoat
- The Merlin's grave near Plounevez-Quintin
- The Arthur's hill the hill of Arthur's horse near Gourin in the French Black Mountains
- The lake of Viviane and Lancelot in Beaufort-en-Vallée, near Angers
- Carlisle: In Malory, Guinevere's affair with Lancelot was exposed at Carlisle and there she was sentenced to death.
- Carmarthen was the birthplace of Merlin according to Geoffrey of Monmouth. The name Carmathen is the anglicised form of the Welsh name for the town, 'Caerfyrddin', which means Merlin's fortress ("Caer"-Fortress, "Myrddin"-Merlin). There are many places surrounding Carmarthen with names associating it with Merlin such as Bryn Myrddin, "Merlin's Hill".
- Castle Dore is the Cornish castle where the story of Tristan is set
- Carhaix is the city where Tristan got married
- Dinas Emrys (Iron Age hill fort in Gwynedd said to have been a place of refuge of Vortigern and the site of Merlin's vision of the contest of the Red and White dragons).
- Dumbarton Castle, Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'Alclud.'
- King Arthur's Hall an enclosure or henge situated on Bodmin Moor Cornwall.
- Stonehenge is said to be the burial place of Ambrosius Aurelianus and Uther Pendragon.
- The Berth, near Baschurch in Shropshire, is reputed to be a possible burial place.
- Strait of Messina related to Morgan le Fay.
- Tintagel Castle in Cornwall (also said to be Arthur's birthplace by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It is also said to be the stronghold of the Dukes and Duchesses of Cornwall, namely Duchess, then Queen, Igraine (Ygraine, Ygerna) and Duke Gorlois.
- Mount Etna related to Morgan le Fay.
Tintagel Castle is a 13th Century construct whereas the Arthurian legends refer to the post-Roman/early Saxon era of the mid 5th Century making the two completely unrelated.
- "King Arthur & Avalon". Glastonbury Abbey. Glastonbury Abbey & Happy Hare Media. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- "History and Archaeology". Glastonbury Abbey. Glastonbury Abbey & Happy Hare Media. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- "Legend of Richmond Castle". Historic UK. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
- Bruce, Christopher (1999). "Sicily". In The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8153-2865-6. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
- Hunt, A. (2005). The magic of the cauldron. Vortigern Studies.
- Hunt, A. (2005). From Glein to Camlann: The life and death of King Arthur. Vortigern Studies.
- Robert Rouse and Cory Rushton, The Medieval Quest for Arthur, Tempus, Stroud, 2005 ISBN 0-7524-3343-1
- Map of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Britain, with quotes from Geoffrey, Siân Echard, University of British Columbia