Archives For Arthurian legends

Gustav Dore 1868 Illustration from 'Idylls of the King'

Gustav Dore 1868 Illustration from ‘Idylls of the King’

The idea of a lost city under the sea is an enduring and captivating myth! Atlantis has caught our collective imagination for a long time. Despite its status as a ‘myth’ there are always those who seek a reality to underpin it – and most would usually (deep down) want it to be true as well. So the lost land of Cornwall … are there really submerged towns and villages between Cornwall and the Scillies? We would love to think so….

During the reign of Alfred the Great (9th century) The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles were started (we know they were still being updated in the 12th century) and they detailed the history of the Anglo-Saxons (no surprises there). It is here that we get the first glimpse of a lost land. It was recored that on the 11th November 1099 the lands that bordered Cornwall were sunk beneath the waves during a terrible storm. Only one person survived (a Trevelyan) and he escaped by riding a white horse that rose from the waves. However, historical truth is a fickle and fragile thing and people have used the legend, forgotten it, resurrected it, changed it and generally made of it what they wish. Was the mainland connected to the Scillies? Did the sea levels change significantly over the centuries (or on one night as legend has it)? The Seven Stones Reef lies in the artea of Lyonesse and some refer to it as ‘The Town’ in memory of the many towns that were lost. In Mounts Bay there is said to be the remains of a sunken forest that can be seen at low tide. Fishermen occasionaly get parts of old building in their nets when trawling the area. And, of course, many have heard the muffled sounds of church bells ringing (there were said to have been 140 villages and churches) beneath the waves. Continue Reading…

Uther Pendragon, by Howard Pyle (1903)

Uther Pendragon, by Howard Pyle (1903)

Personally, I love Arthurian Legends and there are a few places where the legends are particularly strong. Cornwall, Wales, the West Country generally and, of course, Glastonbury have a good slice of the pie in that respect and just the word ‘Tintagel’ brings visions of a dark stomy night and the strange events surrounding Arthur’s conception … There are, of course, many stories and variations on stories that claim Tintagel as the place where Arthur was either conceived, or sometimes, where he was born. The ruin that stands at Tintagel now is medieval in origin, a 13th century fortification and stronghold of the Earls of Cornwall. It perches perilously on a tiny island linked to the mainland by a narrow bridge – not for the fainthearted! Arthur is not medieval though (late 5th and 6th centuries), although most of the tales do date from these times (which is why we tend to imagine him in armour surrounded by Knights). It was Geoffrey of Monmouth who kicked the whole thing off by writing his fictional account of the ‘History of the Kings of Britain’ in the 12th century and he made up all kinds of wonderful characters and tales that are now well and truly embedded in our ‘mythical history’. Incidentally, the tales concerning the Knight Lancelot and the Holy Grail stories were created by French writer Chr├ętien de Troyes, also in the 12th century. The tales thrived in the middle ages and are still immensely popular today. Generally, we love the idea of a King that unites us, inspires us and rules in a wise and fair way. If only …… Continue Reading…

Excalibur and Dozmary Pool

February 27, 2013

Bedevere throws Excalibur back into the Lake by Aubrey Beardsley

Bedevere throws Excalibur back into the Lake by Aubrey Beardsley


Dozmary Pool, close to Colliford Lake and the source of one of the tributaries of the River Fowey, sits within a Site of Special Scientific Interest near Bolventor of Bodmin Moor. The moor itself is full of wonderful tales, legends and ghost stories and Dozmary Pool seems to have more than its fair share. Continue Reading…