Skip to main content
×
×
Home

‘King Arthur’ and Cadbury Castle, Somerset

  • Dai Morgan Evans (a1)
Abstract

The major excavations at Cadbury Castle, Somerset, which took place in the 1960s, owed their inspiration in part to the identification of the site as ‘Camelot’, thus forging an association with ‘King Arthur’. John Leland, the sixteenth-century antiquary, was the author of this identification and this paper considers how he might have arrived at this conclusion. Factors identified include the role in Tudor politics of ‘King Arthur’ and of the owners of the site – the Hastings family. Consideration of the evidence of later writers on the site, both national and local, shows their almost total dependence on Leland's original description, but the evidence of the Hereford Mappa Mundi suggests a new dimension. It is suggested that the interpretation of the archaeology of the site would benefit from a clearer understanding of John Leland's description and of Tudor and Stuart activity at the site.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Airs, M 1995. The Tudor and Jacobean Country House: A Building History, Stroud
Alcock, L 1972. By South Cadbury is that Camelot’: The Excavation of Cadbury Castle 1966–1970, London
Alcock, L 1995. Cadbury Castle, Somerset: The Early Medieval Archaeology, Cardiff
Anglo, S 1968. Spectacle, Pageant and Early Tudor Policy, Oxford
Aubrey, J 19801982. Monumenta Britannica: or, A Miscellany of British Antiquities by John Aubrey (ed Fowles, J), 2 vols, Sherborne
Barrett, J C, Freeman, P W M and Woodward, A 2000. Cadbury Castle, Somerset: The Later Prehistoric and Early Historic Archaeology, Engl Heritage Archaeol Rep 20, London
Bates, E H 1900. The Particular Description of the County of Somerset. Drawn up by Thomas Gerard of Trent, Somerset Rec Soc 15, London
Batten, J 1870. ‘Somersetshire Sequestrations (Part 2)’, Somerset Archaeol Natur Hist, 16, 1334
Beer, B L 2004. ‘John Stow (1524/5–1605)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (eds Matthew, H C G and Harrison, B), 52, 982–6, Oxford
Bendall, S 2004. ‘John Speed (1551/2–1629)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (eds Matthew, H C G and Harrison, B), 51, 771–3, Oxford
Bennett, J A 1890. ‘Camelot’, Somerset Archaeol Natur Hist, 36, 119
Biddle, M 2000. King Arthur's Round Table, Woodbridge
Camden, W 1586. Britannia, 1st edn, London
Camden, W 1610. Britain, or a chorographical description of the most flourishing kingdomes, England, Scotland and Ireland… translated… by Philémon Holland, London
Carley, J P 1986. ‘John Leland and the contents of English pre-Dissolution libraries: Glastonbury Abbey’, Scriptorium, 40, 107–20
Carley, J P 1988. Glastonbury Abbey, Woodbridge
Carley, J P 2001. ‘The discovery of the Holy Cross of Waltham at Montacute, the excavation of Arthur's Grave at Glastonbury Abbey and Joseph of Arimathea's burial’, in Carley (ed) 2001, 303–8
Carley, J P (ed) 2001. Glastonbury Abbey and the Arthurian Tradition, Cambridge
Carley, J P 2004. ‘John Leland (?1503–52)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (eds Matthew, H C G and Harrison, B), 33, 297301, Oxford
Carpenter, D 2003. The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066–1284, London
Chandler, J 1993. John Leland's Itinerary: Travels in Tudor England, Stroud
Christiansen, P 2004. ‘John Selden (1584–1654)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (eds Matthew, H C G and Harrison, B), 49, 694705, Oxford
Costen, M 1992. The Origins of Somerset, Manchester
Craig, D H c 1985. Sir John Harington, Boston, Mass.
Cross, C 1966. The Puritan Earl: The Life of Henry Hastings, Third Earl of Huntingdon, 1536–1595, London and New York
Cross, C 1969. The Letters of Sir Francis Hastings 1574–1609, Somerset Rec Soc 69, Frome
Davey, J E 2005. The Roman to Medieval Transition in the Region of South Cadbury Castle, Somerset, BAR Brit Ser 399, Oxford
Drayton, M 1612. Poly-Olbion, London
DeCoursey, C 2004. ‘Edmund Howes (1602–31)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (eds Matthew, H C G and Harrison, B), 28, 515, Oxford
Dumville, D N 1977. ‘Sub-Roman Britain:history and legend’, History, new ser, 62, 173–92
Freeman, P W M 2000. ‘Antiquarian and archaeological research 1542–1965’, in Barrett et al. 2000, 68
Girouard, M 1966. Robert Smythson and the Architecture of the Elizabethan Era, London
Gray, H St George, 1913. ‘Trial excavations at Cadbury Castle, South Cadbury, 1913’, Somerset Archaeol Natur Hist, 59, 124
Harris, J and Higgott, G 1989. Inigo Jones: Complete Architectural Drawings, The Drawing Center, New York
Harvey, J H (ed) 1969. William Worcestre: Itineraries, Oxford
Harvey, P D A 1996. Mappa Mundi: The Hereford World Map, Hereford
Herendeen, W H 2004. ‘William Camden (1551–1623)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (eds Matthew, H C G and Harrison, B), 9, 603–14, Oxford
Hunter, J 2003. ‘Taliesin at the court of Henry VIII. Aspects of the writings of Elis Gruffydd’, Trans Honourable Soc Cymmrodorion, new ser, 10, 4156
Jones, T 1960. ‘A Welsh chronicler in Tudor England’, Welsh Hist Rev, i (1960–3), 117
Lloyd-Morgan, C 2001. ‘From Ynys Wydrin to Glasynbri: Glastonbury in Welsh vernacular tradition’, in Carley (ed) 2001, 161–77
McNulty, R 1972. Lodovico Ariosto's ‘Orlando furioso’. Translated into English Heroical Verse by Sir John Harington, Oxford
Mead, W E 1925. The Famous Historie of Chinon of England, by Christopher Middleton, to which is added The Assertion of King Arthure, translated by Richard Robinson from Leland's Assertio inclytissimi Arturii, together with the Latin original, Early Engl Text Soc, orig ser, 165, London
Morgan, P 1971. ‘Elis Grufudd of Gronant – Tudor chronicler extraordinary’, Flintshire Hist Soc J, 25, 920
Musgrave, W 1719. Belgium Britannicum in quo limites, fluvii, urbes…, London
Parsons, J C 2001. ‘The second exhumation of King Arthur's remains at Glastonbury, 19 April 1278’, in Carley (ed) 2001, 179–83
Pierce, H 2004. ‘Margaret Pole (1473–1541)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (eds Matthew, H C G and Harrison, B), 44, 706–9, Oxford
Piggott, S 1985. William Stukeky: An Eighteenth-century Antiquary, 2nd edn, London
Prescott, A L 2004. ‘Michael Drayton (1563–1631)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (eds Matthew, H C G and Harrison, B), 16, 894–8, Oxford
Radford, C A R and Cox, S J 19541955. ‘Cadbury Castle, South Cadbury’, Somerset Archaeol Natur Hist, 99/100, 106–13
Rivet, A L F and Smith, C 1979. The Place Names of Roman Britain, London
Simpson, J 1980. British Dragons, London
Speed, J 1676. Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain, London
Starkey, D 1998. ‘King Henry and King Arthur’, Arthurian Literature, 16, 171–96
Stow, J 1604. Summarie of the chronicles of England diligently collected, abridged and continued unto this present year of Christ, 1604 by John Stow, London
Stow, J 1631. Annales, or a general chronicle of England. Begun by John Stow, continued and augmented with matters forraign and domestique, unto the end of this present yeere 1631. By Edmund Howes, Gent., London
Stukeley, W 1724. Itinerarium Curiosum, or, An account of the antiquitys and remarkable curiositys in nature or art, observ'd in travels thro’ Great Brittan, 1st edn, London
Summerson, J 1966. The Book of Architecture of John Thorpe in Sir John Soane's Museum, Walpole Society, 40, London
Thomas, C 1969. ‘Are these the walls of Camelot?’ and ‘The quest for Arthur's Britain’, Antiquity, 43, 2730 and 138–40
Toulmin Smith, L (ed) 1907. The Itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535–1543, Parts I to [XI], I, London
Vinaver, E (ed) 1967. The Works of Sir Thomas Malory, 2nd edn, Oxford
Watts, V 2004. The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, Cambridge
Watkiss, L and Chibnall, M 1994. The Waltham Chronicle, Oxford
Westrem, D S 2001. Hereford Map: A Transcription and Translation of the Legends, with Commentary, Turnhout
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Antiquaries Journal
  • ISSN: 0003-5815
  • EISSN: 1758-5309
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquaries-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed