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‘King Arthur’ and Cadbury Castle, Somerset

  • Dai Morgan Evans (a1)

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.

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The Antiquaries Journal
  • ISSN: 0003-5815
  • EISSN: 1758-5309
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