Camelot – Possible Locations of the Legendary Court

There is still a debate among scholars about whether or not King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table really existed. The legends portray him as a great warrior and respected king leading Britain in the defence against Saxon invaders in the 5th or 6th century.

The stories claimed that he kept court at a fantastic location known as Camelot. Scholars that believe in Arthur as a real king have very little information about the castle itself, and much of the speculation is based on ancient writing. It is said to have been located in Britain, along a river which was surrounded by plains and forests. Within the castle there was even a chapel, St. Stephen’s, where the knights worshipped.

Historians have decided that Camelot might have been housed in a number of places, including:

  1. Tintagel Castle

shutterstock_188009135This castle was located on the peninsula of Tintagel in Cornwall, England. Legend states that Uther Pendragon, the King of Britain, fell in love with Arthur’s mother and deceived her into sleeping with him by having a spell cast in order to make him look like her husband. Arthur was conceived at Tintagel, and subsequently born there.

The site currently has the ruins of a castle built during the 1100s, which would not have been Camelot. The setting, however, fits the description of the castle exterior and in the 1980s a 1500 year old piece of slate was found on the site which linked Arthur to the location. This was enough proof for some scholars to decide that Tintagel had been the king’s stronghold.

  1. Cadbury Castle

Cadbury castle is located on an Iron Age hill fort near Yeovil in Somerset, and was said by John Leland to be Camelot. Archaeological finds show a Great Hall that became a defence site, which had been re-fortified from what was left of the Iron Age protection.

shutterstock_397253221There are also signs of wealth and trade, which suggest that this is a location which would be fit for a king to reside in. The names of many of the places in the surrounding areas are also in his honour, such as: the well at the site is called Arthur’s Well, Arthur’s Palace is the highest point on the hill and the King Arthur’s Hunting Track links Cadbury Castle to Glastonbury Tor, which is also a location shrouded in mystery.

  1. Winchester Castle

Located in Hampshire, Thomas Malory named Winchester as Arthur’s Camelot. As the writer of Le Morte d’Arthur, one of the most famous books about the king, his opinion is greatly respected. In the castle’s Great Hall, there is a round wooden table top displayed, which has the names of King Arthur and 24 knights painted on it.

None of these castles have been proven to be the location of Camelot, but they all are associated with the famous king. As excavations and research continue, the mystery surrounding the great court may eventually be solved.

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