The Legend of King Arthur has been around for over one thousand years and comes from literature written in the Middle Ages. Wales takes ownership of Arthurian legend as many books and poems written about Arthur were by Welsh clerics. There are many different stories written, however it is the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table that we know today.
Legend has it that King Uther Pendragon of Britain was desperate to produce an heir to carry on his name. He was in love with Lady Igraine of Cornwall, but she was already married, however the determination of the king proved successful and he was eventually to marry Lady Igraine, and together they had a child, Arthur, born at Tintagel Castle, Cornwall.
Britain was a prosperous kingdom, well ruled by King Uther, but Saxon unrest was to come.
To secure the safety of his son Arthur, the king placed him in the care of the wizard Merlin, with instructions that nobody should know the true identity of the baby. Merlin in turn placed Arthur in the care of Sir Ector at his castle in the country.
When King Uther died, many nobles believed they had the right to the throne of Britain, and while fighting over it, Britain went into disrepair. Nobody knew that King Uther’s son Arthur existed.
To determine the valid heir to the throne, the wizard Merlin erected an anvil atop a stone. Stuck into the anvil was a sword. The inscription stated ‘Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone is the right wise born king of all England’.
The stone lay for years, but none, not even the strongest of men could remove the sword, until one day when Arthur, still a young man tried. Arthur removed the sword with ease and was proclaimed King.
Arthur was only fifteen years of age when he became king, and many nobles were unhappy with this decision, however with the guidance and teachings of Merlin, Arthur was to become a wise and just king. He fought and won hostile invasions and bought peace to Britain and it thrived under his leadership. He became the ‘One true King of all Britain’.
Merlin worried that Arthur would fall in battle so he introduced him to the Lady in the Lake, a goddess, shapeshifter, healer and leader of Avalon.
The Lady in the Lake was the guardian of Excalibur, a magical sword and scabbard that rose up from under the lake and was given to Arthur to protect him in battle.
Arthur and his knights were to fight many battles against the Saxons to secure his kingdom and make it peaceful and prosperous.
The one thing Arthur did not have was a wife to share his kingdom. A chance meeting would lead to this changing, and Arthur was to marry Guinevere, the daughter of King Leodegrance. Merlin advised against the marriage by stating that he believed Guinevere would be unfaithful to Arthur, but he married her just the same.
The wise Merlin was correct, Guinevere was to have an affair with Sir Lancelot, one of the Round Table knights.
This affair would lead to the break-up of the Round Table and the death of Arthur.
Arthur pursued Guinevere and Lancelot to Wales and laid siege to Lancelot’s castle. Eventually he secured the return of Guinevere and the exile of Lancelot.
While on this campaign, Arthur had left his nephew Mordred in charge of his kingdom. When he returned, Mordred did not wish to return the kingdom and this led to the Battle of Camlann, where Arthur was mortally wounded.
Arthur although badly injured, travelled to the Isle of Avalon hoping to be healed. Mystery surrounds what happened to him. Some believe he died from his wounds and others believe he was healed and is now waiting for his moment to return.