Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Glastonbury myths ~ King Arthur #Arthurian #myths #OurAuthorGang

I cannot remember a time when I have not been fascinated with the life and times of King Arthur and his Knights of The Round Table. I guess growing up a stone’s throw from Glastonbury (The Ancient Isle of Avalon) may have had something to do with that. Today I wanted to take a look at the death of this legendary hero.

La Mort d'Arthur By James Archer ~ Wikipedia

How did King Arthur die?

Arthur was mortally wounded at the Battle of Camlann. He was taken to Avalon, where he dies. His famous sword, Excalibur, was thrown back into the lake. A rather abrupt end for such a hero.

Let us fast forward to the 12th century. For Arthur's death, it seems, was only the beginning.

Glastonbury Abbey and King Arthur

A terrible fire had spread through Glastonbury Abbey, and unfortunately for the monks, they did not have the coffers to pay for the repairs.  If only they could encourage more pilgrims to come to the Abbey. What could they do? Pray to God and hope all would be well...?


Well, those monks of Glastonbury were nothing if not pragmatic. If they claimed to have discovered Arthur’s body then surely that would draw the crowds in? And more importantly, it would bring in the money.

Glastonbury Abbey

The timing could not have been more perfect for those monks. Geoffrey of Monmouth had just penned, The History of the Kings of Briton, and thanks to his book, Arthur fever had infected the nation.

If the monks wanted to claim ownership of Arthur then now was the time to do it.

Funnily enough, King Henry II told the Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey that
he knew the exact whereabouts of Arthur's body — for a Welsh barb had whispered in his ear. And the location was... You guessed it, Glastonbury Abbey.


Coincidence? I don't think so.

The monks dug in the exact location that the King described and sure enough they discovered a huge oak coffin beneath a lead cross bearing the inscription.

“Here lies King Arthur buried in Avalon.”

Inside the coffin, there were two bodies. A man and a woman. It is said that the woman’s golden hair crumbled away when the monks touched it.

This had to be Arthur and his Queen Guinevere. For the monks, it was like winning the lottery. Pilgrims travelled from afar to stand at the tombs of Arthur and Guinevere, and Glastonbury Abbey soon had more than enough money to make the repairs.

Digging up King Arthur

Fast forward to November 2015.

For four years a team of archaeologist dug in the grounds of the Abbey looking for Arthur’s grave. And what did they discover...?

Glastonbury Abbey

“With the other legends there is a possibility of genuine belief or misunderstanding, but with Arthur and Guinevere I’m afraid there can be no question – the monks just made them up.”
Roberta Gilchrist, professor of archaeology at the University of Reading

You can read the full article of Roberta Gilchrist findings here.

In four years those archaeologist debunked a thousand years of history. But the truth, I think, is even more fascinating.

Glastonbury Abbey ~ Pixabay

Unless otherwise stated all images are my own.

If you fancy travelling back in time and finding out what happened after the death of King Arthur, then why not check out The Du Lac Chronicles...

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