Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Is Caerleon the real Camelot?

'Camelot' by bikerblue61 @ da
When I was growing up my parents used to take us to stay with a family friend who lived in Caerleon, in south Wales. It was a place that, to this day, I associate with an element of magic and mystery, which I probably sensed from the Roman remains, which included an impressive amphitheatre. Some of my strongest memories from that place are of trudging amongst the ruins, and drinking cranberry juice in the garden of The Hanbury Arms (I used to think it was funny that 'cranberry' sounds like 'Hanbury'...)

But the other day I discovered that Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote the fantastically inaccurate Historia Regum Britanniae, believed that Caerleon, an important town to the Romans...was also the court of King Arthur. Although I haven't read it for myself, (yet) apparently Thomas Malory even has Arthur crowned at 'Carlion' in his retelling of the legend, Le Morte D'Arthur. 

And, even more exciting for the girl who once sat there and drank cranberry juice, Alfred Lord Tennyson actually stayed at The Hanbury Arms while he was writing The Idylls of the King

Why are so many people flooding to Glastonbury Tor in search of Avalon when they could go to Caerleon for Camelot?!

Unsurprisingly, this has re-ignited the flame that I burn out of love for Arthurian legend! If anyone would like to recommend any Arthurian literature, TV, artwork, anything, then please leave me a comment with your suggestions!

And, if you're interested, you can read my earlier review/discussion of the TV show Camelot and thoughts on keeping Arthurian legends alive...


  1. I want to go see Caerleon now. Arthurian tales were always on the fringes of my fantasy interest - I love each and every tale I've read, but never got around to fully exploring it as deeply as I wanted. I should probably add that to my list of things to do!

    I tried to rack my brain for suggestions for you, but the only thing I can actually remember the name/author of right now are the Lost Years of Merlin series by T.A. Barron, and that was all focused on Merlin and not Arthur.

  2. I'd highly recommend Gerald Morris' "Squire's Tale" series. They are very bite-sized young adult novels that are both very well-researched, but also completely hilarious. It's like a historically accurate version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail :-P

  3. Thank you both so much! And Storm, I love Merlin so I'll definitely check it out :) I don't know if either of you have seen any of the BBC series 'Merlin' but it's light hearted entertainment, easy to watch and have a giggle at :P