Explorations in Arthurian Legends

The Places

  • Almesbury: nunnery where Guinevere went after being rescued by Lancelot. Click here for more.
  • Astolat: land of Elaine and father Bernard and brother Lavaine. In Tennyson, both Gawain and Lancelot stay in Astolat, the former searching for the latter. Click here for more.
  • Avalon: the sacred island Arthur is said to have been taken to after receiving his mortal wound. It has never been positively placed in the geography, but the good folks in Glastonbury would have you believe that Glastonbury Tor, which was an island centuries ago, was Avalon. For more, click here and here and here.
  • Avilion: Tennyson's name for Avalon.
  • Bedegraine: forest that was the site of a battle between Arthur and his supporters and a group of enemies, including Lot, when the young Arthur first became king. Malory identifies this forest as being part of Sherwood Forest. Click here for more.
  • Benwick: kingdom ruled by Ban, father of Lancelot. Malory identifies Benwick as Bayonne and Beaune.
  • Broceliande: the mystical forest is mentioned in many of the tales, including those by Wace and Chretien. It is also the place, tradition holds, where Niniane held Merlin captive. In the heart of Britanny, which has its own distinct Arthurian tradition.

  • Cameliard: kingdom of Leodegrance, the father of Guinevere. Carolhaise was an important city in Cameliard. The Round Table came from Leodegrance as a gift to Arthur. Tennyson says Arthur fought his first great battle here and first saw Guinevere. Click here for more.
  • Camelot: the legendary court and capital of Arthur. A great many famous things happened here, including the sighting of the Grail, the adultery of Lancelot and Guinevere, and the rescuing of Guinevere by Lancelot. For more about the legend, click here and here and here and here.
  • Cornwall: many of the great Arthurian legends come from Cornwall and are associated with places there. King Mark ruled there. With Mark comes the story of Tristan and Isolde. Merlin is also said to be involved in many legends of Cornwall. Click here for a general history of the region.

  • Glastonbury: The good folks at Glastonbury claim that Arthur's (and Guinevere's) remains were found here in the 12th century. That claim notwithstanding, Glastonbury was the site of the first permanent British Christian community. Legend has it that the famous abbey was the inspiration of the community's first great leader, Joseph of Arimathea, not coincidentally the legendary bearer of the Holy Grail to Britain. For more, click here and here.
  • Joyous Gard: Lancelot's castle in the north. It was earlier and later called Dolorous Gard. Click here for more and here to read a poem about the castle.
  • Liones: kingdom ruled by Meliodas, Tristan's father, in some traditions and by Lot in others. It is also thought to have been confused with Lyonesse.
  • Lothian: land in Scotland. King was Lot, alternately supporter or foe of Arthur, depending on the source.
  • Lyonesse: the lost kingdom, said to be across the water. Often associated with Cornwall. Click here for more.

  • Stonehenge: the Giants' Dance (or Ring in Geoffrey), the circle of stones thought to be the burial place of many great British heroes, among them Uther Pendragon. For more, click here and here and here.
  • Tintagel: the legendary birthplace of Arthur, according to Geoffrey and subsequent romancers. In the Tristan stories, Tintagel Castle belongs to King Mark. For more, click here and here and especially here.
  • Waste Land: land created by the Dolorous Stroke. Only the Grail Knight's asking of the correct question could remove it. The Didot Perceval says it was all of Britain. Click here and here for more.
  • Winchester: Malory places Camelot here. The good folks at Winchester even have a Round Table that they say is Arthurian in nature. Click here and here for more.
Other relevant links

Encyclopedia of the Celts

Celtic Twilight's Arthurian Infopedia

Mystical WWW: Arthurian A2Z Knowledge Bank

Transformations of Celtic Mythology in Arthurian legend

Various and sundry place-names in the Arthurian tradition

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