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Camelot

There are many legends and folk tales that talk of the location of Camelot, the home of 'King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table'. Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote that Arthur held court at Caerleon (Gwent, Wales UK) which was based on many Celtic legends. The town of Caerleon was the location of a Roman fortress built around AD74 and the headquarters of the Second Augustan Legion. Its location on the borders of Wales and England made it a place often fought over by the Saxons, Vikings and Welsh. It was when the Norman's invaded into Wales that a castle was built here. Unfortunately all that remains is a mound.

Another very plausible place is called 'Cadbury Castle' (it is free to explore and accessible by foot and commands an excellent view across the surrounding countryside). The castle is located roughly 12 miles from Glastonbury town (See Glastonbury). Although it can not be historically proven to be the home of Camelot, archaeologists can confirm that during the sixth-century (some Arthurian researchers suggest this to be the period when King Arthur lived), the hill was turned into a reinforced earth defence with stone and timber, making it a very secure stronghold. Not to the romantic scale that Hollywood movie industry (USA) would have us believe though. The warrior chieftain's name that was behind all the fortification work will probably never now be known, but the folklore tells us some interesting information.

The hill was according to legend said to be hollow, where King Arthur and his Knights sleep waiting to be called upon by Britain again. It was also said that on Midsummer's Eve a hole appears in the hillside and the Knights ride their horses down to drink the water from a spring near the church in Sutton Montis although this event according to others actually happens only every seven years. This date is significant in the story of 'Lancelot' (See Lancelot) a medieval creation but perhaps noted as being knighted on Midsummer Day in legend for an associated reason.

Another village near Cadbury Castle Hill is 'Queen Camel' and it has been suggested that this may have been the location of the 'Battle of Camlan' (See also Avalon). Stories have over the centuries drawn together folklore, legend and history all of which are now so intertwined.

Camelot appears in many famous texts including Shakespeare's 'King Lear', Act II, Scene 2, and in Tennyson's 'The Lady of Shallot':-

'On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot.'