Meleagant, Meleagraunce, Meliagrant, Meliakanz, Meljacanz, Meljaganz, Meljahkanz, Miljanz, Milienc
The son of King Bagdemagus.
A scurrilous knight, he once abducted Guinevere and took her back to his own territory. There he was about to rape her, but his father prevented him from doing so. She was rescued by her champion, and lover, Sir Lancelot, who fought Meleagaunce and spared his life only after Bagdemagus had beseeched Guinevere to intercede. The combat was stopped, to be recommenced in a year’s time. Again, Bagdemagus begged for Meleagaunce to be spared when the two met on this second occasion.
As with many of the Arthurian legends, there are several different versions of what actually befell Meleagaunce. One says that he and Lancelot fought in single combat over Guinevere and Lancelot killed him. Whether this was on a first, second or subsequent occasion that the pair met is unclear. Another says that Meleagaunce actually imprisoned Lancelot, but was slain while the latter escaped.
A Welsh version of this story, which uses Meleagaunce’s Welsh name, Melwas, says that he was the ruler of Somerset, and carried off Guinevere to Glastonbury. Arthur (not Lancelot in this tale) laid siege to the town, but the Abbot and Gildas beseeched Melwas to return his captive, which he did.
Escavalon | The Legend of King Arthur