Segwarides

Securades, Seguarades, Segurades, Seguradez, Segures

An Arthurian knight who appears in the Vulgate romances, the Prose Tristan, and Malory, though possibly first appearing as Segures in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu.

In Palamedes, his father is Tarsin of Sorelois. The Vulgate Merlin relates how he fought alongside the northern kings in the early Saxon Wars and participated in a quest to learn the fate of Merlin.

In Vulgate Lancelot, he loved the Lady of Roestoc and wished to marry her, when she did not reciprocate his feelings, he declared war on her. The lady was championed by Gawaine, who fought and defeated Segwarides in single combat. The Prose Tristan says he was married, but was cuckolded by both Tristram and Bleoberis. Both knights defeated Segwarides in personal combat over his own wife, but when the choice, she chose to return to Segwarides.

Malory tells us that he was a moor, the son of King Esclabor, and the brother of Palamedes and Safir (Safere). Unlike Palamedes, Segwarides was christened. He fought in the Castle Perilous tournament, and helped Tristan defeat the giant Nabon the Black, ruler of the Isle of Servage. Tristan gave the island to Segwarides.

Malory may have two different Sirs Segwarides, but I am going on the theory that Palomides’ brother Segwarides, who was already christened by the time of Dame Lyonors’ tournament at Castle Dangerous, to which he came with his brothers, is the same Segwarides who appears in Cornwall, apparently having settled there in time to become embroiled with Tristram.

After first meeting La Beale Isoud in Ireland, Tristram returned to Cornwall. Before being sent back to Ireland to bring Isoud to Mark, and thus before drinking the love potion with her, the great knight had an affair with Sir Segwarides’ wife. Mark also was in love with this lady, and ambushed Tristram on his way to her one night. Tristram left Mark and his two helpers in sorry state, but was wounded himself and left some of his blood in his paramours’ bed. Finding it, Segwarides threatened his wife until she told him who her lover was. Segwarides pursued Tristram, was defeated (of course), and did not dare meddle with the great knight thereafter,

for he that hath a privy hurt is loath to have a shame outward.

After Segwarides’ recovery, but still before Isoud’s coming to Cornwall, Bleoberis de Ganis rode into Mark’s court one day and asked a boon. When Mark granted it, Bleoberis rode off with Segwarides’ wife. When Segwarides got wind of it, he set off after Bleboris and was wounded severly in the fight. Then Tristram followed anf fought Bleoberis until they decided to let the lady choose between them. She said that she would not return to Tristram, since he had not come to save her at once but had let her husband chase Bleoberis first. She begged Bleoberis to take her to the abbey where Segwarides lay wounded and Bleoberis obliged. So husband and wife were reconciled, at least outwardly, and the news of Tristram’s battle with Bleoberis “pleased Sir Segwarides right well.”

Much later, after Tristram’s marriage, when he, Isoud la Blanche Mains, and Kehydius were blown ashore near the Isle of Servage, Segwarides turned up again, traveling in the forest with an unnamed damsel. Segwarides greeted Tristram with the words:

I know you for Sir Tristram de Liones, the man in the world that I have most cause to hate, because ye departed the love between me and my wife; but as for that, I will never hate a noble knight for a light lady; and therefore, I pray you, be my friend, and I will be yours unto my power; for wit ye well ye are hard bestead in this valley, and we shall have enough to do either of us to succour other.

This is a masterpiece of reasoning.

And then Sir Segwarides brought Sir Tristram to a lady thereby that was born in Cornwall and she told him all the perils of that valley.

It was possibly the same damsel mentioned earlier as riding with Segwarides. It was the valley of the wicked Sir Nabon le Noire, and after killing him Tristram made Segwarides lord of the Isle of Servage.

Sir Segwarides turned up yet again, in company with the King of the Hundred Knights, riding by Joyous Garde when Tristram was living there with Isoud. Tristram and his friend were preparing for the Lonazep (Leverzep) tournament and, in som apparently lighthearted jousting, Segwarides unhorsed Gareth before, as it seems, joining the merry group in Joyous Garde. (If there are indeed two knights of this name in Malory, the Segwarides who unhorsed Gareth before Joyous Garde would probably be Palomides’ brother as distinct from the Segwarides of Cornwall.)

Segwarides was almost certainly a companion of the Round Table, like his brothers Palomides and Safere. He was killed during Lancelot’s rescue of the Queen from the stake, which is interesting, since both Palomides and Safere clove to Lancelot’s party.


See also
Segwarides’ Wife | The Legend of King Arthur