Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Andred

Adreitte, Aldret, Andret, Andrew, Antret, Audret, Alebruno, Adriecche

Nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, cousin of Tristan.

In Béroul’s Tristan, he appears as a good friend of Tristan and Isolde, and he urges Mark not to banish Tristan from the court. In later versions, however, he seems to more or less fill the role at Mark’s court that Mordred filled at Arthurs, as a general rotter, spying on and ambushing his cousin. Jealous of Tristan’s prowess, Andred conspired and spread, through his paramour (Girida or Bessille), false news of Tristan’s death in order to get the land of Tristram. He was the one who eventually betrayed the affair between Tristan and Iseult to Mark.

He succeeded on several occasions. In the Prose Tristan, his final tattle leads to Mark’s murder of Tristan with a poisoned lance. The Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal tells us that Mark raped Andred’s wife, Ladiana, begetting Sir Meraugis.

In the Italian La Tavola Ritonda, Mark, despondent without his nephew and wife, slays Andred for his despicable behavior. In other versions, Andred is executed by Tristan’s friends after Mark’s death or is drowned while trying to board the ship bringing Isolde to the mortally wounded Tristan.

In Book XIX, 11, Malory mentions that

"all that were with King Mark that were consenting to the death of Sir Tristram were slain, as Sir Andred and many other"

(apparently by Sir Bellangere le Beuse). Edward Arlington Robinson, in his generally excellent Tristram, makes Andred a half-wit and transfers Tristan’s murder from Mark to Andred.

Malory’s Andred however, must have had some competence as a fighter, for, when the Saxons attacked under Elias, Andred led one of Mark’s three divisions in the battles of defense.

He hailed originally from Lincoln.


Sources
Tristan | Béroul, late 12th century
Tristrant | Eilhart von Oberge, 1170-1190
Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1230-1240
Prose Tristan | 1230-1240
La Tavola Ritonda | 1325-1350
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470