NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia

Cador of Cornwall

Cadwr, Carados of Cornwall

May possibly be identified with Cadwy, the son of Gereint, and identical to Cado.

Ruler of Cornwall, variously described as king or a duke, and father of Constantine. Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us that Cador was of Roman stock but does not name his father. A Welsh translation of Geoffrey makes him the son of Gorloïs, Igerne’s (Igraine) first husband, and in Geraint, his father is called Gwryon. He married a sister or half-sister of Arthur.

According to Geoffrey, Guinevere was raised in his household (from which Thomas Hughes seems to assume that he was Guinevere’s father). The chronicler John Hardyng makes him the son of Igerne, and therefore Arthur’s half-brother.

Cador assisted Arthur in the battles against the Saxons, and killed the Saxon leader Cheldric at the Isle of Thanet as well as Baldulf. He assisted in the battle against the Scots at Lake Lomond.

Cador appears in Malory as a knight of the Round Table, one of Arthur’s counselors, and a trusty officer in the campaigns against Gaul and Rome. After the first battle of the war, Cador escorted the prisoners captured to the prison in Paris. The Emperor’s men lay in ambush to capture the prisoners, but Cador and Lancelot, with their knights, slew them all. As the commander of the rear guard at the battle of Soissons, Cador helped Arthur to finally defeat Lucius.

He was killed fighting Mordred’s army at Camlann. His son Constantine was handed the crown by King Arthur, following the King’s final battle – this event reputedly occuring in the year AD 542.

A Cador, the son of the King of Cornwall, brother of Guignier and friend of Carados Briefbras, may be the same character, or even the son of this Cador. Some sources allege that this Cador was the guardian of Guinevere prior to her marriage to the young Arthur. The name may be a variant of “Carados” – in Malory XIX, 11, Constantine is called “Sir Carados’ son of Cornwall”.

Do not confuse Cador of Cornwall with Carados of Scotland or with Carados of the Dolorous Tower.

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Brut | Layamon, late 12th century to mid-13th century
Breudwyt Rhonabwy | 13th century
Geraint and Enid | 13th century
Alliterative Morte Arthure | c. 1400
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470
The Misfortunes of Arthur | Thomas Hughes, 1587