Sadok of Cornwall

Sadoc of Cornwall

Malory first mentions this Cornish knight as going with Sirs Tristram and Dinas to the tournament at Castle Dangerous.

Sadok was a knight who, reluctantly, served King Mark of Cornwall. When Mark murdered Prince Boudwin, he assigned Sadok to assassinate Mark’s sister-in-law and nephew who had escaped. Sadok caught up with Anglides and her infant son, Alisander le Orphelin, within ten miles, but let her go on condition she raise her son to avenge his father’s death. Sadok returned to Mark and told him he had faithfully drowned Boudwin’s son.

Years later, hearing that Alisander had just been knighted, Mark realized that Sadok had betrayed his orders. Mark and some of his knights tried to kill Sadok at once, in the castle. Sadok fought and killed four knights in Mark’s presence, then escaped, Tristram, Dinas, Fergus, and the other true-hearted knights about the place being in sympathy with him. Mark sent yet another “false knight” after Sadok, and Sadok slew this one, too. Then Mark sent messages to Morgan and the Queen of Norgales, enlisting their aid against Alisander – and perhaps also against Sadok.

Sadok must have either remained at large in Cornwall or secretly returned to the vicinity, for when Mark put Tristram in prison, La Beale Isoud (Isolde of Cornwall) appealed to Sadok. Sadok and two of his cousins ambushed Mark’s party near Tintagil. Sadok lost one of his cousins but slew Mark’s four nephews and at least one “traitor of Magouns [Castle],” then rode on the castles of Lyonesse and Arbray, where he joined Sir Dinas and they roused the country to rebellion.

Meanwhile, Percivale effected Tristram’s release, and Mark tricked Dinas into disbanding the rebellion by pretending to be about to go on Crusade at the Pope’s command. Mark put Tristram back in prison, Isoud appealed to Dinas and Sadok again, and this time Sadok presumably helped Dinas put Mark into prison long enough for Isoud to deliver and escape with Tristram. It is possible that Sadok and Dinas joined Tristram and Isoud at Joyous Garde.

Malory next mentions Sir Sadok and his cousin Sir Edward at the Lonazep tournament, where he calls them cousins of Sir Gawaine. (It is possible this is a different Sadok, but it is probably the same, for Gawaine’s mother Margawse was of Cornish birth.)

Sadok eventually came to Arthur’s court and became a Knight of the Round Table, but he later joined Lancelot’s defection from Arthur’s court and helped Lancelot rescue Guenevere from the stake. In return for his support, Lancelot made him the Earl of Surlat.

See also
Sadoc of Orkney | The Legend of King Arthur

Prose Tristan | 1230-1240
Les Prophecies de Merlin | Richart d’Irlande, 1272-1279
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470