Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Canguin Rock

Rock of Canguin
Castle of Wonders
Chanpguin, Kanquen Roche, Quanquen Rocs, Roche de Canguin, Sanguin

In Chrétien de Troyes’ Perceval, Gawain is told by the Guiromelant that when Ygerne (Igraine), wife of Uther Pendragon, lost her husband, she left Logres and arrived at Galloway. There she constructed the Rock of Canguin, a castle where she still lives.

A boatman had told Gawain that the queen of the castle had brought a clerk whom was skilled in astronomy. This clerk had created enchantments in the castle which only a flawless knight could survive. Sir Gawain enters the castle and achieves the adventures within – lying on a Perilous Bed and killing a fierce lion – and lifts the enchantments from the castle.

Ygerne is the grandmother of Gawain and Clarissant. The sibblings’ mother had arrived pregnant with her daughter when her husband, King Lot, had died. Gawain didn’t know he had a sister until his arrival at the castle. Gawain sent a message to his uncle King Arthur who, at the moment had his court at Orcaine, and when he arrives, there were much joy when Gawain introduces Arthur to Ygerne, his mother he had not seen for about fifty years.

In Heinrich’s Diu Crône, the ferryman is named as Karadas, tells Gawain that the castle was built by Gansguoter, a wizard. Ygerne had fallen in love with Gansguoter and had given up her inheritance. Only a knight who was worthy could lift the enchantments and would receive the castle as well as the hand of Klarisanz (Clarissant), Ygerne’s granddaughter, would be given to him.

Gawain achieves the adventure of the Perilous Bed and killing the lion. He sent for his uncle, King Arthur, who held court at Carlisle. When Arthur arrives, Gawain tells him the joyous news that the king’s mother is in the castle (Arthur had never met her). Arthur and Ygerne bestows the castle and its surrounding land, as well as the hand of Klarisanz in marriage to Giremelanz (Guiromelant).

The comparable castle in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval and in Wolfram’s Parzival is known as the Castle of Marvels. Heinrich von dem Türlin calls it Salie.

D.D.R. Owen, while apparently preferring the theory that the Gawaine adventures were originally intended to form a separate romance, points out the parallel between Igraine’s Canguin and the Fisher King’s Grail Castle. Owen prefers the “Chanpguin” spelling; Roach and Cline use “Canguin”, which seems to me far easier on the modern eye and tounge – although the “Sanguin” variation is tempting, for its double sound of blood and hope.

See also
Carbonek | The Legend of King Arthur
Ferryman of Canguin | The Legend of King Arthur
Holding Court | The Legend of King Arthur
Igraine of Tintagil’s Clerk | The Legend of King Arthur
Wondrous Bed | The Legend of King Arthur

Perceval, or Le Conte del Graal | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Diu Crône | Heinrich von dem Türlin, c. 1230