The Proud Castle
Orguellous, Orguilleux, Orgulous, Orgulus
A castle, first mentioned by Chrétien de Troyes in Perceval. A mysterious ugly woman (the Loathly Damsel) came to Arthur’s court to rebuke Perceval for failing to cure the Fisher King. Almost in passing, she noted that hundreds of men lived in the castle Orguelleus with their maidens, and Girflet vowed to travel there to seek adventure. Chrétien did not finish this plot line, but in the First Continuation, Arthur and his company set out to free Girflet, who was apparently captured and imprisoned in the castle. Gawain conquered the castle by defeating the Riche Soudier. In the Second Continuation, Perceval had to prove his worth at a tournament at the castle (ruled by a knight named Orguelleus) before he could complete the Grail Quest.
In Perlesvaus, it is inhabited by Orguelleuse of Logres, a murderous maiden who plots to kill Gawain, Perceval, and Lancelot. The castle next appears in the French romance Gliglois, as the location of a tournament won by Gliglois, Gawain’s squire, which proves him worthy of marrying the lady Beauté.
Glennie puts Castle Orgulous at Bamborough (Bamburgh), Northumberland, on the east coast, a little south of Holy Island (Lindisfarne), near Belford but right on the coast, just on the south side of a small squarish inlet. He gives this inscription.
“Occupying the whole extent of a solitary eminence, it stands among sandy downs, close by the sea, and overlooking a wide plain at the foot of the Cheviots. Nearly opposite the Castle are the Faröe Islands.“
In Malory’s story of La Cote Male Taile, Sir Brunor the Black defeats a dozen knights at the Castle Orguelleus, ending the castle’s custom, which had been to take all passing knights prisoner. If we assume that at the beginning of this tale, Arthur is holding court at Carlisle or another northern city, there is no reason to reject Glennie’s identification, except that Malory gives Bamborough as one of two possible sites for the castle of Joyous Garde.
Perceval, or Le Conte del Graal | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval | Attributed to Wauchier of Denain, c. 1200
Gliglois | Early 13th century
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470
Perlesvaus | Early 13th century