Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Clarance, Clarans, Clarenche, Clarens

A location in northern Britain.

The early prose Lancelot tells us that it belonged to King Tahalais (Thailais), Arthur’s great-grandfather. Because of its ancestral significance, “Clarence” became the battle-cry of Uther and Arthur. The continental texts place it on the border of North Wales or South Wales, suggesting that it may be identified with St. Clare (Clears) in Carmarthenshire.

It was besieged by Saxons in the early days of Arthur’s reign, and was the site of two decisive battles. In the first, the Saxon kings, led by Hargadabran (Hargodabrans), were encountered by the forces of ten British kings and a duke: the King with a Hundred Knights, Lot, Escant, Clarion, Nentres, Caradoc, Brandegorre, Yder, Belinant, Tradelmant, Aguisant, and Urien. After a fierce and bloody battle, the Saxons were victorious.

In the second battle, the principle combatants were the same, with one notable exception: the above kings had allied with Arthur, and the latter brought his forces. The Saxons were destroyed, and the few survivors fled Britain. In this respect, Clarence is reminiscent of the Badon of earlier chronicles.

In the Vulgate romances, the Duke of Clarence, in Ireland, is named Galescalain (Galeshin), while Malory calls him Chaulance. An independent Duke of Clarence appears in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as one of Gawain’s friends.

Clarence apparently is near another city or castle, Vambieres.

Lancelot do Lac | 1215-1220
Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Le Livre d’Artus | Early 13th century
Arthour and Merlin | Late 13th century
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight | c. 1400
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470