NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia


Soleyse, Sorailes, Soreillois, Sorelais, Soreloes, Sorenlois, Sorlois, Sorloys, Sureluse, Surluse, Zoreloes, Zorelois

A delightful and fertile country with many rivers and splendid woods belonging to Sir Galehaut (Galeholt). It had once been ruled by King Loholt, who passed it on to his son Gloier. Galehaut then conquered it from Gloier.

Loholt had designed its borders so that it could only be accessed by two perilous bridges – the Irish Bridge and the North Wales Bridge, also known as Pont Norgalois and Pont Irois – which were partially submerged and had well-guarded towers at the end. At its border is a fair village with a strong guarded bridge where a person who wanted admittance had to defeat the knights. Vulgate III amplifies this description. Surluse was bordered on one side by the sea and on the other, toward Arthur’s realm, by the Assurne River.

Sorelois was said to lie between North Wales and the Distant Isles (possibly the Hebrides), and was separated from Britain by a strait called Assurne. This geography suggests an identification with Anglesey, the Isle of Man, or even Ireland. R. S. Loomis identifies Sorelois with Sorgales (South Wales).

In the Post-Vulgate Suit du Merlin and in Malory, another King of Sorelois is one of five kings who invades Britain at the beginning of Arthur’s reign and is slain by Arthur’s forces at the battle of the Humber.

Malory tells of a great Sorelois tournament, held by Duke Galeholt and Bagdemagus, in which prizes were awarded to Lancelot, Lamorak, Palamedes (Palomides), and Bagdemagus. Several knights participated in the tournament, see list below.

The Prose Tristan and Malory also gives the name “the Straits of Sorelois” to a fortress where Sir Brunor the Black (the Knight of the Ill-Fitting Cloak), assisted by Lancelot, completed his first quest by defeating six brothers named Playne de Amours, Playne de Fors, Plenorius, Pillounes, Pellogris, and Pellandris, and by liberating the castle of its prisoners.

Phyllis Ann Karr: “I cannot find any Assurne River; perhaps it is too small for my maps. The name of the Pont Norgalois suggests Norgales. In Volume V, the Vulgate says that Sorestan (Eastland) borders Norgales “par devers” Surluse. There is a longish, squarish peninsula in Cheshire, between the inlets of the rivers Dee and Mersey, which is far and away my personal favorite for Surluse.”

Tournament Participants

See also
Baghdad | The Legend of King Arthur
Five Kings | The Legend of King Arthur
Irish Bridge | The Legend of King Arthur
North Wales Causeway | The Legend of King Arthur
Straits of Sorelois | The Legend of King Arthur

Lancelot do Lac | 1215-1220
Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin | 1230-1240
Prose Tristan | 1230-1240
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470