Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Tarabel, Terrabyl

A castle in Cornwall.

It had “many issues and posterns out.” This was where Gorloïs was slain the same night Uther begat Arthur on Igraine in the sister castle of Tintagil (Tintagel Castle).

Malory assigns it the role given to Dimiloc by Geoffrey of Monmouth: the castle fortified by the Duke of Cornwall when he went to war with Uther Pendragon – the duke defended Tarabel and was promptly slain by Uther’s soldiers. After Arthur became king, King Rions (Ryons) and his brother Nero besieged the castle as part of their campaign against Arthur. Sir Balin captured Rions, and Arthur defeated Nero’s army in the fields before Tarabel, killing Nero and Lot of Orkney in the battle. Merlin effected this victory by distracting Lot with a wondrous tale, causing him to enter the battle too late.

When Phyllis Ann Karr visited Tintagil in the late 1960’s, neither the official guide nor anyone else had ever heard of Terrabil. John W. Donaldson places it near St. Kew, Cornwall, about midway between Camelford and Padstow. This seems more suitable than a few of Donaldson’s other place identifications, especially since Mee, in The King’s England: Cornwall, notes prehistoric earthworks and rumors of Arthurian castles. The best clue yet found, however, appears in the Survey of Cornwall. Carew identifies Terrabil as adjacent to the town of Launceston, and says that it was from the regard of the castle’s triple walls that men so named it.

Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470
Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin | 1230-1240