Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Thornbush Ford

Aigua Della Spinna, Gué Espine, Thorburd Ford

In the Prose Tristan and its adaptations (including Malory’s) we learn that Tristan and Mark first clashed not over Isolde, but over the lovely wife of another knight – Seguarades in Tristan and Malory, and Lambegus in the Italian Tristano Riccardiano.

This woman loved Tristan instead of Mark, and she sent for him one night when her husband was away. Mark learned of the summons and intercepted Tristan on the road. The two fought a duel, and Mark lost. Tristan gives the location of this duel as Thornbush Ford, near the lady’s manor.

Consequently, Tristano calls her the Lady of Thornbush Ford (Aigua Della Spinna), adding that she was a Jewess. Tristan enjoyed a night with the woman, but left her bed stained with blood from the wounds he had received in the battle against Mark. Her husband discovered this evidence and challenged Tristan, but lost. The same woman was later kidnapped from Mark’s court by Sir Bleoberis. In deference to Mark, Tristan delayed rescuing her and thus lost her love. After retrieving her from Bleoberis, Tristan returned her, at her request, to her husband.

Prose Tristan | 1230-1240
Tristano Riccardiano | Late 13th century
TaLa Tavola Ritonda | 1325–1350vola
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470