Tintagel Castle

Tinaguel, Tintagel, Tintaguel, Tintaiel, Tintaioel, Tintaiol, Tintaiuel, Tintaoel, Tintaol, Tintauel, Tyntaguel

Tintagil Castle on the north coast of Cornwall is now maintained by English Heritage who thankfully have not commercialised the site. It is believed that this location was first a Roman settlement/military outpost, it then became a Celtic stronghold and the home of a Celtic King in the 5th-6th century. It was as a result of the work of Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote History of the Kings of Britain (c. 1139). Tintagil was to become synonymous with the home of Camelot.

Subsequent legends and stories, together with the works by Richard, Earl of Cornwall of building a castle here, are amongst some of the reasons why Tintagil has been linked to the Arthurian legend. The central reason remains Geoffrey of Monmouth’s book. When we are told Arthur’s father is Uther Pendragon who fell in love with Igerna (Igraine), the wife of Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall who was said to have lived at Tintagil the association becomes clear. When the Duke later died in a battle Uther and Igerna married.

King Mark’s castle in the tale Tristram and Isolde (Isoud). It were situated on a cliff in Cornwall, giants had built it off ashlars in black and white marble which had been put in a pattern, like the squares on the chessboard. Twice a year no human eye could see it. Before king Mark’s time king Arthur’s mother Igraine lived in the castle with her first husband who were Duke of Cornwall, later by a couple of giants who held sixty maidens captured there, who had to sew in silk for food and shelter, until Lancelot one day came and ended it all.

In Perceval, there were a tournament between Tibaut of Tintagel and Meliant of Lis. On his way to Escavalon, Gawain came to Tintagel unaware of the event. He found lodging at the vavasour Garin’s home where the youngest daughter in the house, Maid with Little Sleeves, asked Gawain to champion her the next day. Gawain wins the tournament.

Tintagil was actually built by Reginald of Cornwall, illegitimate son of Henry I in 1140 which was years after the believed life of Arthur (sixth-century). Tintagil was a ruin by AD 1540.

Perceval, or Le Conte del Graal | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century