King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, Gawain, 
Pellinore, Merlin, Questing Beast, Camelot, Tantallon, arthurian legends

Was King Arthur from Scotland?

Arthur legends date back to the 6th Century. They are spread wide across the British mainland from Cornwall to the very northern tip of Scotland. So why go against popular ideology, and put Arthur in Scotland, rather than England or Wales? Because it is more likely that he did in fact come from Scotland.

Here is some of the evidence supporting this idea:
1. The extinct volcano in the centre of Edinburgh, Capital city of Scotland, has been known as Arthur's Seat for centuries.
2. Merlin's Grave is near the River Tweed.
3. Some experts believe that Camelot was based at the ancient Scottish castle of Tantallon, others that Edinburgh was the actual site of Camelot.
4. There has always been some mystery surrounding the burial place of King Arthur, but Scotland has a definite place for his grave, not far south of Edinburgh.
5. There is some evidence that Sir Lancelot was a Pictish warrior, the son of the King of the Lothians. Gareth and Gawain, brothers and both knights of the Round Table, were from Orkney in the far north of Scotland.
6. A mountain named Ben Arthur rises in the hills near Dumbarton.
7. There is a site known as Arthur's Oven near Stirling, and an earthworks called The Round Table.
8. Lanark has Arthur's Fountain.
9. Guinevere is linked to Perth in legend.
10. Angus has Arthur's Fold and Arthur's Stone, and another hill called Arthur's seat.
11. The town of Kincardine has a legendary connection with Mordred.
12. Historians agree that whatever Arthur was, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish, he most certainly was not English. His fame was in fighting against the Angles and the Saxon invaders of ancient Britain.

Arthurian Links

Arthur's Seat

This hill, near the East End of the Old Town in Edinburgh, is an extinct volcano. Legend has it that Camelot was built on its crest and slopes, and that the Kings of Elfdom lived within the hill. Certainly, it would have been a choice site for a court. From the top, one gets a panoramic view of the whole of the River Forth estuary, and across to Fife, south across the hills and on towards the border with England, and west over the rich farmlands of southern Scotland. One of the earliest Princes named Arthur known to have lived in Britain, was one in Scotland in the 6th Century, around the time of the earliest records of settlements around Edinburgh.

Merlin's Grave

According to legend, Merlin lies buried at the root of a thorn tree in a field beside the village of Drumelzier near the River Tweed, in the south of Scotland. The story goes that during a battle he had a vision that he would die a triple death that day. He asked St. Kentigern to give him the sacrament. Later that day he was seized by his enemies who beat him with stones and clubs, threw him in the river and stabbed him with a wooden stake. Hence the triple death by beating, drowning and stabbing.
One of Scotland's prophets, Thomas the Rhymer or Michael Scot (it's not known who exactly) made this prophecy about Merlin's grave:
When Tweed and Powsail meet at Merlin's grave
Scotland and England, shall one Monarch have

This came true in 1603, when the river Tweed overflowed its banks and met the river Powsail at the site of Merlin's Grave -- on the very same day that the crowns of Scotland and England were first united under James VI of Scotland (James I of England).

Tantallon Castle

Now a picturesqe ruin on a craggy cliff overlooking the North Sea, Tantallon Castle, was once thought to be the original Camelot. It lies within a day's horseback ride from Edinburgh, so it may well have been one of the important sites of Arthurian history.


has long been known as the 'bonnie toun' on account of its lovely women. This dates back to the time of King Arthur. When he first ascended to his throne, he dispatched heralds to summon the most beautiful maidens in the land to Camelot to attend the first Tournament of his Knights of the Round Table. The fairest of all the girls that he saw there was Lady Guinevere, from Perth. It is said that he fell in love with her almost at first sight, and would not rest until she consented to become his bride. But her father, Hamish, Laird of Mellin, set him a task to perform to prove his worthiness before he would consent to the marriage. Arthur was asked to swim across Loch Linnie in the cold of December. So on the appointed day, Arthur went to the shore of the loch, stripped off his tunic and hose, and waded into the icy water. On Merlin's advice, he chose a part of the shore where the loch was narrow, and succeeded in reaching the other side in less than a minute, thus avoiding hypothermia. There is a children's rhyme"Frae Perth came Guinevere, to make the King revere, He saw her face in the Loch of the north, and never went more forth"

Arthur's Grave

Thomas the Rhymer appears to a horse-dealer in the tale of the Fian warriors and shows him a secret cave in the Eildon hills where sleep an army of ancient ghostly warriors headed by King Arthur. The horse dealer blows a horn that wakes the army, but he flees in terror before blowing the second blast on the horn that would bring them out of the cave. Certainly, the legend (that King Arthur sleeps to awaken at times of dire need to defend Britain again) is well-known.

Sir Lancelot

Some sources say Sir Lancelot came from the Lothians, near Edinburgh, while Sir Gawain, son of Lot of Orkney, was one of the first of the knights of the Round Table, along with Sir Kay and Sir Pellinore. Later, Gawain's brother Gareth, became a knight also. Sir Pellinore spent many years in search of a mysterious monster he called "The Questing Beast" - possibly the Loch Ness Monster, according to the legend known in villages to the north of Loch Ness. The Questing Beast had the head and neck of a serpent, and a huge belly - fitting the descriptions given of the Loch Ness Monster - which has reported sightings going back hundreds of years.

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Scotland History Mel Gibson Braveheart castle  King Arthur

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Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 by Magic Dragon Multimedia.
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Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 by Magic Dragon Multimedia.
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission.
May be posted electronically provided that it is transmitted unaltered, in its entirety, and without charge.