Dwight Peck's personal Web site

It's October 2004 -- so it's time for another visit to Devon and Cornwall



Tintagel Castle or what's left of it

Here's Tintagel and a quick glance around Old King Arthur's original old castle.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Legendary King Arthur's Castle. Well, the 19th century King Arthur's Castle Hotel, rather, or Camelot Castle Hotel. But the photograph's been taken from King Arthur's real original castle just next door.

We're on our way.

Or what's left of it!! After a period as a Roman settlement and military outpost, Tintagel was probably a trading settlement of Celtic kings during the 5th and 6th centuries. Good defensive location, way up there on that cliffy narrow headland, nice beach below (not many of those along this coast).

Here we are, the real Tintagel Castle, not a whole lot left of it unfortunately.

Legend has it that one of these venerable Celtic kings was King Mark, whose nephew Tristan fell in love with Yseult/Isolde. Well, that's all well and good, and maybe King Arthur really did happen along later (there are about fifteen "Merlin's Caves" eroded through the coastal cliffs nearby), but it was in the 13th century that the real verifiable castle-building got under way, directed by Richard Earl of Cornwall (1209–1272), second son of King John of England and brother of Henry III, and a genuine Middle Ages superthug who once concluded a Crusades treaty with the Sultan of Egypt! (1241) -- the stuff of legends, like Jessica Lynch, Dan Rather, and Michael Jackson.

The vertiginous view to the beach. Earl Richard was also, by the way, Count of Poitou in France for a while, and also King of the Romans (meaning Germany), succeeding by right of bribery in 1256.

Here's Kristin, standing in Earl Richard's ruined bathroom without even having been asked . . .

. . . and then reading about it on an historical plaque.

Exceptional castle-works, but not a lot of it left. Sic transit gloria mundi, eh? Built the whole ruddy thing, and he never needed it . . . and now this is what's left.

Richard Earl of Cornwall, though a notorious wastrel, equally illiterate, and an über-thug at heart, might have made a better US president than the present one. He had the violence and mayhem down pat and he seems to have known how to work with the eccentric Christians, but would his "chivalric code" have doomed him in Washington D.C.?

Kristin, amid what's left of Earl Richard's boudoir, scowls for the camera. (This is actually very near the recently uncovered remains of 5th century habitations.)

The very defensible coastline from Earl Richard of Cornwall's favorite hideout.

Several "Merlin's caves" below the Castle of Tintagel . . . beckoning.

Kristin leaves the old Earl to his memories, and his castle of Tintagel (and King Arthur's as well, according to Alfred Lord Tennyson anyway), and heads for Merlin's caves.

Kristin bound for several of Merlin's Caves, 18 October 2004.

Merlin's Favorite Cave

Kristin (left) and Dwight (right) pose within (left) and without (right) one of Merlin's many magical caves.

Lovely Kristin at one of Merlin's Caves before the tide comes in.

The view back from Merlin's hide-out to what's left of old Richard's fastnesses.

Kristin, reluctant to leave.

A last look at King Arthur's Camelot Castle at Tintagel

The so-called "post office" in Tintagel village -- a 14th century yeoman's farmhouse still miraculously standing, for now.

Cornwall and Devon, October 2004


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 11 March 2005, revised 19 September 2008, 8 May 2013.


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Devon and Cornwall, 2003