October 2004 -- so it's time for another visit to Devon and Cornwall
Castle or what's left of it
Tintagel and a quick glance around Old King Arthur's original old castle.
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.
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.
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.
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 (12091272), 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,
Dick Cheney, 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.
Kristin, standing in Earl Richard's ruined bathroom without even having been asked . . .
. . . and then reading about it on an historical plaque.
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. [This is a pretty dated comment now; we've just seen a documentary about vigorous new archaeological digs going on across the top of this headland (2021).]
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
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.)
very defensible coastline from Earl Richard of Cornwall's favorite hideout.
"Merlin's caves" below the Castle of Tintagel . . . beckoning.
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.
bound for several of Merlin's Caves, 18 October 2004.
Merlin's Favorite Cave
(left) and Dwight (right) pose within (left) and without (right) one of Merlin's
many magical caves.
Kristin at one of Merlin's Caves before the tide comes in
view back from Merlin's hide-out to what's left of old Richard's fastnesses
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.