Tintagel Castle of King Arthur Legends

Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, United Kingdom, has been the scene of many legends associated with King Arthur and his knights of the round table.

The 12th century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth recounts how Arthur was born at Tintagel Castle and later established the court of Camelot and his most famous knights such as Lancelot, Gawain and Tristan.

He was said to be buried at the site after his death in battle against his son, Mordred. In 1136 Henry I was also said to have been born at Tintagel Castle.

Tintagel Castle Excavations

Excavations have revealed the earthwork remains of a large Iron Age fortification, later supplemented in stone, which is believed to be older than the medieval castle. The site was possibly occupied in the Romano-British period, as an array of artefacts dating from this time were discovered during excavations.

A small village had developed by the 6th century AD, when Saint Justinian is said to have visited Britain. The present castle was constructed by Earl Richard of Cornwall following his return from the Crusades, using local labour and materials.

King Arthur

Tintagel is the place where Arthur was conceived and the site of the castle in which he was born.

It is a legend that Merlin had ordered a giant rock to be placed on top of the palace at Tintagel, so that Arthur would know it as his birthplace, when he came to save his people from invaders.

After Arthur’s death, Sir Bedivere returned Excalibur to the Lady of The Lake who then gave it to Arthur.


In the Historia Regum Britanniae, Merlin prophesies a great battle between two dragons: one red (representing the Welsh) and one white (representing the English).

The story is taken up in later versions of Geoffrey’s work, including Wace’s Roman de Brut. While no dragon battle appears in Geoffrey’s account, such a tale became very popular after it was included by Walter Map in his Latin prose adaptation of Geoffrey’s Historia.

Birth of Arthur

Tales of Arthur are deeply rooted in Cornish history, with many stories of his conception at the legendary castle of Tintagel. The first mention of the castle as a place where Arthur was conceived is found in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae, written in 1136, where he claims that Uther Pendragon (father to King Arthur) met Igraine at the castle.

Tintagel Castle Location

Tintagel Castle is a medieval fortification located on the peninsula of Tintagel Island adjacent to the village of Tintagel (Trevena), North Cornwall in the United Kingdom.

The site was possibly occupied in the Romano-British period, as an array of artefacts dating back to that time have been found there. However, it was later associated with Arthurian legends.