Anyone who is familiar with the legend of the one and only King Arthur should be familiar with Tintagel: the castle where Uther Pendragon, disguised as the Duke of Cornwall, comes to the Duke’s wife, Igraine, and together with her conceives the child who would someday be known as the once and future king. It would have been quite easy to dismiss the event as absolutely, completely fictional, and forever associated with the legend, but if one’s fancy is easily excited, then one would benefit by looking at the supposed actual site of Arthur’s conception: the real Tintagel Castle, in Cornwall.
Credit: “Panoráma krajiny kolem Tintagelu” by Michal Stehlík from Liberec, Czech Republic – Panoráma krajiny kolem Tintagelu. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
The stone castle was built during the 13th century, and had been settled in during the medieval period when it was probably one of the seasonal residences of the king of Dumnonia.
Credit: “Upper mainland courtyard of Tintagel Castle, 2007″ by Kerry Garratt – 20070917-P1010730. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
What makes Tintagel so special? We have been looking at castles that have been sites of a lot of important historical events, or that have, themselves, played quite an active part in history. Many castles have been homes to kings and queens, different members of the aristocracy, but Tintagel holds the interesting distinction of having been home – supposedly – to the Uther Pendragon of legend. For writers and artists, this is of special interest – it isn’t very day that we encounter a castle that is associated with legends. Tintagel Castle would be precisely the kind of castle that would be excellent for a writers’ retreat – it passes on to legendary status, and being there might make one feel as if he or she is part of the legend.
It’s one thing to be visiting a castle that has a place in history. It’s another to be visiting a place that has its place in legend, meanwhile. It would be inspiring for writers and other artists to set foot in a place like Tintagel. Tintagel Castle has great potential to be a place for a writers’ retreat.