Writ­ing is on the wall for leg­endary cas­tle of King Arthur

Irish Independent - - World News - Anita Singh

FOR cen­turies, his­to­ri­ans have searched for ev­i­dence that Tin­tagel Cas­tle was the birth­place of King Arthur.

Perched on a rocky out­crop on the Cor­nish coast, the windswept site seemed an un­likely lo­ca­tion for a royal court. But the dis­cov­ery of a 1,300-year-old win­dowsill has lent cre­dence to the idea that Tin­tagel was, af­ter all, the home of kings.

The 2ft-long slate bears a mix of Latin and Greek with Chris­tian sym­bols, in a dec­o­ra­tive script sim­i­lar to those found in il­lu­mi­nated Gospel manuscripts of the time, show­ing the writer was fa­mil­iar with those texts.

English Her­itage, which man­ages Tin­tagel, said the find “lends weight to the the­ory that Tin­tagel was a royal site with al it­er­ate Chris­tian cul­ture”.

The writ­ing is be­lieved to have been the work of some­one prac­tis­ing their hand­writ­ing. It in­cludes the Ro­man and Celtic names “Tito” and “Bu­dic”, and the Latin words fili, or son, and viri duo, mean­ing two men. The Greek let­ter delta also ap­pears.

The dis­cov­ery will de­light those who be­lieve in the Arthurian leg­end, al­though for naysay­ers it pro­vides no more con­crete ev­i­dence that Arthur ac­tu­ally ex­isted.

Win Scutt, English Her­itage cu­ra­tor, said: “We can’t know who made these marks or why, but what we can say is that 7th-cen­tury Tin­tagel had pro­fes­sional scribes, and that in it­self is very ex­cit­ing. We knew that this was a high sta­tus site but what we didn’t know was the ex­tent of their education.”

In 2016, English Her­itage was ac­cused of the “Dis­ney­fi­ca­tion” of Tin­tagel by com­mis­sion­ing a rock carv­ing of Mer­lin at the mouth of the cave where he is said to have taken an in­fant Arthur.

Site cu­ra­tor Win Scutt with a stone in­scribed with rare an­cient writ­ing (in­set left), which has been uncovered at Tin­tagel Cas­tle in Corn­wall, sup­port­ing the­o­ries it was a mul­ti­cul­tural royal site.

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