Carlisle not Camelot Background Carlisle

Carlisle from Hutchinson's Cumberland 1794

An early fifteenth-century manuscript poem claims that King Arthur’s court was at Merry Carlisle, not Camelot

There are several early poems, probably composed at Carlisle in the late 14th or early 15th century, and written down soon after. One, entitled The Marriage of Sir Gawain opens with the line “King Arthur lives in merry Carleile” , and others, such as The Awntyrs off Arthure at the Terne Wathelyne (The Adventures of Arthur at Tarn Wadling), The Avowing of Arthur, and The Wedding of Sir Gawaine and Dame Ragnelle are similarly set in an around Carlisle, where Arthur holds his court.

Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1136) had based Arthur at Caerleon, while French romances of the later 12th century introduce Camelot. Other sources, however, continue to use Caerleon – or Cardiff – or Kardoel/Carduel. In the late 14th century Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight located Arthur’s court at Camelot, but then early in the 15th century, these four new tales appear, which locate Arthur’s court at Carlisle. Finally, Malory’s Morte D’Arthur - written in the 1460s, and printed by Caxton in 1485 - fixes Arthur at Camelot for all time.

The Carlisle stories are retold in modern English in Stephen Matthews King Arthur Lives in Merrie Carlisle