Discussion of Atherstone's Arthurian Connections
David Nash Ford
A T H E R S T O
Place of Arthur-Arthun-Anwn-Andragathius?
of Monmouth and other medieval Arthurian
writers tell us that Arthur was taken to the Isle
of Avalon to be healed of his wounds after the
of Camlann. Later tradition assumed that he
died and was buried there and identified the place as Glastonbury
Theory & Discovery: Blackett
& Wilson claim that one of the two figures
who went to make up "King Arthur" is to be
identified with the Emperor Magnus
Maximus's son, King Anwn
of South Wales. This man, who occasionally may
have spelt his name Arthun, they identify with both
the real King Arthur and the classical
Andragathius who fought for Maximus during his
continental campaigns. In searching for his
burial-place, Blackett & Wilson claim that the
original Glastennen of Arthurian legend became
confused with Glastonbury in Somerset. Its original
location was at an ancient cemetery called the
"Old Bury" near Atherstone in Warwickshire.
The village of Glascote stands nearby. They cite the
Harleian MS 3859 Pedigree No 25 as proof, by
interpreting its last passage "funt glastenic qui
uenerunt que uocatur loyt coyt" as meaning that
the people of Glastennen lived at a place
called Caer-Luit-Coyt, that is nearby Wall in
Staffordshire. Blackett & Wilson believe that the
Warwickshire Arthurian tradition became absorbed into
the tales of the local hero, Guy of Warwick. Final
proof came with their apparent discovery of an ancient
sub-Roman memorial stone at Old Bury bearing the
partial inscription, Artoriu...Iacit in...Maci...
- possibly "Artorius lies here (son of) Maci(mus)".
Could Atherstone have taken its name from this very
Interpretations & Criticism: The
appearance of Arthurian themes in the tales of Guy of
Warwick were first recognised by Edward Llwyd back in
the early 18th century and the idea of an amalgam of
such stories in the Midlands is not without merit. Key
to Blackett & Wilson's argument, however, is their
interpretation of the Harleian MS 3859 passage
concerning Glastennen. Unfortunately, the usual
translation indicates that the people of
Caer-Luit-Coyt (Wall) relocated themselves to the
Somerset Levels and this is backed up by old
Glastonbury legends about the town's founder, Glast,
who can be found in North Welsh border pedigrees.
There therefore seems little reason to search for an
alternative Glastonbury. The "Arthur Stone"
has still to be examined by recognised academic
authorities. Blackett & Wilson are actively
seeking an independent scholar to undertake such a
task; the results of which are eagerly awaited by the
Arthurian research community.