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Discussion of Camelford's Arthurian Connection   
By David Nash Ford

C A M E L F O R D
Cornwall's Camelot

The Museum at Camelford

If Somerset has its Camelot candidate then Cornwall must have one too.

The Tradition: Old Cornish legend relates how King Arthur's principal fortress of Camelot now lies buried beneath the small Cornish town of Camelford, a place in the heart of King Arthur Country with an obviously connected name. Shakespeare locates the town in Cerniw in King Lear when the Duke of Kent addresses the Duke of Cornwall thus:

"Goose, if I had you upon Sarum Plain,
I'd drive ye cackling home to Camelot."

Possible Conclusions: The connection between Camelford and Chrétien De Troyes' Camelot appears to be solely based upon the town's name, "The Ford over the River Camel". The Shakespearean reference, as well as being extremely late, is far from certainly addressed to the Duke of Cornwall. Kent is likely talking to Oswald with whom he had been arguing immediately prior to Cornwall's entrance. It is true that Tintagel is not far from Camelford and that Slaughter Bridge, one of the most persistent claimants to be the site of the Battle of Camlann, is only a mile to the North on the same River Camel; but this latter identification appears to have been based on the mistranscription of a nearby Dark Age memorial stone which was thought to include the word "Arthur". It seems likely that Camelford has no true Arthurian associations whatsoever.

 


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