of Stirling's Arthurian
David Nash Ford
S T I R L I N G
legends tell of not one, but two Camelots. So where
was the second?
In Beroul's 12th century "Romance of Tristan"
a messenger is sent out from Cerniw to make a delivery
to the High-King Arthur. He stops first at Caerleon,
where he is informed that the King and his knights are
at the round table in Stirling. Thus the ancient city
is established as one of the King's many palaces
around the country.
Dark Age History:
Stirling was the ancient British City of Iudeu, and is
referred to as such by Nennius.
Both Nennius and Bede record how, in AD 655, King
Oswiu of Northumbria was being hounded by King Penda
of Mercia and his British allies. He took refuge in
Iudeu (E. Stirling, L. Urbs Giudi), the mostly
Northerly city in his Kingdom. It lay in the oppressed
sub-Kingdom of Manau-Gododdin, right on Northumbria's
Northern boundary with Pictland. From here, Oswiu sent
envoys to offer Penda money in return for holding off
his armies. At this point versions differ. Penda
appears to have taken the cash and distributed it
amongst his British allies. However, having been taken
from the oppressed Northern British in the first
place, this was viewed as a restitution of rightful
property. Penda invaded Northumbria anyway, and the
two armies met at Maes Gai (Winwaed) in the British
district of Loidis, adjoining Elmet. There Penda was
Norma Lorre Goodrich tells how the author of
"Perlesvaus" revealed that there were two
Camelots. The first, she insists was Carlisle.
The second was further north on a cliff top facing
west. She suggests Arthur's Knot or the Castle at
Interpretations & Criticism: Historical
references show Stirling to have certainly been a Dark
Age settlement. However, whether occupation stretched
back as far as the traditional Arthurian period is a
matter of mere conjecture. The cliff-top site now
occupied by Stirling Castle would surely be the most
likely position for a Dark Age stronghold.
is quite a late addition to the Arthurian library and
probably contains little, if any, historical details
not found in previous works. Arthur's Knot, though it
conjures up images off a Round Table, is the remains
of a 17th century Knot Garden and has nothing
whatsoever to do with King Arthur.