King Arthur’s court–Camelot– “has no historical authenticity, a place that never was.”
Leslie Alcock, Was This Camelot?


In Was This Camelot?, archaeologist Leslie Alcock writes, “Camelot has no historical authenticity; it is a place that never was.” There is some speculation that Camelot is derived from the Latin word Camelodunum; others claim that it is associated with the River Camel in Cornwall. This doesn’t imply that King Arthur didn’t have a court, but only that his court was referred to by a variety of names. The term “Camelot” (Camallate) was used in 1542 by John Leland, who identified “South Cadbyri” (South Cadbury in Somerset) as King Arthur’s court. Welsh stories, however, refer to King Arthur’s court by several other names, including Kelliwic. Geoffrey of Monmouth sets King Arthur’s court at Caerleon in Wales. Thomas Malory opted for Winchester as Arthur’s Camelot. In Mythology of the British Isles, Geoffrey

Ashe speculates:

Probably Malory chose this city as Camelot because he knew it was very old and had once rivaled London as the capital. There was also the Round Table, however it had come to be there. But he was under a misapprehension, and his own publisher Caxton, despite his belief that the Winchester table was the real thing, dissented. The point about Camelot is that it is not a capital, in the sense of being the country’s permanent centre. It is King Arthur’s headquarters, and a capital solely as the heart and focus of his world. No one reigned there before or after him.

“‘See Chapter 7, “Camelot” pages 206215 in The Historic King Arthur and pages 6,198, in Historic Figures of the Arthurian Era.



The excavation at South Cadbury conducted by The Camelot Committee extended from1966 1970. This group has been defunct for quite some time, but three major figures involved in the archaeological exploration were Leslie Alcock, Geoffrey Ashe, and Sir Mortimer Wheeler.

Caerleon ie an important byword in Athuriana, one reason being that Geoffrey of Monmouth commonly has Arthur holding court there, which could be considered the historic “Camelot.” Monmouth, however, refers to the site as the “City of Legions,” originally called Caerusc (Fortress on Usk), founded by Belinus.

This is the city selected by King Arthur as the site for his Whitsuntide plenary court. Monmouth describes Caerleon ae

Situated … on the River Usk, not far from the Severn Sea, in a most pleasant position, and being richer in material wealth than other townships, this city was eminently suitable for such a ceremony.

As Camelot, tide city woe noted for King Atthur’s festivities and jousting as well as for his settling disputes and giving advice.

Guinevere flees there when King Arthur retums from the mainland in pursuit of Mordred, later she become. a nun there in the church of Julius the Martyr.

Medieval Jousting courtesy end copyright of British Museum,Harley 4379 Folio 43