Pic: John Hamer
|We are proud to bring you a Guest Blog, by co-author & photographer of the book King Arthur – Lord of the Grail (details below). He and his partner Kaye Hennig belive that “Reason will prevail over romance, and legend will become history.” They say that for nearly a thousand years, people have been inspired and entertained by stories, poems, songs, paintings and tapestries about King Arthur, who has become the subject of one of the largest bodies of literature in the world. However, physical evidence has been so lacking as to appear systematically obliterated over the centuries.|
Even so, an abundance of truths has preserved in books, and more recently in films, of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Holy Grail. All of these contain elements of truth and clues for those questing for historical facts behind the legends.
The body of Merlinius Ambrosius Dubricius, identified by historian Norma Lorre Goodrich in her bookMerlin as the man better known throughout history as “Merlin” was, according to Goodrich, discovered on Bardsy Isle by the Bishop of Llandaff. Goodrich maintains that the Merlin’s body was taken to the cathedral founded by Merlin at Llandaff, Wales. Geoffrey of Monmouth, author of one of the first histories of King Arthur, and an acquaintance of that same twelfth century Bishop of Llandaff, began his famousHistory of the Kings of Britain in 1120, the same year as the Bishop’s discovery of the body. Geoffrey attributed his source to “a very ancient book written in the British language” (The History of the Kings of Britain, by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Bishop of St. Asaph, translated by Lewis G. M. Thorpe.) Coincidentally, Geoffrey was appointed archdeacon of Llandsaff (sp) in 1140.
Since Geoffrey of Monmouth, non-fiction and fiction writers have researched and written about King Arthur, inspiring readers to search for evidence that might prove the existence of this ancient king and his legendary kingdom. At least three of these writers have made discoveries, and have written about evidence that can still be seen today by those conducting their own grail quest.
Searching for the Scottish Honours
Sir Walter Scott was a prolific poet and novelist. Historical fiction, a genre he helped create and popularize, reflected his keen interest in Scottish history, and his research led him to some major discoveries. He convinced the Prince Regent, later George IV, to search in Edinburgh Castle for the Scottish Honours, the Royal Scottish regalia which had disappeared over a hundred years before. The Honours were subsequently found. Sir Walter used to escort his friends at sunset to Calton Hill in Edinburgh to view below the Salisbury Crags ancient weathered carvings that he thought memorialized King Arthur.
One distinctive sculpted image that may be among those seen by Scott is still visible. It resembles a “helmeted man.” This image was recently re-discovered by Kaye Hennig, author of King Arthur Lord of the Grail, who believes that it was created by the famous Merlin as a memorial to the real King Arthur. This giant head can still be seen quite clearly in the late afternoon on the Salisbury cliffs just across from The Palace of Holyroodhouse car park.
Was Arthur in the Borders Area of Southern Scotland?
|The late Dr. Norma Lorre Goodrich was professor emeritus of French and comparative languages at Claremont Colleges in California and the author of four Arthurian books: King Arthur; Guinevere; The Holy Grail; and Merlin. Her research located the territory of the ‘real’ Arthur in the borders area of what is now southern Scotland. She believed that the cave located on the Whithorn Peninsula, now called St. Ninian’s cave, is Merlin’s famous burial cave described by legends as created by request of his Lady of the Lake, Niniane. At this site Goodrich described seeing a burial niche high up on the left side of the ruins of the cave.|
Dr. Goodrich and thousands of other visitors to this cave site over the centuries failed to identify remains of ancient art. Rock sculptures and traces of rock paintings are still visible. The images and faded paintings of larger-than-life standing figures in ceremonial attire and large and small chiseled faces of helmeted warriors and beautiful ladies bear an uncanny resemblance to descriptions of legendary Arthurian ancients. Towering above all, forty feet above the floor of the cave, is a rugged crowned head with red beard, strong shoulders, and grey mantle. Over the right shoulder another symbol is still visible, a giant heart-shaped shield with a legendary sword through it.
Those looking for stone sculptures of mythological or historical figures have been conditioned to look for sculptures created in the style of the Greek or Roman sculptors, art that was created in marble that allowed the artist to produce very recognizable human likenesses. The stone at the cave on Whithorn Peninsula is brittle with fissures and does not lend itself well to sculptures. Artisans could cut and chip the stone within the limitations of the rock and tools used to create a likeness but would then be forced to stop as the rock broke in the wrong direction. Unlike the lifelike images of the American presidents carved into cliff in the Black Hills, these ancient sculptures appear quite basic and rough. However, the intent of the Merlin and his artists appeared very clear to the couple who discovered the images. Visitors that plan their walk to the Whithorn cave when late afternoon sunlight casts shadows will find that these are the best conditions for viewing the sculpted stone figures and images.
This recent discovery by author Kaye Hennig and her photographer husband, Terrance, provides dramatic new evidence that may help secure the legendary Arthurians a place in history. Beyond that, the symbols seen in this ancient art could help explain how the Arthurians came to be lost and could provide clues to unravel the mysteries surrounding the legends of the Holy Grail. The couple believes that the ancient art was created inside this burial cave to serve as a record of King Arthur and his Merlin and as memorials to the notables of their legendary lost kingdom.
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