Ahhhh now that we’ve finally made some progress on the story updates, it’s time to piece together some of the historical facts that were used as inspiration for our journey!
We should probably start with some of the references to Arthur, Guinivere and their mythical lands. As I’ve mentioned before, there a number of scholars and historians who do think there may have some grains of truth as to his existence. That is of course, often the case with myths and legends. They begin with one or two retellings of an event, and over time the stories get woven with great exaggerations which continue until they become somewhat unbelievable stories of that fantasy and mythical proportion!
There so many versions of Arthur’s tale in various different forms and names that I am not even going to attempt to record them all here! We all know how to google his name! If you want to start your quest, you can go here for some the basics!
For my story purposes I drew from some of the basics of his imagined history. I have given him some family and included a history of residing at mythical Avalon. In my version of the story, his Father Uther, a great Merlin of our Avalon sets his son Arthur on a course to be a guiding light for the bleakest and darkest of times in the outer world. Our Arthur knows his duty and fulfills it willingly, all the while knowing he must eventually return to Avalon.
I chose to portray the fair Guinivere as a part of the ancient and vulnerable Fairie Realm. She too eventually knew what her role to play was, though not nearly as clearly as she should have! For my part, I have to admit that I did enjoy allowing Arthur to ride off into the mystery of history on his white horse, while taking Lancelot off from his shining pedestal! There was information regarding Guinivere’s family- one version lists her Father as Gwythyr ap Greidawl. As for the existence of her sister, in the Welsh Romance Culhwch ac Olwen, she is mentioned alongside of her sister Gwenhwyfach.
As to the location of Camelot, the stories locate it somewhere in Great Britain and sometimes associate it with real cities, though more usually its precise location is not revealed. Most scholars regard it as being entirely fictional, its geography being perfect for romance writers; Arthurian scholar Norris J. Lacy commented that “Camelot, located no where in particular, can be anywhere”. Nevertheless arguments about the location of the “real Camelot” have occurred since the 15th century and continue to rage today in popular works and for tourism purposes.
As I was searching for sort of location to place it and his eventual final battle at, I did find some opinions that would place it in or around areas of Scotland. One such location was that of Camboglanna, which was originally one of the forts in Hadrian’s Wall.
In his books The Borders and Arthur & the Lost Kingdoms, Alistair Moffat argues that an ancient fort on the site of Roxburgh Castle was Camelot.
Arthur’s last battle was told as being that of one at Camlann. There are of course a number of supposed locations for that! One of them puts the battle near Hadrian’s Wall at Camboglanna (Castlesteads), while another puts it at a place near Stirling in Scotland. River Allen runs through the town of Bridge of Allen, just north of Stirling in Scotland. If you accept that Arthur was Scottish, this is a possible site of the final battle. I chose a combination of these two as my mythical location and later discovered that it fit in well with my young Abbess!
My search for an identity for the Abbess Ancient proved less difficult than I first anticipated. I knew I wanted someone from history that had no further ties or connections to the future but who could provide a link or connection between the early Scottish realms and the English ones. I found Sybilla de Normandy and she provided a starting point in tying the various parts together. I did have to alter her history and story a bit to suit our purposes but tried to maintain some link to her actual historical facts. She was born to Henry I and one of his many mistresses around 1092. Although it is most probably unlikely that she had any sort of friendship with Henry I’s second wife, I deemed it possible or slightly plausible within my fantasy timeline!
Henry I of England
Sybilla de Normandy
Henry’s second wife, Adeliza of Louvain, who bore him no royal heirs and eventually did retire to a monastery. After Henry’s death, she did eventually marry again and had a large family. for some unknown reason, she chose to retire to the monastery where she died around 1151. For us, Adeliza merely provides a link to the future in safeguarding the linen and ensuring that it passes on in time.
So, there you have some idea of how I pieced together threads of history and time in order to help weave my story!