Ancient Writing Discovered at Tintagel Castle
A stone carved with letters, words and symbols has been discovered at Tintagel Castle, dating back to the early medieval period. Excavated at last summer's archaological dig, the two foot long piece of Cornish slate is a 'very important find', as inscribed writing from the early Middle Ages rarely survives. It features Latin and Greek as well as Christian symbols, and appears to have been used for writing practice.
English Heritage Curator Win Scutt said: 'It’s incredible to think that 1300 years ago, on this dramatic Cornish cliff-top, someone was practising their writing. We can’t know for sure who made these marks or why, but what we can say is that 7th-century Tintagel had professional scribes who were familiar with the techniques of writing manuscripts –– and that in itself is very exciting.'
Find out more about the newly discovered stone, or see it on display at Tintagel Castle this summer.
Tintagel Castle's new footbridge
This year, work begins on a new footbridge at Tintagel Castle that will follow the path of the original crossing between the mainland and the headland. The bridge will help visitors to better understand the site's history and improve access to the island, as well as help to protect and conserve the landscape.
A competition was launched in 2015 to find the best architectural and engineering team to design the new footbridge and six were shortlisted. A period of consultation took place and the company with the winning concept design was announced as Ney & Partners Civil Engineers and William Matthews Associates in March 2016.
Tintagel Castle will remain fully open to visitors throughout the spring and summer, before closing for the construction of the bridge from October 2018. The project is due to be completed in spring 2019.
Researching Tintagel Castle
In partnership with Cornwall Archaeological Unit, we are undertaking a five year research project to learn more about life at Tintagel Castle over 1,000 years ago. Over the summers of 2016 and 2017, archaeologists were on site investigating a cluster of early medieval buildings, and have revealed remarkable evidence of a wealthy community living on the cliff top.
As well as uncovering the footprints of buildings dating back to the 5th to 6th centuries, the archaeologists found evidence of fine dining and trade with the Mediterranean world. Now we are working with academics around the country to learn more about the items uncovered, and help piece together a picture of the lives of people at the Tintagel Castle during this period.
Where History Meets Legend
Tintagel Castle has inspired imaginations for hundreds of years and is today one of Cornwall's most iconic and popular visitor attractions. Our exhibition in the Visitor Centre features some of the finds from Tintagel, as well as taking a fresh look at the centuries old story. Designed to reflect the idea of a storybook containing many different tales, the exhibition explores how legend and reality have uniquely combined to shape Tintagel through the ages.
Our outdoor interpretation explores the history of the Cornish castle and the role legends have played in shaping the site that visitors see today. From the exhibition and interpretation, visitors can get a complete overview of Tintagel's history - from the artefacts discovered there to the legends associated with it. A series of panels reveal 1500 years of Tintagel's past - from royal stronghold, to thriving trading port, to a castle of romantic legend.
A stone compass points to places connected with the legend of King Arthur and engraved stepping stones around the island garden tell the tragic love story of Tristan and Iseult, a medieval tale set at Tintagel. On the beach, close to Merlin's Cave, a discreet carved face represents Merlin, who has been associated with the site since the 12th century and immortalised by the poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Created by artist Rubin Eynon, Gallos (meaning power in Cornish), is an 8ft bronze sculpture inspired by the legend of King Arthur and by the historic kings and royal figures associated with Tintagel.
The Beach Cafe
Originally used as the offices for Tintagel's silver and lead mines, the Beach Cafe has been completely refurbished to better reflect the area's industrial past in its decor, using slate floors, copper lights and sun bleached wooden panels. With a focus on fresh, seasonal and local food, the cafe's menu gives a real taste of Cornwall. The cafe is also now fully accessible for all visitors and is the perfect place to warm up after a blustery walk around the site.