Heritage Quiz: July 2017

The legend of King Arthur is inextricably linked with Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. But how much do you know about the mythical British Leader?

Test your knowledge and select each question to reveal the answer.

  • 1. Who were Arthur's Parents

    Answer: Uther Pendragon and Igraine

    Legend has it that Merlin magically gave Uther Pendragon the exact likeness of his rival, Gorlois of Tintagel, Duke of Cornwall. This was so that he could father a child with Gorlois's wife, Igraine, with whom he was besotted.

    In his (not entirely reliable) History of the Kings of Britain, 12th-century writer Geoffrey of Monmouth named Tintagel as the place where Arthur was conceived.

    Image: A painting of Uther Pendragon

  • 2. What is the number of battles allegedly fought by Arthur?

    Answer: 12

    The first incarnation of Arthur appears in The History of the Britons, which was written by Nennius in 830.

    In it, he lists 12 battles fought by Arthur. But one man could not possibly have fought them all - the first indication that the Arthurian story is indeed more fiction than fact.

    Image: King Arthur in the midst of battle.

  • 3. How many men could the round table supposedly seat?

    Answer: 1,600

    According to the 13th-century poet Layamon, Arthur commissioned the table from a Cornish carpenter. He somehow created a table that was able to seat 1,600 men yet was also portable enough that Arthur could set it up wherever he went.

    However, the actual number of knights said to have sat around the table was 150.

    Image: The knights of the round table.

  • 4. which of Arthur's Knights illicitly fell in love with Queen Guinevere?

    Answer: Lancelot

    The first story known to feature Lancelot was Knight of the Cart by the poet Chrétien de Troyes, which dates from around 1177, so it is assumed that Chrétien invented him.

    Although Lancelot was Arthur's most trusted knight, later stories expanded his relationship with Arthur's wife Guinevere into a love affair.

    Image: A picture of Lancelot and Queen Guinevere.

  • 5. How many knights of the round table succeeded in their quest to find the holy grail?

    Answer: Three

    Although all 150 knights of the Round Table went in search of the grail - the cup or platter used by Christ at the Last Supper - only three succeeded.

    These were Sir Galahad, Sir Percival and Sir Bors. Many of the knights were said to have died during their quest for the grail.

    Image: King Arthur's knights before embarking on a quest to find the holy grail.

  • 6. Which Roman fort is thought to have provided the basis for the battle of Camlann?

    Answer: Birdoswald Roman Fort

    Birdoswald in Cumbria was a fort at the western end of Hadrian's Wall. It was garrisoned by an infantry cohort of over 800 men and remained in occupation throughout the Roman period.

    Some think that Birdoswald provided the basis for the battle of Camlann, where Arthur was wounded by Mordred.

    Image: Birdoswald Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall.

  • 7. Who threw Arthur's sword back into the lake?

    Answer: Sir Bedivere

    After the battle at Camlann, Sir Bedivere threw the king's sword back into the water where it had first been given to him by the Lady of the Lake.

    In one of the best-known scenes from the Arthurian legend, a hand then emerged from the lake and grabbed the sword, dragging it underwater.

    Image: The Lady of the Lake catching King Arthur's sword.

  • 8. Where were Arthur's bones supposedly found in 1191?

    Answer: Glastonbury Abbey

    The stories surrounding King Arthur say that, after he was wounded, a ship carried him to the Isle of Avalon, where he would recover from his injuries and wait to be called by his country in times of need.

    The alleged discovery of his bones was, in fact, a ruse whose aim was to dispel the idea that Arthur would return to bring a halt to the Norman invasion.

    Image: A photo of Glastonbury Abbey.

  • 9. Who built the castle at Tintagel in the 1230s?

    Answer: Richard, Earl of Cornwall

    The Earl of Cornwall built a castle at Tintagel even though the site was of no military value - instead, he seems to have been inspired by the myths surrounding the location.

    In order to secure the plot of land on the north Cornish coast, he swapped it for three of his manors.

    Image: A view of Tintagel Castle.

  • 10. What is the name of the cycle of poems about Arthur by Alfred Tennyson

    Answer: Idylls of the King

    Tennyson, who was Poet Laureate from 1850 until his death in 1892, published Idylls of the King in 1859.

    The poems cover Arthur's story from when he first met Guinevere to his final battle with Mordred. They are largely based on The Death of Arthur by Thomas Malory, who had referred to Arthur as the 'once and future king'.

    Image: A picture of Alfred Tennyson.

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