On Sunday, 25th October 1383, Thomas Arundel, Bishop of Ely (soon to be Archbishop of York and then Archbishop of Canterbury), breakfasted at Kamelot. Oh yes, indeed. I learned of this on page 199 of Thomas Arundel, the biography by Margaret Aston, which I quote:
“….This letter, like another of 24th October concerning an exchange, was dated at Hatfield, and tells of a visit of the bishop [Thomas Arundel, at that time Bishop of Ely] to that manor which passed almost unrecorded in the household accounts for this month. For the only mention which appears in the rolls of Arundel’s being anywhere near Hatfield during October was on Sunday, 25 October , when provisions were supplied for the household’s breakfast there, while the bishop himself breakfasted at ‘Kamelot’, before returning, for supper, to Holbourn.1 The accounts of various preparations and supplies made by Thomas Boteller and Henry Brewer which appear on the verso of the roll for November2 refer to a stay of the bishop at Hatfield which would seem to have taken place shortly before the meeting of parliament….”
“….1 Roll E, 25 Oct.
“….2 RollF, v. (Necessaria) These preparations were in large part to make ready for the household’s stay during the parliamentary session, but Henry Brewer’s activity was also ‘contra adventum domini’….”
NB: Elsewhere in the book Roll E is identified as P.R.O. E 101/510/27 and Roll F as P.R.O. E 101/400/28.
This enigmatic Kamelot can’t have been King Arthur’s Camelot, which appears to have been romantic invention, so was it either coincidentally called by the same name, or deliberately named after the legendary home of King Arthur?
All that seems certain is that while the bishop’s household was at Hatfield, Kamelot was close enough to Holbourn for the Bishop to set off for London after breakfast and arrive in time for supper in Holbourn. From Hatfield to Holbourn is just over 65 miles as the crow flies. Of course, the fact that the bishop’s household was at Hatfield doesn’t mean Arundel himself was close by. I suppose he could have been anywhere that was within striking distance of Holbourn. But I feel Kamelot must have been somewhere near Hatfield.
My question, ladies and gentlemen, is what and where was this Kamelot? It must have existed to have been mentioned in the rolls. Any ideas?