Who chose King Arthur’s final resting place? The monks of Glastonbury or Henry II….?


I’ve known for a long time that King Arthur wasn’t buried at Glastonbury, but thanks to an incredible example of “seizing the moment”, the monks of the abbey ensured a huge income from pilgrims and tourists who believed their story. Or maybe it wasn’t only the monks, maybe Henry II had something to do with it as well, to draw attention away from the “turbulent priest” buried at Canterbury.

King Henry II, the first Angevin king, links his name and destiny to the legendary but real-enough King Arthur. ( Public domain )

This all makes for a story in itself, of course, and no doubt those who started it were well pleased with themselves, whether monks or king. But whatever, whomever and whyever, a hoax was foisted on us all. Back in the 1960s my fiancé and I went to Glastonbury to look at the abbey ruins and the grave of Arthur and Guinevere. It was very atmospheric, and felt quite exciting to imagine we were close to the ancient hero, the Isle of Avalon and Guinevere. Except, sadly, we were kidding ourselves.

To read about the grave at Glastonbury, go to this site.


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