King Arthur was real... and a Yorkshireman, says author

King Arthur. Picture: SWNS
King Arthur. Picture: SWNS
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Conventional wisdom suggests that the mythical sixth century King Arthur, if he existed at all other than in Celtic mythology, might possibly have hailed from Cornwall.

But a retired high school teacher and amateur historian has attempted to turn history on its head by unearthing evidence which he says proves the warrior king was actually from Leeds.

Adrian Grant, 70, claims in a self-published book called Arthur: Legend, Logic and Evidence, that the future leader of the Knights of the Round Table was born around 475AD in the village of Barwick-in-Elmet, a once sprawling stronghold.

Historians through the centuries have been unable to confirm whether Arthur really existed, but Mr Grant, who lives in Cupar, east Scotland, says he set out to separate fact from fiction by examining 12 major battles during the Arthurian period.

He says his research proves “beyond any doubt” that Arthur was real.

“The first battle was in 495AD and the legend says that Arthur was selected at the age of 15,” Mr Grant said.

“We have a very small window and you have an individual with the right name and that fits all the necessary questions. There is nobody else so therefore that’s him.”

Arthur doesn’t appear in the only surviving contemporary account of Battle of Badon Hill around 500 AD, at which he supposedly led the English forces against the Saxon invasion.

The first reference to him is not thought to have appeared until several centuries later, when the Welsh historian Nennius listed 12 battles in which he had supposedly fought. But the timescale was too broad to be realistic.

The most popular account of his reign was in the 12th century book by Geoffrey of Monmouth, which created the legend of Camelot, the wizard Merlin and the magic sword Excalibur.

But Mr Grant believes Arthur was the son of Masgwid Gloff, a fifth century king who ruled over the kingdom of Elmet in Yorkshire’s West Riding. His family castle would have stood on or near Hall Tower Hill in Barwick, a mound and ditch that was once home to an Iron Age fort.

He said: “I think I have uncovered the truth. The key thing to uncovering the truth is to understand the lie, the nature of the lie and why it was told.

“In the case of Arthurian legend a lot of it is not lies but satirical – the tales told by bards as entertainment.

“One of the reasons why it was confected was that English kings wanted an heroic ancestry, an alternative hero in which they could claim descent.”