Tintagel Castle<br>ENGLISH HERITAGE, Tintagel. Hand Picked Places to Visit in Cornwall, England
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Places to Visit in Tintagel, Cornwall

Tintagel Castle

PL34 0HE
Tel: +44(0)1840 770328
Tintagel Castle
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With its spectacular location on one of England's most dramatic coastlines, Tintagel is an awe-inspiring and romantic spot. It is also a place of legends. Joined to the mainland by a narrow neck of land,
Tintagel Island faces the full force of the Atlantic. On the mainland itself, the gaunt remains of the medieval castle represent only one phase in a long history of occupation. Even before Richard, Earl of Cornwall, built his castle, Tintagel had come to be associated with the conception of King Arthur. The connection was later renewed by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in his Idylls of the King.

After a period as a Roman settlement and military outpost, Tintagel is thought to have been a trading settlement of Celtic kings during the 5th and 6th centuries. Legend has it that one of these was King Mark, whose nephew Tristan fell in love with Yseult (or Isolde). Their doomed romance is part of Tintagel's story.

The remains of the 13th-century castle are breathtaking. Steep stone steps, stout walls and rugged windswept cliff edges encircle the Great Hall, where Richard, Earl of Cornwall, once feasted. The emphasis here is always on the word 'may', as there are so many unanswered questions and legends surrounding Tintagel.

There is also an amazing capacity to surprise us, even after years of investigation. In June 1998, excavations were undertaken under the direction of Professor Chris Morris of the University of Glasgow, on a relatively sheltered and small site on the eastern side of the island, first excavated in the 1930s. Pottery from the 5th and 6th centuries was found, as well as some fine glass fragments believed to be from 6th- or 7th-century Málaga. Even more remarkable was a 1,500-year-old piece of slate on which remain two Latin inscriptions. The second inscription reads: 'Artognou, father of a descendant of Coll, has had [this] made.' Who exactly Artognou was continues to be a subject for lively speculation.

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