The Piccadilly Line to Camelot

Camlet Moat

Camelot, the seat of King Arthur and his Queen Guinevere. Its location – even its very existence – has been studied and debated for generations. In his seminal work Morte D’Arthur, Sir Thomas Mallory proposed that the ancient city of Winchester had once been Camelot. Other possibilities are Caerleon, in Wales, or Cadbury Castle in Somerset (sadly, no, it is not made out of chocolate). There is however another contender for the site of the Round Table, one you probably haven’t heard of: North London.

The Plantagenet kings had their Royal Hunting Ground where Trent Country Park in the borough of Enfield lies now. Hidden away on its fringes is a small island surrounded by a man-made moat, known since time immemorial as “Camlet Moat”. The site was already viewed as ancient by the time of its first appearance in records in the early 15th century. The similarity between the names “Camelot” and “Camlet Moat” is immediately apparent, and it would seem that the latter is – like the former – a name of Celtic origins, making ‘Camlet Moat’ over two thousand years old – standing at least a thousand years before the medieval tales of King Arthur and Camelot began to be written.

Archaeological digs took place on Camlet Moat in both the 1880s and 1920s, the findings of which suggested that there had once stood a substantial structure on the little isle. Stones walls six feet thick with subterranean cellars and dungeons and a massive drawbridge almost forty foot long – sounds like a pretty impressive castle to me! The site’s ancient occupation was further evidenced by many Roman relics being unearthed. Camlet Moat has long been a centre for spiritualists and is still a focus of Druidic activity; standing on the crossing point of many ley lines, it has a Holy Well considered a place of healing, where the apparition of a white-garbed lady is said to appear to patrons…

I guess that the excavations of past centuries have unearthed all that they will unearth, so we may never know the truth of the ancient post-Roman site and its connections to the Camelot of medieval legend…

 
 


One of the legends surrounding the mysterious London Stone is that this was the rock from with the young Arthur pulled his sword Excalibur.

Camlet Moat on the English Heritage website; plan your visit!


 

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