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Sir Gereint,
King of Cornwall

Arthurian Literary Character

Sir Gereint was the eldest son of King Erbin of Cornwall. Gereint spent much time at King Arthur's Court, looking for action and adventure. It was during this period that he avenged an insult to Queen Guinevere committed by the warrior Yder by defeating him in a "Sparrowhawk Tournament". During the quest, Gereint lodged with Earl Newell in Cardiff and fell in love with the Earl's daughter, Enid. After settling the score with Yder, Gereint returned to Arthur's court where he was honoured for his victory and was given Enid's hand in marriage. In time, his father grew infirm and Gereint was called back to Cornwall to assume the responsibilities of a ruler. Though always deemed to be the best warrior at the tournaments, Gereint grew bored with feats of arms and preferred to spend his time with his wife in their Cornish homeland. However, rumours began to circulate concerning Gereint's worthiness as a ruler and the grumbling eventually reached Enid's ears. One morning in bed, when she thought Gereint was asleep, she lamented about the growing scandal. Gereint misinterpreted her words and thought that she had been unfaithful to him. He thus forced his wife to accompany him on a series of dangerous adventures, culminating when, Gereint having been knocked unconscious by some giants, an earl named Limuris tried to force himself on Enid. Gereint awoke at Enid's screams and killed the Earl. Realizing that Enid was faithful after all, Gereint asked for, and received, his wife's forgiveness.

He appears to have been one of a number of historical Kings of Dumnonia (Cornwall/Devon/Somerset) called Gerren. A son of King Erbin, he was made famous by the Welsh poem called the "Elegy for Gereint" describing his death in the Battle of Llongborth at the turn of the 6th century. 

  

    Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.