EBK Activity Sheets

 


King Arthur's Grave
Was it really found at Glastonbury Abbey?

 

AGAINST

  • The monks at Glastonbury found out about King Arthur's body at the very time that they needed lots of money from pilgrims. This is too much of a coincidence to be believable.

  • There are no eye-witness accounts to show what was found during the digging. Accounts from soon after contradict one another. Most say Arthur and Guinevere were found. One says their enemy, Mordred, was there too.

  • The style of writing on the lead cross supposedly found in the grave does not date from King Arthur's time. The strange 'A's look very like 12th century writing over the door to Stoke-sub-Hamdon Church, just 18 miles to the south.

  • All the accounts of the writing on the cross give different wording. One says Guinevere, Arthur's 'second wife' was there too. This does not appear on the drawing of it. Every story says Arthur only had one wife.

  • No-one ever suggested Glastonbury might be the Isle of Avalon until after the cross was found. No-one connected King Arthur with Glastonbury before this either.

  • Some historians think the monks pretended to find King Arthur's body to please the King. The Welsh thought Arthur was magic and was not dead but only sleeping. He would return one day to throw the English out of Wales. The discovery showed he was really dead.

 

FOR

  • Bodies of saints brought in the most money from pilgrims. The monks did not make up stories about finding the body of their supposed founder, St. Joseph of Arimathea. He would have been much more popular than King Arthur.

  • Archaeologists have proved that the monks did dig a hole in the cemetery between two important stone-lined graves. They were probably marked by big stone crosses, the remains of which were the 'pyramids' described by the monks.

  • The lead cross has disappeared. The style of writing is only known from a drawing. This may not be correct; or it may date from the 10th century. The cross could have been put in the grave then.

  • Accounts of the finding were written down from memory and some people might easily have got it wrong, especially the writing on the cross. There is one Welsh record that says Arthur had three wives, all called Guinevere.

  • In the Dark Ages, Glastonbury was like an island sticking up out of the marshes. It was also thought to be the most important monastery in Britain. Traditionally King Arthur is said to have been a member of the local Dumnonian Royal family. What better place to be buried?

Do you think King Arthur was buried at Glastonbury Abbey?

 

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