EBK Activity Sheets

 


Glastonbury
where King Arthur battled to save his Queen?


King Arthur besieges Melwas on Glastonbury Tor
 
  • This is an old legend told about King Arthur and Glastonbury Tor in Somerset. It was first written down in the 12th century.

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  • In the Dark Ages, Glastonbury Tor was the hilltop home of a King of the Summer Country (Somerset) called Melwas.
  • Melwas fell in love with the High-King Arthur's wife, Queen Guinevere.
  • When she was out riding one day in Westminster (in London), Melwas and his men kidnapped the Queen.
  • They took her to Glastonbury Tor and locked her up in the Kings' fortress there.
  • King Arthur heard what had happened and took a big army to Glastonbury and surrounded the Tor.
  • There was lots of fighting as King Arthur tried to get in. This is called a 'siege'.
  • Eventually, a local hermit, called Saint Gildas, came to the Tor and got the two groups talking to one another. This is called 'mediation'.
  • Melwas agreed to give back Queen Guinevere and everyone was happy - especially Glastonbury Abbey which got lots of land in thanks for the peace.

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  • Archaeologists have excavated (dug up) the top of Glastonbury Tor.
  • They found the remains of several buildings dating from King Arthur's time, the 6th century.
  • Although there was not really room for a great hall, lots of animal bones showed whoever lived their liked feasting.
  • The people there must have been important as they were able to import (bring to this country) pottery from around the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Metalworking also went on there.
  • Do you think this was the home of King Melwas?
  • Do you think King Melwas really knew King Arthur?

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