Daily Archives: December 12, 2014

The Quest for the Holy Grail (1)


Yesterday I posted the 18th & final post of my Shakesperian Grand Tour. In its wake I believe I’ve managed to open up completely several bard-connected mysteries that have been gnawing at the best academic minds for many centuries. Thing is, I only really spent a month on Shakespeare (September) & pretty much cracked it. So, writing up my notes this past week or so has really whetted my appetite for blogging, & so I’m going to turn to another of the world’s greatest mysteries – where is, & what was, the Holy Grail.  The story that everyone has inherited, describes how the knights of King Arthur go searching for the cup used by Jesus at the last supper.




To see if there is any truth in the story at all we need to verify that King Arthur actually lived. The problem is, this topic is a matter of hot academic contention. In the early 12th century, William of Malmesbury writes of the ‘Warlike Arthur… of whom the trifling of the Britons talks such nonsense even today; a man clearly worthy not to be dreamed of in fallacious fables, but to be proclaimed in veracious histories, as one who long sustained his tottering country, and gave the shattered minds of his fellow citizens an edge for war.’ It is because of those ‘fallacious fables’ that our boy’s existence is so strenuously debated, pickling many an academic head & producing a series of ‘Arthurs’ that jump about through time like Doctor Who in his bloody Tardis. The most recent scholarship (2013) places him in the same bracket as UFOs & the continent of Atlantis, with Guy Halsall stating, ‘I wish that Arthur had existed but that I must admit there is no evidence – at any rate none admissable in any serious court of history.’


The ‘court of history’ mentioned by Guy is actually a rigid system of academic thinking which tends to attack historical sources rather than use them. The thing is, the evidence must be out there somewhere, waiting to be discovered – there is just too much of an Arthurian tradition for it all to be dismissed as fiction. There have been hundreds of books, plays & films made about him, but in recent years the historicity of Arthur has been pulled into question. Modernity tends to look on these quasi-mythological tales with a sceptical mind, & understandably dismisses the Arthurian ouvre as medieval romancing.


Any truth in the historical Arthur has been scattered to all corners of the island, where innumerable places claim their own slice of the legend. To get all the answers we will have to embark on a detective story – it won’t be like Agatha Christie or anything, where a bunch of middle-class grannies & well-educated toffs wander round posh hotels acting all guilty. Instead, we shall embark upon a quest to find those bits of genuine evidence left behind by King Arthur, who was, according to William of Malmesbury; ‘A man worthy to be celebrated, not by ideal fictions, but by authentic history.’




Our quest begins with what I have monickered, ‘Arthur’s Birth Certificate,‘ which sates that Arthur was born at Tintagel – a dark age sea-fortress guarding  the north coast of Cornwall. The story was first found in the 12th century History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who from now on I shall call Big Geoff. The guy is recognized as the godfather of Arthuriana, but unfortunately gets a lot of stick from historians, & I can see why. Honestly, his work is all over the shop, a patchwork quilt of historical flashbacks knitted together in any old fashion – but every now & again he hits the nail right on the head.

In the case of Arthur’s birth, he describes a certain Duke Gorlois of Cornwall & his wife, Igraine, the mother of Arthur. Duke Gorlois, however, wasn’t Arthur’s father. The honour goes instead to Uther Pendragon, who during an invasion of Cornwall had laid siege to Tintagel , where with the help of the wizard Merlin, tricked Igraine into sleeping with him. The following passage, then, is the nearest thing we have to Arthur’s birth certificate;

Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, was there, with his wife Igerne, that in beauty did surpass all the other dames of the whole of Britain. And when the King espied her amidst the others, he did suddenly wax so fain of her love that, paying no heed unto none of the others, he turned all his attention only upon her… At last, committing the siege into charge of his familiars, he did entrust himself unto the arts and medicaments of Merlin, and was transformed into the semblance of Gorlois… They then went their way toward Tintagel, and at dusk hour arrived at the castle. The porter, weening that the Duke had arrived, swiftly unmade the doors, and the three were admitted. For what other than Gorlois could it be, seeing that in all things it seemed as if Gorlois himself were there? So the King lay that night with Igerne.


More then eight centuries after Big Geoff penned his history, a piece of epigraphical evidence turned up at Tintagel itself, when in 1983, a massive grass-fire raged across the promontory.  Once the fire had done its business, the foundations of several dark-age buildings were uncovered on the promontory, one of which yielded a rather interesting piece of broken slate (8″x14″), known as the Artognou Stone. Scribbled upon it was a sample of sub-roman ‘graffiti’ that has proven to be the key to unlocking the mysteries of King Arthur.


The translation reads something like, ‘Peter Coliavi made this Artognou.’ The ‘Arto’ element of Artognou contains the ‘art’ semantic, & on first finding the slate 1998, an archeologist declared “when I saw the letters A-R-T, I thought, uh-oh.” You can imagine the excitement that rippled out from Tintagel that summer, the discovery sending historians & linguists scrambling to identify what the word artognou meant, with the ‘gnou’ element getting everybody all confused. A few possibilities were mentioned, but no-one got anywhere really – the connection to Arthur was deemed unproven & the whole thing slowly put to bed. The thing is, the slate is broken off at just the place where artognou ends, meaning the word could well have contained more letters. Its all a case of thinking outside the box, or in this case outside the dark-age slate. So I starts chucking some of our 26 noble glyphs at it, & found that by adding a single ‘s,’ we gain the word the ARTOGNOUS,’ or ‘Artogenous,’ a Latin word which translates as ‘of the gens/family – of Arto.’ The slate’s inscription could then be rendered as;

Paterni Coliavi made this, of the family of Arto




A Cornish Paterni turns  up in the 7th century Life of Saint Turian, which describes a certain, ‘Constantine, a king beyond the sea, the son of Peterni, of Cornwall.’ According to big Geoff, King Constantine succeeded Arthur to the high kingship of Britain, as in; ‘Even the renowned King Arthur himself was wounded deadly, and was borne thence unto the island of Avalon for the healing of his wounds, where he gave up the crown of Britain unto his kinsman Constantine.’ I mean, come on, that is pretty strong confirmation that at least one Peter of Cornwall was related to King Arthur.




So far so good, & not only can we connect a Cornish Peter to King Arthur, but we can also connect the name ‘Coliavi,’ to the Birth certificate. The solution comes through following the processes of the ‘Chisper Effect’ on the Latinized Coliavi.

Coliavi – Gleve – Glevesing

In the 9th century Historia Brittonum we read;

Vortigern sent messengers throughout Britain, in search of a child born without a father. After having inquired in all the provinces, they came to the field of Aelecti, in the district of Glevesing, where a party of boys were playing at ball. And two of them quarrelling, one said to the other, ” boy without a father, no good will ever happen to you.”



Glevesing – Glywysg – Glywys

Glevesing was a kingdom that lay in south Wales, roughly corresponding to the modern counties of Glamorgan & Gwent. In the Life of Saint Cadog it is given a slightly different name

There reigned formerly on the borders of Britain, called Dimetia (Dyfed), a certain regulus, named Glywys, from whom all the country of that district, in all the days of his life, was called Glywysyg.

Glywys – Gliws 

King Glywys, as found in the Life of Saint Cadog, appears in a geneaology in a Welsh manuscript known as Jesus College 20, which names the sons of a certain ‘Gliws.’

Ewein vab keredic. Pedroc sant. Kynvarch. Edelic. Luip. Clesoeph. Sant. Perun. Saul. Peder. Katwaladyr. Meirchyawn. Gwrrai. Mur. Margam Amroeth. Gwher. Cornuill. Catwall. Cetweli.

Gliws is a only gentle philochisp away from Gorlois, & we can now safely say Peder son of Gliws was the same man as Paterni Coliavi. His father would have been Duke Gorlois of the Birth certificate,  the first husband of Igraine, which means Paterni would have been Arthur’s half-brother, & definitely Artogenous!


This is really only scratching the surface of the matter, but I hope to have shown here how the Artognou Stone confirms Arthur’s Birth certificate, which in turn is supported by  various other sources outwith the Arthurian legend. This, then, is the solid foundation on which we shall commence our Grail-Quest, for if Arthur once existed, then so should the Grail…






Brunanburh Castle

Yo! Yo! Yo!

Im back in Burnley at the moment, after deciding to spend a bit of time with the family. This includes my god-daughter Kae-Lei, with whom I’m working on material for a second album, & also my 2 & 3/4 year old nephew, Jacob Hewitt : the wee midget in the picture below




For the past few years Ive been wandering the local Lancashire hills in search of the battlefield of Brunanburh, then, the last time I was here, I finally made some progress, discovering a certain ‘Castle Hill,’ behind Townley Hall, which is thought to have been Anglo-Saxon.



With all evidence pointing towards a Burnley site for the battle, Castle Hill becomes a serious contender, & so a couple of days after arriving in Burnley I thought I’d check out the topography. Essentially, Castle Hill is a mound like, pyramidical hill, with the east side being a sheer drop to a small river. To the north & west there are the remains of a trench system, while the south side has no trenches but quite a sheer slope. The top of the hill has a large area big enough for a Saxon settlement & the views are amazing; it woudl have made an excellent border-post against the Viking North. Anyway here’s a few photos;


Castle Hill from the South
Castle Hill from the South


The western trench
The western trench
Looking north from the summit - the trench is the line of dark vegetation
Looking north from the summit – the trench is the line of dark vegetation


The northern trench
The northern trench




The old bridge over the northern trench
The old bridge over the northern trench


So there we have it – a genuine, bona fide fortification in the very area that all evidence says the Battle of Brunanburh occurred. Its early days yet, but under the soil of Castle Hill lies the evidence, I believe, that will confirm forever the Burnley-Brunanburh connection.