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History and Mystery
The magic of north Cornwall can be found in the village of Tintagel. For hundreds of years the area has been famous for its King Arthur legend, including the historic castle on the cliffs.
For more than 800 years a magical tale has been told that Tintagel was the birthplace of the noble King Arthur.
He was protected from evil by Merlin the magician who lived below the castle in a cave.
As many mysteries remain about Tintagel as facts are known. Today the two are inextricably entwined and the village remains one of the most awe inspiring and romantic spots in the UK.
The castle is found in the spectacular setting of the dramatic north Cornwall coast. Atlantic breakers crash against the cliffs, and through Merlin's cave, as visitors climb the steep but breathtaking path to Tintagel Island.
The ruins of the 13th Century stronghold of the Earls of Cornwall continue to be explored by people from all over the world.
On the mainland itself, the gaunt remains of the medieval castle represent only one phase in a long history of occupation.
Even before Richard, Earl of Cornwall, built his castle, Tintagel had come to be associated with the conception of King Arthur.
The connection was later renewed by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in his Idylls of the King.
During the summer months, a story-teller is often on hand to bring the legends of King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot to life. In the bleak mid-winter, Tintagel is a place that inspires the imagination of writers and poets. It's a place of dreams, romance and legend.
In June 1998, excavations were undertaken under the direction of Professor Chris Morris of the University of Glasgow, on a relatively sheltered and small site on the eastern side of the island, first excavated in the 1930s.
Pottery from the 5th and 6th centuries was found, as well as some fine glass fragments believed to be from 6th- or 7th-century Málaga.
Even more remarkable was a 1,500-year-old piece of slate on which remain two Latin inscriptions. The second inscription reads: ‘Artognou, father of a descendant of Coll, has had [this] made.’ Who exactly Artognou was continues to be a subject for lively speculation.
Castle Opening Times