Featured image of Tintagel Castle

The History of Tintagel Castle

LocationTintagel, Cornwall, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byDuchy of Cornwall
Official WebsiteTintagel Castle
Rooms AvailableNo

Tintagel Castle is a medieval fortification adjacent to the village of Tintagel, located on the peninsula of Tintagel Island, North Cornwall. Significantly linked with the legend of King Arthur, the site has been a tourist destination since mid 19th century.

History of Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle is one of the most interesting historic sites in Britain. The castle is believed to be built during the Roman-Britain period, a time when southern Britain was invaded and occupied by the Roman Empire. There are no specific records of the castle’s construction; historians believe that the place was inherited from the Kingdom of Dumnonia, and the castle was built around the same time. When the Roman control of the British Empire collapsed during the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the early 5th century, it split into various kingdoms. Tintagel Castle is believed to be the site of the settlement.

The Dumnonian royalty inherited the castle. Archaeologists suggest that the palaces were not used as a year-round stay by the royalty but were used when the king moved around with his family. Archaeological digs by the Cornwall Archaeological Unit found slates and pottery of the Roman time, languages from the time no one knew how to read, and much more was discovered. In 1225, Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, swapped the land of Merten with that of Tintagel Castle in a trade deal. A castle was built in 1233 on the site by Earl Richard since the place was seen as a traditional place for Cornish kings. After Richard, the following earls of Cornwall were not interested in the place, and the castle was subsequently destroyed. Parts of the castle were used as prisons, and the land was used as pastures. The palace’s roof was also removed in the 1330s, and the castle became more and more ruinous. The Commonwealth government of the 1650s seized the manor of Tintegal as Duchy of Cornwall property.

The castle is greatly associated with the Arthurian legends. The legend narrated by Geoffrey of Monmouth says that Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, the king of all Britain, goes on a war against Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall, to capture his wife, Igraine. Gorlois hides Igraine away in Tintagel Castle, but Uther asks his best friend Ulfin to get Igraine. Ulfin says that it would be impossible for him to enter Tintagel as he would be forbidden entry by the warriors. That’s when wizard Merlin is summoned, and Uther’s appearance is magically changed to Gorlois, and they are able to enter the castle. The legend ends by saying, “in that night was the most famous of men, Arthur, was conceived.” The legend is hugely popular in Great Britain, and there are many other Arthurian texts in this relation.

Architecture

Tintagel Castle
Tintagel Castle”, by Robert Linsdell, is licensed under CC BY 2.0

People’s fascination with the Arthurian legend resulted in the castle becoming a tourist destination. The Tintagel Castle bridge is a very famous sight. The footbridge over a 58-metre drop between two cliffs has reconnected two sides of a medieval ruin. The original bridge in this place was built around the 15th and 16th centuries. The castle’s design is not very popular as it was constructed at an unrecorded time.

The castle is considered to be a beautiful fortification and was inherited by the Dumnonian royalty at the time of the Roman Empire. The castle is considered one of Britain’s beautiful ruins and attracts many visitors yearly.

Movie Features

Lamb (1985): The movie “Lamb” was shot at Tintagel Castle and revolved around a priest who questions his calling when a young elliptic enters the school and makes him rethink his whole life.

Knights of the Round Table (1953): The movie is based on the hero of the castle itself, King Arthur. The film discusses King Arthur’s rule, which is threatened as an adulterous love story between Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere starts to take place.

Coastal Path (2016): Paul Rose discusses the castle in his documentary along his way to a trek across England’s fine castles.

Britain’s Finest (2002): Another 1.5 hour-long documentary that discusses the castle in its course of discovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Tintagel Castle?

Tintagel Castle is a historic medieval fortification adjacent to the village of Tintagel, located on the peninsula of Tintagel Island, North Cornwall, United Kingdom.

Why is Tintagel famous?

The castle is mainly famous for its association with the marvellous legend of King Arthur’s conception in the castle, commonly known as the Arthurian Legend. The castle is also renowned for being under the control of the Romans for a very long time.

What did Tintagel Castle look like?

Tintagel Castle is one of the most spectacular historic sites in Britain. The castle was a vast palace inherited by the Dumnonian royalty with a marvellous view and breathtaking gardens.

Has anyone fallen from Tintagel Castle?

A Romanian man fell from the cliff of Tintagel Castle while visiting. An inquest in his death was held on 30th November 2020. The man was identified as Laurentiu-Ionut Nitu, aged 35. 

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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