King Arthur Legends - The Cast

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The following entries are taken from the 'Geoffrey of Monmouth' version of the legend. Groups such as 'The Knights of the Round Table', 'Women in the Arthurian Legends' - and others, as we think of them! - will be developed in more detail on linked freespace pages. This list is to act as an aide-memoire: to identify the 'main players', if they have WikiTree profiles and/or freespace pages, and gives a one- or two-sentence description of where they fit into the Legends.

The Cast

Name Who Wiki ID
King Arthur High King of all the Britons Ap_Uthyr-1
Guinevere Daughter of Leodegrance; wife of Arthur; lover of Lancelot
Sir Lancelot

(Launcelot du lac)

Arthur's best knight; lover of Guinevere De_Esposyni-3
Uther Pendragon Arthur's father; married to Igrayne; gave Arthur to Merlin DeBritain-8
Igrayne Married 1) Gorlois, 2) Uther Pendragon; mother to Arthur and Morgan le Fay Ferch_Amlawdd_Wledig-1
King Leodegrance Guinevere's father
Morgause Arthur's half-sister; married to King Lot of Orkney; mother of Agravain, Gaheris, Gawain, and Gareth with Lot; mother of Mordred with Arthur; character often conflated with Morgan le Fey Mawgawse-1
Morgan le Fay Arthur's half-sister; sorceress who plots against Arthur; mother of Ywain Ferch_Gwyrlys-2
Sir Mordred Son of Morgan le Fey/Morgause; fatally wounds Arthur
Merlin Arthur's teacher and adviser; powerful magician; death: long sleep in a tomb
Nimue Lady of the Lake; good enchantress; gives Arthur sword; helps Arthur after Merlin vanishes
Elaine Daughter of King Pelles; mother of Sir Galahad with Lancelot
Sir Bedivere Last of the Knights of the Table; gives Excalibur back to lake
Sir Ector Arthur's foster father
Sir Kay Arthur's foster brother; not kind to Arthur as a child
Sir Galahad Son of Lancelot and Elaine; raised in monastery; pure; succeeds in Quest for Holy Grail
Sir Gareth Gawain's brother; Arthur's nephew
Sir Gawain Gareth's brother; Arthur's nephew; courteous and true
Balyn Struck King Pelles the Dolorous Stroke with the Bloody Spear; killed brother Balan
Balan Killed by brother Balyn
King Pelles Second keeper of the Holy Grail
King Mark King of Cornwall, one of Arthur's vassals
Iseult the Fair Married to King Mark; loved Tristram
Lady Ragnell Beautiful; made ugly by Morgan le Fey; kissed by Gawain and restored to beauty
Lady Blanchefleur Married to Sir Percival; "Grail Maiden"
Lady Linnet Requested help to rescue kidnapped sister
Lady Liones Kidnapped by the Red Knight; rescued by Gareth
Tristram Nephew of King Mark (Cornwall); wandering minstrel; killed dragon; won Iseult; poisoned
King Pellinore King of the Questing Beast
Sir Percival of Wales Overcame temptations of xxx to get on the Enchanted Ship
Melliagraunce Kidnapped Guinevere; killed by Lancelot
Sir Gromer Somer Joure Made evil by Morgan le Fey; challenges Arthur
Hector Lancelot's half-brother; failed test to join Quest for the Holy Grail
Joseph of Arimathea Brought Holy Grail on the Enchanted Ship
Naciens Had to live extra long as "Priest of the Grail", waiting for Galahad; he sinned against Joseph

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A (legendary) pedigree linking Gorlois (Gwyrlys ap Sardog (Ap_Sardog-1)), Duke of Cornwall, husband of Ygraine & father of Morgan & Morgause, to Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury (Beckett-49) can be found in Joseph Polsue's "Complete Parochial History of the County of Cornwall," volume 4, page 230.
posted by Jeremy Fox
edited by Jeremy Fox
Thanks, Jeremy. Is Polsue's work available on the internet, or can you copy the pedigree? When did Polsue write, and what source does he quote for the pedigree? This sounds like important data in learning how legends develop.
posted by Jack Day
Polsue wasa mid-Victorian - Volume 4 of his "Parochial History" was published by William Lake, truro, in 1872. Link -

Polsue quotes at length from William Hals' "History of Cornwall" written in late 1600s to ealy 1700s, In his chapter on Tintagel Polsue includes Hals' account of the birth of Arthur and a brief history of his reign. Hals (as quoted by Polsue) includes the following note of some sources - "There was extant in the Welsh tongue , in bards's verses , 1170 , temp . Hen . II . , a song which said that the body of King Arthur was buried at the Isle of Avallan , near Glastonbury , between two pyra mids . Whereupon King Henry ordered search to be made after his corpse , as that most classical and authentic author Giraldus Cambrensis , who was an eye witness thereof saith , who relates , that after the pioneers had sunk about seven foot deep , they lighted upon a stone in form of a cross , to the back part thereof was fastened a rude leaden cross , something broad , withſthose letters inscribed : “ Hic jacet sepultis inclitus Rex Arturius in Insula Avalonia . ” Two feet beneath this cross they then also found two coffins made of hollow oak , wherein were the bones and skeletons of King Arthur and of Genevour , his wife , the hair of the said lady being then whole and of fresh colour , as Fabian saith , but as soon as touched it fell to powder . This history , for substance is gathered out of Galfridus and other chronologers ; John Trevisa's book of the Acts of King Arthur , temp . Henry IV .; John Lidgate , a monk of S. Edmondsbury , who wrote a tract of King Arthur's Round Table , anno Dom . 1470 ; William Caxton , the author of that Chronicle called Fructus Temporum , who also wrote the history of King Arthur , 1484 ; Nicholas Upton , Canon of the Cathe dral Church of Wells , 1440 ; and others . King Arthur's three admirals at sea , as appears from the book of Thriades in British , were Gerint ab Erbyn , a nobleman of Cornwall , for then Cornwall and Devon were one county or province , slain at Lhongporth , now London , by the Saxons , anno Dom . 540 ; March ab Meircyon , and Gwenwynwyn ab Nau ."

posted by Jeremy Fox

Categories: King Arthur Legend