St. Stephen’s church

Le Morte D’Arthur III 5 states:
“Then was the high feast made ready, and the king was wedded at Camelot unto Dame Guenever in the church of Saint Stephen’s, with great solemnity.”

Malory mistakenly identified Camelot with Winchester, probably because it supposedly housed the arthurian round table in the Great Hall. No religious building has ever been dedicated to St. Stephen at Winchester. As indicated Camelot was Celliwig, that is Castle Canyke in Bodmin, see Celliwig. Just over 3 miles away from Celliwig is the church of Saint Stephen’s, by the river Camel and about 350 yards away from the Roman fort at Nanstallon.

Church of St Stephen’s. Photo © Derek Harper (cc-by-sa2.0)

Of course, the current church would have been built over the Arthurian predecessor.

Celliwig

Triad 1 states one of Arthur’s tribal thrones is Celliwig in Cornwall. Other sources confirm that Arthur’s court was located there. I believe it must be a place that occupies a prime strategic site in Cornwall. The Romans had to make a similar decision as to where to locate their forts. Two of their four known forts in Cornwall are a mere 5 miles apart. Both occupy hilltops that overlook the highest navigable point on major Cornish rivers.

The first is at Nanstallon and the associated river is the Camel which drains on the north coast at Padstow. The second fort is at Restormel, near the river Fowey which drains on the south coast at the town of Fowey. The forts are separated by an east-west ridgeway, possibly prehistoric in origin, which runs along the central spine of Cornwall. They could also monitor the north-south traffic, some of which would be avoiding having to sail round the tip of the peninsula.

It is here, near the geographical centre of Cornwall and between the two forts, that Castle Canyke or Kynock is situated. It is the largest hill-fort in Cornwall and I believe it to be Kelli wic. It is bivallate and oval in shape measuring 348 m and 308 m. Ferdinand Lot (1901) thought Arthur’s residence was Bodmin, the town the castle is located in, and he noted that nearby was a place called Callywith.[1] Nearby is Callywith wood, perhaps originally part of the forest indicated by the meaning of the name Celliwig, i.e forest grove.

Koch states:
“The name Camulodūnon is most probably the source of Camelot …”[2]
Cornish/Welsh ‘din’ and Gaelic ‘dun’ were terms used to refer to a ‘fort’. The name is, therefore,  likely to mean a reference to “fort on the river Camel”.

[1] Romania 30, 13
[1] Koch, J.T., 2006, 337