The mythical King Arthur may have been a real-life ruler from Barwick-in-Elmet, according to a new book
Conventional wisdom suggests that the sixth century warrior, if he existed at all, might have hailed from Cornwall. But a retired high school teacher and amateur historian says he has unearthed evidence which proves Arthur was born in the outskirts of Leeds.
Adrian Grant, 70, claims in a self-published book called Arthur: Legend, Logic and Evidence, that the future leader of the Knights of the Round Table was the son of a fifth century king who ruled over the kingdom of Elmet. His family castle would have stood on or near Hall Tower Hill in Barwick, a mound and ditch that was once home to an Iron Age fort.
Historians through the centuries have been unable to confirm whether Arthur really existed, but Mr Grant, who lives in Cupar, east Scotland, says he set out to separate fact from fiction by examining 12 major battles during the Arthurian period.
He says his research proves “beyond any doubt” that Arthur was real.
“The first battle was in 495AD and the legend says that Arthur was selected at the age of 15,” Mr Grant said. “We have a very small window and you have an individual with the right name and that fits all the necessary questions. There is nobody else so therefore that’s him.”
Arthur doesn’t appear in the only surviving contemporary account of Battle of Badon Hill around 500 AD, at which he supposedly led the English forces against the Saxon invasion. The first reference to him was several centuries later, when a Welsh historian listed the 12 battles, with dates years apart.