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Cliff Fort


... We came to Tintagell Head, a spot more than commonly interesting, not only from the grandeur of its local scenery, but its connection with names and events of our remotest history.

This promontory was once entirely separated from the mainland, but is now connected with it at its base, by a mound of earth which has fallen from the cliffs above. We climbed up it by the best, and indeed the only path, a most frightful ascent over steps of rock, projecting, at very irregular intervals, from the side of a precipice.

On the top, which includes an area of about three acres of ground, are the ruins of a castle, once the residence of the earliest kings and dukes of Cornwall, and illustrious as the birthplace of the far-famed king Arthur.

Lord Bacon observes of this prince, that there is truth enough in his history to make him famous, besides that which is fabulous; determining, I suppose, that all is true, except what is outrageously impossible. All authorities decide that he was born in Tintagell castle, and I see no reason for questioning the fact, provided we admit he was born at all. After having accomplished many deeds that were inconceivably glorious, and have already filled too many volumes to require any illustration from me, he received his daeth blow in a battle with his rebellious relation, Mordred, near Camelford, and not many miles from Tintagell.

[...] I should advise all visitors to Tintagell to content themselves with thus imagining a castle for king Arthur, for I can assure them that, though they may sacrifice their lives by attempting to reach the summit of the promontory, they can see nothing there but the rubbish of an old wall, out of which imagination will be infinitely more puzzled to construct a castle than out of the rocks below
From 'A voyage round Great Britain, undertaken in the summer of the year 1813', by Richard Ayton and William Daniell (a pair who look very dapper in their portraits, and who are (sometimes) refreshingly sympathetic to the poor and their living conditions).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd October 2012ce
Edited 3rd October 2012ce

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