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Brent Knoll

Hillfort

Folklore

A bit more about the legends connected with Brent Knoll, as explained in Geoffrey Ashe's 'Landscape of King Arthur' (1987).

Occultist Dion Fortune wrote about the hill in her novel 'The Sea Priestess' - she called it Bell Knowle and Ashe says she described it as 'modelled by colonists from Atlantis'. Whilst this is Rather fanciful, you can't help but admit that Brent Knoll has a decidedly impressive presence in the landscape, rising as an isolated bump at the edge of the utterly flat Somerset Levels. Its previous occupants gave it a single bank and ditch at the top, and may have steepened some of its slopes. It used to belong to Glastonbury Abbey - indeed you can see it from Glastonbury Tor.

A chronicler of the 13th century tells how King Arthur was holding court at Caerleon one Christmas (or should that be Midwinter?). He knighted a bold young man called Ider, who was the son of King Nuth. Ash reminds us that a Gwyn ap Nudd was the lord of the underworld, and he lived in Glastonbury Tor*, and had a run in with St Collen, if you recall. So it seems likely that King Nuth could refer to the same man?

As a new knight, Ider had to pass a test. He was told when at Glastonbury that three giants, 'notorious for their wickedness', lived on Brent Knoll, then known as the Mount of Frogs (Mons Ranarum). King Arthur intended to march against them, and Ider would be required to join him. Young and enthusiastic, Ider galloped ahead and slew all three giants singlehandedly. But unfortunately he was wounded himself, and by the time Arthur arrived Ider lay unconscious and dying. The King returned to Glastonbury blaming himself. He gave the lands around the hill to the abbey and asked the monks to pray for Ider's soul.

Ider also appears as 'Yder son of Nut' in a French medieval romance by Chr├ętien de Troyes.

[*assuming this is the correct location of the St Collen story (see the Tor page).]
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd January 2006ce
Edited 23rd January 2006ce

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