|It's been suggested over the years that it's the Roman settlement in Caerleon that's being referred to as King Arthur's court (see for example, http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/archaeology/caerleon.html ).
But frankly, I think the following story rather hints that King Arthur's men are under a hillside. And near a wood. And that sounds more like the vicinity of Lodge Wood Camp to me than the flat land down by the river. Of course there's only one way to find out - you'll have to go and look for the secret entrance yourself.
[This story] relates how a Monmouthshire farmer, whose house was grievously troubled by [a] bogie, set out one morning to call on a wizard who lived near Caerleon, and how he on his way came up with a very strange and odd man who wore a three-cornered hat. They fell into conversation, and the strange man asked the farmer if he should like to see something of a wonder. He answered he would. 'Come with me then,' said the wearer of the cocked hat, 'and you shall see what nobody else alive to-day has seen.' From John Rhys's informant, retold in 'Celtic Folklore - Welsh And Manx' , online at
When they had reached the middle of a wood this spiritual guide sprang from horseback and kicked a big stone near the road. It instantly moved aside to disclose the mouth of a large cave; and now said he to the farmer, 'Dismount and bring your horse in here: tie him up alongside of mine, and follow me so that you may see something which the eyes of man have not beheld for centuries!'
The farmer, having done as he was ordered, followed his guide for a long distance: they came at length to the top of a flight of stairs, where two huge bells were hanging. 'Now mind,' said the warning voice of the strange guide, 'not to touch either of those bells!'
At the bottom of the stairs there was a vast chamber with hundreds of men lying at full length on the floor, each with his head reposing on the stock of his gun.
'Have you any notion who these men are?'
'No,' replied the farmer, 'I have not, nor have I any idea what they want in such a place as this!
' Well,' said the guide, 'these are Arthur's thousand soldiers reposing and sleeping till the Kymry have need of them. Now let us get out as fast as our feet can carry us!'
When they reached the top of the stairs, the farmer somehow struck his elbow against one of the bells so that it rang, and in the twinkling of an eye all the sleeping host rose to their feet shouting together, 'Are the Kymry in straits?'
'Not yet: sleep you on,' replied the wearer of the cocked hat, whereupon they all dropped down on their guns to resume their slumbers at once.
'These are the valiant men,' he went on to say, 'who are to turn the scale in favour of the Kymry when the time comes for them to cast the Saxon yoke off their necks and to recover possession of their country!'
When the two had returned to their horses at the mouth of the cave, his guide said to the farmer, 'Now go in peace, and let me warn you on the pain of death not to utter a syllable about what you have seen for the space of a year and a day: if you do, woe awaits you.' After he had moved the stone back to its place the farmer lost sight of him.
When the year had lapsed the farmer happened to pass again that way, but, though he made a long and careful search, he failed completely to find the stone at the mouth of the cave.
It's a story that is told about various locations in Britain. I like the way they've got guns in this version and kept up with Progress.
Posted by Rhiannon
18th August 2006ce
Edited 19th August 2006ce