Cornwall’s Tintagel Castle
Tintagel Castle’s 13th-century ruins, set among sea-bitten precipices, are one of the most spectacular historic sites in Britain
A place of elemental power and beauty, it is an outstanding example of a man-made monument interacting with a natural feature. Its natural land-bridge, a slender isthmus linking the headland to the mainland, has been its defining feature for 5,000 years. This tenuous rocky link, however, has been much-eroded over the centuries.
Tintagel is thought to have been the seat of the region’s Dark Age rulers and is famous for its links to the legend of King Arthur since Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain 12th-century described it as the place of his conception. This, along with its appearance in the stories of Tristan and Iseult, may have inspired the construction of Tintagel’s romantically situated castle by King Henry III’s brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall in the 1230s. Tintagel also enjoys a romantic place in the western literary canon in the 19th and 20th centuries, with both Tennyson and Hardy publishing works inspired by its setting.