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Spotting a Ghost at King Arthur’s Mythical Castle

What would you do if you encountered a bizarre, mythical, dark-age rider in the middle of a hillfort on a drizzly Sunday morning? Well, allow us to make an assumption on your behalf; you’d be flabbergasted or even spooked if you saw a ghost.

And rightly so, especially if that medieval-looking fellow on a horseback has an aura of mysteriousness to him.

“I know what I saw,” Susan Winch.

That is exactly what happened with Susan Winch. The teacher reported that while on a solo stroll at Cadbury Castle in June of 1995, she witnessed a rather curious sight. A man on horseback with a thick metal helmet and pale blonde locks came across her at the foot of the hillfort.

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The fellow seemed weary, and his attire worn out.

The mysterious rider refused to acknowledge her presence, but his horse responded by bucking. According to Winch, the rider seemed to struggle to control the beast again. Eventually, he left on the path to the hillfort.

Cadbury Castle
View from Cadbury Castle. Teacher, Susan Winch, said she saw a ghostly knight on horseback.

“I quickly followed, but I could not see the rider or the horse. I looked everywhere, around every corner.

When I reached the top of the hillfort, there was nothing. I walked all over that hill. There was no one. I was puzzled. Why on earth did some bloke randomly dress up to look like a dark age warrior? But it did not spook me particularly,” reports Winch.

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A few years down the line, the teacher learned about the strange tales regarding South Cadbury. Locals hold that dark-age riders around Midsummer’s Eve haunt the town.

“I know what I saw. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever. But whether it was man or ghost, I will leave you to decide”, states Winch.

The Legend of King Arthur

Historians believe that the Cadbury Castle in South Cadbury seems to have been a favored location for the fabled King Arthur, the late fifth and early sixth-century warrior king who defended the Britons against the Saxons. This geographically advantageous point is also said to have been King Arthur’s mythical Camelot.

Dating back to the Stone Age, it is an established historical fact that Cadbury Castle was a military stronghold for over four thousand years.

A hill looming over the ancient village of South Cadbury, was confirmed in a late 1960s archaeological investigation to be the 18-acre Cadbury Castle that had been re-fortified during the sixth century, the apex of Arthur’s bloom.

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What adds to its mythical charm are the foundations of a timbered hall and what appears to have once been a church.

Additionally, the close proximity to Glastonbury Tor – thought by some to be the Arthurian Isle of Avalon – gives an immaculate view from the Castle across Somerset.

An ancient track runs from the base of the hill to Glastonbury Tor, rumored to have been King Arthur’s hunting track.

King Arthur
The legend of King Arthur is one of Britain’s favourites. Did his ghost appear to a school teacher however?

Legend has it that King Arthur sleeps in the apparently empty hillfort accompanied by his knights, ready to jump in should and when England need his valour.

Interestingly, the quiet little village of South Cadbury houses a pub named ‘Camelot,’ deriving its name from the Arthurian legend. Cadbury Castle is easily accessible and free to explore for anyone looking for an adventure!

So Did King Arthur Really Exist?

John Griffith-Davies, a historian, published a study that reveals that the person of “King Arthur” was indeed alive. The said King met a bloody end in a battle at Cadbury Castle 1500 years ago.

This contradicts the locals who believe that the legendary Camelot was located at Somerset but still verifies portions of the myth. Griffith-Davies says that Camelot was in Caerleon, South Wales. The city was one of the largest major cities in Roman Britain, housing as many as 100,000 citizens.

A ghostly image of King Arthur receiving Excalibur from the lady of the lake.

Here’s the twist, Griffith-Davies believes that ‘King Arthur’ was, in fact, Brenin (King) Athrwys ap Gwythr. Wait, who? Athrwys ruled a significant portion of the land of south and west Wales in the 6th century. The king was part of the Romano-British society, which emerged from the mingling of Romans and native Britons.

Griffith-Davies’s study reveals that Arthwys traveled to Somerset, where he successfully held off a Saxon invasion at Cadbury Castle. This, however, was not Camelot but rather a regional strategic fortress.

In this struggle, Arthwys was fatally wounded and shifted back to Carleon, where he gave in to his injuries. “The historian also believes that Athrwys’s only surviving son, Llacheu, was killed in Somerset decades later in a battle against the Saxons near Langport,” says Tomas Malloy of DorsetLive.

So do you think that Brenin Athrwys ap Gwythr may have been the real King Arthur?

Who knows for sure? Maybe we we should ask the ghosts of Cadbury Castle.

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