Remember, in a previous blog about Geoffrey Monmouth ...how he published his work at a politically sensitive time...the Welsh were revolting... and how they claimed that "Arthur would rise again...?" Well, it was time to put an end to this nonsense. It was time to dig up his body and show the world, well the Welsh, that he was in fact, dead.
Around this time there had been strange occurrences at Glastonbury Abbey. The monks had had some nocturnal visions. And that is not all...King Henry II told the abbot that he knew the exact whereabouts of Arthur's body, for a Welsh barb had whispered in his ear that Arthur was buried in the Saxon graveyard within the Abbey.
The monks dug in the exact location that the King described and sure enough they discovered a huge oak coffin beneath a lead cross bearing the inscription. "Here lies King Arthur buried in Avalon."
Inside the coffin there were two bodies. A man and a woman. It is said that the woman's golden hair crumbled away when the monks touched it. The bodies were said to be that of King Arthur and his Queen, Guinevere.
Unfortunately, King Henry died before he could see the bodies.
Now I love the idea of visions and a Welsh barb whispering secrets to a king...But...There is always a but....A fire had badly damaged the Abbey and they were in desperate need of funds and finding Arthurs tomb came at just the right time.
"....as businessmen, medieval abbots were nothing but pragmatic..." Michael Wood.
They had proof that Arthur was in fact dead and they now had a major tourist attraction which would draw pilgrims, in their thousands, for years to come.
But, even though they had now produced the body, people still believed and some still do, that Arthur would one day rise again. He was after all, "King Arthur, the once and future King."
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See you on your next coffee break!
Mary Anne xxx