King Arthur's Great Halls, Tintagel

King Arthur's Great Halls, Tintagel

A retired London businessman named Frederick Thomas Glasscock went to Tintagel in the early part of the 20th century and found himself fascinated by the Arthurian legend. He devoted the remainder of his life and quite a lot of his wealth to pursuing and promoting Arthurian ideals.

The legacy of his passion is King Arthur’s Great Halls in Tintagel.

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To some it may seem a cheesy tourist trap, but my husband and I appreciated the artwork on display there as well as Mr. Glasscock’s devotion to his time period of choice. (History geeks that we are, we know all too well what it is like to feel as if you were born in the wrong time period.)

Glasscock founded a fraternal organization, the Order of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table, in 1927 to promote Christian ideals and Arthurian notions of medieval chivalry. By the early 1930s membership had reached 17,000, although some newspaper reports put it as high as 250,000.  We found a sign that explained their oath upon induction into the Fellowship.

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King Arthur’s Great Halls originally served as the headquarters of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table. There are 72 stained glass windows illustrating the Arthurian tales are by Veronica Whall. These tell the story of King Arthur and show the coats of arms and weapons of the knights involved. All of them were exquisite! Here are a few that I especially liked:

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Additionally, there was a theatre that showed an introductory film about the location and its history.

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The theatre also included the sword in the anvil.

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Following the introductory film, we toured the facility at our leisure. There were two thrones. The first was normal sized and made of wood.

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The second was HUGE – wide enough to seat at least 3 or 4 people – and made of granite.

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From looking at their web site, it seems King Arthur’s Great Halls primarily focuses on marketing itself as a wedding venue. It does say that it is open to the general public on the dates/times listed below, but my recommendation would be to contact them prior to visiting just to make sure that they are open.

King Arthur’s Great Halls are located on Fore Street, Tintagel, Cornwall, PL34 0DB.  Telephone 01840 770526.  Open daily 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, March 1 through October 31.

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