Quest for Arthur's Holy Grail moves to Wales

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The Independent Culture

The legend of King Arthur has been challenged in a new book which claims his ancient kingdom lies in Wales rather than England.

In The Keys to Avalon, authors Steve Blake and Scott Lloyd also say that Arthur was not the great hero portrayed in literature but an insignificant figure who was never called king by his Welsh countrymen.

"He was a reasonably unimportant character and only known as 'Dux Bellorum - Leader of Battles'," said Mr Blake.

The authors have already come under fire for the claims, which have revived debate about the Arthurian legend.

They say the differing versions of Arthur's life can be traced to Geoffrey of Monmouth's 12th century translation of the original Welsh Arthurian text into Latin.

Both men have scoured the Welsh countryside and found what they believe to be the true site of Avalon. They say they have enough historical evidence to back up their claim.

They also argue that Arthur was buried in Wales, and not in Glastonbury, Somerset, as popularly believed.

Mr Blake, who is from Surrey but now lives in north Wales, said: "We are not sure we are 100 per cent right, but you never are... I used to be a standard-line man and accepted the original theories - after all, you are reading some of the greatest historians in the field. But their work questioned things, so we chased them up."

But other Arthurian experts have disputed the claims.

Fred Stedman Jones, chairman of the Pendragon Society, said: "The book is one of four books in the last few years all claiming to have at last discovered the truth about Arthur.

"I admire them but I cannot go along with their conclusion that everything [Arthurian] should be shifted west."

Mr Blake and Mr Lloyd are now pursuing the true location of the Holy Grail, which they also believe is in Wales.