Romantic stories linking Tintagel Castle to the Round Table, knights and chivalry are exciting and magical but little is based on historical fact. The first link to the legend was in 1130 when Geoffrey de Monmouth published the ‘History of Britain’ and claimed that Tintagel was the birthplace of King Arthur.
The wondrous setting of Tintagel Castle inspires the imagination and the headland upon which the castle stands is proudly majestic with the turbulent Atlantic Ocean beating against its three sides.
Ancient rock cut graves have revealed that the headland was once inhabited by a small Celtic community of monks.
Reginald, Earl of Cornwall started building the castle in 1145 on the neck of land between the mainland and ‘Tintagel’ island. Unfortunately the isthmus and buildings have eroded and crumbled over the years but most of the foundation of the great hall of the Norman castle and the chapel on the island plateau still remain. One hundred years later Richard Earl of Cornwall and owner of Restormel, Trematon and Launceston castles, extended Tintagel and then further additions were made by Edward the Black Prince. During the fourteenth century Tintagel Castle served as a very bleak and isolated state prison.
Today Tintagel Castle is little more than a shell although almost ninety feet of the great hall structure remain to show how magnificent the original buildings must have been. During the peak season transport ferries the less agile visitor to the headland from Tintagel. The setting is wild and dramatic although steep steps to the most remote parts of the site could be a deterrent for some visitors the views and the rugged splendour of the setting make Tintagel Castle a marvellous place to visit.