Alexander III of Scotland
Alexander III was King of Scots from 1249 until his death in 1286. Alexander was born at the only son of Alexander II by his second wife Marie de Coucy. Alexander III was the grandson of William the Lion. Alexander's father died on 8 July 1249 and he became king at the age of seven, inaugurated at Scone on 13 July 1249; the years of his minority featured an embittered struggle for the control of affairs between two rival parties, the one led by Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith, the other by Alan Durward, Justiciar of Scotia. The former dominated the early years of Alexander's reign. At the marriage of Alexander to Margaret of England in 1251, Henry III of England seized the opportunity to demand from his son-in-law homage for the Scottish kingdom, but Alexander did not comply. In 1255 an interview between the English and Scottish kings at Kelso led to Menteith and his party losing to Durward's party, but though disgraced, they still retained great influence, two years seizing the person of the king, they compelled their rivals to consent to the erection of a regency representative of both parties.
On attaining his majority at the age of 21 in 1262, Alexander declared his intention of resuming the projects on the Western Isles which the death of his father thirteen years before had cut short. He laid a formal claim before the Norwegian king Haakon. Haakon rejected the claim, in the following year responded with a formidable invasion. Sailing around the west coast of Scotland he halted off the Isle of Arran, negotiations commenced. Alexander artfully prolonged the talks. At length Haakon, weary of delay, only to encounter a terrific storm which damaged his ships; the Battle of Largs proved indecisive, but so, Haakon's position was hopeless. Baffled, he turned homewards, but died in Orkney on 15 December 1263; the Isles now lay at Alexander's feet, in 1266 Haakon's successor concluded the Treaty of Perth by which he ceded the Isle of Man and the Western Isles to Scotland in return for a monetary payment. Norway retained only Shetland in the area. Alexander had married Margaret, daughter of King Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence, on 25 December 1251.
She died in 1275. Margaret, who married King Eric II of Norway Alexander, Prince of Scotland. In 1284 he induced the Estates to recognize as his heir-presumptive his granddaughter Margaret, the "Maid of Norway"; the need for a male heir led him to contract a second marriage to Yolande de Dreux on 1 November 1285. Alexander died in a fall from his horse while riding in the dark to visit the queen at Kinghorn in Fife on 18 March 1286 because it was her birthday the next day, he had spent the evening at Edinburgh Castle celebrating his second marriage and overseeing a meeting with royal advisors. He was advised by them not to make the journey to Fife because of weather conditions, but he travelled anyway. Alexander became separated from his guides and it is assumed that in the dark his horse lost its footing; the 44-year-old king was found dead on the shore the following morning with a broken neck. Some texts have said. Although there is no cliff at the site where his body was found, there is a steep rocky embankment, which "would have been fatal in the dark."
After Alexander's death, his strong realm was plunged into a period of darkness that would lead to war with England. He was buried in Dunfermline Abbey; as Alexander left no surviving children, the heir to the throne was his unborn child by Queen Yolande. When Yolande's pregnancy ended with a miscarriage, Alexander's seven-year-old granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway, became the heir. Margaret died, still uncrowned, on her way to Scotland in 1290; the inauguration of John Balliol as king on 30 November 1292 ended the six years of the Guardians of Scotland governing the land. The death of Alexander and the subsequent period of instability in Scotland was lamented in an early Scots poem recorded by Andrew of Wyntoun in his Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland. Quhen Alexander our kynge was dede, That Scotlande lede in lauche and le, Away was sons of alle and brede, Off wyne and wax, of gamyn and gle. Our golde was changit into lede. Crist, borne in virgynyte, Succoure Scotlande, ramede, That is stade in perplexite.
In 1886, a monument to Alexander III was erected at the approximate location of his death in Kinghorn. Alexander III has been depicted in historical novels, they include: The Thirsty Sword by Robert Leighton. The novel depicts the "Norse invasion of Scotland" and the Battle of Largs, it includes his opponent Haakon IV of Norway. Alexander the Glorious by Jane Oliver; the novel covers the entire reign of Alexander III, "almost from Alexander's viewpoint". The Crown in Darkness by Paul C. Doherty. A crime fiction novel where Hugh Corbett
Macbeth, King of Scotland
Macbeth was King of Scots from 1040 until his death. He was titled King of Alba during his life, ruled over only a portion of present-day Scotland. Little is known about Macbeth's early life, although he was the son of Findláech of Moray and may have been a grandson of Malcolm II, he became Mormaer of Moray – a semi-autonomous lordship – in 1032, was responsible for the death of the previous mormaer, Gille Coemgáin. He subsequently married Gille Coemgáin's widow, although they had no children together. In 1040, Duncan I was killed in action by Macbeth's troops. Macbeth succeeded him as King of Alba with little opposition, his 17-year reign was peaceful, although in 1054 he was faced with an English invasion, led by Siward, Earl of Northumbria, on behalf of Edward the Confessor. Macbeth was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan in 1057 by forces loyal to the future Malcolm III, he was buried on the traditional resting place of Scottish kings. Macbeth was succeeded by his stepson Lulach, but Lulach ruled for only a few months before being killed by Malcolm III, whose descendants would rule Scotland until the late 13th century.
Macbeth is today best known as the main character of William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth and the many works it has inspired. However, Shakespeare's Macbeth is based on Holinshed's Chronicles and is not accurate. Macbeth's full name in Medieval Gaelic was Mac Bethad mac Findlaích; this is realised as MacBheatha mac Fhionnlaigh in Modern Gaelic, anglicised as Macbeth MacFinlay. The name Mac Bethad, from which the anglicised "MacBeth" is derived, means "son of life". Although it has the appearance of a Gaelic patronymic it does not have any meaning of filiation but instead carries an implication of "righteous man" or "religious man". An alternative proposed derivation is that it is a corruption of macc-bethad meaning "one of the elect"; some sources make Macbeth a grandson of King Malcolm II and thus a cousin to Duncan I, whom he succeeded. He was also a cousin to Thorfinn the Mighty, Earl of Orkney and Caithness. Nigel Tranter, in his novel Macbeth the King, went so far as to portray Macbeth as Thorfinn's half-brother.
However, this is speculation arising from the lack of historical certainty regarding the number of daughters Malcolm had. When Cnut the Great came north in 1031 to accept the submission of King Malcolm II, Macbeth too submitted to him:... Malcolm, king of the Scots, submitted to him, became his man, with two other kings and Iehmarc... Some have seen this as a sign of Macbeth's power. Whatever the true state of affairs in the early 1030s, it seems more probable that Macbeth was subject to the king of Alba, Malcolm II, who died at Glamis, on 25 November 1034; the Prophecy of Berchán alone in near-contemporary sources, says Malcolm died a violent death, calling it a "kinslaying" without naming his killers. Tigernach's chronicle says only: Máel Coluim son of Cináed, king of Alba, the honour of western Europe, died. Malcolm II's grandson Duncan King Duncan I, was acclaimed as king of Alba on 30 November 1034 without opposition. Duncan appears to have been tánaise ríg, the king in waiting, so that far from being an abandonment of tanistry, as has sometimes been argued, his kingship was a vindication of the practice.
Previous successions had involved strife between various rígdomna – men of royal blood. Far from being the aged King Duncan of Shakespeare's play, the real King Duncan was a young man in 1034, at his death in 1040 his youthfulness is remarked upon. Duncan's early reign was uneventful, his reign, in line with his description as "the man of many sorrows" in the Prophecy of Berchán, was not successful. In 1039, Strathclyde was attacked by the Northumbrians, a retaliatory raid led by Duncan against Durham turned into a disaster. Duncan survived the defeat, but the following year he led an army north into Moray, Macbeth's domain on a punitive expedition against Moray. There he was killed in action, at Bothnagowan, now Pitgaveny, near Elgin, by the men of Moray led by Macbeth on 14 August 1040. On Duncan's death, Macbeth became king. No resistance is known at that time, but it would have been normal if his reign were not universally accepted. In 1045, Duncan's father Crínán of Dunkeld was killed in a battle between two Scottish armies.
John of Fordun wrote that Duncan's wife fled Scotland, taking her children, including the future kings Malcolm III and Donald III with her. On the basis of the author's beliefs as to whom Duncan married, various places of exile and Orkney among them, have been proposed. However, E. William Robertson proposes the safest place for Duncan's widow and her children would be with her or Duncan's kin and supporters in Atholl. After the defeat of Crínán, Macbeth was evidently unchallenged. Marianus Scotus tells how the king made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050, Marianus says, he gave money to the poor as if it were seed; the Orkneyinga Saga says that a dispute between Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Earl of Orkney, Karl Hundason began when Karl Hundason became "King of Scots" and claimed Caithness. The identity of Karl Hundason, unknow
Macbeth is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. It dramatises the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for its own sake. Of all the plays that Shakespeare wrote during the reign of James I, patron of Shakespeare's acting company, Macbeth most reflects the playwright's relationship with his sovereign, it was first published in the Folio of 1623 from a prompt book, is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy. A brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself, he is wracked with guilt and paranoia. Forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion, he soon becomes a tyrannical ruler; the bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of madness and death. Shakespeare's source for the story is the account of King of Scotland.
The events of the tragedy are associated with the execution of Henry Garnet for complicity in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. In the backstage world of theatre, some believe that the play is cursed, will not mention its title aloud, referring to it instead as "The Scottish Play". Over the course of many centuries, the play has attracted some of the most renowned actors to the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, it has been adapted to film, opera, novels and other media. The play opens amid thunder and lightning, the Three Witches decide that their next meeting will be with Macbeth. In the following scene, a wounded sergeant reports to King Duncan of Scotland that his generals Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, Banquo have just defeated the allied forces of Norway and Ireland, who were led by the traitorous Macdonwald, the Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth, the King's kinsman, is praised for his fighting prowess. In the following scene and Banquo discuss the weather and their victory; as they wander onto a heath, the Three Witches greet them with prophecies.
Though Banquo challenges them first, they address Macbeth, hailing him as "Thane of Glamis," "Thane of Cawdor," and that he will "be King hereafter." Macbeth appears to be stunned to silence. When Banquo asks of his own fortunes, the witches respond paradoxically, saying that he will be less than Macbeth, yet happier, less successful, yet more, he will father a line of kings, though he himself will not be one. While the two men wonder at these pronouncements, the witches vanish, another thane, Ross and informs Macbeth of his newly bestowed title: Thane of Cawdor; the first prophecy is thus fulfilled, Macbeth sceptical begins to harbour ambitions of becoming king. King Duncan welcomes and praises Macbeth and Banquo, declares that he will spend the night at Macbeth's castle at Inverness. Macbeth sends a message ahead to Lady Macbeth, telling her about the witches' prophecies. Lady Macbeth suffers none of her husband's uncertainty and wishes him to murder Duncan in order to obtain kingship; when Macbeth arrives at Inverness, she overrides all of her husband's objections by challenging his manhood and persuades him to kill the king that night.
He and Lady Macbeth plan to get Duncan's two chamberlains. They will be defenceless. While Duncan is asleep, Macbeth stabs him, despite his doubts and a number of supernatural portents, including a hallucination of a bloody dagger, he is so shaken. In accordance with her plan, she frames Duncan's sleeping servants for the murder by placing bloody daggers on them. Early the next morning, Lennox, a Scottish nobleman, Macduff, the loyal Thane of Fife, arrive. A porter opens the gate and Macbeth leads them to the king's chamber, where Macduff discovers Duncan's body. Macbeth murders the guards to prevent them from professing their innocence, but claims he did so in a fit of anger over their misdeeds. Duncan's sons Malcolm and Donalbain flee to England and Ireland fearing that whoever killed Duncan desires their demise as well; the rightful heirs' flight makes them suspects and Macbeth assumes the throne as the new King of Scotland as a kinsman of the dead king. Banquo reveals this to the audience, while sceptical of the new King Macbeth, he remembers the witches' prophecy about how his own descendants would inherit the throne.
Despite his success, Macbeth aware of this part of the prophecy, remains uneasy. Macbeth invites Banquo to a royal banquet, where he discovers that Banquo and his young son, will be riding out that night. Fearing Banquo's suspicions, Macbeth arranges to have him murdered, by hiring two men to kill them sending a Third Murderer; the assassins succeed in killing Banquo. Macbeth becomes furious: he fears that his power remains insecure as long as an heir of Banquo remains alive. At a banquet, Macbeth invites Lady Macbeth to a night of drinking and merriment. Banquo's ghost sits in Macbeth's place. Macbeth raves fearfully, as the ghost is only visible to him; the others panic at the sight of Macbeth ragi
Alexander II of Scotland
Alexander II was King of Scotland from 1214 until his death in 1249. He was born at Haddington, East Lothian, the only son of the Scottish king William the Lion and Ermengarde of Beaumont, he spent time in England before succeeding to the kingdom on the death of his father on 4 December 1214, being crowned at Scone on 6 December the same year. In 1215, the year after his accession, the clans Meic Uilleim and MacHeths, inveterate enemies of the Scottish crown, broke into revolt. In the same year Alexander joined the English barons in their struggle against John of England, led an army into the Kingdom of England in support of their cause; this action led to the sacking of Berwick-upon-Tweed as John's forces ravaged the north. The Scottish forces reached the south coast of England at the port of Dover where in September 1216, Alexander paid homage to the pretender Prince Louis of France for his lands in England, chosen by the barons to replace King John, but John having died, the Pope and the English aristocracy changed their allegiance to his nine-year-old son, forcing the French and the Scots armies to return home.
Peace between Henry III, Louis of France, Alexander followed on 12 September 1217 with the treaty of Kingston. Diplomacy further strengthened the reconciliation by the marriage of Alexander to Henry's sister Joan of England on 18 June or 25 June 1221; the next year marked the subjection of the hitherto semi-independent district of Argyll. Royal forces crushed a revolt in Galloway in 1235 without difficulty. Soon afterwards a claim for homage from Henry of England drew forth from Alexander a counter-claim to the northern English counties; the two kingdoms, settled this dispute by a compromise in 1237. This was the Treaty of York which defined the boundary between the two kingdoms as running between the Solway Firth and the mouth of the River Tweed. Joan died in March 1238 in Essex. Alexander married his second wife, Marie de Coucy, the following year on 15 May 1239. Together they had one son, the future Alexander III, born in 1241. A threat of invasion by Henry in 1243 for a time interrupted the friendly relations between the two countries.
Alexander now turned his attention to securing the Western Isles, which were still part of the Norwegian domain of Suðreyjar. He attempted negotiations and purchase, but without success. Alexander set out to conquer these islands but died on the way in 1249; this dispute over the Western Isles known as the Hebrides, was not resolved until 1266 when Magnus VI of Norway ceded them to Scotland along with the Isle of Man. The English chronicler Matthew Paris in his Chronica Majora described Alexander as red-haired: " taunted King Alexander, because he was red-headed, sent word to him, saying,'so shall we hunt the red fox-cub from his lairs." Alexander attempted to persuade Ewen, the son of Duncan, Lord of Argyll, to sever his allegiance to Haakon IV of Norway. When Ewen rejected these attempts, Alexander sailed forth to compel him, but on the way he suffered a fever at the Isle of Kerrera in the Inner Hebrides, he died there in 1249 and was buried at Melrose Abbey 1. Joan of England, was the eldest legitimate daughter and third child of John of England and Isabella of Angoulême.
She and Alexander II married on 21 June 1221, at York Minster. Alexander was 23. Joan was 11, they had no children. Joan was Alexander's 3rd cousin. Joan died in Essex in 1238, was buried at Tarant Crawford Abbey in Dorset. 2. Marie de Coucy, who became mother of Alexander III of Scotland, she was Alexander's third cousin once removed by their common ancestor Hugh, Count of Vermandois. Alexander II has been depicted in historical novels: Sword of State by Nigel Tranter; the novel depicts Patrick II, Earl of Dunbar. "Their friendship withstands treachery and rivalry". Child of the Phoenix by Barbara Erskine. "Alexander II". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. Chambers, Robert. "Alexander II.". A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen. 1. Glasgow: Blackie and Son. Pp. 47–49 – via Wikisource. Worcester Annals Rotuli Litterarum Patencium Oram, Richard. Alexander II: King of Scots 1214-1249. Edinburgh. Pollock, M. A.. Scotland and France after the Loss of Normandy, 1204-1296. Woodbridge
Hodder & Stoughton
Hodder & Stoughton is a British publishing house, now an imprint of Hachette. The firm has its origins in the 1840s, with Matthew Hodder's employment, aged fourteen, with Messrs Jackson and Walford, the official publisher for the Congregational Union. In 1861 the firm became Jackson and Hodder. Hodder & Stoughton published both religious and secular works, its religious list contained some progressive titles; these included George Adam Smith's Isaiah for its Expositor’s Bible series, one of the earliest texts to identify multiple authorship in the Book of Isaiah. There was a sympathetic Life of St Francis by Paul Sabatier, a French Protestant pastor. Matthew Hodder made frequent visits to North America, meeting with the Moody Press and making links with Scribners and Fleming H. Revell; the secular list only accepted fiction, it was still subject to "moral censorship" in the early part of the twentieth century. Matthew Hodder was doubtful about the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the company refused Michael Arlen's The Green Hat, a novel published by Collins in 1924.
In 1922, Hodder and Stoughton published an edition of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, very controversial at the time given the fantastical nature of the work. The 1920s brought an explosion of commercial fiction at keen prices - Hodder's "Yellow jackets" series were the precursors of the first paperbacks, included bestsellers from John Buchan, Edgar Wallace, Dornford Yates and Sapper's Bulldog Drummond. In 1928, the company became the exclusive British hardback publisher of Leslie Charteris's adventure novel series, The Saint, publishing all 50 UK first editions of the series until 1983. In this decade they took over ownership of the medical journal, The Lancet. Hodder & Stoughton were the originators of the Teach Yourself line of self-instruction books, which are still published through Hodder Headline's educational division; as the company expanded at home and overseas, Hodder & Stoughton's list swelled to include the real life adventures in Peary's North Pole and several works by Winston Churchill.
During the war, Ralph Hodder Williams set up the Brockhampton Book Co. to sell off overstocks of theological works. The manager, Ernest Roker, had an interest in children's books and managed to persuade author Enid Blyton to write a series of books for them about four children and a dog. In 1942, the Famous Five series was born with Five on a Treasure Island. In 1962, Brockhampton took over the children's writer Elinor Lyon, whose novels the parent company had introduced in 1948. Hodder & Stoughton published the Biggles books by Captain W. E. Johns, after he moved publishers from the Oxford University Press during the Second World War. Hodder & Stoughton published their first original Biggles book in 1942 with "Biggles Sweeps the Desert" around Sept/Oct of that year and the Brockhampton Press published Johns' Gimlet books from 1947. From 1953 Brockhampton Press would publish Biggles books, alternating with Hodder & Stoughton and Captain W. E. Johns remained with them until his death in 1968, with the last Hodder & Stoughton Biggles book appearing in August 1965 and the last Brockhampton Press Biggles book appearing in July 1970.
Hodder & Stoughton published some of Johns' Worrals books. Hodder & Stoughton published 35 Biggles first editions and Brockhampton Press published a further 29 Biggles first editions. In 1953 they published Sir John Hunt's successful The Ascent of Everest, began their long association with thriller writer John Creasey. In the 1970s, they brought the Coronet imprints into common use; the latter is memorable for David Niven's much-celebrated autobiography The Moon's a Balloon. In the 1960s the Hodder and Stoughton fiction list broadened to include many quality commercial authors, including Mary Stewart whose works included Madam, Will You Talk? and sold millions of copies worldwide. The non-fiction publishing included Anthony Sampson's era-defining The Anatomy of Britain in 1962. Another notable title in the children's sphere was the 1969 Brockhampton Press publication of Asterix the Gaul by Goscinny and Uderzo. In 1974, John le Carré’s Tinker, Soldier, Spy was published to much critical acclaim, earning him a Literary Guild Choice.
The following year, previous employee John Attenborough published A Living Memory of Hodder. In 1981, the company acquired the New English Library, an imprint created by the American Times Mirror Company that published works from several genres including fantasy, science fiction and suspense and included books by James Herbert and Stephen King. In 1986, Hodder & Stoughton introduced Sceptre as a literary imprint to sit alongside mass-market imprints Coronet and NEL. Publishing in paperback only, early books on the Sceptre list included Thomas Keneally’s Schindler’s Ark which had won the Booker Prize in 1982. Hodder & Stoughton won the Booker Prize in 1985 with the publication of Keri Hulme’s The Bone People acquired from its New Zealand office. Other notable books on the Hodder & Stoughton list in this decade include Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers, Elizabeth George’s A Great Deliverance and the first novel in Jean M. Auel’s prehistoric fiction series Earth’s Children® The Clan of the Cave Bear, an international success and the series, completed with the publication of The Land of Painted Caves in 2011, has sold over 45 million copies worldwide.
In 1993, Headline bought Hodder & Stoughton and the company became a division of Hodder Headline Ltd. In 1997 Sceptre published Charles Frazier’s Co
The coracle is a small, lightweight boat of the sort traditionally used in Wales, in parts of the West Country and in Ireland the River Boyne, in Scotland the River Spey. The word is used of similar boats found in India, Vietnam and Tibet; the word "coracle" is an English spelling of the original Welsh cwrwgl, cognate with Irish and Scottish Gaelic currach, is recorded in English text as early as the sixteenth century. Other historical English spellings include corougle, corracle and coricle; the structure is made of a framework of interwoven willow rods, tied with willow bark. The outer layer was an animal skin such as horse or bullock hide, with a thin layer of tar to waterproof it – today replaced by tarred calico, canvas, or fibreglass; the Vietnamese/Asian version of the coracle is made of interwoven bamboo and waterproofed by using resin and coconut oil. Oval in shape and similar to half a walnut shell, the coracle has a keel-less flat bottom to evenly spread the load across the structure and to reduce the required depth of water – to only a few inches.
This makes it ideal for use on rivers. Each coracle is tailored to the local river conditions. In general there is one design per river; the Teifi coracle, for instance, is flat-bottomed, as it is designed to negotiate shallow rapids, common on the river in the summer, while the Carmarthen coracle is rounder and deeper, because it is used in tidal waters on the Tywi, where there are no rapids. Teifi coracles are made from locally harvested wood – willow for the laths, hazel for the weave – while Tywi coracles have been made from sawn ash for a long time; the working boats tend to be made from fibreglass these days. Teifi coracles use no nails, relying on the interweaving of the laths for structural coherence, whilst the Carmarthen ones use copper nails and no interweaving, they are an effective fishing vessel because, when powered by a skilled person, they hardly disturb the water or the fish, they can be manoeuvred with one arm, while the other arm tends to the net. The coracle is propelled by means of a broad-bladed paddle, which traditionally varies in design between different rivers.
It is used in the blade describing a figure-of-eight pattern in the water. The paddle is used towards the front of the coracle, pulling the boat forward, with the paddler facing in the direction of travel; the Welsh Coracle is intended to be carried on the back. Designed for use in swiftly flowing streams, the coracle has been in use in the British Isles for millennia, having been noted by Julius Caesar in his invasion of Britain in the mid first century BC, used in his military campaigns in Spain. Remains interpreted as a possible coracle were found in an Early Bronze Age grave at Barns Farm near Dalgety Bay, others have been described, from Corbridge and from near North Ferriby. Where coracle fishing is performed by two coraclers the net is stretched across the river between the two coracles; the coraclers will paddle one handed, dragging the net in the other, draw the net downstream. When a fish is caught, each hauls up an end of the net until the two boats are brought to touch, the fish is secured, using a priest to stun the fish.
In the 1920s and 30s James Hornell visited hundreds of rivers in the British Isles to talk with remaining coracle makers and users. He documented the tradition in his book British Coracles and the Curraghs of Ireland containing drawings and construction details gleaned from regular makers. Coracles are now seen only in tourist areas of West Wales, irregularly in Shropshire on the River Severn – a public house in Sundorne, Shrewsbury called "The Coracle" has a pub sign featuring a man using a coracle on a river; the Welsh Rivers Teifi and Tywi are the most common places. On the Teifi they are most seen between Cenarth, Cilgerran and the village of Llechryd. In 1974, a Welsh coracle piloted by Bernard Thomas of Llechryd crossed the English Channel to France in 13 1⁄2 hours; the journey was undertaken to demonstrate how the Bull Boats of the Mandan Indians of North Dakota could have been copied from coracles introduced by Prince Madog in the 12th century. For many years until 1979, Shrewsbury coracle maker Fred Davies achieved some notability amongst football fans.
Although Davies died in 1994, his legend is still associated with the club. The Coracle Society is a UK-based organisation was founded in 1990 by its former president, Sir Peter Badge; the five founding aims of the Society were: To promote the knowledge of coracles and allied craft, their making and use, their study and collection, To take all reasonable steps to support the continuance of fishing involving the use of coracles and to encourage the holding of coracle regattas and the like, To publish a newsletter as a means of communication between all those interested in coracles, To use its best endeavours to obtain supplies of materials for the construction of coracles, To promote demonstrations, exhibitions and lectures relating to coracles. The current president of the Society is Irving Finkel, Assistant Keeper in the Department if the Middle East at the British Museum, known for decoding a cuneiform tablet detailing Noah's Ark – the description of which resembles a l
King Arthur was a legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries. The details of Arthur's story are composed of folklore and literary invention, his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians; the sparse historical background of Arthur is gleaned from various sources, including the Annales Cambriae, the Historia Brittonum, the writings of Gildas. Arthur's name occurs in early poetic sources such as Y Gododdin. Arthur is a central figure in the legends making up the Matter of Britain; the legendary Arthur developed as a figure of international interest through the popularity of Geoffrey of Monmouth's fanciful and imaginative 12th-century Historia Regum Britanniae. In some Welsh and Breton tales and poems that date from before this work, Arthur appears either as a great warrior defending Britain from human and supernatural enemies or as a magical figure of folklore, sometimes associated with the Welsh otherworld Annwn.
How much of Geoffrey's Historia was adapted from such earlier sources, rather than invented by Geoffrey himself, is unknown. Although the themes and characters of the Arthurian legend varied from text to text, there is no one canonical version, Geoffrey's version of events served as the starting point for stories. Geoffrey depicted Arthur as a king of Britain who established a vast empire. Many elements and incidents that are now an integral part of the Arthurian story appear in Geoffrey's Historia, including Arthur's father Uther Pendragon, the magician Merlin, Arthur's wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, Arthur's conception at Tintagel, his final battle against Mordred at Camlann, final rest in Avalon; the 12th-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes, who added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the story, began the genre of Arthurian romance that became a significant strand of medieval literature. In these French stories, the narrative focus shifts from King Arthur himself to other characters, such as various Knights of the Round Table.
Arthurian literature thrived during the Middle Ages but waned in the centuries that followed until it experienced a major resurgence in the 19th century. In the 21st century, the legend lives on, not only in literature but in adaptations for theatre, television and other media; the historical basis for King Arthur has long been debated by scholars. One school of thought, citing entries in the Historia Brittonum and Annales Cambriae, sees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Romano-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons some time in the late 5th to early 6th century; the Historia Brittonum, a 9th-century Latin historical compilation attributed in some late manuscripts to a Welsh cleric called Nennius, contains the first datable mention of King Arthur, listing twelve battles that Arthur fought. These culminate in the Battle of Badon. Recent studies, question the reliability of the Historia Brittonum; the other text that seems to support the case for Arthur's historical existence is the 10th-century Annales Cambriae, which link Arthur with the Battle of Badon.
The Annales date this battle to 516–518, mention the Battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut were both killed, dated to 537–539. These details have been used to bolster confidence in the Historia's account and to confirm that Arthur did fight at Badon. Problems have been identified, with using this source to support the Historia Brittonum's account; the latest research shows that the Annales Cambriae was based on a chronicle begun in the late 8th century in Wales. Additionally, the complex textual history of the Annales Cambriae precludes any certainty that the Arthurian annals were added to it that early, they were more added at some point in the 10th century and may never have existed in any earlier set of annals. The Badon entry derived from the Historia Brittonum; this lack of convincing early evidence is the reason many recent historians exclude Arthur from their accounts of sub-Roman Britain. In the view of historian Thomas Charles-Edwards, "at this stage of the enquiry, one can only say that there may well have been an historical Arthur the historian can as yet say nothing of value about him".
These modern admissions of ignorance are a recent trend. The historian John Morris made the putative reign of Arthur the organising principle of his history of sub-Roman Britain and Ireland, The Age of Arthur. So, he found little to say about a historical Arthur. In reaction to such theories, another school of thought emerged which argued that Arthur had no historical existence at all. Morris's Age of Arthur prompted the archaeologist Nowell Myres to observe that "no figure on the borderline of history and mythology has wasted more of the historian's time". Gildas' 6th-century polemic De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, written within living memory of Badon, mentions the battle but does not mention Arthur. Arthur is not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle or named in any surviving manuscript written between 400 and 820, he is absent from Bede's early-8th-century Ecclesiastical History of the English People, another major early source for post-Roman history that mentions Badon. The historian David Dumville wrote: "I think.
He owes his place in our history books to a'no smoke without fire' school of thought... The f