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Tales of King Arthur were written in lost Oxford chapel: experts

world Updated: Apr 30, 2013 00:42 IST

A medieval book, which popularised the story of King Arthur may have been penned in a lost Oxford chapel, experts believe.

Researchers have found evidence that Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘The History of the Kings of Britain’ was written at St George’s chapel, before it was demolished to make way for Oxford Castle.

Deeds from the time have revealed the Welsh scholar was serving canon there when writing the chronicle in 1136, BBC News reported.

Charters and deeds dating from 1129 to 1151 signed by Geoffrey and counter-signed by the Archdeacon of Oxford were analysed by the experts.

The chapel was a teaching base for Oxford students, and Geoffrey indicates in the paperwork his profession as a “magister” meaning teacher.

Professor Fulton, a professor of medieval literature at the University of York and an expert in Arthurian literature, called it a “new piece of the jigsaw in the quest to trace the origins of the Arthurian legends”.

“He would have been based there when he wrote his famous Latin chronicle, Historia Regum Britanniae,” she said.

The mythical figure of Arthur as a 5th Century military commander, leading the Britons into battle against the invading Saxons, has proved impossible for historians to verify.