Govan's Hidden Histories

Ongoing creative projects about Govan's hidden histories Celebrating Govan's heritage, women's roles in protest movements, and the life and work of Isabella Elder

Forget Camelot… Merlin came fae Govan!

forget_camelot-merlin_was_fae_govan-sunheraldarticle-webWe’re delighted with this article on page 3 of today’s Sunday Herald which features some great information on Merlin’s Govan connections –from author and historian Tim Clarkson – and info about the Govan’s Hidden Histories project. It also highlights the Quest for the 13 Treasures comic, has some good quips from GalGael’s Tam MacGarvey, and even sports a picture of one of the hogbacks from Govan Stones! Our thanks to The Sunday Herald and writer Karin Goodwin for this exclusive!

Check out the online article: ‘Forget Camelot… Merlin came fae Govan’

More information on Tim Clarkson’s new book: Scotland’s Merlin

Join Tim Clarkson and others for a talk and double book launch: ‘Merlin in Scotland and Govan’, Sat 19 Nov, 6.30-830pm in Govan Old. We’ll be launching the comic also… and there may be wizard hats…

Exerpt from the 30.10.16 Sunday Herald article ‘Forget Camelot… Merlin came fae Govan’:

Historian Tim Clarkson, who worked on the Quest comic as historical advisor, said: “Many historians now accept that the real man, who inspired the Merlin legends was Lailoken, a warrior and a nobleman, a native Briton or Celt of the area from around the head of the Solway Firth.”

“He would have fought alongside his King at the Battle of Arthuret in 573 and my sense is that he was very traumatised by the bloodshed – we could call it PTSD now. He then flees the battlefield north around the upper reaches of the Tweed Valley in a heavily forested area and becomes a bit of a hermit, known of muttering doom-laden prophesies of the future, which is how his story became the basis of a legend.”

Clarkson – who will also launch his own book, Scotland’s Merlin, at the event next month – claims that Lailoken became a court jester through this connection with Kentigern – known as St Mungo of Glasgow – and would have spent time not only in the palace, but worshipping in Govan.

“A lot of people assume that Merlin would have been a pagan or a druid but I think in fact he was probably a Christian,” he added. “At that time the warrior aristocracy would have been moving away from Paganism. It is far more likely that the original Merlin would have gone to Mass and would have been familiar with the church in Govan, which the Royal Court could have reached by walking across on the stepping stones at high tide.”


About stillstatic (tsB)

artist / doctoral researcher University of Glasgow, working in collaboration with the Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel

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© Govan's Hidden Histories & tsBeall 2013-16, unless otherwise noted
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