'Ardrey delivers a bombshell... fascinating stuff'
- Los Angeles Times

'A brilliant piece of detective work... enthralling'
- Scots Magazine

Get in touch

If you would like to get in touch regarding Finding Merlin you can either fill in the contact form on the right, email me at adamardrey@finding-merlin.com or feel free to comment on any blog articles on the blog page

3rd January 2014

Dear Mr. Ardrey,

I read Finding Merlin last year and have just finished Finding Arthur. Rather, I should say that I listened to them as I am blind and I rely on my Kindle Text to Speech facility. It struggles a bit with Celtic names but I was able to follow most of your arguments. I have long believed that any historical figure behind the Arthur legends was probably based in Scotland and I am delighted that your efforts have produced a viable candidate. I must say that your overall arguments have persuaded me that you are probably correct. I must congratulate you on such a difficult and well –argued investigation...[this correspondent went on to ask two interesting questions both of which I strove to answer directly]

2nd January 2014

Name: E S******
Email Address: e******_s******@hotmail.com
Message: Reading your book at the moment very interesting. Take a look at assessment online concerning Knappers farm at Drumry near Clydebank. Excavated in 1937 and thought to be the miniature Stonehenge in wood, unfortunately the war stopped work and then it was destroyed by the building of the A82 road. Some of the items found are in Hunterian Museum.

2nd January 2014

Name: T** McG*****
Message: Hi Adam. Got your latest book for Christmas and still in the midst of reading it. I have always been a bit 50/50 about Arthur MacAedan but I find finding Arthur very convincing. Your highlighting of Arthur being airbrushed out of history then rebranded for the Christian establishment really hits the mark and we can see modern parallels in the way the right wing establishments in the UK and USA constantly discredit and attack anything they see as being left wing through misinformation and downright subterfuge. Just shows, things don't change much. The template of Arthur's world is now starting to fit into its proper location thanks to the work of writers like yourself who are who are hacking through 1500 years of establishment bullshit. I must check out Dunardey next time I am up in Knapdale. 
Thoroughly enjoying your book. T**.

20/11/13 19:02

Name: John d****
Email Address: john********@hotmail.com
Message: Hi Adam
Greatly enjoyed your book on Arthur - found your argument for a battle at new stead convincing - Understand why you had to call it trimontium however small point Curle did not call Newstead Trimontium, nor did Watson who placed it further west -closer to Arderydd I think.
See Petolemys' map at
His map is a mess Watson seems fairly firm on the name trimontium - could the lost name be something like the p-celtic for urbs legionis? e.g. dun leon/caerleon then anglisised as Eildon
this might help your argument. 

21 November 2013


...I can see why someone would say Ptolemy’s Trimontium  is closer to Arderydd than modern Melrose. However, just looking at the map it would be a bold person who would rely upon it for exact locations...

For my purposes, all I needed was a name for the Roman Fort at Melrose. It did not matter to me what that name was and so I plonked for Trimontium because that is what is on the sign at the site.

For my purposes all that was necessary was a place that might, at some point, have given rise to the name City of the Legions.  The Roman Fort at Melrose fits the bill – whatever it is called...

...It is not necessary for my purposes that the name Eildon be derived from something that smacks of City of the Legions. 

...I leave it to you to work this seam – p-celtic – caer leon – fort of the legions.

This is what I have always wanted my work to be used for. That someone should say – I agree or I disagree but have you thought of this or that…

Good to hear from you keep in touch.



10th November 2013



I have read Norman Davies Vanished Kingdoms, Chapter 2 - although, I have to admit, I gave up after reading some of the others.

I say in Finding Arthur that the main spring that took the stories south was the Angle conquest of the Edinburgh area c.638. After that, refugees went south taking stories with them of a time, shortly before, when they were not losers but victorious under Arthur and the man called Merlin. Of course, you are right, the people of the south of Scotland were P Celtic Britons and so cousins of the P Celtic Britons of the south and so, almost inevitably - to misquote the Bible's Ruth - whatever stories you tell I will tell and your stories will be my stories.

Nothing is certain of course, all I ever suggest is that, given the evidence, one thing is more likely than something else. Having said that I do tend to get carried-away and no doubt I have said, in Finding Arthur - this is what I think and this is right.

If someone thinks I am wrong then, perhaps, they will tell me - no one who has read Finding Arthur has told me this - not yet.


Anyway, I like a fight (provided it is founded on good faith and goodwill).

I appreciate enormously the fact that readers, that you have taken the time and trouble to write to me.

Thank you.

Yrs. aye


10 November 2013

Hi Adam,

I've just started reading your book "Finding Merlin", a subject that has always been of interest to me. As I read I got more and more excited because of a book I had read months earlier. I don't know whether you have read this, but the book is Norman Davies' "Vanished Kingdoms". The relevant chapter is Chapter 2 "The Firth of Clyde". It turns out that the area where Myrddin came from seems to be Old Wales (for want of a better name). I figure this is why there is the belief that the Arthurian story is said to come from Wales. Because it did in a strange, forgotten way!

Love to hear you thoughts on this.


Fiona McLean fiona*****@gmail.com


15th October 2013


It is not clear to me what you mean by the ‘12/9’ battles of Arthur. There were 12 Nennius battles and, according to me, two other battles fought by Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan – Arderydd in 574 and Camlann in 596. Arderydd is not listed in the 12 Nennius battles because Arthur was not in command at Arderydd and Camlann is not mentioned because, according to me, Nennius’ source was written before 596.

As for any of the battles being fought in the south, at the Saxon Shore forts, I say Arthur was never in the south.

The fact that you moot another set of 12 battles, a set that might have been fought in the north, strikes me as unnecessarily complicated. This is the same line taken by other people to explain things that make no sense when Arthur is looked for in the south, for example, the fact that the man called Merlin was in the north, at Arderydd, in 574. These people say there may have been two Merlins and / or that there were two battles at Arderydd (one fought by an Arthur in the early 6th c. and another involving ‘Merlin’ in the late 6th c.).

By my account there was one battle of Arderydd, involving ‘Merlin’ (then aged 33) and Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan (then aged 15) - this is much simpler.

As for the ‘painted house’ which you connect with Guinnion; I connect the ‘painted house’ with another battle, a battle I write about in Finding Arthur (which will be published in the USA on Thursday 17th October 2013).

I argue, in Finding Arthur, that Badon was fought 44 years after the arrival  of a particular bunch of Angles in c.544, that is Badon was fought in c.588.

I say that Arthur had nothing much to do with ‘Saint’ David, except this – ‘Merlin’ knew Mungo and Mungo knew David, and ‘Merlin’ and Mungo knew Arthur.

Why complicate matters by positing the possibility that the Caledonian Wood was in Kent, when it is more likely – is it not? – that the Caledonian Wood was in Caledonia (Scotland).

I don’t remember there being six ‘Scotland wonders in the wonders of Britain of Nennius.’

I say, in Finding Arthur, that the ‘wonders’ referred to by Nennius are just nonsense – the word ‘wonders’ is a hint.

Maybe you will read Finding Arthur and let me know what you think about it.

I would be grateful for your feedback.

Best wishes


14th October 2013

Name: Sean (Bamrbough)
Email Address: .........@........
Message: Hello Mr Ardry/Adam,
Just thought I would comment on a bit mentioned in your recent Arthurnet 'Bassas' post [on Arthurnet] (I'd rather post it here than there.) Although my own theory/thesis identifies the 12/9 battles of Arthur as being the 9 saxon shore forts with Bassas as Reculver, there is still a possibility that there could have been more than one set of 12 battles for example, perhaps there was also a later northern copy by Mac Aedan. The interesting bit in your [Arthurnet] post is the mention of the Picts' capital fortress at Carpow near Perth. This could possibly connect with the "Pictish palace" on the walls of which the 12 battles of Arthur are depicted as mentioned in one different version of the wonders of Britain (though palace may be a bit different to fortress). Interestingly too you mention the river Tay, and I had recently connected St David/Tafy and Dover/Guinnion where is the "painted house" which I identify as the pictish palace.

Also I just saw mention on your comments page about Merlin born 540, and Badon on Gildas birthday. Interestingly there was a great victory of Arthur on St Davids day/birthday in 540 (Guinnion or Badon). Badon was actually 44 years after Gildas birth(day), but there also seems to be some correspondence between "Badon on Gildas bd" and "great victory on David's (b)d" (ie someone seems to have confused Gildas for David, or perhaps David was born 40/44 years after Gildas).
Re (finding) Merlin (Silvester) I have thought my self that Merlin/Arthuret may connect with the "Caledonian" forest of the Weald in Kent. However something for your interest perhaps is maybe there is possibly a connection of your 12 battles in the north with the 6 Scotland wonders in the wonders of Britain of Nennius (and maybe Merlin might connect with Ma(u)chline's quern (which I connect with name Maplin)?

Sean (Bambrough)

27th August 2013

Reply to email of same date


I was pleased to receive your letter...

Finding Arthur will be published in late October 2013 - in the UK by Duckworth, London, and in the USA by Overlook, New York.

In Finding Arthur I offer to prove that the historical Arthur Mac Aedan was the legendary Arthur. He took a sword from a stone you know well, the stone of Dunadd.

In 574, he put his foot into the footprint cut into the stone of the summit and was given a sword to hold, just as the queen was at her coronation. When he stepped from the footprint in the stone, holding the sword, he literally took a sword from a stone. Later the story was magicked-up.

The legendary Arthur's most famous battle was the Battle of Badon. Do you know the name of the land that lies between Dunadd and Dunardry; the burn that runs from there to Lochgilphead; the farm that lies just outside that town?

One thing that might interest you is my idea about the name Inverary. The road signs say Inbhir Aora, Inlet of the Rough Water. I say, it was Inbhir Airigh, Inlet of the Lord or Lords. I explain this more fully in Finding Arthur.

I got started on all this stuff because my name is Ardrey: as in Dunardry; Ardray [sic] (now a picnic spot on Loch Awe); Ardery [sic] the fort near Connell and lots of others.

I found that Dun Ardry does not mean Hillfort of the High Pasture but Hillfort of the High Lords, Dun Ard Airigh...

Best wishes



27th August 2013

Dear Mr Ardrey,

My name is L****...
In June, I read on the local paper about your research about the Sword and the Stone...
I found your project very interesting and I hoped to know something more, unfortunately I could not find more information on the newspaper or on the local news...
Would you be so kind to send me an update about your research?
Thank you
Kind regards

26th July 2013

Reply to an email from Glasgow

26 July 2013


Thank you for taking the time to write to me.

You ask – how I know Arthur was not a Christian.

I don’t actually know. That is, I cannot prove it absolutely. I believe that, with reference to the evidence, I can prove Arthur was not a Christian on the balance of probabilities, indeed, beyond reasonable doubt. I know this sounds a bit legalesque (I have just made-up this word). The problem is I am a lawyer. The other problem is that if I wrote a book like a lawyer it would be impossible to read. I was not always successful in avoiding this in Finding Merlin. ...Finding Arthur, which will be out in October, is better – I think it is.

You are right - In FM I did not produce much evidence that Arthur was a non-Christian because I was saving it for FA.

As for Arthur fighting against Merlin-Lailoken and the people of the Old Way in the Arderydd campaign, I don’t think we can read too much into this. Arthur was a young man in his mid-teens at this time. His father, Aedan, was a clever politician. Aedan knew he would need the help of, or, at least, the neutrality of Strathclyde, if he were to extend his rule from Manau (central Scotland) to Dalriada – as he did the year after Arderydd.

Aedan, was definitely a non-Christian, as I hope you will see from FA – Aedan tried to have Columba assassinated.

Aedan supported Strathclyde in the Arderydd campaign for purely political reasons – this support had nothing to do with religion.

It follows that, if Aedan was a non-Christian, it is likely that Arthur was a non-Christian. (Most Christians, by far, are only Christian because they were brought up by their parents to be Christian.)

You may have noted that I have always said the army of Strathclyde ‘marched under Christian banners’ not that this was an army of Christians... In fact, most of the people of Strathclyde were still of the Old Way in the 570s (indeed for hundreds of years thereafter)...

It follows that, if most people were non-Christian, all other things being equal, Arthur was probably non-Christian.

Anyway, Arthur, unlike Merlin-Lailoken, was a warrior and not a philosopher... the Old Way directly recognised the place of the warrior in the community – Christianity was more confused in this connection (in effect, put bluntly, violence was a bad thing, except when meted out in the interests of the Church, in which case it was a ‘good’ thing.)

I seems to me unlikely that Arthur would be one of the first to jump ship and become a Christian – why would he?

That other books tend to take a middle tack is for their writers to explain. One of the problems we have is that we live in a society in which the supernatural is our default position. I know that when I was being brought up in Scotland people who said the most outrageous things about the supernatural were allowed into my school and no one questioned them because they were Ministers of the Christian Church. It is not easy to shake off this kind of indoctrination – there are also social pressures. A lot of people have a lot invested in the religious element – look at the recent arguments about the place of Christianity in the coronation.

Oops. I have gone on, too much.

I will wind up – for the first few centuries after Arthur's death the Church presented him as the villain. They would not have done this if he had been a Christian champion. However, he survived in the oral tradition. It was only later, on the basis of – if you can’t beat him, make him join you – that Arthur was assimilated as, not only a Christian, but an Englishman and a King too (when, I say, he was none of these things). The victors, as they say, write the histories.

Arthur was associated with Merlin-Lailoken in myth and legend and, according to me, in history. M-L was not a Christian, which suggests Arthur was not a Christian.

Arthur’s father was not a Christian which suggests Arthur was not a Christian.

All the evidence that says he was a Christian was written by Christians with an agenda much later, in times when, if Arthur was not presented as a Christian such work would not have been published and the writer would have been punished...

Again, a real pleasure to hear from you.



5th July 2013

An email from Glasgow

Mr Ardery

I have not yet finished your book, but whilst reading your blog, I decided I should email you about a particular question I have. How do you know Arthur was not a christian?

I would much rather he followed the old way, but you haven't presented much evidence to prove he did (although I understand this may be in your next book). It also makes less sense if the druids fought alongside Gwenddoleu and Merlin and Arthur fought against them. I'm not claiming that he was a christian or that you are wrong, I'm just curious to see if you have evidence to point towards Arthur's religious beliefs, as most other books I have read refuse to favor a particular side, stating that it is impossible to know whether he was a christian or a druid... I've only read your book because my friend was specifically looking for books about Arthur in Scotland as he knew how important this is to me. As I've lived in Partick all my life, I see this as a very important part of my history and feel more should be done to make people aware of the significance of the area (most people don't even know there was once a castle there)...



30th June 2013

An email from Germany

I am rather sure your book [Finding Arthur] will give me all information I need to find al these historic places in connection tot he historical Arthur. I never thought I could find the real story about Arthur evenI haveseen most oft he possible places where he could have lived. But I am convinced, that you will now publish the right footsteps which will chnage the history about Arthur. I am interested in how English Heritage and all the societies will react on your publication.

as soon as I have read your book I will start my detailed planning. I see I have to plan plenty of time to see all these important places in Scotland.

With my best wishes for your publication work!


7th June 2013

I started reading the book [Finding Merlin] on the plane to London today. I had to be prised off the seat at London! Thoroughly enjoying it!!

A***** S****

5th June 2013

I had so much material left after I finished Finding Merlin and Finding Arthur that I decided to use it and to write about the twilight of the druids next. That is, to write about what happened in the two hundred years before and after the age of Arthur.

The real matter of Arthur was remembered and the ideals that Camelot exemplified were extant long after the death of Arthur.

There is a church in Gotland in which, in the ealry 20th c., what is called a Picture Stone was found. This Stone had Scottish connections. The Church is called Ardre.

The first reference to Merlin was at the battle of Arderydd in 573 and in 574 Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan, was at the fort Dunardry. These things are not simply coincidental.

Finding Camelot will have to wait, a little.


05 June 2013

Name: D**** P*****
Email Address: t*************@aol.com
Message: I bought Finding Merlin a few years ago. I loved it! Finally a book about the facts and this incredible being. I have just order your new release of Finding Arthur that is coming out in October. I can not find your
book that was suppose to come out awhile back Finding Camelot. I hope it is coming soon. I love Scotland it is my second home and I hope to visit next time some of the places mentioned in Finding Merlin. 
Debby P*****

29th May 201

Dear Alon,

Good to hear from you.

You refer to the 'Lord Merlin' which is Ok in my book because I came to the conclusion that the man called 'Merlin' was from the 6th c. equivalent of the aristocracy.

However, you then go on to write in Latin in nomine Domini magica Merlini.

This smacks of religion to me, at least a little.

As you will know from this website and perhaps from my book Finding Merlin I do not believe in the supernatural.

If you know something of the man called 'Merlin' that is evidence based and want to share it then Ok.

The worst than can happen is that we disagree and that is never a very bad thing.

If however your conclusions are based on the supernatural then this is not the right website for them.

In any event, my best wishes



28th May 2013

Name: alon ben dor
Email Address: alon_******@hotmail.com
Message: Dear mr. ardrey, there a few things about Lord Merlin that I know of that might interest you most sincerely. 
in nomine Domini magica Merlini


29th May 2013



Upon re-reading my reply I see it seems a bit wary - sorry about that.


Best wishes



[I get some cookie emails which I tend to ignore but this one turned out to be from a sensible person - I have not posted the family Hx details sent to me.]

 28th May 2013 

I replied to DC referring him to my Blog on the 1467 MS and saying I hae ma doots about whether this MS was good evidence. 

27th May 2013

Name: D**** Campbell
Email Address: dcampbell@************.co.uk
Message: Please contact me. My branch of clan Campbell claim to descend from King Arthur. 



11th May 2013

Dear Adam,

...I would like to ask you about the publishing status of your book „Finding Arthur“?...

Warm regards,


11th May 2013

Dear Mr. Ardrey: 

I'm a fellow author and a big fan of yours... I loved [Finding Merlin], and do admire your scholarship so very much. I've found your work nothing short of inspiring...
Warm regards, 
S**** P***
S. Carolina, USA
p.s. While looking for your contact info on your site I came across your most recent blog entry about Guy Halsall's WORLDS OF ARTHUR. I'd just put it down myself after weeks of trying to plow through it: your post made me chuckle. 
(I do not feel comfortable publishing names without specific permission - Adam.)

10th March 2013


... It would be a shame if you came and went and drove past some Arthur places and didn’t know. For example I say Arthur died at Camelon Falkirk – underneath the car park of the factory of Messrs. Alex. Dennis. There was once a Roman Fort on this site – the front of the fort which extended some six hundred feet was protected by four vast ditches. This was about 200 years before Arthur (Mac Aedan) although they were still there to be seen in the 18th c. The legendary Arthur is said to have been killed at Camlann.

Cam means twisted.

Lann is from the same root as land.

The legendary battle of Camlann was fought on the twisted land at the front of the Roman Fort.

The area is now called Camelon.

Let me know if you want to know more Arthurian places before you come over from NC (where, I understand there are several Ardreys)...

Best wishes


10h March 2013

Thanks for the prompt reply. I am planning a trip home in April and hope to visit the national library in Edinburgh to see what I can uncover about King Coil's well and burial site.


8th March 2013

Dear Mr Ardrey,
I am a fellow Scot...although now resident in the state of NC. I recently had the pleasure of picking up your book Finding Merlin at our local bookstore here in Asheville which turned out to be fascinating on many levels. My daughter attended GU and while there lived at the top of Apsley St.... 
...I have spent many a happy hour wandering on the Necropolis. I am guessing the pleasure I experienced in that place of death must have been due to some ancient race memory pre dating Its Christian Era.
C******** McQ******

9th March 2013

Good to hear from you. I will write more soon. I was wrong to mention the 'grave' and not say where it is. In my defence I did not want someone with a torch and a spade to dig it up some night. It would have been a big thing for my book to identify the grave of Merlin,
I did not because I like to think I am responsible. I could not get the authorities to excavate and so I wrote about it on my website - www.finding-merlin,com
Best wishes
Thanks for writing


J*** g***** (J****************@hotmail.co.uk )

Title:MrsComment:I have been spirit guided by king arther and merlin for three yearst thinking I am going mad.i had never heard of them.and out of the blue I'm getting all this information.i was led into libary where books just jumped out at me .i went to Glastonbury twice.felt I wanted to tell them the truth. Again I'd never heard of Glastonbury. Could not understand it al then.i do now.history has to be re written . I be leave I know what King Arthur s spirit wants me to do .i have to now start diging where he has shown me.this is the time to get the evidence we need .the book u have I found in a charity shop along time ago.

 Dear J***

Thank you for taking the time to write to me – I appreciate that. I am not sure but I believe it may be that you have read my book Finding Merlin. If you have read Finding Merlin I hope you found something of interest in it. I am sure you will not have found anything about spirits or indeed anything of the supernatural in it because, well J***, there is just no evidence for anything supernatural, not in history, not in religion. My whole point was that the stories told of Merlin and of Arthur were originally history: history that was glossed with the supernatural, just as modern movie makers add CGI to make things more spectacular. I have no idea what you think ‘King’ Arthur (he was not a king) wants you to do – but do it with care. As for me I believe in the human spirit, in the other person. In Finding Merlin I said I would say in answer to the question – why are we here? We are here for each other. That’s good enough for me.

Best wishes


26th February 2013

Name: Tam McGarvey
Email Address: ************
Message: Hi Adam. Good to hear Finding Arthur is coming out later in the year and that you still have the bit between your teeth in placing him on this side of the border.
Its been accepted for too long that he was based in the south, and also that Richard III and Macbeth were villians and very few academics stepped up to say otherwise. Now the established versions of their stories are at last being overturned. And its mailny people on the margins who are doing it. Keep up the good work.

Dear Mr. Ardrey:

Having a passion for history and also a amateur genealogist I found "Finding Merlin" fascinating.

That you for the excerpt from the book.  I believe that I have found Badden on the map. Appears to be just off the road between Cairnbann and Lochgilphead to the north east, about midway between them … My grandson was excited by the fact that the sword and the stone is true.  I have taught him that in every legend there is a little truth you just need to seek it out … 

Yours truly, 


Cherry Hill

New Jersey


9th February 2013

Name: David Thorpe
Email Address: ...@...
Message: I bought and read the new US edition of this book on the advice of our clan (MacTavish) association President, Michael Thompson, looking for a connection between Merlin, Arthur and the ancestral Dunardry lands. I didn't find that connection, but did find a compelling and well-researched case for the historic basis of a real-life Breton Merlin of late sixth century Glasgow, and ample evidence that the real Arthur was a Manau Scot and not from southern England as the authors of conventional retellings of the legends would have it.
A masterful historical detective job, cutting through centuries of political and religious propaganda to unveil the truth behind the myths.
A must-read for Arthur, Merlin and Camelot buffs. I look forward to reading the follow-up book on Arthur this fall.

29th December 2012

Will not wish the year away ;but, looking forward to Finding Arthur...

Penelope Mariasme

24th November 2012

Name: J***** S****
Email Address: ****************
Message: Hello Adam
Just to let you know that I am another in your (what is going to be ) incredibly long list of readers and admirers. For too long I've taken a back seat on the Arthur and Merlin 'story' without bothering to do decent research myself.

How wonderfully refreshing. I feel restored...relieved, and so glad that a large percentage of the world are keen to see life their way).... and I'm pretty sure that Merlin and Arthur are tickled pink! 
With kind regards,

Full name not used as not sent to me on website address.

16th October 2012


Finding Arthur should be available soon.

Best wishes as always


16th October 2012

I love 'ya man you are a true literary. Scientist. I feel I have Welsh and Scot genes. I know I have Irish great grand parents.
Hey man when is "Finding Arthur"? going to be available?
Fresno. CA 

16th October 2012

Dear Andrea,

Thank you for making contact with me. I really appreciate your taking the time to do this.

I note you think my posts are too short. When I started I wrote lengthy posts and then, as I said on site, I decided to shorten them, to make them more user-friendly.

What I would really like would be to engage with readers such as you – to answer questions – to meet challenges (if I can).

And so, if there is something in particular that you would like to write about (briefly) I will write back (briefly) and we can see if anyone else joins in.

In any event I would be grateful if you would let me know where you are from – just a town or state or even country.

Best wishes


16th October 2012


Andrea A Johnson (d...@...)


Andrea A Johnson


I do consider all of the ideas you’ve offered on your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for starters. Could you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

14th October 2012

 From Adam

To Will

Will, yeah, but...


I too have heard that Excalibur was made from a meteorite and, while it is possible it was, there is no evidence to this effect - direct or indirect - and so this is unlikely in the extreme - is it not?

You may have a feeling that the truth is something but - why?

There were no Vikings in the 6th c. - there were, of course, people from the Norselands - and it is quite possible they traded with the people of Scotland/Ireland but why would a Norse sword / Finnish sword / Damascene sword be part of the picture?

I 'feel' there is no need to complicate matters - Occam's Razor Will - Occam's Razor - keep it simple.

Most people, who have the ability to make their own swords, simply make their own swords, and that is that.

I believe that the people of Ireland/Scotland had a special ceremonial sword because in fact they had inauguration rituals that involved ceremonial swords (and stones) and we, in these countries (Scotland, England and Wales and a wee bit of Ireland) still engage in such rituals - we still farcically crown heads of state using a sword (and a pretty expensive sword at that) while seated on a stone (albeit a lump of Perthshire sandstone, disingenuously called the Stone of Destiny).

Not myth or magic (although the Christians still invest this coronation ceremony with supernatural properties - especially when they put oil of the head-of-state-to-be and say this makes this person in some way special). 

What we do in these countries (the countries of the UK) is neither myth nor magic (because there is no magic) but laughably real.

Best wishes as always Will


12th October 2012

Name: Will Richmond 
Email Address: h...(from California USA)
Message: Hi Adam,
I have read somewhere Excalibur was made from a meteorite and was rewelded every night after daily battles.
I have a feeling the truth is simply that Merlin traded for a ULFBerht blade from the Vikings who got the blade from the Finnish mainland a Damascus from the Mideast. Such a weapon would inspire the Chieftain and instill fear in opponents. Not myth or magic. 


From RG Germany

26 July 2012

Dear Sir,

With great pleasure I’ve been reading your fascinating book Finding Merlin, and I very much appreciate your way of investigating the circumstances of Merlin’s and his sister’s life. Nevertheless I sometimes don’t agree with your handling of literary sources, as is you say of certain passages they are just nonsense and admit other details as believable, embedding them in reality with the help of more or less hypothetical explanations.

I would take as example the subject of the adultery queen. That is a theme the authors obviously liked indeed (up to 19th century bourgeois novels, where the theme was transferred in Mme Bovary, Anna Karenina, Effie Briest etc.). Here it is used in the Vita Merlini by Geoffrey, in Jocelyn’s Vita of St. Kentigern, in the Ward document about Merlin Silvester (Lailoken)…

I agree with your saying that the history of the queen’s adultery is strangely inserted in all three sources. Reading the Vita Merlini of Geoffrey, I also wondered why Merlin should accuse his beloved sister who took care of him, and what happened to her when her adultery seemed proofed as true.

In the Vita of St. Kentigern we’ve got another version. It is not a leaf showing where the queen passed her day, but a ring missing. You asked why the moral and fanatic saint should defeat an immoral queen; as I’ve read it, I got the impression that he thought she was innocent and simply lost her ring during a promenade. Nevertheless, we might ask us, why this passage is included in the Vita of Saint Mungo.

In the Ward document the reader might be astonished that Lailoken risked his chances to get free and to live safely afterwards by challenging King Meldred and his queen, accusing her of adultery. And we’ve got the story with the leaf as in Geoffrey’s vita.

Now, to be honest, I would just suppose that one literal theme (in variations) has been used more or less convincingly inserted by several authors. But your zeal to present Langoureth’s biography to your readers obviously carried you to imagine explanations of the contradictions and the open questions in the given contexts of the sources.

So, with Geoffrey, you explained the indifference of the King with the idea he might have been gay and have silently allowed his wife to take a lover.

Or with Jocelyn, you changed the part of St. Mungo into the part of Merlin, Kentigern accusing the queen for political-religious reasons, Merlin saving her.

And with the Ward document you proposed that the author took the subject from Geoffrey’s Vita why not vice versa? At least Merlin’s (Lailoken’s) accusation has logical consequences in this context, leading to his murder organised by the offended queen. So I might argue (if I wanted to do so), that the Silvester text shows the original version.

Your way to handle literature as historical source (with exclusion of the nonsense”) often doesn’t really answer to more aesthetical questions like why did the authors insert this topos at all? What was their special intention? Sure, you mention that people liked romance, and that the authors wanted to entertain their audiences. You suppose they consequently covered annoying political reasons with enthralling motifs of “sex and crime”. Or you presume the false propaganda of the fanatic Mungo Christians. And in other cases you criticize the negligence of the authors, not capable to embed the legends properly. But in the case of Langoureth’s adultery you think it to have really happened, if I understood your opinion well.

Sending this mail, I hope I won’t try your patience too much.

Sincerely yours,

R******* G******

A part of my reply to RG follows:


Dear R*******,


I am grateful to you for taking the time to write to me. Thank you for ... I was especially pleased that that you did not always agree with me – a politician once said – if two people agree one of them is not necessary - so, so far, we are both necessary.

I accept that I may have got it wrong on occasion:  I would be surprised if I had not.  Given the very limited nature of the sources it is almost impossible to be entirely sure about anything. The best I can hope to do is present a sensible version of events that fits the evidence and common–sense.

            I had certain rules (although these were not fixed):

-       I rule out all references to magic and to miracles because such things just don’t happen in real life. For example if someone were to say that there was a stone that would release a sword to the ‘rightful’ king – I would say this was nonsense. This does not mean there was not an actual historical event that gave rise to the story of the sword and the stone…

-       I rule out all miracles attributed to Christian saints for the same reason.

I disagree. I think Languoreth took a lover. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I do not think this story is one in a line of stories in which women take lovers and come to bad ends… I think Languoreth took a lover because… well, Occam’s Razor. The real issue is – what happened then? Who supported her and who did not?

Sex, especially sex unconnected with the production of an heir was not the taboo-surrounded thing it became once the Christians came to power. Men and women were more equal pre-Christianity, indeed, before, Islam (even today ‘adulteress’ women are punished more harshly than men).

The Mungo I came to know when I was writing Finding Merlin was not the kind of man who would have felt sorry for almost anyone, especially not a woman.

The Rhydderch I came to know when I was writing Finding Merlin was a kind man and a capable ruler, at least, for someone who largely inherited his power; he and Languoreth had produced several children and were that wee bit older when (by my account she took a lover); he did not die in battle (I accept this is a slight item of evidence – think of the Theban Band); he was ‘ok’ with his wife’s adultery; there were other reasons but, bottom line, I do think Rhydderch was probably gay.

…The authorship of the Silvestris is, I recall, unclear. Some say it was written by Geoffrey but, if I remember aright, this is simply because they are next to each other in one source document. This is just from memory.

…You may be right but…does it matter. If we are talking about the missing ring in Languoreth’s story and the leaf that incriminated Meldred/Mordred’s queen then I would say these are simply there to enhance the story and that they are unlikely to have played a part in reality.

I would say there was no ring involved in Languoreth’s story, certainly no ring was found in a fish taken from a river by ‘Saint’ Mungo. (This is, in my opinion, simply one of the magic-miracles stories the Christian authorities told to fool people.)

I think Languoreth took a lover. Mungo tried to use this to bring her down. Merlin-Lailoken successfully defended his sister. Mungo failed. This was a memorable event. People told stories about it.

The Christian authorities could not allow their man, Mungo, to be the bad-guy and the loser and so they clumsily altered the story to make Mungo the hero – with some supernatural stuff thrown in to… well, that is what they always did.

As for Mordred’s queen – she and Merlin-Lailoken were enemies – she had him assassinated and that is that. The leaf stuff is just a storytelling extra.

…That’s about it – writers wrote what they wrote to please their audiences, or, if they were Church people to maintain their power over the people. Just like today sex and violence sold well. Just like today most people did not want a political narrative. As for the propaganda of the Mungo Christians – it is said that truth is the first casualty of war – I believe it is also the first casualty of religion. (… please accept that I mean no offence to you. As our great comedian / actor Billy Connolly said – I don’t believe in god, but I believe in people who do.)




Adam Ardrey

Sunday, 29 July 2012



From: Bill T*****
Sent: Sat 02/06/2012 19:49
To: Adam Ardrey
Subject: Finding Arthur

Dear Adam

Sorry if I have the wrong Adam Ardrey, but if I have the right one, I was hoping you may be able to shed some light on where I might be able to obtain a copy of your book “Finding Arthur”.

I have thoroughly enjoyed “Finding Merlin”, after hearing your interview on the Fred Macauley show on Radio Scotland, and was already intrigued when I discovered that Guinevere is apparently buried in Meigle and there is a farm called Arthurstone nearby, which has a Celtic stone near it.

Hope you can help, and my apologies once again if I have contacted the wrong person.

Kind regards

Bill T*****

Rec'd Thursday, April 19th 2012

From John Minelly

Sword in the stone?

in the region of Loch Awe Argyle and in particulat near the church of Kilmartin are a number of stones with swords icised into them. These stones apear to be of an early origin and , In the book 'The Templar and the Lodge' it has been suggested that these were those of fugitive templars. Another , more likely explaination, is that these mark the graves of dalriadan chieftains and that this had been a long tradition in this area.for many centuries Taking this a little further, could the actual swords have been recessed there, protected by the curse of instant death to anyone unworthy of taking this veluable item with almost magical properties? After all, there have been numerous swords found in wetlands sites which had been deliberately placed there as ritual items and not retrieved by others in spite of their obvious great value.


I agree with you that these stones are unlikely to be associated with the Templars. I suspect there is nothing of much value in the graves, at least not now. If there is one thing that history has taught us it is that when there is money involved supernatural stuff-and-nonsense, such as curses of instant death, fly out of the window. I also suspect that the only reason valuables are found in wetlands (and in hidden holes in the ground) is that before metal detectors and Jacque Cousteau prople could not find them or get to them.

All the best, as always


Rec’d Friday, March 30, 2012


I am grateful to **** for taking the time to write to me. ****, I really am very grateful. I simply want to know if I am right or wrong.


My Responses are in bold.


Adam Ardrey


From: ****

Replying to Adam Ardrey's proposed chronology.

Adam, there are a lot of people here on ARTHURNET that are serious Arthurian scholars, and who use serious scholarly approaches to the subject. There are also a handful of "woo-woo" folks who do not use serious scholarship, and end up believing all kinds of things. Your chronology strikes me as a mixture of the two. I hope that you learn to tell the difference between scholarship and "woo-woo", and also hope that you decide to choose the scholarly side.

-          I have always tried to state my case and then draw my conclusions and then leave it to the reader to decide if I am right or I am wrong.

-          I have always taken the view that I was simply lucky that my name is, Ardrey, and so similar to the battle name, Arderydd, a battle fought in 573 in which Merlin was engaged, and similar to the fort name, Dunardry, where the historical Arthur Mac Aedan was active in the following year, 574.

-          Arderydd was fought on the Scotland-England border. Dunardry is in Argyll, Scotland.

-          The above facts are facts. The conclusion I drew from them was that this Merlin and this Arthur had something to do with each other. I would be pleased to know what other people think.

-          As I said in Finding Merlin I do not believe in special Da Vinci Code families. Once you start believing in special families you can end up believing in monarchy.

-          When I read Karl’s letter I felt like Luke Skywalker being encouraged by Obi Wan Kenobi to come over from the dark side.

Your basic theory is that Arthur mac Aedan was the "real Arthur". There are indeed a number of serious scholars who would agree with you. Michael Wood for one. Personally, I don't think so, but you don't have to agree with me to be a scholar.

You claim to know the precise years various people were born, and the precise year of the battle of Badon.  But you don't give any evidence of these claims, so I don't know whether you arrived at these dates using scholarly methods or "woo-woo". It's a little hard to believe that anyone can be so definite with dates when talking about the dark ages, usually I end up having to say "The date was X, give or take five to seven years".

-          I was writing with a view to being user-friendly and accessible to a general audience. However, you are right. It would often have been better (and more tedious) if I had used formulae such as you suggest.

-          I can explain how I arrived at my Baden date. The date I now have problems with is my date for the birth of Arthur Mac Aedan, 559. I got this from several secondary sources. The writers of these sources were not arguing, as I do, that Arthur Mac Aedan was fifteen years old when he took a real sword from a real stone on the summit of Dunadd. That is the same age as Geoffrey says the legendary Arthur was when he is said to have taken a magic sword from a magic stone. The writers of these secondary sources had no reason to make up this date and so I used it way back then. I suspect I have made many mistakes. The thing is – is there enough evidence to prove my case on the balance of probabilities or beyond reasonable doubt? All I aim to do is make it possible for readers to decide this for themselves.

You seem to believe that Gildas was writing in 588. However, the mainstream of scholarly opinion believes he was writing in the 540's, (and I am beginning to suspect he may have been writing in the 530's).

-          I think Gildas was writing in the last half of the 6th c. and that De excidio was written or, rather, compiled c. 598.

Gildas' De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae is an odd document. There is one particular section that we have debated here on Arthurnet many times. It mentions the Battle of Badon, it mentions the year of Gildas' birth, and it might mention something else. The problem is that the Latin is a bit ambiguous about what Gildas is actually saying. Every so often, someone will post a new translation of the section and say "Now THIS is finally the PERFECT translation. There's only one word that doesn't fit my translation . . . " But there is always one word (or more) that doesn't fit any particular translation. Gildas is either saying that Badon was fought just before he was writing (remember, this is the 530s or 540s), or else he is saying that Badon was fought 44 years before he was writing (which would place it at the end of the 5th century). The Latin in that particular passage is ambiguous enough that either interpretation works. However, I really think that when we read the REST of DEB, not just the Badon passage, it becomes clear that he is talking about what he thinks of as the "Saxon War" (which more or less (according to Gildas) ended with the battle of Badon) he is talking about a war that happened so long ago that the younger generation doesn't remember it. So I really think that the "Badon happened 44 years ago" interpretation must be the correct one, because if Badon had just happened everyone would remember it.

-          I identify what I call the Great Angle War which I say was fought in the 580s. I believe Gildas was born c. 544 and that the battle of Badon was fought c. 588 – forty four years and one month after Gildas was born.

It's pretty much agreed that the character of Merlin was based on the character of Myrddin (also called Lailoken in Scottish stories), who is said to have been at the battle of Arfderydd, and may have actually been a historical person who actually did fight at Arfderydd. This puts him in a generation that according to my own chronology is much later than the battle of Badon. But this seems to be what happened. A lot of different stories originally from different periods (or from myth and folktale and thus no actual historical period) all got jumbled together to make the Arthurian legends. So Myrddin/Merlin, and others of his generation, most notably King Urien and his son Owein (this name changes to Yvain and other variants in the legends), together with their bard Taliesen, end up becoming part of the Arthurian legends, even though they all lived too late to actually have been contemporaries of the battle of Badon.

-          I agree with those who say there was a man called Myrddin, later Lailoken – See my Blog Merlin of Scotland: Chief of Song 22nd March 2012 www.finding-merlin.com

-          I say Merlin was born c. 540 and so was 33 years old at Arderydd and 48 years old when Badon was fought.

-          My chronology does not have date discrepancies.

-          Nor do I have jumble.

-          If I am right and Arthur was Arthur Mac Aedan, born c. 559 and died c. 596, then the people mentioned above fit neatly into history (according to me) although Urien was dead by the time of Badon. Taliesin was still about though – for years after the death of Arthur.

Yes, the Scottish coronation service does involve both a sword and a stone, and this is followed by modern British coronation services. But I think you will find that MANY coronation services involve a sword, and maybe even a few involve a stone.

-          I would be interested if anyone knows of a ceremony that fits the legend of the sword and the stone as well as my explanation: that Arthur Mac Aedan placed his foot into the footprint cut into the stone of Dunadd and stepped out of the footprint holding a sword, and so literally took a sword from a stone.

-          If they do; I would ask them if there is the equivalent of a place called Badon/Badden, the name of one of the legendary Arthur’s most famous battles, smack bang next to where their sword was taken from their stone?

-          My Badon/Badden and my Dunadd are contiguous.

-          If they have such a place next to such a place, then I would then ask them if they had a another place, this one the equivalent of Dunardry, which is contiguous with my Badon/Badden and which has the same basic name as Arderydd, where a Merlin was active the year before?

-          Scots kings were inaugurated until c. 14th c.

The motif of a sword and a stone is found in other places as well. The Greek hero Theseus pulls his father's sword out from under a stone. The Germanic hero Siegfried pulls his father's sword out of a tree (a sword which was previously used to cut an anvil in half). And those are just two that come to mind. So there are any number of places where the "sword in the stone" motif could have come from, it doesn't make sense to say "This MUST have come from Scotland!"

-          Was Siegfried’s feat not a trial of strength?

-          As for Theseus: Theseus was recognized as the heir because, as prophesied, he appeared with one sandal. Nonsense of course.

-          It was not the missing sandal that was important, that is, I believe, simply a later corruption of an older, more fundamental story

-          I suggest it is the fact that his foot was bare that is important. Why was his foot bare? Because he was about to stick it into a footprint.

-          The Greeks too had ‘Celtic’ roots.

-          There is a lot more to this than I have said: a lot more. I know I should put up or shut up but …    


As responded to by Adam Ardrey.



From AA

To Arthurnet


> In my Finding Merlin (Mainstream, Edin., 2007 & 2012), Overlook, NY, USA, 2008) I say Vortigen was the leader of the south Gododdin

> British who famously invited the Angles to join him as mercenary troops. I say this was in 544.


From AA April 2, 2012


I am grateful to ** for taking the time to write to me.


My responses are in bold


From **


The old tradition was that Vortigern's hiring of "Saxon" mercenaries was the first arrival of Germanics in Britain. If Vortigern hired his mercenaries in 544 (and like most of your dates, I wonder where the heck you came up with it), by this time there were Germanics all over Britain, so it isn't realistic that a 544 hiring of Germanics would later become the story of how the first Germanics came to Britain.

I think, Adam, you have the potential to be a good scholar, I'm just afraid you will wander off down the woo-woo path, and I don't want to see that happen.


I am pleased that you think I have the potential to be a good scholar. I am happy to reciprocate. I think, Karl, you have the potential to be a good scholar too.

This is great, isn’t it?

See how we have bonded.

And they say I don’t have people skills.

-          Saxon came to be an umbrella term for Angles, Saxons and Jutes (Finding Merlin page 53).

-          I agree there were a lot of Angles, and indeed Saxons, in Britain from at least the 5th c.

-          The ‘Angles’ I was referring to were the ones who arrived in what Gildas says were three ships (Cap.23).

-          The Angles who arrived in these three ships were important because they provided the leadership that led to the overthrow of the Southern Gododdin, in the Berwick area, about the eastern Scotland-England border in c. 547.

-          They ‘arrived’ in the same way as a pop-group that has been about for years and suddenly gets a hit ‘arrives’.

-          As for the date 544. I said in Finding Merlin that the source of this was MS Bern Burgerbibliothek Codex 178, f, 116. I checked this before writing this email and was dismayed to find that I had made a mistake. It should be 547. (Although, I still think they actually arrived shortly before 547 and that 547 was the date when they took power.)

-          As Mozart said in the film Amadeus, "Forgive me, sire. I'm a vulgar man, but I assure you that my music is not." I say, forgive me Mr ****, I am a vulgar man, but I assure you my thesis is (probably) not. (I added the ‘probably’ lest I be thought too woo woo.)

-          In my defence, when I wrote Finding Merlin, I had reason to believe I may have found the place where Merlin-Lailoken was buried. I did not say where this was because I did not want someone with a torch and a shovel digging there one night; before the proper authorities had done the job properly.

-          I could have gone for a big outrageous claim. I did not.

-          I thought the proper authorities, the scholars, the non-woo woo people would be at least curious. I was wrong.

-          If I am right, everything changes.

-          If I am wrong, no great harm done.

-          All I ask is a fair hearing.

-          And that means reading Finding Merlin.


Rec'd 30th March 2012

Rec'd through Arthurnet - which I highly recommend - I did not feel comfortable using peoples name without their express permission.

K*** writes and I respond in bold.

From: K*** P***

Adam Ardrey writes: (That is, I wrote to Arthurnet)

> Arthur Mac Aedan, being a man of the old way of the druids, provided (with the man called Merlin) a focus point for the anti-Christian

>forces in Britain, at least for a while . . . The old way of the druids was echoed in the Celtic Christian Church of the Culdees and on

>through Celtic culture to this day.

KP writes,

Why don't you share with us the evidence for your view that Arthur Mac Aedan was a follower of the druidic faith, and not a Christian? I'm not aware of any such evidence, instead he and his family seem to be portrayed as constantly hobnobbing with St. Columba.

I say that the so called ‘magical spring of Barenton’ at which Merlin-Lailoken was said to have met Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, and which is said to be in France, was, in reality, a non-magical spring in Barnton, Scotland. I took three substantial blogs to say this. (www.finding-merlin.com Jan-Mar 2012.)

I would be happy to share my evidence but, here, now, at length?

            Here is one example:

-          Druids were active in Arthur’s day (see the reference to Erc moccu Druidi in Adamnan’s Life of Columba, 1.41).

-          Conall Mac Comgall, king of Scots, died in Kintyre in 573.

-          There were two candidates for the throne: Éoganán and Aedan (Arthur’s father).

-          Columba-Crimthann supported Éoganán.

-          Adamnan says an Angel whipped Columba-Crimthann until he supported Aeda

Finding Merlin

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Finding Arthur

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