THE legend of King Arthur and his possible connection to Peel Castle is explored in a new publication that goes on sale at the Leece Museum, Peel, this week.
‘The Road to Avalon’ by local author Tony Whiston, 75, from Port St Mary, re-awakens the sense of excitement felt in the town some 25 years ago when American academic Norma Goodrich published ‘King Arthur’, in which she presented her thesis that St Patrick’s Isle was, in fact, the Isle of Avalon and the seat of the Holy Grail.
Looking at the evidence presented by Dr Goodrich, Tony Whiston says: ‘The remains of a 10th/11th century St Patrick’s Church seem to be on the site of St Patrick’s early Celtic cathedral where the Holy Grail appears to have been kept on the altar.
Dr Goodrich came to the conclusion that in the first century AD, Joseph of Arimathea took the Holy Grail to St Patrick’s Isle, Peel, which was called Avalach’s Isle and Avalon.
‘Avalach seems to have been the king with whom metal traders, like Joseph had to deal, and although her book about Arthur appears to be on the romantic side, the Holy Grail seems to be the reason why in the ancient world the Isle of Man was regarded as being a very holy place,’ he says.
After examining the life of King Arthur in some detail, Mr Whiston concludes: ‘If the Holy Grail is found on St Patrick’s Isle, Peel, then it appears difficult to know what its future might be.
‘Hopefully it will be put on permanent display.
‘If Arthur is also found, then it seems his remains would be taken to a church in a procession of great glory and historians would rewrite the history books and add his name and valour to the nation’s story.’
The Road to Avalon has a companion booklet entitled ‘The Monks Road in the Isle of Man’, a journey through ancient highways and byways that criss-cross the island, traversed on foot by monks travelling between the Abbeylands, monasteries and holy sites.
‘This subject could be said to be particularly topical, as the debate over whether or not off-road bikes should be allowed to use the island’s uplands sparks heated debate.
Mr Whiston has been researching the monks roads for nine years.
The author dedicates the work to the late John Quilliam, of Colby, and to the many other people who have helped him in his research.
Both booklets will be available from the Leece Museum in Easy Quay and from the Lexicon Bookshop, Douglas; Bridge Bookshop, Port Erin; and St Paul’s Bookshop, Ramsey, priced £3 for the Monks Road in the Isle of Man and £2.50 for the Road the Avalon.
The author says the Monk Roads’ booklet can be used in conjunction with the Ordnance Survey map.