Arthurian Name Dictionary

Wadling [Wathelan, Wathelyne]

A lake in Inglewood Forest, ten miles south of Carlisle. It is the setting for the Middle English poem The Awntyrs off Arthure at the Terne Wathelyne. While Arthur and his retinue were hunting in the forest, Gawain stayed behind to watch over Guinevere. As they rested in the forest, the sky grew dark, and a spirit—that of Guinevere’s mother—appeared. The spirit lamented her own fate: she had been beautiful, powerful, and rich while alive, but in death she was confined to hell where she was chased and beaten by fiends. She warned Guinevere to be kind and generous to the poor, for only by giving money to the poor and having the poor pray for their souls may the rich achieve heaven. She also warned Guinevere against adultery, perhaps alluding to Guinevere’s affair with Lancelot. She prophesied the downfall of Arthur and the Round Table, the betrayal of Mordred, and the death of Gawain. The ghost then departed and Guinevere and Gawain retired to Rondoles Hall. Later, Guinevere bade the bishops of Britain to pray for her mother’s soul.
   Arthur is captured by a baron near the lake in “The Marriage of Sir Gawaine,” and must ransom his life by agreeing to return in a year with the answer to the question of what women desire most. It is also the setting for the action in The Avowing of King Arthur. [Avowing, Awntyrs, Marriage]

Wadu

An Arthurian warrior who was the son of Seithfed and the brother of Sinnoch, Naw, and Bedyw. [Culhwch]

Walachia

A region of eastern Europe in present-day Romania. In Wirnt von Grafenberg’s Wigalois, warriors from Walachia ally with Prince Lion of Namur against King Wigalois of Korntin (Gawain’s son). [Wirnt]

Walban

A Knight of the Round Table. [Konrad]

Waldin of the Fearsome Vale [Gaudin]

A strong knight who assisted his cousin or uncle, King Angusel of Scotland, in repelling an invasion of Saxons. Waldin loved the Lady Lore of Branlant and he besieged her castle, the Narrow Wood, intending to force her into marriage. According to the Vulgate Merlin, he managed to conquer it, but the Livre d’Artus says that Gawain defeated him and sent him to Arthur’s court, where he became a Knight of the Round Table. [VulgMer, Livre, Arthour]

Waldomer

The brother-in-law of the Emperor of the Alemanni. He served as a commander for King Meriadoc of Wales when Meriadoc served the Emperor. [Historia]

Wales [Galays, Galeys, Galis, Galoes, Galys, Gaules, Glois, Valois, Waleis, Walest, Walis]

A division of Britain, occupying the west central peninsula. Locations in Wales play a large role in Arthurian literature—particularly in Welsh Arthurian literature. Often called Cambria, the country, in both history and legend, is divided into a number of sub-kingdoms. The most basic of these, used in legends with hazy geography, is North Wales and South Wales. Historically, however, Wales includes the regions of Mon, Gwynedd, Powys, Keredigyawn, Dyfed, Ystrad Tywi, and Glamorgan. Arthur is often named as Wales’s overlord, holding his court in either Caerleon or the fictional Cardueil. Its mountain range, Snowdon, places an important role in the tales of Vortigern.
   Arthurian legend tends to assign the various divisions of Wales to separate rulers, though a few texts appoint rulers of the entire country. Renaut de Bâgé has Esmeree the Blonde as Wales’s queen, having inherited the country from her father, Guingras. Gunglain, Gawain’s son, became king when he married her.
   In Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, we learn that Queen Herzeloyde, Perceval’s mother, inherited it from her late husband, King Castis. Gahmuret became king upon marrying Herzeloyde. After Perceval’s birth, it was conquered by King Lähelin, but was eventually reclaimed by Kardeiz, Perceval’s son.
   According to the Vulgate Cycle, the country was called Hoselice in Joseph of Arimathea’s time. Its first Christian king was Galahad, Joseph of Arimathea’s son, and its name was changed to Gales or Wales in his honor. Several generations later, Wales was ruled by King Varlan, who struck the Dolorous Stroke against King Lambor of Listenois. The Dolorous Stroke turned both Listeonis and Wales into the Waste Land.
   In the Historia Meriadoc, Wales is first ruled by King Caradoc, whose life and land are taken by his brother, Griffin. With Arthur’s help, the land was eventually restored to Meriadoc, Caradoc’s son, who gave it to King Urien to rule in his stead.
   Rulers of Wales named in other legends include King Iels (Hartmann’s Erec), Duke Gilan (Der Pleier’s Garel), King Triamour (Sir Tristrem), and King Valiant (the Alliterative Morte Arthure). [GeoffHR, HartErec, Wolfram, VulgQuest, VulgEst, PleierG, SirTris, Historia, Allit]

Wallingford

A seaport in southern Britain. According to the Alliterative Morte Arthure, Arthur kept a treasury at Wallingford, which included a magnificent sword named Clarent. The treasury was ransacked by Mordred during his insurrection. When Arthur learned of it, he knew that Guinevere had betrayed him, since only Guinevere had known its location. [Allit]

Walter

A knight in Arthur’s service who participated in the Roman War. [Allit]

Walwerth [Walweitha]

A variation of Galloway give by William of Malmesbury as the land ruled by Walwain (Gawain), after whom it was named. [WilliamM]

Wandehenches

A castle on the border of Gorre and the Strange Land. Knights at the castle prevented the prisoners of Gorre from escaping. [VulgLanc]

Wanglent

An Irish castle ruled by Bauduins, an evil knight killed by Gawain. [Merveil]

Warwick [Cargueit, Guivic, Warguit, Warwyk]

A county in central England. During Arthur’s reign, Arthgal served as the earl of Warwick. [GeoffHR, Wace]

Waste Castle

A manor inhabited by the impoverished Poor Knight and his two maiden daughters. It served as lodging for Gawain and Lancelot on one occasion. It was also called the Poor Castle. [Perlesvaus]

Waste Chapel1 [*Gaste Capiele]

The location of the tomb of Canaan, a follower of Joseph of Arimathea who slew his twelve brothers. The brothers were all buried with their swords on their tombs. After the burial, the swords unexpectedly stood upright and Canaan’s tomb became engulfed in flames. Gawain and Hector visited the Chapel, but were driven back by the swords. It was Lancelot’s noble presence that finally caused the fire to be extinguished. [VulgLanc]

Waste Chapel2 [*Gaste Capiele]

A perilous chapel near the city of Cardigan. It was surrounded by all kinds of supernatural perils, beasts, and brambles. King Ris of Outre-Ombre, an enemy of Arthur, braved the chapel and left a cloth on the altar. Later, he offered to grant any favor to the knight who would brave the Waste Chapel by taking a pair of shackles (intended for Arthur when Ris conquered him) to the altar. None of Ris’s knights would brave the chapel, but Lady Lore of Cardigan, whose city Ris had conquered, saw a chance to reclaim her sovereignty. She took the shackles to the chapel. Lore saw two dark men in flames tossing around a decapitated head on the way. When she got to the chapel, she was followed by a knight who buried the body of the slain Bleheri, who turned out to be the father of Meriadeuc, the knight Lore eventually married. Lore took a sword from Bleheri’s body and later gave it to Meriadeuc. Meriadeuc eventually visited the Waste Chapel and paid homage to his father’s body. See also the Perilous Cemetery. [Meriadeuc]

Waste Chapel3

Another name for the Perilous Chapel in the Perilous Cemetery in Perlesvaus. It shares many characteristics with the Waste Chapel of Meriadeuc. [Perlesvaus]

Waste City [Gaste Citié]

A supernatural, ruined city in Perlesvaus. Lancelot visited the Waste City and was challenged to a Beheading Game by one of the residents. By honoring his pledge to return in a year and face death, Lancelot ended a curse and saved the Waste City and its people. In the Fourth Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, the king of the Waste City attacks Gornemant of Gohort, but is driven away by Perceval. [Perlesvaus]

Waste Forest [Desolate Forest, *Gaste Forest]

The forest where Perceval was born and raised by his mother in Chrétien’s Perceval. One day he encountered some knights, which prompted him to leave the Forest and travel to Arthur’s court to become a knight himself, causing his mother to die of grief. In the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal, it is also the home of Perceval’s aunt, who Perceval visits during the Grail Quest. It was situated on the edge of the Waste Land and contained the river Morcoise. Wolfram von Eschenbach calls this region Soltane. [ChretienP, Bliocadran, Didot, VulgLanc, VulgQuest, PostQuest]

Waste Fountain

Knights from the Waste Fountain participated in the tournament in which Bliocadran, Perceval’s father, was killed. [Bliocadran]

Waste Land1 [Desert, Deserted Land, Land Laid Waste, *Terre Gaste]

Also known as the Strange Land, the Waste Land was the kingdom destroyed in holy retribution for the Dolorous Stroke (or, in one version, for Perceval’s failure to ask the Grail Question). To those stories that include it, it is identical to the Grail Kingdom, sometimes called Listeonis. The Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal says that it also included Wales. (The country of Dyfed in Wales, interestingly, is laid waste by an enchantment under different circumstances in the early non-Arthurian tale of Manawydan.) In the Didot-Perceval, the Waste Land encompasses all of Great Britain. The Waste Land’s ruler was the Grail King or Fisher King.
   The Waste Land is first found in the First Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval, where the sickness of the land is linked to the illness and infertility of the Maimed King. (This link forms the most cogent argument of scholars who propose an agrarian ritual origin for the Grail legend.) The Waste Land resulted from use, in combat, of the Grail Sword. Neither the land nor the king could be healed until some knight asked the Fisher King to explain the marvels of the Grail. After Perceval failed to ask the question during his visit to the Fisher King’s castle, Gawain partially healed the land and king by inquiring about the Bleeding Lance. The theme of a land under a spell which a question will undo is pervasive in fairy tales and folklore, and the idea that the health of the land and the ruler were one is common in Celtic folktale. We find a particularly relevant example in the Welsh story of Branwen, in which Bran, King of Britain, is wounded in the foot by a poisoned spear during an expedition to Ireland. As a result, Britain falls waste. Bran has been viewed by many as the progenitor of the Fisher King.
   In the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal, Perceval’s aunt is called the “Queen of the Waste Land.” She instructs Perceval during the Grail Quest. Malory names her as one of the four queens who takes Arthur’s body from the battlefield of Salisbury to the island of Avalon. A “Knight of the Waste Land” is defeated by Arthur in Le Chevalier du Papegau. [Contin1, Didot, VulgQuest, VulgEst, PostQuest, Tavola, ChevPap, Malory]

Waste Land2 [Land Laid Waste, *Terre Gaste, Terre Desert]

The region of France ruled by Claudas, the mortal enemy of Lancelot and his family. Orignally called Berry, the land was renamed after Uther Pendragon and Aramont of Brittany destroyed it and turned it into a desert as part of their campaign against Claudas. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

Waste Manor

An evil residence in Arthur’s kingdom. Lancelot killed its lord, so its occupants were prone to attack Arthur’s knights. Its prince, Meliant, joined Brian of the Isles in a war against Arthur. [Perlesvaus]

Water Lily

An Egyptian ship seen by Merlin off the Cornish coast, sailing through the air. “Provoked to an envious spleen” by its splendor, he blasted it out of the sky. An Egyptian princess washed ashore. The Lady of the Lake made Merlin carry her body to Arthur’s court, where she was resurrected by Galahad. [Wordsworth]

Waterford

A Welsh territory that Arthur bestowed upon Gawain after Gawain fought a great duel against Galleron of Galloway. [Awntyrs]

Wavain

A knight of Arthur’s who was, according to Wace, dubbed the same day as Gawain. Wace probably used the name after becoming confused by one of the many alternate spellings of Gawain. [Wace]

Wayford

A territory that Arthur bestowed upon Gawain after Gawain fought a great duel against Galleron. [Awntyrs]

Wayland

An invisible smith in Anglo-Saxon legend. Working in Segontium, he fashioned a series of cups given to Merlin in Geoffrey’s Vita Merlini. His son, Widia, may be represented in Layamon’s Brut as Witege. [GeoffVM]

Wechard

A knight in Arthur’s service who participated in the Roman War. [Allit]

Welsh Gate

The gate in Camelot that faced Wales. [VulgLanc]

Wendland

Layamon says that the king of Wendland—Rumareth—voluntarily subjugated himself to Arthur in fear of Arthur’s power. A number of suggestions have been offered for the location of this land, including Finland, Gwynned, and even Vinland, but the most likely is the country of the Wends—which is now an enclave in east Germany. In Malory, the land is the home of Sir Hontzlake. [Layamon, Malory]

Wessex

One of the most stable Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, Wessex (in south-western England, roughly modern day Dorsetshire) was one of the first territories settled by the Saxons at the advent of their British invasion. In John Hardyng’s chronicle, Arthur gives the area to Cheldric the Saxon after defeating Cheldric at the battle of Bath. [Hardyng]

West Islands

The realm ruled by the King with a Hundred Knights in the Serbo-Russian Povest’ o Tryshchane. [Povest]

West Wales

In Malory, the “Lord of West Wales” pledges thirty thousand soldiers to Arthur’s war against Rome. Malory took his character from the King of Wales in the Alliterative Morte Arthure who is called Valiant. [Malory]

Westminster

A town on the Thames River, just west of London. Guinevere was a-maying in the woods and fields near Westminster when Meleagant abducted her. [Malory]

Westphalia

Part of Arthur’s kingdom in the Alliterative Morte Arthure. [Allit]

Wexford

A seaside city on the southeast corner of Ireland where Gurmun, Isolde’s father, sometimes held court. [Gottfried]

White Castle1

The location of a tournament in which Perceval, Gawain, and Meliant of Lis all displayed prowess. [Didot]

White Castle2 [*Blanc Castel]

The stronghold ruled by Bliant and his brother Celinant—the two knights who housed Lancelot during his period of insanity. [VulgLanc, PostMer, Malory]

White Castle3 [*Blanc Castel]

A castle on the border of Gorre that appears several times in the Vulgate Cycle. The Lord of the White Castle was one of the knights who opposed the Saxon invasions at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. The Lady of the White Castle is named as the cousin of Galescalain. Another Lord of the White Castle is called Gallides, who was defeated by Bors. [VulgLanc, VulgMer]

White Castle4

A castle in Brittany visited by Arthur after he killed the giant of Mont St. Michel. [Allit]

White City1 [*Blance Cité]

A city saved by Floriant, Morgan le Fay’s foster-son, from a terrible monster that ate the city’s maidens. The city’s queen was named Alemandine. [Floriant]

White City2 [*Blanche Cité]

The Welsh capital of King Jozefent, father of Arthur’s Sir Floriant. [Floriant]

White Cross

A landmark at the edge of Camelot Forest. It served as an assembly point for knights on a quest to find Lancelot. [VulgLanc]

White Forest1

An enchanted forest near Arthur’s Cardueil court. It contained the chapel of St. Augustine, which renewed Arthur’s spirits. It was also the haunt of the evil Black Knight, who was slain by Arthur. [Perlesvaus]

White Forest2

A wood inhabited by the White Knight. Arthur challenged the White Knight for ownership of the forest. In judicial combat, Sir Meriadoc decided the issue in Arthur’s favor, but persuaded Arthur to relinquish his claim. [Historia]

White Fortress

King Lancelot, Lancelot’s grandfather, loved the lady of the White Fortress, who was married to his cousin, a duke. When the Duke of the White Fortress discovered their love, he treacherously murdered King Lancelot—an act for which his castle became shrouded in darkness. The duke was crushed by a crumbling wall. The darkness was to linger at the White Fortress until Galahad’s arrival years later. [VulgLanc]

White Hag

Mother of the Black Hag, a witch slain by Arthur. [Culhwch]

White Knight1 [*Blans Chevalier]

A knight defeated by Perceval at the Amorous Ford. The White Knight had guarded the ford for seven years. Perceval sent him to Arthur’s court. [Contin2]

White Knight2

An opponent of the Red Knight. The White Knight was battling the Red Knight when Perceval arrived and accidentally killed the Red Knight. [Perlesvaus]

White Knight3 [*Blanc Chevalier]

A name assigned to Lancelot before anyone—including Lancelot himself—knew his real name. It was given to him because of his white armor and shield. Lancelot carried the name until he liberated the castle Dolorous Guard and discovered his true name. [LancLac, VulgLanc]

White Knight4 [*Blanc Chevalier]

A mysterious God-sent warrior who rescued King Evalach of Sarras from certain defeat at the hands of King Tholomer of Babylonia. He appeared when Evalach tore the cloth from the shield that Joseph of Arimathea gave him, revealing the symbol of a cross. After defeating Tholomer’s army at the Rock of Blood, the White Knight disappeared. [VulgEst, Joseph]

White Knight5

One of the three knights who guarded Vrikevreue, the heath surrounding Rigomer castle in Ireland. Lancelot defeated him and his companions. [Merveil]

White Knight6

A knight who Arthur challenged for ownership of the White Forst. Sir Meriadoc decided the issue in Arthur’s favor but convinced Arthur to return the White Forest to the White Knight. [Historia]

White Lake

The property ruled by Duke Buroin in Ulrich’s Lanzelet. Lancelot lodged here on the way to Arthur’s court. [UlrichZ]

White Land [*Blanche Land, Blankenland]

In Thomas’s Tristan, one of Tristan’s homes, in Brittany; in Beroul’s version, an area of Cornwall where Tristan and Isolde fled after their exile from Mark’s court. [Thomas, Beroul]

White Land2

The location of a tournament at which Yder and Arthur were the principal combatants. Gawain and the Little Knight fought on Yder’s side and won the tournament. [Contin1]

White Land3 [*Blance Terre]

The land ruled by King Lancelot, Lancelot’s grandfather. It bordered on the Foreign Country. [VulgLanc]

White Land4

The King of the White Land is named as an ally of Arthur in Claris et Laris. A Queen of the White Land appears in a tournament in Durmart le Gallois. [Durmart, Claris]

White Mountain [*Blanche Montaigne]

The kingdom ruled by Escanor the Handsome, an opponent of Gawian. [Girart]

White Thorn Castle [*Blanche Espine]

A castle ruled by Matain the Cruel. Matain hated Arthur’s knights, and his people habitually beat and degraded them whenever they happened along. The castle was conquered and destroyed by Lancelot, Bors, Gaheris, and Bagdemagus. Matain was killed by Lancelot. [VulgLanc]

White Thorn Ford

One of Arthur’s estates. [Merveil]

White Tower [Blance Tour]

The home of Galerian, Perceval’s paternal uncle. Perceval won a golden cup at a White Tower tournament. [Perlesvaus]

Whitehead of the Hamlet

A knight who fought in Arthur’s army against King Rions in the Vulgate Merlin. [VulgMer]

Wicher [Wichere, Wyshard]

A knight in Arthur’s service who participated in the Roman War. [Allit, Malory]

Wicked Custom [*Malvagia Usanza]

In La Tavola Ritonda, an island where Tristan and Isolde washed up on their way from Ireland to Cornwall. The Castle of Tears, owned by the parents of Lord Galehaut, stood on the island, and Tristan had to conquer it in order to leave the island. In the Prose Tristan, it is called the Giant’s Isle. The “Wicked Custom” was that the visiting knight’s lady would be compared to the paramour of the island’s lord. Whichever was least beautiful was beheaded. [Tavola]

Wicked Neighbor [*Male Voisine]

The name of a horn blown by one of Sir Parsamant’s servants in order to summon people to a fight between Parsamant and another knight. Parsamant’s treatment of defeated knights was wicked, and Perceval finally ended his custom. [Contin4]

Wicked Pass

A pass into the giant Caradoc’s lands, where Caradoc’s forces battled Arthur’s. Lancelot slipped through and went on to the Dolorous Tower to kill Caradoc. [VulgLanc]

Widowed Lady

A nickname of Yglais, Perceval’s mother, in Perlesvaus. The Livre d’Artus also gives her this name, but does not provide a proper name. In Livre, her husband is Pellinore, rather than Alain, and she lives in the Waste Forest. [Perlesvaus, Livre]

Wigalois [Viegloeis, Vigoles, Wigoleis]

Son of Gawain and Princess Florie of Syria. The name itself is similar to Guinglain, his counterpart in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu. Gliglois, the hero of a later romance, recall’s Wigalois’s name but not his character.
   Gawain became separated from Princess Florie before Wigalois’s birth, and Florie raised Wigalois alone. The castle in which he grew up featured a wheel of fortune, and his later successes were a curious mix of his own prowess combined with luck.
   When Wigalois came of age, he left Syria to seek adventure and to find his father. Arriving at Arthur’s court, he astonished the knights by sitting down on a stone that only the most pure could even approach. Arthur knighted him immediately, and presented him to Gawain as a companion. Neither Wigalois nor Gawain were aware of their relationship. Soon after his arrival, the lady Nereja arrived at court, seeking a champion to save Queen Amena of Korntin from the evil King Roaz of Glois. Wigalois asked for, and received, the adventure. This infuriated Nereja, who perceived Wigalois as too inexperienced. Along the road to Korntin, however, Wigalois proved himself to Nereja by defeating several giants and knights. By the time they reached Korntin, Nereja happily presented Wigalois to Queen Amena.
   Wigalois soon fell in love with Princess Larie, Amena’s daughter, who had been promised to the knight who could rid the land of King Roaz. Wigalois immediately set out to find Roaz, guided by the spirit of the slain King Lar, Amena’s husband. Along the way, he defeated a dragon named Pfetan, a hag named Ruel, and a devil named Marrien. Finally arriving in Glois, he fought a long battle against Roaz and killed him. During the quest, King Lar revealed Gawain to be Wigalois’ father.
   Wigalois returned to Korntin and joyously married Florie. The two were crowned king and queen of the land. News reached Wigalois’s wedding feast that an expected guest, King Amire of Libya, had been slain by the evil Prince Lion of Namur. Abandoning his festivities, Wigalois raised an army and marched into Namur. The campaign resulted in the death of Lion, and proved Wigalois as a military leader. He returned to Korntin to live out his days with his wife. [Wirnt]

Wigamur

An Arthurian knight who is the hero of a German romance bearing his name. The son of King Paldriot of Lendrie, he was abducted as a youth and raised by a series of creatures, including a hag named Lesbia, a sea monster, and Arthur’s uncle Yttra. He became known as the Knight with the Eagle after he saved an eagle from a vulture and it became his loyal companion. Finally arriving at Arthur’s court, he helped the king save Queen Ysope from a heathen attacker named Marroch. He eventually discovered his paternity, married the lady Dulceflur, and became heir to the kingdom of Lendrie. [Wigamur]

Wight [Wyghte]

An island off the southern coast of Britain. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Isle of Wight was conquered by the Saxons Cerdic and Cynric in 530, which is within what many chroniclers identify as Arthur’s “reign.” The two Saxons gave the island to their cousins, Stuf and Wihtgar, in 534. In the Alliterative Morte Arthure, King Valiant of Wales seems to control the island. [Anglo, Allit]

Wihtgils

Father of the Saxons Hengist and Horsa, who invaded Britain during the reign of King Vortigern. [Bede, Anglo]

Wild Forest [*Forest Salvage]

The residence of the evil Black Hermit slain by Perceval. Also, the home of Claryvaus, Driant, Ladinas, Fergus, and Seguarades. [Perlesvaus, VulgLanc, VulgMer, Malory]

Wild Mountain

The land of Queen Albiun, populated by mountain dwarves. A knight named Kurion tried to conquer it from Albiun, but he was defeated by Arthur’s Sir Tandareis. [PleierT]

Wild Hunt

A supernatural theme attached in European folklore to a number of legendary and historical heroes, including Arthur. On certain nights of the year, the spirits of these warriors emerge from their resting places and ride through the clouds, forests, and fields, pursuing supernatural game. In Britain, Wild Hunts are sometimes reported near hills associated with Arthur’s Cave Legend. The Welsh attach the Wild Hunt to Gwynn son of Nudd.

Willeris

An enchanted parrot from Rigomer castle, owned by Queen Dionise. Dionise sent the bird to help Gawain find his way to the castle, which he was destined to conquer. [Merveil]

William of Salebrant [William Celebronche]

A companion of Bleoberis, Elin of Graie, and the lord of Saie in Renaut de Bâgé’s Le Bel Inconnu. When Bleoberis was defeated in combat by Guinglain (Gawain’s son), William, Elin, and the lord tried to avenge Bleoberis’s disgrace. Guinglain defeated them all at Valcolor, killing William and wounding the other two. In Thomas Chestre’s Lybeaus Desconus, William has a stronger role as the guardian of the Perlious Passage. Guinglain defeats him, but does not kill him, instead sending him to Arthur’s court. [Renaut, ChestreLyb]

Wiltshire

A county of southern England. It was conquered in the early days of Arthur’s reign by Cheldric the Saxon, but Arthur later liberated it. [Layamon]

Winchester [Goncestre, Gu(i)ncestre, Vinchester, Viscestre, Winc(h)estre]

A city in Hampshire, south central England. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was founded by King Hudibras in the tenth century BC. Winchester is named by Geoffrey as the location of the second battle between Arthur and Mordred, following the battle of Richborough and preceding the battle at the River Camel. Wace says that Guerdon was Arthur’s earl of Winchester; Layamon gives this distinction to Mauron. Chrétien de Troyes and other writers say that Arthur occasionally held court here. The Vulgate Merlin describes Winchester as a seaport and says that Ambrosius and Uther landed there on their way to conquer Britain from Vortigern. In the Post-Vulgate, it is fortified by Mordred’s two sons after the death of Arthur and Mordred. Lancelot defeated and killed the sons there. In Palamedes, it serves as the locale of a tournament won by Segurant the Brown. Arthour and Merlin names it as Constantine’s burial place, the site of Maine’s (Constans’) murder, the court where Uther received the crown of Britain, and the location of a battle where Uther and Ambrosius fought Vortigern and Hengist. Finally, in Malory, the city is identified with Camelot itself. It was the location of three great tournaments in the waning days of Arthur’s reign. Malory’s assertion may have been influence by the Winchester Round Table. [GeoffHR, Wace, Layamon, ChretienC, Contin2, VulgLanc, VulgMer, PostMort, Palamedes, Arthour, Stanz, Malory]

Windsor [Guinesores, Vi(n)desores, Windeskore]

A city in Berkshire, England, near London, on the Thames River. Chrétien says that it was ruled in Arthur’s time by the traitor Angres. Arthur’s knight Brastias became a hermit near Windsor in his old age. It was also the home of the knight Sinados. In Le Chevalier du Papegau, the city is Arthur’s chief court. In the Livre d’Artus, warriors from Windsor join Arthur’s battles against the Saxons. Malory relates a story in which Lancelot, while hunting in Windsor forest, is shot in the buttocks by a misguided arrow from a female hunter’s bow. [ChretienC, LancLac, VulgLanc, Livre, ChevPap, Malory]

Windesant

A city in Gorre that was one of King Bagdemagus’s courts. [VulgLanc]

Winehart

A castle in Saxony captured by Vortigern during his war with Hengist. [Butor]

Winlogee

On the Modena Archivolt, the name of a lady apparently held in a tower by a lord named Mardoc and his knight, Caradoc. Arthur and his knights, including Yder and Gawain, are embroiled in an attempt to rescue her. Her name is a variation of Guinloie or Guinevere, Arthur’s wife. “Guinloie” also belongs to Yder’s lover in the French romance of Yder. [Modena]

Winton

A city in Britain. Durian served as its archbishop in Arthur’s time. [GeoffHR]

Wirral

A barren wilderness in northern Britain through which Gawain rode in his search for the Green Chapel. [SirGawain]

Wise Damsel

A sorceress who entrapped Meliadus, Tristan’s father, in her fortress, called the Tower of Enchantments or the Rock of the Cornishwoman. She is first found in the Prose Tristan. The tower was in the Forest of Morrois in Cornwall. The Wise Damsel used her enchantments to cause Meliadus to lose his memory; he therefore remained with her while his wife gave birth to Tristan and perished. Eventually, Merlin led Meliadus’s knights to the tower, where the Wise Damsel was executed. Tristan and Isolde later used her fortress during one of their expulsions from Mark’s court. A rock nearby was called the Wise Damsel’s Rock. The Italian Vita di Merlino relates that she learned her arts from Merlin. [ProsTris, Tavola, VitaMer]

Wise Lady of the Forest [*Sage Dame]

A lady who inhabited the Forest of No Return. Her son Agraveil and her nephew Elinadas both served Arthur. She helped Arthur’s Sir Greu defeat the Ugly Appearance adventure by giving him a magical protective ointment. Greu married her niece. [VulgMer, Livre]

Wissant [Hussidan, Wyndesan]

A port in France fortified by King Nentres of Garlot during the early Saxon invasions. During Mordred’s rebellion, Arthur’s army waited in Wissant for the right wind to bring them back to Britain and face Mordred’s forces. [Wace, Layamon, VulgLanc, VulgMer]

Wit

The name adopted by Tristan in one of his many attempts to meet Isolde during an exile Mark’s court. He faked his own death, entered a monastery, and called himself “Brother Wit.” Sneaking to his own funeral in Cornwall, he made himself known only to Isolde, who then feigned illness. Representing himself as a physician, Tristan managed to enter Isolde’s chamber where they enjoyed a few hours together. [TrisMonch]

Witege

An elfin smith who fashioned Wygar, Arthur’s hauberk, in Layamon’s Brut. Layamon may be alluding to Widia, the son of the mythological Wayland. [Layamon]

Woden

The chief god in Scandinavian and Germanic mythology. According to Bede, the Saxons Hengist and Horsa were descended from him. The Norse call him Odin. His name was given to the third day of the week (Woden’s Day, or Wednesday). [Bede]

Wolfram von Eschenbach

The author of Parzival appears himself as a character in the German compilation Wartburgkrieg, in which he engages in a poetic competition with Clinschor, a character who appears in Parzival. [Wartburg]

Wonder [Wunder]

A king who owned the magical Floating Chessboard, which was sought by Gawain for Arthur. King Wonder would only give the chessboard to Gawain if Gawain retrieved for him the magic Sword with Two Rings. This sent Gawain on a series of quests, but he eventually returned to King Wonder with the Sword with Two Rings and exchanged it for the chessboard. [Penninc]

Wood in the Valley

The rather banal name for a forest in the kingdom of Benoic, belonging to Lancelot’s father Ban. It contained lake Diana, where the Lady of the Lake lived. [LancLac]

Worcester

This city in eastern England was governed by Mauron in Arthur’s service. [GeoffHR]

Wrnach

A giant who possessed a magical sword, which was the only item that could kill him. Obtaining this sword was the last of the tasks assigned to Culhwch by the giant Ysbaddaden, but it was the first to be accomplished. Culhwch and his party arrived at Wrnach’s hall during a feast, and Cei managed to gain entry by claiming to be a sword burnisher. Wrnach turned his sword over to Cei for polishing. After Cei shined the weapon, he thrust it into Wrnach’s chest and cut off his head. Culhwch and the warriors of Arthur then plundered Wrnach’s kingdom. [Culhwch]

Wygar

Arthur’s hauberk, fashioned by the elvish smith Witege, which Arthur wore in the battle against the Saxons at Bath. [Layamon]

Wynebgwrthucher (“Face of Evening”)

Arthur’s shield in Culhwch and Olwen. [Culhwch]

Wythnaint

One of Arthur’s warriors. [WelshPG]

Copyright Christopher Bruce. All Rights Reserved. Provided here by his kind permission. Layout of book modified to fit the Celtic Twilight format.