In Malory's le Morte, prior to Arthur's birth, Merlin arranged with Uther that the child
would be placed in another house for upbringing, a common practice. Merlin had
Uther send for Sir Ector, who is described as a true and faithful man and that
he had wide holdings both in England and Wales (the statement about holdings
in both regions has the ring of the Norman period in which Norman lords
were given holdings in Wales in order to subdue the country). The deal was arranged and Sir Ector
was given additional rewards. Ector's own son, Kay, must have been newborn as
the arrangement calls for Ector to place his own son in the care of another woman
so that Ector's wife might nourish Arthur herself.
Sir Ector appears for the first time, as Antor, in the "Merlin"
section of the trilogy associated with Robert de Boron, where he is Keu's father and
Arthur's foster-father. The source for this original reference is unknown, but Linda
Gowans from Arthurnet finds 'the Arab hero Antar is significant. He is associated with
a story of a sword forged from a stone, in which the younger brother is the one destined
to inherit, and I wonder if Crusaders might have heard it and brought it back to France.'