|21 August 2013
Iron Age hill fort under threat in Shropshire
Of the many legends surrounding King Arthur, one of the least known is Oswestry's claim to be the birthplace of his wife Guinevere. Oswestry is located in the north of Shropshire, in the English Midlands.
The true origins of Guinevere, like Arthur, are shrouded in mystery and legend. Both Cornwall (where she is called Gwynnever) and Wales (where Gwenhwyfor translates as The White Enchantress) have strong claims, so an Iron Age hill fort on the Welsh/English border could well fit the pattern. Whether this legend is true or false, the hill fort itself is under threat from the proximity of a proposed housing development.
Strong opposition has been raised to the proposal and John Waine, the organiser of the online petition, is quoted as saying "This is recognised as the best preserved Iron Age fort in Britain and the development would be potentially damaging. Modern houses should not be built up top the edge of it."
In response, as spokesperson for the Local Authority that would either approve or disallow the development, Simon Alton, is quoted as saying "We appreciate the sensitivities regarding these sites. Comments have been considered from both the council's historic environment officers and English Heritage about potential development in these locations. All comments will be taken into account before any decisions are made."
As Mallory is quoted in 'Le Morte d'Arthur', "Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again". So developers beware, disturb the birthplace of Arthur's Queen at your peril!
Edited from BBC News (9 August 2013)
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