Is King Arthur buried under road in Baschurch?

Reporter:

Emily Davies

AN HISTORIAN is calling for parts of Baschurch to be excavated to uncover the lost tomb of the legendary King Arthur.

Graham Phillips, who has been an avid researcher into the life of the medieval monarch, says he strongly believes the leader was buried in one of two locations in the village following his death, which is thought to have been in the sixth century.

He is now calling on English Heritage to allow an investigation on an earthworks just outside the village, while he is also interested in looking at the site of a former chapel.

Stafford-based Graham, who explains his theory in his latest book The Lost Tomb of King Arthur that launches tomorrow, told the Advertizer his investigations follow on from his previous works which say King Arthur lived at the Roman fortress at Wroxeter.

He said: “From my research he came from Shropshire, not the south-west of England as everybody else says.

“In the Oxford University Library there is a poem from the Dark Ages which refers to the kings from Wroxeter who were buried at the Churches of Bassa – and when you think about anywhere in Shropshire that sounds similar, you think of Baschurch. 

“There is a place that matches the description just outside the village, an earthworks known as The Berth, which were two islands in a lake, though obviously the lake has now gone.”

Graham, who describes himself as an historical detective, says although no excavations have taken place, some outline work has found a pit containing a large piece of metal, and he believes this may be King Arthur, buried with his shield – just as monarchs were laid to rest at that time.

He said: “At the moment I’m trying to get permission from English Heritage for an archaeological dig, but they don’t often give that because they want to protect the site.

“With technology moving forward, in the not-so-distant future we may be able to see what is in there without digging. 

“But I believe it is absolutely necessary because otherwise other people might go there and destroy the site.”

Graham is also keen on another site, a country lane in the village called Birch Grove where evidence of an old chapel was found back in the 1930s.

He added: “In some versions of the tale of King Arthur he died on an island, but was brought back to shore for burial.

“So it is possible and when they found the remains, they found part of a gravestone with Latin writing that appears to translate to ‘Here Lies’.

“It would be easier to get permission to dig there because it is not protected, so that could take place very soon.”

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