Scottish stone holds key to Holy Grail of Arthurian legend, claims historian

The Edinburgh historian claims King Arthur's final resting place is in Selkirk, not Glastonbury

KING Arthur could be buried in the Scottish Borders, according to an amateur historian.

Literary archaeologist Damian Bullen, 35, says the famous 5th century king’s grave stone is in Scotland, not Glastonbury as tradition holds, and that he can prove it.

According to the Edinburgh-based history-fan, the Yarrow Stone, discovered by farmers near the Borders town of Selkirk 400 years ago, marks the mythical king’s last place of rest.

He claims a Latin inscription on the stone holds the key to the identity of those buried below it.

And he believes a nearby lake could hold the king’s infamous weapon, Excalibur.

Mr Bullen believes monks at Glastonbury spread the rumour King Arthur was buried in Somerset to save their abbey from financial ruin.

Mr Bullen said: “When we strip away the mediaeval romancing of our legendary king, we are left with genuine nuggets of historicity. One of them is the stone at Yarrow which I am convinced is his grave marker.”

Legend tells that Arthur was fatally wounded in a battle against his illegitimate son Mordred during the Battle of Camlann.

Mr Bullen says Camlann means “crooked glen”, which he says is “a perfect match” for the river bends in Yarrow Valley.


He claims the stone’s Latin inscription also hides a deeper meaning.

Mr Bullen said: “The accepted translation reads ‘This is an everlasting memorial. In this place lie the most famous princes Nudus and Dumnogenus. In this tomb lie the two sons of Liberalis.’

Damian Bullen thinks a nearby pond could hold Arthur's sword, Excalibur

“Academic consensus states that the site was a burial ground for two Christian princes of the fifth to sixth centuries AD- but which two?

“At first glance it seems that Prince Nudus and Prince Dumnogenus were the sons of King Liberalis, but there is more to these names than meets the eye.”

Mr Bullen claims the words “liberalis” and “nudus” would have been a poetic way of saying that they were noble princes.

And ‘Nudus, he says, implies loss of all one’s material possessions.

He believes this word was used as a deterrent to grave-robbers.

He further claims: “Moving on to the second prince, Dumnogenus, the whole key to the Yarrow Stone and its significance to British history is revealed.

“The word is actually made up of two components, Dumno and Genus.

“Genus- descent, birth, origin- with implication of high or noble descent- nationality, race, nation.

“The genus element means ‘born of’, as in our modern word ‘genes’.

“This makes the two princes ‘born of Dumno’. This has to be the Dumnonii, a tribe of ancient Britons, whose land encompassed Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.


“This knowledge renders the inscription as, ‘Here lie two famous and very noble princes of Dumnonia, buried without possessions’. Of all the princes of antiquity who have heralded from this region, there is one who stands head and shoulders above the rest- King Arthur.

The inscription on the Yarrow Stone reads: "This is an everlasting memorial. In this place lie the most famous princes Nudus and Dumnogenus. In this tomb lie the two sons of Liberalis" (Picture by Scottish Borders Council)

“That he died with a family member- Mordred- fits the inscription on the Yarrow Stone completely,” he added.

Mr Bullen believes that the monks of Glastonbury made false claims that Arthur was buried there to raise money for a burnt monastery.

“When we look deeper into the initial discovery [of Arthur’s coffin], we learn that the abbey was, at that time, in deep financial trouble.

“A few years before the discovery, in1184, the monastic buildings and church of Glastonbury had been burnt to the ground.

“Money was needed, and with the relics of saints being big business at the time, these wily monks ‘found’ the bones of Saint Patrick.

“Widespread belief in an Irish burial site soon put paid to that particular claim, and the bones of Saint Dunstan ‘discovered’, not long after were dismissed as swiftly.

By 1189, King Richard I, was pressing the church for financial assistance for his crusade and the monks were getting desperate.

Mr Bullen said it was no coincidence that the bones of King Arthur were unearthed the next year.

The history enthusiast also says that the “dead lake” near Yarrow bridge has been known locally as the final resting place of warriors killed in battle.

“It could well be the lake in which Arthur ordered his knight Bedivere to throw Excalibur into as he lay dying.”

Mr Bullen added: “It seems Arthur was buried near Selkirk. I’m convinced of this and until we find another site in a crooked glen, where two princes of Devon and Cornwall are buried side by side, and surrounded by the bodies of many warriors, I shall remain so.”


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  1. A very interesting read and you bring up a lot of valid points. I cant wait till you find out for sure.

    • Complete and utter nonsense.
      The fact that Arthur’s sword was thrown into a lake by a knight is part of the legend created by Geofrrey of Monmouth.
      The explanation of the names is very far fetched, and no explanation is given as to why the ‘real’ names of the princes were not used. There is also no dating at all….. Jumping to the conclusion that it must be Arthur just on the assumption the buried person is a Dumnonian Prince is ridiculous. And by the way the sources closest to the time of Arthur never referred to him as a King, so if he existed at he might not have been of noble blood.
      This has nothing to do with proper historicity, it lacks both method and insight of a historian.

  2. I read an article last year that I posted oon my facebook group about Merlin and have been keeping an eye out for more, this adds more weight to Arthur being buried in the Borders, a nice article

  3. Interesting, Damian, and could well be a possibility, but speculation nevertheless, and this being so it is dangerous to jump to conclusions. I take it you’ll have read Alistair Moffat’s book “Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms”, which guesses the Yarrow Stone to be the site of one of Arthur’s earlier battles, the one referred to by Nennius as “in the wood of Celidon”, i.e. the Caledonian Forest, now known as Ettrick Forest. He reckons that the stone may commemorate the resting place of two Strathclyde princes who fell in the battle. The Dumnonii, as you point out, were a tribe of ancient Brits from south-west England. The name Dumnonii, tradition tells us, means diggers, possibly because they mined for tin. The people of Strathclyde were known as the Damnonii, which means the same thing.

  4. If interested check out a stone found in Manor Valley which can be seen in the Chambers Institute Peebles which has an incised early Christian cross and two incised latin words Coninie and Rtirie there is a character missing immediately before the r as the stone is chipped . the missing character is believed to be E which would read Ertirie Anything with ie at the end of a word meant PLACE OF therefor it is fair to assume the inscription translates to PLACE OF CONIN AND ERTIR using geomatria when all characters are added would give a value of 444 for conin and ertir and 440 for conin and artir

  5. Talking out of his ass. Some bugger goes and finds some old scribbled on a rock, with some Dumnonii buiried benethe it and its the find of the century, what utter nonsence.

  6. Bullen’s “reinterpretation” of the inscription is completely asinine. As a linguist, I can affirm that it has no merit whatsoever.

  7. I await the very final episode of ‘Merlin’ with great interest. Good luck with your theory. I’ve got one linking Nikola Tesla, Robert Peary, and the Tunguska explosion.

  8. Lol and the puffed-up anger of the arrogant English at the fact that their most famous king may well be burried in Scotland; I take it that this possibility on top of the real probability that he was actually Welsh was just too much for the southern psyche.

  9. This seems a particularly ill-educated article, whatever the actual find may eventually show us. The tribal runs of the Dumnoni were not only in Cornwall & Devon but also in what we now call Galloway and the names are consistant with that area. The assumption that Arthur was the only known person in the 5-6th centuries is astounding. This memorial may mark those who might have been his contemporaries, but more we cannot say. The Nennius battle list does suggest that the Arthurian battles included the Old North, Y Gogledd, or what we also call the British kingdom of Strathclyde, but really! The word ‘welsh’ or ‘wealas’ was brought in by the Saxons of the 5th century to title the British ‘foreigners.’ We were all Britons before the Angles, Saxons & Jutes settled on calling themselves (and the native inhabitants) ‘English.’

  10. What about the fact that a son/grandson of Aedan Mac Gabran of Dalriada was called Artuir.? Aedan was married to a Pictish princess. One of his daughters in law was called Morganna.Loch Lomond was refered to as “The Lake”.Above Arrochar there is Ben Arthur. Camelon an old Roman fort is associated with camelot. There is a memorial stone at the foot of the Ochills commemorates Artuirs last battle. He was carried along the river Luin( Forth) to Epperpuil (Aberfoyle{founded by Aedan) and thence to Iona, ancestral burial ground of the monarchs of Dalriada.. The Gododdin would have fought alongside Aedan and his battles with the Lloegyr (English) at Degsastan. Also this part of lowland scotland was welsh speaking, the dalriadans were gaelic speaking so to my mind translations are not altogether trustworthy.Gwyrr y Cogledd “Men Of the North” refers to all old Brythonic tribes before the anlo-saxon invasions.Mostly refers to all from about elrig to strath clutha and across to manau Gododdin.Like all good tales this one will never be totally sorted out, I do know that Artuir had nothing to do with Cornwall or Wales or England, and for genealogists to include Artuir in the ancestral lineage of our present Queen, is preposterous.

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