Holland Park

Medieval Arthurian Legend

The Carle of Carlisle

17th century, post-Medieval, British Library.

Sir Ironside wore his armour at all times, because there was no let up in his war with the giants.

The Ile of Brittaine called is both England and Scotland iwis, Wales is an angle to that ile, where King Arthur sojorned a while – King Arthur was in Wales once with twenty-four of his Knights of the Round Table, as well as other dukes and barons, when he ordered Mass and then a hunting trip out into the forest. Sir Marrock was well pleased at this, and so were Sir Kay and Sir Lancelot, Sir Perceval, Sir Ewain [sic], Sir Lot, the Green Knight and Sir Gawain.

King Arthur and his cousin Mordred rode out into the forest and the Fair Unknown went out with all his archers. The knights Blanch Faire and Sir Ironside rode together, along with all the others.

Sir Ironside had fathered the Green Knight upon a lady from the land where Sir Blanch Faire hailed, as I understand. Of all of King Arthur’s knights, Sir Ironside was the most warlike. He fought burning dragons and valiantly tackled bears and other wild beasts, earning himself King Arthur’s lasting friendship. But why was he called Ironside? He was called Ironside because he always wore his armour, for he waged a relentless war against the giants – hee wold allwais armes beare, for gyants and hee were ever att warr [war].

Story fragment recounted from: Hahn, Thomas (Ed), 1995. Sir Gawain: Eleven Romances and Tales, Kalamazoo, Michigan: Western Michigan University for TEAMS. Medieval Institute Publications. The Middle English text of THE CARLE OF CARLISLE from British Library MS Additional 27879, the Percy Folio.

See for yourself

The Carle of Carlisle – TEAMS Middle English texts

Sir Gawain – Wikipedia

Red Knight (Sir Ironside) – Wikipedia

Sir Gawain and the Carle of Carlisle – Wikipedia

Medieval Institute Publications – Hahn, Thomas (Ed), 1995. Sir Gawain: Eleven Romances and Tales. TEAMS Middle English texts


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