According to the flyer we found in our room at Camelot Castle in Cornwall: in 1894 the entrepreneur Sir Robert Harvey, who had made his fortune in South America mining, formed a Company to build the present Camelot Castle at Tintagel. The castle, which took five years to complete and opened at Easter 1899, was designed by a leading Victorian architect, Silvanus Trevail.
From the first day of opening its doors, Camelot Castle was one of the most sought after destinations and places to stay in the Victorian and Edwardian world. Stars and luminaries of the age spent many weeks at a time at the castle during the summer and Christmas period, often bringing their staff and friends with them.
Castle Camelot has inspired many artists, writers, and poets, and has been used as the setting for many films including Knights of the Round Table, starring Ava Gardner, and Dracula, starring Sir Lawrence of Olivier.
In February 1999 John Mappin of the Crown Jewellers and diamond and jewellery dynasty Mappin and Webb, visited Tintagel Island as “a part of his research into the true source of creativity” and acquired Camelot Castle for use as his private family home. The idea to also use their family home as a hotel came to John and Irina Mappin when their friend, artist Ted Stourton, came to stay with them. Now, Camelot Castle is still the Mappin’s family home, but Ted Stourton lives with them in their private quarters as one of the family, and the remainder of the castle functions as a hotel. The Mappin’s personal family household staff also act in the capacity of seeing to the hotel guests, and take care of the management and administration of the hotel which is run as a family home.
Bob and I could not leave Camelot Castle without first looking around at some of the parts that had been restored.
Below: In one of the large reception rooms stands a replica of King Arthur’s Round Table. Each knight’s name and seating place is carved into the top of the table. On the table is Merlin’s box. It is said that if one sits at the table and writes a private letter to Merlin stating one’s three dearest wishes and then posts the letter in Merlin’s box, these wishes will get a hearing from Merlin and he will work his magic, and grant them to you as the writer. I knew it for what it was of course, but still, I could not help myself and I sat down at King Arthur’s Round Table in King Arthur’s place, with his now ghostly knights seated around me, and in their presence wrote my letter to Merlin, stating my three dearest wishes. I cannot tell you what my wishes were, for if I were to tell, my wishes would not be granted. I can say though, that my wishes were all career-related, and so far, not one of the three have been granted. However, since I only wrote my letter to Merlin only six months ago, there is still time and I am still hopeful…