AND so, it came to pass that King Arthur and his company of noble knights retired to their excellent court of Camelot ... in Standish?
Astonishingly, this is the claim made by a leading historian in his latest book, which suggests that the legendary court of Britain’s most famous ancient king, the home of the Round Table and sword Excalibur, was situated right here in the borough.
Graham Robb, from Oxford University, suggests the Celtic people who lived more than two thousands years ago built their leading towns and settlements along straight lines calculated by the rising and setting sun in his work The Ancient Paths: Discovering the Lost Map of Celtic Europe.
Mr Robb then goes on to map this to Britain before concluding that the intersection of two important lines, which may mark the home of Arthur’s court, is located in Standish.
However, anyone expecting such a famous and important historical site to be obviously marked, perhaps by a sighting of a beautiful maiden emerging from a lake with a shining sword in hand or a long-bearded wizard pointing at runes while staring into the heavens, will be somewhat disappointed.
Apparently, the goodly knights of the Round Table congregated at the bottom of cul-de-sac Brookfield Road, close to where a track leads towards a patch of woodland at Almond Brook, which is now under council control and was previously owned by the National Coal Board.
It is not the first time that the fabled actions of Arthur, Merlin and the rest of Camelot’s crew have been pinned to Wigan, with many historians and writers pointing to a text by the monk Nennius claiming that the King of the Britons won several battles on the banks “of a river called Duglas” as evidence for the link.
Furthermore, a persistent legend in the Charnock Richard area claims that the now-closed theme park Camelot was so named and themed as the rides stood on what was once the edge of Martin Mere, the lake into which the dying Arthur is supposed to have thrown his magic sword Excalibur.
However, the location of Camelot is sure to also cause controversy in the here and now, as it could soon be buried under the tarmac of the disputed Almond Brook Link Road, which furious residents are campaigning against.
A spokesman for pressure group Stop Almond Brook Link Road (SABLR) said: “We have lots of issues with Wigan Council’s link road but we didn’t bargain on it destroying an ancient historic site.
“This wood needs to be protected from development, after all, it could have been the legendary home of King Arthur. We need a white knight to come riding in and make Wigan Council see sense.”