The Swashbuckling Press

Pirates ~ Musketeers ~ Knights ~ Fantasy ~ & More!
This is the only way History Should be told!


File:Codex Manesse 081 Walther von Klingen.jpg

Main Menu for The Swashbuckling Press:



Hey, friends, don't forget to check out my interview over at Renaissance Performers & Merchants! I've been interviewed on their blog about my novel "Donaree the Musketeer," and collectible card game: "Musketeers, Cavaliers, and Court Intrigue." Come check it out, and leave a comment if you'd like!

Knights in Armour Main Menu

The Age of Knighthood!! 

Click on Links in BLUE: 
















Men of Iron (Dodo Press)









BEOWULF [Coming Soon]







The Age of Knighthood!!





 When we think of Knights in shining armour, we have a fantastic vision open before us: Mounted noblemen, lance in hand, and ready in a split second to rescue damsels in distress from an evil lord's castle!!


Perhaps the most noted era's in Knighthood belong to King Arthur and King Richard the Lion-Heart, two king's era's of which will be mentioned rather soon in this article.



Other knights and era's worth mentioning are:


Don Quoxite, a fictional knight created by Cerevantes. Don Quoxite was a comedy written in the 1500's about a man who thought he was a knight, when knighthood had already came to a close. Don Quoxite was a little touched in the head, and mistook windmills for giants and sheep for armies.


The Black Sheild of Falworth, aka: Men of Iron was written by Robert Louis Stevenson. Of course Stevenson called his book Men of Iron, but when Hollywood got ahold of the story, they renamed it The Black Shield of Falworth and had Tony Curtis play the leading role of a man coming to age, learning the art of knighthood, and wooing his real life wife: Janet Leigh, mom and dad to famous actress Jamie Leigh Curtis.


Quentin Duward was a knighthood story written by Sir Walter Scott, of which Hollywood got ahold of also. This time keeping the title the same, I believe the actor they chose for this story is Robert Taylor, the same who played Ivanhoe . . . .


Ivanhoe - one of my personal favorite stories!! The novel by Sir Walter Scott has been dubbed the first official Romance Novel of all time, and also the first official Swashbuckling novel of all time. Of course, the first real Swashbuckling story, however, should be credited to Daniel Defoe, who was writing one hundred years before Scott!! However, in all actuality, even though these statistics are based upon how Swashbucklers are viewed today, the first writers that have a Swashbuckling themed background can also be credited to Sir Thomas Malory, who, in the 1400's wrote "Le Morte d'Arthur" aka "The Death of King Arthur." in the 1500's Spain, Cerevantes wrote "Don Quoxite," and in the late 1500's England Shakespeare was writing his heart out. We can even go further we some of the very first English works, such as Beowulf, written by a Saxon hand in perhaps late 1300's to eary 1400's England, and also "A little Gest of Robyn Hode" written in perhaps the late 1300's as well. 



Ivanhoe, which was written in 1820 in Scotland by Sir Walter Scott, is also the very first fictionalized novel that has Robin Hood in its volume!! The novel Ivanhoe in the world of fiction is a key novel to the King Richard the Lion-Heart / Robin Hood legend stories.


If we remember the movie "The Adventures of Robin Hood" with Errol Flynn, filmed back in 1938, or even more importantly the stories by famous Robin Hood novelists, especially American author Howard Pyle in the early 1900's with his novel "The merry Adventures of Robin Hood," we see that Robin was trying to help England while King Richard was away at the Crusades, trying to rid Jerusalem from an infidel. The novel Ivanhoe also follows this theme. It has Ivanhoe as a soldier who went over with Richard to the Crusades over in the Holy Land, but returns to England ahead of Richard, who has just been captured and held for ransom somewhere over in England. While Ivanhoe tries to find Richard, Robin in England is trying to out-smart Richard's evil brother, Prince John, who has taken over the English throne while Richard is away. This novel has been made into film several times.


Just before these events, Sir Walter Scott wrote a prequel to this story called: "The Talisman." which places the story over in Palestine during the Crusades when Richard is still dealing with the Sarisan leader Saladin, the Arabian leader who had Jerusalem captured at that time. This has also been made into a movie called: "King Richard and the Crusaders," and has George Sanders playing Richard.



Ivanhoe himself may or may not have been a real person. Scott got the idea from an old English Middle-Aged poem that he had read, of which there was only one mention of the name Ivanhoe without any clue whatsoever of what kind of person he really was.


Next, we move on over the King Arthur, who is perhaps the best known Middle-Ages king, who may have been the very first Middle-Aged King, starting in the early 500's A.D., before true knighthood really began. In fact, even though dubbed with being the first king of the Brits, Arthur, if he really had existed - which I believe he did - was in all actuality a Roman by birth, which, oc course, makes him Italian rather than English.


In my personal opinion, Arthur became king of Britian for only one reason, its because something had happened to cause Rome to yeild their grip on England in the early 1500's to allow Arthur to claim it as his own kingdom. But what was that event?


Prior to Arthur's kingship over England, Rome had owned most of the island. Rome was still mixed in petty fueds against native Britains before they could claim the whole island, and that of Ireland and Scotland, as their own.

During the midst of all these fueds, something major had happened to cause Rome to suddenly give up its claim on England, and in fact not too long afterwards, Rome had fallen completely!! What was it? In fact, not only did the empire of Rome fall, but so did the empire of China, and the American empire of Indians fall - ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!

For the answer to these questions, please go to our page: "What happened in 535 A.D.?"

Return to the Knights in Armour Main Menu!

Hold your mouse over desired product!

King Arthur



King Arthur was a legendary British leader who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early sixth century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians. The sparse historical background of Arthur is gleaned from various sources, including the Annales Cambriae, the Historia Brittonum, and the writings of Gildas. Arthur's name also occurs in early poetic sources such as Y Gododdin.

The legendary Arthur developed as a figure of international interest largely through the popularity of Geoffrey of Monmouth's fanciful and imaginative 12th-century Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain). Some Welsh and Breton tales and poems relating the story of Arthur date from earlier than this work; in these works, Arthur appears either as a great warrior defending Britain from human and supernatural enemies or as a magical figure of folklore, sometimes associated with the Welsh Otherworld, Annwn. How much of Geoffrey's Historia (completed in 1138) was adapted from such earlier sources, rather than invented by Geoffrey himself, is unknown.

Although the themes, events and characters of the Arthurian legend varied widely from text to text, and there is no one canonical version, Geoffrey's version of events often served as the starting point for later stories. Geoffrey depicted Arthur as a king of Britain who defeated the Saxons and established an empire over Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Gaul. Many elements and incidents that are now an integral part of the Arthurian story appear in Geoffrey's Historia, including Arthur's father Uther Pendragon, the wizard Merlin, Arthur's wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, Arthur's birth at Tintagel, his final battle against Mordred at Camlann and final rest in Avalon. The 12th-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes, who added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the story, began the genre of Arthurian romance that became a significant strand of medieval literature. In these French stories, the narrative focus often shifts from King Arthur himself to other characters, such as various Knights of the Round Table. Arthurian literature thrived during the Middle Ages but waned in the centuries that followed until it experienced a major resurgence in the 19th century. In the 21st century, the legend lives on, not only in literature but also in adaptations for theatre, film, television, comics and other media.

Selections from our Swash-Store:

Biography - King Arthur: His Life And Legends (A&E DVD Archives)

Biography - King Arthur: His Life And Legen...

History -- Quest For King Arthur

History -- Quest For King Arthur


In Literature:

See our article on: Sir Thomas Malory!


In Film:

File:Movie poster king arthur.jpg 

King Arthur is a 2004 film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by David Franzoni. It stars Clive Owen as the title character, Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot, Keira Knightley as Guinevere, and Ivano Marescotti as Bishop Germanus.

The producers of the film claim to present a historically accurate version of the Arthurian legends, supposedly inspired by new archaeological findings. The accuracy of these claims is subject to debate, but the film is unusual (though not unique) in representing Arthur as a Roman officer rather than a medieval knight. It was shot in England, Ireland, and Wales.


Arthur, also known as Artorius Castus (Clive Owen), is portrayed as a Roman cavalry officer, the son of a Roman father and a Celtic mother, who leads a military force of Sarmatian auxiliary cavalry in Britain at the close of the Roman occupation in 467 A.D. He and his men guard Hadrian's Wall against the Woads, a Celtic people who resist Roman rule, based on the historical Picts,[1] led by the mysterious Merlin (Stephen Dillane). He is not the first Arthur — for generations, his ancestors have manned the Wall, leading Sarmatian auxiliaries.

As the film starts, Arthur and his remaining knights Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd), Bors (Ray Winstone), Tristan (Mads Mikkelsen), Gawain (Joel Edgerton), Galahad (Hugh Dancy) and Dagonet (Ray Stevenson) are expecting discharge from the service of the Empire after faithfully serving for 15 years (Lancelot's voiceover is heard at the beginning and end of the film, and his entry into service as a youth in 452 A.D. is depicted at the beginning). However they first fight off an attack by the Woads on the Roman escort bringing their discharges.

However, on the night they ought to receive their freedom, they are dispatched on a final and possibly suicidal mission by Bishop Germanus (Ivano Marescotti) in the freezing winter to rescue the important Roman family of Marius Honorius (Ken Stott) from impending capture by the invading Saxons, led by their chief Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgård) and his son Cynric (Til Schweiger). Marius' son, Alecto, is the Pope's favorite godson and may be "destined to be Pope one day", according to the Bishop. The knights are charged with this rescue because Rome is withdrawing from Britain, now considered an indefensible outpost.

At the remote estate, Arthur explains his mission to Marius, who becomes defensive and refuses to leave his grand home. Marius is revealed to have oppressed his serfs on the pretense of speaking for God. While being shown an elder who has been whipped and left tied up out in the elements for asking Marius for more food for the serfs, Arthur advises that Marius does not speak for God. He frees the elder and tells them all that they were "free from their first breath". Arthur soon discovers Marius has also immured pagans: a Woad, Guinevere (Keira Knightley), and a small boy, Lucan. Arthur frees them and decides to take everyone, along with Marius' family, back to Hadrian's Wall.

Along the journey, Guinevere tells Arthur of the "fairy tales" she'd heard of him, and Arthur is revealed to be half Celt (on his mother's side). Arthur resets the fingers in Guinevere's hand. One night, Guinevere takes Arthur to meet with Merlin, the leader of the Woads and her father. At first, Arthur thinks Guinevere has betrayed him, but Merlin has come in peace. It is revealed in flashback that Arthur's mother had died in a Woad attack when he was a boy. Merlin says that he did not wish for Arthur's mother to die; she was of their blood, as is Arthur. Arthur's famous sword, Excalibur, is also shown to be his father's, which marked his father's burial mound. Arthur pulled it from his father's burial mound in an effort to rescue his mother from a burning building. Merlin suggests an alliance between the Woads and the Sarmatian knights.

Along the route one dawn, Marius forces a standoff with his own soldiers, taking the boy Lucan hostage. Guinevere uses a bow to shoot Marius dead; his guards stand down and aid the knights in getting all the people to the wall.

Struck by Rome leaving its subjects to the mercy of the Saxons, Arthur is further disillusioned when he learns that Bishop Pelagius, whose teachings about the equality of all men inspired the brotherhood of his Round Table, has been executed as a heretic by order of Bishop Germanus himself.

Tristan returns from scouting the area and tells Arthur that a whole Saxon army is on the move. The group soon encounter the Saxons at an ice-covered lake. The knights stay behind to hold up the Saxons and allow the refugees to escape. Greatly outnumbered, Arthur, Guinevere and the knights attempt to repel them with arrows; the battle is won when Dagonet runs to the middle of the ice and breaks it with an axe, at the cost of his life — however, many Saxons are killed.

In due course, Arthur and his remaining men forsake Roman citizenship and form an alliance with the Woads to fight the Saxons. In the climactic battle, the Battle of Badon Hill, the Woads catapult flaming missiles at the Saxon army, and when the hosts meet, Guinevere engages in combat with Cynric. Cerdic fights and kills Tristan before facing off with Arthur. Meanwhile, Cynric disarms Guinevere before Lancelot intervenes and duels Cynric alone. While another Saxon captures Lancelot's attention for a moment, Cynric shoots Lancelot with a Saxon crossbow. Lancelot then throws his sword into Cynric, killing him. Lancelot dies with Guinevere at his side. Arthur kills Cerdic, and the Saxons are defeated.

Though Arthur is victorious, the events of the film have led to the loss of his faith in Rome as a bastion of justice. After realizing that the Rome of his ideals exists only in his dreams, Arthur also despairs over the deaths of his men. The film ends with Arthur and Guinevere's marriage. Merlin then proclaims him to be their king. King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and his remaining knights promise to lead the Britons, united with the defeat of the Saxons and retreat of the Romans, against future invaders. The last scene shows Lancelot, Dagonet and Tristan reincarnated as horses and roaming the lands freely, while Lancelot speaks of the fact that their names will live forever in legend.

Main cast:

  • Clive Owen - Arthur/Artorius Castus
  • Keira Knightley - Guinevere
  • Ioan Gruffudd - Lancelot
  • Mads Mikkelsen - Tristan
  • Joel Edgerton - Gawain
  • Hugh Dancy - Galahad
  • Ray Winstone - Bors
  • Ray Stevenson - Dagonet
  • Stephen Dillane - Merlin
  • Stellan Skarsgård - Cerdic
  • Til Schweiger - Cynric
  • Sean Gilder - Jols
  • Pat Kinevane - Horton
  • Ivano Marescotti - Bishop Germanus
  • Ken Stott - Marius Honorius
  • Lorenzo De Angelis - Alecto


The movie was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Antoine Fuqua; David Franzoni, the writer for Gladiator, wrote the screenplay. The historical consultant for the film was John Matthews, an author known for his books on esoteric Celtic spirituality, some of which he co-wrote with his wife Caitlin Matthews. The research consultant was Linda A. Malcor, co-author of From Scythia to Camelot: A Radical Reinterpretation of the Legends of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Holy Grail where possible non-Celtic sources for the Arthurian legends are explored.


The film's main set, a replica of a section of Hadrian's Wall, was the largest film set ever built in Ireland, and was located in a field in Ballymore-Eustace Co.Kildare. The replica was one kilometre long, which took a crew of 300 construction workers four and a half months to build. The fort in the film was based on the Roman fort named Vindolanda, which was built around 80 AD just south of Hadrian's Wall in what is now called Chesterholm, in Northern England.

Despite of the film's historically grounded approach, much artistic licence regarding historical figures, peoples, events, religion and weaponry is taken with the plot. As did the earliest versions of the Arthur story, the film places the story of Arthur not in its better-known medieval setting but in the (still plausible) earlier times of antiquity, the early dawn of the Middle Ages. It would appear that the Arthur depicted in the film is based most closely upon Ambrosius Aurelianus, the Romano-Briton who fought against the Saxons in the 5th century, and was probably the leader of the Romano-British at the Battle of Mons Badonicus (Mount Badon). Nevertheless, Arthur's full name in the film is Artorius Castus, referring to Lucius Artorius Castus, a historical Roman active in Britain in the 2nd or 3rd century. It is specified Arthur was given the ancestral name of a legendary leader.

The film is loosely based on the "Sarmatian hypothesis", formulated by C. Scott Littleton and Ann C. Thomas in 1978, which holds that the Arthurian legend has a historical nucleus in the Sarmatian heavy cavalry troops stationed in Britain. In the 2nd century, 5,500 Iazyges were transported there as auxiliaries during the Marcomannic Wars,

Roman political issues:

In the film, the Roman legions withdraw from Britain in AD 467; in reality, it was completed in the year 410, nearly 60 years before. Similarly, the opening text dictates that "King Arthur and his Knights rose from a real hero who lived [...] in a period often called the Dark Ages". The film, however, is set in 467. The Dark Ages actually occurred in Sub-Roman Britain after the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Romulus Augustus, was deposed by Odoacer in 476, nine years after the date for the setting of the film. The current Roman Emperor in the film's time would have been Anthemius.

The Roman family which Arthur rescues lives north of Hadrian's Wall. This mission would be unlikely because the Wall represented the extent of Roman rule in Britain, except for brief periods of occupation during the second century AD during which time they got as far north as Falkirk (Central Scotland) where pieces of the Antonine Wall are still visible; particularly in Callandar Park. Romanized client states such as that of the Votadini did exist north of the wall even into the Sub-Roman era.

Britons and Saxons:

The Picts are called "Woads". This word is a reference to one plant the Picts may have used to make blue paint; however, the use of woad by the Picts is contested by scholars, and the historical Picts were never known by this name. In an interview Antoine Fuqua stated that they used "Wodes" (sic) instead of "Picts" because they thought the latter sounded "a little weird". Nevertheless, John Matthews said in an online article that the name substitution was "meant to echo similar belittling titles given to enemies".

The ninth-century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mentions the arrival of the Saxon leaders Cerdic and Cynric in Britain (at Hampshire) in 495. According to the Chronicle Cynric succeeded Cerdic as king of Wessex in 534 (Cerdic was the founder of the kingdom). Thus the two could not have died at the battle of Mount Badon. The battle is thought to have been fought sometime between 490 to 516.

The Saxons are shown attacking Hadrian's Wall from the north. By 467 the Saxons were already occupying parts of Britain far south of the wall. Later in the film, Cerdic stops a warrior from raping a woman because it would lead to less-than-pure Saxon blood. This scene references the long-held belief that the Anglo-Saxons eradicated the Romano-Britons from the eastern part of the island. This contention, largely based on linguistic evidence, has been challenged by modern genetic analysis, which suggests extensive mixing between Anglo-Saxon and Briton populations. Some historians (and fiction writers) have even suggested that Cerdic himself, who bore a Celtic name, was at least part Briton.

Military technology:

Historically, Sarmatians were armored in the manner of cataphracts (full-length coats of scale armor); the film's Sarmatians are armoured with a mishmash of pseudo-Roman, Turkish, Mongol, and Hunnic designs. The Saxons historically used bows (to a limited extent) and spears instead of crossbows during the period. Though there is evidence for the use of some form of crossbows by Romans (calling them manuballistae) and, some claim, the Picts, the weapon was still not widely used in England until much later. Similarly, the Woads use a trebuchet-like weapon to hurl flaming missiles at the Saxons, though the trebuchet was not re-introduced to Britain until the siege of Dover in 1216. The Romans, however, reportedly used an early form of the trebuchet in their sieges. Roman soldiers displayed in the movie are depicted as legionnaires with 2nd century AD armour. By AD 400, legionaries were no longer in use and comitatenses were the new replacements.

Religious inaccuracies:

The real Pelagius opposed Saint Augustine on the theological issue of the relationship between grace and free will. This is indicated by Arthur's asking him a question about free will, and the storyline of Arthur's break with the Catholic Church. However, the film confuses the issue of political freedoms and social choices (which were not issues in political debate in the 5th/6th centuries AD) with the principle of free will in relationship to God. The Pelagian heresy denied original sin with its doctrine of the bondage of the will. Nor was Pelagius executed for heresy in Rome as the film indicates. Pelagius is believed to have died decades before 467 AD, likely of old age and was not burned at the stake by the ecclesiastical authorities.

Archbishop Germanus' second (and last) mission to Britain was twenty years before (447 AD) and he died the following year. Germanus is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church and, although portrayed in the film as a cruel and pompous aristocrat, historically he "extended his hospitality to all sorts of persons, washed the feet of the poor and served them with his own hands, while he himself fasted."

The movie implies that the Pope (who in 467 was Pope Hilarius) was in control of the Western Roman Empire, although it was actually ruled by the Emperor and de facto controlled by the Magistri Militum and other regional governors. The Pope would not gain the political power to grant lands and other comparable privileges until centuries after the setting of the film. 

Selections from our Swash-Store:


King Arthur - The Director's Cut (Widescreen Edition)King Arthur (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]King Arthur (PG-13 Full Screen Edition)
King Arthur - The Director's Cut (Widescree...
King Arthur (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]
King Arthur (PG-13 Full Screen Edition)




File:First Knight Poster.jpg

First Knight is a 1995 American romantic fantasy adventure film based on Arthurian legend, directed by Jerry Zucker. It stars Richard Gere as Lancelot, Julia Ormond as Guinevere, Sean Connery as King Arthur and Ben Cross as Malagant.

The film follows the rogue Lancelot's romance with Lady Guinevere of Leonesse, who is to marry King Arthur of Camelot, while the land is threatened by the renegade knight Malagant. The film is noteworthy for its absence of magical elements, its drawing on the Arthurian material of Chrétien de Troyes for plot elements and the substantial age difference between Arthur and Guinevere.

Plot summary:

The film's opening text establishes that King Arthur of Camelot, victorious from his wars, has dedicated his reign to promoting justice and peace and now wishes to marry. However, Malagant, a Knight of the Round Table, desires the throne for himself and rebels.

The movie opens with Lancelot, a vagabond and skilled swordsman, dueling in small villages for money. Lancelot attributes his skill to his lack of concern whether he lives or dies. Guinevere, the ruler of Leonesse, decides to marry Arthur partly out of admiration and partly for security against Malagant, who is shown raiding a village.

While traveling, Lancelot chances by Guinevere's carriage on the way to Camelot, and helps spoil Malagant's ambush meant to kidnap her. He falls in love with Guinevere, who refuses his advances. Though Lancelot urges her to follow her heart, Guinevere remains bound by her duty. She is subsequently reunited with her escort.

Later, Lancelot arrives in Camelot and successfully navigates an obstacle course on the prospect of a kiss from Guinevere, though he instead kisses her hand. He also wins an audience with her husband-to-be, Arthur. Impressed by Lancelot's courage and struck by his recklessness and freewheeling, Arthur shows him the Round Table which symbolizes a life of service and brotherhood. Guinevere is subsequently kidnapped by Malagant's followers and imprisoned in an oubliette. Lancelot poses as a messenger to Malagant only to escape with Guinevere and return her to Camelot. Once again, Lancelot tries to win her heart, but is unsuccessful. On the return journey, it is revealed that Lancelot was orphaned and rendered homeless after bandits attacked his village, and has been wandering ever since.

In gratitude, Arthur offers Lancelot a higher calling in life as a Knight of the Round Table. Amidst the protests of the other Knights (who are suspicious of his station), and of Guinevere (who struggles with her feelings for him), Lancelot accepts and takes Malagant's place at the Table, saying he has found something to care about. Arthur and Guinevere are subsequently wedded. However, a messenger from Leonesse arrives, with news that Malagant has invaded. Arthur leads his troops to Leonesse and successfully defeats Malagant's forces. Lancelot wins the respect of the other Knights with his prowess in battle. He also learns to embrace Arthur's philosophy, moved by the plight of villagers.

Lancelot feels guilty about his feelings for the queen and in private announces his departure to her. She cannot bear the thought of him leaving and asks him for a kiss, which turns into a passionate embrace, just in time for the king to interrupt. Though Guinevere claims to love both Arthur and Lancelot - albeit in different ways - the two are charged with treason. The open trial in the great square of Camelot is interrupted by a surprise invasion by Malagant, ready to burn Camelot and kill Arthur if he does not swear fealty. Instead Arthur commands his subjects to fight, and Malagant's men shoot him with crossbows. A battle between Malagant's men and Camelot's soldiers and citizens ensues, and Lancelot and Malagant face off. Disarmed, Lancelot seizes Arthur's fallen sword Excalibur and kills Malagant. The people of Camelot win the battle, but Arthur dies of his wounds. On his deathbed, he asks Lancelot to "take care of her for me" - a double entendre referring to both Camelot and Guinevere. The movie closes with a funeral raft carrying Arthur's body floating out to sea, which is set aflame.

Partial cast:

  • Richard Gere - Lancelot
  • Julia Ormond - Guinevere
  • Sean Connery - King Arthur
  • Ben Cross - Prince Malagant
  • John Gielgud - Oswald
  • Liam Cunningham - Sir Agravaine
  • Christopher Villiers - Sir Kay
  • Valentine Pelka - Sir Patrise
  • Colin McCormack - Sir Mador
  • Alexis Denisof - Sir Gaheris
  • Ralph Ineson - Ralf
  • Stuart Bunce - Peter
  • Angus Wright - The Marauder


Director Jerry Zucker, who also co-produced with Hunt Lowry, made First Knight as a follow-up to his Academy Award nominated 1990 hit Ghost. Previously, he was primarily known for teaming with his brother David Zucker and with Jim Abrahams to create comedies such as Airplane! and The Naked Gun.

The script was written by William Nicholson. Adam Greenberg was in charge of cinematography, while production design was under John Box. The score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith. The film was edited and mixed by Walter Murch.

Selections from Swash-Store:


First Knight     First Knight (Special Edition)   First Knight (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
First Knight
     First Knight (Special Edition) 
  First Knight (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]




File:Monty python and the holy grail 2001 release movie poster.jpg 

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1975 comedy film written and performed by the comedy group Monty Python (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin), and directed by Gilliam and Jones. It was conceived during a gap between the third and fourth seasons of their popular BBC television series Monty Python's Flying Circus.

In contrast to the group's first film, And Now for Something Completely Different, a compilation of sketches from the television series, Holy Grail was composed of original material, therefore considered the first "proper" film according to the group and mainstream audiences. It generally spoofs the legends of King Arthur's quest to find the Holy Grail. The film was a success on its initial run and remains popular to this day. Idle used the film as the inspiration for the 2005 Tony Award-winning musical Spamalot.


Monty Python and the Holy Grail loosely follows the legend of King Arthur. Arthur (Chapman) along with his squire Patsy (Gilliam) recruits his Knights of the Round Table, including Sir Bedevere the Wise (Jones), Sir Lancelot the Brave (Cleese), Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot (Idle) and Sir Galahad the Pure (Palin). The group is instructed by God (represented by an animated photograph of legendary cricket figure W. G. Grace[1]) to seek out the Holy Grail. They are led to a castle controlled by the French where they believe the Grail is being held. After being insulted in mangled Franglais and failing to invade the castle in a Trojan Rabbit, Arthur decides that they must go their separate ways to seek out the Grail.

Concurrent to these events, in a manner of breaking the fourth wall, a modern-day historian, while describing the Arthurian legend as for a television program, is killed by a knight on horseback, triggering a police investigation.

Each of the Knights encounter various perils on their quest. Arthur and Bedevere attempt to satisfy the strange requests of the dreaded Knights who say Ni. Sir Robin narrowly, but bravely, avoids a fight with the Three-Headed Giant. Sir Lancelot accidentally assaults a wedding party at Swamp Castle believing them to be hiding the Grail. Galahad is led by a Grail-shaped beacon to Castle Anthrax, populated only by comely women who wish to perform sexual favours for him, but is "rescued" by Lancelot. The Knights regroup and travel to see Tim the Enchanter, who points them to caves where the location of the Grail is written on the walls. To enter the caves, the group is forced to defeat the Rabbit of Caerbannog using the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

With their final destination known, the group travels to its last peril, the Bridge of Death, where each Knight is forced to answer three questions by the bridge-keeper before they can cross; Sirs Robin and Galahad fail and are thrown into the chasm below the bridge, before Arthur tricks the bridge-keeper. Lancelot becomes separated from Arthur and Bedevere, later shown arrested by modern-day police for the murder of the historian. Arthur and Bedevere travel to the Grail's castle, which they find is already occupied by the French who send them away with their insults. They amass a large army to prepare to storm the castle, but just as they are ready to start the charge, the police arrive and stop it, arresting Arthur and Bedevere, and putting an end to the filming.

Breaking the fourth wall:

One of the running gags in the film is the frequent breaking of the fourth wall; for example, the aforementioned "old man from scene 24" and the death of the animator. Others include:

  • The mood-setting opening credits initially play out in a serious manner before they are "hijacked" three times by trouble-making crewmembers (who, along with adding faux-Norwegian subtitles, sneak in mentions of Sweden and moose, e.g. "A møøse once bit my sister" [sic]) The text at one point claims that the remaining credits have been completed at the very last minute and at great expense. The last few screens are then shown against a backdrop of garish, blinking fluorescent colours, with repeated mentions of llamas.
  • The narrator (played by Michael Palin) is heard being killed after taking too long to introduce scene 24, although strangely he is heard later.
  • "The aptly named Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film" (Michael Palin's son, William, then an infant, dressed up in chain mail attire).
  • When the knights arrive at an obviously fake Camelot and chorus its name in awe, Patsy (Gilliam) is heard to remark "It's only a model" and is promptly shushed.
  • In one Castle Anthrax scene, Dingo (played by Carol Cleveland, Python's main female supporting player) faces the camera and inquires about the quality of the scene to that point, asking if it should have been cut. Other characters from scenes both past and future respond and, after being drawn out, command her to "GET ON WITH IT!" (coincidentally, this moment was actually removed from the film on initial release, but was reinstated for TV broadcasts and the video release).
  • When Arthur and his knights encounter the Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh (which is depicted as a cartoon) in a cave, they run for their lives around the cave until the beast's animator suddenly suffers a fatal heart attack, causing it to disappear.
  • Prince Herbert (Jones) repeatedly attempts to begin a musical number, but his music-hating father (Palin) demands that the music stop, even saying "You're not going into a song while I'm here!"
  • When Prince Herbert is about to tell how his fall off the tall tower was broken, the crowd breaks into song, and everyone who was killed by Sir Lancelot rises from the dead, including Princess Lucky's father.
  • The film ends very abruptly, with one of the police officers putting his hand over the photographic lens, the film jumping its sprockets, and the screen suddenly going black.


The film was mostly shot on location in Scotland, particularly around Doune Castle, Glen Coe, and the privately owned Castle Stalker. The many castles seen throughout the film were either Doune Castle shot from different angles or cardboard models held up against the horizon (this is referred to in Patsy's dismissive line, "It's only a model" - another example of fourth wall breakage). There are several exceptions to this: the very first exterior shot of a castle at the beginning of the film is Kidwelly Castle in South Wales and the single exterior shot of the Swamp King castle during "Tale of Sir Lancelot" is Bodiam Castle in Kent — all subsequent shots of the exterior and interior of those scenes were filmed at Doune Castle. King Arthur was the only character whose chain mail armour was authentic. The "armour" worn by his various knights was silver-painted wool, which absorbed moisture in the cold and wet conditions.

The film was co-directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, the first major project for both and the first project where any members of the Pythons were behind the camera. This proved to be troublesome on the set as Jones and Gilliam had different directing styles and it often was not clear who was in charge. The other Pythons evidently preferred Jones, who as an acting member of the group was focused more on performance, as opposed to Gilliam, whose visual sense they admired but whom they sometimes thought was too fussy: on the DVD audio commentary, Cleese expresses irritation at a scene set in Castle Anthrax, where he says the focus was on technical aspects rather than comedy. The two later Python feature films, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life, both have Jones as the sole director.

Originally the knight characters were going to ride real horses, but after it became clear that the film's minuscule budget precluded the use of real horses the Pythons decided that their characters would mime horse-riding while their porters trotted behind them banging coconut shells together. The joke was derived from the old-fashioned sound effect used by radio shows to convey the sound of hooves clattering. This was later referred to in the German release of the film, which translated the title as "Die Ritter der Kokosnuss" ("The Knights of the Coconut").

The use of coconuts leads to an extended, tangential discussion on how coconuts could have found their way to the British Isles. The possibility of swallows carrying them, absurd as it seems, reappears in a key moment late in the film and helps Arthur advance his quest.

As an extension of the group's penchant for never abiding to a generic formula, the 2001 DVD release of the film commences with the British Board of Film Censors' certification for Dentist on the Job, a film "Passed as more suitable for Exhibition to Adult Audiences", followed by its grainy black-and-white opening titles and nearly two minutes of the film itself. During the opening scene of Dentist on the Job, the projectionist (played by Terry Jones) realises it is the wrong film and puts the correct one on. (Dentist on the Job was a 1961 comedy starring Bob Monkhouse. Dentist on the Job's alternate title is Get On With It, a phrase that appears multiple times throughout Holy Grail).



ActorMain RoleOther roles
Graham ChapmanKing ArthurVoice of God, Hiccoughing Guard, Middle Head of Three-Headed Knight
John CleeseSir LancelotSecond soldier in opening scene, Man in plague scene with body, Black Knight, Third Villager, French Taunter, Tim the Enchanter
Terry GilliamPatsyOld Man (Soothsayer) in Scene 24/Bridgekeeper, Green Knight, Sir Bors (First to be killed by rabbit), Weak-hearted animator (Himself)
Eric IdleSir RobinThe Dead Collector, First Villager, Confused Guard at Swamp Castle, Concorde, Roger the Shrubber, Brother Maynard
Terry JonesSir BedevereDennis's Mother, Left Head of Three-Headed Knight, Prince Herbert, Voice of the Cartoon Scribe
Michael PalinSir GalahadFirst soldier in opening scene, Dennis, Second Villager, Right Head of Three-Headed Knight, King of Swamp Castle, Monk, Main Knight who says "Ni", Narrator
Neil InnesSir Robin's MinstrelMonk, Page crushed by wooden rabbit, Fourth Villager
Connie BoothThe Witch
Carol ClevelandZootDingo (Zoot's twin)
Bee DuffellOld crone
John YoungHistorianMan who is "not dead yet"
Rita DaviesHistorian's Wife
Sally KinghornWinston
Avril StewartPiglet



Knights of the Round Table:

  • King Arthur – King of the Britons
  • Sir Bedevere the Wise
  • Sir Lancelot the Brave
  • Sir Galahad the Pure
  • Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot
  • (The aptly named) Sir Not Appearing In This Film
  • While not referred to as 'Knights of the Round Table', Ector, Gawain, and Bors make limited appearances


  • The Knights Who Say Ni, a mysterious, forest-dwelling order of knights devoted to the word 'Ni'
  • The French, who apparently possess the Holy Grail and are unwilling to relinquish it
  • The Black Knight, a very stubborn knight who refuses to admit defeat even when dismembered
  • The Three Headed Knight, a giant with three heads, all of whom are very argumentative
  • The Keeper of the Bridge of Death (also known as "the man from scene 24", in which he appeared first), who demands correct answers to his three questions before the knights may pass
  • The Killer Rabbit, whose fluffiness belies its murderous intent
  • The Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh
  • The Witch, who is not really a villain but is reviled by the people as one
  • Dennis, who scolds King Arthur for treating him as an inferior
  • The police

Selections from our Swash-Store:


Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Special Edition)Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Extraordinarily Deluxe Three-Disc Edition)Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Special Ed...
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Extraordin...
Monty Python and the Holy Grail



More Selections:



Legend of King Arthur Boxed Set /  Merlin, Camelot, King Arthur

Legend of King Arthur Boxed Set / Merlin, ...
by Artist Not Provided


Return to the Knights in Armour Main Menu!

King Richard the Lion Heart



Richard I (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199) was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Ireland, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was known as Cœur de Lion, or Richard the Lionheart, even before his accession, because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior. The Muslims (referred to as Saracens at the time) called him Melek-Ric or Malek al-Inkitar (King of England).

By age 16, Richard was commanding his own army, putting down rebellions in Poitou against his father, King Henry II. Richard was a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade, effectively leading the campaign after the departure of Philip Augustus and scoring considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin, but was unable to reconquer Jerusalem.

While he spoke very little English and spent very little time in England (he lived in his Duchy of Aquitaine, in the southwest of France), preferring to use his kingdom as a source of revenue to support his armies, he was seen as a pious hero by his subjects. He remains one of the very few Kings of England remembered by his epithet rather than regnal number, and is an enduring, iconic figure in England.



Saladin (Richard's Famous Enemy):

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb (c. 1138 – March 4, 1193), better known in the Western world as Saladin, was a Kurdish Muslim who became the first Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt and Syria. He led Islamic opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, he ruled over Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, and Yemen. He led the Muslims against the Crusaders and eventually recaptured Palestine from the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem after his victory in the Battle of Hattin. As such, he is a notable figure in Kurdish, Arab, and Muslim culture. Saladin was a strict adherent of Sunni Islam and a disciple of the Qadiri Sufi order. His chivalrous behavior was noted by Christian chroniclers, especially in the accounts of the siege of Kerak in Moab, and despite being the nemesis of the Crusaders he won the respect of many of them, including Richard the Lionheart; rather than becoming a hated figure in Europe, he became a celebrated example of the principles of chivalry.


King John (Richard's Brother)

John (24 December 1167 – 19 October 1216) was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death. He acceded to the throne as the younger brother of King Richard I, who died without issue. John was the youngest of five sons of King Henry II of England and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, and was their second surviving son to ascend the throne; thus, he continued the line of Plantagenet or Angevin kings of England. Prior to his coronation, he was Earl of Cornwall and Gloucester, but this title merged into the Crown when he became King. John's oldest surviving brother, Richard, became king upon the death of their father in 1189, and John was made Count of Mortain (France). When Richard refused to honour their father's wishes and surrender Aquitaine to him as well, John staged a rebellion. The rebellion failed, and John lost all potential claims to lands in France.

During his lifetime John acquired two epithets. One was "Lackland" (French: Sans Terre), because, as his father's youngest son, he did not inherit land out of his family's holdings, and because as King he lost significant territory to France. The other was "Softsword" signifying his supposed lack of prowess in battle.

Apart from entering popular legend as the enemy of Robin Hood, he is perhaps best-known for having acquiesced – to the barons of English nobility – to seal Magna Carta, a document which limited kingly power in England and which is popularly thought as an early step in the evolution of limited government.



The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of mostly Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock. Their identity emerged initially in the first half of the tenth century, and gradually evolved over succeeding centuries until they disappeared as an ethnic group in the early thirteenth century. The name "Normans" derives from "Northmen" or "Norsemen", after the Vikings from Scandinavia who founded Normandy.

They played a major political, military, and cultural role in medieval Europe and even the Near East. They were famed for their martial spirit and Christian piety. They quickly adopted the Romance language of the land they settled in, their dialect becoming known as Norman, an important literary language. The Duchy of Normandy, which they formed by treaty with the French crown, was one of the great large fiefs of medieval France. The Normans are famed both for their culture, such as their unique Romanesque architecture, and their musical traditions, as well as for their military accomplishments and innovations. Norman adventurers established a kingdom in Sicily and southern Italy by conquest, and a Norman expedition on behalf of their duke led to the Norman Conquest of England. Norman influence spread from these new centres to the Crusader States in the Near East, to Scotland and Wales in Great Britain, and to Ireland.

In Russian historiography, the term "Norman" is often used for the Varangians, as for example in the term "Normanist theory". In French historiography too, the term is often applied to the various Viking groups that raided France in the ninth century before settling down to found Normandy.

The Normans were in contact with England from an early date. Not only were their original Viking brethren still ravaging the English coasts, they occupied most of the important ports opposite England across the Channel. This relationship eventually produced closer ties of blood through the marriage of Emma, sister of Duke Richard II of Normandy, and King Ethelred II of England. Because of this, Ethelred fled to Normandy in 1013, when he was forced from his kingdom by Sweyn Forkbeard. His stay in Normandy (until 1016) influenced him and his sons by Emma, who stayed in Normandy after Canute the Great's conquest of the isle.

When finally Edward the Confessor returned from his father's refuge in 1041, at the invitation of his half-brother Harthacanute, he brought with him a Norman-educated mind. He also brought many Norman counsellors and fighters, some of whom established an English cavalry force. This concept never really took root, but it is a typical example of the attitudes of Edward. He appointed Robert of Jumièges archbishop of Canterbury and made Ralph the Timid earl of Hereford. He invited his brother-in-law Eustace II of Boulogne to his court in 1051, an event which resulted in the greatest of early conflicts between Saxon and Norman and ultimately resulted in the exile of Earl Godwin of Wessex.

In 1066, Duke William II of Normandy conquered England killing King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. The invading Normans and their descendants replaced the Anglo-Saxons as the ruling class of England. The nobility of England were part of a single French-speaking culture and many had lands on both sides of the channel. Early Norman kings of England were, as Dukes of Normandy, vassals to the King of France. They may not have necessarily considered England to be their most important holding (although it brought the title of King - an important status symbol). King Richard I (the Lionheart) is often thought to epitomise a medieval English King, but he only spoke French and spent more time in Aquitaine or on Crusade than in England.

Eventually, the Normans merged with the natives, combining languages and traditions. In the course of the Hundred Years war, the Norman aristocracy often identified themselves as English. The Anglo-Norman language became distinct from the French language, something that was the subject of some humour by Geoffrey Chaucer. The Anglo-Norman language was eventually absorbed into the English language of their subjects (see Old English language) and influenced it, helping (along with the Norse language of the earlier Anglo-Norse settlers and the Latin used by the church) the development of Middle English which would gain much vocabulary of French origin. 



The Saxons (Latin: Saxones) were a confederation of Old Germanic tribes. Their modern-day descendants in Lower Saxony and Westphalia and other German states are considered ethnic Germans (the state of Sachsen is not inhabited by ethnic Saxons; the state of Sachsen-Anhalt is though, in its northern and western parts); those in the eastern Netherlands are considered to be ethnic Dutch; and those in Southern England ethnic English (see Anglo-Saxons). Their earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein.

Saxons participated in the Germanic settlement of Britain during and after the 5th century. It is unknown how many migrated from the continent to Britain though estimates for the total number of Germanic settlers vary between 10,000 and 200,000. Since the 18th century, many continental Saxons have settled other parts of the world, especially in North America, Australia, South Africa, South of Brazil and in areas of the former Soviet Union, where some communities still maintain parts of their cultural and linguistic heritage, often under the umbrella categories "German", and "Dutch".

Because of international Hanseatic trading routes and contingent migration during the Middle Ages, Saxons mixed with and had strong influences upon the languages and cultures of the Scandinavian and Baltic peoples, and also upon the Polabian Slavs and Pomeranian West Slavic peoples.

The pre-Christian settlement of the Saxon people originally covered an area a little more to the northwest, with parts of the southern Jutland Peninsula, Old Saxony and small sections of the eastern Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands). During the 5th century AD, the Saxons were part of the people invading the Romano-British province of Britannia. One of the other tribes was the Germanic Angles, whose name, taken together with that of the Saxons led to the formation of the modern term, Anglo-Saxons.


In Literature:

File:Frontispiece 1863 The Talisman-neat.png

The Talisman is a novel by Sir Walter Scott. It was published in 1825 as the second of his Tales of the Crusaders, the first being The Betrothed.

Plot introduction

The Talisman takes place at the end of the Third Crusade, mostly in the camp of the Crusaders in Palestine. Scheming and partisan politics, as well as the illness of King Richard the Lionheart, are placing the Crusade in danger. The main characters are the Scottish knight Kenneth, who is the fictional character of David Earl of Huntingdon, who did in fact return from the third Crusade in 1190, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, and Edith Plantagenet, a relative of Richard.

Plot summary

During a truce between the Christian armies taking part in the third Crusade, and the infidel forces under Sultan Saladin, Sir Kenneth, on his way to Syria, encountered a Saracen Emir, whom he unhorsed, and they then rode together, discoursing on love and necromancy, towards the cave of the hermit Theodoric of Engaddi. This hermit was in correspondence with the pope, and the knight was charged to communicate secret information. Having provided the travellers with refreshment, the anchorite, as soon as the Saracen slept, conducted his companion to a chapel, where he witnessed a procession, and was recognised by the Lady Edith, to whom he had devoted his heart and sword. He was then startled by the sudden appearance of the dwarfs, and, having reached his couch again, watched the hermit scourging himself until he fell asleep.

About the same time Richard Coeur de Lion had succumbed to an attack of fever, and as he lay in his gorgeous tent at Ascalon, Sir Kenneth arrived accompanied by a Moorish physician, who had cured his squire, and who offered to restore the king to health. After a long consultation, and eliciting from Sir Kenneth his visit to the chapel, the physician was admitted to the royal presence; and, having swallowed a draught which he prepared from a silken bag or talisman, Richard sank back on his cushions. While he slept Conrade of Montserrat secretly avowed to the wily Grand-master of the Templars his ambition to be King of Jerusalem; and, with the object of injuring Richard's reputation, incited Leopold of Austria to plant his banner by the side of that of England in the centre of the camp. When the king woke the fever had left him, and Conrade entered to announce what the archduke had done. Springing from his couch, Richard rushed to the spot and defiantly tore down and trampled on the Teuton pennon. Philip of France at length persuaded him to refer the matter to the council, and Sir Kenneth was charged to watch the English standard until daybreak, with a favourite hound as his only companion. Soon after midnight, however, the dwarf Necbatanus approached him with Lady Edith's ring, as a token that his attendance was required to decide a wager she had with the queen; and during his absence from his post the banner was carried off, and his dog severely wounded. Overcome with shame and grief, he was accosted by the physician, who dressed the animal's wound, and, having entrusted Sir Kenneth with Saladin's desire to marry the Lady Edith, proposed that he should seek the Saracen ruler's protection against the wrath of Richard. The valiant Scot, however, resolved to confront the king and reveal the Sultan's purpose; but it availed him not, and he was sentenced to death, in spite of the intercessions of the queen and his lady-love; when the hermit, and then the physician, arrived, and Richard having yielded to their entreaties, Sir Kenneth was simply forbidden to appear before him again.

Having, by a bold speech, revived the drooping hopes of his brother Crusaders, and reproved the queen and his kinswoman for tampering with the Scot, Richard received him, disguised as a Nubian slave, as a present from Saladin, with whom he had been induced to spend several days. Shortly afterwards, as the king was reposing in his pavilion, the "slave" saved his life from the dagger of an assassin secretly employed by the grand-master, and intimated that he could discover the purloiner of the standard. A procession of the Christian armies and their leaders had already been arranged in token of amity to Richard; and as they marched past him, seated on horseback, with the slave holding the hound among his attendants, the dog suddenly sprang at the Marquis Conrade, who was thus convicted of having injured the animal, and betrayed his guilt by exclaiming, "I never touched the banner." Not being permitted to fight the Teuton himself, the king undertook to provide a champion, and Saladin to make all needful preparations for the combat. Accompanied by Queen Berengaria and Lady Edith, Richard was met by the Saracen with a brilliant retinue, and discovered, in the person of his entertainer, the physician who had cured his fever, and saved Sir Kenneth, whom he found prepared to do battle for him on the morrow, with the hermit as his confessor. The encounter took place soon after sunrise, in the presence of the assembled hosts, and Conrade, who was wounded and unhorsed, was tended by the Sultan in the grand-master's tent, while the victorious knight was unarmed by the royal ladies, and made known by Richard as the Prince Royal of Scotland. At noon the Sultan welcomed his guests to a banquet, but, as the grand-master was raising a goblet to his lips, Necbatanus uttered the words accipe hoc, and Saladin decapitated the templar with his sabre; on which the dwarf explained that, hidden behind a curtain, he had seen him stab his accomplice the Marquis of Montserrat, obviously to prevent him from revealing their infamous plots, while he answered his appeal for mercy in the words he had repeated. The next day the young prince was married to Lady Edith, and presented by the Sultan with his talisman, the Crusade was abandoned, and Richard, on his way homewards, was imprisoned by the Austrians in the Tyrol.

Dalziel Brothers - Sir Walter Scott - The Talisman - Sir Kenneth before the King.jpg


  • Sir Kenneth of the Couchant Leopard, Prince Royal of Scotland
  • Strauchan, his squire
  • Ilderim Sheerkohf, a Saracen Emir
  • Theodoric of Engaddi, a Christian hermit
  • King Richard I of England, one of the Council of the third Crusade
  • Queen Berengaria of Navarre, his wife
  • Lady Calista of Mountfaucon, her attendant
  • Lady Edith Plantagenet, Richard's kinswoman
  • Necbatanus, the Queen's dwarf
  • Guenevra, his lady-love
  • El Hakim, a physician; afterwards Sultan Saladin
  • Other members of the Council
    • Joscius, Archbishop of Tyre
    • The Grand Master of the Templars, Robert de Sablé
    • The Marquis Conrade of Montserrat (sic)
    • Leopold V, Duke of Austria
    • King Philip Augustus of France
  • Earl Wallenrode, a Hungarian warrior
  • A marabout, or Turkish fanatic
  • Blondel, King Richard's minstrel
  • In attendance on the King
    • Sir Thomas de Multon
    • Sir Thomas de Vaux of Gilsland

Major themes

The piece features many schemes from within the alliance against Richard the Lionheart's plans to complete the Crusade. These involve historical figures such as the Master of the Knights Templar and Conrad of Montserrat (the historical Conrad of Montferrat: Scott mistook the F for a long S in his researches). After several betrayals and a nearly fatal mistake by Kenneth, his redemption, justice for the schemers, and the peace treaty follow.

An interesting feature is the character of Saladin—portrayed as virtuous and moral, in contrast to some of the despicable European nobles in the story. This is a feature of Romanticism, but perhaps also a reflection of a rising European interest in the Orient.

Selections from our Swash-Store:


The Talisman (Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels)The talismanSir Walter Scott - The Talisman
The Talisman (Edinburgh Edition of the Wave...
by Walter Scott
The talisman
by Sir Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott - The Talisman
by Sir Walter Scott
TalismanThe TalismanThe Talisman
by Sir Walter Scott
The Talisman
by Walter Scott
The Talisman
by Dwight Holbrook
The Talisman (Webster's English Thesaurus Edition)Tales of the Crusaders. The Talisman.The Talisman: The Works of Sir Walter Scott
The Talisman (Webster's English Thesaurus E...
by Walter Scott
Tales of the Crusaders. The Talisman.
by Walter Scott
The Talisman: The Works of Sir Walter Scott
by Sir Walter Scott




File:Ivanhoe (opera).jpg 

Ivanhoe is a novel by Sir Walter Scott. It was written in 1819 and set in 12th-century England, an example of historical fiction. Ivanhoe is sometimes given credit for helping to increase popular interest in the Middle Ages in 19th century Europe and America (see Romanticism). John Henry Newman claimed that Scott "had first turned men's minds in the direction of the middle ages," while Carlyle and Ruskin made similar claims to Scott's overwhelming influence over the revival, based primarily on the publication of this novel.

Plot introduction

Ivanhoe is the story of one of the remaining Saxon noble families at a time when the English nobility was overwhelmingly Norman. It follows the Saxon protagonist, Wilfred of Ivanhoe, who is out of favour with his father for his allegiance to the Norman king Richard I of England. The story is set in 1194, after the end of the Third Crusade, when many of the Crusaders were still returning to Europe. King Richard, who had been captured by the Duke of Saxony, on his way back, was still supposed to be in the arms of his captors. The legendary Robin Hood, initially under the name of Locksley, is also a character in the story, as are his "merry men", including Friar Tuck and less so, Alan-a-Dale. (Little John is merely mentioned.) The character that Scott gave to Robin Hood in Ivanhoe helped shape the modern notion of this figure as a cheery noble outlaw.

Other major characters include Ivanhoe's intractable Saxon father, Cedric, a descendant of the Saxon King Harold Godwinson; various Knights Templar and churchmen; the loyal serfs Gurth the swineherd and the jester Wamba, whose observations punctuate much of the action; and the Jewish moneylender, Isaac of York, equally passionate of money and his daughter, Rebecca. The book was written and published during a period of increasing struggle for emancipation of the Jews in England, and there are frequent references to injustice against them.

Plot summary

Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe is disinherited by his father Cedric of Rotherwood, for supporting the Norman King Richard and for falling in love with the Lady Rowena, Cedric's ward and a descendant of the Saxon Kings of England. Cedric had planned to marry her to the powerful Lord Aethelstane, pretender to the Saxon Crown of England, thus cementing a Saxon political alliance between two rivals for the same claim. Ivanhoe accompanies King Richard I to the Crusades, where he is stated to have played a notable role in the Siege of Acre.

The book opens with a scene of Norman knights and prelates seeking the hospitality of Cedric the Saxon, of Rotherwood. They are guided thither by a palmer, fresh returned from the Holy Land. The same night, seeking refuge from the inclement weather and bandits, the Jew Isaac of York arrives at Rotherwood. Following the night's meal, characterised in keeping with the times by a heated exchange of words between the Saxon hosts and their Norman guests, the palmer observes one of the Normans, the Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert issue orders to his Saracen soldiers to follow Isaac of York after he leaves Rotherwood in the morning and relieve him of his possessions a safe distance from the castle.

The palmer then warns the Jewish money lender of his peril and assists his escape from Rotherwood, at the crack of dawn. The swineherd Gurth refuses to open the gates until the palmer whispers a few words in his ear, which turns Gurth as helpful as he was recalcitrant earlier. This is but one of the many mysterious incidents that occur throughout the tale.

Isaac of York offers to repay his debt to the palmer by offering him a suit of armour and a destrier, to participate in the tournament of Ashby where he was bound. His offer is made on the surmise that the palmer was in reality a knight, having observed his knight's chain and spurs (a fact that he mentions to the palmer). Though the palmer is taken by surprise, he acquiesces to the offer, after the admonition that both armour and horse would be forfeit if he lost in combat.

The story then moves to the scene of the famed tournament of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, which was presided over by Prince John Lackland of England. Other characters in attendance are Cedric, Athelstane, the Lady Rowena, Isaac of York, his daughter Rebecca, Robin of Locksley and his men, Prince John's advisor Waldemar Fitzurse and numerous Norman knights.

In the first day of the tournament, a bout of individual jousting, a mysterious masked knight identifying himself only as "Desdichado", supposedly Spanish for the "Disinherited One" (though actually meaning "Unfortunate"), makes his appearance and manages to defeat some of the best Norman lances, including the Templar Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert, Maurice de Bracy, a leader of a group of "Free Companions" or mercenary knights, and the baron Reginald Front-de-Boeuf. The masked knight declines to reveal himself despite Prince John's request, but is nevertheless declared the champion of the day and, as his due, is permitted to choose the Queen of the Tournament, which honour he bestows upon the Lady Rowena.

On the second day, which is a melée, Desdichado, as champion of the first day, is chosen to be leader of one party. Most of the leading knights of the realm, however, flock to the opposite standard under which Desdichado's vanquished opponents of the previous day fight. The Desdichado's side is soon hard pressed and he himself unfairly beset by multiple foes simultaneously, when a knight who had till then taken no part in the battle, thus earning the sobriquet Le Noir Faineant or the Black Sluggard, rides to the Desdichado's rescue. The rescuing knight, having evened the odds by his action, then slips away. Though the Desdichado was instrumental in wringing victory, Prince John being displeased with his behaviour of the previous day, wishes to bestow his accolades on the Black Knight who had ridden to the rescue. Since the latter is nowhere to be found, he is forced to declare the Desdichado the champion. At this point, being forced to unmask himself to receive his coronet, the Desdichado is revealed to be Wilfred of Ivanhoe himself, returned from the Crusades. This causes much consternation to Prince John and his coterie who now fear the imminent return of King Richard.

Because he is severely wounded in the competition and Cedric refuses to have anything to do with him, he is taken into the care of Rebecca, the beautiful daughter of Isaac of York, a skilled healer. She convinces her father to take him with them to York, where he may be best treated. There follows a splendid account of a feat of archery by Locksley, or Robin Hood at the conclusion of the tournament.

In the meanwhile, Maurice de Bracy finds himself infatuated with the Lady Rowena and, with his companions-in-arms, plans to abduct her. In the forests between Ashby and York, the Lady Rowena, her guardian Cedric and the Saxon thane Aethelstane encounter Isaac of York, Rebecca and the wounded Ivanhoe, who were abandoned by their servants for fear of bandits. The Lady Rowena, in response to the supplication of Isaac and Rebecca, urges Cedric to take them under his protection till York. Cedric acquiesces to it, being unaware that the wounded man is Ivanhoe. En route, they are captured by Maurice de Bracy and his companions and taken to Torquilstone, the castle of Reginald Front-de-Boeuf. The swineherd and serf, Gurth, who had run away from Rotherwood to serve Ivanhoe as squire at the tournament, and who was recaptured by Cedric when Ivanhoe was identified, manages to escape.

The Black Knight, having taken refuge for the night in the hut of a local friar, the Holy Clerk of Copmanhurst, volunteers his assistance on learning about the predicament of the captives from Robin of Locksley who comes to rouse the friar for an attempt to free them. They then besiege the Castle of Torquilstone with Robin Hood's own men, including the friar, and the Saxon yeomen they manage to raise, who are angered by the oppression of Reginald Front-de-Boeuf and his neighbour, Philip de Malvoisin.

At Torquilstone, Maurice de Bracy presses his suit with the Lady Rowena, while his love goes unrequited. In the meantime, Brian de Bois-Guilbert, who had accompanied de Bracy on the raid, takes Rebecca for his captive, and tries to force his attentions on her, which are rebuffed. Front-de-Boeuf, in the meantime, tries to wring a hefty ransom, by torture, from Isaac of York. Isaac refuses to pay a farthing unless his daughter is freed from her Templar captor.

When the besiegers deliver a note to yield up the captives, their Norman captors retort with a message for a priest to administer the Final Sacrament to the captives. It is then that Wamba slips in, disguised as a priest, and takes the place of Cedric, who thus escapes, bringing important information on the strength of the garrison and its layout.

Then follows an account of the storming of the castle. Front-de-Boeuf is killed while de Bracy surrenders to the Black Knight, who identifies himself as Richard of England. Showing mercy, the Black Knight releases de Bracy. Brian de Bois-Guilbert escapes with Rebecca and Isaac is released from his underground dungeon by the Clerk of Copmanhurst. The Lady Rowena is saved by Cedric, while the crippled Ivanhoe is plucked from the flames of the castle by the Black Knight. In the fighting, Aethelstane is grievously wounded while attempting to rescue Rebecca, whom he mistakes for Rowena.

Subsequently, in the woodlands, Robin Hood plays host to the Black Knight. Word is also conveyed by De Bracy to Prince John of the King's return and the fall of Torquilstone.

In the meantime, Bois-Guilbert rushes with his captive to the nearest Templar Preceptory, which is under his friend Albert de Malvoisin, expecting to be able to flee the country. However, Lucas de Beaumanoir, the Grand-Master of the Templars is unexpectedly present there. He takes umbrage at de Bois-Guilbert's sinful passion, which is in violation of his Templar vows and decides to subject Rebecca to a trial for witchcraft, for having cast a spell on so devoted a Templar brother as Bois-Guilbert. She is found guilty through a flawed trial and pleads for a trial by combat. De Bois-Guilbert, who had hoped to fight as her champion incognito, is devastated by the Grand-Master's ordering him to fight against her champion. Rebecca then writes to her father to procure a champion for her.

Meanwhile Cedric organises Aethelstane's funeral at Kyningestun, in the midst of which the Black Knight, arrives with a companion. Cedric, who had not been present at Robin Hood's carousal, is ill-disposed towards the Black Knight on learning his true identity. But King Richard calms Cedric and reconciles him with his son, convincing him to agree to the marriage of Ivanhoe and Rowena. Shortly after, Aethelstane emerges - not dead, but having been laid in his coffin alive by avaricious monks, desirous of the funeral money. Over Cedric's renewed protests, Aethelstane pledges his homage to the Norman King Richard and urges Cedric to marry the Lady Rowena to Ivanhoe. Cedric yields, not unwillingly.

Soon after this reconciliation, Ivanhoe receives a message from Isaac of York beseeching him to fight on Rebecca's behalf. Upon arriving at the scene of the witch-burning Ivanhoe forces de Bois-Guilbert from his saddle, but does not kill him - the Templar dies "a victim to the violence of his own contending passions," which is pronounced by the Grand Master as the judgment of God and proof of Rebecca's innocence. King Richard, who had quit the funeral feast soon after Ivanhoe's departure, then arrives at the Templar Preceptory, banishes the Templars from the Preceptory and declares that the Malvoisins' lives are forfeit for having aided in the plots against him.

Fearing further persecution, Rebecca and her father leave England for Granada, prior to which she comes to bid Rowena a fond farewell. Ivanhoe and Rowena marry and live a long and happy life together, though the final paragraphs of the book note that Ivanhoe's long service was cut short when King Richard met a premature death in battle.


  • Wilfred of Ivanhoe – a knight and son of Cedric the Saxon
  • Rebecca – a Jewish healer, daughter of Isaac of York
  • Rowena – a noble Saxon Lady
  • Prince John – brother of King Richard
  • The Black Knightor Knight of the Fetterlock – King Richard the Lionhearted, incognito
  • Locksley – i.e., Robin Hood, an English yeoman
  • The Hermit or Clerk of Copmanhurst –– i.e., Friar Tuck
  • Brian de Bois-Guilbert – a Templar Knight
  • Isaac of York – the father of Rebecca; a Jewish merchant and money-lender
  • Prior Aymer – Prior of Jorvaulx
  • Reginald Front-de-Boeuf – a local baron who was given Ivanhoe's estate by Prince John
  • Cedric the Saxon – Ivanhoe's father
  • Lucas de Beaumanoir – fictional Grand Master of the Knights Templars
  • Conrade de Montfichet – Templar
  • Maurice De Bracy – Captain of the Free Companions
  • Waldemar Fitzurse – Prince John's loyal minion
  • Aethelstane – last of the Saxon royal line
  • Albert de Malvoisin – Preceptor of Templestowe
  • Philip de Malvoisin – local baron (brother of Albert)
  • Gurth – Cedric's loyal Swineherd
  • Wamba – Cedric's loyal Jester

Selections from our Swash-Store:


Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics)Ivanhoe (Thrift Edition)Ivanhoe (Oxford World's Classics)
Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics)
by Walter Scott
Ivanhoe (Thrift Edition)
by Sir Walter Scott
Ivanhoe (Oxford World's Classics)
by Sir Walter Scott
Ivanhoe (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)IvanhoeIvanhoe
Ivanhoe (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
by Sir Walter Scott
by Sir Walter Scott
by Walter Scott
Ivanhoe (The Classic Collection)IvanhoeIvanhoe (Cliffs Notes)
Ivanhoe (The Classic Collection)
by Sir Walter Scott
by Walter Scott
Ivanhoe (Cliffs Notes)



File:The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, 1 Title page.png 

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire is an 1883 novel by the American illustrator and writer Howard Pyle. Consisting of a series of episodes in the story of the English outlaw Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, the novel compiles traditional material into a coherent narrative in a colorful, invented "old English" idiom that preserves some flavor of the ballads, and adapts it for children. The novel is notable for taking the subject of Robin Hood, which had been increasingly popular through the 19th century, in a new direction that influenced later writers, artists, and filmmakers through the next century.


The plot follows Robin Hood as he becomes an outlaw after a conflict with foresters and through his many adventures and run-ins with the law. Each chapter tells a different tale of Robin as he recruits Merry Men, resists the authorities, and aids his fellow man. The popular stories of Robin defeating Little John in a fight with staffs, of his besting at the hands of Friar Tuck, and of his collusion with Alan-a-Dale all appear. In the end, Robin and his men are pardoned by King Richard Lionheart and his band are incorporated into the king's retinue, much to the dismay of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Development and significance

Pyle had been submitting illustrated poems and fairy tales to New York publications since 1876, and had met with success. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood was the first novel he attempted. He took his material from old ballads and wove them into a cohesive story, altering them for coherence and the tastes of his child audience. Pyle's book continued the 19th century trend of portraying Robin Hood as a heroic outlaw who robs the rich to feed the poor; this portrayal contrasts with the Robin Hood of the ballads, where the protagonist is an out-and-out crook, whose crimes are motivated by personal gain rather than politics or a desire to help others. The novel was first published by Scribner's in 1883, and met with immediate success.

Pyle's work ushered in a new era of Robin Hood stories. It helped solidify the image of a heroic Robin Hood, which had begun in earlier works such as Walter Scott's 1819 novel Ivanhoe. In Pyle's wake, Robin Hood has become a staunch philanthropist protecting innocents against increasingly aggressive villains. Along with the publication of the Child Ballads by Francis James Child, which included most of the surviving Robin Hood ballads, Pyle's novel helped increase the popularity of the Robin Hood legend in the United States. The Merry Adventures also had an effect on subsequent children's literature. It helped move the Robin Hood legend out of the realm of penny dreadfuls and into the realm of respected children's books. After Pyle Robin Hood became an increasingly popular subject for children's books; Louis Rhead's Bold Robin Hood and His Outlaw Band (1912) and Paul Creswick's Robin Hood (1917), illustrated by Pyle's pupil N. C. Wyeth, were children's novels after Pyle's fashion. 

Selections from our Swash-Store:


The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood: Of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire (Classic Reprint)A Brief History of Robin Hood (Brief History Of...)The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, with eBook (Tantor Unabridged Classics)
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood: Of Grea...
by Howard Pyle
A Brief History of Robin Hood (Brief Histor...
by Nigel Cawthorne
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, with eB...
by Howard Pyle
The Merry Adventures of Robin HoodSome Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire: Written and Illustrated by Howard Pyle [1902 ]The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Complete and Unabridged
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
by Howard Pyle and David Thorn
Some Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Grea...
by Howard Pyle
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Comple...
by Howard Pyle
The Original "Merry Adventures of Robin Hood"The Merry Adventures of Robin HoodSome Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood: Of Great Renown In Nottinghamshire (1911)
The Original "Merry Adventures of Robin Hood"
by Howard Pyle
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
by Robert Pyle
Some Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood: Of Gre...
by Howard Pyle



In Film:


King Richard & Crusaders [VHS]

King Richard and the Crusaders is a 1954 historical drama film made by Warner Bros.. It was directed by David Butler and produced by Henry Blanke from a screenplay by John Twist based on Sir Walter Scott's novel The Talisman. The music score was by Max Steiner and the cinematography by J. Peverell Marley. This was Warner Bros.' first essay into CinemaScope.

The film stars Rex Harrison, Virginia Mayo, George Sanders and Laurence Harvey with Robert Douglas, Michael Pate and Paula Raymond.



Ivanhoe is a 1952 historical (Technicolor) film made by MGM. It was directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Pandro S. Berman. The cast featured Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Emlyn Williams, Finlay Currie and Felix Aylmer. The screenplay was by Æneas MacKenzie, Marguerite Roberts, and Noel Langley from the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.

The film was nominated for three Academy Awards: Pandro S. Berman for Best Picture, Freddie Young for Best Cinematography, Color, and Miklós Rózsa for Best Music, Scoring. In addition, Richard Thorpe was nominated by the Directors Guild of America, USA for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures. There were also two Golden Globe Award nominations: Best Film Promoting International Understanding and Best Motion Picture Score, for Miklós Rózsa.

The film was the first in what turned out to be an unofficial trilogy made by the same director and producer and starring Robert Taylor. The others were Knights of the Round Table (1953) and The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955). All three were made at MGM's British Studios at Elstree, near London.


Richard the Lionheart (Norman Wooland), King of England, vanishes while returning from the Crusades. One of his knights, the Saxon Wilfred of Ivanhoe (Robert Taylor), searches tirelessly for him, finally finding him being held for ransom by Leopold of Austria for the enormous sum of 150,000 marks of silver. Richard's treacherous brother, Prince John (Guy Rolfe), knows about it, but enjoys ruling in his absence.

Ivanhoe returns to England, to the house of his estranged father, Cedric (Finlay Currie), to be reunited with his love and Cedric's ward, the Lady Rowena (Joan Fontaine), and to beg his father's help in raising the ransom. Cedric refuses to help a Norman king and orders his son to leave. Wamba (Emlyn Williams), Cedric's court jester, begs to go with Ivanhoe and is made his squire.

Two separate parties of travelers arrive and are granted Cedric's hospitality: a Jew, Isaac of York (Felix Aylmer), and Norman knights Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert (George Sanders) and Sir Hugh de Bracy (Robert Douglas), and their entourage. That night, two of the Normans try to rob Isaac, but are foiled by Ivanhoe. Not feeling safe, Isaac decides to return to his home in Sheffield; Ivanhoe offers to escort him there.

When they reach Isaac's home, Ivanhoe secures his help raising the ransom in return for better treatment for the Jews once Richard returns. Rebecca (Elizabeth Taylor), Isaac's daughter, visits Ivanhoe secretly in the night to reward him for rescuing her father; she gives him jewels to purchase arms and a horse for an important upcoming joust. She falls in love with him, despite the great social gulf between them.

Nearly everyone of note is at the tournament, including Prince John. Norman knights loyal to him defeat all comers. Just when it seems that they are victorious, a mysterious new Saxon knight appears, arrayed all in black, with white trim, his face hidden behind his visor. He does not give his name, but challenges all five Norman champions. He defeats four of them, one after the other, but is seriously wounded in the shoulder in the fourth bout. When Ivanhoe salutes Rebecca after his first victory, Bois-Guilbert is immediately smitten by her beauty. In the last joust, the weakened Ivanhoe falls from his horse. He is carried off, to be tended to by Rebecca.

Fearing Prince John's wrath, the Saxons depart, Ivanhoe to the woods under the protection of Robin Hood (Harold Warrender). The rest make for the city of York, but are captured and taken to the castle of Front de Boeuf (Francis De Wolff). When Ivanhoe hears the news, he gives himself up, in exchange for his father's freedom. However, the Normans go back on their word and keep them both. Robin Hood's men then storm the castle, freeing most of the captives. In the fighting, de Boeuf drives Wamba to his death in a burning part of the castle and is slain in turn by Ivanhoe. Bois-Guilbert alone escapes, by using Rebecca as a shield.

Meanwhile, the enormous ransom is finally collected, but the Jews face a cruel choice: free either Richard or Rebecca, for Prince John has set the price of her life at 100,000 marks, the Jews' contribution. Isaac chooses Richard. Ivanhoe entrusts the ransom delivery to Cedric, but promises Isaac that he will rescue Rebecca.

John has her condemned to be burned at the stake as a witch, but Ivanhoe appears and challenges the verdict, invoking the right to "wager of battle", which cannot be denied. Prince John chooses the conflicted Bois-Guilbert as his champion. The Norman makes a last desperate plea to Rebecca: in return for her love, he is willing to forfeit the duel, though he would be forever disgraced as a knight. She refuses, saying "We are all in God's hands, sir knight."

In the battle to the death, Ivanhoe's axe prevails over Bois-Guilbert's mace and chain. As he lays dying, Bois-Guilbert reaffirms to Rebecca that he is the one who loves her, not Ivanhoe. And indeed, he speaks the truth.

Richard and his knights (with Cedric as an escort) return to reclaim his throne from his usurping brother.


  • Robert Taylor as Ivanhoe
  • Elizabeth Taylor as Rebecca
  • Joan Fontaine as Rowena
  • George Sanders as De Bois-Guilbert
  • Emlyn Williams as Wamba
  • Robert Douglas as Sir Hugh De Bracy
  • Finlay Currie as Cedric
  • Felix Aylmer as Isaac
  • Francis De Wolff as Front De Boeuf (also as Francis DeWolff)
  • Norman Wooland as King Richard
  • Basil Sydney as Waldemar Fitzurse
  • Harold Warrender as Locksley - Robin Hood
  • Patrick Holt as Philip DeMalvoisin
  • Roderick Lovell as Ralph DeVipont
  • Sebastian Cabot as Clerk of Copmanhurst
  • John Ruddock as Hundebert
  • Michael Brennan as Baldwin
  • Megs Jenkins as Servant to Isaac
  • Valentine Dyall as Norman Guard
  • Lionel Harris as Roger of Bermondsley
  • Carl Jaffe as Austrian Monk
  • Guy Rolfe as Prince John


Scenes were filmed at Elstree Studios, London and on location at Doune Castle, Scotland

Selection from our Swash-Store:





Ivanhoe [VHS]

Six times 50 minutes in hourly slots. A TV adaption faithful to Sir Walter Scott’s novel set in 1192 AD about a disinherited knight who is accused of treachery in the Crusades returns to England anonymously, to his home to clear his name and win his lady love. Also King Richard has been a prisoner in an Austrian dungeon but is now returning to an England ruled by Prince John and the Normans. This series aims at “realism”, to look as close to how it would have been in a very rough and poverty stricken times rather than earlier sanitised versions. People wear layers of often old, sometimes ragged clothing to keep the cold out, are sometimes dirty, and have long shaggy hair and beards.

From the magnificent pageantry of knightly tournament to the whispered meetings of courtly lovers, Sir Walter Scott’s epic IVANHOE has thrilled readers for generations. Now, this romantic masterpiece has been brought to life by A&E and the BBC. Set in the dark days after Richard the Lionheart returns to England, this sweeping saga follows the noble Saxon knight Wilfred of Ivanhoe as he battles the factions of the scheming Prince John. On his quest, Ivanhoe meets some of English folklore’s most fabled figures-- including Robin Hood and the fearsome Black Knight--and discovers a romantic passion that will forever divide his heart.


  • Steven Waddington as Ivanhoe
  • Ciaran Madden as Urfried
  • Ciaran Hinds as Bois Guilbert
  • Susan Lynch as Rebecca
  • Jimmy Chisholm as Wamba
  • Nick Brimble as Front de boeuf
  • Valentine Pelka as Maurice de Bracy
  • David J Nicholls as Little John
  • James Cosmo as Cedric
  • Chris Walker as Athelstane
  • Simon Donald as Louis Winklebrand
  • Roger Ashton Griffiths as Prior Aymer
  • Dermot Keaney as Brother Ambrose
  • Trevor Cooper as Gurth
  • Ron Donachie as Friar Tuck
  • Aden Gillett as Locksley
  • David Horovitch as Issac
  • Rory Edwards as King Richard
  • Victoria Smurfit as Rowena
  • Peter Guinness as Montfitchet
  • Christopher Lee as Beaumanoir
  • Jack Klaff as Malvoisin
  • Peter Needham as Abbot
  • David Barrass as Hubert
  • Renny Krupinski as Bardon
  • Ralph Brown as Prince John
  • Ronald Pickup as Fitzurse

Experts behind the series

  • Stunt Coordinator : Gareth Milne
  • Horse Master : Steve Dent
  • Sword Master : Nick Powell
  • Stunt Performers : Joss Gower, Nick Hobbs, Nrinder Dhudwar, Tom Lucy
  • Historical Advisor : Christopher Gravett
  • Judaica Advisor : Lewis Glinert
  • Armourer : Rob Partridge

Selection from our Swash-Store:

Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe

Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe


The Adventures of Robin Hood (Two-Disc Special Edition)

The Adventures of Robin Hood is a 1938 American swashbuckler film directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley. Filmed in Technicolor, the picture stars Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, and Claude Rains.


When Richard the Lionheart, the King of England, is taken captive by Leopold of Austria while returning from the Crusades, his brother John (Claude Rains) takes power and proceeds to oppress the Saxon commoners. Prince John raises their taxes, supposedly to raise Richard's ransom, but in reality to secure his own position on the throne.

One man stands in his way, the Saxon Robin, Earl of Locksley (Errol Flynn). He acquires a loyal follower when he saves Much (Herbert Mundin) from being arrested by Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone) for poaching one of the king's deer. Robin goes alone to see Prince John at Gisbourne's castle and announces to John's assembled supporters and a contemptuous Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland) that he will do all in his power to oppose John and restore Richard to his rightful place. He then escapes, in spite of the efforts of John's men.

His lands and title now forfeit, Robin takes refuge in Sherwood Forest with his friend Will Scarlet (Patric Knowles). There they meet and recruit Little John (Alan Hale, Sr.). Other men join their growing band. Later, Robin provokes Friar Tuck (Eugene Pallette) into a swordfight, but then persuades the friar into joining him to provide spiritual guidance to the outlaws. Soon, Prince John and his Norman cronies find themselves harassed beyond all bearing with many of their troops receiving instant deadly retribution for their abuses courtesy of the Merry Men's arrows.

One day, Robin and his men capture a large party of Normans transporting taxes through Sherwood. Among Robin's "guests" are Gisbourne, the cowardly Sheriff of Nottingham (Melville Cooper), and Maid Marian. Robin and his men "liberate" the tax money, swearing to a man to contribute it towards King Richard's ransom. At first, Marian is disdainful of Robin and his "band of cut-throats", but becomes convinced of his good intentions. Eventually Robin lets the humiliated Gisbourne and sheriff go, telling them that they have Marian to thank for their lives.

The Sheriff then comes up with a cunning scheme to capture Robin. He suggests to Prince John that he announce an archery tournament, with the grand prize a golden arrow to be presented by Maid Marian, knowing that Robin will be unable to resist the challenge. All goes as planned; Robin identifies himself by winning the competition and is taken prisoner. Gisbourne sentences him to be hanged. However, Marian warns Robin's men, and they manage to rescue him on his way to the gallows. Later, in the dark of night, Robin sneaks into the castle to thank her. Marian and Robin declare their love for each other.

Meanwhile, King Richard (Ian Hunter) returns to England disguised as a monk, but is recognized at an inn by the Bishop of the Black Canons (Montagu Love) after he overhears one of Richard's men call him "sire". The traitorous bishop hurries to inform Prince John. Upon receiving the news, John and Gisbourne plot to dispose of Richard quietly before he can raise an army. Dickon Malbete (Harry Cording), a disgraced former knight, is sent to assassinate him in return for the restoration of his rank and Robin's estate. Marian overhears them and writes a note warning Robin, but Gisbourne finds it and has her arrested and condemned to death for treason. Marian's nurse Bess (Una O'Connor) informs her boyfriend Much, who intercepts and kills Dickon after a desperate struggle.

Richard and his escort travel to Sherwood Forest to find Robin. When Richard is certain of Robin's loyalty, he reveals his identity. Then they learn that John intends to have himself crowned king by the Bishop of the Black Canons in Nottingham the next day.

Knowing that the castle is too strong to take by force, Robin decides to use guile, visiting the bishop and "persuading" him to include Robin and his men, in disguise, in his entourage. Through this ruse, they gain entry to the castle and interrupt John's coronation. A melee breaks out, during which Robin and Gisbourne engage in a prolonged swordfight. Gisbourne is finally slain, and Robin rescues Marian from her cell.

Richard is restored to the throne; he exiles his brother, pardons the outlaws, returns Robin's earldom and orders him to marry Lady Marian. Robin exclaims, "May I obey all your commands with equal pleasure, sire!"


  • Errol Flynn as Robin Hood
  • Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian
  • Basil Rathbone as Sir Guy of Gisbourne
  • Claude Rains as Prince John
  • Patric Knowles as Will Scarlet
  • Eugene Pallette as Friar Tuck
  • Alan Hale, Sr. as Little John
  • Melville Cooper as High Sheriff of Nottingham
  • Ian Hunter as King Richard the Lionheart
  • Una O'Connor as Bess
  • Herbert Mundin as Much the Miller's Son
  • Montagu Love as Bishop of the Black Canons
  • Leonard Willey as Sir Essex
  • Robert Noble as Sir Ralf
  • Kenneth Hunter as Sir Mortimer
  • Robert Warwick as Sir Geoffrey
  • Colin Kenny as Sir Baldwin
  • Lester Matthews as Sir Ivor
  • Harry Cording as Dickon Malbete
  • Howard Hill as Owen the Welshman (credited as "Captain of Archers")
  • Ivan F. Simpson as Proprietor of Kent Road Tavern

Olivia De Havilland rode a horse called Golden Cloud. Later, after Roy Rogers bought the animal, he renamed it Trigger.


The Adventures of Robin Hood was filmed on location in various areas of California. Bidwell Park in Chico, California stood in for Sherwood Forest, although one major scene was filmed at the locations "Lake Sherwood" and "Sherwood Forest," so named because they were the location sites for the 1922 Douglas Fairbanks production of Robin Hood. Several scenes were shot at the Warner Bros. Burbank Studios and the Warner Ranch in Calabasas. The archery tournament was filmed at Busch Gardens in Pasadena.

James Cagney was originally cast as Robin Hood, but walked out on his contract with Warner brothers, paving the way for Flynn, although filming was postponed three years.

It was produced at an estimated cost of $2 million, and was one of the first Warner Bros. films to be shot in the three-strip Technicolor process. It was an unusually extravagant production for the Warner Bros. studio, which had made a name for itself in producing socially conscious low-budget gangster films, but their adventure movies starring Flynn had generated hefty revenue and Robin Hood was created to capitalize on this.

Padded stunt men and bit players were paid $150 per arrow for being shot by professional archer Howard Hill, who was cast as Owen the Welshman, an archer defeated in the tournament when Robin Hood splits his arrow. An episode of the television show MythBusters tried to reproduce the feat, but failed. An examination of the images in slow motion led to speculation that the arrow split in the movie may have been made of bamboo.


The film was well-reviewed and became the sixth highest-grossing film of the year, with just over $4 million in revenues, at a time when the average ticket price was less than 25 cents. Warner Bros. was so pleased with the results that they cast Flynn in two more color epics before the decade was over: Dodge City and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.



  • 11th Academy Awards:
    • Best Art Direction, Carl Jules Weyl
    • Best Film Editing, Ralph Dawson
    • Best Original Score, Erich Wolfgang Korngold. An excerpt for violin and orchestra, the love theme of Robin and Marian has had a separate career as a concert piece.


  • 11th Academy Awards:
    • Best Picture, Hal B. Wallis and Henry Blanke

Other honors

  • In 1995, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.
  • In 2001 the film came 84th in "The Best Films of All Time" as voted by channel 4.
  • In 2001, the film appeared at #100 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills list.
  • In 2003, the main character, Robin Hood, appeared as the #18 Hero on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains list.
  • In 2005, the film appeared at #11 on AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores list.


Due to the movie's popularity, Errol Flynn's name and image became inextricably linked with that of Robin Hood in the public eye, even more so than Douglas Fairbanks, who had played the role previously in 1922.

This was the third film to pair Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (after Captain Blood and The Charge of the Light Brigade). They would ultimately appear together in eight films.

Scenes and costumes worn by the characters have been imitated and spoofed endlessly. For instance, in the Bugs Bunny animated short film, Rabbit Hood, Bugs is continually told by a dim-witted Little John that "Robin Hood will soon be here." When Bugs finally meets Robin at the end of the film, he is stunned to find that it is Errol Flynn, in a spliced-in clip from this film. Other parodies were Daffy Duck and Porky Pig in Robin Hood Daffy and Goofy and Black Pete in Goof Troop's Goofin' Hood & His Melancholy Men.

Trigger (then named Golden Cloud) was the horse ridden by Olivia de Havilland in the film. Roy Rogers liked what he saw and bought Trigger for his own films. This eventually made Trigger one of the most famous animals in show business.

Selections from our Swash-Store:

The Adventures of Robin Hood [Blu-ray]

The Adventures of Robin Hood [Blu-ray]

The Adventures of Robin Hood (Two-Disc Special Edition)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (Two-Disc Spec...


Return to the Knights in Armour Main Menu!



File:Don Quijote and Sancho Panza.jpg 

Don Quixote, fully titled The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha (Spanish: El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha), is a novel written by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes created a fictional origin for the story by inventing a Moorish chronicler for Don Quixote named Cide Hamete Benengeli.

Published in two volumes a decade apart (in 1605 and 1615), Don Quixote is the most influential work of literature to emerge from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.

The novel's structure is in episodic form. It is written in the picaresco style of the late sixteenth century. The full title is indicative of the tale's object, as ingenioso (Spanish) means "to be quick with inventiveness". Although the novel is farcical on the surface, the second half is more serious and philosophical about the theme of deception. Quixote has served as an important thematic source not only in literature but in much of art and music, inspiring works by Pablo Picasso and Richard Strauss. The contrasts between the tall, thin, fancy-struck, and idealistic Quixote and the fat, squat, world-weary Panza is a motif echoed ever since the book’s publication, and Don Quixote's imaginings are the butt of outrageous and cruel practical jokes in the novel. Even faithful and simple Sancho is unintentionally forced to deceive him at certain points. The novel is considered a satire of orthodoxy, veracity, and even nationalism. In going beyond mere storytelling to exploring the individualism of his characters, Cervantes helped move beyond the narrow literary conventions of the chivalric romance literature that he spoofed, which consists of straightforward retelling of a series of acts that redound to the knightly virtues of the hero.

Farce makes use of punning and similar verbal playfulness. Character-naming in Don Quixote makes ample figural use of contradiction, inversion, and irony, such as the names Rocinante (a reversal) and Dulcinea (an allusion to illusion), and the word quixote itself, possibly a pun on quijada (jaw) but certainly cuixot (Catalan: thighs), a reference to a horse's rump. As a military term, the word quijote refers to cuisses, part of a full suit of plate armour protecting the thighs. The Spanish suffix -ote denotes the superlative—for example, grande means large, but grandote means extra large. Following this example, Quixote would suggest 'The Great Quijano', a play on words that makes much sense in light of the character's delusions of grandeur.

The world of ordinary people, from shepherds to tavern-owners and inn-keepers, which figures in Don Quixote, was groundbreaking. The character of Don Quixote became so well-known in its time that the word quixotic was quickly adopted by many languages. Characters such as Sancho Panza and Don Quixote’s steed, Rocinante, are emblems of Western literary culture. The phrase "tilting at windmills" to describe an act of attacking imaginary enemies derives from an iconic scene in the book.

Because of its widespread influence, Don Quixote also helped cement the modern Spanish language. The opening sentence of the book created a classic Spanish cliché with the phrase de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, "whose name I do not care to recall."

En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no hace mucho tiempo que vivía un hidalgo de los de lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, rocín flaco y galgo corredor.

[Translation] In a village in La Mancha, whose name I do not care to recall, there lived, not very long ago, one of those gentlemen who keep a lance in the lance-rack, an ancient shield, a skinny old horse, and a fast greyhound.

Selections from our Swash-Store:


Don QuixoteDon Quixote (Penguin Classics)Don Quixote: Complete and Unabridged (Signet Classics)
Don Quixote
by Miguel De Cervantes
Don Quixote (Penguin Classics)
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Don Quixote: Complete and Unabridged (Signe...
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Don Quixote (Signet Classics)Don Quixote: Candlewick Illustrated ClassicDon Quijote (Norton Critical Editions)
Don Quixote (Signet Classics)
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Don Quixote: Candlewick Illustrated Classic
by Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quijote (Norton Critical Editions)
by Miguel De Cervantes
Don Quixote de la Mancha (Oxford World's Classics)Don Quixote (Cliffs Notes)Don Quijote (Spanish Edition)
Don Quixote de la Mancha (Oxford World's Cl...
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Don Quixote (Cliffs Notes)
by Marianne Sturman
Don Quijote (Spanish Edition)
by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra



In Film:

Don Quixote

Don Quixote is a 2000 three-part television film adaptation of the classic novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, made by Hallmark Entertainment and distributed by Turner Network Television (TNT) and Divisa Home Video (2004) (Spain) (DVD).

The film was directed by Peter Yates and the teleplay adapted by John Mortimer from the Cervantes novel, produced by Dyson Lovell and Robert Halmi Sr. and John Lithgow as executive producers. The original music was by Richard Hartley and the cinematography by David Connell.

The film stars John Lithgow as Don Quixote de La Mancha/Alonso Quixano and Bob Hoskins as Sancho Panza with Isabella Rossellini, Vanessa L. Williams, Lambert Wilson, Tony Haygarth, Peter Eyre, Lilo Baur, James Purefoy and Trevor Peacock.

Awards and nominations

The film was nominated for three Primetime Emmies, and John Lithgow received a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award

Selections from our Swash-Store:


Don Quixote / Baryshnikov, Harvey, American Ballet TheatreDon Quixote (2000) [VHS]Don Quixote
Don Quixote / Baryshnikov, Harvey, American...
Don Quixote (2000) [VHS]
Don Quixote
Don QuixoteDon QuixoteDon Quixote / Baryshnikov, Harvey, American Ballet Theatre [VHS]
Don Quixote
Don Quixote
Don Quixote / Baryshnikov, Harvey, American...
Don Quixote (Animated Version)Adventures of Don Quixote / G.W. Pabst, Feodor ChaliapinMan of La Mancha
Don Quixote (Animated Version)
Adventures of Don Quixote / G.W. Pabst, Feo...
Man of La Mancha



Return to the Knights in Armour Main Menu!

Men of Iron / The Black Shield of Falworth


File:Men of Iron cover.gif 

Men of Iron is an 1891 novel by the American author Howard Pyle, who also illustrated it. It is juvenile coming of age work in which the author has the reader experience the medieval entry into knighthood through the eyes of a young squire, Myles Falworth. In Chapter 24 the knighthood ceremony is presented and described as it would be in a non-fiction work on knighthood and chivalry. Descriptions of training equipment are also given throughout.

It comprises 68,334 words and is divided into 33 unnamed chapters, an introduction, and a conclusion. It was made into a film in 1954, The Black Shield of Falworth.


The story begins in 1400, the year after the accession of Henry IV of England in 1399 after the abdication of Richard II of England. Lord Gilbert Reginald Falworth is attainted for being King Richard's councilor, who strongly advised him to resist his cousin Henry's movement to seize the throne, and for harboring Sir John Dale, a fictional conspirator against the succeeding King Henry. Falworth is blinded in a trial by combat with William Bushy Brookhurst, later created Earl of Alban, whom young Myles remembers brutally killing Sir John Dale in the hall of Falworth castle where he lived with his parents.

Lord Falworth, his wife, Myles, and Diccon Bowman go into hiding in Crosbey-Dale (pronounced, kris' bç-dâl) on the estates of the Priory of St. Mary under the protection of the elderly Prior Edward. Most of the action of the novel is in Derbyshire, England where a city of Mackworth actually exists today near Derby. Diccon Bowman undertakes the physical training of young Myles, Prior Edward, the academic training. Lady Falworth teaches him French. Myles is a champion wrestler, defeating a man a head taller than he. Later in the novel the reader learns that Myles as a child took a dangerous ride on a country windmill.

In 1408 when Myles is 16 he is taken to Devlen castle, the seat of the Earl of Mackworth, kinsman to Lord Falworth. There he is enrolled as a squire by Sir James Lee, an old friend of his father's and Diccon Bowman. Sir James advises Myles to be discreet about matters concerning his family since his father had been attainted as a traitor before the king.

Another squire, Francis Gascoyne, became Myles's bosom friend, who stood by him in his struggle against the head-squires (the bachelors) led by Walter Blunt. There had been a pecking order established by which the bachelors forced the younger squires to serve them. Myles, Francis, and eighteen other lads formed what they called the "Twenty Knights of the Rose" as a fellowship to promote justice among the squires and put an end to the pecking order established by the bachelors. The "Knights of the Rose" met in a hideout discovered by Myles and Francis at the top of the oldest part of the castle, known as the "Brutus Tower," which they called their Eyry (hawk's nest). Following two fights with Walter Blunt, Myles and his "knights" win a bloody skirmish with the bachelors in which Blunt is gravely wounded by Myles for the second time. The pecking order is brought to an end. Walter Blunt is taken out of the squires' quarters by the Earl Mackworth, being made a gentleman-in-waiting, and he no longer appears in the novel.

When retrieving a ball he had used in play with his friends, Myles makes his way over a wall into the "privy garden" used by the Countess Mackworth and her household, and meets Anne, the earl's daughter and Alice, the earl's niece. Anne is a few years older than Myles, but Alice is just his age so he begins to see her as his lady fair and a possible wife. Seven times he climbs over the wall to meet with the girls to tell them about his exploits. The last time Earl Mackworth himself catches them at it and puts a stop to it. The reader is told later that Myles's father had his mother write Mackworth to advise him to do this. Myles escapes being severely punished for his actions as two other young men had been for venturing into this forbidden area.

Unknown to Myles, his father and Earl Mackworth, who also was an enemy to the Earl of Alban, plan to have Myles knighted by the king as a Knight of the Bath to make him eligible to champion and exonerate his father on the field of battle in trial by combat. This is done during a royal visit to Devlen castle in 1411 in order to have Myles face the French jousting champion of the Compte de Vermoise, Sieur de la Montaigne. Sir Myles succeeds in unhorsing this knight fairly in a joust. Sir Myles with his chosen squire and friend Francis Gascoyne accompany the Earl Mackworth's brother Lord George Beaumont into France for military maneuvers in the French Dauphin's service. After six months he is recalled to London by Earl Mackworth to face the Earl of Alban. To further facilitate this Sir Myles is transferred from Mackworth's household to that of Henry, Prince of Wales.

Myles's parents are brought to London to join their son before the king as their grievances are presented to him. Myles throws down his gauntlet before the Earl of Alban, initiating trial by combat. The ailing King Henry suspends these proceedings until the "High Court of Chivalry" can render a decision about the legality of the matter. After two months they find that Sir Myles Falworth may justly take the field against Alban. The battle is set for September 3, 1412. Sir Myles shows himself a more chivalrous knight than Earl Alban had been by giving his opponent quarter three times. This almost costs him his life, but in the end Sir Myles prevails in conquering his enemy. The king refuses to restore all the estates of Lord Falworth, but with the accession of his son, King Henry V of England, the following January the fortunes of Falworth and Mackworth are secured. Sir Myles marries the Lady Alice and lives in Falworth castle as his home with Sir Francis Gascoyne and Sir James Lee.

Selections from our Swash-Store:


Men of Iron (Dodo Press)Men of IronMen of Iron (Classic Reprint)
Men of Iron (Dodo Press)
by Howard Pyle
Men of Iron
by Howard Pyle
Men of Iron (Classic Reprint)
by Howard Pyle
Men of IronMen of IronMen of Iron
Men of Iron
by Ernie Howard Pyle
Men of Iron
by Ernie Howard Pyle
Men of Iron
by Ernie Howard Pyle
Men of IronMen of Iron: [1891]Men of Iron
Men of Iron
by Ernie Howard Pyle
Men of Iron: [1891]
by Howard Pyle
Men of Iron
by Howard Pyle





The Black Shield of Falworth is a 1954 film made by Universal Studios, produced by Robert Arthur and Melville Tucker and directed by Rudolph Maté. The screenplay was adapted by Oscar Brodney from Howard Pyle's novel Men of Iron and starred Tony Curtis as Myles Falworth, Janet Leigh as Lady Anne of Mackworth, David Farrar as the Earl of Alban, Herbert Marshall as the Earl of Mackworth, and Torin Thatcher as Sir James. The original music score was composed by Hans J. Salter.

The film was Universal International's first feature in CinemaScope. It opened in New York City on October 6, 1954 at the Loew's State Theater. It was the second of five films in which husband and wife Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh appeared together on screen during their marriage (1952-1961).

Plot synopsis:

Myles Falworth (Tony Curtis) and his sister Meg (Barbara Rush) live in obscurity on a farm in Crosbey-Dale (pronounced, kris' bç-dâl) with their guardian Diccon Bowman (Rhys Williams). This is to protect them from the attainder placed upon their family by King Henry IV of England (Ian Keith) due to their father being falsely accused of treason and murdered by the Earl of Alban (David Farrar). When a hunting party comprising the Earl of Alban, the lord of Crosbey-Dale, and another nobleman, Sir Robert, stop at their farm for refreshment, they are repulsed by Myles from molesting his sister.

This confrontation accelerates Diccon's plans to send them to Mackworth Castle. The Earl of Mackworth (Herbert Marshall), a close friend of their father, becomes their protector, and he sees in Myles the man who can rid England of the evil machinations of the Earl of Alban. Myles is trained to be a knight, is knighted by the king, and kills the Earl of Alban in trial by combat, foiling Alban's attempt to seize the English crown. Myles then marries the Earl of Mackworth's daughter, Lady Anne (Janet Leigh).

Differences from Men of Iron

The story of The Black Shield of Falworth differs from the novel in a number of ways. In the novel:

  1. Myles's father and mother are still alive, and he knows his name to be Myles Falworth.
  2. Myles does not have a sister Meg.
  3. Francis Gascoyne has no lady as does Myles.
  4. There is no "black shield of Falworth": the Falworth coat of arms is not an issue although the whereabouts of Myles's parents must be kept secret due to his father's attainder.
  5. Falworth's great enemy is only unmasked at the end while in the film Alban is known as the hated tyrant throughout.
  6. Myles goes to Earl Mackworth's castle (the castle Devlen in the novel) at a younger age (16).
  7. Friar Edward is Prior Edward, who governs the estates on which Crosbey-Dale is located.
  8. Sir James (with the surname "Lee" in the novel) is Myles's friend and confidant inside the Mackworth establishment; he was a battle companion of Diccon Bowman.
  9. The Mackworth establishment is more stratified: the royal and noble persons are not so easily accessible.
  10. Myles and Francis Gascoyne find a secret hideout, which they call their Eyry at the top of the "Brutus Tower."
  11. Myles falls in love with the Earl Mackworth's niece, Alice, rather than his daughter Anne.
  12. There is no Dame Ellen identified as attending the Lady Anne.
  13. Walter Blunt is not the Earl of Alban's brother, and he disappears from the story after Myles has decisively defeated him.
  14. Walter Blunt is not a suitor for the hand of Lady Anne of Mackworth.
  15. Sir Myles jousts with the Count de Vermois's (Compte de Vermoise in the novel) champion the Sieur de la Montaigne: in the film he is slated to joust with Vermois himself, but he is prevented from doing so.
  16. Mackworth has a brother, Lord George Beaumont, who also becomes interested in Myles's future.
  17. The Earl of Alban does not try to seize the throne from King Henry, and he remains his friend.
  18. King Henry is not so pleased by Myles's final victory over the Earl of Alban, and Myles and his family are only given full restitution when King Henry V ascends the throne.

False quotation

The film is famous for an apocryphal line, rendered as "Yonda stands da castle of my fodda" or similar. The plot details above show that this would not fit the story: there is no "castle of my father". The line is said to have come from a remark made by Debbie Reynolds on television.

This chestnut used to be quoted in Radio Times whenever the film was on BBC television, and found its way into a 2007 study of Tony Curtis's work by Clive James. It clearly derives from American snobbery about Curtis's origins, and has crossed the Atlantic unchecked by film writers actually viewing the movie. Curtis has denied ever saying that line, but he did actually say a similar line in the movie Son of Ali Baba, released in 1952, that reads, "This is the palace of my father, and yonder lies the Valley of the Sun."

Selections from our Swash-Store:


The Black Shield of Falworth ( Exclusive)The Black Shield of Falworth [VHS]Black Shield of Falworth [Blu-ray]
The Black Shield of Falworth ( Ex...
The Black Shield of Falworth [VHS]
Black Shield of Falworth [Blu-ray]




Return to the Knights in Armour Main Menu!