King Arthur's Halls, Tintagel, Cornwall. This late nineteenth-century building on Fore Street was acquired by Frederick Thomas Glasscock (1871-1934), a wealthy custard manufacturer who retired to Cornwall and wqs much taken with the place's Arthurian associations. A Freemason himself, he decided to create a "Fellowship of the Round Table" for youth membership, to encourage the practice of Christian and chivalric ideals. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century he added two halls to the rear, for the first and smaller of which he commissioned William Hatherell to provide a series of oil paintings illustrating key events from the adventures of King Arthur and his Knights.

Left: The Great Exhibition Hall. Right: Close up of granite dias and throne, and round table.

According to the listing text, which references Michael Williams's leaflet King Arthur's Great Exhibition Hall (1971), the exterior is of "[r]oughly coursed slate with granite dressing, slate roof" and so on. But the later and larger hall, known as the "Great Exhibition Hall," shows off a whole variety of Cornish stones, mainly from the immediate locality. No expense was spared. Here, the chief glory is the sequence of stained glass windows, over seventy of them, by Veroica Whall. As the listing text adds, "The roofs are waggon vaulted with moulded oak ribs."

Another "round table" at the other end of the main hall has a wooden top on which the names of the knights are inscribed. "A visit to the Great Hall evokes admiration, even awe," reports Charles Thomas. He describes the "custard millionaire" as "a small, dynamic and sometimes peppery man" who was also "a genuine philanthropist" (130). As noted above, Glasscock was a Freemason, and the building is now used as a Freemason's Lodge — hence the symbol on the exterior, above the entrance. But it also hugely popular with visiting tourists, and has a very fine collection of books and other items connected with the Arthurian legends.

Top photograph by © Ian Capper, originally posted on the Geograph website, kindly released on the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)licence; next two @ Nilfanion on Wikipedia, kindly released on the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) Creative Commons licence. Last photograph, text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web project or cite it in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Related Material


Frederick Thomas Glasscock Family Tree. Web. 4 January 2021.

"Hall of Chivalry and King Arthur's Great Exhibition Hall." Historic England. Web. 4 January 2021.

Thomas, Charles. English Heritage Book of Tintagel: Arthur and Archeology. London: Batsford, 1993.

Created 3 January 2021