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Elaine, the maid of Astolat by Sophie Anderson (1870)

Astolat (/ˈæstlˌæt, -ˌɑːt/[1]) is a legendary city of Great Britain named in Arthurian legends. It is the home of Elaine, "the lily maid of Astolat", and of her father Sir Bernard and her brothers Lavaine and Tirre.

The city is called Shalott in many cultural references, derived from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shalott". It is also named Ascolat in the Winchester Manuscript and Escalot in the French Arthurian romances.

Chapter nine of Sir Thomas Malory's book Le Morte d'Arthur identifies Guildford in Surrey with the legendary Astolat:

And so upon the morn early Sir Launcelot heard mass and brake his fast, and so took his leave of the queen and departed. And then he rode so much until he came to Astolat, that is Guildford; and there it happed him in the eventide he came to an old baron’s place.

There are other theories[citation needed] about the location of Astolat based upon descriptions of its location relative to Camelot, Londinium and waterways. Camelot is described as being downstream from Astolat and it is also described as being midway between Londinium and Camelot. We know where Londinium (London) is and can theorise that it must therefore be upstream from Astolat if all three cities are along a water way, we can also speculate that Camelot may have been Camulodunum (Colchester) - because of the name similarity - then this would make Astolat the former Roman town of Caesaromagus; Chelmsford, with all three settlements reachable from the Thames and its estuary.


  1. ^ "Astolat". Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 2016-01-22.