King Arthur monument in Tintagel, Cornwall.(left), Excalibur in Brocéliande Forest, Brittany, France.(right)

Has the King Arthur Gene Been Traced?

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If stories of King Arthur and his knights are based on real people their DNA markers should still be with us today. New DNA research has perhaps found the King Arthur gene.

The Genetic Lead

R1b-L513 is a DNA Celtic tribal marker just discovered in January 2011.  Now, Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) from Houston, Texas with lead researcher Mike Walsh, have confirmed this DNA strand connecting men’s Y DNA Chromosome pattern with about 400 ancestral families who were related to each other from around 500 to 1200 AD.

When matching DNA marker R1b-L513 with surname heraldry, one gets this remarkable pattern of symbols.  This is but a small sample of 400, R1b-L513 surname family coat of arms dominating this DNA group.

Some of the coats of arms belonging to the 400 ancestral Celtic families.

Some of the coats of arms belonging to the 400 ancestral Celtic families.Coat of arms sources for Cook, Moody, Miller, Lyons, Patton, Henderson, Garvey, Beatty, Duff, Taylor, Ward, Nicholson, and Sears are from; Hay is from; Campbell is from The General Armory;  Jones is from; Short is from; Tiernan, Elwood, McCool and Rafferty are from  Gamble is from; St. Clair and Warenne is from; Abbot is from; Edwards is from American Heraldry Society; Walsh is from Cheshire Heraldry; Gardner is from; Williams is from; and Coffey is from Burk’s General Armory.

A Tribal Tale

This writer’s ebook, The Tribe Within found on, suggests King Arthur’s story is a tribal one going back centuries when Rome was conquering northern France around 50 BC.  One tribe affected were seafarers called the Veneti (pronounced Weneti).  After a war with Julius Caesar which almost annihilated them, the Veneti left for Ireland.  What connects them together is their tribal symbol above and DNA. 

Coinciding with Geoffrey of Monmouth’s account of King Arthur is a forgotten story from early 6 th Century Brittany.  This tale begins in 410 AD.  While Rome’s army is retreating from Britain, an unknown Christian monk opens a university: Cor Tewdws (College of Theodosius).  

Cor Tewdws has seven great halls, over 400 houses, and more than 2,200 students attending annually before Vikings destroy it in 987 AD.  Engraved Celtic stones placed at each great hall’s entrance mark individual tribes and still can be seen at the ruins today in LLantwit Major, Glamorgan, Wales.  According to the Welsh Triad, around 500 AD Cor Tewdws’ Headmaster is St. Illtud, a “cousin” of King Arthur. 

The Celtic Stones from Cor Tewdws, at St Illtud, Llantwit Major, Glamorgan, Wales.

The Celtic Stones from Cor Tewdws, at St Illtud, Llantwit Major, Glamorgan, Wales. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

This writer believes in the early 6 th Century Cor Tewdws’ mission was to re-unite seven tribes of pre-Roman Brittany [Osismi, Unelli, Curiosolitae, Armoricani, Namnetes and Redones (all suspect DNA Tribe R1b-DF41) then found in Cornwall and Devon, England] and Veneti (R1b-L513) and send them on a quest to reclaim their ancestral lands in Brittany, France.

Evidence from Saint Padarn’s Life

One monk is assigned to recruit the Veneti. The Life of Saint Padarn is a collection of short stories written several hundred years after this monk’s death, found at .  By assessing the names recorded from the monk’s travels, doing independent research, and incorporating overlapping DNA results, a combination of Veneti sub-tribes and surnames start to emerge.  The dots start to connect revealing a lost history which this writer believes is the historical background to what later became the basis for King Arthur’s mythology.

St. Padarn displays same black on white symbols found on most R1b-L513 coat of arms centuries before Bretons claim it as their own.

St. Padarn displays same black on white symbols found on most R1b-L513 coat of arms centuries before Bretons claim it as their own. Image: ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Padarn’s search takes him to seven kingdoms. Padarn’s first visit is to Brycheiniog in Wales where King Caradoc Freichfras is named in Life of St. Padarn. The Pritchard surname is first recorded in 1521 with the name David Aprycharde, in the Oxford University Register.  The surname derives from “son of” (or in Welsh, “Ap”) Richard.  According to, his ancestry can be traced to Gwenllian, daughter of Brychan whose Dáirine tribe was from Ireland. 

Gwenllian’s son is Caradoc Freichfras.  In Life of St. Padarn , Caradoc becomes king of Broërec, Brittany.  Caradoc’s family continue in Wales while a new line starts in Brittany which would eventually become Wilson.


Cousin_Jack's picture

A few names here look familiar to Cornish related names, similiar but not exact. Cor Tewdws, Tewdws is similiar to Tewdwr, Tewdwr Mawr ((Breton for "Theodore the Great) being a king of Cornwall originally from a royal family in France. Meriasek, 4 th century saint of Camborne, Cornwall, was son of Conan Meriadoc, guy who founded Britainy, he and Tewdwr knew each other, as visible in his miracle play Beunans Meriasek. Cornwall and Britany have always had a relationship, until recent years at least.

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