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

Has the King Arthur Gene Been Traced?


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 englishgathering.co.uk; Hay is from Scotclans.com; Campbell is from The General Armory;  Jones is from Pinterest.ca; Short is from Americancoatofarms.com; Tiernan, Elwood, McCool and Rafferty are from Ireland101.com.  Gamble is from thetreemarker.com; St. Clair and Warenne is from commons.wikimedia.org; Abbot is from Mikeclark.com; Edwards is from American Heraldry Society; Walsh is from Cheshire Heraldry; Gardner is from Redbubble.com; Williams is from The-red-thread.net; and Coffey is from Burk’s General Armory.

A Tribal Tale

This writer’s ebook, The Tribe Within found on Smashwords.com, 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 6th 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 6th 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 www.maryjones.us/ctexts/padarn.html .  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 Hausegenealogy.com, 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.

Coat of arms of Pritchard (left) displaying Veneti symbols;  reverse of Walkenline de Ferrers’ coat of arms (right), father of Henri de Ferres Breton-Norman-English ancestry who will eventually take the name of Wilson. Both Pritchard and Wilson are related before 500 AD [Both are from the same branch of R1b-L513].

Coat of arms of Pritchard (left) displaying Veneti symbols;  reverse of Walkenline de Ferrers’ coat of arms (right), father of Henri de Ferres Breton-Norman-English ancestry who will eventually take the name of Wilson. Both Pritchard and Wilson are related before 500 AD [Both are from the same branch of R1b-L513]. Pritchard coat of arms source: Englishgathering.co.uk and de Ferrers’ Source: Commons.wikimedia.org

According to Welsh studies another Dáirine kingdom is Dyfed where King Tryffin Ab Aled Brosc resides around 500 AD.   Brosc’s lineage (according to Wales Genealogy records) produces the family name of Phillips [R1b-L513].  Phillips families are directly related to House of Aubigny of Brittany which develop Breton surnames. 

Phillips (Welsh)   D’Aubigny (Breton)

Phillips (Welsh)   D’Aubigny (Breton)

(Pillips source: Heritage Registry Genealogy; D’Aubigny source: CC BY-SA 4.0)

A Welsh Arthurian Connection

Padarn then encounters the Venicones of North Wales.  Padarn is not able to convert King Owain Ddantgwyn (Whitetooth) of Gwynedd to Christianity, but he is allowed to enroll Prince Maelgwyn to Cor Tewdws.  Maelgwyn is named directly in Life of St. Padarn (and spelt “Maelgwn”) as the next King of the Northern Britons.  Owain’s wife is Guenevere Lodegreaunce.  Maelgwyn is also associated with the Arthur legend.    

Left; coat of arms of Owen Tudor, (grandfather of Henry Tudor (King Henry VII – Veneti symbols on his coat. Source: CC BY-SA 3.0).  The Tudor house of Wales is said to have originated with King Owain’s line. The family name of Tudor is similar to a lost university in Wales. Right; Ancestry.ca also associates Ross (Breton) and Rose (Welsh) families with Tudor.  Both Ross/Rose are R1b-L513.

Left; coat of arms of Owen Tudor, (grandfather of Henry Tudor (King Henry VII – Veneti symbols on his coat. Source: CC BY-SA 3.0).  The Tudor house of Wales is said to have originated with King Owain’s line. The family name of Tudor is similar to a lost university in Wales. Right; Ancestry.ca also associates Ross (Breton) and Rose (Welsh) families with Tudor.  Both Ross/Rose are R1b-L513. (Coat or arms source: Scotclans.com)

In Padarn’s story, he travels to the land of Agam’s Cross where he overcomes Graban (as it is spelt).  This perhaps refers to Dál Riata King Gabrán mac Domangairt in what is now County Antrim, Ireland.  FTDNA Clan Donald’s Mark MacDonald first identified R1b-L513 as Dalriada signatures. This group established the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada in 470 AD.  About a third of 400 family names have been identified as R1b-L513 Dalriadan.  

Left; Ferguson crest, one of many Dál Riata R1b-L513 families.  Note Veneti symbols at the base of the crown. Right; Dalriada flag represented in both Clans Campbell and MacMhathain (Matheson) [both R1b-L513].

Left; Ferguson crest, one of many Dál Riata R1b-L513 families.  Note Veneti symbols at the base of the crown. Right; Dalriada flag represented in both Clans Campbell and MacMhathain (Matheson) [both R1b-L513]. Sources: Scotsconnection.com

Another name from Padarn’s tale, Terillan, is found in Irish Annals as King Tighearnán Seallachan who is from a north-west Irish kingdom called Bréifne which display the same symbols and follows the same DNA patterns from Ireland to Brittany.

Following the same DNA markers, St. Padarn’s 7th encounter is with Corcu Loígde, a small kingdom on Ireland’s southern edge.  They pay no tribute to the larger Osraige Kingdom.  They are a branch of Dáirine.  This writer believes the “Dáire” name comes from Veneti’s capital city of Darioritum in Brittany, France as told by Julius Caesar.  According to Táin Bó Flidais, this group is one of three warrior-tribes of Ireland.

Does St. Padarn, DNA, and heraldry bring us to the Legendary King Arthur?

Irish Annals states Corcu Loígde’s king is Eochaid Apthach.  Padarn’s tale speaks of one final adversary: a tyrant called Arthur who later will become a great admirer of Padarn.  In another of Padarn’s stories the name Eithir map Arthat (in Welsh) appears.  A surname traced from the 6th Century from Corcu Loígde’s sub-tribe from Irish Annals is Mac Giolla Chiarain.  This name will evolve to become Herron [R1b-L513].

Both Herron

Both Herron (source: Sandisulivan.com) and Hamilton (Source: Englishgathering.co.uk) family names are related R1b-L513 before 500 AD.  Hamilton family research reveals it is of Breton-Norman-Scottish ancestry.  Hamilton too has Veneti symbols inside the stars on its coat of arms.

DNA evidence suggests Veneti warriors along with other soldiers of kingdoms Cornwall and Devon, England “migrate” to what is now Brittany.  This “Briton” force is a multi-national, Christian army re-claiming their ancestral territory.

In Padarn’s story Arthur traversed the countries on each side.  Historians say this “migration” is the result of Britons fleeing Saxon invasion.  However, Gary German at the Centre de Recherche Bretonne et Celtique says that’s not true.  German states that according to three separate studies, these peoples were not fleeing Anglo-Saxons as is so often repeated in history books but were, in fact, invading Brittany. 

According to One World Tree, Myfamily.com and Ancestry.com, Nominoë’s line, Brittany’s first king, goes back to Bors and in 520 AD, Lancelot appears from his lineage.  Nominoë’s ancestry would create the House of Dol in Brittany and later House of Stewart [R1b-L513] in Scotland.

But what surname comes closest to Eochaid Apthach, King of the Corcu Loigde ... King Arthur? As in King Arthur’s tale, his line ends with him. Yet, his brother, Duach, is recorded in two Irish sources:  the Book of Ballymote and the Book of Lecan. Both were compiled about 1400 AD.  From the pedigree chart, next to Eochaid’s name in red, the reader follows the right side of Duach’s family tree to a modern name which may send shivers down the spine.  The modern name of Kennedy emerges.  This name is another R1b-L513 family name.

Top image: King Arthur monument in Tintagel, Cornwall.(left) (Source: CC0), Excalibur in Brocéliande Forest, Brittany, France.(right)(Source: (CC0)

By Anthony Murphy Barrett

This writer’s ebook, The Tribe Within can be purchased from Amazon HERE:

Comments

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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