King Arthur’s Family Tree

King Arthur’s family tree, as imagined by Geoffrey of Monmouth and others, is not a consistent lineage.  For the purposes of Cold My Heart, I have taken what I hope is the best of the Welsh and the French/Anglo sources to craft a genealogy that makes sense, both historically, and for the purposes of telling a great story.  Click on the image for full size.

9 Replies to “King Arthur’s Family Tree”

  1. Well my family was Mac aruther. We changed to to Mac carter . and then carter.
    so maybe we were related to him or the clan . Meh who knows i think its cool we Are Irish . Scottish and welsh and Anglo Saxon . English too. But traveled all over world .. America for 200 years. Until we came back to uk

  2. Hi Sarah,
    I love your videos on YouTube talking about British History!

    I have done research into the pre-Geoffrey tradition of Arthur and his family and it is fascinating that by looking at Arthur’s ancestry his paternal side makes him as scion of the Dumnonian Royal line being the nephew of Erbin King of Dyfneint and Meirchion King of Cernyw and grandson of Custennin Gorneu King of Dumnonia not to be confused with the Custennin ap Cadw ap Gereint ap Erbin King of Dyfneint who likely is the Constantine of Damnonia mentioned by Gildas, either that or that Constantine is Custennin ap Rhydderch Hael of Strathclyde.

    His mother’s side is interesting more so, as she is one of the many daughters of Amlawdd Wledig and Gwen ferch Cunedda Wledig and as such connects Arthur to various West and Northern Brittonic Royal families maternally, further more Gwen ferch Cunedda was a granddaughter of Gwawl daughter of Coel Hen which further increases the connectivity.

    As such Arthur’s family was pretty much all British and Breton Royal families with relationships between them consisting of up to the 5th degree (3rd Cousins) which Welsh law said one was bound to support this explains the story between Arthur having to choose to support March ap Meirchion over Drystan ap Tallwch because March was his 1st cousin by the agnatic lineage while Drystan was a 1st cousin by enatic lineage and was deemed more important, when they where both in love with Essylt and deciding who she should be with.

    And that fact that Arthur was a bit of a lady’s man having three wives named Gwenhwyfar, and multiple mistresses. He also had five sons named: Amr, Gwydr, Llacheu, Durran, Cydfan and a daughter Archfedd and by her two grandsons named Gwrial and Efadier. It is sad we have hardly any mention of them in surviving texts.

    Because of he being contemporary with many historical Brittonic figures, I feel Arthur did exist but more as a Romano-British Warlord/ Princeling at war with his own kin and with the Germanic settlers at varying times.

  3. I have recently by accident come across books by Blackett and Wilson….it seems the London elitists
    in the past did their best to fuddle the true facts of Arthur 1 and 11..thereby blocking Welsh ancestry and placing it in the realms of myth and fiction. whilst

  4. That makes sense that women weren’t regularly named in historical records, and would explain quite a bit. Geoffrey is slightly annoying for making things up and combining related and/or unrelated sources, but I guess that just makes it all the more interesting to dig through.
    Thank you so much for the response! 😀

  5. Hello again. I’ve still been looking into answers for the confusion I had, and I came across this book ( The bottom of page 14 and the top of page 15 have an interesting theory. What do you think of it?

    It is also interesting the theory that Frank D. Reno, the author, has on the identity of Arthur -that he may be Aurelianus, Riothamus, and Arthur, all smacked into one person through textual and historical confusion. He has a strong argument, though not completely convincing, but it is an entertaining thought.

    1. Hi Jen! Geoffrey popularized King Arthur (for the Anglos/Normans/French), but the reason much of it doesn’t make sense is that he cobbled it together from a variety of sources. I’ve posted about this elsewhere (I have a whole section in the index on Arthur, you might have found it already), but historically, Arthur was solidly Welsh. The reationship of Tintagel to Arthur, for example, is completely unsupported. Geoffrey made a lot of stuff up. The hard part is sifting through it to find what is ‘real’, what might be real, and what couldn’t be. Also, if Geoffrey only named one sister, that doesn’t necessarily mean Geoffrey thought he only had one. Often women aren’t named in historical records. Beyond that, we’re all guessing!

  6. – Sorry, I just wanted to add another thing to my lengthy post 😀

    I realize that your genealogy is crafted of many sources and that its not supposed to be simply Geoffrey’s version. I am not critiquing your tree in any way. You seem to know quite a lot about Arthurian Literature, so I was wondering if you could help a fellow admirer of Arthur’s legend out.

    Thank you!


  7. I am still a bit confused in regards to Arthur’s relationship between Gawain, Hoel, and Mordred in Geoffrey’s version. In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s story, he says at one point that “Hoel [the King of Brittany] was the son of Arthur’s sister, his father being Budicius, the King of the Armoricans”, and also saying that “In the time of Aurelius Ambrosius Loth had married Arthur’s sister, who bore him Gawain and Modred”. Thus Arthur has these three nephews.

    I am really confused by these kinship descriptions since the only sister attributed to Arthur in Geoffrey’s version is Anna, who has to be born after Arthur since Arthur is the firstborn of Uther and Igerna (and Anna is their child as well). So I wonder how old this would make Hoel to be King. Although I suppose young Kings weren’t all that rare. But then, in the instance of Gawain and Modred, it seems impossible that Anna could marry Loth in the time of Aurelius Ambrosius, since it was not until after his brother’s death that Uther met Ignera and had relations with her (producing Arthur and then Anna).

    I realize that, after Chretien’s version, Arthur is later associated with other sisters (Morgause, Elaine, Morgan le Fay, etc.), but I think this would be irrelevant, since such knowledge is not given in Geoffrey’s text, where the problems I’ve stated are found.

    Maybe I am just reading it incorrectly or incoherently. I am using the “Romance of Arthur- An Anthology of Medieval Texts in Translation; New Expanded Edition” for my reading of Geoffrey’s story.

    Could you offer any advice? Do you think Geoffrey was simply not coherent in his writing and thinking, or is there something else going on that I haven’t caught? Or are the relationships to Arthur merely the old tradition of making characters appear more significant by having them associated with or related to Arthur?

    I could see how, Arthur being Mordred’s eldest (and only) Uncle on Mordred’s mother’s side would be important, since that relationship (between eldest Uncle and nephew) was held to be the strongest at least by the end of the eleventh century. Thus such a betrayal would be all the more horrendous. I just wish that (if Geoffrey is using kinship relations to convey an emotional point) they would at least make sense rationally.

    Can you help me clarify my understanding of Geoffrey’s version of Arthur’s family?

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