Welcome to the new blog site for Bevis of Hampton – Local Hero. It replaces the previous Blogspot site although that will remain accessible for now.
The ‘Local Hero’ refers to Bevis’s title ‘of Hampton’. As the 14th century romance that bears his name tells us, Bevis was the son and heir of the Earl of Southampton and the Isle of Wight. After many horrible experiences and deeds of valour, he eventually returned to claim his inheritance.
It has long been said that Arundel castle was named after Bevis’s faithful horse Arondel, and in the story Bevis promises to build a castle in honour of Arondel if he can win a race, which he does.
However pleasing this fiction may be, the name of the horse descends from the French ‘hirondelle’ – a swallow – appropriate for a fast-paced steed, while Arundel in Sussex, as J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, comes from the Anglo-Saxon ‘harhun-dell’ – the valley full of horehound. Horehound is the name given to 2 plants, both of which have medicinal properties. So any similarity that has been perceived between the name of Bevis’s horse and the place known as Arundel comes from a lack of etymological understanding; but it’s a nice story honouring a faithful horse with a mythic association to its master – As Bevis finally dies, so does Arondel.