The History and Mythology of Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
Arthur’s Seat is the name given to the highest peak in the group of hills that rises up close to Edinburgh Castle. It’s a great place to visit, and offers some good opportunities for walking and other outdoor pursuits – you’ll be able to pass your trip in comfort too, by staying at any luxury hotel Edinburgh.
There are still the remains of an old hill fort visible at Arthur’s Seat, particularly when you approach from the direction of Dunsapie Hill and Samson's Ribs. Many of these date back to prehistoric times, and were an influential stronghold under the occupation of the Votadini people, whose lived in these parts around 600AD.
The site was referred to in the ancient poem known as ‘Y Gododdin’, which also mentions the warlike ‘King Arthur’ – this is one of the earliest known references to that mythical ancient ruler of Britain, and is where the name ‘Arthur’s Seat’ originates.
There are many curious stories attached to Arthur’s Seat, some going back many centuries into the history of Edinburgh. In 1836, a small cave was discovered not far from the summit – it contained seventeen small wooden coffins, each of which contained a carved figure. Though the discovery has never been given a satisfactory explanation, there are many theories. Some claim the items were related to acts of witchcraft, while others consider them as an anonymous tribute to the victims of Edinburgh’s notorious serial killers, Burke and Hare; this barbaric duo killed a total of seventeen victims during the first half of the 19th century.
There are also stories that link Arthur’s Seat to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These date back to 1840, when the apostle Orson Pratt gave his evangelical sermons from the top of the mount.
To explore these myths and legends a little deeper, book yourself a stay at a nearby Edinburgh Castle hotel, and you will be able to visit the site for yourself. With such a rich and colourful history, Arthur’s Seat makes a fascinating day trip on any weekend break to Scotland.