Found in the debris of a well at Rudge Coppice, near Froxfield in Wiltshire, the Rudge Cup is now deposited at Alnwick Castle Museum in Northumberland. The 'Name Cup' is traditional used for it but it is shaped like a small bowl. It is a bronze enamelled vessel four inches in diameter and three inches in height.

However, it is the inscription around the rim of this beautiful relic that is of interest to us, as it reads:-


Rivet and Smith point out that these as, "five forts in the Cumbrian group at the western end of the wall". In doing so, they agree with Richmond and considering the letter "A" at the beginning of the group as probably a preposition. To Rivet and Smith the following apply:-

MAIS was the Roman fort at Bowness on Solway in Cumbria.
ABALLAVA was the Roman Fort at Burgh-by-Sands in Cumbria.
VXELODVM was the Roman fort at Stanwick in Cumbria.
CAMBOGLANS was the Roman fort at Castlesteads in Cumbria.
BANNA was the Roman fort at Birdoswald in Cumbria.

There are those who consider the Rudge Cup having odd Latin forms in its word structure. Because of this, they can not derive a satisfactory origin or meaning for the word, "MAIS", that follows the letter, "A", on the rim of the cup.

However, as almost all alleged Roman place-names in Britain are not Latin but Celtic in origin, there is a possibility that the, "A", was not always separated from the "MAIS" word but was originally attached to it to give the word, AMAIS.

We then need to ask whether it is more than mere coincidence that the word, AMAIS, is a word in Gaelic with the meaning "to meet". Or should we ignore the fact that some Goidel Celt words from which Gaelic derives, could have survived in parts of Britain and in the Solway area in particular.

Once we consider a Goidel Celt origin for the place-name (A)MAIS, it is interesting but possibly of no value, to also discover that an Old Irish word from the, 'amais', stable is the word, "ammus", meaning, to "lie in wait" to "attack".

We now move on to, "ABALLAVA" the next place-name on the rim of the Rudge Cup. Discovering that this was the only Roman place-name in Britain that could naturally have evolved as the place, Avalon.

To Arthurians, Avalon, was the otherworld kingdom where Arthur was alleged to have been taken when he suffered a mortal wound at the battle of Camlann. To the pagan Celts, this otherworld was usually associated with either a lake or with the sea.

However, if similar concern of Arthurians is to bypass VXELODVM on the Rudge Cup and move on to the, CAMBOGLANS, place-name, we have here the only Roman place-name in Britain to which Arthur's battle site of, Camlann, is alleged to relate.

So in the context of the Rudge Cup, it would appear that when Arthur was transported from Camlann to Avalon, the suggestion is that his real world would meet the otherworld where the land met the sea. Therefore, in the context of the Rudge Cup, 'ABALLAVA', as  Burgh-by-Sands alongside the Solway, was on the way to the sea. Whilst, (A)MAIS, as Bowness on Solway, is where the Solway meets the sea?

Therefore, for some obscure reason, the words on the Rudge Cup may have come to indicate, that Avalon simply represented a staging post between life and death. A situation that was alleged to have actually applied to Arthur, as he was always considered capable of returning from beyond the grave to assist his compatriots against their enemies.

The potential return of Arthur to assist those of Brythonic Celt descent against the Norman's, was the recorded belief of the people of Cornwall and many other parts of the south west of England in the 12th. century and this is the region where the Rudge Cup was found.

Thus, after publicising the stories about Arthur in the reign of Henry 2nd. for their own political and religious ends, the Norman hierarchy suddenly realised that many of the people they ruled, believed Arthur would return to help their cause against them.

Therefore, in 1190, in the reign of Richard the Lionheart the son of Henry 2nd., the Prior of Bermondsey, a relative of the king, was instructed to set in motion the alleged exhumation of body, from behind screens, set up at Glastonbury. There they unearthed a tall man they said was Arthur.

According to Gerald of Wales, who was alive at that time, a leaden cross was also found on the underside of a stone, with the Latin inscription on it that read: "Here lies Arthur, the famous king, in the island of Avalon".

It is reasonable to assume that the, 'Avalon', wording on this cross was designed by the Normans to indicate that Glastonbury was Avalon and Avalon was not the otherworld of Celtic myth. In effect, Arthur had been found and could no longer return from beyond the grave to help his compatriots to extract their enemies from the realm.

Since then the cross has vanished and we only have the 17th. century representation of it from "Camden’s Britannia". All that can realistically be said about the writing on the cross is that it is pre-11th. century or earlier rather than the 12th. century. One can guess that there was no conceivable chance of the wording on this cross having been 6th. century when Arthur must have died.

Indeed, William of Malmesbury’s academic treatise on Glastonbury Abbey of about the year 1130, did not associate Arthur with Glastonbury or Glastonbury with Avalon and certainly did not record Arthur's grave in this place. The chances are, the late 12th. century find of this cross was the first recorded identification of Glastonbury with Avalon.

However, when recording facets of Arthur's life, William of Malmesbury did say that no one new where his body could be found. Hence, the onus is now on us to decide. Do we believe the Prior of Bermondsey, the relative of the king, or William of Malmesbury? If we believe William of Malmesbury, Arthur's Avalon must be elsewhere and not Glastonbury.

In any event, what we should remember, is the Rudge Cup can be identified as a 2nd. century Roman relic, so the wording on it was either coincidental or may even have been used in the distant past to create the myth of Avalon in the first place. Arthur having lived over 300 years after it was made.