Battle of Bedegraine or the Battle Against the Eleven Kings

   Malory states that the battle took place in the forest of Bedegraine which by his words must be north of the Trent. Arthur's forces were arrayed so strongly that no man could pass this Trent side without Arthur's leave and he later states that the castle of Bedegraine stood in Sherwood Forest. Merlin brings ten thousand of Ban and Bors' forces and secrets them in the forest of Bedegraine. The numbers of troops, especially mounted, seem to be extremely high. The eleven kings are supposed to have arrayed over 50,000 warriors against Arthur's force. I believe the numbers are at least a factor of 10 off and that most of the warriors were foot soldiers. Meanwhile the eleven kings have laid siege to the castle which was loyal to Arthur, and leaving a small siege force, move toward Arthur. Arthur's forces have burned the land before them.
   With the counsel of Merlin, Arthur's forces fall on the eleven king's encampment at or near midnight, and except for the warning of the watch would have caught them unaware. A fierce fight ensues during the night in which one fifth of the enemy forces are killed but the eleven kings rally and repel the attack. At daylight, Arthur's forces are arrayed in the forest passage with Ban and Bors still secreted in the forest setting up an ambush. The eleven kings move into the trap attacking Arthur's main force. Our old friends Ulfius and Brastias are given charge of the first assault and fiercely fall on the enemy. Malory then goes on, almost in the traditional poetic list structure, describing the deeds of the different kings and men on both sides, a description that sounds more like a tournament than a battle. As Arthur's men begin to fall back under pressure, Arthur works to rally them and Ban and Bors' men attack from their place of concealment. Ban and Bors entry in the battle wreaks such havok on the enemy forces that the eleven kings are forced to retreat to a wooded area across a small river where they regrouped and repelled Arthur's forces.
   Nighttime was coming on and the eleven kings make a pact to withstand Arthur to the last man and kill any warrior that tried to retreat. The infantry forces of the kings are released to escape through the woods while the mounted forces of the eleven kings prepared to meet Arthur's forces. Arthur leads a force across the river and great slaughter is inflicted on his enemies but the eleven kings managed to push Arthur's forces back across the river. At this point, Merlin arrives and reproaches Arthur. Malory again changes his numbers stating the eleven kings' forces were three score thousand and that Arthur has inflicted death on half of them. Merlin informs Arthur that he will have peace for three years as the eleven kings will have problems enough to deal with, namely that the Saracens have landed in the enemy kings' lands with forty thousand and have besieged the castle Wandesborow. Wandesborow contains the structures of the English borough but I am unclear whether the location is along the areas of the western coast of Rheged and the Saracens are Scotti raiders or the Northumberland area with its Anglian expansion. Since Urien was ruler of Rheged and fought against the Anglians of Bernicia in the future Northumberland, either is possible. Merlin has Arthur withdraw his forces and celebrate his victory. The enemy forces withdraw to their lands and Arthur withdraws to the castle of Bedegraine.

Knights that fought alongside Arthur at Bedegraine
King Ban of Benwick
King Bors of Gaul
Sir Ulfius
Sir Brastius
Sir Kay the Seneschal
Sir Griflet le Fise de Dieu
Lucas the Butler
Melot de la Roche
Gwimiart de Bloi
Clariance de la Forest Savage
Sir Ector
Moris de la Roche
Bloias de La Flandres
Sir Gwinas (Guinas) de Bloi
Briant de la Forest Savage
Bellias of Flanders or Bellaus
Lionses (Lyonses)
Bleoberis, godson of Bors
Mariet de la Roche
Morians of the Castle of Maidens
Flanedrius of The Castle of Ladies
Annecians, godson of Bors
Ladinas de la Rouse
Graciens le Castlein
Blois de la Case
Sir Colgrevaunce de Gorre

The Eleven kings and their men listed that fought Arthur at Bedegraine
Duke Eustace of Cambenet
King Brandegoris of Stranggore
King Clariance of Northumberland
King Lot
King Uriens (Urience) of Gore
King Idres of Cornwall
King Cradelment (Cradelmas) of North Wales
King Agwisance of Ireland
King Nentres of Garlot
King Carados
King of the Hundred Knights
Sir Morganore, seneschal of the King of the Hundred Knights

   As usual in the lists, we can see the confusion in the sources or in Malory's own multi-book text. Several of the names change by a few letters but are possibly the same person (see the other spelling in parenthesis). There are a few other minor name issues that have bothered me. It is evident from reading Malory that he often uses multiple words to describe the same place. One of these is the equivalence between Northumberland and the Forest Savage. Do we therefore have a problem with Clariance who is listed on both sides, once as of Northumberland, once as of the Forest Savage? He refers to Uriens once as Urience. Perhaps this was a slip-up. But how much easier to deal with a source problem and just change the name. Perhaps our King Rience of North Wales that fights Arthur following Bedegraine is none other than King Uriens of Gore in a different setting. Malory seems to indicate a difference in two places of the Book of Balin. Otherwise, Rience and Uriens are never mentioned together.