Motorcycle-Riding Reincarnated King Arthur Sues Police, English Heritage Over £15 Parking Fee at Stonehenge
Fantasy novel plot: Arthur Pendragon, aka King Arthur, described famously in Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur as well as many older texts, is pulled to modern times, and longing for something to connect to his own age, goes to Stonehenge, where he can’t pay for parking and is turned away.
Real world news: Arthur Pendragon, formerly named John Timothy Rothwell, who says that he is the reincarnation of King Arthur and has titled himself the druid king of Britain, refused to pay a £15 parking fee for his motorcycle when visiting Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice, so was barred from the site. He is now suing both the local police force and the English Heritage organization for what he calls “pay to pray” parking fees.
Apparently, during the year, the normal tourist fee to visit Stonehenge is the princely sum of £5, but on the solstice on June 21st, the price was increased as 12,000 people descended on the site. Arthur decided to fight the tyranny of what he called the “money-grabbing” authorities, and refused to pay.
“As soon as they bring in a parking charge, it means it is virtually impossible to attend unless you pay. They are stopping me from praying,” he told the Metro. English Heritage responded by saying that the fee is due to almost £60,000 being spent on parking during the solstice.
This is not the first time the Once and Future King has fought for his people—in the ’90s, Pendragon rose to prominence when he won a court case in the European Court of Human Rights to allow open access to Stonehenge for religious festivals.
I wonder if anyone has ever had a word with him about the fact that the King Arthur of legend has some seriously Christian overtones to his tale (especially searching for the Holy Grail), and is somewhat thought of to be like Hercules of Greece—that is, a mythical character whose stories became more and more widespread and varied until everyone was telling them.
In any case, if this does not go well, perhaps King Arthur can go to other places of strong druidic significance, like the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, the last bastion of druids who fermented rebellion against Rome before they were massacred with their sacred groves destroyed.