“He almost certainly was a historical figure and there are three or four major candidates. Warlords in the fifth and sixth centuries lived in an age which was extremely unpleasant and very violent.
“When we think of Arthur we think of Walt Disney and the like. But the sword in the stone, the lady in the lake, the suit of armour – these were all added to the legend by English writers centuries later. He was not this wonderful, chivalric individual.”
Two sixth-century warlords, one called Arthur and another named Artur, are the likely inspiration for the legend, according to Dr Young, while a Roman general named Artorius who served in Britain in the second or third centuries has also been suggested as a contender.