Carving of Merlin in Rock at Tintagel Castle, United Kingdom Sparks Cultural Heritage Controversy

February 17, 2016 Updated: February 17, 2016

A carving of a mythical wizard’s face into a rock at the historic Tintagel Castle in the United Kingdom has sparked controversy, with plenty of opinions on both sides.

One side lauded the carving, saying that it’s a great carving and will help draw more visitors to the castle, which is linked to the real-life King Arthur.

However, some historians say there is no evidence to associate the castle with King Arthur.

Critics say the Merlin carving diminishes the cultural significance.

This official vandalism has been condemned by people who love Cornwall, both at home and as far away as Australia.
— spokesman, Kernow Matters To Us

“This official vandalism has been condemned by people who love Cornwall, both at home and as far away as Australia,” a spokesman for Kernow Matters To Us said in a statement obtained by the Cornishman.

“We are deeply shocked that the inappropriately named ‘English’ Heritage has installed a sculpture of Merlin in our Cornish Tintagel Castle. This is nothing but ‘false’ history and diminishes our heritage. It is a disgrace. No doubt it will enhance tourist numbers for a season or two – but at the cost of further denuding the Cornish cultural and historical context of this location.”

The Carving of Merlin’s Face at Tintagel Castle

Eagle eyed visitors can now discover a new addition to Tintagel Castle’s landscape – the sleeping face of Merlin carved into the rocks near his cave on the beach. The carving is one of the first parts of new outdoor interpretation which is being introduced across the site – more to follow! Find out more at

Posted by Tintagel Castle on Friday, February 12, 2016

The carving was done by local craftsman Peter Graham, at the entrance to a rocky inlet that is supposedly the setting for a story in which Merlin carries an infant Arthur to safety, according to the Telegraph.

“Usually you would choose the perfect stone from a quarry, but here I have worked into the rock of Tintagel’s landscape,” said Graham. “Merlin has emerged organically out of that rock – and to see him now is really rather satisfying.”

The English Heritage group said the carving is part of a project designed to “bring the legends and history” of the castle to life. Future carvings are planned around the site.

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