In a book called “British History” by Geoffrey of Monmouth, there are stories of our ancient history as Britons. One such tale is of a battle having been fought between the Britons and foreign invaders at “the wood Calaterium.”

The historian Glennie, says that “Calderwood” on the banks of the river Clyde opposite Blantyre would appear to be the site of “Calaterium Nemus” referred to in Monmouths book. The proximity of Campknowe may support this. The name is made all the more interesting as it appears in the legends of Merlin and King Arthur too.

Calaterium, however, is almost certainly derived from Calatria or Calateria, a district of the Scottish Lowlands and other historians have suggested it was in Northumbria. It is a myth for our region, unproven. Pictured is Calderwood a few hundred years ago.


For those who are more deeply interested in this subject: The forest of CALATERIUM first appears in Geoffrey as the site of a battle between the brothers Brennius and Belinus. Its next appearance also concerns royal brothers, as it is the site where the dutiful Elidurus encounters his brother Archgallo, whom he will subsequently restore to the throne:

When Elidurus had been King for some five years, he came upon his deposed brother one day when he was hunting in the Forest of Calaterium. Archgallo had wandered about through certain of the neighbouring kingdoms, seeking help so that he might recover his lost honour. He had found no support there and, coming to the point where he could no longer bear the poverty which had overtaken him, he had returned to Britain with a retinue reduced to ten knights. He was travelling through the above-named Forest, seeking those whom he had in earlier times called his friends, when his brother Elidurus came upon him unexpectedly. [III.17]

The forest also appears in Merlin’s prophecies:

Next a Heron shall emerge from the Forest of Calaterium and fly round the island for two whole years. By its cry in the night it will call all winged creatures together and assemble in its company every genus of bird. They will swoop down on to the fields which men have cultivated and devour every kind of harvest. A famine will attack the people and an appalling death-rate will follow the famine. [VII.4]

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