Genealogy: House of Cornwall

The following genealogical tables should actually be titled the “Houses of Cornwall, Ireland and Brittany”, but I never like such a long title.

I have drawn up several different family trees to account for several works of the romance of Tristan and Isolde that I have read.

The first two family trees belonged to the early tradition of the romance by two possibly contemporary writers: Thomas (c. 1165) and Beroul (between 1160 and 1190). These two books that I have read are different in some way, but they are similar in many of the scenes so many scholars believed that they both seemed to draw their sources from a common archetype (original) legend of Tristan.

The other version from the Prose Tristan (c. 1245) diverge from the earlier works, which had become standard version in the medieval period. Such was the popularity of the Prose Tristan, that it had influenced Sir Thomas Malory, who wrote the Le Morte d’Arthur (1469).

There are several points I would like to make, before you view the tables below.

I have read four versions of the Tristan romance, one by the German Gottfried von Strassburg, in 1210. Though some of the names were spelt differently to the French version, it followed, more or less, the version written by Thomas. So I didn’t create a family tree by Gottfried.

I had used the name – “Isolde” – throughout Timeless Myths, for the sake of convenience and consistency. However, in the family trees I had used several different spelling variations of Isolde, depending on the three books I have read. In family tree based on Thomas, I had used “Iseult” instead of Isolde. In Beroul’s family tree, I had spelt her name – “Yseut”; and “Iseut” in the family tree based upon the Prose Tristan.


Thomas’ version
Beroul’s version
Prose Tristan version


Related Articles:
Tristan and Isolde


House of Cornwall (Thomas’ version)

Morholt Tristan Iseult the Fair (Iseult the Younger) Iseult of the White Hand (Breton Iseult) Lord Rivalen of Armenye Blancheflor, sister of King Mark King Gorman of Cornwall Queen Iseult of Ireland (Iseult the Elder) King Mark of Cornwall
An Anglo-Norman poet, named Thomas, wrote the romance of Tristan and Isolde, in French, around AD 1165. I had based a large part of the legend on Thomas’ version. Compared to the version written by Beroul, Thomas’ romance was often called the courtly version. This is because it was more refined in its work, and less brutal than some of the scenes in Beroul’s version.

Though Thomas’ work had survived in 6 manuscripts, all six manuscripts were fragmented with a great part of the middle section of the poem missing.

Note that are three Isoldes (Iseults) in Thomas’ narrative. Isolde (Iseult) the Elder was the herione’s mother and the Queen of Ireland. While Isolde (Iseult) of White Hands come from Brittany and was married to Tristan.

See the Earlier Traditions of Tristan and Isolde.



House of Cornwall (Beroul’s version)

King Mark of Cornwall Morholt, Irish duke and champion Yseut the Fair Tristan, Cornwall hero Yseut of the White Hand Duke Hoel of Brittany King Rivalen of Lyoness Blanchefleur, sister of King Mark King of Ireland Queen of Ireland and mother of Yseut the Fair
Another work in French was written by the poet Beroul. It is difficult to date Beroul’s poem, which was first published between 1160 and 1190. Some scholars say that Beroul’s work was the older of the two, while others say that Thomas narrative was earlier. I, however, refused to be drawn into this debate.

It should be noted that Beroul’s romance was also fragmented (surviving only in one manuscript), the beginning and the ending of the poem were missing. Which is why I have not listed the names of Isolde’s parents.

Also the father of Isolde of the White Hands was Hoel (compared to Thomas’ Roald).

See the Earlier Traditions of Tristan and Isolde.



House of Cornwall (according to the Prose Tristan)

King Mark of Cornwall Iseut the Fair Morholt, Irish duke and champion Tristan, the Cornwall hero Iseut of the White Hands (Breton Iseut) King Hoel II of Brittany King Meliadus of Leonois Elyabel, sister of King Mark 2nd wife of Meliadus King Anguin of Ireland Queen of Ireland and mother of Iseut the Fair
The Prose Tristan was written in French, by an unknown author, around 1240. The Prose Tristan also formed part of the Post-Vulgate Cycle.

The parents of Tristan and Isolde were given different names to the earlier legends.

See Prose Tristan for a brief summary of the account.

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