The Real Life King Arthur – Leader of The Arthurian Warband
Changing public policy has many voices. Some movements have gained more notoriety than others, often for their methodology. Most proclaim to be a voice of truth and reason. In 1986, one such group formed in England.
Many of these causes fade over time, often because they lack any sense of the dramatic. That has definitely been the case with The Loyal Arthurian Warband. Initially named The Arthurian Warband, they declare themselves a warrior order fighting for truth, honor and justice.
As exceptional as their name is, as well is the unique history surrounding their founder. He is known as Arthur Uther Pendragon. Let’s explore the story behind the man who is the driving force behind the Warriors of the Modern Druid Movement.
Who is King Arthur Pendragon?
No one imagined that the birth of a small child could weigh so heavily on 21st century activism and political discontent in England. John Timothy Rothwell was born to working-class parents, his father a truck driver from Liverpool and his mother from London.
Rothwell’s parents separated at some point during his early years. This split is attributed to his youthful defiance as an adolescent. He often skipped school and was associated with the occasional nefarious activity.
As a youngster, he was actually caught trying to burn down a structure. As he entered his teenage years, Rothwell clearly had an affinity for the rebellious. During these formidable years, he consumed literature talking about Druidism, the occult and even forms of Buddhism.
These ideologies were like fuel for Rothwell’s sense of anarchy. He was charged with England’s version of resisting arrest with violence and became a regular adversary of local law enforcement. His airs of discontent were sewn at an early age.
The British Army was his first attempt at garner some sense of discipline. While there isn’t a record of adverse behavior during his military enlistment, Rothwell’s time in the British Army was brief.
While stationed in Hong Kong, he was injured jumping out of an airplane and honorably discharged. Rothwell would return to England and work a number of odd jobs after his military discharge. At one point, he shared a flat in Liverpool with his father.
Johnny, as his few close friends and family knew him as, carried on in a relatively normal lifestyle. However, his taste for defiant diversity reemerged. Rothwell joined an odd combination of groups. He became part of a witchcraft society, plus joined the Universal Free Church.
During this time, he also married. Rothwell clearly was an intelligent and talented person. These characteristics blossomed when he and his wife Liz moved to Farnborough. He was appointed to supervise various environmental projects, including a post as the foreman Ash Parish Council Parks and Gardens.
It seemed that his discontented soul would not rest. As grew more disenchanted with the normality of his life, Rothwell left his wife and rediscovered his rebellious nature. He had long been a self-proclaimed biker, but now envisioned himself as biker outlaw.
Rothwell had a Triumph Thunderbird built custom for himself. With a group of like-minded renegades, he formed a biker club called the Gravediggers. His attraction to the free-thinking ideologies of the Druids was rekindled. This association with the mystic of legend led to Rothwell’s royal transformation.
A Royal Transformation
Rothwell cavorted with rather nefarious types for years. He held ravish biker parties at the ruins of Odiham Castle. He earned the nickname of King John for his association with the original proprietor. It was during this time he read a book about King Arthur.
It was written by an occultist named Gareth Knight. No one is certain whether Knight’s occultist viewpoint played a role in Rothwell’s understanding of the legend, but from reading the book he believed he was the reincarnation of King Arthur.
Using the deed poll process, Rothwell changed his name to Arthur Uther Pendragon, or King Arthur. He went so far as to purchase a sword called the Excalibur. The sword was supposedly used as a prop for the movie of the same name.
He started to carry the sword wearing a white robe with an embroidered red dragon. Upon his insistence, he was no longer referred to as John Rothwell. He was King Arthur Pendragon. Pendragon left his gang of bikers and formed the Arthurian Warband.
A King for Activism
Pendragon has put his royal transformation to use supporting various causes. Most all are deeply rooted in environmental issues, especially policy decisions associated with the fabled Stonehenge.
It was at Stonehenge where Pendragon insists he received his spiritual confirmation of his reincarnation as King Arthur. His rebellious nature has been a constant thorn in the side of the English establishment entrusted with the rules and policies at the site.
His Warband group started daily protests outside Stonehenge in late 1990. Pendragon raised the stakes in January 1991, taking up a crude residence about two miles from the park entrance. He survived on the good nature of sympathizers.
Even though Pendragon was threatened with an injunction, he never moved. He became an intrinsic part of Stonehenge, frequently posing for pictures with visitors. Pendragon’s fights with the English hierarchy have been perpetual battles over the last 30 years.
He has been instrumental in the removal of the exclusion zone, a four-mile barrier established around the site during the summer solstice. Pendragon has protested poll taxes, among other institutional restrictions enacted at the site.
Over his time as King Arthur, Pendragon has been arrested over 30 times, the majority of the charges stemming from unlawful trespass. During one of these periods of incarceration, Pendragon displayed the ultimate side of his rebellious nature.
Instead of wearing the prison issue clothing and not his Arthurian wardrobe, Pendragon chose to not dress. He was placed in solitary without any clothing. He has been brought before an assortment of magistrates, each time wearing his Druidic robe.
Johnny Rothwell had a rebellious and contentious nature as a lad growing up in Liverpool. That same nature has been transformed into a modern day king of activism. King Arthur Pendragon is a self-proclaimed radical.
He is the leader of a transformative group that battles to invoke change. King John has come a long way since his days as a renegade biker. His attention today is about protesting what he and his Loyal Arthurian Warband strive to undo perceived political injustice.
If you visit England and see someone clad in the legendary garb of a medieval knight, it’s probably not a lost actor who wandered off a movie set. It very well could be a modern day self-anointed king of activism, King Arthur Pendragon.