Your emails are always a Friday afternoon treat worth waiting for, Harry; rather like having the chance to tuck into a Cornish cream tea every Sunday. Only healthier. And more nutritious – if wisdom can be ascribed a nutritional value!
Fiona isn’t the only one to fake Excalibur; Richard the Lionheart gave one to his friend, Tancred of Sicily, as a gift at the signing of the Treaty of Messina in 1191. That version was – allegedly – dug up with King Arthur’s body in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey the previous year (an early example of a tourist con, when you consider the pilgrim traffic triggered by the ‘find’).
And Geoffrey of Monmouth, creative writer par excellence, was the first to attempt a Latinised version of the sword’s Welsh name, christening it Caliburnus in his Historia Regum Britanniae. From there is wasn’t too much of a step via the Old French Escalibor to the name that has stuck to the famous blade down the centuries.
Like you, I believe in Arthur’s historicity; or at least that he is the synthesis of several real warriors (the 5th/6th century Dux Bellorum). Sadly, we are a dwindling breed, with modern historians of the late Roman/early Saxon period regarding him as a later invention (cue the Welsh monk, Nennius, William of Malmesbury and the aforementioned Geoffrey). Real or imagined, your use of his sword in the sixth Fiona Griffiths novel was inspired (and I now have a lovely picture of you jigging around your garden celebrating the twist that unlocked the story).