For many of us, the idea of Knights will always be intrinsically linked to Monty Python and The Holy Grail.
All those moments and dire rhymes in song (“We are Knights of the Round Table and we dance whenever we are able”; Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot; the Killer Bunny; “It’s only a flesh wound” etc) make up a film of unparalleled importance in British comedy. Which now means that the mere mention of British knights makes us laugh.
It turns out that the portrayal of the Knights Who Say “Ni!” in the film, with their avowed interest in shrubberies and home decor, may not actually be far off the mark. Historic Royal Palaces are undertaking a huge excavation at Hampton Court ready to mark next year’s 500th anniversary of Henry VIII becoming King. The major find is an enormous medieval hall, likely to have been a manor for Knights Hospitallers, who were military monks (can you imagine what Python would have made of that?!).
But they have also come across a well-preserved fancy water feature, complete with 500-year old lead plumbing still very much intact.
With the Knights’ focus on home decor, we reckon there’s a good chance they had the odd shrubbery next to it too. Perhaps the Holy Grail was in fact a documentary? And does that make Spamalot on the West End a thoughtful play full of deep historic insight?
(All together now: “Ni!”)
Image of Spamalot’s Coconut Orchestra attempt in Traffie Square from Cristiano Betta’s Flickrstream