The Nanteos Cup is a part section of a wooden bowl that is said to be the Holy Grail. The cup was first revealed to the public in 1878 by its then owner, George Powell. He lived at the mansion of Nanteos in Carmarthenshire (west Wales).

Links to Arthur and Merlin

Carmarthenshire has many Arthurian links, and the Welsh name for the county town of Carmarthen is Caerfyrddin. This name means Merlin’s Fort, because Carmarthen is supposed to be the home town of the legendary wizard.

George Powell was obsessed with the Arthurian legends. When Powell showed the cup in public, he said it had come to his family from the Strata Florida abbey neat Nanteos. When the monasteries were being dissolved by Henry VIII, seven monks brought the cup to Nanteos for safe-keeping. When the abbey was finally broken up, the cup stayed at Nanteos.

The cup was said to have been used by its owners to healing the sick. In 2014 the family lent the cup to a woman in Herefordshire.. She wanted to use it to cure herself, but it was stolen while she was in hospital. The BBC TV programme Crimewatch appealed for its return. Then, some time later, the cup was returned to its owners. The police had got it back by arranging a secret meeting with the thief.

The family decided in the end that the publicity about the cup meant it would never be safe in their home. So they handed it over to be permanently displayed at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.

Is this relic the grail? Experts believe it is a medieval drinking bowl, and have speculated that the stories of cures come from the bowl being the one used at the Strata Florida abbey to drink water from their holy well (also reputed to have healing powers). The bowl hasn’t been carbon-dated and it cannot be dated from tree rings as they type of wood is not suitable. So the mystery – and the legend – remains!