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See also: gramarye



A 1912 Ordnance Survey geological map of the British Isles. Great Britain (“Gramarye”) is the island on the right, while Ireland is the smaller island on the left.

Adopted by English author Terence Hanbury White (1906–1964) in his book The Once and Future King (1958; based on shorter works published between 1938 and 1941) as a name for Britain, based on the reference to “Merlin’s Isle of Gramarye” in the poem Puck’s Song from Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) by English author and poet Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)[1] – the stanza italicized below, which is the last in the poem, appears in White’s book just before the start of the first chapter.

Trackway and Camp and City lost,
     Salt Marsh where now is corn;
Old Wars, old Peace, old Arts that cease,
     And so was England born!

She is not any common Earth,
     Water or wood or air,
But Merlin’s Isle of Gramarye,
     Where you and I will fare.

Kipling is likely to have been referring to an isle of magic (see gramarye) rather than using Gramarye as a newly coined name for Britain.


Proper noun[edit]


  1. (literary, Arthurian, rare) The island of Britain. [from 1930s]
    • 1958, T[erence] H[anbury] White, chapter XV, in The Once and Future King, New York, N.Y.: G. P. Putnam's Sons, →ISBN, part I (The Sword in the Stone), page 137:
      You must remember that this was in the old Merry England of Gramarye, when the rosy barons ate with their fingers, and had peacocks served before them with all their tail feathers streaming, or boars' heads with the tusks stuck in again— []
    • 1977, T[erence] H[anbury] White, chapter 18, in The Book of Merlyn: The Unpublished Conclusion to The Once and Future King, Austin, Tx.: University of Texas Press, published 2011, →ISBN, pages 108–109:
      When they had reached the top, he sat down puffing, and the old man sat beside him to admire the view. It was England that came out slowly, as the late moon rose: his royal realm of Gramarye. Stretched at his feet, she spread herself away into the remotest north, leaning towards the imagined Hebrides. She was his homely land.
    • 1999, T[homas] A[rchibald] Barron, “Great Power”, in The Mirror of Merlin (The Lost Years of Merlin; book 4), New York, N.Y.: Philomel Books, →ISBN; 1st Scholastic edition, New York, N.Y.: Scholastic, 2001 November, →ISBN, page 170:
      [] "She comes from the same place I do." / "And where is that?" / The boy's voice dropped to a whisper. "From a country called Wales, part of the isle my master calls Gramarye. And from a time … in the future." / [] "That must have required great power." / "Yes." Even beneath the soot, I could see his cheeks flush. "But it's not a power that belongs to any person. It belongs to the Mirror. That's how I came here. And that's how I'm going to take you back to Gramarye."
    • 2017, Helen Conrad-O'Briain, “Bookland: Connie Willis’s Construction of England”, in Mark J. P. Wolf, editor, Revisiting Imaginary Worlds: A Subcreation Studies Anthology, New York, N.Y., Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 318:
      This is an England of the literary imagination. It goes beyond bricolage; it is the mimesis of a book whose own internal mimesis is the result of the organic growth of a Bookland England. It is the Gramarye which, for most of [Connie] Willis's readers, began as [Geoffrey] Chaucer's pilgrims rode down Watling Street.

Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ Rudyard Kipling (1906), “Puck’s Song”, in Puck of Pook’s Hill, New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, →OCLC, page 2.