Who is it that can tell me who I am?

I discovered recently that the city of Leicester has its own Welsh name: Caerlŷr, meaning 'Castle of Leir'. I don't know if this is a concoction of revivalist Cymraeg or an Old Welsh name, but I feel proud that my Midlands home town is deemed worthy of such recognition. Nottingham is known only as 'the place of caves' (Y Ty Ogofog), and Derby was overlooked altogether.

But did King Leir (later Lear) even exist, and did he really have anything to do with the foundation of Leicester?

He has his own lake at Watermead Country Park, north of Leicester, along with some marvellous statues that I really must see next time I'm there, but I'm not sure about the claim that he was buried in a chamber under the River Soar.

The official online web guide to Leicestershire states that 'Although a fictional character, King Lear is a figure from Leicester's past' which is a statement about as logical as Dr Fox claiming that 'there's no real evidence for it, but it is scientific fact.'

Generally, all I can find out is that Billy Shakers based his play loosely on Geoffrey of Monmouth's story of Leir, a king of Britain whose court was at the place called Caer Leir, or Ligora-ceaster, or Leicester, which he apparently founded. It's therefore all pretty tenuous, and historically unsubstantiated, but what the heck, let's go with it. The Welsh place name is good enough for me. Leicester is the home of King Lear, and I shall be toasting the Roman god Janus by the River Soar next time I'm there.