The castle is supposed to be in northern England. The Vulgate Cycle places it near the Humber, but it is more generally put on the site of a known castle in Northumberland. Malory mentions both Alnwick and Bamburgh as a possible site.
The castle of Lancelot, formerly called Dolorous Gard because of a sinister enchantment. Lancelot captures it and breaks the spell. When he explores the castle he comes upon a tomb with his own name upon it, and he knows that this to be his destined home and eventual resting place. The name of the castle is changed to Joyous Gard after Arthur and Guinevere visit his castle as his guests. When Guinevere is brought to Carlisle for execution, she is rescued by Lancelot who takes her to his castle. However, the tragic strife that ensues causes it to revert to its "dolorous" name. After Lancelot's death, his body is taken there for burial.