Wilfred of Ivanhoe is the leading character in Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe is the son of one of the remaining Anglo-Saxon noble families at a time when the nobility in England was overwhelmingly Norman. Ivanhoe is out of favor with his father for his allegiance to the Norman King Richard, known as Richard The Lionheart. The story is set in 1194, after the failure of the Third Crusade, when many of the Crusaders were still returning to their homes in Europe. King Richard, who had been captured by Leopold of Austria on his return journey to England, was believed to still be in captivity. Ivanhoe is disinherited by his father Cedric of Rotherwood for supporting the Norman, King Richard and for falling in love with the Lady Rowena, a ward of Cedric's and descendant of the Saxon Kings of England. Cedric planned to marry Rowena to the powerful Lord Athelstane, who hoped to gain the Crown of England.
In the story of Ivanhoe, Norman knights seek the hospitality of Cedric. They are guided to Cedric’s home by a pilgrim traveler, also returning from the Holy Land that same night. Also traveling, Isaac of York, a Jewish moneylender, seeks refuge from Cedric. Following the night's meal, the pilgrim observes one of the Normans, the Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert, issue orders to capture Isaac and take him prisoner for ransom. The traveler then assists in Isaac's escape from Rotherwood. Isaac of York offers to repay his debt to the traveler who is Ivanhoe is disguise with a suit of armor and a war horse to participate in a tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle.
On the first day of the tournament a mysterious knight, identifying himself only as "Desdichado" Spanish, taken by the Saxons to mean Disinherited Knight, defeats Bois-Guilbert in a joust. The masked knight declines to reveal himself despite the king’s request, but is nevertheless declared the champion of the day and is permitted to choose the Queen of the Tournament. He bestows this great honor upon the Lady Rowena.
Ivanhoe is severely wounded in the competition yet his father does not move quickly to tend to him. Instead, Rebecca, a skilled healer, tends to him while they are lodged near the tournament and then convinces her father to take Ivanhoe with them to their home in York. In the forests between Ashby and York, Isaac, Rebecca and the wounded Ivanhoe are abandoned by their guards, who fear bandits and take Isaac’s horses. Cedric, Athelstane and the Lady Rowena meet them and agree to travel together. The party is captured by the Knights Templars, de Bracy and Bois-Guilbert. In the meantime, Bois-Guilbert rushes with his captive to the nearest Templar stronghold, where Lucas de Beaumanoir, the Grand Master of the Templars, takes exception at Bois-Guilbert's infatuation with Rebecca and subjects Rebecca to a trial for witchcraft. At Bois-Guilbert's secret request, she claims the right to trial by combat; and Bois-Guilbert, who had hoped to be Rebecca’s champion, is devastated when the Grand-Master orders him to fight against Rebecca's champion. Rebecca then writes to her father to procure a champion for her.
Ivanhoe receives word from Isaac beseeching him to fight on Rebecca's behalf. Ivanhoe, riding by day and night, arrives just in time for the trial by combat against Bois-Gilbert. To see how the story ends, there are three different versions of Sir Walter Scott’s timeless classic available for viewing in Chateau De La Mer’s, Cinema by the Sea movie theater.