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The Saints of Wales and Cornwall and 

SUCH Irish Saints as have Dedications 

IN Britain 






In Four Volumes. 

London : 
The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion 

New Stone Buildings, 64, Chancery Lane 

4-. 45^3<5'5 

Contents of Volume III 

The Lives — 

S. Faustus — S. Mynno 

List of Illustrations 

Fracan, Gwen Teirbron and Winwaloe before S. Corentine. From 

a Painting at Lesgiten, Ploiwien, Finist^re 

S. Germanus. From Stained Glass, S. Neot . 

Germanus Foundations .... 

Statue of S. Germanus at Pleyben 

S. Germoe. From fresco in S. Breage (restored) 

Map of Bokerly and Grim's Dykes 

Roman Roads from Old Sarum and Badbury to Bath. 

Foundations of Gildas and his Sons and Grandsons in 
Armorica ......... 

S. Gildas. From i$th Century Statue at Loomini . 

Statue of Gwen Teirbron and her Sons, Winwaloe, Gwethenoc 

and James. In the Chapel of S. Venec .... 
S. Gwenfrewi. From i ^th Century Glass at Llandyrnog . 
S. Gwynllyw. From Statue at S. Woolo's .... 
S. Gwynog. From Stained Glass at Llanwnog 
S. Huerve, with his Wolf and Guiharan. From a Statue formerly 

in the Church of Kerlaz, near Douarnenez . 
S. lUtyd. From a Statue at Locildut, Sizun . 
S. Mabenna. From Stained Glass, S. Neot 
S. Madrun. Formerly at Madryn, Pwllheli 
S. Mancus. From Stained Glass, S. Neot 
S. Marchell. From i^th Century Glass at Llandyrnog 
S. Mawes. From a Statue at Ergui-Gaberic . 
S. Mawgan. From Stained Glass at La Meaugon . 
S. Mybard. From Stained Glass, S. Neot 










Vol. iii. 

S. FAUSTUS, Bishop, Confessor 

As has been already stated, under the head of Edeyrn, it is not 
possible to identify Faustus of Riez with the Faustus or Edeyrn, bom 
of incest, son of Gwrtheyrn or Vortigern, as is apparently done by 

Sidonius Apollinaris says that Faustus was the son of a noble and 
saintly British mother. He might possibly have so described the 
daughter of Vortigern, if her after life was spent in penance and devo- 
tion ; but the chronology of Faustus cannot be made to fit in with 
that of a son of the British prince. 

Sidonius says nothing as to who was the father of Faustus, but that 
may be explained by supposing that the father was dead when he 
came to make the acquaintance of the son.^ 

Faustus can hardly have been born earlier than 400. Whilst young 
he went to Lerins, and it was probably whilst there that he became 
intimate with a fellow-countryman, a Bishop Rioc, or Riocatus, as 
Sidonius calls him, who paid two visits to Southern Gaul and the 
Province. ^ 

In 434 Maximus, Abbot of Lerins, ascended the episcopal throne 
of Riez, and Faustus was elected in his room to preside over the 
monastic community. He must have been full young for so impor- 
tant a position ; but as he lived till after 484, it is not possible to set 
back his birth much earher than 400. 

His mother, at an advanced age, lived near him at Lerins. He 
had a brother, a priest, Memorius, under him ; and in the society 
was likewise a brother of his correspondent Sidonius Apolhnaris. 

At Lerins Faustus led a very strict hfe, was devoted to study, and 
strove to imitate the lives of the fathers of the Egyptian deserts. 
He wrote a letter to a deacon, named Gratus, who was infected with 
Nestorian errors. Augustine informs us that he gave harbour in his 

1 S. Avitus of Vienne says that Faustus was born in Britain. 
* Apoll. Sidon, Mon. Germ. Hist., viii. Krusch in Proem., liv-lxxv ; and 
PP- 157. 255, et seq. 

VOL. III. ^ B 

2 Lives of the British Saints 

isle to Julian of Eclana, and to Pelagius, when expelled from Italy 
for their heresy. 

He opposed Arianism with great ardour. He sent two of his trea- 
tises by Rioc to Britain in or about 450. 

On account of the death of Maximus in 462 there ensued a fresh 
election at Riez, and Faustus was chosen to succeed him. The vigor- 
ous opposition to Arianism offered by Faustus brought upon him the 
resentment of Euric, the Visigoth King, who sent him into exile in 481 ; 
and he did not return to his flock till 484, on the death of the king. 

At the dose of the century, when Gennadius wrote his work on 
Illustrious Men, Faustus was still hving.^ 

In the list of his works, given by Gennadius, the series opens with 
a book De Spiritu Sando. This treatise is still extant, and has been 
repeatedly but incorrectly attributed to the Roman deacon Pascasius.^ 
Evidence to show that Faustus was the real author has been produced 
by C. P. Caspari.2 

Another work, according to Gennadius, was an Opus egregium de 
Gratia Dei, which was directed against the teaching of a GaUic priest, 
Lucidus, relative to Predestination. Lucidus held that with the Fall 
man had lost the power of free will, and all impulse towards God, 
and that God predestined men to life or to damnation as He pleased. 
This doctrine was condemned by the Synod of Aries in 475 ; and in 
that of Lyons in 476 ; and the bishops present expressed a desire for 
a complete exposition of the Cathohc dogma of grace, and this it was 
which led to the composition of the work mentioned, by Faustus. 

There can be no doubt but that Faustus, in common with S. Hilary 
of Aries and other Gallic saints, viewed with alarm the iron dogma 
of predestination to which Augustine was endeavouring to commit 
the Church ; and which finally broke forth in aU its offensiveness in 
the heresy of Calvin. Faustus saw that the doctrine, logically carried 
out and acted upon, cut at the roots of Christian morality, and fatally 
affected the fulness of the redemptive work of Christ. Benedictus 
Paulinus consulted Faustus on questions concerning repentance. The 
answer of the Bishop of Riez was : "I am asked whether the know- 
ledge of the Trinity in Unity suffices to salvation in things divine ; 
I answer, a rational grasp of the faith is not all that is required of us, 
there must also be the reason for pleasing God. Naked truth without 
merits is empty and vain." 

' De viris illust., c. 85. 

2 Under the head of Fascasius in Migne, Patr. Lat., Iviii, pp. 783-836. 
' linbedruckte . . . Quellen zur Geschichte des Taufsymhols. Christiania, 1869, 
pp. 214-24. 

S. Febric 3 

The predestinarianism of Augustine was the rust of his old Manichae- 
ism working its way out of his soul in dogma ; the Pelagians and 
semi-Pelagians went too far in the assertion of the force of the human 
will to resist evil, unassisted by grace. 

Faustus called down on his head the wrath of the thorough-paced 
Augustinians, and S. Fulgentius of Ruspe took up his pen against 
him, and the teaching of Fulgentius was rejected by Popes Gelasius 
and Hormisdas, and by the Council of Orange in 529. 

Two Uttle works mentioned by Gennadius, Adversus Arianos ei 
Macedonianos, and Adversus eos qui dicuni esse in creaturis aliquid 
incorporeum, are remarkable. In the latter he attributes to the soul 
a sort of corporeal though spiritual envelope. 

In or about 470 Claudianus Mamertus attacked his thesis in three 
books, De Statu Animce. 

Faustus was regarded as one of the most eloquent preachers of his 
day, and some of his sermons are extant, as are also some of his letters. 
A collection of fifty-six homilies was made, apparently by Eusebius 
of Angers, in the eleventh century, which has been erroneously attri- 
buted to Eusebius of Emesa. They are sermons by ancient Gallic 
bishops, and among these are almost certainly some by Faustus of 

Faustus is thought to have died about 490. He is venerated at 
Riez on September 28. 

In some martyrologies he is given on January 16, as Maurolycus, 
Ferrarius, and Greven, and Saussaye. 

A parish near Pau in the Basses-Pyrenees is called after this saint. 
Its church was wrecked in the disastrous days of Jeanne d'Albret. When 
restored, it was given a new patron, S. John the Baptist. S. Faustus 
has neither a statue nor a commemoration in the church that bears 
his name. 

The works of Faustus are in Migne's Patr. Lat., Iviii, pp. 775-89, 
and Engelbrecht, Fausti Regiensis Opera, Wien, 1891. 

S. FEBRIC, Confessor 

In the circumstances relating to the grant, in 955, of Lann Bedeui, 
identified with Penterry, in Monmouthshire, to the Church of Llan- 
daff, is mentioned " Ecclesia Sanctorum larmen et Febric." ^ The 

^ Book of Llan Ddv, p. 219 ; see also 1, p. 174. _, 

4 Lives of the British Saints 

church is supposed to be S. Aryan's, in the same county, but of the 
two saints nothing is known. ^ 


S. FEOCK, Bishop, Confessor 

The Cornish Feock is Fiacc, Bishop of Sletty, disciple of S. Patrick. 
His veneration extends to Brittany. It is certainly a remarkable 
instance of the intercommunication that existed between Ireland, 
Britain, and Armorica, that we find the same saint at home in all 

The authorities for the Life of Fiacc are, in the first place, the various 
Lives of S. Patrick, as given by Colgan, in his Trias Thaumaturga. 
There is no independent Life of the saint ; but there is one in Albert 
le Grand, from the Legendarium of S. Matthew in Leon, and from 
a MS. history of Brittany. 

The notices that we have concerning the saint m the Irish records 
relate only to his acts in Ireland, because nothing was known of his 
life out of his native isle ; and the Breton life we have deals with his 
acts in Armorica, and passes over his acts in Ireland, or treats them 
in the vaguest manner,, making, however, a gross blunder that shall 
be noticed in the sequel. 

Fiacc is introduced to our notice for the first time when S. Patrick, 
accompanied by pious clerics, appeared at the convention of Tara, in 
455. Precisely the same story is told of him then, as of Ere. Ere 
had stood up on the previous day, when Patrick had been summoned 
before Laoghaire at Slane. So, on this occasion, when Patrick ap- 
peared before the king and the great assembly at Tara, he was received 
by all seated, with the exception of Dubhtach, the king's chief poet, 
and Fiacc, his nephew, then a lad of eighteen.^ 

Fiacc was the son of Dubhtach's sister. His father MacDaire had 
been expelled from his patrimony in what is now Queen's County 

"■ Sir J. Rhys (Arch. Camb., 1895, p. 38, in an article on " The Goidels in 
Wales ") is disposed to regard Febric as the GoideUc form of a name which 
occurs in the Book of S. Chad as Guhebric, and inthe Book of Llan Ddv (pp. 257-8) 
as Guebric and Huefric. With the equation compare the Welsh river name 
Fferws = GoideUc Fergus, the Welsh Gwrwst or Grwst. 

^ Tripartite Life, pp. 45, 53. Notes by Muirchu Maccu-Machtheni, p. 283. 

aS*. Feock 5 

by Crimthan king of the Hy Cinnselach. In exile he had become a 
widower, and had married a sister of Dubhtach the poet. 

All the Hy Bairrche, the family to which Fiacc belonged, were now 
living dispersed, nursing their resentment and looking for a chance 
of revenge and of recovery of their land between the Nora and the 

A few years after the incident at Tara, Fiacc was baptised by 
S. Patrick himself, during his missionary visitation of Leinster.^ 

Crimthan, the king of the Hy Cinnselach, who occupied Wexford, 
and had annexed the Hy Biarrche territory, had opposed the progress 
of the gospel, and had expelled from his territories such as professed 
Christianity. Patrick succeeded in softening the old man and inducing 
him to be baptised. This accelerated the conversion of his tribesmen, 
and necessitated the establishment among them of a native priesthood. 

With this view the apostle consulted Dubhtach, with whom he 
was on the most friendly terms, as to what was to be done, and whom 
he was to send to organize the Church among the Hy Cinnselach and 
in the old Hy Bairrche territory. " The man I require as bishop," 
said Patrick, " must be a free man, of good family, without blemish, 
not given to fawning, learned, hospitable, the husband of one wife, 
and the father of a single child." The object of the last consideration 
was that the new bishop should not be cumbered with family cares. 

Dubhtach recommended his nephew, Fiacc the Fair. "But how 
persuade him to take on him the burden of the office ? " asked Patrick. 
" He is now approaching," said Dubhtach. " Take a pair of shears 
and pretend to be shaving my head, and see what follows." Patrick 
did as desired. Fiacc ran up and asked breathlessly what Patrick 
was about. " I want a bishop for the Hy Cinnselach," replied the 

" My uncle is too important a man to be spared for that," said Fiacc, 
■' take me rather than him," and so it was that Fiacc was consecrated 
bishop. Then Patrick furnished him with a bell, a reliquary, a pastoral 
staff, and a book satchel ; and appointed seven of his clerics to attend 
him. S. Patrick's conduct in this transaction was one of those happy 
strokes of genius and tactful arrangement which conduced so largely 
to his success in Ireland.^ 

■ Crimthan, as already stated, had driven the Hy Bairrche out of 
their land, although MacDaire was his own son-in-law. By the 
daughter of Crimthan MacDaire had four sons, all of whom were 

1 Lije by Joscelyn, c. xii. 
• 2 Ihid., p. 189 ; Liber Hymnorum, ii, p. 31 ; Tirechan's Collections, Tripartite 
Life, ii, 345. 

6 Lives of the British Saints 

eating out their hearts with rage in banishment. By his second wife 
MacDaire had an only son, Fiacc. 

The apostle now proposed to Crimthan to surrender one-fifth of 
the Hy Bairrche patrimony to Fiacc, that is to say, Fiacc's legitimate 
share of his father's property, and to accept him as spiritual head of 
the mission in that part of Leinster. To this, probably after some 
demur, Crimthan acceded. He moreover gave to Patrick some thirty 
or forty sites for churches in the Hy Cinnselach district, so that at 
once the Church started well endowed throughout the whole district 
from the Nore to the sea. By this happy arrangement, some of the 
wrong done to the Hy Bairrche was redressed, and Fiacc started work 
among his own people. 

The first thing he did was to form a nucleus whence he could work. 
This he placed at Domnach Fiacc, now Moryacomb, on the borders 
of Carlow, between Clonmore and Aghold. It is clear that he felt 
little confidence in Crimthan, so he made his headquarters at some 
little distance from him. From this establishment he worked the 
district with the men given him by Patrick ; but he did more, he 
made of this establishment a training school for missionary priests 
whom he could send as required, to fill the churches among the Hy 
Cinnselach and the Hy Bairrche, as the gospel made way. 

During Lent he was wont to retire unattended to a cave on the 
north-east side of the doon of Clopook, where the rock rises abruptly 
a hundred and fifty feet from the plain. It lies directly north-west 
of Sletty, from which it is distant about seven miles. 

Here he not only spent his time in prayer and meditation, but in 
jotting down memorials of S. Patrick. A hymn on the Life of S. 
Patrick is attributed to him, but he was not the author ; it was a 
composition of Aedh, the anchorite, of Sletty, who died in 6go.i 

From Domnach Fiacc he moved to Sletty, near Carlow, for what 
reason we do not know, and made that his principal estabhshment. 
He had some able and experienced men with him, men who made 
their mark in the Church. One was Ninnidh or Ninnio, who has been 
identified with Mancen or Maucan. In Tirechan's Collections towards 
the Life of S. Patrick, he is called Manchan. Possibly at the wish, or 
by the advice of the apostle, this man crossed over to St. David's Head, 
in Wales, and there established the great nursery of saints, Ty Gwyn. 
The district ruled by Crimthan was too unsettled, and the prospects 
of disturbance too threatening for Fiacc and Patrick not to desire to 
have the missionary school removed from Leinster. Another who 
was with Fiacc was Paul, who succeeded Ninnidh as head of Ty Gwyn, 
• Lihev Hymnorum, ii, pp. 31-5. 

'■''■'S. Feock 7 

the Paulinus whose inscribed monument is preserved at Dolau Cothi. 

Other helpers were men of experience, but who have left less mark. 
Cattoc or Cattan, Patrick's priest ; Augustine, who had come to 
Ireland with Palladius, and who, on the failure of that mission, had 
accompanied his patron to North Britain. After the death of Palla- 
dius, Augustine offered his services to Patrick, who placed him with 

Others of less note were Tagan or Tecce, an Ossory man ; Diarmid, 
a kinsman of Fiacc, and Fedlemid. 

Fiacc had been baptised in or about 460, but Ussher puts it many 
years earher, and was consecrated very shortly after and sent on his 
mission to Leinster. 

In 465 a revolution occurred. The half-brother of Fiacc, called 
Oengus, succeeded in enlisting allies and in stirring up the clansmen 
between the Nore and the Barrow. A battle was fought and Oengus 
killed his grandfather, Crimthan, with his own hand. He then re- 
covered his patrimony. Whether his brothers were restored is not 
known. But the Hy Cinnselach were not disposed to bear their 
defeat, and retaliated, so that for some years the whole of Leinster was 
in commotion. 

In 480 Finnchad, king of the Hy Cinnselach, was killed by Cairbre, 
son of Niall, in a battle at Graine, north of Kildare, in which the 
Leinster men were fighting among themselves. In 489 a desperate 
conflict took place at Kelliston in Carlow, in which Fiacc's half-brother 
Oengus was engaged. In 492 Cairbre was again fighting the men of 
Leinster. The latter were again defeated in 497 or 500. 

The condition of the south-east was so disturbed, the country so 
incessantly ravaged, that Fiacc must have despaired of effecting 
much tiU the times were quieter. This was about the period of the 
migration to Penwith, and although the Irish writers tell us 
nothing about it, we may conjecture that it was during these 
commotions that Fiacc went to Cornwall, there to work, and there, 
maybe, to gather missionaries to assist him, when peace was 
restored. But ■ he went further, he visited Armorica. The Breton 
legendary Life of S. Fiacc is late and mixed with fable. It makes him 
an archbishop of Armagh, who, unable to bear the burden of his office, 
and the manners of an intractable people, left Ireland, and crossed 
to Armorica, floating over on a rock that detached itself and served 
as a ship. He stepped ashore at Pen March ; whereupon the rock 
turned about and swam back to Ireland. A portion, however, of 
his stone boat is preserved at Treguenec, about four miles from Pen 
March, and it has in it a hollow in which it is supposed that the head 

8 Lives of the British Satnis 

of the saint rested. Pilgrims visit the chapel and place their heads 
in this depression to be cured of fever, and carry off water in which 
a relic of the saint has been steeped. 

Albert Le Grand supposes that S. Nonna, an Irish bishop to whom 
the Church of Pen March is dedicated, is the same as S. Vougai, or 
Veoc, but gives no reason for this identification. Where the saint 
founded a church was at Lanveock, in the same peninsula. How 
long he remained there is not known. Thence he went north to Les- 
neven, and branching away to the east became the founder of a religi- 
ous house at S. Vougai. A tenth-century missal preserved there 
long had the credit of having belonged to the saint, and to be invested 
with miraculous powers. 

The origin of the story of his having been elected Archbishop of 
Armagh is this. He is spoken of in the Lives of S. Patrick as having 
been the chief bishop in Leinster, and nominated archbishop over all 
Ireland. But, as Dr. Todd has shown, this is due to a misrendering 
of the original Irish, which merely stated that he was exalted to be 
a chief in esteem over all other saints in Ireland. 

In the tenth-century Litany of S. Vougai he is invoked as S. Bechue. 

The name in Brittany is Vio, Vougai, Veho and Vec'ho. Beside 
the churches already mentioned of which he is patron, he is also one 
of those of Priziac, canton of Faouet, in Morbihan, where he is called 
S. Beho. At 'the beginning of the seventeenth century the clergy 
of Priziac wanted to change the dedication of the church to S. Avitus, 
but met with such opposition from the parishioners that they were 
obliged to give up the project.^ These foundations in Brittany, like 
that in Cornwall, point to his having devoted a portion of his missionary 
life to the establishment of centres of religion elsewhere beside Ireland. 
S. Feock in Cornwall belongs to the little Irish cluster, to which 
S. Kea and Peran-ar-Worthal belong ; and they are at no great distance 
from the cluster at Lizard, where among others was his fellow-worker 
and friend in Ireland, S. Mancen or Maucan, also called Ninnio, and 
it is more probable that the S. Nonna of Pen March is this Ninnio, 
who may have come to Armorica with S. Fiacc, than that it should 
be another name of Fiacc himself. 

To return to his labours in Ireland. He suffered at one time from 
an abscess in his leg (laboravit fistula in coxa), which made it difficult 
for him to walk. S. Patrick hearing of this sent him a chariot and 
horses to alleviate his sufferings ; but this excited jealousy in Secun- 
dinus, his comrade. Whereupon Patrick told the latter to keep the 

' Le Mene, Paroisses de Vannes, ii, p. 237. 

S. Ffagan 

chariot for himself, and Secundinus did actually retain it for three 
days, and was then heartily ashamed of himself, and sent it to Fiacc.^ 
Nothing is recorded of the death of Fiacc in Ireland, but late authori- 
ties assume that he was buried in Sletty ; so that it is quite conceivable 
he may have retired in favour of his son Fiacra, and gone to Cornwall 
and have finished his days in Brittany. In the Irish Calendars his 
feast is on October 12 ; and his death may be put at any time between 
510 and 520. 

Under the name of Vouk or Vogoue he has a church and well in 
S. Vogou's townland, Wexford, and his feast is there observed on Jan- 
uary 20. 

S. Feock's feast in Cornwall is on the nearest Thursday to February 
2, before or after. 

In Brittany he is commemorated on June 15.2 In Cornwall not 
only is S. Feock dedicated to him, but there is also a Saviock in 
S. Kea's parish, where it adjoins S. Feock. [See also S.Veep.) Sheviock 
very probably was also dedicated to this saint, though now under the 
invocation of SS. Peter and Paul. 

In the Exeter episcopal registers the parish church of S. Feock 
appears as Ecclesia S"^. Feocae, Bronescombe, 1264, 1267 ; but as 
S". Fyoci in that of Brantynghara, 1372, and Stafford, 1398. 

At Priziac is an early Christian lech, about 9 ft. high, and having 
the form of a truncated cone, with a hole at the top for the reception 
of a cross. This is called by the people " le canon de Saint Beho," 
and there they pretend that he came over from Ireland floating upon 
it as a log. 

Probably in art he should be represented, either with a harp, as 
he had been trained to be a bard by his uncle, before his ordination ; 
or else with a chariot and horses at his side. 


S. FFAGAN, Bishop, Confessor 

Ffagan, or Fagan (occasionally Phagan), is represented in the 
Lucius legend as having been sent, with Dyfan, by Pope Eleutherius 

1 Tripartite Life, i, p. 241 ; Life by Joscelyn, c. xii. 

2 Albert le Grand, and Tresvaux in his additions to Lobineau ; Garaby and 
those who follow him. Not in any of the extant Breviary Calendars. 

lo Lives of the British Saints 

to Britain in the latter part of the second century. The two are first 
mentioned by William of Malmesbury, in his De Antiquitate Glastonien- 
sis EcclesicB (written between 1129 and 1139), and by Geoffrey of 
Monmouth.^ Sometimes they have associated with them Elfan and 
Medwy. According to the later embellishments of the legend in the 
lolo MSS., Ffagan was " a man of Italy, who came as a bishop to 
Wales," and was " bishop at Llansantffagan, where his church is." ^ 
He was penrhaith, or principal, of Cor Ffagan there,^ and one docu- 
ment credits him with the foundation of two churches, Llanffagan 
Fawr, now S. Fagans (S. Mary), near Cardiff, and Llanffagan Fach, 
now Llanmaes (S. Cadoc), near Llantwit Major.* Leland says,^ 
" The Paroch Chirch of S. Fagan is now of our Lady ; but ther is yet 
by the ViUage a Chapelle of S. Fagan sumtime the Paroch Chirch." 
To him is dedicated the parish church of S. Fagan, a parish formed 
(1856) out of Aberdare. He and Dyfan are reputed to have founded 
the ancient see of Congresbury, which lasted till 721, when it was 
removed to a village called Tydenton, now Wells.^ In a late lolo 
list he is entered among the chorepiscopi of Llandaff prior to the time 
of S. Dubricius.' 

Ffagan's festival day does not occur in any of the Welsh calendars. 
Browne Willis,^ however, gives it on February 10 ; Cressy * on August 
8 ; and Ffagan and Dyfan together on May 24. Roscarrock gives 
May 26, which is also the day on which Lucius is said to have been 

One of the " Sayings of the Wise " stanzas runs : — ^** 

Hast thou heard the saying of Ffagan, 
After showing his declaration ? 
" Where God is silent it is not wise to speak." 
(Lie taw Duw nid doeth yngan). 

Ffagan and his companions were probably enough historical per- 
sons, whose names were introduced into the Lucius story in the twelfth 
century. See further under S. Dyfan and S. Lucius. 

1 Hist., iv, cc. 19, 20 ; Bvuts, pp. loo-i. He says that they " purged away 
the paganism of well-nigh the whole island." Wm. of Malmesbury brings them 
to Glastonbury. Giraldus also mentions them in his Descript. of Wales, i, c. i8 
(0pp., vi, p. 202). See also McClure, British Place-names, S.P.C.K., 1910, 
pp. 197-8 

2 Pp. 115, 135. 3 xbid., p. 151. 4 Ibid., p. 220. 

' Itin., iv, f. 63. 6 Stubbs, Re^. Sacr. Angl., 2nd ed., p. 215. 

' Liber Landavensis, p. 623. " Pedair Erw Sant Ffagan " (his Four Acres) 
are mentioned (1709) as in the parish of Llandaff (Cardiff Records, v, p. 399). 
* Llandaff, 1719, append, p. i ; Paroch. Angl., 1733, p. 198. 
' Rees, Welsh Saints, pp. 86, 316. 
>» lolo MSS., p. 256. 

S. Ffili . II 

S. FFILI, Confessor 

Ffili, in Latin Filius, was the son of Cenydd and grandson of 
Gildas.i He had a church near that of his father in Gower, called 
Rhos Ffili, now known as Rhos Sili or Rhosilly,^ and dedicated to the 
Blessed Virgin. 

Apparently he moved into Cornwall, where Philleigh Church is 
under his patronage ; ^ and perhaps Lamphil, or Lan-ffili, on the 
further side of the Camel to the old chapel of S. James in the parish 
of S. Breward, may bear his name. Probably he moved, when did 
his father, to Brittany, to the region of Browercc, where his grand- 
father Gildas exercised a vast influence. 

In the parish of Languidic, the Llan of his father, called Quidi in 
Breton, is a Kervili, which may preserve his name. But he has most 
probably been supplanted by S. Philibert at Loc Mariaquer, where 
there is a village that is called S. Philibert. 

Philibert of Grandchamps died in 684. There is a curious story 
connected with S. Gildas that apparently belongs to Ffili and not to 
the abbot of Grandchamps.* 

Four monks — actually devils in disguise — came in a boat to Ruys 
to inform Gildas that their master, Philibert, was dying, and required 
his presence to administer to him the last rites. At once he entered 
the boat to accompany them across the sea. But before leaving, he 
had a revelation that this was a demoniacal snare laid for him. Never- 
theless he accompanied the false monks, taking with him his Book 
of the Gospels and a little reliquary, hidden under his habit. 

The boat started, and when at sea Gildas said to his companions : 
" Let one manage the rudder, and the rest unite with me in singing 
Prime ; and that we may be more at our ease, lower the sail." 

The monks replied : " If we delay, we shall arrive too late." 

" That matters not," said Gildas ; " duty to God comes first." 
Then one of them flying into a rage exclaimed : " Confound your 
prime, we must push on." Gildas, however, knelt down and began 
to sing Deus in adjutorium. At once boat and monks vanished, 
leaving the saint alone on the waves. Wholly unconcerned, he spread 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 109, 137. 

* The name is sometimes said to be derived from Reginald de Sully (near 
Cardiff) , who received the lordship on the conquest of Glamorgan by Fitzhamon, 
but this is a mistake. The name stands for Rhos SuUen, and occurs in the 
Book of Llan DAv, p. 239, as Rosulgen. 

' Register of Bishop Brantyngham, Eccl. Sti. Fihi de Eglosros, 1384, 1387 ; 
also Bishop Stafford's, 1405. 

* Acta SS. Boll., Jan. ii, pp. 956, seq., and the Legendarium of the Church of 
S. Gildas-des-Bois. 

I 2 Lives of the British Saints 

his cloak, seated himself thereon, attached one end of the mantle to 
his staff to serve as sail, and continued his office. 

Thus wafted over the sea, he reached the isle of Noirmoutier, below 
the Bale de Bourgneuf, in which, as disciple of S. Philibert, he had 
passed his early years, and found there S. Philibert in rude health, 
and received a cordial welcome. Having related to his old master 
the adventures he had gone through, he remained with him some 
months, and then finding a vessel starting for Ireland went in that to 
the Isle of Saints. This extraordinary story occurs in the Legend- 
arium of S. Gildas-des-Bois, and in the rhymed office of the saint. 

But Philibert was not born till some time after Gildas had been 
dead. The legend, however, should not be dimissed as worthless. 
The root from which such a florid crop of fable sprang was probably 
this. Gildas at Rhuis heard that his grandson, FfiH, at Locmariaquer 
was ill, and went in a boat to see him. The boat, by the mismanage- 
ment of the monks was upset, and all drowned in crossing the mouth 
of the inland sea, where the current runs with force, except only Gildas, 
who managed to get ashore. He may possibly have used a strong 
expression relative to those who had the conduct of the boat, and 
this has been adopted as a literal description of them. So far from 
Gildas having been the disciple of Philibert, probably it was Ffili, 
his grandson, who was his pupil, till he set up for himself at 

Caerphilly, in Glamorganshire, is believed by some to derive its 
name from Ffili, but this is as improbable as the other statement 
that the old hundred name, Senghenydd, is from his father, Cen- 
ydd.i In Peniarth MS. ii8 (sixteenth century). The Book of Dr. 
John David Rhys, is given an account of the giants of Wales, with 
topographical particulars ; every Cawr, or giant, has his Caer or 
Castell. After enumerating the sons of the South Wales giant Bwch 
Gawr, the writer observes, " Some say that Phili was a giant, and a 
son of Bwch, and had his residence at Caer Phili." 2 

Ffih's festival does not occur in any of the Welsh calendars. The 
Mahsant of Rhosilly, however, was, and probably is still to some 
extent, kept on Februaryi2, the merry-making, until late years, being 
continued for three days. The Mahsant was celebrated for what 
was called Bonny Clobby, a kind of plum pudding that was prepared, 
sold, and largely consumed on these occasions. ^ 
1 See ii, p. 112. 

a So also Rice Merrick, A Booke of Glamorganshires Antiquities (1578), London 
1887, p. 105 ; Lewis Morris, Celtic Remains, p. 179. With the name compare 
Kerfily in Elven, Brittany. 
■■' J. D. Davies, West Cower, Swansea, 1885, "', P- 162. 

/S. Ffinan 13 

S. FFINAN, Abbot, Confessor 

A CHURCH in Anglesey, Llanffinan, is dedicated to this saint, who 
was certainly Irish. No saint of the name occurs in the Welsh saintly 
pedigrees, though the late lolo MSS.^ mention a Ffinan of the Coy of 
Seiriol, at Penmon, Anglesey, who became bishop in the north. He 
can hardly be Finnian of Clonard, who was associated with South 
Wales. It is more likely that he is Finnian of Maghbile or Moville. 
This is rendered the more probable by the Life of this Finnian being 
included in the collection of John of Tynemouth, who says of him : 
" Reverendissimus pontifex Finanus, qui et Wallico nomine Winni- 
nus appellatur," etc. Although he relates nothing relative to his 
acts in Wales, he implies in these words that he was known and culted 
in Wales. 

For the Life of this saint we have, unfortunately, but scanty material. 
A Vita was written by John of Tynemouth, which was taken into 
Capgrave's collection. 

There is also mention of him by the scholiast on the Martyrology 
of Oengus, as also by that on the Hymn of Mugint in the Liber Hym- 

Finnian was son of Cairbre and Lassara. Cairbre was of the Dal 
Fiatach, the royal race of Ulster, descended from Fiatach the Fair, 
King of Ireland, who was killed in 119 after a reign of five years. 

His parents seem to have been Christians, for he was baptised and 
sent to S. Colman of Dromore for instruction. Dromore is about 
eighteen miles south of Carrickfergus in the old Dalaradian territory, 
and was founded as a school and monastery by S. Colman, about the 
year 514. 

One day whilst with him Finnian had been naughty, and Colman 
took a whip to thrash the boy. But as he held the instrument of 
chastisement aloft his heart failed him, and he laid it aside. " It is 
of no use," said he ; "I can't thrash you. You must go to another 
master, who will be stricter and sterner than myself." ^ 

So the boy was sent to Ninnio at Candida Casa or Whitern, who 
at the time had a ship on the coast, about to return to Alba. With 
him he remained many years. 

It is most difficult to disentangle, as has already been said, the 
accounts we have of Whitern from those of Ty Gwyn or Rosnat in 
Menevia. Both were called " The White House," over both presided 
a certain Mancen or Ninnio, and both were famous training schools, 
the Northern Candida Casa for the north of Ireland, the Menevian 

1 P. 144. ' In the legend an angel arrests the arm of Colman. 

14- Lives of the British Saints 

White House for the south. But in this case there can be little doubt 
that Finnian was sent to Whitem. 

It was a double monastery, in which not young men only, but girls 
as well received education, and scandals occurred. 

Finnian was a handsome young fellow, with long fair hair, on ac- 
count of which he was called Finnbar, and with so sweet and angehc 
a countenance, that, as we have seen, Colman was disarmed when 
he took the whip to his back. And now his good looks won the heart 
of the daughter of a Scotic king, who had been sent to school at 
Whitem.^ There can be little doubt who this was, though not named 
in the Life. This was Drastic, daughter of Drast, who raled from 
523 to 528. She was an inflammable young lady, and we shall have 
something more to relate about her presently. 

She became so infatuated with Finnian that she fell sick, as he 
would not pay regard to her advances, and fainted away in the pres- 
ence of her father. There was clearly a family scene, and Finnian 
was present. He recalled her to her senses by telling her plainly 
that he had other ambitions than to become son-in-law to King Drust. 
And so, says John of Tynemouth, " ad vitam castam et sanctam 

This statement, however, must be taken with a grain of salt. Very 
injudiciously Drast sent his daughter back to Whitern, where she 
soon forgot Finnian, and fell in love with another Irish pupil, named 
Rioc ; and she bribed Finnian by a promise of a copy of all Mancen's 
MS. books to act as her go-between. Finnian behaved treacherously, 
for what reason we do not know ; and he contrived a secret meeting 
in the dark between the damsel and another Irishman, named Tal- 
mach, in place of Rioc. The result was a great scandal. Drastic, 
by Talmach, became the mother of S. Lonan. 

Mancen, or Ninnio, got wind of this httle affair, and was highly 
incensed. It brought his establishment into disrepute ; so he told 
a boy to take a hatchet, hide behind the oratory, and hew at Finnian 
as he came at early dawn to Mattins. The boy agreed, but by some 
mistake Mancen preceded the pupil, and the lad strack at him and 
felled him. Happily the blow was not mortal. He was saved by 
crying out, and the boy recognized his voice and did not hew again. ^ 

^ " Regis Britannie filiam, ipsum carnali amore nimis diligentem . . . justo 
dei juditio coram patre et populo post parvum intervallum ob hoc defunctam, 
parentum et astantium gemitibus compassus ad vitam castam et sanctam 
revocavit." Vita by John of Tynemouth. 

2 Finnian of Moville went to learn with Mugint and Rioc and Talmach " et 
ceteri alii secum. Drust rex Britanniae tunc habuit fiHam, i.e. Drusticc nomen 
ejus, e* dedit eam legendo cum Mugint. Et amavit ilia Rioc, et dixit Finniano : 

S. FJinan 1 5 

The story occurs in another form in the Life of S. Frigidian of Lucca, 
•who was erroneously identified with Finnian of Moville, and the lost 
original acts of the latter were employed for the manufacture of 
those of Frigidian. The composer softened down the circumstances. 
No mention is made of Drustic or Rioc or Talmach ; but it is said 
that Mugint, becoming jealous of Finnian's popularity as a teacher, 
laid a snare for him, which ended in his receiving himself the wound 
intended for his pupil.^ Talmach was aftei-wards accounted a saint, 
and his day is March 14. His son, Lonan of Trefoit, is commemo- 
rated on November i. After this scandalous affair it was clearly 
impossible for Finnian to remain any longer at Whitern, and he 
departed on pilgrimage to Rome. John of Tynemouth hushes up the 
cause of his departure, and attributes it to his thirst for knowledge, 
which he desired to quaff at the fountain head. He remained seven 
years in Rome, and was ordained priest there. 

A curious incident happened whilst there. He was preaching in 
one of the Roman churches, when, probably his strong Irish accent 
and his bad Latin, so offended the audience that the orchestra was 

Tribuam tibi omnes libros quos habet Mugint scribendum si Rioc dedisses mihi 
in matrimonium. Et misit Finnen Talmach ad se ilia nocte in formam Rioc ; 
€t cognovit earn, et inde conceptus ac natus est Loman de Treocit. Sed Drustic 
estimavit quod Rioc earn cognovit, et dixit quod Rioc pater esset filii ; sed 
falsum est, quia Rioc virgo fuit. Iratus est Mugint tunc et misit quendam 
puerum in templum, et dixit ei : Si quis prius in hac nocte veniat ad te in temp- 
lum, percute eum securi. Ideo dixit quia prius Finnianus pergebat ad templum. 
Sed tamen ilia nocte domino instigante ipse Mugint prius ecclesise pervenit ; 
et percussit eum puer . . . et tunc dixit Mugint ' Parce ! ' quia putavit inimicos 
populum populari." Libey Hymn., ii, p. 11. 

^ VitcB apud Colgan, Acta SS. Hib., pp. 634-42. The Life of S. Frigidian 
is complete from a MS. at Cologne, and the lections for his office at Lucca are 
■excerpts from it. " Unde factum est quod Magister suus Mugentius nomine, 
qui in civitate quae dicitur Candida, liberales disciplinas eum docuerat, ubi 
etiam dicitur episcopali officio vir sanctus functus fuisse ; excandens iracundia, 
cum duobus discipulis qui secum remanserant, nam plures ad B. Fridianum 
audiendum convenerant, machinatus est, ut ipsum nocturno silentio dolo peri- 
meret : et quod palam in sancto viro, et Regis iilio, facere non poterat, occulte 
impleret. Pravitatis ergo consilio firmatus, cum securibus ad ostium ecclesiae, 
discipuli Mugentii accedunt, diligenter custodentes, ut virum sanctum ante 
omnes ad matutinas surgentem in atrio ecclesia3 occiderent, et occulte sepelirent, 
ne tantum nefas ad cujusquam notitiam perveniret. Sed angelus Domini, qui 
ipsum ex divino mandato ecclesiae suae servare volebat, ei unum de calceamentis 
abstulit, quod dum circumquaque B. Fridianus aberrando quaeveret, Mugentius 
ad ostium pervenit ecclesiae, ubi ab insidiatoribus B. Fridiani leva dextraque 
percussus interiit. Tandem ut prudens recognoscens reatum suum, continuo 
exclamavit, Parce Domine, parce populo tuo, et ne des haereditatem tuam in 
opprobrium. Parce bene Fridiane, parce laqueum paravi et incidi in eum. 
Tali ergo confessionis compendio in spe salutis Mugentius vitam finivit." Then 
Fridian, as another David, lamenting for the death of his enemy, dismisses his 
people and goes to Ireland and assumes the habit at Moville. 

1 6 Lives of the British Saints 

set to bray him down with trumpets. But Finnian would not be 
silenced ; he raised his voice and roared out his homily, drowning 
all the instruments that were sounded to silence him.i 

Two years after his ordination as priest he returned to Ireland, 
carrying with him relics, a marble altar stone, and three round jewels, 
such as had not been seen in Ireland before. But above all he brought 
back with him S. Jerome's version of the Gospels and of the Penta- 
teuch. This is the probable explanation of the words in the Felire 
of Oengus, by the scholiast, to the effect that he was the first who 
brought the Gospel to Ireland, as weU as the Law of Moses. 

He now founded the monastery of Maghbile, or Moville, in County 
Down, about the year 540. The name signifies the Plain of the Aged 
Tree, and it is a curious circumstance that at present near the ruins 
of the abbey are very ancient yew trees of enormous size. Another 
of his foundations was Dromin in Louth. 

He attended Nathi, the priest placed by Finnian of Clonard in 
Connaught, when he was on his deathbed, and administered to him 
the last rites. 

Some of his pupils were not in good discipline. One stabbed him 
with a spear and wounded him, whereupon Finnian cursed him, 
" May the birds of the air devour your flesh, and may your unburied 
bones lie scattered on the face of the field, and to hell with your 
wretched soul ! " ^ 

Whilst Finnian was at his second monastery at Dromin, the memor- 
able quarrel ensued between him and S. Columba. 

In the course of his scholastic wanderings Columcille had borrowed 
a Latin psalter from Finnian, which he forthwith proceeded to copy. 
When Finnian learned what he had done he was incensed, and de- 
manded back the original and with it the copy. Columba refused the 
latter ; whereupon the case was referred to the decision of Diarmidh, 
King of Heath, who decided against Columba, according to the prin- 
ciple of the Brehon law, that as " to every cow belongs its calf, so to 
every book belongs its copy." ^ "Thereupon ensued a commotion. 
Columba was a thorough Celt. Christianity, indeed, had spread itself 
through Ireland, but it was as yet only a thin veneer over the Celtic 

1 " Cum populo Romano in ecclesia quadam verbum domini predicaret, 
quorundam clericorum invidia, ne a populo vox iUius audiretur, organa et tubas 
ceteraque musice modulationis instrumenta simul sonare fecit. Hec tamen 
omnia altitudine mirabili, virtute divina, vox sua superans commendatur." 

2 " Carnem tuam volucres cell comedent, et ossa undique dispersa terra non 
suscipiet, animaque mfelix ad inferna sine fine discendet." 

3 The copy is still in existence, in the collection of the Royal Irish Academy 
see Gilbert's National MSS. of Ireland, pp. 319-21. 

S. Ffinan 1 7 

nature, rash, hot, passionate, revengeful. It had indeed conquered 
some of the grosser vices, and made them disgraceful. It had ele- 
vated somewhat the tone of morals, but it had scarce touched the 
fiery, unforgiving spirit which lay deep beneath, and still exhibits 
itself in the fierce and prolonged faction fights of Limerick and Tip- 
perary. In the sixth' century the tribal organization of the Irish 
people intensified this spirit. The very women, and monks, and 
clergy yielded themselves up to its fascination. . . . Such being the 
spirit of the age, such being the habits and customs of the time, even 
in classes most naturally bound to peace, it is no wonder that Columba, 
a child of the great northern Hy-Neill, took his judicial defeat very 
badly, and summoned his tribesmen to a contest which, as he repre- 
sented, touched most keenly their tribal honour. The decision of the 
king against Columba's claim became, in fact, the occasion of a great 
conflict between the rival northern and southern branches of the 
Hy-Neill, which terminated in the battle of Cooldrevny, fought be- 
tween Sligo and Drumcliffe in the year 561, and won by the Ulster 
men, the party of S. Columba, when no less than 3,000 of the Meatb 
men were slain." ^ 

Columcille retired to Inismurray. A synod assembled and excom- 
municated him. Then he consulted his " soul-friend," S. Molaiss, 
who advised submission and prescribed as a penance that Columcille 
should retire to Pictland and there labour at the conversion of the 
natives, in expiation of the scandal he had caused and the blood that 
he had shed. 

Before all this, Finnian had quarrelled with Tuathal Maelgarbh 
{533-544). King of Ireland, over a small matter. He had asked the 
king for butter wherewith to feed the lamp by which his disciples 
read at night, and that the king had refused. Whereupon Finnian 
cursed him and doomed him to a bloody death, murdered by one of 
his own servants. And it fell out according to his words ; for Tuathal 
was killed in 544, according to the legend on the same day on which 
he was cursed. If so, then Finnian knew of the conspiracy against 
him by Diarmidh,' son of Fergus Cearbhal, who had instigated his 
tutor Maelmor to assassinate the king, which he did at Grellach Eilti, 
in the Ox mountains in Sligo. By not betraying the plot, Finnian 
gained the favour of Diarmidh, who ascended the throne after the 
murder of Tuathal. 

Perhaps stirred to emulation by the successes of his rival, Colum- 
cille, among the Picts, Finnian also crossed into Alba, according to the 

1 Stokes {G. T.), Ireland and the Celtic Church, London, 1892, pp. 108-10. 
VOL. :II- C 

I 8 Lives of the British Saints 

Breviary of Aberdeen, and landed at Coninghame. Soon after he 
reached the river Garnoch, and ordered a boy to catch some fish for 
dinner. But as no fish were caught, Finnian cursed the river, that 
no man might ever after catch fish in it. On which the river left its 
channel, and bent its course in another direction. The story has 
been invented to account for the fact that the river has actually 
changed its course. Thence the saint betook himself to Holjwood, 
where he founded a branch establishment to his main foundation at 
Maghbile. Here Finnian set up a cross in honour of the blessed 
Brigid. The Scottish tradition is that Finnian died in Cunningham, 
at a place called Kilwinning, as in Scotland he is known as Winnin. 
He died after a long sickness in 579 according to the Annals of 
Ulster and of Tighernach, and the Chronicon Scottorum ; but the 
Annals of InisfaUen, in the Bodleian copy, not that in Dublin, give 


S. Frigidian, Bishop of Lucca, has been identified with Finnian of 
Moville. He was known to S. Gregory the Great, ^ who tells a story 
of him that has some resemblance to that in the Breviary of Aberdeen, 
that when the river Auster, now the Serchio, flooded Lucca, he took 
a harrow, made a trench, and altered the course of the stream. But 
the Breviary of Aberdeen was drawn up long after that Frigidian of 
Lucca had been identified with Finnian, and this story was adapted 
from S. Gregory to a river in Scotland. 

So also the fact that Frigidian died in 579 may have induced the 
compUer of the Annals to put that date down as the year in which 
Finnian died ; and the Annals of InisfaUen, not so influenced, are 
probably the more correct. 

That Frigidian of Lucca was an Irishman is possible enough, and 
when the compilers of the acts of the saints of that diocese were in 
quest of material for the lessons in their breviary, they adapted that 
of Finnian of Moville. But there is nothing in the Life of S. Finnian 
that lends colour to such an identification. Frigidian • was made 
bishop in 560, and that was just about the time when Finnian was 
engaged in his altercation with ColumciUe relative' to the copy of his 
psalter, leading to the battle of Cooldrevny, fought in 561. The day 
on which Finnian is commemorated in the Irish martyrologies is 
September 10, but in Scotland on January 21. 

Frigidian of Lucca is commemorated on September 10, and this 
may have led the Irish martyrologists astray. 

It is generally supposed that Llanfiinan is dedicated to the disciple 

^ Dialog., iii, 9. 

S. Ffle-Joyn 19 

of Aidan, who afterwards succeeded him at Lindisfarne, ^ but the 
parish wake was on September 14,^ which agrees rather with the 
festival of Finnian of Moville. Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire is beheved 
to be named after the Ffinan of Llanffinan, and to testify to Welsh 
missionary efforts among the Transmontane Picts. ^ To him Migvie 
is also dedicated. Not far from Lumphanan is Midmar, dedicated 
to S. Nidan, a disciple of S. Kentigern.* 

If we inquire when Finnian can have founded his church in Anglesey, 
we shaU probably not be wrong in fixing it as taking place on his 
journey back from Rome. According to his Life he loitered on the 
way, doing much missionary work, and converting pagans. It is 
doubtful whether Finnian' was a bishop. His identification with 
Frigidian has conferred on him the episcopal title. 

S. FFLEWYN, Confessor 

Fflewyn, or Fflewin, was a son of Ithel Hael, the father of a large 
family of Saints who migrated from Armorica to Wales towards the close 
of the fifth century. In the pedigrees in Hanesyn Hen {Cardiff MS. 
25) * he is entered as " Fflewin in Talebolion," the commote and rural 
deanery of the name in north-west Anglesey. He is patron there of 
the little church of Llanfflewyn, subject to Llanrhuddlad, which is 
the only church known to be dedicated to him. In the lolo MSS.^ 
occurs the following evolved and wholly inaccurate notice : " Fflewyn 
and Gredifael were saints of Cor y Ty Gwyn ar Daf, in Dyfed, where 
they were with S. Pawl of Cor lUtyd superintending the Bangor," the 
foundation of which is also attributed to these three saints. The 
brothers Fflewyn and Gredifael seem to have kept together, both 
having churches dedicated to them in Anglesey. 
, Fflewyn's festival is given on December 12 in the calendars in John 

' E.g. Angharad Llwyd, Hist, of Anglesey, 1833, p. 261 ; Arch. Camb., 1848, 
p. 55. The statement is founded on the supposition that the church of Llanidan 
not far distant, is dedicated to Aidan, and not to Nidan, as correctly. 

^ Nicolas Owen, Hist, of Anglesey, 1775, p. 58 ; so Angharad Llwyd. Browne 
Willis, Bangor, 1721, p. 281, however, gives December 14, meaning Finnian of 
Clonard. The Ffinan in the Allwydd Paradwys calendar, on Feb. 17, is Fintan, 
Abbot of Clonenagh, Queen's County. ' 

' Sir J. Rhys, Celtic Britain, ed. 1904, p. 174. 

* Forbes, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, 1872, p. 420; Skene, Celtic Scotland, 
ii (1887), p. 193. • 

• •5 P.- 115 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 425-6. Fflewyn is the Latin Flavinu5i. 

• Pp. 112, 114, 133. 

2 o Lives of the British Saints 

Edwards of Chirkland's Grammar, 1481, the Prymer of 1618, and 
Allwydd Paradwys, 1670. Willis ^ gives the nth. Nicolas Owen 2 and 
Angharad Llwyd' say, however, that November 12 was his day at 
Llanfflewyn. They have evidently made a mistake in the month. 



In the lolo MSS.* Fiwyst is entered as a saint of Gwent, without 
pedigree, implying that he is the patron of Llanffwyst, now Llanfoist « 
near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. The church is now given as under 
the invocation of S. Faith, due, no doubt, to lack of any information 
about its original patron. Faith being the nearest approach to the 

S. FINBAR, Bishop, Confessor 

Patron of Fowey, Cornwall, where there is a noble church dedicated, 
to him. For short he is called S. Barr. His day, according to William 
of Worcester, as observed there, was September 26. 

In 1336 at the rededication of the church. Bishop Grandisson at- 
tempted to get rid of him, by putting the church under the invocation 
of S. Nicolas ; but the old Irish saint has held his ground stubbornly 

The authorities for the Life of S. Barr or Finbar are a Vita S'\ 
Barri in the so-called Kilkenny Book in Bishop Marsh's Library, Dublin. 
Another Life in Irish that is fragmentary in the Book of Fermoy ; four 
pages are missing. A Life in Latin in the MSS. of Trinity College 
Library, Dublin. The BoUandists had a copy of the same Life that 
is in the Kilkenny Book, but would not publish it in its entirety as not 
being conducive to edification. The following account is from the 
Kilkenny Book, a transcript of which has been obtained. 

• Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 280. ^ Hist, of Anglesey, 1775, p. 58. 

^ Hist, of Anglesey, 1833, p. 262. * P. 144. 

» The name occurs under this modern form [Lanfoist) in the Norwich Taxatio, 

S. Finbar 2 i 

Finbar's father was a native of Connaught. His origin was some- 
what scandalous, but the story must be given, as it is illustrative of 
the severe laws that prevailed in Ireland for the preservation of female 

Tighernach was king of Rathluin in Muskerry. His wife had a 
noble lady staying with her, and at the same time the king had sum- 
moned to him a master-smith from Connaught, named Amergin. 
" The king commanded his household that none of them should form 
a secret alliance with the lady visitor. Amergin did not, however, 
hear of the warning, and he bestowed great love and affection to the 
lady, and her love for him was no less." The king hearing a rumour 
that all was not as it ought to be, sent for her, and she confessed that 
she expected to become a mother, and that Amergin was the father. 
■" If this be so," said the king, "it is right that you should be bound 
together, and scorched and burnt without respite." 

The king, so says the story, ordered both to be burnt alive, but a 
providential rain extinguished the flames of the pyre. The facts 
-were, probably, that he was moved by the tears of his wife and the 
lady, and commuted the extreme penalty of the law into one of banish- 

When the child was born, the name given to it was Loan, and he 
was nursed at home for seven years, at which age his father gave him 
Tip to some religious men to be educated for the ecclesiastical estate. 
They brought him to Kilmacahill in the county of Kilkenny, where 
he remained some years learning to read and acquire the psalms by 

One day a monk was cutting the boy's long golden curls, when he 
•was forced to say, " What shining hair yours is ! " The abbot stand- 
ing by said, " Ah ! let Shining Hair (Finn-bar) be his name amongst 
us henceforth ; " and so it was, and so is he known to this day.^ 

A pretty story is told of his childhood, which indeed at once shows 
lus the kindly simplicity of these old religious men, and of the respect 
■with which the little Loan was regarded by them. 

They were about to trace out a new site, or perhaps only new founda- 
tions, for their church and monastery. With one accord they agreed 
to let the innocent little boy with the golden locks bless the site of 
their habitations and church, because, said they, nothing but good 
and a blessing could rest on such a site as one thus dedicated. 

^ " Tonsus est secundum verbum sancti senioris. Quando autem tondebatur, 
^3ixit senior, Pulcra est coma quam habuit iste. Servus dei alter dixit senior. 
Bene dixisti quod nomen ejus mutetur et vocabitur Fyndbarr." Cod. Kilken., 
ifol. 1336. 

2 2 Lives of the British Saints 

A foster brother of S. David, known in the Lives of S. Finbar as 
MacCorp, came to Ireland, and our saint placed himself under his' 
direction. Mac Corp, i.e., MacCoirpre, is not known to Irish or Welsh 
martjn-ologists. The name means no more than the son of Cairbre. 
After some years MacCorp persuaded Barr to go with him on pil- 
grimage to Rome. They went thither, and on their way back, Finbar 
founded a church in Alba. 

In the Life of S. David there is a notice of a visit made to him by 
Barr on his way back from Rome. Finbar remained with S. David 
some little while, and then desiring to return into Ireland, and having 
no boat of his own, S. David lent him one of his own called " the 
Horse," as it had a figure-head representing that animal. As Finbar 
crossed over on it, he passed S. Brendan in his vessel " The Sea Mon 
ster," and they saluted each other. A picture of the vessel of S. 
David was painted and framed in gold, and was long preserved at 
Ferns. 1 

Finbar seems to have made acquaintance also with S. Aidan and 
S. Cadoc. 

On his return to Ireland, Finbar founded a monastic settlement 
on Lough Eirke, at a place that still bears his name, Gongane Barra, 
or the Chasm of S. Barr. The place soon became famous, and many 
disciples resorted to him, and he became the head of a large congre- 
gation, both male and female. 

However, the place was incommodious, and S. Finbar abandoned 
it for Cloyne, about fifteen miles from Cork, where he remained for 
seventeen years. But this site did not satisfy his requirements, and 
he finally migrated to Corcagh-mor, the Great Marsh, as the name 
signifies, near the mouth of the Lee, and there he founded twelve 
churches, and about his settlement in process of time grew up the city 
of Cork. To consecrate the place S. Finbar fasted and prayed inces- 
santly for three days and three nights. The other alternative method 
was moderate fasting and frequent prayer for forty days. Finbar 
chose the severer but more rapid method of appropriating and dedi- 
cating a site. 

In the Life of S. Senanof Iniscathy we are told that that saint took 
£en foreign monks from his monastery to S. Finbar, but it is difficult 
to reconcile dates. According to legend, S. Finbar went from Cork 
to Rome in company with S. Aedh or Madoc of Ferns, S. David and 
twelve monks, to receive consecration from Gregory the Great ; Gre- 

' Vita S. Davidis in Cambro-Brit. SS., pp. 132-3. In the original the story- 
assumes a fantastic form. The above is probably the nucleus out of which a 
fable has been formed. 

S. Mni>ar ,5 ; ' 23 

gory, however, refused to consecrate him, because it had been revealed 
to him that Finbar was to receive his episcopal orders in heaven itself. 
Then comes a nonsensical story of how- Finbar and MacCorp were 
carried up into heaven and were there elevated to the office of bishops, 
and how a miraculous spring of oil broke out and flowed over the 
ankles of those who stood looking up expecting the return of the saints. 
This stuff may at once be dismissed, and we must not be misled by 
the introduction into the story of Gregory the Great (590-604). For 
how long S. Finbar remained at Cork after he had founded it we do 
not know, but there he died and was buried. 

When we come to fixing the date of S. Finbar we meet with diffi- 
culties. He was a contemporary of S. David, S. Aidan, and S. Cadoc. 
S. David's death can hardly be placed later than 589. As we have 
shown under S. Aidan of Ferns, there were two of this name, and 
Aidan, the disciple of S. David, died about 625. S. Cadoc is thought 
to have died in 577. S. Senan, who sent monks to S. Finbar, died 
510-20. He was younger than S. Brendan, who died 577. 

Leland, quoting from the Life of S. Wymer, i.e.,S. Fingar, mentions 
Barricius as " Socius Patricii," and says that he came to Cornwall, 
and implies that he did so along with Fingar. and Piala. If so, he 
must have been associated with S. Senan and S. Breaca. Now we 
are told in his Life that among the holy women under his direction 
was a Brig, «.e., Breaca. And as we have seen, he was on friendly 
terms with S. Senan. Leland is certainly wrong in calling him a com- 
panion of S. Patrick, but if S. Patrick MacCalpurn died in 493, then 
it is by no means impossible that he may have seen and spoken with 
him. But no mention of Patrick occurs in Finbar's Life. Usually 
Finbar's death is set down as taking place in 623 ; this we consider 
far too late, and should rather be disposed to place it at 560. 

It remains to give a few of the legendary tales that have attached 
themselves to Finbar. 

As we have seen, the story went that he had been consecrated in 
heaven. Christ took him by the hand and lifted him up, that like S. 
Paul, he might see the ineffable glories there. Ever after, that hand 
blazed with light, so that Finbar was obliged to keep it covered with 
a glove. ^ 

One day Finbar was sitting under a hazel-bush with S. Lasrean, 
talking about heavenly things, and when they were about to part, 
the latter besought his friend for a token that God was with him. 

^ " Usque ad mortem Sancti Barri visus carnalis manumejus propter nimiam 
claritatem suam aspici non potuit, et ideo manica circa eam semper erat," 
Cod. Kilken., fol. 133. 

24 Lives of the British Saints 

Now it was in the season of early spring ; Finbar prayed, and the 
hazel-catkins that were swaying about their heads fell off, nuts formed, 
and leaves appeared. Then Finbar, smiling, filled his lap with ripe 
hazel-nuts, and offered them to S. Lasrean. 

In the Life of Monynna he is said to have visited her monastery. 
Seeing the approach of the bishop, Monynna was aghast, as in the 
monastery was only one little barrel of beer to serve for the sisters, 
and the travellers approaching were many and thirsty. Hastily she 
had a vat filled with water, and it turned into very respectable swipes. 
The origin of the story is not far to seek. The good abbess not having 
a sufficiency of ale, watered down her supply, and S. Finbar courte- 
ously assured her that the liquor was so good that he would not drink 
too much of it. 

In the gloss in the Lebar Brecc on the Martyrology of Oengus is a 
curious story of Finbar and Scuthin meeting on the sea, probably as 
the former was on his way from Cornwall, and the latter on his way 
to Rome. Finbar was in a boat, but Scuthin was walking on the 
water. " How come you to be making your progress thus ? " asked 
Finbar. " Why not," answered Scuthin, " I am walking on a green 
shamrock-spread plain." Then he stooped, picked a purple flower, 
and threw it to Finbar, who dipped his hand in the sea, caught a 
salmon, and cast the fish to Scuthin.^ 

Scuthin and Brendan were bosom friends, and the former had been 
a disciple of S. David. 

S. Finbar's Day is September 25. He occurs in all the Irish mar- 
tyrologies, and in Nicolas Roscarrock's calendar. In Nasmith's 
edition of William of Worcester the day is given as September 26, 
but this is probably a misprint for the 25th. 

He is invoked in the Stowe Missal. ^ 

In art S. Finbar should be represented as a bishop holding a branch 
of hazel-nuts, or with his right hand emitting rays of light. 

S. FINGAR, Martyr 

There are two independent Lives of this Saint. One, by a monk 
of S. Michael's Mount, Cornwall, named Anselm, has been printed by 
the Bollandists, in the Ada Sanctorum, Mart. Ill, pp. 456-9. 

The other is by Albert Le Grand, in his Vies des Saints de Bretagne 
from the Legendaria of the Churches of Vannes and Folgoet. 

1 Filire of Oengus, ed. Whitle}' Stokes, p. xxxii. 

^ Warren, Liturgy of the Celtic Church, Oxford, 1881, pp. 238, 240. 

*S. Fingar 25 

Fingar or Guaire the White was son of an Irish king, called in the 
Latin legend Clyto. This has been supposed to be a misrendering 
•of Olylt, or Ailill Molt, king of Connaught in 449, and king of Ireland 
in 463, who fell in the battle of Ocha in 478. But there is no other 
ground for this supposition than a guess that Clyto stands for Olylt, 
and it is more probable, admitting this, that the Olylt or Ailill, who 
was the father of Fingar, was the son of MacDairre of the Hy Bairrche, 
who, with his brothers, was expelled their patrimony by the Hy Cinn- 
selach from Leinster.^ When we read in a monastic account that 
■one of the Celtic saints left his country for the love of God, at the 
Tiead of a swarm of retainers, we may be pretty certain that he was 
■expelled, on account of some dynastic revolution. In the legend there 
is much solemn fooling over Clyto and Fingar. According to it Fingar 
was converted by S. Patrick, and when the apostle appeared before 
liis father to preach the gospel, he alone stood up. This is an appro- 
priation from the legends of S. Ere and his half-brother, S. Fiacc. 
■Clyto was so angry that he ordered Fingar to leave the island. Several 
joung men who believed joined him, as did also his sister Piala (Ciara). 
They took ship and sailed for Brittany, where they were well received 
by the reigning prince, whose name is not recorded. ^ 

The place of landing is uncertain. S. Fingar is commemorated at 
both Ploudiri in Finistere and at Pluvigner in Morbihan, but the 
latter place named indicates that it was there that he constituted his 
■flou or tribe. 

The chief of the land gave his consent to his settling there, and 
Fingar diverted himself with hunting. One day he was in pursuit 
■of a stag, when he was separated from his companions. He killed 
and cut up the stag and placed the carcase on his horse. As he was 
•covered with blood, he sought a fountain where he could wash ; but 
finding none, he drove the point of his spear into the ground, where- 
upon a spring gushed forth. Here he cleansed his hands and garments. 
In the process he saw his own face reflected in the water, and fell into 
great admiration of his personal beauty. " I really," said he, " am 
too good-looking a fellow for this world," and he forthwith resolved 
to devote his beauty to religion ; and he set to work to erect a hut 
of branches near the spring, where he might begin his life of morti- 
fication and solitude.^ 

^ Anselm does not name the father of Fingar. 

^ " Terra marique minorem in Britanniam pervenerunt." Vita by Anselm. 
Acta SS., Mart. iii. p. 456. 

^ " Formosi vultus sui pulchritudinem attendens (erat enim speciosus valde 
■et decorus aspectu) coepit laudare Deum, et benedicere, qui tantam ei contulerat 
gratiam." Ibid., p. 4'57. 

2 6 Lives of the British Saints 

Meantime his companions and attendants were sore troubled at 
his not appearing, and the prince of the country suspecting foul play, 
arrested them, and threatened them with death unless they produced 
Fingar. They represented to' the prince that it was antecedently im- 
probable that they should murder their leader on whom they all de- 
pended, and that they were obviously incapacitated from finding him 
if they were locked up in prison. The prince having a mind open to 
an argument, yielded and bade them scour the country and find Fingar. 
They searched, and at length came on him in his improvised cell by 
the fountain. The prince or duke was brought to the spot, and as 
Fingar professed his resolution not to return to the world, he was 
granted the whole territory round, free of impost for ever. This is 
almost certainly the very extensive district of Pluvigner. The name 
itself indicates it as the place where Fingar established his clan or 
•plehs. It now contains nine daughter churches. The mother church 
is dedicated to S. Fingar, and his sacred fountain is shown near it. 

After some time the desire came over him to return to his native 
land. He accordingly sailed for Ireland, and on arriving, found that 
his father was dead, and the members of the sept desired that he 
should be their chief. To this he would not hearken, but advised 
that his sister Ciara (the Brythonic form is Piala) should be married 
to some noble and that her husband should be elected king. But 
Ciara would not consent to this ; she had but one ambition, to join 
her brother in a religious life. Fingar then advised the sept to leave 
it to chance, in other words, let there be a general scrimmage to decide 
who should be their sovereign ; as for himself, he would abandon the 

Accordingly, at the head of seven hundred and seventy-seven men, 
seven bishops, and with his sister Ciara, he sailed to return to Armorica, 
but was carried by the winds towards Cornwall. 

We may be permitted here to quote the grotesque version of the 
story as given by Lobineau. 

" Etant retourne dans son pays, avec le dessin de convertir k Jesus 
Christ ses compatriotes, il y refusa la couronne que la mort venait 4 
enlever a son pere, et que ses sujets lui presentaient avec un em- 
pressement qui marquait bien que ceux qui professent la veritable 
foi ne manquent jamais de fidelite a leurs souverain legitime." 

Hardly had he started, before Hia, a virgin, who had resolved on 
accompanying Ciara, came down to the shore, and to her dismay saw 
the boat already in the offing. But a leaf was floating on the waves. 
With a stick she drew it towards her, and trusting to God stepped on 
to it, when the leaf expanded, and she was wafted upon it over the 

aS*. Fin gar 27 

sea, and arrived in Cornwall, where she landed in Hayle Bay,i and 
constructed for herself a cabin, where now stands S. Ives. 

Some time later Fingar and his party arrived in the same harbour, 
and disembarked. On landing, Fingar found a little dwelling in 
which lived a holy virgin, but unwilling to incommode her, the party 
passed on and went to Connerton.^ Here was a worthy woman who 
was ready and willing to entertain the party ; and, to make beds for 
them, she at once tore down all the thatch from her roof. She had 
but a single cow, but that she immediately offered the party. They 
fell on it, killed, cut it up, roasted and ate it. After that, Fingar 
collected the bones, and put them into the skin. The entire party, led 
by the seven bishops, prayed, and up stood the cow, lowed, shook 
herself, and suffered herself at once to be milked. After this the cow 
always gave three times as much milk as any other, and from her 
arose a special breed which continued in Cornwall to the time of 
Anselm who wrote the legend. The next thing to be done was to 
restore the roof which the woman " had torn away," and this was accor- 
dingly done. 

The company now went on their way, eastwards. S. Hia no more 
appears in the tale. She had apparently taken offence at their sailing 
without her, and she remained where she had established herself, and 
lucky it was for her that she did so. News had reached Tewdrig,* 
the prince, then at Riviere on the creek opening east out of the Hayle 
estuary. He did not relish this invasion of Irish, and he armed men 
and went in pursuit. Fingar and his party had slept at Connerton, 
and they moved south in a body to the point where now stands 
the church of Gwinear. Here Fingar and a companion left them to 
go forward and explore the ground. He came, we are told, to a certain 
valley, where he sat down. Being thirsty, he drove his staff into the 
ground, and elicited a copious spring of beautifully clear water, " utrius- 
que duplici saxo decenter inclusus, usque in hodiernam diem copiosa 
vena fluitare non cessat." 

The spring is that at Tregotha, and a very fine spring it is. It has 
been enclosed and conducted by a drain pipe to flow into a large tank 
that is walled round. 

Meanwhile Tewdrig, " veniens improvisus a tergo," had fallen on 
the party that was resting on the slope of the hill, and had put them 

1 " Socii, datis velis, sequoreos fluctus secantes, prospero cursu applicueie portum, qui vocatur Heul ; ubi jam praevenerat eos sacra virgo 
Hia," ibid., p. 458. 

2. " Ad villain quamdam, quas vocatur Conetconia,pervenerunt,"jW(f.,p. 459. 

' " Sonuerat fama in auribus Theodorici, regis Cornubiae, in terra scilicet 
sua Christianum multitudinem advenisse." Ihid. 

2 8 Lives of the British Saints 

to the sword. Fingar, hearing cries in that direction, retraced his 
steps, and on surmounting the elevation due south of the site of the 
butchery, saw what had taken place. Turning to his comrades he 
said, " See — this is the place where our labours are to be brought to 
an end. Let us go forward and meet our fate." On coming up to 
Tewdrig, " You son of a devil," was his choice address, " do your 
father's work quickly." Then, kneeling down, he extended his neck, 
and the tyrant at a single blow smote off his head. Fingar had 
planted his staff at his side, and there it remained, took root and grew 
into a tree, but of what description Anselm was unable to state. 

Almost immediately, the decapitated Saint rose to his feet, picked 
up his head and walked with it to the top of the hill. But here he 
encountered a couple of wrangling women, who addressed each other 
in such abusive terms, that the Saint exclaimed, " I cannot endure 
this ! " and he cursed the spot that thenceforth it should grow no 
other crop than scolds. 

The hill is the bit of moor behind Gwinear, now covered with the 
refuse of the manor mine. Disgusted at the language employed by 
the women, S. Fingar turned aside and walked in the direction of 
Rewala, but coming, in the bottom, to a beautiful fountain, he pro- 
ceeded to wash his head there, " in quo loco gratissimus tons, jugi rivo 
usque hodie emanare non cessat." 

This well is called Tammi's or Keat's Well, and the cottagers of 
Relistien have recourse to it for their water. It is not easily found, 
being in a furze-brake, near another spring and stream. It lies deep, 
and has steps cut in the rock, or built descending into the water, which 
is of the purest quality. But Fingar's peregrinations did not end 
there. Having cleaned his head he returned to the site of the massa- 
cre, which at the time when Anselm wrote was divided from the well 
by a small wood. There Fingar sank on the ground and expired. A 
copious spring issued from the spot where his head had been struck 
off, and this was flowing at the time when Anselm wrote,near the tree 
that grew out of the saint's walking stick. 

This spring has been drained away by the mines, and now issues 
from an adit some way below the church. 

If we reduce all this fable to its elements, this is what we arrive at. 
Fingar landed at the mouth of the Hayle estuary and went to Conner- 
ton, where he spent the first night. Then he went south. He had 
outstripped his companions, and was refreshing himself at the Tre- 
gotha spring, when he was recalled by the cries of his companions. 
All the nonsense about the march down hill to wash his head was 
invented later to give some sanctity to the Tammi's Well ; and the 

S. Fingar 29 

curse on the hill was a local joke greedily picked up by Anselm. The 
well at Tregotha is still regarded with superstitious veneration ; re- 
cently, a young man whose arm had been broken went daily to it, 
to plunge the limb in the water, under the belief that this would 
suffice for setting and healing it. 

But to return to the legend. Tewdrig having accomplished his 
bloody work departed, leaving the dead scattered where they had 
been slain. 

The ensuing night a countryman named Gur dreamed that Fingar 
appeared to him and bade him bury him decently. Gur woke up his 
wife, and told her his dream ; but she bade him do nothing of the 
kind, as Tewdrig might resent it. Next day he went out hunting and 
pursued a stag which fled to the spot where lay the body of Fingar, 
and fell down before it as if imploring protection of the dead saint. 
The dogs also on coming up would not touch the stag, but went down 
on the ground, with their tails between their legs about the sacred 
body. Gur now at once proceeded to bury Fingar on the spot, and 
he went about the scene of the butchery burying all the rest. Some 
time after a church was erected over the grave. 

Anselm finishes off the story with some tales of miracles performed 
later, that are not particularly delicate. Where Anselm, the writer 
of this wonderful legend, lived, we have no means of telling. That 
he knew the sites is obvious. He is particular in describing them, but 
he is most vague relative to sites in Brittany. His narrative is clearly 
based on popular tradition. There is always some truth at the bottom 
of such traditions, but it is not always easy to arrive at it. 

The truth would seem to be this, that Fingar was obliged to fly 
Ireland, to save his life. If, as is possible, he were one of the Hy 
Bairrche who were dispossessed by Crimthan and the Hy Cinnselach, 
then we have a reasonable explanation. Ailill's brother, later, assassi- 
nated Crimthan and recovered his own patrimony ; and, perhaps, a 
rumour to this effect reached Fingar, and he returned to Ireland to 
try his luck ; but the Hy Cinnselach were too powerful, and he was 
obliged at the head of a fresh party of exiles from the Hy Bairrche 
country to attempt to return to Brittany, where he had already settled 
and established a flou. Unfavourable winds, however, drove him 
on the Cornish coast, and there Tewdrig, who had suffered severely 
from Irish invasions, slew him and some of his foUowers. We are 
not, however, told that either Hia or Piala (Ciara) was put to 

There were later descents of Irish, soon after, under Breaca and 
Buriana, and these effectually planted themselves in Penwith and 

3 o Lives of the British Saints 

Carnmarth, and then the cult sprang up of their fellow Irishmen who 
had preceded them.^ 

As already intimated, Fingar is honoured not only in Morbihan, 
but also in Finistere, at Ploudiri, where he is the patron of the daughter 
church of Loc-equinger. But as there is another commune of the 
same name with the same dedication in S. Finistere, we 
may conclude that, although the legend says nothing about it, Fingar 
brought over a second colony from Ireland which he planted in Leon, 
and this expedition in which he lost his life was actually the third. 

Lobineau and the BoUandists put the date of the martyrdom at 
455, but this is possibly too early. S. Fiacc, who belonged to the 
same generation as Ailill, was born about 435 and died about 520. 
But it is, it must be understood, mere conjecture in making Fingar 
a son of Ailill of the Hy Bairrche. It is needless to say that no Irish 
historian knows anything of Clyto. S. Fiacc would, if the identifica- 
tion be admitted, be a half-brother of Fingar, and that may help to 
account for the incident of the rising out of respect to S. Patrick being 
transferred from Fiacc to Fingar. 

The Church of Gwinear is supposed to mark the site of the martyrdom. 

Wilson in the second edition of his Martyrology (1640) gives his 
day as March 23. The BoUandists follow Wilson and Colgan by mis- 
take on February 23. In Brittany on December 14.^ Gwinear 
Feast is on the Sunday after the first Thursday in May. 

In the diocese of Quimper, Loc-equinger is dedicated to him, ^ and 
another place of the same name in S.Thegonnec. AtLangon he was 
venerated as S. Venier, and his sanctuary was resorted to as early as 
838. He became invested with the attributes of the Goddess of Love, 
and was in repute among the amorous. To obviate inconveniences 
due to this identification, the church has been rededicated to S. Agatha.* 

In Brittany he is regarded as a bishop. But for this there is no 
justification in the Life. 

S. FINNIAN, Abbot, Confessor 

This very remarkable man, " master of the Saints " of Ireland, as 
he was termed, and the principal agent in the restoration of religion 

^ Post tempus aliquod, cum jam vinea Domini Sabaoth, id est Ecclesia 
Cornubise terminos occupare ccepisset ; incoata est devotione fidelium super 
sepulchrum Sancti Martyris basilica." Ibid., p. 459. 

^ Missal of Vannes, 1530, Brev. Venet., 1589, also 1757, and Albert le Grand, 
Garaby, etc. 

' Here the Pardons are on September 8, and the Sunday after December 13. 

* De Corson, PouillS, T. V. pp. 42 et seq. ' 

■;;:,' S. Fiunian 31 

-there when it had fallen into decay after the death of S. Patrick and 
his missionary band, was trained for his work in Wales, and accord- 
ingly may well be introduced into this collection. 
The authorities for his Life are : — 

1. A Latin Vita in the Salamanca Codex, published in Acta SS. 
HilernicB, Edinburgh, 1888, pp. 189-200. 

2. An Irish Life, from the Book of Lismore, Anecd. Oxon., 1890, 
pp. 75-83 ; transl. pp. 222-30. 

Finnian is further mentioned in the Lives of S. Cadoc, S. Ciaran of 
■Clones, S. Lugid of Clonfert, S. Ruadhan of Lothra, S. Colman Elo, 
S. Columba of Tir-da-Glas, S. Columba of Hy, etc. 

The first Life is an important document ; it contains mention of 
some thirty-seven contemporary kings, chiefs, and saints, almost all 
■of whom can be identified and their dates fixed, some precisely, others 

There are, however, certain difficulties to be met ; these we will 
■consider, and then proceed to the particulars of the Life of the Saint. 

The first of these concerns his baptism. 

He is said to have been taken to be baptised by S. Fortchern, but 
■on the way was met by S. Abban, who performed the ceremony. The 
date of Fortchern is difficult to fix ; but Abban, born in 520, died in 
,590 ; consequently this would throw the birth of Finnian to the middle 
of the sixth century or later, but Finnian actually died about 550. 

Now the Life in the Salamanca Codex gives the name of the baptiser 
■of Finnian twice, and on one of these occasions as Abbanus. The 
name is a mistake of a copyist for Albeus, or Ailbe of Emly, who also 
baptised S. David, and who died at an advanced age in 541. If we 
make this correction, the anachronism disappears. 

The second difficulty concerns the discipleship of S. Finnian to S. 
Cadoc. This cannot have been, as they were of about the same age 
or Finnian was somewhat the elder of the two. It is probable that 
Finnian was a friend of Cadoc, and not actually his pupil. 

With these rectifications, the difficulties disappear from the Life of 
Finnian. Finnian was born about 472-5 ; he was a native of Leinster, 
and is variously stated to have been son or grandson of Fintan of 
the race of Lochain.^ His mother's name was Talech. When he 
was born his parents, who must have been Christians, sent him to be 
baptised by Bishop Fortchern at Roscor, but on the way met Bishop 
Ailbe (in the text Abban), who proceeded to baptise him. When 

1 The Lives make him the son of Fintan, as does also a Genealogy in the 
LebarBrecc. But a Genealogy in the Book of Leiii'iier gives Finain liiac Finloga 
mac Fintan. Anecd. Oxon.^—Book of Lismore, p. 342. 

32 Lives of the British Saints 

sufficiently old, Finnian was committed to Fortchern to be educated. 
Dr. Lanigan supposed that this was not Fortchern, grandson of Laog- 
haire, who became disciple of S. Loman and succeeded him at Trim 
in Meath. The period suits. Fortchern held Trim for three days 
only after his master's death, and then migrated probably to Cill- 
Fortchern of the Hy Drona in the land of the Hy Cinnselach, between 
the Barrow and the Blackstairs and Mount Leinster. 

At the age of thirty Finnian departed for South Wales, paying a 
visit to S. Caeman of Dayr-Innis on his way. He had with him his 
nephew Gabhran, and a friend Buit, and they accompanied S. Cadoc, 
who had just then visited Ireland.-^ 

In Wales the friends together founded Melboc (Meibod) and Nant- 
Carvan.2 The circumstances are not told in this way in the Life of 
S. Finnian. There it is said that he went to Cill-muine. " He found 
there before him three sages, named David, Gildas and Cathmail. . . . 
Now when Cathmail beheld Finnian, he looked at him attentively. 
' Why this great attention bestowed on the unknown youth that is 
gone into the house ? ' asked David. ' Because I perceive great grace 
in him,' replied Cathmail." 

The biographer confuses this visit to Cill-muine with one made 
considerably later, when Finnian was called in to decide a contention 
between David and Gildas, and which, if our reckoning be correct, 
took place in 527, whereas the first arrival of Finnian in Wales 
occurred in 502-5. 

During his stay in Wales an inroad of Saxons took place, and as 
they were in a valley, Finnian with his staff upset a mountain upon 
them, and buried them under the stones.^ This incursion is alsO' 
mentioned in the Life of S. Aidan.* If any Saxons troubled Wales 
at this period, it must have been some who had made their way in 
boats round Cornwall and into the Severn Sea. 

That Finnian was for a while with Cadoc at Llancarfan is almost 
certain. A chapel bearing his name existed near it ; and the Life 
says that he was wont to go to the island called Echni, i.e. the Flat 
Holmes, in the Channel, for privacy, staying with the saints of the 
place. ^ These saints, as we know, were Cadoc and Gildas ; the former 
was wont to retreat to it for Lent. 

Cadoc, Finnian, and Buit formed the design of visiting Rome, but 
Finnian was dissuaded by an angel in a dream, who said : " What 

1 Vita S. Cadoci in Cambro-British Saints, p. 36. 

' Vita S. Findiani in Cod. Sal., col. 194, " Garbayn alio nomine Nant.'^ 

* Cod. Sal., col. 193 ; Book of Lismore, pp. 223-4. 

' Cambro-British Saints, p. 2.^-. * Cod. Sal., col. 193. 

S. Finnian 3 3 

would be given to thee in Rome that thou canst not obtain here ? 
Go, and renew the Faith in Ireland." The angel that spoke to him 
was his own Common Sense.^ 

Accordingly, bidding adieu to Cadoc, he took ship for Ireland. He 
landed at Cill-Cairen, i.e. Carnin, in Wexford. He had been, says 
the author of the Latin life, thirty years out of Ireland. Either he 
was not thirty when he arrived at Cill-muine, or he was not out of his 
country for thirty years ; for when he arrived in Wexford he was 
received by Muirdach, the king who died in 525, so that Finnian cannot 
have wen been aged sixty at the date of Muirdach's death. It is 
possible, but not probable, that he Uved to the age of eighty-seven, 
and that his great work of mastership to the Saints was begun when 
he was over sixty years of age. 

Finnian crossed over with Buit and one named Genoc.^ Muirdach 
son -of Aengus, king of Leinster, met him on the shore, and taking 
him on his back, carried him over three acres. 

Some one standing by remarked : " You are a heavy burden to 
the prince." " He shall have his reward," replied Finnian. " For 
every acre across which he transported me, he shall have a successor 
on the throne," or, according to another version : " As Muirdach 
has received me with joy, even so with joy shall the angels receive 
him into everlasting habitations. And the yoke of the foreigner shall 
not weigh on his shoulders." 

Muirdach bade him select a site for his ecclesiastical settlement, 
and he chose several. Moreover he blessed the queen, and she bore 
a son, Eochu. 

At this time probably he revisited Wales, and arrived to settle a 
controversy between S. David and Gildas, as to which should be master 
in Menevia. The headstrong Gildas desired to turn David out of his 
patrimony. By the judgment of Finnian David remained, and Gildas 
had to quit.^ 

After having made some foundations in the Hy Cinnselach country, 
Finnian visited the Hy Bairrche. He was perhaps induced to do this 
on account of some unpleasantness having arisen between him and 
Bressal, the son of Muirdach, who resented the largeness of the grants. 

This irritation came to a head when Finnian demanded the site 
occupied by the royal pigstyes as one whereon to build a church. 
The altercation grew so hot over this matter, that Finnian lost his 

1 Booli of Lismore, p. 224 ; Cod. Sal., col. 194. From this latter is omitted 
the significant sentence, " What would be given thee at Rome will be given 
thee here." ^ d,^ Sal., col. 195. 

3 Book of, Lismore, pp. 223-4. This is not in the Life in the Cod. Sal. 


34 Lives of the British Saints 

temper and cursed Bressal. Shortly after, in a raid made by the 
Ossorians, Bressal was killed, and as Muirdach may have not unreason- 
ably considered that Finnian had made a sorry return for all the 
kindness shown him, a coolness ensued between them, and on his 
death Finnian deemed it expedient to leave that part of the country. 

Diarmidh, son of Aengus Guinech, was dead, and his sons, Cormac 
and Crimthan, shared the rule over the Hy Bairrche, and were jealous 
of one another. Crimthan was the elder, Cormac the more subtle of 
the two. Cormac visited his brother and spoke strongly against 
Finnian as a man of a grasping nature, and urged him to expel the 
Saint from his territories. But this he did out of low cunning. He 
hoped to rouse Finnian thereby into cursing his brother, and so bringing 
down ill-luck on his head.^ 

Crimthan fell into the snare ; he went to the church where Finnian 
was, and ordered him to leave. The Saint refused ; unless turned out 
by force, he would not budge. A scuffle ensued, in which Crimthan 
stumbled and broke his ankle on a stone ; and Finnian cursed him 
that his kingship should come to naught. 

What became of Crimthan we are not informed, but his accident 
and consequent lameness would make him legally incapacitated to 
wear the crown ; and Cormac became sole king. He abdicated, how- 
ever, in 535, and was succeeded by his brother Gorman. 

Finnian next made an incursion into the territory of the Hy Dun- 
laing, where he was well received by Cairbre Dubh, who was king of 
Leinster for eleven years, and died in 546. 

One day early Finnian went outside the enclosure of his monastery, 
and found a boy lying asleep under the bank. Some robbers had 
been making a raid during the night, and had taken the lad with them ; 
but he was too tired to proceed, and they had abandoned him. So 
after creeping to the bank, he fell asleep. Finnian hastily procured 
a pair of shears and clipped his hair. The boy started to his feet, and 
rubbing his eyes asked what he was about. 

" I saw that there was the making of a monk in you," replied Fin- 
nian. " Who knows ? Perhaps you may rise to be abbot after me." 

Then Finnian went to Cluain-Eraird, now Clonard, and on seeing 
the place, exclaimed : " This shall be my rest for ever. Here will I 
dwell, for I have a delight therein ; " and he drove a wild boar away 
that had its lair there, and sat down. 

1 " Propter invidiam quam habebat ad fratrem suum Crimtannuni, ut 
Sanctus Finnianus ei malediceret, suggerebat fratri suo Crimtauuo ut sanctum 
de terra sua expelleret." Cod. Sal., col. 196. 

S. Fi: 



As he sat a druid named Fracan came up, and entered into con- 
versation with him. 

Finnian asked the druid whence he derived his wisdom, from above 
or from below. 

"Test me, and find out," rephed Fracan. 

" Then," said Finnian, " tell me, do you see the place of my resur- 
rection ? " 

" In heaven, surely," repUed the druid. 

" Try again," said Finnian, and stood up. 

Then the druid, laughing, said: "Now indeed T see the place of 
your rising. It is where you sat." 

" You have hit it," said Finnian. " There shall I be buried and 
rise again." ^ 

On this spot Finnian founded his celebrated school and monastery, 
and pupils streamed to him from every quarter. It was said to have 
contained during his life as many as three thousand scholars. This was 
the largest and most important college in Ireland at the time.^ In 
it were educated the Twelve Apostles of the Second Order. Among 
his most important disciples were Ciaran, the wheelwright's son, 
founder of Clonmacnois, who died in 548 ; Brendan of Birr, whose 
death took place in 571 ; his namesake, the Navigator, who departed 
this life in 577 ; the great Columcille, who died in 597 ; Columba of 
Tir-da-Glas, d. 548 ; Mobi, the Flatfaced, d. 544 ; Lasrian, d. 570 ; 
Sinel, who lived on to 603; Cairnechof Aghaboe, d. 599; Ruadhan 
of Lothra, d. 584 ; Senach the Bishop, d. 588. Some of these were 
past middle age when they joined the community. 

Not yet satisfied, but desirous of starting feeders to his great school, 
Finnian visited Connaught ; and having founded churches there, 
committed them to Dathi or Nathi and to S. Grellan. 

He entered into correspondence with Gildas about 550, relative to 
penitential canons. The Penitential of Finnian is extant, and in 
comparison with those of Gildas and of David shows that these saints 
had been in communication, or had at least some common principle 
on which they based their rules. 

On one occasion Finnian visited Tuathal Maelgarbh, who was High 
King from 533 to 544, and found with him a priest named Mancus, 
who was in trouble. He wanted the king's horse pastures to build a 

^ The biographer masses the point of the story. He makes the reply of the 
druid to be a prophecy, showing that the druidic science had a divine origin ; 
but obviously the druid was simply cutting a joke. 

" His mother and two sisters, Rignach and Rigenn, joined him at Clonard, 
and he visited other women, so that he must have had a religions house for 
women near by, or else Clonard was a double monastery. 

36 Lives of the British Saints 

church in them, and he had asked the king for them ; but Tuathal 
had refused him. He had recourse to S. Finnian, who overcame the 
king's objections. 1 

Many years ago, before 525, Finnian had preached before S. Brigid, 
and had so pleased her that she gave him a gold ring. One day a man 
named Crimthan came to him and asked to be received into the com- 
munity. But the fellow was a serf to the king of Fotharta, who asked 
for him an ounce of gold. So Finnian surrendered the ring Brigid 
had given him, and which weighed an ounce, and with it bought the 
man's freedom. 

In 547 the terrible Yellow Plague broke out in Wales and was 
carried to Ireland, where it caused many deaths, especially in 548. It 
continued to rage till 550, when it died away. 

Finnian, notwithstanding his age, was attacked by it, and was carried 
off in 548, according to the Four Masters ; but the Annals of Inisfallen 
protract his life to 552. 

His disciple, Columba of Tir-da-Glas, ministered to Finnian in his 
last hours, and then himself succumbed to the disorder. Finnian 
died on December 12, and Columba on December 13. The Irish Life 
says : "As Paul died in Rome for the sake of the Christian people, 
lest they should all perish in the pains and punishments of hell, even 
so Finnian died at Clonard for the sake of the people of the Gael, that 
they might not all perish of the Yellow Plague." ^ 

The passage is somewhat obscure, but it seems to imply that the 
death of Finnian was accepted as an atonement for the people, and 
the plague was stayed. It goes on to say, that as he died an angel 
undertook to banish every pestilence from Clonard, and from all Ire- 
land, on account of the fasting of his congregation. We may then 
place the death of Finnian in 550, at the time when the Plague began 
to cease. 

The biographers revel in a nasty account of how Finnian wore an 
iron girdle about his waist, that ate into his flesh so that maggots 
bred there. His daily refection was barley bread and cold water, but 
on Sundays and holydays he took broiled salmon and ale. He slept 
on the earth, and had a stone for a bolster. 

Finnian was born about 472-5. He probably left Ireland in or about 
490, when his master Fortchern died. He returned to Ireland, after 
having been thirty years in Britain, in the reign of Muirdach, who 
died in 525. We may place this return in 520. 

' A droll but not over-delicate miracle wab -wrought by Finnian to bring the 
King to submission. " Rex superbus cum ad necessitatem nature in campum 
pergeret, in statione sua penitus riguit." Cod. Sal., col. 206. 

^ Book of Lismore, p. 229. 

aS*. Fracan 3 7 

On the death of Muirdach he went among the Hy Bairrche, and was 
in their territory for seven years, till 532. Then he founded Clonard. 
He cannot have been older than sixty, as his mother was still alive 
at the time, though suffering from an infirmity that rendered the 
nursing of her very unpleasant.^ 

The visit to Tuathal Maelgarbh probably took place in 533, directly 
he assumed the crown. Finnian would almost certainly then go to 
salute the new king and beg something of him. 

Finnian of Clonard occurs in all the Irish Martyrologies on December 
12, also in the Drummond calendar, and in the Celtic calendar (No. 
V) published by Bishop Forbes. 

In the Welsh calendars Ffinan, i.e. Finnian, is commemorated on 
December 11 in that in Hafod MS. 8 (sixteenth century), and on 
the 13th in those in Additional MS. 14,912 (fourteenth century), and 
the Prymers of 1618 and 1633. Both are mistakes for the 12th. 

Whytford has : " In Yrelonde the feest of Saynt Fynang an abbot 
in whose concepcyon his moder had of him a revelacyon. He cast 
a water lyke a mere in to the see, and where it was he buylded a 
monastery. And he ordeyned in an other monastery iii. m. monkes. 
And he reysed v persones from deth, and turned water into wyne 
with many other m3n:acles that he dyd as well in Englonde and Wales 
as in Yrelande, and had also revelacyon of his deth." 

Although it is said in his Life that he founded two churches in Wales, 
■" Melboc " and Nantcarfan, it is certain that he was not the actual 
founder of either ; but at Llancarfan there did exist a chapel in his 


S. FRACAN, Confessor 

Fracan is probably Brychan. He was the second husband of Gwen 
Teirbron, and the father of Saints James, Gwethenoc, and Winwaloe, 
and of a daughter Creirwy. He was cousin to Cataw or Cado, Duke of 
Cornwall,^ but the name of his father is not known. 

1 " Totum corpus ejus est ita infectum quod puellae servientes horrent 
tangere earn." Cod. Sal., col. 201. 

2 Camhro-Bntish Saints, p. 39. " Finian Seoctus," on p. 88, is a misreading 
•for " Finian Scottus." 

3 " Fracanus, Catouii regis Britannici, viri secundum seculum famosissimi 
consobrinus," Vita Sti. Winwaloei in CaH. Landevennec, c. 2 ; ed. Plaine, 
Analecta Boll., vii (1888), p. 176. Fragan is a late form of the name. 

3 8 Lives of the British Saints 

The material for his Life is scanty enough, mention in the Lives of 
Winwaloe, and of James and Gwethenoc. The latter has not been 
printed, but extracts have been made from it by the Bohandist fathers 
in Catalogus Codicum kagiographicarum, Lat. (in the National Library, 
Paris), 1889, i, pp. 578-82. "There was in the western parts of 
Britain a certain wealthy man of great repute among his neighbours, 
Fracan by name, having a wife of like rank, called in their native 
tongue Guen, which in Latin is Candida. Divine mercy accorded 
them three sons, of whom two were twins, the third was born later. 
The twins were Gwethenoc and James, the third was named Wing- 
waloe." ^ 

" Fracan, accompanied by his two lambs, that is, by his two sons, 
Wethenoc and Jacut, and by their mother Alba (Guen), embarked 
with a not very numerous retinue, traversed the British sea, and 
disembarked in Armorica, a forest-clad land, where he learned that 
the country .was free from war ; and the north-west wind breathing 
softly, they were carried to the port of Brahec. In which, looking 
about, and arriving about the eleventh hour, Fracan found a fairly 
extensive tract, suitable for the establishment of a single plou, sur- 
rounded on all sides by woods and thorn-brakes, since called after its 
discoverer, and watered by a certain river called Blood (Gouet). There 
he began to live, along with his company, secure against sicknesses." * 

There can be no mistaking where Fracan landed, and where he 
settled. His boats entered the long narrow estuary of the Gouet, 
that opens into the Bay of S. Brieuc, commanded at the time by the 
ruins of an ancient Roman castle, now called La Tour de Cesson. The 
hiU slopes descended rapidly to the water, dense with fohage. 

The inflowing tide swept the boats up, Gwen seated, with her twin 
boys on her lap, looking wonderingly at the new, wild country where 
they had come to settle. It was evening, and the stars were twinkling 
in the sky overhead, and were reflected in the glassy water, the sparkles 
broken by the ripple as the boats advanced. The tide carried them 
to a point where through a lateral ravine from the east another stream 
entered the Gouet. Here they disembarked, lighted fires, and spent 
the night. Some years later Brioc would land at the same spot and 
ascend the steep hill, and settle himself in the prehistoric camp that 
occupied the fork. 

^ " Fuit in occidentibus Britannici territorii partibus vir quidam opulentus et 
inter convicaneos suos nominatissimus, Fraganus nomine, habens conjugem 
coaequibilem, lingua patria Guen appellatam, quod Latine sonat Candida." 
Catal. Cod. hag., Paris, p. 578. 

' Vita Sti. Winwaloei, ed. Plaine, p. 176. 

-^S*. Fracan 39 

Next morning, doubtless, Fracan went inland to explore. He had 
brought sheep and oxen with him, and the place where he had dis- 
embarked was hardly suited for them. Ascending the hiU, and looking 
south he saw rising ground that was bare of trees, a furzy down, on 
which stood up great cairns that covered dolmens, in which the dead 
of a disappeared race were buried. "^ 

Collecting his party, and driving the cattle and flock before them,' 
the colonists made for this high ground ; and there they encamped, 
throwing up an earthen bank and surmounting it with a breastwork 
of stakes and wattles, as a protection against wolves. And here Gwen 
comforted her weary, sobbing twins, telling them that this was hence- 
forth to be their home. 

Would that the historian had told us the year when Fracan dis- 
embarked, instead of being so precise concerning the hour. 

According to De la Borderie the date was about 460, and this cannot 
be far wrong. 

Possibly Fracan was the earliest settler in this part, but probably 
not. For Righuel had come over, we do not know whether before or 
whether he came shortly after, and established himself in supreme 
authority over all the colonists and such natives as remained. And 
Meugant was not long in following to found a college at La Meaugon 
on the further side of the Gouet. 

Some little way to the east was the Caer or Castel of Aldor or 
Audren, the grandfather of Gwen, and where perhaps still lived her 
father, Emyr Llydaw. It was doubtless the knowledge that there 
were ties binding the family to British settlers in that part of Dom- 
nonia, which had induced Fracan to make for the harbour most con- 
venient for disembarkation in the district over which his wife's family 
had exercised a rough royalty. 

And Gwen speedily put in a claim for tribal land, which was acknow- 
ledged ; and she was granted a tract of territory, since called Ple- 
quien, north of Castel Audren, and where she also formed a ■plou, and 
where to this day her statue remains. Of which more when we come 
to speak of Gwen Teirbron. 

But now the flood of colonists increased. With the first spring 
weather their boats appeared off the coast, and there was a rapid, 
appropriation of land. These colonists were not, however, all British ;: 
Irish came as weU in no small numbers. Fracan deemed it expedient: 
to secure a fresh tract, for the overflow of his flou. 

By the time that he had come to think this advisable he had to go- 

1 The caims have disappeared, but the dolmens remain. 

40 Lives of the British Saints 

far afield, and he went into L6on. And he pitched on a spot where 
the Irish were crowding in thickest ; his plou there is now called 
Saint Fr6gan. Then he secured another, hard by Plouvien (Plou- 
guen), which was taken in the name of his wife. 

We are led to inquire, why Fracan should have formed colonies in 
Leon as well as in Domnonia. We can only conjecture that he was 
acting in concert with Righuel, his neighbour, who had assumed the 
sovereignty over Domnonia, and wished to extend his authority over 
Leon as well. The Kemenet lUi, between the Abervrach and the 
River of Quilimadec, was becoming too Irish ; and Righuel may well 
have urged Fracan to occupy an important district there among them, 
as a check upon their independence, and to prevent their setting up 
a prince of their own. This must be matter of conjecture ; but we 
are fain to find a reason for this second double colony so far from the 
headquarters of his tribe. 

A word or two may here be given relative to the organization of 
these settlements, and we cannot do better than give M. de la 
Borderie's words ; — 

" The territory occupied by Fracan, his family and retinue, is called 
to this day Plou-Fragan. What then is a plou ? 

" The word exists with slight variations in all the Breton dialects. 
In Welsh and Cornish it is a parish in the ecclesiastical sense, but 
rather the body of parishioners than the parish territory. With the 
Bretons of the continent it has a special signification. The flou is 
properly the little colony formed by the British immigrants, establish- 
ing itself on leaving its boats in a corner of the Armoric desert, under 
the direction of a brave warrior, a secular chief, or else of a pious monk, 
the spiritual chieftain over a little society formed in the land of exile, 
by community of misfortune. On this soil, the plou replaces the 
clan. In the terrible storm which broke over Britain the clan was 
for the most part dissolved by the disasters of invasion, and dis- 
persed by the chances of emigration. The plou is derived from it, 
an image, a modification, a reconstruction on a new basis, linked not 
by ties of blood, but by those, no less strong, of common suffering, 
of peril and exile faced and endured in common. 

" The civil institution of the plou still subsisted and was full of life 
in the ninth century, as we may see by the Cartulary of Redon. In 
that we must study the functions of the chieftain of the plou (in Latin 
princeps plehis, in Breton madiern), an hereditary dignity, special 
to Brittany, and of a very original character. His first and principal 
privilege was that of exercising judicial authority throughout the 
flou, over all its inhabitants. The chief possessed beside certain 

S. Fracan zj. i 

special rights, dues, subventions, and certain lands forming the domain 
that sustained his dignity. All the plehenses or members of the flou 
owed to their chief fidelity and assistance, as to a hereditary lord. 
He could claim their military help if attacked in his person or his 
goods, and in case of need, to enforce his judgments. . . . The plou 
must be considered as the elementary social and political unit, as 
the distinctive and original feature of the British community on the 
■continent. It represents the little colony originally settled on the 
Armorican soil by the immigrants. And the word remains fixed to the 
present day, incorporated in the names of some two hundred Breton 
parishes." ^ 

Ploufragan was but four miles distant from the Campus Roboris 
■or Champ de Rouvre, where Righuel had established himself. He 
had crossed over with a large fleet ,2 and he planted his court where 
is now Lishelion (Lis-hoel). 

Fracan and Righuel were on very good terms. The former with 
his small plou could not resist the latter at the head of a host of 
settlers ; he submitted, and they lived in amity. 

The forests began to malce way for pasture and cultivated land. 
Great herds of wild horses roamed in the woods, and the colonists 
made pitfalls and ensnared and then tamed them. And they amused 
themselves with horse races on the sands of the Bay of Iffignac.^ 

Meanwhile, Gwen had given to her husband a third son, whom they 
called Winwaloe, and a daughter, Chreirbia (parvula adhuc puella). 
And here abruptly ends all that we Icnow of Fracan, except that he 
sent his three boys to be educated in the island of Lavrea, in the 
Brehat archipelago, by a teacher named Budoc. 

Fracan is the patron of Ploufragan, near S. Brieuc, and of Saint 
Fregan, near Lesneven. Formerly he had a chapel in the parish of 

' Hist, de Bretagne, Paris and Rennes, 1896, i, pp. 281-2. It is to be regretted 
that M. de la Borderie knew nothing of Welsh authorities for the genealogies 
of the Colonists, or he might have been led to see much more into the causes 
of their settlement in certain districts than he has. Indeed, his ignorance on 
this subject induced him to speak contemptuously of material with which he 
was unacquainted. 

^ " Riwalus Britannia dux filius fuit Derochi . . . Hie Riwalus a trans- 
marinis veniens Britanniis cum multitudine navium possedit totam minorem 
Britanniam tempore Chlotharii regis Francorum, qui Chlodovei regis filium 
extitit," Mabill., Acta SS., O.S.B., sjec. ii. De la Borderie distinguishes this 
Righuel from the other spoken of as occupying the Campus Roboris, but without 
reason. The period (511-561) may apply, and probably does, not to the date 
of his coming over, but to his establishment of his rule over Domnonia. The 
totam in the sentence "possedit totam minorem Britanniam " is an exaggeration. 
He ruled only Domnonia, and perhaps also Leon. 

^ Vita S. Winwaloei, ed. Plaine, p. 202. 

4 2 Lives of the British Saints 

S. Guen in C6tes-du Nord, which seems to show that this S. Guen was 
originally Ste. Guen. He is represented as a theatrical king, with 
breastplate, crown, and mantle, with sceptre in one hand and sword 
in the other, in a statue of the eighteenth century at Ploufragan. 

But the most interesting representation of him is in a painting in 
the chapel of Lesguen in the parish of Plouvien, where he is figured 
as a knight in armour, along with his wife, Gwen Teirbron, and his- 
son, Winwaloe. 

Garaby records a tradition that barbarians having arrived off the coast 
of Leon in a fleet so large that the masts resembled a forest, Fracan 
siunmoned the British to attack them. The marauders attempted to 
disembark at Guisseny. The commandant of the leading body of British 
cried out, " Mil guern ! " (A thousand sails !) And afterwards a cross 
was erected on the spot, called Croas ar Mil guern. Fracan attacked the 
camp of the pirates, routed them, cut them to pieces, and burnt their 

Garaby gives October 3 as the day of S. Fracan, but without 
stating his authority ; and he has been followed by Gautier de Mottai, 
Kerviller, etc. 

Fracan is invoked in the eleventh-century Litany, published by 
D'Arbois de Jubainville, in the Revue Celtique, iii, p. 449, as Flocan, 
probably a mistake for Frocan. 


The lolo MSS. include Gafran, the son of Aeddan Fradog ab Dyfn- 
wal Hen, among the Welsh saints, but there is no authority whatever 
for so doing. He was one of the " Men of the North," who have been 
unwarrantably foisted into two documents therein of Achau'r Saint. '^ 
He was a northern warrior, pure and simple. The only chiurch that 
has the semblance of a dedication to him is that of Llantrisant, Angle- 
sey, which is generally given as dedicated to the three saints, San- 
nan, Afran, and leuan, where Afran is undoubtedly a mistake for 

Gafran was in reality the father of Aeddan, and not his son. Aeddan 
was the celebrated king of Scotch Dalriada, known in the Irish annals 
as Aidan mac Gabran, who died in 606. Gafran died, according to 
the .Annates Camhriae, in 558. His wife was Lluan, daughter of 

1 Pp. 106, 138. 2 See under S. Afran, i, p. 116. 


Painting at Lesguen, Ploitvicn, Finistere. 

-^S*. Garai 4 3 

Brychan. The names of the father and son were first inverted, it would 
appear, in the thirteenth-century Bonedi Gwyr y Gogledd in Peniarth 
MS. 45, and the epithet Bradog, " the Treacherous," is found 
attached to them both in Welsh literature. Cantire or Kintyre was 
called by the Welsh Pentir Gafran, his Headland. 

Legend has woven itself around him. In the Triads ^ he is the 
head of a retinue designated one of the " Three Faithful Retinues 
(Diwair Deulu) of the Isle of Britain." The references to them in the 
two earliest series are rather ambiguous ; they showed their faith- 
fulness (i) " when the utter loss took place ; " (2) " when the utter 
loss took place they went to (or, into the) sea for their lord." In the 
third and latest series the incident is described as one of the " Three 
Utter Losses of the Isle of Britain." Gafran and his men " went to 
sea in search of Gwerddonau Llion (the Green Isles of the Ocean) , and 
were never afterwards heard of". They numbered 2,100. Soutbev, 
in his Madoc,^ asks : — 

Where are the sons of Gavran ? where his tribe. 
The faithful ? following their beloved chief, 
They the Green Islands of the Ocean sought ; 
Nor human tongue hath told, nor human ear. 
Since from the silver shores they went their way, 
Hath heard their fortunes. 


S. GARAI, Confessor 

Garai, or Garrai, was, according to the lolo MSS., the son of Cewydd 
ab Caw. He is reckoned among the saints of Morganwg and Gwent, 
and said to have been of " Cor Bangor." He is the reputed founder 
of the Glamorganshire church Llanarrai or Llanharry, now dedicated 
to S. Illtyd.3 

It is hot improbable that he is the same as Gwrhai or Gwrai, son of 

' Peniarth MS. 45 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 390, 397. 40i, 408. 

2 London, 1815, i, p. m. 

' Pp. 107, 146, 222. Rees, Welsh Saints, p. 258, gives his name as Garci. 

44 Lives of the British Saints 


S. GASTAYN, or GASTY, Confessor 

The church of Llangasty Talyllyn, on the Llangorse Lake, near the 
town of Brecon, is said to be dedicated to this saint. No saint of the 
name occurs in the Welsh saintly pedigrees, and had there been we 
should have expected the initial letter of his name, as patron of Llan- 
gasty, to be C and not G. We, however, learn from the Domitian 
Cognatio that Gastayn was the saint who baptised Cynog, Brychan's 
eldest son, and that his " church is now situated by Mara." i He is 
said to have been Cynog's preceptor. 

In a version,^ which is much overdrawn, of the legend respecting 
the formation of Llyn Syfaddon, or Llangorse Lake — a town, as usual, 
being swallowed up for the wickedness of its principal inhabitants — 
Gastayn is made to be the son of " Myfig, the last of the princes of 
Syfaddon." When every vestige of the city had disappeared a cradle 
was found floating near the margin of the lake, in which was a sleeping 
child, which was afterwards baptised with the name Gastayn. In 
time he embraced the ascetic life, and built his hermitage on the lake's 
edge, wherein he was afterwards buried. This, we are told, is the 
Llangasty of to-day. 

S. GENYS, Bishop, Martyr 

A CHURCH is dedicated to this saint in the deanery of Trigg Minor, 
in North-east Cornwall, in the midst of a crowd of Brychan settle- 
ments ; and it has been conjectured that Genys is a substitute for 
Gwynws, son of Brychan. 

S. Gennys stands on the cliffs above the ocean, but in a sweet spot, 
somewhat sheltered from the furious blasts from the north-west. 
Pencarrow rears its head four hundred feet sheer out of the surf, and 

1 The Vespasian Cognatio merely states that Cjniog was " carried to the caef 
and baptised." 

2 The Red Dragon, Cardiff, 1882, i, pp. 276-81. See, however, the story as 
told in the Brython for 1863, pp. 1 14-5, purporting to be from a MS. of Hugh 
Thomas, the Breconshire antiquary, wherein is no mention of Gastayn, or 
indeed, any names. 

S. Genys 45 

behind it nestles the little church. A couple of springs gush forth 
hard by, and have worked their way down a glen, among trees and 
green sward, to a deep valley through which a stream cuts its way to 
the sea. Between this stream and the sea which folds around it is a 
finger of steep crumbling rock surmounted by a cliff-castle two hun- 
dred feet lower than Pencarrow. To the south of S. Gennys Church 
the hill falls steeply away to Crackington Cove, where meet two streams 
that have cleft their way through the hills in deep glens with steep 
heathery and gorse-clad sides. The loftiest cliff on this coast, starting 
700 feet above the sea, is a little further down the coast at Treveague. 

S. Gennys is at the present day far from the beaten track, unreached 
by train or coach, a wild and wondrous spot, where a man may be 
out of the world and near to God. And if this be so now, what must 
it have been in the sixth century, when the colony of half Irish, half 
Welsh migrants from Brycheiniog came and settled here. 

S. Gennys or Genys was a church under Launceslon Priory, and 
in the calendar of that church, as given by William of Worcester, the 
Saint is entered as an Archbishop of Lismore in Ireland, and as one 
of three brothers of the same name, who all lost their heads. S. Genys 
was commemorated at Launceston on May 2 and 3, and the translation 
of his head on July 19. In the Tavistock calendar S. Genes is on 
August 25, but this is Genes the Martyr at Rome, or at Aries, both 
of whom are commemorated on this day. 

That the settlement at S. Gennys was important and a Lan, is 
shown by the fact that it has its sanctuary, of which several of the 
fields of the glebe constitute a part. 

All that we can conclude with any safety from William of Wor- 
cester, who gives us what information we have relative to S. Genys, 
is that at Launceston and S. Gennys it was supposed that the Saint 
was from Ireland, that he was different from the Roman or the Aries 
Martyr, and that he was a bishop. 

There was, however, considerable confusion of mind about him ; 
he was supposed to be brother of the other two Saints of the same 
name, who had their heads struck off, and it was fabled that he had 
shared their fate. 

As to his connexion with Lismore, this is also apocryphal. The 
diocese was never archiepiscopal, nor was there any bishop of his 
name there. Lismore Abbey was founded by S. Carthagh, the younger, 
about 630. 

The village feast at S. Gennys is on Whit-Sunday. 

There are springs near the church, but no tradition exists as to any 
of them having been a Holy Well. The church, picturesquely situated. 

46 Lives of the British Saints 

has been horribly injured by " restoration." It looks like a skeleton 
from which the flesh has been picked by vultures. The rood screen 
and old bench-ends were destroyed at this "restoration." 

If Genys be the same as Gwynws, he is the same as the foundei 
of Llanwnws in Cardiganshire ; and possibly his name may be pre- 
served in Llangenys, a former name for Llandough, near Cardiff.^ 
But the identification is most uncertain. 

S. GERAINT, King, Martyr 

The name of Gereint, or Geramt, Latinized into Gerontius and 
Graecised into Gerascen, meets us so often, that it will be necessary 
to give some account of those who bore the name among the British, 
of whom record remains. 

I. A Gerontius, a Briton, was one of the two generals appointed 
by the usurper Constantine, to the command of his army. In 383 
the legions in Britain had set up Maximus as emperor, and at their 
head he marched towards Rome ; but was defeated and slain in 388. 
A fresh legion was dispatched by Stilicho to Britain in 396. Soon the 
troops in Britain set up two new pretenders, Marcus and Gratian ; 
but as they proved incompetent, assassinated them, and elevated one 
Constantine, a private soldier, selected merely, as we are informed, 
because of his name, and he was invested with the purple. 

For four years, 407-411, he succeeded in holding Britain, Gaul, 
and Spain under his sceptre. Constantine sent his son Constans to 
subdue Spain, and Constans having effected this, left Gerontius to 
hold the passes of the Pjnrenees. But Constantine offended the touchy 
spirit of his general, and in 408 Gerontius revolted and attacked Con- 
stantine. He got possession of Constans at Vienne and put him to 
death, and then proceeded to besiege Constantine in Aries. But the 
approach of an army sent by Honorius obliged Gerontius to raise the 
siege, when he was abandoned by the bulk of his soldiers, and fled 
towards Spain. 

" The Spanish soldiery conceived an utter contempt for Gerontius, 
on account of his cowardly retreat, and took counsel to slay him. 
They attacked his house during the night, but he, with one Alanus, 
his friend, and a few slaves, ascended to the top of the house, and 
did such execution with their arrows that no less than three hundred 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 104, 116. 

aS*. Geraint 4 7 

•of the soldiers fell. When the stock of arrows was exhausted the 
slaves made their escape, and Gerontius might easily have followed 
-their example had it not been for his love to his wife Nuncia, that 
detained him at her side. At daybreak next morning the soldiers set 
fire to the house, thus cutting off all chance of escape. Then at the 
request of Alanus, Gerontius hewed off his head. His wife then be- 
sought him with groans and tears to perform the same office for her 
rather than suffer her to fall into the hands of another, and he com- 
pUed with this her last request. Thus died one who had exhibited a 
degree of courage worthy of her religion ; for she was a Christian, 
and her death deserves commemoration. Gerontius then struck 
Mmself thrice with his sword ; but failing to wound himself mortally, 
he drew forth the dagger that he wore at his side, and plunged it into 
his heart." ^ 

From what is said of the religion of Nuncia, it seems to be implied 
that Gerontius was a heathen. 

He died in 411, or shortly after. 

2. The Welsh genealogies give Saint Geraint as son of Erbin ab 
■Cystennin Gorneu, and as father of Cyngar, Selyf, lestyn, Cador, and 
Caw.2 Cystennin Gorneu, " the Cornishman," is supposed to have 
been the Constantine against whom Gerontius revolted, and who was 
killed in 411. If so, then the date of the death of Cystennin's grandson 
would be about 475. 

Geraint was grandfather of Gildas, who died in 570. Allowing 
thirty-three years for a generation, this would give 504 for the death 
date of Geraint ; but Geraint died in battle, without attaining to old 
age, consequently the two calculations fairly agree. 

This Geraint ab Erbin is, in the Third or latest series of the Triads,^ 
said to have been one of the three Llyngesog, or fleet-owners, of the 
Isle of Britain, each of whom formed a fleet of six score ships with 

1 Sozomen, Hist. Eccl., ix, 13 ; Zosimus, vi, 1-6 ; Prosper Aquit., Chron., etc. 

" Myv. Arch., p. 421; lolo MSS., pp. 116, 136. Geraint married Gwyar, 
•daughter of Amlawdd Wledig ; Peniarth MS. 27, pt. ii ; Hanesyn Hen, p. 121 
(not Owen, as on p. 109, the daughter o< Cjmyr of Gaer Gawch and wife of 
■Geraint's own son, Selyf). The pedigrees in Cambro-British Saints, p. 269, and 
Cardiff MS. 5 (1527), p. 120, add to his children a daughter, Silwen, or Sylwein, 
probably a mistake for Selyf. In the Life of S. Cybi that Saint's pedigree is 
■given as the son of Salomon (Selyf), the son of Erbin, the son of Gereint, the 
son of Lud {Cambro-British Saints, p. 183). Chrestien de Troyes, in his Erec, 
the original of the Welsh romance of Gereint and Enid, makes Erec (Geraint) 
the son of Lac (Lud). Of the same origin, probably, as Geraint is the Irish 
gerat or gerait, a champion. 

» Myv. Arch., p. 407. In the two first series, pp. 389, 397. the number of 
men and ships is not given. 

48 Lives of the British Saints 

six score men in each, to patrol the coast against Saxon pirates, who 
in conjunction with the Irish, infested the coast of the Severn Sea. 

The piratical vessels of the enemy entered the mouth of the Parret, 
reached Llongborth, or Langport, and were there met by King Arthur 
and Geraint ; a battle ensued, in which Geraint was slain. 

His death is thus described in a poem to his memory, attributed to 
Llywarch Hen, who writes as an eye-witness. 

In Llongborth I saw a rage of slaughter. 

And biers beyond all count, 

A.nd red-stained men from the assault of Geraint. 

In Llongborth I saw the edges of blades meet 
Men in terror, with blood on the pate. 
Before Geraint, the great son of his father. 


In Llongborth Geraint was slain, 

A brave man from the region of Dyfnaint (Devon), 

And before they were overpowered, they committed slaughter.^ 

This is really about all we know of him. 

The Irish High King at the time was Oiliol Molt, and we hear that 
in his reign there were many contests between the Britons and the 
Picts and Scots. ^ 

We put the death of this Geraint as taking place roughly a little 
after 475. It is not possible to assign the Battle of Llongborth to so 
late a date as that usually given it, 530. : • 

The lolo MSS.^ mention Geraint as lord of Gereinwg, " Geraint's 
Land," by which evidently Erging is meant, but as a genuine district- 
name it is simply non-existent. The same documents further state 
that Geraint is patron of a church at Caer Ffawydd or Henffordd, 
i.e. Hereford, a statement for which there is no support. It has been 
surmised ^ that he founded the church of Pentraeth, in Anglesey, 
which is sometimes still called Llanfair Bettws Geraint ; but this is 
highly improbable. The church is now dedicated to the Blessed 
Virgin, with festival on September 8. 

In the Book of Llan Dav ^ is mention made of a Merthir Gerein, or 

' It occurs in the Black Book of Carmarthen, a,nd,vrith some variations, in the 
Red Book of Hergest ; Skene, Foitr Ancient Books, ii, pp. 37-8, 274-7. One 
conjecture locates the Battle of Llongborth in the parish of Penbryn, Cardigan- 
shire, where is a farm called Perth Geraint ; Theo. Evans, Drychy Prif Oesoedd, 
1740, i, c. 4 ; Arch. Camb., 1905, pp. 157-8. 

2 Keating's Hist, of Ireland, trans. O'Connor, Dublin, 1841, ii, p. 25. 

' Pp. 116, 136. 

* Rowlands, Mona Antiqiia, London, 1766, p. "155 ; Williams, Observations on 
the Snowdon Mountains, London, 1802, p. 145. " 

= Pp. 234, 323. The parish church of " Merthyr Geryn' " is entered in the 
Valor of 1535, iv, p. 377. 

S. Gaerint 49 

Geryn. " This chapel stood," says the late Mr. Thomas Wakeman 
" near the Upper Grange Farm House, in the parish of Magor (Mon- 
mouthshire) ; its remains have not been removed many years." i 
Magor is on the Caldicot Level, near the Severn Sea, and may have 
been a Martyrium raised to the honour of S. Geraint who fell at Llong- 
borth. The " Gerein " or " Geryn " of the name stands for " Geraint," 
as in " Dingereint," which occurs in Brut y Tywysogion ^ as the name 
of the castle built by Gilbert de Clare in 1108, generally known as 
Cilgeran Castle, on the Teify. 

Among the " Sayings of the Wise " and the " Stanzas of the Hear- 
ing," we have the following : — ^ 

Hast thou heard the saying of Geraint, 
Son of Erbin, the just and experienced ? 
"Short-lived is the hater ^or hated) of the saints." 
(Byrhoedlog dygasog saint.) 

He is the Geraint of the romance, Gereint and Eiiid.* 
3. A Gerennius, King of Cornwall, is mentioned in the Life of 
S. Teilo.5 When that Saint fled from the Yellow Plague in 547 to 
Armorica, he passed through Cornwall and was well received by the king 
there, Gerennius, and he promised the prince that he would visit and 
communicate him when he, Gerennius, was dying. Teilo returned from 
Armorica in 555 or 556. As he was about to embark, Teilo ordered 
his followers to convey to the ship a stone sarcophagus which he had 
provided as a present for the king. They declared their inability to 
get it down to the beach, and objected that its weight would over- 
burden their boat. Teilo then harnessed to the stone coffin ten yoke 
of oxen, which drew it to the shore, where he launched it on the tide ; 
and the stone cist swam before the vessel, and reached the Cornish 
coast before them. They landed at Dingerein, the round fort in the 
parish of S. Gerrans ; and Teilo at once proceeded to visit the king, 
whom he found alive indeed but very ill, and who, after having re- 
ceived the communion, straightway expired, and his remains were 
laid in the sarcophagus provided for him. We wiU call this prince 
Geraint II. He was probably grandson of Geraint I, who fell at Llong- 
borth. He died about 556. 

^ "Supplementary Notes" to Liber Landavensis , 1853, p. 16; also Mrs. 
Harcourt Mitchell, Some Ancient Churches of Gwent, 1908, p. 21. WiUis, how- 
ever, in his Survey of Llandaff, 1719, append., p. 7, says of it, " Site unknown, 
otherwise than it stood near Tintern Abbey." 

^ Bruts, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 289. There is a Cilgeraint also in the parish 
of Llandegai, Carnarvonshire. 

' Jolo MSS., p. 255 ; Myv. Arch., p. 128. 

* Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, pp. 244-295. 

5 Booh of Llan Ddv, pp. 108, 11 3-4. 


50 Lives of the British Saints 

4. There was another Domnonian Geraint, to whom S. Aldhelm 
wrote a letter in 705 urging the abandonment of Celtic peculiarities 
of religious use in his realm, and conformity to thv. Roman rule.^ 

This Geraint fought against Ina, King of the West Saxons, at Taun- 
ton in 710.2 

5. There was again a Geraint ab Carannog, of the race of CadeU 
Deyrnllwg, who was a prince of Erging, or Archenfield, in Hereford- 
shire. The Welsh pedigrees make him the father of S. Eldad or 
Aldate, Bishop of Gloucester, who was slain by the Saxons, probably 
in 577.3 

In the Life of S. Meven we read that this saint was a son of Gerascenus, 
King of Orcheus, a district in Gwent.* We can hardly doubt that 
Orcheus is a misscript for Erchens for Erging, and that Gerascen is 
an affected form of Geraint — this same Geraint. Meven was a nephew 
of S. Samson of Dol, and we may suspect that the sister, who is so 
harshly spoken of in the Life of that Saint because she declined to 
embrace the religious life, was the wife of this Geraint. 

6. A Geraint, " generous and resolute," is spoken of in the Gododin 
of Aneurin, as engaged in the Battle of Catraeth, in the Scottish Low- 
lands. That battle occurred between 586 and 603. This Geraint 
was a Strathclyde chieftain.^ He cannot be identified with any of 
the others who bear his name. 

7. A Gerran is mentioned by Albert Le Grand in his Life of S. Sezni 
(Setna), but this Life is a deliberate appropriation of that of Ciaran 
of Saighir, and the chieftain named Gerran in that is none other than 
S. Ciaran of Clonmacnois. * 

The church of S. Gerrans is most probably dedicated to Gerennius 
(N0.3). The palace of Geraint, Din Gerrein, is in the parish, and the 
earthworks remain. This is probably the Dinurrin from which Bishop 
Kensteg hailed, who made his submission to Archbishop Coelnoth in 
or about 866.' It is hardly probable that the patron of S. Gerrans 
can be Geraint ab Erbin (No. 2). 

1 See the letter in Migne, Pair. Lat., Ixxxix, p. 87 ; Haddan and Stubbs, 
Councils, etc., iii, p. 268. 

^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, sub anno. ^ lolo MSS., p. 131. 

* " Orcheus autem pagus in Guenta provincia hunc protuUt, terris gen- 
eratum patre nomine Gerasceno. Ex qua eadem provincia Sancti Samsonis 
mater extitit nata." Vita S. Meveni, ed. Plaine, p. 3. 

' Skene, Four Ancient Books, ii, p. 89. There are several other Geraints 
mentioned in Welsh literature as having lived at an early period — Geraint 
Hir and Geraint Feddw in the Triads, Geraint Fardd Glas, and the three 
Geraints in Geoffrey of Monmouth. Moel y Geraint, or Barber's Hill, is near 
Llangollen. " Vies ies Saints de Bretagne, ed. Kerdanet, 1837, p. 530. 

' Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, etc., i, p. 674. On the coast, in the parish, 
iis Killygerran Head. 

S. Geraint 5 i 

Geraint's tomb was shown at Carn Point, where he was tradition- 
ally held to lie in a golden boat, with silver oars. When the tumulus 
was opened in 1858 a kistvaen was discovered with bones, but no 
precious metal. 

In the registers of the Bishops of Exeter, S. Gerrans is always called 
Ecclesia Sti. Gerendi. 

In Anthony, in Roseland, is Kill-Gerran, the cell of Geraint. In 
Philleigh parish was a chapel, now ruined ; but the wood in which 
it stood still bears his name. Gerran's Bay and Gerran's Point also 
recall him. 

In Brittany S. Geran formerly received a cult, but tradition is silent 
concerning his parentage and history ; and we cannot be sure whether 
Geran is the Cornish Gerran, the Geraint of the Welsh. S. Geran 
near Pontivy had a minihi, or place of sanctuary, always a mark of, 
a considerable and head foundation. But the parish has sunk to a 
mere tref of S. Noyala. 

S. Geran had a chapel at Cleguerec. 

In Belle He, at Le Palais, the parish church bears his name, and 
there he is commemorated on March 5. 

In Brittany the utmost uncertainty reigns as to who and what he 
was. In the 1589 Breviary of Vannes he is given as a Bishop, on 
March 5. At S. Geran he has been supplanted by S. Guirec or 
Curig. Lobineau conjectures that he was a soldier, the S. Gereon of 
the Theban Legion at Cologne. Kerviler sets him down as a re- 
gionary bishop, companion of S. Patrick. But no such a person is 
known to the Irish, or named in the Lives of the Apostle. He pro- 
bably depended on the following ballad, preserved by Luzel, as sung 
at S. Geran. 

S. Geran went to Rome, not hopeless, nor proposing to tarry. 

But in hopes of obtaining counsel from S. Patrick. 

S. Patrick when he saw him, went forward to meet him. 

See, said he, this little bell ! 

See this httle bell. Go forivard with it over the land. 

Go, and where it soundeth, there tarry. 

On a height near the swelling moors, the bell sounded. 

The angel of God came down to clear the soil of wood and stones. 

Happy folk of S. Geran, who have your patron in your church.^ 

It is possible that when British colonists migrated to Armorica, 
they set apart portions of land as domains for their hereditary royal 
chiefs at home, and that the Island of Belle He and the district of S. 
Geran by Pontivy may have been so given, and that Geraint may 

' Annales de Breiagne, Rennes, T. ii (1886). 

52 Lives of the British Saints 

have transferred them, or portion of them, to become ecclesiastical 
settlements. It is rather remarkable that the descendants of Geraint, 
King and Martyr, have left their names throughout this part of 

The day of S. Geraint is uncertain. 

The village feast at S. Gerrans is on August lo. 

The pardon of S. Geran in Cleguerec is on the first Sunday in August. 
But that at S. Geran near Pontivy is on the third Sunday in October. 
At Le Palais, as already said, it is on March 5. 

S. GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, Bishop, Confessor 

The main authority for the Life of this great Saint is a Vita by 
Constantius, priest, apparently of Lyons. To this Life are prefixed 
two letters dedicatory, one to S. Patiens, Bishop of Lyons (449- 
circa 491), ■"■ another to Censurius, third bishop in succession to Ger- 
manus in the see of Auxerre ; there is also a prologue. 

Constantius professes in the second letter to have revised and ampli- 
fied the earlier Life that he had written at the desire of Patiens. " The 
authority of the holy Bishop Patiens, your brother, has required me 
to retrace, in part at least, the Life and Acts of the blessed Germanus. 
If I did not do this as well as I ought, I did what I could. My obedience 
being known to your beatitude, you ordered me to plunge once more 
into an excess of temerity, in desiring that I should enlarge this little 
page, which still remained almost in obscurity, and that I should 
myself come forward in some sort as my own accuser and betrayer." ^ 

Censurius, to whom this letter dedicatory was written, was Bishop 
of Auxerre from 472 to 502. 

Constantius is by no means an unknown man. He was the friend 
of Sidonius Apollinaris ; his name stands at the head of a collection 
of eight books of letters, dedicated to him by Sidonius. His name 
occurs last in a letter of 480. About the year 473 he visited Clermont 
to allay some difficulties that had arisen there, and Sidonius speaks 
of him (£/>. iii, i) then as one " aetate gravem, infirmitate fragilem." 

The original sketch of the life of S. Germanus, dedicated to Patiens, 
no longer exists, but the amplified Life is found in a good number of 

1 Patiens died a few years before 494 ; his second successor Rusticus is named 
as dying in 501. 

' A letter was addressed to him by Sidonius about 475. 

S. Germanus of Auxerre 5 3 

MSS. It was first published by Mombritius in Milan in 1480, in the 
first volume of his Sanctuarium. But this omits prologue and epilogue, 
and contains many misprints ; it contains beside the text of Con- 
stantius, a late addition, the legend of the ass the saint restored to 
life. The dedicatory epistles are omitted, but that one existed in the 
text used by Mombritius is shown by the superscription, " Constantius 
ad Patientem episcopum de vita Sancti Germani episcopi Autissio- 

About a century later appeared an amplified Life given by Surius, 
in his " De probatis sanctorum historiis," iv. Colon. Agripp., 1573. 
The BoUandist Peter van der Bosche, in 1731, gave this same enlarged 
Life in the Acta Sanctorum, July, vii. This second Life contains a 
good deal that is not to be found in the other and earlier Life ; and 
is, in fact, an early ninth century amplification. This is the Vita 
most generally used and quoted ; but the other is the original text. 
The additions made were principal^ these : — 

1. The story of S. Amator cutting down the pear tree, and the 
ordination of S. Germanus as priest, down to the death of Amator, 
and an ensuing miracle. 

2. The story of the interview of Germanus with Genoveva at Nan- 

3. The absurd legend of the conversion of Mamertinus at the tomb 
of Corcodemus. 

4. The seeking for, finding and translation of the relics of S. Alban. 

5. The legend of the revelation as to the day of the death of the 
Martjn: Julian, made to Germanus on his visit to Brioude. 

6. The greater portion of the account of the visit of Germanus to 
the grave of Bishop Cassian of Autun, and of a wonderful dialogue 
with the dead man. 

7. The remarks on the act of the aged bishop carrying on his 
shoulders a lame man over a stream, when crossing the Alps. 

The Life of Germanus by Constantius in its expanded form was 
submitted to corrosive criticism by Schoele ; but he knew nothing of 
the unadulterated Vita, and had no acquaintance with the MSS. He 
regarded the whole as a forgery of the sixth century. ^ 

Next C. Kohler pointed out that all the passage relative to the 
meeting of Germanus with Genoveva was an excerpt from the Life of 
the latter saint thrust into that of the former.^. 

Two years later C. Narbey dealt with the Life, and maintained an 

^ De ecclesiasticts Brittonum Scoiorumqm histonis fofitibus, 185 1. 
' ^ fjude critique' sur le texte de la vie latine de Ste. Geneviive in Bibl. de l'£cole 
des hautes Hudes, T. xlviii, 1881. . . 

54 Lives of the British Saints 

impossible thesis, that the original Life by Constantius was to be 
found in a Galilean missal of the sixth century published by Mabillon 
in 1685, in snippets of lessons for the Feast of S. Germanus, and in 
the lections for the same feast in the Breviary of S. Germain des Pres 
and S. Corneille de Compiegne. His thesis is quite untenable ; these 
lections are portions taken almost at haphazard from the unadulterated 
Life by Constantius.^ 

But the final, most complete, and exhaustive criticism, which 
settles the whole question, is that of Levison, in 1903. ^ 

It is hardly worth mentioning Heric's Metrical Life of the Saint. 
Heric died circa 876. It adds nothing of value. Even Heric was 
somewhat staggered at the stories contained in the amplified Life. 
He says : " This ancient Vita was written with elegance. It was 
drawn up whilst the memory of the Saint was recent, and whilst many 
who knew him were still alive. But what is reported ... is not 
always very positive, nor very true, on account of the interval that 
elapsed since his death." 

Heric's Metrical Life is printed in the Acta SS. Boll., Jul. vii, pp. 

The Miracula Sti. Germani attributed to the same Heric are really 
by an unknown author. Printed in the Acta SS., Jul. vii, pp. 255- 

It is not our purpose to give the Life of Germanus of Auxerre, but 
only those portions of it that concern his visits to Britain. 

About the time when the Roman legions were withdrawn from 
Britain, one Pelagius began to teach his heresy in Rome. Pelagius 
is usually designated Britto or Britanicus, but his bitter enemy and 
opponent, Jerome, in two places speaks of him as Irish. He began 
teaching his doctrine on Original Sin in 400, or thereabouts. He 
probably sent his books to Britain and to Ireland by his disciple 
Agricola. Indeed, his commentary on S. Paul seems to have been 
highly valued in the latter island to a late period, and Pelagius himself 
to have been regarded, not as a heretic, but as an authority on doc- 
trine.' The orthodox clergy in Britain, uneasy at the spread of the 
Pelagian heresy, sent to the Church of Gaul for help. Constantius 
relates that accordingly " a great synod was gathered, and by the 
judgment of all, two glorious lights of religion wqre beset by the peti- 

1 i.tude critique sur la vie de S. Germain, Paris, 1884. 

" Bischof Germanus v. Auxerre, in Neuer Archiv d. Gesehchaft f. dltere deutsche 
Geschichtskunde, Hanover, xxix, 1903. 

^ Zimmer (H.), The Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland, London, 1902, 
pp. 19-21. 

iS. Germ anus of Auxerre 5 ^ 

tions of the whole body ; that is to say, Germanus and Lupus, apos- 
tolic priests, who had shown on earth with their bodies, indeed, but 
in heaven by their merits. And the more urgent appeared the neces- 
sity, the more promptly did the devoted heroes undertake the work, 
hastening on the business with the goads of faith." 

Lupus, the companion of Germanus, was Bishop of Troyes. The 
date of the mission, 429, is fixed by the contemporary witness of 
Prosper of Aquitaine, who relates that Germanus the bishop was sent 
" ad actionem Palladii diaconi " by Pope Coelestine " vice sua." ^ 

Some difficulty has been experienced in reconciling the statement 
of Constantius with that of Prosper, who does not mention Lupus. 
Prosper, as is a well established fact, set himself to " write up " the 
Roman see and exalt its prerogatives. But there need be no contra- 
diction. Ccelestine may have heard of the decision of the Galilean 
Council, and have approved of it. This was not the first time that 
a Gallic bishop had intervened in British strife. About a generation 
before this, Victricius of Rouen, summoned to the island by his fellow- 
prelates in Britain, had gone thither, and had succeeded in establishing 
peace. What the circumstances were that occasioned this interference, 
we are not told.^ 

The bishops crossed the straits in winter, as we learn from the Life 
of S. Lupus. On account of the roughness of the sea, Germanus 
emptied a vessel of oil on the waters, and so smoothed them. On 
their arrival in Britain, their fitness for the work was speedily mani- 
fested by their energy and success. The Galhc vernacular was akin 
to the language spoken in Britain originally, and both had taken into 
them a large infusion of Latin, so that the addresses of the bishops 
were probably quite understandable by the people. 

" Some sixty or seventy years before, Hilary, the Bishop of Poitiers, 
dealing in Gaul with the great heresy which preceded this, had found 
it of great service to go about from place to place and collect in dif- 
ferent parts small assemblies of the bishops, for free discussion and 
mutual explanation. He found that misunderstandings were in this 
way, better than in any other, got rid of, and differences of opinion 
were reduced to a minimum. Germanus and Lupus dealt with the 
people of Britain as their predecessor had dealt with the Bishops of 
Gaul. They went all over, discussing the great question with the 
people whom they found. They preached in the churches, they 
addressed the people on the high-roads, they sought for them in the 
fields, and followed them up by-paths. It is clear that the visitors 

' Prosper, Chron., in Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, etc., i, p. 16. 
' Victricius, De Laude Sanctorum^ c. 1 (Migne, xx, p. 443). 

5 6 Lives of the British Saints 

from Gaul could speak to the people, both in town and in country in 
their own tongue, or in a tongue well understood by them. No doubt 
the native speech of Gaul and that of Britain were still so closely akin 
that no serious difficulty was felt in this respect. They met with 
success so great that the leaders on the other side were forced to take 
action. . . . They undertook to dispute with the Galileans in public. 
The biographer is not an impartial chronicler. The Pelagians came to 
the disputation with many outward signs of pomp and wealth, richly 
dressed, and attended by a crowd of supporters. Beside the principals, 
we are told that immense numbers of people came to hear the dispute, 
bringing with them their wives and children ; coming, in the important 
phrase of the biographer, to play the part of spectator and judge. 
The disputants were now face to face. . . . The bishops set the 
Pelagians to begin, and a weary business the Pelagians made of it. 
Then their turn came. They quoted the scriptures. The opponents 
had nothing to say. The people, to whose arbitration it was put, 
scarce could keep their hands off them. The decision was given by 
acclamation against the Pelagians." ^ 

Constantius has doubtless not told us all, and has highly coloured 
the triumph of Germanus. A Romano-British tribune and his wife 
brought their blind daughter to the two bishops, and Germanus at 
once restored the girl's sight by touching her eyes with his reliquary. ^ 

The Britons at this time suffered severely from the inroads of the 
Picts. Constantius says, Picts and Saxons, and Bede repeats the 
statement. It has been objected that this is an anachronism, as the 
Saxon invasion took place in 449. But it is now generally admitted 
that the Saxons had settled in considerable numbers in the east of 
Scotland before that date. If so, their alliance with the Picts to break 
over the Wall and devastate Britain is probable enough. Saxons 
were in league with the Picts in their onslaughts upon the Britons 
from a much earlier period. Theodosius, in 369, defeated their com- 
bined forces in north Britain,^ and the Count of the Saxon Shore was 
appointed expressly to guard the east coast against the depredations 
of the Teutonic marauders. Again in 396 Picts, Scots, and Saxons 
were in league against Britain, and were defeated by Stilicho.* 

News having reached the bishops that a fresh invasion of the northern 
barbarians was menacing the land, Germanus and Lupus accompanied 

1 Browne (Bp. of Bristol), The Church in these Islands before the coming of 
Augustine, S.P.C.K., 1899, p. 92 et seq. 

' This is in the uninterpolated Constantius. 
^ Qa-adian, De Quarto Consulaiu Honorii. 
* Claudian, In i"""" Consulatum Stilichonis. 

aS*. Germanus of Auxerre 5 7 

the British army that marched to arrest its progress. During the 
march they preached to the soldiers, and most of them, who were not 
Christians, moved by the exhortations of the prelates, received baptism. 

The army, wet with baptismal water, as Bede says,^ went against 
the heathen foe in the strength of the Lord. Germanus picked out 
the most active among the Britons, examined the country, and finding 
a valley encompassed by hills, drew up his inexperienced troops near 
it. The fire of military ardour awoke in him, and he took the com- 
mand of the dispirited Britons, and endeavoured to infuse into them 
some energy. 

When the Picts came on, the Britons remained in ambush till all 
their foes were gathered in the valley ; then Germanus, bearing the 
standard, started from his lurking-place. The priests thundered the 
Paschal cry of Hallelujah, for it was Eastertide, the Britons rose, re- 
peated the shout, and burst from their covert. The Picts and Saxons 
fled in disorder, casting away their arms ; and many were drowned 
in the river. 

The Britons, without loss of a man, almost without striking a blow, 
found themselves in the unwonted position of victors instead of flying, 
and attributed their triumph to the merits and generalship of their 
holy leader. To pursue the flying foe, and turn a panic into a rout, 
and thus strike a serious blow at the power of the invaders, was an 
effort beyond their capabilities. They were content to gather up the 
spoil, and return rejoicing to their camp. 

The site of this bloodless victory is supposed to have been Maes 
Garmon, near Mold in Flintshire ; but this can hardly have been it, 
if the Picts were allied with Saxons. If, however, they had been 
associated with Scots (Irish), then it is by no means improbable. 
Chester may have attracted the barbarians, and their boats may 
have entered the Dee. There are philological difficulties also in the 
way ; Germanus would not become Garmon in Welsh, if adopted 
direct from the Latin. 

As the Welsh have preserved no record of the victory, as Gildas 
does not allude to it, we may well ask whether the story is not the 
legend of some affair in the north near the Wall, greatly exaggerated 
by Constantius. Actually it speaks of ineptitude to take advantage 
of a success, and does little credit to either the Britons or to their 
leader. Bede knew nothing of it but what he read in the account 
of the priest Constantius, whose words he quotes almost verbatim. 

After having successfully cornbated Pelagianism, probably in the 

* Hiit. Eccl., i, Cv 20. 

5 8 Lives of the British Sai?its 

autumn of the same year, Germanus and Lupus returned to Gaul. 
The former visited Aries, where he was warmly received by S. Hilary. 
It is remarkable that, at this very time, the bishops of Gaul, Hilary 
among them, were labouring at Rome under suspicion of dangerous 
sympathy with Pelagian doctrines. They — at least those of Gallia 
Narbonensis — ^had felt themselves obliged to call in question the 
teaching of Augustine on Predestination and Grace, and were charged 
by the fiery Prosper with semi-Pelagianism. In reality they protested 
against the exaggeration of the doctrines of Augustine, which left no 
place for human effort and the exercise of free-will. It is remarkable 
that Germanus, who must have been under the influence of the pre- 
vailing anti-Augustinian views of the Galilean Church, should have 
refuted Pelagianism in its British stronghold. 

In 447, the year before his death, Germanus went again to Britain, 
accompanied by S. Severus of Treves,^ the disciple of Lupus. Of 
this Severus nothing further is known. Prosper makes no mention of 
this second visit ; our sole authority for it is Constantius. This silence 
of Prosper is not enough to make us doubt it. The historic sources 
of the fifth century but rarely touch on British matters. Indeed, the 
Chronica Gallica at the year 452 is the sole contemporary authority 
for the settlement of the Saxons in Britain. In fact, after the year 
440 the events in Gaul are hardly alluded to by Prosper. The only 
incidents he speaks of as occurring there are the invasion of Attila in 
451, and the murder of the West Gothic King Thorismod in 453. 

On reaching Britain, Germanus was well received by one Elapius, 
" the most considerable person in the land," and he restored the use 
of his leg to the crippled son of Elapius. An assembly was sum- 
moned, and Germanus induced the Britons to drive into exile the 
teachers of Pelagianism, as he failed to convince them of their error. 
After they had been banished, Britain remained stedfast in the 
Catholic faith. 

After a very brief stay the two bishops returned to Gaul, and on 
this occasion had smooth seas and light breezes, both in coming and 
in returning. 

Germanus died at Ravenna, the last day of July, 448. 

We come to a question of some difficulty. Was S. Patrick a disciple 
of Germanus of Auxerre ? Patrick in his " Confessions " does not 
intimate by one word that he was so ; not by one word does Constantius 

1 Bede is the authority for Severus being Bishop of Treves. His name does 
occur in the catalogue of Bishops of Treves, but this was not drawn up till the 
tenth century. Contemporary with Germanus was a Severus, Bishop of Vence, 
who attended sjoiods at Riez 439, and at Vaison in 442. 

S. Germanics of Auxerre 5 9 

refer to Patrick, and had there been any tradition at Auxerre that 
the Apostle of Ireland had been a disciple of S. Germanus, this would 
certainly have been noted, either by Constantius or by the amplifier. 
The Irish authorities for discipleship are not good. 
Muirchu Maccu-Machtheni, who drew up a Hfe of S. Patrick in or 
about 690, asserts it. Tirechan made a collection of notes on S. 
Patrick, copied from a book in the writing of Bishop Ultan of Ard- 
braccan, who died in 656. In this there is no mention of discipleship 
under Germanus, but Tirechan has nothing to say of the early life of 
Patrick. To his collection is tacked on a number of anecdotes in 
Latin and in old Irish, but by whom written and when appended we 
have no means of judging. They are all of little historic value. 

In one of these we have this : " Patrick and Iserninus, that is 
Bishop Fith, were with Germanus in the city Olsiodra (Auxerre), and 
Germanus said to Iserninus that he should go and preach in Ireland. 
Iserninus was ready to obey and go anywhere, save to Ireland. Then 
Germanus said to Patrick, ' And thou, wilt thou be obedient ? ' Patrick 
repUed, ' Be it even as thou desirest '. Germanus said, ' This shall be 
between j^ou. Iserninus shall not be able to avoid going eventually 
to Ireland.' " 1 

The hymn of S. Fiacc also alludes to discipleship to Germanus, but 
this h3niin was probably corrupted after the publication of Muirchu's 
narrative. ^ 

In 431 Coelestine sent PaUadius to the " Scots believing in Christ." 
It was at the suggestion of Palladius, a deacon, according to Prosper,, 
that Coelestine commissioned Germanus to proceed to Britain in 429. 
Now it is possible that Palladius may have been a disciple of Ger- 
manus ; and as the PaUadius who went to Ireland was also called 
Patrick, this may have originated the legend. 

A second question relates to the traditions preserved by the Welsh 
relative to Germanus as the founder of monasteries in South Wales,, 
and as consecrating S. Dubricius. We hold that these and other tra- 
ditions refer to another Germanus, Bishop of Man, and we remit the 
consideration of them to the ensuing article. 

The feast of S. Germanus is on July 31. At Auxerre his body 
arrived from Ravenna on September 22, was exposed for six days to 
the veneration of the public, and was buried on October i. The body 
was translated on January 6, 859, and all these days were formerly 
observed in his honour at Auxerre. 

1 In the Tripartite Life, ed. Stokes, ii, p. 343. 

^ Stokes, notes on the Hymn, in the same, i, p. cxii. 

6o Lives of the British Saints 

For Germanus or Garmon churches in Wales and Cornwall, see the 
■ensuing article. 

The church of Faulkbourne in Essex is dedicated to S. Germanus, 
and near it is a Holy Well that bears his name. Winterbourne- 
Farringdon, near Dorchester, is also dedicated to him. 

Camden says that at S. Albans, " There is still remaining near the 
Tuins of the city a chapel of Germanus occupying the site of the ele- 
"Vation whence he preached the Word of God, as is testified by old 
parchments of S. Albans." ^ 

In Lincolnshire, Thurlby, Scothorne and Ranby are dedicated to 
the Saint of Auxerre. So is Wiggenhall in Norfolk. The dedication 
to him in Selby Abbey is late, of the eleventh century, due to the 
possession of a finger of S. Germanus. Two other Yorkshire churches 
dedicated to him are Winestead and Marske-by-the-Sea, due to the 
influence of the monks of Selby. 

A fragment of a Cornish Mass of S. Germanus exists in a ninth 
century MS., and in it he is asserted to have preached in Cornwall. 
'" Lucerna et columna Cornubis et preco veritatis efulsit, qui in Lann- 
aledensis ^ ecclesise fuse prato sicut rosae et lilia floruit, et tenebras 
infidelitatis quee obcecabant corda et sensus nostros detersit." ^ 
But this almost certainly is a mistake, and the Germanus who was 
in Cornwall was probably his Armorican namesake. 

The church of S. Germans in Cornwall flattered itself that it pos- 
sessed the relics of the saint, " Ubi reliquiae Germani episcopi con- 
■duntur." In the proper preface is an allusion to the Saint's opposition 
to Gwrtheyrn, which helps to identify him with the Armorican Saint, 
although it also says that he was sent to Britain by the Pope Gregory 
1(590-604), a marvellous assemblage of blunders. 

S. GERMANUS, Bishop of Man, Confessor 

Almost inextricable confusion has been wrought by the confounding 
together of two Saints Germanus, the one of Auxerre and the other, 
an Armorican by birth, who died as first Bishop of the Isle of Man. 
That they' were distinct personages is certain. 

^ Britannia, London, 1594, p. 305. 
^ Lan Aleth, the ancient name of S. Germans. 

3 Warren, Liturgy of the Celtic Church, Oxford, 1881, pp. 159-61 ; also Haddan 
;and Stubbs, Councils, etc., i, p. 696. 

S. Germanus 6 r 

The following are the principal statements made in the documents 
printed in the lolo MSS., which have contributed largely to make 
confusion worse confounded. 

" Catwg was principal of the Cor which S. Garmon ab Rhedyw 
caused to be founded at Llancarfan, in the room of Dy frig, when he 
was consecrated Archbishop of Llandaff, which Cor, together with 
that of lUtyd, was founded by SS. Garmon and Bleiddan (Lupus) in 
Wales when they came to this Island to renew faith and baptism. ^ 

" The religious establishment of the tribe of Cadell Deyrnllwg was 
Pangor Garmon, called Llanfeithin, in Llancarfan, and is called Bangor 

" The tribe of Emyr Llydaw was sent to the Island of Britain to 
restore faith and baptism, and came in two Cors. The first came 
with S. Garmon, and settled in lUtyd's Cor ; the second came with 
S. Cadfan, and fixed themselves in Bardsey. 

" The first of the two Cors that came to this Island was that of 
Garmon, a saint and bishop, son of S. Rhedyw, of the land of Gaul, 
and uncle, mother's brother, to Emyr Llydaw ; and in the time of 
Cystennin Llydaw he came here, where he remained till the time of 
Gwrthejrrn Gwrtheneu, after which he went to France, where he died. 
He founded two Cors of Saints, and placed in them bishops and divines, 
in order that they might instruct the nation of the Cymry in the 
Christian Faith, where they had erred in their faith. He founded one 
Cor in Llancarfan, and placed Dyfrig there as principal, and he himself 
was bishop. Another near Caerworgorn, where he placed lUtyd as 
principal, and S. Bleiddan chief bishop there. After that he placed 
bishops in Llandaff, and made Dyfrig archbishop there, and placed 
S. Catwg ab Gwynllyw in the Cor in Llancarfan in his stead, and 
appointed the Archbishop of Llandaff to be his bishop there. ^ 

" Garmon founded Llancarfan." ^ 

Among the " Stanzas of the Achievements " is this : — 

" The achievement of Garmon — a meek man he — was a skilful work, 
a fair residence. The establishing of the saints in a Cor — in a secure 
dwelling." * 

^ P. 130 ; cf. p. 10, where it is stated that Illtyd brought Garmon to Wales 
at King Tewdrig's s.uggestion. On p. 39, however, Teilo is credited with having 
brought him over. 

' Ibid., p. 131. On pp. 113 and 119 Dyfrig is said to have been Garmon's 
periglawr or confessor. He had also as confessors Gwyndaf Hen and XJstig ab 
Geraint, pp. 108, 131. The Booh of Llan Ddv (p. 69) also states, that Germanus 
and Lupus consecrated 'Dying to be archbishop " over all the Britons of the 
southern part." 

3 lolo MSS., p. 220. * Ibid., p. 263. 

6 2 Lives of the British Saints 

Among "Other Achievements": — 

The achievement of Garmon, the son of Rhedig, 
Was the estabhshing of order among ecclesiastics, 
And Faith, in the anxious day. 

Again : — 

The achievement of Garmon, the renowned Saint, 
Was the obtaining of privilege for saints and churches ; 
And the court of demand was the act of LljT Merini.^ 

The early genealogies briefly state : " Garmon was the son of 
Ridicus ; it was in the age of Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu that he came 
to this Island, from France." ^ 

Now Germanus of Auxerre was in Britain in 429 and in 447. For 
neither time did he remain long ; for the last hardly a twelvemonth, 
and he died in 448. It is not probable that he founded monasteries 
during these brief visits. He was busy contending against Pelagian- 
ism in gatherings of the clergy and people, and his biographer, Con- 
stantius, says not one word concerning his having established religious 
communities during his visits either in 429 or in 447. Apart from the 
late and untrustworthy statements just quoted, there is no evidence 
whatever that Germanus of Auxerre visited South Wales. 

Yet according to them he founded Llancarfan and Llantwit, and 
placed Catwg or Cadoc in the former, and Dyfrig and then Illtyd in 
the latter. 

Dyfrig attended the Synod of Brefi. We do not know the exact 
date, but it was before that of Victory, the date of which is given in 
the Annales Cambria as taking place in 569. Haddan and Stubbs 
suppose that it took place but shortly previous. We have given 
reasons ^ for holding that it was held before the outbreak of the Yellow 
Plague in 547. If we suppose that it was in 546,* then that was nearly 
one hundred years after the last visit of Germanus. If we take 560, 
then one hundred and thirteen years after. According to the Annales 
Cambrics, Dyfrig died in 612, one hundred and sixty-five years after 
that same visit. We do not ourselves hold that Dyfrig can have lived 
to so late a date, but anyhow it is absolutely impossible to admit that 
he can have been appointed bishop, much less archbishop, by Ger- 
manus in 447. 

^ lolo MSS., p. 264. The Welsh text is evidently corrupt. 

' Peniarth MS. 45 ; cf. Myv. Arch., pp. 416, 425, and Camhro-British Saints, 
p. 270. Rhedyw for Ridicus seems to occur in the lolo MSS. only. 

= ii, p. 25. 

* After the subsidence of the Yellow Plague it is probable that a synod would be 
held to regulate the Church thrown into disorder by the death and flight of so 
many ecclesiastics. 

S. Germanus 6 3 

Cadoc was a contemporary of Gildas ; and there is reason for sup- 
posing that Cadoc died in 577, one hundred and thirty years after the 
final visit of Germanus. 

Illtyd was a master of SS. Samson, Gildas, and Paul of Leon. Sam- 
son died not many years after 557 ; Gildas died in 570 ; Paul of L^on 
about 573. 

Now taking a generation at thirty-three years, this would give the 
death year of Illtyd as about 537 ; and if he were then aged seventy- 
seven he was born about 460, thirteen years after the last visit of 

The anachronism is made the greater by associating Lupus with 
Germanus in the founding of these monasteries and the appointment 
of the abbots, for Lupus was in Britain only in 429 ; and this would 
throw back the formation of these establishments by eighteen years. 
Whatever allowance may be made for a margin of error, it is impos- 
sible to reconcile the statements. 

Then, once more, Nennius and the Welsh authorities represent 
Germanus as a strenuous opponent of Gwrtheyrn, and as encoiuraging 
the revolt that broke out against that prince in consequence of his 
having invited over the Saxons. 

It was not till 457 that the battle of Crayford was gained by these 
latter, and the Britons were driven out of Kent ; and not till 465 
that a great victoiry won over twelve British chiefs at Ebbesfleet showed 
how serious a menace to Britain these strangers were. It was not 
tin after this that the expulsion of Gwrtheyrn took place ; and Ebbes- 
fleet was fought seventeen years after the death of Germanus of 

We are constrained to dismiss as unhistorical all that is said of the 
association of Germanus of Auxerre with Llantwit and Llancarfan, 
and with Gwrtheyrn. 

But it does not follow that the statements of Nennius and of the 

Welsh authorities are to be rejected en hloc. It is quite possible that 

there has been a mistake as to the Germanus who played so active a 

. part in Welsh affairs, political as well as ecclesiastical. There were 

other Germans or Garmons. 

The Welsh pedigrees mention one Garmon ab Goronwy of Gwared- 
dog, a Saint of Beuno's Cor at Clynnog.^ He is unimportant. 

The Irish give us two, German mac Guill and Germanus or Mogor- 
man, Bishop of Man. 

The first is probably one of the " sons of Goll " mentioned in the 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 143-4. 

64 Lives of the British Saints 

Life of S. Ailbe, and of whom we shall deal in a separate article. He 
flourished about 510. 

Mogorman or Mogornan was a son of Restitutus " the Lombard," 
and of a sister of S. Patrick. 

Colgan, in his Trias Thaumaturga (Appendix V, c. iv, p. 227), has 
a dissertation on this Germanus. He says that Mogornan or Mogorman 
is the Germanus or Gorman commemorated on October 25 in the Irish 
Martyrologies ; but he confuses him with Germanus mac Guill, com- 
memorated on July 30. He supposes that Restitutus was a native 
of Armorica, and that Germanus became a disciple of S. Patrick mac 
Calpurn, and died as first Bishop of Man. 

The information we receive relative to this son of Restitutus is not 
of good quality, and has to be accepted with reserve. But a suffi- 
cient amount is available to show us that there was such a man, that 
he was associated with Patrick, and that he became Bishop of Man. 

The title of " the Lombard " given to Restitutus is also rendered 
" Huy Baird," and is a blunder, a mistranslation of Huy Baird. Res- 
titutus is also spoken of as one of the " Lombards of Letha." ^ Letha 
is Letavia, i.e. Armorica. There were no Lombards in western 
Europe at the time of Patrick. 

At this period they were seated north of the Danube above where 
is now Vienna, the old Vindobona. In 512 they overthrew the 
Herulii, in 566 or 567 they destroyed the kingdom of the Gepidae and 
made themselves masters of Pannonia. It was not till 569 that they 
descended into Upper Italy. In 575, indeed, they crossed the Alps 
and came down on the Province, where they destroyed Nice and six 
other cities, but were cut to pieces by Mummolus.^ 

The Hy Baird of which Restitutus was a clansman was some 
race in Armorica. 

" Patrick and his father Calpurn, Concess, his mother, . . . and 
his five sisters, namely, Lupait and Tigris and Liamain and Darerca, 
and the name of the fifth Cinnenum (and) his brother, the Deacon 
Sannan, all went from Ail Cluade over the Ictian Sea (the English 
Channel) southward to the Britons of Armorica, that is to say, to the 
Letavian Britons ; for there were relations of theirs there at that 
time." * 

> Preface to the Hymn of Secundinus, Liber Hymn., ii, pp. 3, 4. A few Welsh 
pedigree MSS., e.g., Cardiff MS. 5 (1527), p. 119, and Llanstephan MS. 81, con- 
tain the entry, " Garmon gassarrvgv (gassarygy) gwr o wlad ryvain," i.e., of 

" Greg. Turon., Hist. Franc, vii, 6 ; Hodgkin, Italy and Her Invaders, v. 
pp. 215-24. 

3 Gloss on Place's Hymn, Tripartite Life, ii, pp. 413-5. The Book of Leinster 

/S. Germanus 6 5 

There Liamain is supposed to have married Restitutus, and to have 
become the mother of Germanus. There also were born the brothers 
or first cousins of Germanus, Auxihus, Isserninus, Secundinus and 
Benignus, who worked so nobly in the mission-field with their uncle 

Sannan the Deacon, brother of Patrick, was the father of another 
Patrick. 1 

Auxilius, Isserninus and Benignus went to Ireland, according to the 
Chronicon Scottorum and the Annals of Inis fallen, in 438. Who the 
H3/ Baird were we can only guess. Possibly that peculiar race 
occupying a portion of western Brittany called at present the Bigauden, 
and having Kalmuck-like features and build. 

When Germanus went to S. Patrick in Ireland we do not know. 
He cannot have remained there long, for we hear little of his labours. 
He founded one church, Kilgorman, south of Arklow, in Wexford.^ 

We next hear of him in the Life of S. Brioc. Crossing over from 
Wexford harbour, which in Irish has borne his name. Lough Garman,* 
he landed in Ceritica or Ceredigion, then occupied by Irish, and made 
the acquaintance of Cuerp, a Goidel chief there, and his wife Eldruda, 
a Saxon by birth. Cuerp handed over his child Brioc to Germanus 
to be educated by him, and the Saint took the child along with him to 
Paris, where Brioc had as fellow pupils lUtyd and Patrick.* 

The Life of S. Brioc does not identify this Germanus with the Bishop 
of Auxerre, and we can hardly doubt that he was the son of Restitutus 
of the Hy Baird of Letha. 

The Patrick who was pupil to S. Germanus would seem to have been 
the son of Sannan the Deacon, and cousin of Germanus ; and lUtyd 
was his great-nephew, grandson of Aldor, who is said to have married 
a sister of the Saint, and must at the time have been verj' young. 

That Germanus revisited his native land of Armorica and the district 
of the Hy Baird is more than probable ; and the supposition receives 
some confirmation, from the fact of a number of memorials of him 
being found in Cornouaille, and in a part that leads one to suspect 

on the Relatives of the Irish Saints has : " Lupait, Patrick's sister, the sons of 
Hua-Baird, Sechnall, Nectain, Dabonna, Mogornan (Mogorman) , Darioc, Ausaille, 
Presbyter Lugnath." Ibid., ii, p. 549. 

^ Trias Thaum., App. v, c. iv, p. 225. 

^ Shearman, Loca Patriciana, p. 169. 

^ Also in Welsh, Llwch Garmon, in Brut y Tywysogion and the Life of Gruff - 
ydd ab Cynan. 

* Vita S. Brioci in Anal. Boll., ii, pp. 165-6. The chronology of the Life of 
Brioc as worked out by Dom Plaine and De la Borderie rests on the assumption 
that the tutor of Brioc was Germanus of Auxerre. If that assumption be re- 
jected then all their schemes of chronology in the Life collapse. 


66 Lives of the British Sai7its 

that the tribe of the Hy'Baird, to which his father belonged, was that 
now represented by the Bigauden. 

Calpurn = Concess 

S.Patrick Sannan, Liamain = Restitutus of the 

b. c. 410, the Deacon Hy Baird 

d- 493 I , 

I I 

Patrick, S. Germanus, da = Aldor of 

Pupil of Germanus B. of Man | Armorica 

b. c. 400, I 

d- 474 I 

Rhiain = Bicanys 


S. Illtyd, 
disciple of Germanu?, 
b. c. 450, 
d. c. 537. 

At Plougastel, to the west of Quimper, and at Pleyben, east of 
Chateauhn, he is esteemed tlie patron saint. He is also venerated 
at Clohars-Carnoet and at Riec by Pontaven. 

But this is not all. Traces of two of his pupils, Patrick, son of 
Sannan, and of Brioc, son of Cuerp, are to be found near to the settle- 
ments of Germanus. Not, indeed, of Illtyd, who can have been at 
the time but a child, and who abandoned the religious life for a military 
career, to return to it at a later period of life. 

In the Bigauden peninsula are chapels of S. Brioc at Beuzic-cap- 
sizun and at Plobannalec ; and these cannot be accounted for by 
anything in the Life of Brioc after he had become an abbot. 

At Riec, where Germanus is patron of the parish, there is to be 
found a chapel of his pupil, Patrick. 

Brioc and probably Patrick were but youths when with Germanus ; 
nevertheless it was part of the discipline of monastic life, for the dis- 
ciples when young to retire to solitary places for meditation. Thus 
Paul of Leon when a mere boy went into the wilderness and con- 
structed an oratory and a cell for himself and his young comrades. 

Whether Germanus were a native of Pleyben or of Plougastel-Saint- 
Germain we do not know. We may conjecture that at one or the 
other he made over his patrimony to the Church, and that then he 
went to Paris to obtain a confirmation of his grant from the Frank 
king. At a later period this was done by Paul of Leon, Tudwal, and 
Samson, and, indeed, by Brioc. Or the visit to Paris may have been 
undertaken, some time between 450 and 462, for the purpose of entering 
into closer relations with the Gallo-Roman Church. 

The Life of S. Brioc makes no mention of any sojourn in Armorica 

S. Germanus 6 7 

at this period, and we can do no more than offer tlie suggestion that 
<jermanus was there along with his pupils. 

From Paris, after a while, Germanus departed for Britain. 

We may sjmchronize the return of Germanus with the visit made 
hy the great Apostle of Ireland to Britain in quest of fresh missionaries 
for his work. This had grown enormously. The fields were white to 
harvest, but the labourers were few. Accordingly he quitted Ireland 
to gather assistants. Joscelyn, in his Life of S. Patrick, says : " Sanctus 
in regressu suo aliquantisper in Britannia propria patria moratus, 
monasteria multa fundavit, atque a Paganis destructa reparavit. 
Monachorum sacris conventibus secundum formam religionis, quam 
■eis prsefixit, anuentibus ea replevit . . . et triginta episcopos ex 
transmarinis partibus congregatos, et a se consecrates, in Dominicam 
messem destinabat." ^ Allowance must be made for exaggeration. 
What Patrick did was to come to Britain to collect helpers. He 
founded no monasteries ; he had not time to do so, but he may have 
arranged that nurseries should be established to furnish him with 
■supplies of missioners. 

If so, then he would assuredly select his kinsman Germanus, who 
-cannot have been younger than himself, to undertake this task, and 
this may help to account for the statements in the Welsh documents 
to the effect that Germanus had a hand in the foundation of Llantwit 
and Llancarfan. 

The date of the visit of Patrick to Britain we do not know. Shear- 
man sets it down as taking place in 462.'^ 

It will have been noticed that we have : (i) Germanus of Auxerre, 
son of Rusticus ; (2) Germanus the Armorican, son of Restitutus ; 
{3) Germanus, son of Ridicus or Rhedyw, according to the Welsh 
accounts. Germanus, son of Restitutus, we know about through 
Irish tradition. It is our contention that Garmon, son of Ridicus, 
and Mogorman, son of Restitutus, are identical, and that the Welsh 
-have confounded the son of Restitutus with the son of Rusticus, a 
mistake easily made. The fame acquired by the Bishop of Auxerre 
would tend to eclipse that of the less known prelate of the same name.^ 

In like manner the scholiast on the Hymn of S. Fiacc informs us 

1 Acta SS. Boll., Mart. T. ii, pp. 573-4. ^ Loca Patyiciana, p. 452. 

3 Sir J. Rhys (Celtic Folklore, p. 39) observes that the name " Garmon can 
hardly have come down in Welsh from the time of the famous Saint in the fifth 
■century, as it would then have probably yielded Gerfon and not Garmon : it 
looks as if it had come through the Goidelic of this country." Had Germanus 
been adopted by the Welsh ata/o-ie period Garmon might possibly stand. '1 he 
■combination rm is not unknown in the language ; e.g., darmerth, germain, gen: 1 s, 
gonnod, etc. 

68 Lives of the British Saints 

that S. Patrick accompanied S. Germanus to Britain to assist in the 
suppression of the Pelagian heresy. The scholiast is late, and he 
read somewhere that Germanus and Patrick were together in Britain, 
and then rushed to the conclusion that Patrick had attended the great 
Bishop of Auxerre in 429 or 447. 

At the same time that Germanus quitted Paris, Brioc departed to- 
revisit his parents in Ceredigion. 

We next hear of Germanus in Brecknock, " sent by Patrick." The- 
authority is the Life of S. Ninnoca, and is not good ; but it does show 
that a distinction was drawn between Germanus, the kinsman of 
Patrick, and the Bishop of Auxerre, and that the former was in Wales.. 
The Life of S. Ninnoca, as we have it, is late, but is certainly based 
on earlier material ; and the statement, " Sanctus Germanus epis- 
copus ex Hibernensium regione transmissus a Sancto Patricio archi- 
episcopo, venit ad Brochanum regem Britannia," ^ cannot be a late 
invention. No mediaeval hagiographer in Brittany could have in- 
vented such a statement, knowing nothing of the son of Restitutus.. 
What he found in the text he amplified and coloured. 

We come next to the mass of legendary matter in the Histoha 

Nennius made his compilation from a Volumen BrittannicB , and also 
from a Vita Germani. Now had there been any account in this latter 
about his contest with the Pelagians, or the Hallelujah Victory, as there- 
certainly would have been had the Life been one of Germanus of 
Auxerre, there can be no manner of doubt that Nennius would have 
mentioned both. But as there is no such matter in his History, we 
must conclude that the Germanus whose Vita was before him was. 
quite another saint of the same name. Nennius took into his history 
from the Vita Germani the chapters 32-35 ; then he interrupted the 
narrative to follow the Volumen Brittannice ; he returned to the 
Vita Germani for chapter 39 ; again recurred to the Volumen Brit- 
tannicB ; and after that gave chapter 48 from the Vita Germani. In 
most of the MSS. he calls the saint simply Germanus, with no mention 
of Auxerre. 

Although the story comes to us in a fabulous form, it contains some 
historic elements. 

The incidents group themselves under two heads : the Transactions 
of Germanus with Benlli of Powys (known in Welsh tradition as BenUi 
Gawr, or the Giant), and those with Gwrtheyrn. 

One authority for his encounter with Benlli is Marcus, a British 

' Vita S. NinnochcB in Cartulary of QuimperU, Paris, 1896, p. 18. 

iS. Germaiius 6g 

bishop, who had Uved long in Ireland, and who told the story to Heric, 
and he or whoever was the author of the book, inserted it in his book 
on the Miracles of Germanus of Auxerre ; so that already the confu- 
sion between the two Saints of the same name existed. 

The tale as told in the Volumen BrittannicB is earlier, and Mark 
had read it and repeated it from memory to Heric. He does not name 
Benlli, nor the man who was raised to the throne of Powys in his room. 
Either Mark had forgotten them, or Heric had not deemed it necessary 
to record them. 

The story as told in the Vita Germani, which Nennius laid under 
contribution and amplified in 796, is as follows : — 

Germanus went to visit Benlli, and to preach to him. When he 
arrived at the gate of the city, he and his attendants were respectfully 
received by the porter, who came forth and saluted them. Germanus 
bade him communicate to the king their desire to enter ; but Benlli 
returned a harsh answer, declaring that they might remain without 
a twelvemonth for aught he cared, but he would not permit them 
to come within. 

Evening closed in, and they knew not whither to go. Then one of 
the king's servants approached, and bowing before the man of God, 
announced the king's answer, but offered the hospitality of his own 
house outside the city gates, which they accepted ; and there they 
were kindly received. The host had but one cow and a calf, and he 
killed the latter, dressed and set it before his guests. Germanus bade 
them refrain from breaking a bone of the calf ; and the next morning 
it was found alive, uninjured. 

Early the same day they again approached the gate and sought 
audience of the wicked king ; and whilst engaged in prayer, awaiting 
admission, a man covered with sweat issued through the gates, and 
prostrated himself before them. Then Germanus asked if he beheved 
in the Holy Trinity, and when he had received this assurance, baptised 
him, and bade him go to Benlli with his message, but forewarned him 
that he would die. The man on entering, met the prefect ; was seized, 
bound, and conducted before the tjrrant, who ordered him at once to 
be put to death. 

Germanus and his company remained outside the whole day, without 
obtaining admission. 

Then he said to the man who had entertained him : " Take care 
that none of your friends remain this night within the walls." There- 
upon the man brought forth his nine sons. Germanus bade them as 
well as his attendants fast all night, and he cautioned the man and 
his sons not to look round whatever might happen. And, lo ! early 

yo Lives of the British Saints 

in the night fire fell from heaven and consumed the city, and all who 
were therein ; " and that citadel [arx) has not been rebuilt even to- 
this day." 

Next morning Germanus baptised his host and the sons, and all the 
inhabitants of the country round ; and Germanus promised to the 
man that " a king should not be wanting to his seed for ever." This 
man's name was Cadell Ddyrnllug ; he became king of Powys in the 
room of Benin, and " all his sons were kings, and from their offspring 
the whole country of Powys has been governed to this day," ^ " testi- 
fying to the tribal character of Welsh chieftainship as that of a ruling 
family, and not merely of a single person or leader." ^ 

The old line of Cadelling continued to rule Powys till the death in 
854 of Cyngen ab Cadell, the last king of that line. They are spoken 
of as " of Cegidfa," i.e. Guilsfield, near Welshpool, and the fort of 
Gaer Fawr there was probably their chief seat. Through Cyngen's 
sister Nest the kingdom of Powys passed to her son, Rhodri Mawr,. 
king of Gwynedd. 

As related by Mark the bishop, the story was less marvellous. He 
must have quoted from a version earlier and in places less expanded 
than any that has reached us. 

In Nennius the man is poHarius, but in Mark's version probably 
forearms, for Heric makes him the king's subulcus. The night was 
one of winter, and so cold that it was unfit for man or beast to be 
exposed to the inclemency of the weather. The story of the calf is' 
given at greater length and with fuller particulars ; but nothing is 
told of the man covered with sweat who was executed. Next morning 
Germanus and his companions are admitted to an audience with the 
king, when the Saint roundly scolded the prince, who had not a word 
to answer. Then Germanus thrust him from his throne with his staff,, 
and bade him surrender his seat to one more worthy to fill it. The 
king obeyed, and fled along with his wife and children. After that 
Germanus raised the subulcus to the vacant throne, and thenceforth 
to this day the descendants of the pig-driver gave kings to the Britons. * 
The incident of the calf eaten and restored whole is a pagan myth 
imported into the story. It is instructive to note how the account of 
the deposition of Benlli was expanded in later editions of Nennius,. 
with reminiscences of Lot and the destruction of Sodom. 

' Nennius in Monumenta German. Hist. Chron. Minora, ed. Mommsen, cc. 
32-5. In the sixteenth-century metrical legend of S. Cynhafal the destruction 
of Benlli is attributed to that Saint. See ii, pp. 255-6. 

^ Seebohm, Tribal System in Wales, 1895, P- I45- 

' De Miracul. S. Germani, ed. Migne, p. 124 ; also given by Mommsen as above, 
PP- 172-S- 

S. Germanus 7 1 

WTiat actually occurred was apparently this. Benlli, king of Powys,, 
had incurred the dislike of a large number of his people, and Germanus 
sanctioned an insurrection under Cadell, and cursed the king in true 
Celtic ^fashion. The insurgents prevailed. Benlli was expelled, and 
Cadell Ddyrnllug i was the first of a new line of kings of Powys. 

Benlli Gawr was king in lal, a district lying between Ruthin and 
Mold, and extending towards Llangollen ; and the conical mountain,, 
Moel Fenlli, in the Clwydian range, takes its name from him, and the 
fort crowning it is generally believed to be the arx of Nennius. His 
son, Beli, is mentioned in Englynion y Beddau in the twelfth-century 
Black Book of Carmarthen ^ : — 

Whose the grave on the Maes Mawr ? 
Proud his hand upon his lance — 
The grave of Beli ab BenlU Gawr. 

The two stones set up to mark the grave existed till about 1600 at a 
place of the name on the Nant-y-Meini brook, which rises on the 
Nerquis mountain. Cadell apparently rewarded Germanus with 
grants of land in 111, and the Germanus churches in Denbighshire owe 
their origin to this. We cannot attribute them to the Bishop of 

A legend of a similar character is told by the Welsh historian, Hum- 
phrey Lhuyd, of Germanus (whom he confounds with his namesake 
of Auxerre) in his Breuiary of Britayne, published in 1573, wherein 
he connects' him with Lljoiclys, near Oswestry. The then king of 
Powys had his palace on the spot where now stands Llynclys Pool. 
" The kynge whereof, bycause he refused to heare that good man, by 
the secret and terrible iudgement of God, with his Palace, and all his 
householde, was swallowed vp into the bowels of the Earth in that 
place, whereas, not farre from Oswastry, is now a standyng water, of 
an vnknowne depth, called Lhunclys, that is to say, the deuouryng of 
the Palace." ^ 

^ The Durnluc of Catell Durnluc has nothing to do with the supposed district- 
name Teyrnllwg (lolo MSS., p. 86), the traditional name of the district com- 
prised in the old Diocese of Chester, and whence " Vale Royal," applied to a 
district in Cheshire, was translated. Cadell Dd5rrnllug seems to mean Cadelt 
of the Black Hand (Mr. Egerton Phillimore in Y Cymmrodor, viii, p. 119; ix, 
P- 179)- 

^ Ed. Dr. J. G. Evans, 1906, p. 69. Beli was slain in battle by Meirion ab 
Tybion, who also set up the stones to mark his grave [Peniarth MS. 267, and 
Llanstefhan MS. 18). 

' The Breuiary is a translation by Twyne of Lhuyd's work in Latin pubKshed 
in 1572 at Cologne. Llynclys means, more correctly, " the swallowed court." 
There are other legends of the origin of the Pool ; see Sir J. Rhys, Celtic Folk- 
lore, pp. 410-4. 

72 Lives of the British Satnts 

The next political movement in which Germanus was engaged was 
one against Gwrtheyrn. 

Although the invitation to the Jutes to assist the Britons against 
the Picts had been sent, not on Gwrtheyrn's sole initiative, but by 
decision of a council of the chiefs, as Gildas assures us.^ yet when 
the disastrous results became manifest, indignation and resentment 
broke out against Gwrtheyrn himself, and a conjuration was formed 
against him, headed by Ambrosius Aurelianus, of Roman imperial 
descent. In characteristic fashion a Saint was invoked to bless the 
conspirators and to ban Gwrtheyrn. Germanus was fixed on, and 
a great Council of the chieftains and clergy was assembled, to criminate 
and condemn the king. Gwrtheyrn had added to his incapacity as a 
ruler, the crime of seducing his own daughter. 

" And when a great synod of clerics and laity was gathered in one 
council," Gwrtheyrn bade his daughter bring in the child she had 
borne him, and place it in the lap of Germanus and declare that he, 
the bishop, was its father. 

Germanus received the child, and called for a comb and razor and 
shears, and bade the child offer them to his true father after the flesh, 
whereupon the bojr handed them to the king. Gwrtheyrn rose up in 
a fury, and fled from the face of Germanus and the council. Then he 
invited magi, i.e. Druids, to him. Next follows the fable of Ambrosius 
Merlin, and the attempt made by Gwrtheyrn to build a castle in Erjrri, 
or the Snowdon district. From this he was also driven, and he departed 
with his wise men (Druids in the Irish Nennius) to the sinistral district, 
and arrived in the region named Gworthegirniaun. ^ Thither Ger- 
manus again pursued him, along with his following of British clergy ; 
and mounting a rock, he prayed against him for forty days and nights. 
Then GwrthejTn fled again to the castle that bore his name near the 
river Teifi. Once more the implacable Germanus went after him, and 
fasted and prayed against him for three days and as many nights. 
And on the fourth night fire fell from heaven and consumed the wicked 
king, with his wives and all his followers. " Hie est finis Guorthegirni, 
ut in Libro beati Germani repperi. Alii autem aliter dixerunt." ^ 
The author proceeds to say that this differs from the current tradition 
that represents Gwrtheyrn as wandering about the country, scorned 
by all, till he died of a broken heart. 

In the foregoing account the incest of the king is put in the fore- 

1 De Excid. Brit., ed. Williams, pp. 52, 54 ; ed. Momrasen, p. 38. 
^ The commote is now in Radnorshire, the chief place in it being Rhayader. 
It was regarded at one time as being in Powys. 
^ Nennius, ed. Mommsen, c. 47, pp. igo— i. 


Stained Glass, S. Neot. 

S. Germa7ius 7 3 

front as the principal cause of the assembly of the Council ; that this 
was not so, we may rest assured. The Britons were far more concerned 
over the conquests of the Jutes and Saxons than about the private 
morals of the king. 

The child put into the arms of Germanus is called in the text Sanctus 
Faustus ; but he cannot have been Faustus of Riez, but Edeyrn, 
who built a monastery at Llanedarn, in Glamorganshire. 

Gwrtheyrn would seem to have thrown himself into the arms of 
the pagan party, for he summoned to him twelve magi or Druids who 
advised him to offer a human sacrifice. 

The reason why Germanus went after him the second time was 
probably this. Nennius tells us that a great meeting was held between 
the Saxons and the Britons, for convivial purposes, and that at the 
banquet the Saxons treacherouslj^ stabbed the Britons, and three 
hundred of their nobles were thus slain. Gwrtheyrn was, however, 
spared, because he had married the daughter of Hengist ; but he was 
kept in bonds till he had surrendered " the three provinces of East, 
South, and Middle Sex, besides other districts at the option of his 

This surrender seems to have roused the resentment of the Britons 
to the highest pitch, and to have induced Germanus to go after the 
king and expel him from Dyfed. 

The fire falling from heaven is a reduplication of the myth of the 
death of Benlli. 

According to Nennius, the order of events was this : — 

1. A Council in which Germanus met and denounced Gwrtheyrn, 
and from which Gwrtheyrn fled. 

2. He retreats to Eryri, in Gwynedd, where he builds a caer, which 
eventually he surrenders to Ambrosius, or Emrys WIedig. 

3. He then makes his headquarters in Guenessi, where he built 
himself a castle called Caer Gwrtheyrn. 

4. A conclave of Saxons and Britons, at which; the nobles of the 
latter are treacherously murdered. Gwrtheyrn is, however, spared. 

5. Germanus again seeks him in Caer Gwrtheyrn ; fasts against 
him with all his clergy. 

6. Gwrtheyrn again flies to a Castell {arx) Gwrtheyrn, " quae est 
in regione Demetorum juxta flumen Teibi." Germanus again fasts 
against him, and fire falls from heaven and consumes him and his 

We will take this succession and endeavour to find and determine 
the several sites. 

74 Lives of the British Saints 

1. Where the Council was held which deposed Gwrthe5n"n we have 
no means of saying. 

2. The castle in Eryri may be fixed with certainty. It is Dinas 
Emrys, on a rock above the road leading from Beddgelert to Llanberis, 
half-way between Beddgelert and Llyn y Ddinas. It is a remarkable 
rounded and very steep hill, ascended with comparative ease on one 
side only. The summit bears traces of having been fortified, and 
there is on it a large cairn now overgrown with brushwood, and there 
were in it till comparatively recently the remains of eight cytiau. The 
summit is very irregular. As Gwrtheyrn surrendered this fortress to 
Ambrosius, it bears the name of the latter. It occupies an important 
strategic position. 

3. The next place of retreat was Caer Gwrtheyrn in Guenessi. There 
are various readings for Guenessi. In the Irish Nennius it is Guunis. 
Some thirteenth-century MSS. give " Guasmoric juxta Lugubaham 
ibi ffidificavit urbem qujeAnglice Palme castre dicitur." So far its 
situation has not been determined. Certain early forms of place- 
names occurring in the district between Morecambe Bay and the Sol- 
way Firth incline Mr. Egerton Phillimore to believe that it will ulti- 
mately be located there. 

4. Nennius says that Germanus continued to preach to Gwrtheyrn 
to turn to God, and abandon his illicit connexion. Then he tells the 
story of the wars and death of Gwrthefyr, and then of the false peace 
concluded between Gwrtheyrn and Hengist, and of the massacre of 
the British nobles by the treacherous Saxons. Then he adds that 
Gwrtheyrn, who had been spared by Hengist because he had married 
the daughter of the Saxon leader, fled into Gwrtheyrnion to his castle, 
and that Germanus went after him. He had previously surrendered 
the " plaga occidentalis " to Ambrosius. 

5. After this, Germanus, exasperated at the slaughter of three hun- 
dred British nobles, pursued Gwrtheyrn to his castle in Gwrtheyrnion,. 
and took with him a number of British clerics. He ascended a rock 
and " fasted against him " for forty days and nights. Then the 
wretched king fled again. 

6. Lastly, Gwrtheyrn took refuge in a castle {arx) that bore his 
name " in regione Demetiorum juxta flumen Teibi." The spot is 
Craig Gwrtheyrn, near Llandyssul, in Cardiganshire. It is an insu- 
lated, rounded hill, rising five hundred feet on the south bank of the 
river, half-way between Llandyssul and Llanfihangel-ar-Arth. 

This was his last refuge. Germanus again pursued him, and fire 
fell from heaven and consumed him and his wives. 

Nennius adds that the conclusion of the story was doubtful. What 

/S. Germaniis 7 ^ 

he related was from the Book of the blessed Germanus ; " ahi autem 
aliter dixerunt." The other versions of the end of the king were, 
" that being hated by all the people of Britain for having received 
the Saxons, and being publicly charged by S. Germanus and the clergy 
in the sight of God, he betook himself to flight ; and that, deserted and 
a wanderer, he sought a place of refuge, till broken hearted he made 
an ignominious end. Some accounts state that the earth opened and 
swallowed him up on the night his castle was burned ; as no relics 
were discovered on the following morning, either of him, or of those 
who were burned with him." 

A local tradition attaches to Gwrtheyrn's castle under Yr Eifi, in 
Lleyn, at the mouth of the romantic dingle Nant Gwrtheyrn. Here 
are earthworks, a circular embankment with a base-court forming 
a portion of a circle struck from another centre. The local legend is 
to the effect that an earthquake rent the rock on which it stands, and 
shook down the castle ; and in Nant Gwrtheyrn is shown a tumulus, 
popularly called Bedd Gwrtheyrn, under which the unfortunate king 
was held to be buried. More than a century ago it was dug into, and 
a stone cof&n was exposed containing the bones of an unusually big 

One of the Englynion y Beddau runs : — ■■■ 

The grave in Ystyfachau — 

Everybody is doubtful about it. 

It is the grave of Gwrtheyrn Gwrthenau. 

The situation, however, of Ystyfachau is not known, it would 

Near Valle Crucis Abbey is the Pillar of Eliseg, which was set up 
by Cyngen ab Cadell (died 854) , the last king of Powys of the old line, 
to the memory of his great-grandfather Eliseg or Elise. The inscrip- 
tion is now, unhappily, very illegible. Part of it has been read, " Pas- 
cen[tius] . . . filius Guarthi[girni] (quern) bened[ixit] Germanus." ^ 
The words refer to some lost tradition, according to which Germanus 
had given his blessing to this son of the ignoble king ; but it 
establishes the existence of a Germanus in Wales at the period of 
Gwrtheyrn, or, at least, of his son. 

Germanus, having accomplished his work in upsetting Benlli and 
Gwrtheyrn from their thrones, and blessing the usurpations of Cadell 
and Ambrosius, and having, if we may place any reliance at all on the 

^ Black Book of Carmarthen, ed. Dr. J. G. Evans, p. 67. 
2 See especially Prof. Sayce's restored reading of the inscription, Arch. Camb., 
igog, pp. 45-6 ; also Sir J. Rhys in Y Cymmrodor, xxi (1908). 

76 Lives of the British Saints 

statements in the lolo MSS., done something towards the establish- 
ment of colleges in South Wales, departed for Ireland, and was ap- 
pointed by his kinsman, Patrick, to be the first Bishop of Man. 

The date cannot be determined with precision, but it was some- 
where between 464 and 466. 

Joscelyn, the author of the sixth Life of S. Patrick in Colgan's 
Collection, says : " Quemdam discipulorum S. Patricii visum sanctum 
■et sapientem Germanum nominatum, in episcopum promotum, illius 
gentis ecclesise novellas regentem prasposuit, et in quodam promon- 
torio (quod adhuc insula Patricii vocatum, eo quod ipso ibidem ali- 
quantulum demorabatur) episcopalem sedem posuit." ^ 

In the same Life is given an account of the conversion of Maccail, 
a robber, who was destined to become fourth Bishop of Man, after 
Connidrius and Romulus, who succeeded Germanus.- S. Patrick is 
said himself to have laboured in the Isle of Man.^ 

That Germanus summoned his disciple Brioc to his assistance is 
possible enough, though he has left no foundation in Man ; but Brioc 
received a cult in churches in Kirkcudbright and Rothesay. 

It is possible enough that the statement that S. Patrick worked in 
the Isle of Man may be due to a mistake, and that the Patrick who 
"went there was the son of Sannan the Deacon, the pupil of Germanus. 

The death of Germanus took place in 474.* 

His church near Peel Castle in Man is called Kirk-Jarman. 

When we come to consider the dates of his life we encounter great 

The statement that he founded Llantwit and placed lUtyd there 
cannot be accepted, and it is one of a very late date. lUtyd can 
hardly have been converted till 472, and could not well have founded 
Llantwit before 480. 

The statement relative to Catwg is also impossible chronologically, 
as Catwg died about 577, a century after the death of Germanus. 
Dyfrig also belonged to a later generation. 

It is unfortunately impossible to fix the date of the revolution under 

^ Trias Thaumat., Vita 6**, p. 98. 

^ Vita S. Patricii in Acta SS. Boll., Mart. T. I., pp. 570-1 ; Trias Thaumat., 
Vita 6**, p. 98. 

3 Acta SS. Boll., Mart. T.I,, p. 559. 

* Ussher in his Primordii gives this date. He almost certainly had authority 
for it, which we no longer possess. He was not the man to give it as a bit of 
guesswork. The date of the death of Germanus is not in the Chron. Scottorum, 
nor in the Annals of Ulster or Inisf alien. Those of Tighernach are lost between 
360 and 489. O'Conor, Rerum Hibern. Scriptores, ii, p. 114, has: " a.d. 471, Ger- 
mano primo Mannias episcopo defuncto duo successores a S. Patricio ordinati 
sunt, Conindrus et Romulus, quibus postea successit Maccaldus." 

+ Llaii bister 


aS*. Germanus 7 7 

Ambrosius Aurelianus that led to the expulsion of Gwrtheyrn from 
his command. 

Approximately, but only approximately, these would be the dates 
of the life of Germanus. 

Germanus conjecturally born in Armorica . 
,, went to Ireland to S. Patrick . 

,, leaves Ireland and takes charge of Brioc, lUtyd and 

Patrick mac Sannan .... 
,, leaves Gaul to meet S. Patrick in Britain . 

,, engaged in contest with Gwrtheyrn . 

,, returns to Ireland and appointed first Bishop of 


,, dies in Man ...... 

c. 410 
c. 440 

c. 450 
c. 462 
c. 462-4 

c. 466 
c. 474 

The dedications to him in North Wales lie mainly in the district 
where he had his contests with Benlli and Gwrthejn-n. Cadell doubt- 
less rewarded him with lands for his aid, as would also Ambrosius 
Aurelianus from those of Gwrtheyrn. 

His churches are Llanarmon and Bettws Garmon, in Carnarvon- 
shire ; Llanarmon yn lal, Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, Llanarmon 
Mynydd Mawr (called also Llanarmon Fach), and Capel Garmon, in 
Denbighshire ; Llanfechain (formerly Llanarmon ym Mechain) and 
Castle Caereinion, in Montgomeryshire ; and Llanarmon or S. Har- 
mon's, in Gwrtheyrnion, Radnorshire. All these, with the exception 
of the last-named, are in North Wales. It is possible enough that 
some of them may be dedicated to his great namesake of Auxerre, as 
all of them subsequently came to be so regarded. 

Under Llanarmon yn lal there is included in the Valor of 1535 the 
item, " In oblacionibus coram Imagine S'ci Garmon' — xxx^" ^ With 
this the notice of Leland, some five years later, well coincides, that 
" Greate Pilgremage and Offeringwas a (of) late to S. Armon." ^ In 
thesouthwallof the church, outside, is inserted in an upright position 
the effigy of a priest in Eucharistic vestments, ^ which Pennant says 
has done duty for S. Garmon ; but his image was, no doubt, destroyed 
like all others at the Reformation. On the summit of a rocky knoll, 
near Tomen y Rhodwydd, in this parish, is his Holy Well, Ffynnon 
Armon, the water of which is said neither to increase nor diminish at 
any time, nor has it any visible inlet or outlet. It was formerly much 

1 iv, p. 446 ; of. vi, p. xliv. 

2 Itin., V, fo. 35. Lewis Glyn Cothi (fifteenth century) swears by his hand, 
" Myn llaw hen Armon ! " {Works, 1837, p. 76). 

' There is an illustration of it in Lloyd- Williams and Underwood, Village 
Churches of Denbighshire, 1872. 

7 8 Lives of the British Saints 

In Llanfechain churchyard, on the north side of the church, is a 
small mound called Twjiipath Garmon, from which he is said to have 
preached, and similar mounds exist at Llanarmon D^^ffryn Ceiriog and 
Castle Caereinion. The water for baptisms at Llanfechain continued 
to be carried, until within last century, from the Ffynnon Armon 
there, about 200 yards from the church. There are Holy Wells of 
his also at Capel Garmon and Bettws Garmon, which were formerly 
in great repute. Garth Garmon is the name of a township of Capel 
Garmon, and Clas Garmon of one of S. Harmon's. The das {cf. Irish 
dais) of the latter clearly points to the existence of some kind of 
monastic community at an early period. 

Jonathan Williams in his History of Radnorshire,''- says that " there 
is on the bank of the River Marteg, at the eastern extremity of the 
parish, near to the confines of the parish of Llanbister, a remarkable 
and conspicuous tumulus, named Bedd Garmon, i.e. the Grave of 
Garmon ; " and further, at p. 89 of the same work, he says : " One 
of the townships or parishes" constituting the manor of Rhayader is 
called Tu Sant Harmon. Tu is simply an illiterate way of spelling 
Ty, the House of S. Garmon (cf. Ty Ddewi for S. David's). 

In Flintshire, in the parish of Mold, is Maes Garmon,^ supposed 
to have been the place where the AUeluiatic Victory was won by Ger- 
manus of Auxerre against the Picts and Saxons. It is very doubtful 
that the overthrow took place there, and that Germanus of Auxerre 
was in Wales at all. It majr take its name from Germanus of Armorica. 
In 1736 an obelisk was erected on the spot as the traditional site of 
the victor}^ first located here by Ussher. 

In Devon the parish church of Week S. Germans has the saint, pro- 
bably, as patron, but the patronal feast is observed on July 31. 

In Cornwall is S. German's on the Lynher, an early monastic and 
episcopal centre from Saxon times certainly. We may suspect that 
this was actually one of the mission colleges founded by Germanus 
mac Restitutus, rather than those in South Wales. 

The parish church of Rame is dedicated to S. German ; so also 
was a chapel at Padstow (B. Stafford's Register, 1415). 

In Lower Brittany are Clohars Carnoet by Quimperle, and Riec 

1 Tenby, 1859, p. 239. There was a tradition that he had his hermitage 
adjoining the churchyard of S. Harmon's. Bp. Maddox (1736-43) in MS. Z in 
the Episcopal Library at S. Asaph records under Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog that 
Garmon is " said to have been buried under a plain stone in the Church." 

^ Maes, a field, sometimes means a field of battle, but it is most unusual 
to find the word prefixed to the name of a Saint. If Maes Garmon were the 
scene, the Saxons must have sailed round I0 the west, as they can hardly have 
fought their way across the island. 


At Pleyben. 

S. Germanus y g 

near by ; Plougastel-Saint-Germain, west of Quimper, and Kerlaz. 
Also Pleyben by Chateaulin, Laz by Chateauneuf and Plougonven 
near Morlaix. All these are in Finistere. No trace of the Saint is to 
be found in the diocese of Vannes. The dedications to S. Germain 
we meet with in Ille-et-Vilain belong to a different Saint, German mac 

Germanus, Bishop of Man, has met with a hard fate, and no recog- 
nition. He has everywhere been supplanted by his noted namesake 
■of Auxerre. 

M. Loth, in Annales de Bretagne, 1905, has disputed the thesis that 
there was an Armorican Germanus distinct from the saint of Auxerre. 
We quite admit that the authority of the lolo MSS. is of little 
value, and that the Irish traditions relative to the family of 
S. Patrick are not of much higher. But we venture to think that 
it is possible to concihate, by the assumption we make, the Welsh 
and Irish traditions with Nennius and the Life of S. Brioc. 

Germanus does not occur in the Irish Martyrologies. In the Isle of 
Man he was commemorated on July 3. In the Welsh Calendars the 
Festival of Germanus, Gwyl Armon, occurs in May, July, and October. 
The days in the two last months are festivals of his namesake of 
Auxerre, and that in May of him of Paris. May 27 and 28 occur in 
some half a dozen Welsh Calendars ; July 13 and 14 in five ; July 31 
in a score or more Calendars (including those of the earlier editions 
•of the Welsh Bible and Prayer-Book) ; and in some fourteen on Octo- 
ber I. July 31 is often marked " Gwyl Armon yn lal " in the calendars, 
but in more recent times the wakes were held in Yale on August i. 
The wakes at Llanfechain and Castle Caereinion were held on October i, 
latterly the Sunday after October 12. In the two Carnarvonshire 
parishes they followed July 31. 

At S. Harmon's, Radnorshire, the feast was kept on the Sunday 
after August 13. 

At S. German's in Cornwall on July 31, transferred to August i, but 
also a fair on May 28, the day of S. Germanus, Bishop of Paris. 

At Plougastel-Saint-Germain the patronal feast is held on the first 
Sunday in July, and the Pardon on the first Sunday after Easter. 

At Pleyben the Pardon is on the first Sunday in August. At Riec 
the patronal feast is on the first Monday in July. At Clohars Carnoet 
on August 15. 

There is a fine statue of S. Germanus at Pleyben. 

8o Lives of the British Saijits 

S. GERMANUS MAC GUILL, Bishop, Confessor 

Mention has been made in the Life of S. Ailbe of that saint having 
come across the Sons of Goll on the Ranee, near Dol. 

And under the head of Achebran some account has been given of 
the party of Irish bishops and their sisters who came to Cornwall, and 
after a brief sojourn there went on to Gaul, landed at the mouth of 
the Ranee, and founded churches up the river and in the surrounding 
country ; as also of their appearing at Rheims in 509. 

It is not necessary here to repeat what was said under S. Achebran. 
The words in the Life of S. Ailbe are, " In ilia autem regione magnum 
edificavit monasterium, in quo reliquit filios Guill." ^ 

The party on reaching Cornwall formed small settlements. That of 
German is now Germoe under S. Breaca. The name is Germocus in 
Leland and WiUiam of Worcester, and Leland, quoting from the legend 
of S. Breaca, says that he was a king. As such he is represented in a 
fifteenth-century fresco in the church of S. Breage, and in a statue in a 
niche above the porch at Germoe. 

There is a story in the Life of S. Ciaran of Saighir about a German, 
an old travelling companion. 

German went to visit the master, whereupon Ciaran proposed after 
prayer to perform one of his penances, to go into a tub of cold water, 
and he invited German to come in with him. This German did — 
but the water was so cold that his teeth chattered, and he was about 
to scramble out, when Ciaran assured him that if he would only remain 
in and bear it a little longer, he would get over the sense of the intense 
cold. German did so. 

Presently Ciaran exclaimed, "Heigh! a fish! a fish!" and be- 
tween them the two nude Saints succeeded in capturing a trout that 
was in the vat. " I rejoice that we have got the fish," said Ciaran, 
" for I am expecting home to-day my old pupil Carthagh, whom I 
had to send abroad, as he was rather disorderly as a disciple — and 
he will want his dinner." 

It is not certain that this was the same German, but chronologically 
it may well be so. Though Germoe or German may have been of 
royal descent, he was hardly a king. 

In the Irish MartjTrologies of Tallaght, O'Gorman, and Donegal, 
German mac Guill is commemorated on July 30. William of Wor- 
cester says that the day on which Germoe was commemorated in 
Cornwall was June 24, and he calls him a bishop. Germoe Feast, 
however, is on the first Thursday in May. 

^ Acta SS. Hib. in Cod. Sal., col. 244. 


From Fresco in S. Breage (restored). 

S. Gildas 8 r 

■ -^ chain of his churches is found in Ille-et-Vilaine : S. Gormain sur 
Hie, S. Germain en Congles, and S. Germain des Pinel, also the very 
interesting and fine church of the same dedication in Rennes. 

In the churchyard of Germoe is a singular structure, that is called 
S. Germoe's Chair. It existed in the time of Leland. There was a 
Holy Well near the church, but no structure of that nature remains. 

At Tredias near Broons, C6tes-du-Nord, were seven crosses, marking 
the spot where traditionally the seven Irish brother pilgrims separated. 
A new road has been carried over the spot, and has buried the crosses. 
They were situated on the Farm of S. Georges, i 


S. GILDAS, Abbot, Confessor 

The authorities for the Life of Gildas are, first, his own statement 
about himself in the book of Z)e Excidio BritannicB. 

Next, a Life by a monk of Rhuis, written in the ninth century. 
An admirable critical edition of this Life by Professor Hugh Williams 
has appeared in his Gildas, Cymmrodorion Record Series, 1901, pp. 
317-389. This Life was first printed in 1605 by John a Bosco, in his 
Bihliotheca Floriacensis , from an imperfect MS., and this was reprinted 
by the BoUandists in Acta SS., Jun. II, pp. 958-67 ; also by Colgan 
in his Acta SS. Hihernice, 1645, p. 181 et seq. 

In a complete form it was published by Mabillon for the first time. 
Acta SS. O.S.B., ssec. I, 1668, pp. 138-52; and now by Professor 
Williams in his Gildas. 

This Life was written during the lifetime apparently of Isembard, 
Bishop of Poitiers (Isembardus 1047-1086). But that it is based on 
much earher material is unquestionable. The monks of Rhuis were 
able to fly before the Normans and carry off the body of Gildas and 
their chief treasures to Berry, and doubtless conveyed their books 
with them. 

Professor Williams thinks that it was written originally in or about 

1 De Lhommeau, "Visite aux tombeaux de Tresneur," in V Union Liber ale ds 
Dinan, June 4, 1903. Ajoutons que la route qui passe prds de la ferme et traverse 
le ruisseau est neuve, et qu'elle a enseveli sous son remblai les Sept Croix, groupe 
pieux dresse par les fiddles en I'honneur des sept saints de Bretagne lesquels 
etaient Gibrien, Hilen, PStran, Germain, Viran, Abran et Tressaint. 

8 2 Lives of the British Saints 

880, and we suppose that the chapters, 32-45, have been added at a 
later date. This is possible, but not certain. In chapter 32 there is a 
reference back to what had already been said, " Britannia, quae olim 
Letavia dicta fuit, sicut diximus ; " the reference being to c. 16, " Dei 
jussu pervenisset in Armoricam quondam Galliae regionem, tunc 
autem a Britannis, a quibus possidebatur, Letavia dicebatur." 

On the whole we should consider the Life by the Monk of Rhuis as 
a composition of the end of the eleventh century, based upon earlier 

Another edition by Mommsen, in Momimenta German., Hist. Chron. 
Minora, iii. (1894), pp. 91-106. 

The third source is a Life attributed to Caradog of Llancarfan. 
Archbishop Ussher possessed a MS. of this Life, in which it was so 
attributed in a rude distich appended to it. 

Caradog was a friend of Geoffrey of Monmouth, and accordingly 
belonged to the middle of the twelfth century. The manner in which 
Glastonbury is forced into prominence in the narrative leads rather 
to the conviction that it was a composition of a monk of that place. 

This Life was first printed by Stevenson for the " English Historical 
Society " in 1838, then by Giles for the " Caxton Society " in 1854. 
It has been published by Mommsen in the above-mentioned Collection, 
pp. 107-10. Also by Professor Williams in his Gildas, pp. 394-413. 

This served as basis for the Life of Gildas in Capgrave's Nova Legenda 

On the other hand, the Life by the monk of Rhuis has served the 
same purpose to a condenser whose work is in the Bibl. Nat. Paris, and 
which is given by De Smedt in his Caialogus hagiograph. Latin. Bibl. 

From what has been said under S. Aneurin,i it will be seen that 
the Welsh genealogists identify Gildas with him ; but that the Aneurin, 
who is also Gildas, was not the author of the Gododin. 

For the authorities for his pedigree we refer back to that article. 

Before proceeding to the narrative of the Life of Gildas, it will be 
requisite first of all to consider at some length the date of his birth. 

I. On the Date of the Birth of Gildas. 

In order to arrive at an approximate chronology of the Life of 
Gildas, it is necessary, as a preliminary, to determine the date of the 
Battle of Mount Badon, upon which the whole calculation depends. 

Gildas says : " From that time (i.e. from the victory won by Am- 
brosius Aurelianus), the citizens were sometimes victorious, sometimes 

' i, pp. 158-60. 

aS*. Gildas 8 3 

the enemy. . . . This continued up to the year of the siege of Mount 
Badon, and of almost the last great slaughter inflicted 'upon the 
rascally crew. And this commences, a fact I know, as the forty-fourth 
year, with one month now elapsed ; it is also the year of my birth " 
(usque ad annum obsessionis Badonici mentis, novissimaeque ferme 
de furciferis non minimse stragis, quique quadragesimus quartus, ut 
novi, orditur annus, mense jamuno emenso, qui et meae nativitatis 
est). He proceeds to say that from that date comparative peace had 
reigned. " But not even at the present day are the cities of our 
country inhabited as formerly ; deserted and dismantled, they lie 
neglected until now (hactenus squalent), because, although wars with 
foreigners have ceased, domestic wars continue. The recollection of 
so hopeless a ruin of the island, and of the unlooked-for help, has been 
fixed in the memory of those who have survived as witnesses of both 
marvels. Owing to this (deliverance) kings, magistrates, private 
persons, priests, ecclesiastics, severally preserved their own rank. 
As they died away, when an age had succeeded ignorant of that storm, 
and having experience only of the present quiet, all the controlling 
influences of truth and justice were so shaken and overturned that . . . 
not even the remembrance of them is to be found among the afore- 
named ranks." ^ From this passage we learn that the Battle of Mount 
Badon arrested the advance of the Teutonic invaders, and was suc- 
ceeded by a period of at least thirty-three years, a generation, of 
tranquility. Nennius makes the Battle of Mount Badon to have been 
the twelfth of Arthur's victories. " In this engagement nine hundred 
and sixty fell by his hand alone, no one but the Lord affording him 
assistance." ^ The " by his hand alone " is, of course, a bit of mythi- 
cal extravagance. The Annales Camhrics have : " Bellum Badonis in 
quo Arthur portavit crucem Domini nostri Ihu Xp'i tribus diebus et 
tribus noctibus in humeros suos et Brittones victores fuerunt." * 

In the Irish Nennius, although it is stated that Arthur and the 
Britons fought twelve great battles, yet the name of the twelfth has 
sUpped out. 

Henry of Huntingdon says that in this battle " four hundred and 
forty of the Britons fell by the swords of their enemies in a single day, 
none of their host acting in concert, and Arthur alone receiving succour 
from the Lord." * 

1 De Excidio Bntannim, ed. Prof. H. Williams, pp. 60-3. 

^ Hist. Brit., ed. Mommsen, p. 200. 

' In y Cymmrodoy ix, (1888), p. 154, ed. PhilUmore. 

■* Hist. Angl., ii, c. 18. Geoffrey of Monmouth makes the Saxons besiege Bath. 
Arthur, who was in the north, hastens south and attacks the Saxons, who are 
on a mountain, and slays 470 with his own hands. Hist. Reg. Brit., ix, c. 4. 

8 4 Lives of the British Saints 

Cessation Now, in order to determine the date of this victory, we 

of Hostili- have to fix our eyes on the arrest in the onward march of 

'^^' the West Saxons, giving peace for over thirty years. That 

Gildas was mainly concerned with the condition of Britain in the 

south-west is probable. He was much in South Wales, and, if the 

Vita 2"*^ may be trusted, was for a while at Glastonbury. 

It was during the long pause of a generation, during which the 
invaders made no attempt to press forward, that Gildas wrote, and 
it was towards the end of that rest, before hostilities had broken out 
anew and fresh districts had been overrun, plundered, and devastated. 

Now we can hardly expect to find a notice of this crushing defeat 
set down in the Saxon Chronicle ; that records no reverses of the arms 
of the invaders, only their successes. What we shall have to look 
for, then, is the sudden halt in the onward sweep, lasting many years. 

We do not obtain any help from Bede, who simply paraphrases the 
words of Gildas, whilst misunderstanding his calculation. He says : 
" They (the Britons) had at this time for their leader Ambrosius 
Aurelius, a modest man, who alone, by chance, of the Roman nation 
had survived the storm, in which his parents, who were of the royal 
race, had perished. Under him the Britons revived, and offering 
battle to the victors, by the help of God, came off victorious. From 
that day, sometimes the natives and sometimes their enemies, pre-, 
vailed, till the year of the siege of Badon Hill, when they made no 
small slaughter of those invaders, about forty-four years after their 
arrival in England. But of this hereafter." ^ 

According to Bede, then, 493. was the date of the battle, but he 
fixes this date entirely on a misapprehension of the words of Gildas. 
"Concerning this" we will speak, as does Bede, "hereafter." 

Invasion ^^ ^'"^ ^^^ \oo\i at the entries in the Chronicle, and see 
of Hamp- what we shall be able to gather thence for fixing the period 
^ "^^' of the thirty-three years ' arrest in the invasion ; and if 
this be fixed, then we shall be able to determine the date of the siege 
of Mount Badon, which was that from which the pause in the conquest 
of Britain began. In 495 Cerdic and Cynric arrived with five ships 
at Cerdic's Ore, and the same day fought against the Brits. Cerdic's 
Ore is probably Calshot, at the mouth of Southampton Water. ^ 

In 501 Port and his two sons came to Britain with two ships, and 

' Hist. EccL, i, c. 16. 

^ Ore is a term, still in use on the coast of Hampshire, and signifies a spit 
running into the sea. A farm by Calshot is called Ower, which is the same as 
Ore, and Camden says that Calshot is a corruption of Caldshore. Britannia, 
1594, p. 190. 

>S. Gildas 8 5 

effected a landing at Portsmouth ; and in a conflict slew a young 
British chieftain. 

In 508 Cerdic and Cynric were engaged in a battle with the Brits 
at Natan-leagh, slew a British king, and five thousand men with him. 
Natan-leagh is Netley, and the district as far as Gharford was then 
included in the Natan-leagh settlement. 

In 514 the West Saxons arrived with three ships and landed at 
Cerdic's Ore ; and Stuf and Whitgar, nephews of Cerdic, fought the 
Brits and put them to flight. 

" In 519 Cerdic and Cynric undertook the government of the West 
Sexe, and the same year they fought with the Brits at Cerdic's ford 
(Charford) ; and from that time forth the kingly family of the West 
■Sexe have reigned." ^ 

The West Sexe were now compacted into one political organization. 
•No entries were made for 520-526 ; but in 527 we have, " In this year 
Cerdic and Cynric fought against the Brits at the place called Cerdic's- 

. In 530 Cerdic and Cynric took possession of the Isle of Wight ; but 
not till 552, thirty-three years after that Cerdic became King of the 
West Saxons, was there any move westwards. 
Geography To understand the situation, it is necessary to take a 
of South survey of the southern portion of Hampshire, bounded 
and East On the north by Wiltshire and on the west by Dorset- 
Dorset, shire. 

A great half-moon of chalk hiUs extends from just above Ha vant 
in the east to Badbury Rings by Shapwick in the west, about four miles 
north of Wimbourne. The basin between these hills and the sea at 
Havant was occupied by the forest of Bere. 

At Portchester on Portsmouth harbour was the Roman station and 
town of Portus Magnus, from which a Roman road ran to Bitterne 
opposite Southampton, where was the town of Clausentum. 

Here the River Itchen enters the sea, having broken a way through 
the chalk ring ; at Redbridge the Anton or Teste also flows into the 
sea by Southampton, and the whole tract between the rivei^s from 
Eastleigh to Romsey was originally one .vast morass, out of which 
rose' tofts covered with trees. '1 

■ From Southampton Water to Wimbourne and the Stour was one 
immense region of forest, heath and marsh, so impenetrable that a 
traveller from Clausentum to Morionio or Poole would probably go 
round to Venta Belgarum, (Winchester), hence to Old Sarum, and 
then take the road south, afterwards called the Ackling Way. 
. ^ Saxon Chronicle, sub. ann. 

86 Lives of the British Saints 

Now within the area enclosed by the great chalk half-moon is a 
lesser crescent, rising from 400 to 500 feet above the sea, also of chalk 
down, with its concavity towards Southampton. Beyond this is the 
basin of the Avon, flowing from Salisbury. The river formerly 
wandered among marshes, now drained, but periodically flooded, 
affording superior dairy farm land. At Charford a stretch of chalk 
hills from the east approaches the river, and contracts the area of 

The Jutes and Saxons having made themselves masters of Natan- 
leagh or Netley, the district between the mouth of the Itchen and 
Portsmouth harbour, and having pillaged Portus Magnus and Clau- 
sentum, remained in occupation of this district for twenty-four years, 
and then made a further advance. They passed over the inner cres- 
cent of down, crossed the Avon at Charford, and there fought the 
Britons and defeated them, and most probably took possession of the 
strong entrenched camp of Whitsbury that commanded the ford, and 
spread over the whole of the region enclosed by the hoop of chalk 
downs from the vale of the Avon to that of the Stour by Wimbourne. 

A spur of chalk ridge strikes inward from the west, rising to 600 
feet, and forms the Pentridge. South of this, from the Avon to the 
Stour, towards the sea, all was sandy barren waste and morass. West 
of Pentridge, in a hollow, a chalk valley unwatered by a stream, was 
Cranbourne Forest stretching its arms along the slopes of the hills 
and occupying all the land that was not fen, but having the bare down 
swelling above it ; -and that bare down was densely peopled by the 
Romano-Britons, who lived there mainly on their flocks, and who 
have literally strewn these downs with the remains of their dwellings 
clustered in villages and towns. Across these downs, straight as an 
arrow, and perfectly distinguishable to the present day, is the Ackling 
Street, coming from Old Sarum and striking for Badbury Rings, a 
junction point of several roads. 

This elevated chalk region was a Gwent. The forests that occupied 
the lowlands, the river basins — where the water spread, shifted its 
course, and formed deep morasses and lagoons — as also the heathery 
tracts strewn with swamps, were hardly inhabited at all, but popula- 
tion teemed on the downs. The researches of General Pitt Rivers 
have shown both how numerous they were, and also what was their 
condition of life before the Saxons swept them away. They had 
absorbed a considerable amount of Roman culture. Their wattle 
and mud houses were admirably drained, and were heated by rude 
hypocausts. They made use of Roman coins, Samian ware of thp 
finest quality, and pottery with green and yellow glaze, which was of 


S. Gildas 8 7 

extreme rarity among the Romans. " They had chests of drawers in 
which they kept their goods, which were decorated with bronze bosses, 
and ornamented with tastefully designed handles of the same metal. 
They had vessels of glass, which implies a certain degree of luxury. 
They used tweezers for extracting thorns, bronze ear-picks, and even 
implements designed for cleaning the finger nails, and they played 
games of draughts ; a number of iron styli showed that they were able 
to read and write. . . . Some of their houses were painted on the 
inside, and warmed with flues in the Roman style. They were, per- 
haps, covered with Roman tegulse and imbrices, and others were cer- 
tainly roofed with tiles of Purbecke shale. They wore weU-formed 
bronze finger rings, set with stones or enamelled. They used bangles 
of bronze and Kimmeridge shale, and one brooch discovered was of 
the finest mosaic, such as could not easily be surpassed even in Italy 
at the present day. Also gilt and enamelled brooches, some of which 
were in the form of animals. They used bronze and white metal 
spoons ; and the number of highly ornate bronze and white metal 
fibulae showed that such tastefully decorated fastenings for their 
dresses must have been in common use." ^ They had their amphi- 
theatres for public entertainments ; they drew water from wells, 
sunk in one instance to the depth of i88 feet. Of images of the gods, 
of indications of paganism, these villages were barren, but there was 
no evidence that Christianity had taken hold of the occupants ; in- 
deed, the slovenly and irreverent manner in which they buried their 
dead in refuse heaps and ashpits shows that they had lost all sense of 
veneration for the departed, such as was so marked a feature in the 
people in the bronze age, and had not acquired any idea of the dignity 
of the human body such as comes in with Christianity. The AckUng 
Street runs straight as an arrow from Old Sarum to a point now caUed 
East Woodyates, and there makes a slight bend to the east ; and 
from this point drives directly, without a swerve, to Badbury Rings, 
that can be seen distinctly in the distance, with the road aiming at 
them. Here, in the opinion of General Pitt Rivers, stood the Romano- 
British town of Vindogladia, a centre and market to the numerous 
villages strewn on all the downs around. Here he unearthed a portion 
of a town. The exploration was never completed, and all that can 
be said is that here stood a considerable village or small town, in- 
habited by Romanized Britons, at the same time as the villages on 
the surrounding Gwent. Roman coins were discovered down to 
Honorius, 395-423, who withdrew the legions from Britain. 

1 Excavations in Bokerly and Wansdyke, privately printed, 1892, iii, pp. 5-6. 

8 8 Lives of the British Saints 

From Woodyates the Ackling Street runs over open down, rising 
some 340 to 390 feet above the sea. This down declines towards 
the west, where a broad waterless valley, once occupied by Cranborne 
Chase, separates it from the higher ridge, now tree-covered but for- 
merly bare, that is a continuation of the half-moon of chalk hills 
enclosing the basins of the Itchen, Anton, and Avon. 

This description has been necessary to explain what follows. 

The Gewissas, having crossed the Avon at Charford, made them- 
selves masters of the Gwent that culminates in Pentridge, and of the 
worthless morass south of it ; and they doubtless then sacked Vindo- 
gladia, if Woodyates may be regarded as occupying the site of that 

They were, however, in a bad strategical position, for the ring of 
high land that half encircled them was strongly defended by a chain 
of fortresses of prehistoric origin, but capable as ever of being utilized, 
aU within sight of one another : Badbury, Bugbury, Hod Hill, Ham- 
bledon, Melbury, Winklebury, Castle Ditches, Chiselbury, and Clear- 
bury Ring. And up the Avon stood the most redoubtable fortress in 
Southern Britain, Sorbiodunum (Old Sarum). 

One great advantage they had, however, obtained — a hold on the 
Ackling Street. 

Here, then, pent up in this half-hoop, if we may trust the Saxon 
CKronicle, the Gewissse remained inactive, save for the subjugation 
of the Isle of Wight, for thirty-three years, making no attempt to 
break out to the north or to the west. 

The Britons on the Isle of Wight now found themselves cut off from 
their countrymen by the Gewiss^, who occupied the mainland from 
Portsmouth to the River Avon, that enters the sea at Christ Church. 
We may be sure that they would not relish this isolation, and would 
escape with all their goods to that portion of the country still unoccu- 
pied by the "invaders ; and when we are informed that in 530 Cerdic 
and Cynric conquered the Isle of Wight, and slew many men at Wiht- 
garas-byrg (Carisbrooke) , we may feel confident that the island had 
already been to a large extent abandoned, and that the slaying was 
simply a massacre of such as remained. 

„ . , , Now it is certainly a remarkable fact that Cerdic and 

Period of 

Inactivity Cynric, who had landed in 495, and had been joined by. 

for thirty- fresh adventurers in 501 and 514, should have done nothing 

three vears ^ ^ ^t o 

' to push forward their conquest from 519 to 552, when the 

Battle of Old Sarum was fought, followed by Barbury Hill in 556, 

marking an outburst of fresh activity. 

They did, indeed, consolidate their power in south Hampshire "^lid 

iS. Gildas 8 9 

east Dorset by the Battle of Cerdic's Lea, the site of which has not 
been determined, and, by the conquest and occupation of the Isle of 
Wight ; but they made no attempt to break through the chain of 
forts that lay along the heights of the chalk hills to north and west, 
so far as we can ascertain from the entries in the Saxon Chronicle. 

How are we to account for this inactivity for thirty-three years ? 

Badbury. This has been explained by the great reverse of Mount 
Badon, which Roger of Wendover states was fought in 
520. Roger is a very worthless authority on the early history of 
Britain, but on this point he may possibly enough be right. 

Henry of Huntingdon, a grave and , trustworthy historian, 
mentions the battle, and he sets it down as taking place after 519, 
and before 530. It is true that he quotes Nennius, whom he 
calls Gildas, but he must have had some grounds for placing the 
battle just after 519. The Annales Cambrice^ give the date of 
Mount Badon as 516, but the dates in the early portion of this 
work are not more than approximate. 

Now Gildas says that after this battle ensued a lull in the invasion 
lasting for a generation. There was such a lull, according to the Saxon 
CAromc/e, from 519 to 552, just thirty-three years, a generation, and at 
no other time in the latter part of the fifth or in the sixth century. We 
may ask, if the Battle of Mount Badon was productive of this arrest, 
whether it is iiot probable that its site would be somewhere on the 
then frontier of the Gewissse. And we have Badbury Hill that answers 
■our requirements. Badbury is the southernmost point of the sweep 
of hill and fortresses. It rises some four miles north-west of Wim- 
bourne to a height of 327 feet, and is a sufficiently conspicuous object 
to give its name to a hundred. It is an entrenched hill, and the camp 
measures 1,800 feet long by 1,700 feet wide. There are three con- 
centric banks and ditches ; it is the point of junction of the Roman 
roads froin Old Sarum to Dorchester from Morionio, one leading to 
the junction of the Fosse Road and that from Old Sarum to Ad Axium. 

It is conceivable that the Gewissae, unable to . force their way to 
Old Sarum past Clearbury, and, fearing to leave their base exposed to 
a swoop down from Badbury on their settlements in south Hampshire, 
may have resolved on turning the flank of the Britons by taking Bad- 
bury, which was the key to the position, and which opened up to them 
Dorchester, Ilchestef, and the, Way to the Severn basin. 

That district from the Chilterns to the. Severn was the most pros- 
perous and richest in Britain, and may well ha,ve incited in them the 
lust of conquest and ,of plunder. 

.1 Y Cymmrodor, ix {1888), p. 154. 

90 Lives of the British Satnts 

But two ways only were open to them, that by Old Sarum to Ad 
Axium, and that by Badbury and Dorchester. 

From Old Sarum they shrank. " Celt and Roman alike had seen 
the military value of the height from which the eye sweeps nowadays 
over the grassy meadows of the Avon to the arrowy spire of Salisbury ; 
and, admirable as the position was in itself, it had been strengthened 
at a vast cost of labour. The camp on the summit of the knoll was 
girt in by a trench hewn so deeply in the chalk that, from the inner 
side of it, the white face of the rampart rose a hundred feet high, while 
strong outworks protected the approaches to the fortress from the 
west and from the east. Arms must have been useless against such 
a stronghold as this." ^ 

Nor was Old Sarum alone ; less than three miles east of it was 
another very strong fortress, Figsbury, and Clearbury would have to 
be passed before Old Sarum was reached. 

Of the two doorways to the west, that by Badbury was certainly 
the easiest to force ; and it had this great advantage, that it could 
be attacked without exposing the base itself, defended by impassable 

No modern invader would hesitate for a moment as to which to 
choose. If, then, Mount Badon be Badbury, all seems clear. The 
West Saxons made a desperate attack on it in 520, and met with a 
crushing defeat which left them inactive for a generation, save only 
that they reduced the Isle of Wight. There is further evidence that 
for a long period they remained on the defensive only. 

Bokerly A very remarkable range of embankment and moat 

Dyke. extends from Boulsbury or Martin Wood, between Cran- 
borne and South Damerham, and stretching north-west over Blagden 
HiU descends to Martin Down, and reaches the Ackling Street pre- 
cisely at Woodyates, where that road makes its one and only deflection. 
It crosses the Roman Road, then curves south, and passing West 
Woodyates disappears in the direction of Garston Wood in tilled land. 

No further traces of it can be found till we come suddenly on it 
again above Gussage S. Andrew, on Thorney Down, where the modern 
road from Salisbury to Blandford cuts through it. Thence it can be 
traced for four miles, with breaks, to Launceston or Langstone Down, 
in Tarrant Monkton parish. 

Now these formidable entrenchments were obviously thrown up by 
a people occupying the Pentridge Gwent. The date at which thrown 
up can also be approximately determined, at least for that portion 
which crosses the Roman Road at Woodyates. 

^ Green, The Making of England, 1897, i, p. 105. 

S. Gildas 9 1 

Bokerly Dyke, the present boundary line between Dorset and 
Wilts, is an entrenchment in high relief, nearly four miles long, run- 
ning m a north-west and south-east direction across the old Roman 
road which runs from Sarum to Badbury. It hasa ditch on the north- 
east side of the rampart,^ proving that it was from this point the 
enemy was expected ... it everywhere occupied strong ground, if 
viewed from the standpoint of an enemy advancing to attack it from 
the north-east. It runs somewhat crookedly along the ground . . . 
this crookedness arose from the constructors availing themselves of 
hoUows as they secured the ground. It ran across the Gwent, or 
open downland, between the two great forests which existed at that 
time, and the remains of which still, or until quite lately, did exist 
on both flanks. On the south-east the Dyke terminated upon strong 
ground in Martin Wood, which may be considered as the survival of 
the Forest of Holt, and to have been formerly continuous with the 
New Forest. On the left it terminated in a part of the country which, 
within the memory of persons still living, was a part of Cranborne 
Chase Wood." ^ 

The Dyke, wherever it fails to be distinguishable, has either been 
ploughed down or else it stopped at a forest. And a forest in those 
early days, a tangle of briar and thorns and undergrowth, was emi- 
nently effective as a point on which to abut. It re-appears again 
where there was open down. 

General Pitt Rivers says further : " Bokerly entrenchment, dating 
beyond doubt as late as the departure of the Romans from Britain, 
cannot have been erected earlier than the year 520." 

It would appear to have been thrown up by men flush with the 
pillage of Romano-British towns, to such an extent are the banks 
peppered throughout with relics of that period and late Roman coins. 
That the Teutonic invaders did throw up dykes against the Britons 
is certain ; Offa's Dyke is evidence to that effect. 

One thing seems very evident. Those who threw up Bokerly 
Dyke — and in so doing they buried a portion of the Romano-British 
town at Woodyates, and heaped the bank with the debris of the houses 
— -were afraid of attack from the north and north-east, and took special 
care to guard against an enemy advancing along Ackling Street ; for 
here, where the Dyke crosses the Roman road, they threw up a double 
line of defences. The inner bank has been ploughed down, and the inner 

• General Pitt Rivers is here speaking of that portion of the Ditches which 
he explored. 

"^ Excavations in Bokerly and Wansdyke, privately printed, 1892, p. 9- 

92 Lives of the British Saints 

moat filled ; but they were both revealed by the explorations of 
General Pitt Rivers. 

The dense forest of Cranborne, filling the dry valley from Wood- 
yates, Upwood, Handley, perhaps rendered a dyke there unnecessary ; 
perhaps the defence was continued by an abatis of trees. Above 
•Gussage S. Andrews a double bank and two moats re-appear crossing 
elevated down, and only ceasing where there is a valley formerly dense 
-with trees and brambles. They re-appear again on the Down by 
Tarrant Hinton. Beyond, further south, they cannot be traced, for 
here the Gwent comes to an end, and the defence, if continued, was 
continued by an abatis. It will be seen by the map that the frontier 
here was thrust considerably forward, somewhat north-west of Bad- 
bury. For what reason we are unable to say. 

Whether the Saxons by a daring rush had gained Badbury and 
■were dislodged by the Britons and driven back, or whether they 
attacked Badbury and were repulsed, does not appear from the 
meagre notices we have of the Battle of Mount Badon — assuming that 
Badbury is Mount Badon. 

Gildas merely mentions the " obsession " of Mount Badon, without 
■stating by whom it was besieged. Nennius is not more explicit. 
Geoffrey of Monmouth, who connects Mount Badon with a hill near 
JBath, makes Arthur and the Britons attack it, and drive the Saxons 
from it ; and though the authority of Geoffrey is naught, we suspect 
that what really took place was something of this sort. The Gewissas 
made a dash for Badbury and seized it. They could not, however, 
cross the Stour, the ford commanded by Spettisbury, nor move north, 
ihreatened by Hod Hill and Hambledon ; and Arthur with his Britons 
■succeeded in driving back the Saxons from Badbury. 

Was Cerdic's-lea the country from Bokerly Dyke to the sea, now 
■conquered and held by Cerdic, as formerly Natan-leagh had been con- 
quered and held ? We cannot say. It would seem, however, certain 
that Bokerly Dyke had been cast up by the Gewissae when they made 
"themselves masters of this portion of the land. - But there is further 

Grim's Running in parts parallel with it, describing a vast curve 

^Y^^- stretching on the south from Whitsbury Common, and 
running almost due north to a point 380 feet above the sea, near Clear- 
-bury Camp, on the Gwent, is Grim's Dyke. From this point it turns 
and runs west, and at a mile and a quarter above Woodyates crosses 
Ihe Ackling Street. It then approaches Bokerly Dyke, and at a dis- 
tance of half a mile from it follows its direction in a sweep to the souths 
-and aims at a camp in the Chase. Whether the dykes that have been 

S. Gildas 9 3 

examined in Cranborne Chase formed a portion of it cannot be deter- 
mined ; but it is probable that they did. 

tirim's Dyke, after aiming at the high ground of what is now Cran- 
borne Chase, but which was formerly open down densely strewn with 
Romano-British villages, probably followed what is now the line of 
demarcation of the county of Dorset to the wood above Farnham, 
where are camps, and along the elevated land over which now runs the^ 
high road from Blandford to Shaftesbury. But possibly no rampart 
was here needed. All this district was well protected by formidable 
camps. Bugbury, east of Blandford, is within sight of Badbury and 
Spettisbury, and has traces of a bank running from it, north and 
south. There are embankments all across this country ; but to solve 
their purpose and to connect them, demands careful examination by 
a local antiquary. 

Now Grim's Dyke has its moat fronting Bokerly Dyke, and was 
thrown up by a people who were at war with those who piled up 
Bokerly. Each nationality dreaded raids from the other. Grim's 
Dyke has not, unhappily, been explored, but those dykes in Rushmore 
that have been examined, and which apparently have some connexion 
with Grim's Dyke, show that they belong to the same period as Bokerly. 
" If Grim's Ditch ever was a defensive entrenchment," says General 
Pitt Rivers, " and of the same period as the Dyke, it must have been 
erected in opposition to the defenders of Bokerly Dyke, as the Ditch 
is on the south-east side facing the Dyke." ^ The ground behind 
the Grim's Ditch rises to a ridge of chalk, behind which on the north 
is the Valley of the Ebble, beyond which again rise other chalk downs. 
It was clearly desirable for those who would check the advance of an 
enemy enclosed within the half-moon to prevent them from acquiring 
this defensive rise of land, for if they got into the Valley of the Ebble 
the way to Old Sarum was open to them. 

Grim's Dyke is vastly inferior as a structure to Bokerly Dyke. The 
latter, near Woodyates, rose 17 feet above the bottom of the moat 
when excavated, and must originally have stood at least 3 feet higher. 
And Grim's Dyke was probably never anything like so high, and 
depended on the moat and palisade for defence rather than on the 

One other point must be noticed in connexion with Grim's Dyke, 
and that is, that it rests upon and stretches beyond Whitsbury ; so 
that either the Gewissse, when they gained the victory at Charford, 
did not secmre that fortress, or else it was wrested from them later by 
the Britons, if we admit that Grim's Dyke was thrown up by these 
' Excavations in Bokerly and Wansdyke, p. 59. 

94 Lives of the British Saints 

latter against the Saxons, who in like manner cast up Bokerly Dyke 
against the Britons. 

General Pitt Rivers says of Wansdyke, with which we are not con- 
cerned, and Bokerly Ditches, with which we are : " No reasonable 
man can ever again assert that either of these dykes are pre-Roman, 
or that Bokerly Dyke was erected previously to the time of the Em- 
peror Honorius ; that is to say, previously to the time when the Roman 
legions evacuated Britain." ^ With this evidence, what can be said 
but that the invading West Saxons entrenched themselves in the 
district of South Hampshire on purpose to maintain themselves there 
till they were strong enough to push north and west ? 

Their numbers cannot have been great ; a couple of thousand at 
the outside, but recruited by fresh arrivals from beyond the seas every 

The evidence of Bokerly Dyke goes far to show that they remained 
on the defensive, without immediate prospect of a further advance. 
So only can we account for the labour expended on these entrench- 

Mount ■'■^ ^^ certainly a confirmation of the theory first pro- 

Badon is pounded by Dr. Guest, that the Mount Badon of Gildas 
^ "'^^' and Nennius was Badbury in Dorsetshire, that we find : — 

1. That after 519-20 the West Saxons remained inactive for some 
thirty-three years, so far as not making any advance to north or west. 

2. That they appear to have entrenched themselves in their newly 
acquired settlement, as if content for a while to remain on the defensive 

Both Dr. Freeman and Mr. Green have accepted the identification 
and the proposed date ; for here we have Badbury precisely where 
we might expect a battle to be fought, we have the British tradition 
that a battle was fought, and that the Britons gained the victory — a 
tradition substantiated by Gildas. And we have a period of peace 
and arrest in the onward sweep of the enemy following on this supposed 
battle in 520. 

When else was there such a lull ? 

Henry of Huntingdon admits that the site of Mount Badon, as of 

the other battles " described by Gildas," were not remembered. " In 

our times," he says, " the places are unknown." 

», . T, ., Nevertheless, Mount Badon has been supposed to be 
Not Bath. ^^ 

Bath. The Welsh iriediaeval writers fall into this mistake, 

though Bath is in a hole and Badon was a hill. 

Certainly had Bath been accepted in his time as the site of the battle, 

' Excavations in Bokerly and Wansdyke, p. xiii. 


S. Gildas 9 5 

■nenry of Huntingdon would not have expressed himself as he does. 
Badbury is called in Saxon Baddanbyrig, and Leland describes Bathan 
Wood near Badbury. i 

That it was occupied by the Romano-British at the time when the 
Jutes and Saxons landed in Hampshire is almost certain ; for although 
-Badbury has not been explored, yet about it are being continually 
■turned up relics of that period, of that same period as the rehcs found 
m Bokerly Dyke, coins of the later Roman emperors, Carausius, Clau- 
dius Gothicus, and Constantine II, as well as British coins, including 
one of Cunobelinus, bronze swords, fragments of Samian ware, and 
British fibul£e.2 That Mount Badon should be Bath is incredible. 
It would have been impossible for the Gewissse to have broken through 
the chain of camps that encircled them, and to have penetrated so 
far, till either Badbury or Old Sarum had fallen. The road west from 
■Sarum is strongly guarded by a series of fortresses. Almost imme- 
diately in turning west from Old Sarum, along the Roman Road, begin 
-the formidable entrenchments in Grovely Wood, the Hamshill Ditches, 
the Kilbury Rings, Hanging Langford Camp, and Church End Ring. 
Then come the Stockton earthworks, all within ten miles of Sarum. 
We must further consider that the invaders were comparatively few, 
that they were foot fighters and not horsemen ; and to have raided 
over forty miles from their base is what they could not have thought 
■of doing. They would have been enfolded and cut to pieces infallibly 
Ihad they done so. 

The Roman name for Bath was Aqua Soils. What the Celtic name 
ior it originally was we do not know.^ In mediaeval Welsh it was 
Badwn and Caer Vadon. The actual site of the battle having been 
forgotten, it was supposed by Geoffrey of Monmouth to have been 
fought at Bath ; and the text of Gildas was interpolated with the 
words " qui prope Sabrinum ostium habetur," after the words 
" obsessionis Badonici montis." But the paragraph is not found 
'ra. the best MSS., and was not admitted into the edition of Gildas 
by Joscehn, London, 1568. 

We have no reason whatever for supposing that the name Badwn 
was given by the Welsh to the ruins of Aqu^ Solis till after the Saxons 

1 Itin., iii, p. 55. 

2 HutcMngs' History of Dorset, 3rd ed., by Shipp and Whitworth Hodson, 
1868, p. 177. 

2 In the Welsh Life of S. David, it is named Yr Enneint Twymyn, " the 
hot baths." Camden gives it the same name among the Britons, but also Caer 

Talladur, which he supposes is derived from Pallas or Minerva (Britannia, 
1594, pp. 169, 170). Caer Baladr is really the old Welsh name for Shaftes- 

'bury, paladr being a shaft or beam. See, however, Geoffrey's Brut, ed. Rhys 

;and Evans, p. 64. 

9 6 Lives of the British Saints 

had settled there, re-edified it, and called it Bathan-ceaster, of which 
Caer Vadon is a translation. 

The Welsh word iadd, a bath (which does duty also for the city- 
name) , is borrowed directly from the English ; and &fliii^OM,i a bath (as- 
well as the city-name) , is not Celtic. Applied to the town it is simply 
Bathonia borrowed. 

The Mons Badonicus of Gildas most certainly did not derive its- 
name from any Baths near it, but. the name was probably descriptive- 
of the hill. 

The bad or hadd entering into composition in Celtic names is not 
rare. There is a Baddon in Cornwall. It may be had, a boat, and 
may give the name to a dun or camp as bearing some resemblance to^ 
a vessel. 

Mr. Green's words concerning the period under consideration may 
well be quoted. " A fight at Charford on the Lower Avon in 519-: 
seems to mark the close of a conflict in which the provincials were 
driven from the woodlands whose shrunken remains meet us in the 
New Forest, and in which the whole district between the Andredsweald 
and the Lower Avon was secured for English holding. The success- 
at Charford was followed by the political organization of the Con- 
querors, and Cerdic and Cynric became kings of the West Saxons. 
Here, however, their success came to an end. Across the Avon the 
forest belt again thickened into a barrier that held the invaders at 
bay ; for when in the following year, 520, they clove their way through, 
it to the Valley of the Frome, eager perhaps for the sack of a city 
whose site is marked by our Dorchester, they were met by the Britons- 
at Badbury or Mount Badon, and thrown back in what after events- 
show to have been a crushing defeat. The border line of our Hamp- 
shire to the west still marks the point at which the progress of the. 
Gewissse was arrested by this overthrow, and how severe was the- 
check is shown by the long cessation of any advance in this quarter." ^ 

Summary From the Saxon Chronicle we learn : — 

of Argu- a. That from 449 to 577 there was but one period of; 
'"^" ■ tranquility, when encroachments were arrested, i.e. from 
519 to 552, a generation. 

h. This was due to the road to Dorchester being blocked to the- 
advance of the Gewisss by the fortress of Badbury ; and that to- 
Cirencester and Bath by Old Sarum. 

' The hadd and baddon quotations cited in Dr. Silvan Evans' Welsh Dictionary- 
s.vv., are all late ; and the Bath-names, Badd, Badd-wn, Baddon, and Caer 
Faddon, take us no further back than the Middle Ages, and are merely adapta- 
tions. ^ The Making of England, 1897, i, pp. 101-2. 

S. Gildas gy 

c. That it is probable they would have attempted the least formid- 
able of these, and that which would have turned the British flank ; 
and that a crushing reverse in doing so would account for the long 
period of inaction. 

From Gildas we learn : — 

a. That a battle was fought at Mount Badon, in which the Saxons 
were defeated. 

6. That, consequent on this defeat, there ensued a period of at 
least thirty years of tranquility. 

From monumental evidence we learn : — 

a. That in Pentridge, west of the Avon, a people was cooped in for 
a period sufficiently long to allow them to erect enormous embank- 

&. That over against these embankments, the people with whom 
they were at war threw up an opposed range of dykes. 

c. That the period when these embankments were cast up was 
subsequent to 520. 

d. That accordingly there is strong probability that these banks 
were cast up by the Saxons on one side, and by the Britons on the 

It would therefore appear as evident as possible, from the scanty 
materials in our possession, that it was the Battle of Mount Badon 
which produced the inaction of over thirty years, terminating in 552, 
and that this battle was fought shortly after 519 ; and, next, that the 
site of the battle was on the frontiers of the Gewissse, and Badbury 
answers to this requirement. 

We will now proceed to another point in our consideration of this 
very difficult investigation. 

Date of There are two other dates with which Gildas was inti- 
the Death mately connected. In his Increfatio he attacks with great 
ae gw"-asperity Maelgwn, King of Gwynedd. Now Maelgwn died 
at the outbreak of the Yellow Plague in 547. This is the date given 
in the Aunales Cambrice,^ and with it agree the Irish annals. Thus- 
the Four Masters give under 548, when its worst ravages were felt in 
Ireland : " The death of Ciaran of Clonmacnois, of Tighernach of 
Clones, of Mactail, of S. Colum, son of Crimthan, of Finan of Clonard, 
tutor of the Saints of Ireland. All died of the Plague of Cron-Chonaill. 
This was the first Buite Chonaill. All the saints died of it but Ciaran 
and Tighernach." Eochaid, son of Connlo, King of Ulster, also died 

1 In the Vita Sti. Teiliavi we have {Book of Llan Ddv, p. 107), " Pestis ilia 
flava . . . traxit Mailconum regem Guenedoti^." 


■98 Lives of the British Sai7its 

Consequently Gildas must have written his Increpatio before 547, 
probably between 540 and 544. 

But he further says that a generation had sprung up since the Battle 
of Mount Badon, in the period of calm, and in security. 

Accordingly we cannot put the composition and publication of this 

work before 540, twenty years after Mount Badon. The eclipse in 

538 and the further eclipse in 540 may have alarmed men's minds, 

and hurried on the publication. 

Summons '^^^ Second date is that of his summons to Ireland by 

by King King Ainmire, which is mentioned in the Life by the monk 

Ainmire. ^f j^^-^ 

Now Ainmire, according to the Four Masters, was king in 564, and 
was slain in 566. 

There is, indeed, a slight variation in the dates given. Ainmire 
did not become King de facto till 565, after the murder of Diarmidh, 
and his life is prolonged according to some authorities till 569. 

Now the Annales Camhrice give 565 as " Navigatio Gildae in Hyber- 
nia," and this exactly agrees with the date of Ainmire's becoming 
supreme king in Ireland. 

Thus the summons to Ireland took place proximately twenty-five 
years after the issue of the tract De Excidio Britanni'X. In the interim 
the long peace had been broken, Old Sarum, the most redoubtable 
fortress on the frontier, had fallen in 552. The Battle of Barbury Hill 
in 556 ^ made the West Saxons masters of the greater part of Wilt- 
shire. Berkshire was overrun, and the way up the Thames was open. 
Not only so, but the west was also open. Only London and Silchester 
remained in the hands of the Britons, and these next fell. Then, and 
then only, was the road clear from all difficulties of advance on Bath, 
Cirencester and Gloucester, and this advance was made in 577. 

Date of ^^ '^°^ arrive at that most difficult problem of all to 

Birth of be solved, the date of the birth of Gildas. And the diffi- 
' ^^' culty springs out of the ambiguity of his own words. He 
says : " Ex eo tempore nunc cives, nunc hostes, vincebant . . . usque 
ad annum obsessionis Badonici montis . . . quique quadragesimus 
quartus (ut novi) orditur annus, mense jam uno emenso, qui et meae 
nativitatis est." 

This has been interpreted in two ways. 

1 Beran-byrig has by some been supposed to be Banbury. But this is im- 
possible. The an in Beran is the Saxon genitive ending, and it would fall away, 
and the accented syllable Beranbyrig become Ber- or Bar-bury. Barbury was 
an important fortress on the Ridge Way. The advance into the Avon basin 
and that of the Severn could not be made till Barbury had fallen. 

S. Gil das g 9 

First, Gildas reckoned forty-four years less a month to the siege of 
Mount Badon from the landing of the Jutes in Thanet. 

Secondly, Gildas reckoned that this time elapsed between the Badon 
victory and his writing the tract. 

Bede's ^^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^ interpretation adopted by Bede, 

Interpre- ' ' quadragesimo circiter et quarto anno adventus eorum in 

tation. Britanniam." But if 520 be the true date of the Battle of 

Mount Badon, this would give 476 as that of the arrival of the three 

keels in Thanet, whereas the true date is nearer 449. 

The arrival of the " three keels " was certainly not long after the 
third consulship of jEtius (Agitio ter consuli) spoken of by Gildas, and 
this was in 446. It was in their dire distress at being abandoned by 
the Romans that the Britons appealed to the Jutes for aid. , Bede in 
his History says : "In the year of our Lord 449, Martian being made 
Emperor with Valentinian . . . ruled the empire seven years. Then 
the nation of the Angles or Saxons, being invited by the aforesaid 
king (Vortigern), arrived in Britain with three long sliips." ^ 

His date is not quite correct. Marcian was not proclaimed Emperor 
till 450. Elsewhere Bede gives the fourteenth year of the Emperor 
Maurice, i.e. 596, as " about the one hundred and fiftieth year " after 
the arrival of the Angles. This would give 446-7 ; but he only says 
" about a hundred and fifty years " before, so that we cannot pin him 
to an exact date in this passage.^ 

Again, Bede in his Chronicle gives the date as 453. But the Anglo- 
Saxon Chronicle gives 449. 

If we reckon forty-four years from the landing of the Saxons, we 
have as the date of Mount Badon 490 or 493, according as we accept 
446 or 449 as the date of the arrival of the three keels. 

The Chronicon Britannicum,^ drawn up, or concluded, in 1356, gives 
Tinder 490, " Natus est S. Gildas. Hiis diebus Arturus fortis." But 
the same Chronicle gives 520 as the date of his arrival in Armorica, 
■and as the Rhuis biographer says that he was aged thirty when he 
arrived, the date 490 was arrived at simply by deducting 30 from 

The date 493 is adopted by De la Borderie.* 
But neither of these dates was followed by a period of peace ; on 
the contrary, they were followed by a series of disasters. 

The Jutes and Saxons were hacking their way through Sussex. In 
491 fell Anderida, when the Teutonic invaders " slew all that were 
therein, nor was there thenceforth one Briton left." Moreover, at 

1 Hist. EccL, i, c. 15 ; v, c. 24. ' Ibid., i, c. 23. 

' Dom Morice, Preuves, 1742. * Revue Celtique, vi, pp. i-i 

lOO Lives of the British Saints 

this time Camulodunum fell, and the whole of the Saxon Shore was in 
the hands of the new arrivals. Then came the landing of the Angles 
and the destruction of Lindunum and Eburacum ; and, as we have 
already seen, the occupation of Hampshire by Jutes and Gewissae. 
The victory of Badon Hill therefore cannot have taken place in 490 
or 493, as neither of these dates initiated a period of cessation from 
invasion and conquest. 

The victory of Ambrosius, to which Gildas also referred, was suc- 
ceeded by a time of alternate defeat and victory up to 520. And 
after 520 ensued a time of rest till 552. 

Now on looking at the text, it seems very doubtful whether Gildas. 
could have calculated the years, with a month out, from the first 
arrival of the Jutes in Thanet. Is it at all likely that there was an 
accurate record kept of the precise date as to a month of that landing ? 
Moreover, Gildas is referring immediately previous to his statement 
about Mount Badon, not to the landing of the enemy, but to the 
victory over them won by Ambrosius Aurelianus, and those whO' 
rallied about him. " Ne ad internicionem usque delerentur, duce 
Ambrosio Aureliano . . . vires capessunt, victores provocantes ad 
proelium ; quis victoria. Domino annuente, cessit." Then at once- 
he proceeds to say how that from this date (ex eo tempore) the chances- 
of war varied up to the obsession of Mount Badon. 

Ussher's "^^^ second solution proposed to the puzzle of Gildas is- 

Interpre- that forty-four years less a month elapsed between the 
^ '°"' siege of Mount Badon and the writing of his book. This 
was Ussher's suggestion. 1. 

This also is the way in which Mommsen reads the passage : " For- 
tasse sic licebit tradita refingere : quique quadragesimus quartus [est' 
ab eo qui) orditur anmts wiense jam uno einenso, qui et inecB nativitatis 
est. Ita Gildas ait scribere se anno ab obsessione montis Badonicr 
itemque a nativitate sua quadragesimo quarto."^. 

But this presents insuperable difficulties. 

In the first place such a treatise as the De Excidio was not dashed 
off in a month. Its composition cannot be regarded as a fixed date. 
It is a laboured production, and Gildas tells us that he was for ten 
years and more thinking of it.^ 

In the next, if Mount Badon siege was in 520, this would bring the- 
composition to 564, and Maelgvvn Gwynedd died in 547. 

■•- Britan. Eccl. Antiquitates, Dublin, 1639, i, p. 477. 
^ Pertz, Mon. Germ. Hist., Chronica Minora, iii, p. 8. 

" " Silui, fateor, cum immenso cordis dolore . . . spacio bilustri temporis- 
vel eo amplius praetereuntis.' Ed. Williams, p. 2. 

S. Gildas I o I 

If the Z)e Excidio were written in 540, that would give 496 for the 
Battle of Mount Badon ; and certainly no continuous period of peace 
existed from that date to 540, for war was incessant from 496 to 520. 

Both explanations of the words of Gildas assume what certainly 
appears to be his meaning, that he was born in the year in which was 
fought the Battle of Mount Badon. 

Now if we accept this battle as having been fought in 520, at that time 
Gildas was abbot of Rhuis ; and his heart was hot within him at the 
scandals in the British race when he was aged ten to fifteen, and he 
wrote his tractate at the age of twenty to twenty-five. 

This is, of course, absurd, and so feeling it, to escape the difficulty, 
the Battle of Mount Badon has been thrust back to some date in the 
fifth century. But at no date in that century, and at none other in the 
sixth but 520, was there the beginning of a long period of inaction on 
the part of the Saxons and of peace to the Britons, lasting a generation. 

Finnian of Clonard, who died in 548, was in correspondence with 
Gildas relative to penitential discipline. The subject was a delicate 
one to handle, and could only be discussed by Finnian with a man 
well on in years. 

It is very probable that it was the publication of the De Excidio 
that induced Finnian to write to Gildas as a severe moralist, relative 
to the proposed Code. If so, then the age of Gildas would be sixty- 
six, supposing Finnian wrote in 542 ; an age quite suitable for the 
discussion of such questions as Finnian proposed. 

Proposed Having considered the difficulties encumbering the 

Interpre- interpretation of the forty-four years as offered by Bede 
^ '°"' and Ussher, we venture to propose a third : that the forty- 
four years were reckoned between the two victories, that won by Aure- 
lius Ambrosius, and that won by Arthur at Mount Badon. 

Let us look again at the words of Gildas. 

" That they might not be utterly destroyed, they (the Britons) 
take up arms and challenge their victors to battle under Ambrosius 
Aurelianus. . . . To these men there came victory. From that time, 
the citizens were sometimes victorious, sometimes the enemy. . . . 
This continued up to the year Of the siege of Mount Badon, and of 
almost the last great slaughter inflicted upon the rascally crew. And 
this commences as the forty-fourth year, with one month now elapsed." 

Here we have two fixed dates, the victory of Aurelius and the victory 
at Mount Badon, between which was a see-saw of success and defeat. 
What we propose is that the forty-four years less a month appUes to 
this period of see-saw. And that, if the victory of Mount Badon took 
place in 520, that of Aurelius and the initiation of the see-saw occurred 
in 476. 

10 2 Lives of the British Saints 

If this be allowed, then we will go further, and suggest that the 
passage, " It is also the year of my birth," refers, hot to the year of 
Mount Badon, but to that of the victory of Aurelius. The explanation 
proposed may do some violence to the words of Gildas, but in our 
opinion it offers the only practical solution to the difficulty. 

The whole passage is involved, and is rendered the more confused, 
by the introduction of the wretched moralizing of the writer, who 
explains the alternation in success thus : "In order that the Lord,, 
according to His wont, might try in this nation, the Israel of to-day, 
whether it loves Him or not." 

We would read the disputed passage thus : " Ambrosio Aureliano 
victoria Domino annuente cessit ; ex eo tempore nunc cives, nunc 
hostes, vincebant, usque ad annum obsessionis Badonici mentis, quique- 
quadragesimus quartus, ut novi, orditur annus, mense jam uno emenso- 
(ab anno victoria Ambrosii), qui et (annus) mese nativitatis est." 

This would give 476 as the date of the victory of AureHus and of 
the birth of Gildas, and it would make him aged sixty-four when he- 
wrote his book, if that were in 540, or sixty-eight if he wrote in 544. 

The dates would stand thus — 

476. Victory of Aurelius and birth of Gildas. 
520. Battle of Mount Badon. 
540-4. Gildas writes the De Excidio. 

547. Death of Maelgwn Gwynedd. 

548. Death of Finnian of Clonard. 

565. Gildas summoned to Ireland by Ainmire. 
570. Death of Gildas, aged ninety-four. 

It is remarkable that the events of his life fall into place if this be- 
accepted. This we shall see in the sequel. Not only so, but it allows 
us to accept statements relative to Gildas that occur in the Life by 
Caradog of Llancarfan, in that of S. Cadoc and that of S. Brendan,, 
which otherwise must be rejected. 

Then once more the Welsh genealogies insist on Gildas having been 
a married man, and father of a family. One can see no reason for- 
invention in this case ; mediaeval authors suppressed such awkward 
facts when writing the Lives of the Saints, but one cannot conceive a 
reason for a genealogist inventing and giving currency to a fictitious 
statement that Gildas had sons and grandsons. But where are they to 
come in, if we make him born in 520 and die in 570 ? He could hardly 
have had a large family under the age of thirty-five, and that brings, 
us to 555, and the De Excidio was written certainly by an ecclesiastic 
in 540 or 544. In the Life of S. Brendan we are informed that he 
visited Gildas at Rhuis, and on his return to Ireland had an interview 

S. Gildas 103 

with S. Brigid. Now Brigid died in February, 525 ; consequently 
Brendan visited Gildas at Rhuis in the winter of 523-4. We are ex- 
pressly told it was in winter. 

Brigid, moreover, had known Gildas at an earlier period, and he 
sent her a bell. As she died in 525, this cannot have been as the Rhuis 
biographer says, " in the time of Ainmericus, king over all Ireland ; " 
for Ainmire began his reign in 565, as we have already seen. But if 
Gildas had become acquainted with Brigid it must have been before 520,. 
and this again throws his birth back some way into the fifth century. 

We must accordingly conclude either that Mount Badon was fought 
in the latter part of the fifth century ; but this is impossible, as there 
was no period of a generation of tranquiUty, such as Gildas describes,, 
in any part of the fifth century ; or else we must accept the interpre- 
tation of the words of Gildas we have suggested, however strained 
it may appear. 

Having thus settled, as far as it is possible to settle, the date of the 
birth of Gildas, we shaU be able to proceed with his Life, and show 
how that, the date being conceded, we are able to fit into his life with- 
out violence the various incidents that are recorded connected with 
his career. 

II. The Life of Gildas. 

Gndas was born in Arecluta (the country " on the Clyde "), Ren- 
frewshire, according to Skene, and was the son of Caw, called by the 
Rhuis biographer Caunus, and by the other Nau. 

The Welsh genealogists give the pedigree as follows — 

Cystennin Gorneu 
or Fendigaid 

I I I I 

Erbin S. Digain Ambrosms Constans 

I or Emrys 

1 i 

Geraint S. Eloan 

i I I I 

Selyf Cado or Cador Caw S. Cyngar S. lestin 

Huail, S. Gildas, S. GaUgo S. Maelog S. Eugrad S. Peithien 

killed by d. 570 
Arthur I 

i — i i i I 

S. Cenydd S. Gwynog S. Nwython S. Aidan or Maidoo S. Dolgan 

B. of Ferns, 
d. c. 625 

1 1 

S. Ufelwy S. Ffili 

I04 Lives of the British, Saints 

They name many other children of Caw, but in some cases sons, no 
doubt, stand for grandsons, or such as belonged to the family and 

In the Life of the Rhuis biographer, only four brothers and a sister 
are named. The second biographer, following Welsh genealogical 
tradition, says : " Nau, the King of Scotia . . . had twenty-four 
sons, victorious warriors." The genealogists, however, do not give 
the names of quite that number.^ 

The eldest son was Huail, called by the Rhuis monk Cuillus, " a 
very active man in war ; " another was Maelog, of Llowes ; Egreas 
is the Welsh Eugrad ; AUeccus, the Welsh Gallgo, and a sister, Peteova 
or Peteona, is in Welsh Peithien. 

Owing to the incursions of the Picts and Scots into Arecluta, Caw's 
sons were forced to abandon their native land and to fly to Wales, 
with the exception of Huail, who gathered about him those who re- 
mained of the fighting men, and lived a wild, piratical life. 

The author of the second Life hints that all the sons of Caw had 
been warriors in early days, doubtless Gildas included. But he fled 
with his brothers, except Huail, to Gwynedd, where they were well 
received by CadwaUon Lawhir, the king, and by his son Maelgwn. 

Cadwallon had expelled the Goidels out of Mona, and he gave to 
the sons of Caw lands in the island, where they accordingly settled. 

Probably it >vas in Arecluta that Gildas had married ; for the Welsh 
genealogies assure us that he had five children : Cenydd, Gwynog, 
Nwython, Maidoc or Aidan, and Dolgan. 

But perhaps about this time, or shortly after, he lost his wife, and 
resolved on embracing the ecclesiastical profession. He placed himself 
for his training under lUtyd at Llantwit. " Now, the blessed Gildas 
... is entrusted by his parents to the charge of S. Hildutus, to be 
instructed by him." ^ 

This could not have been when the family was in Strathclyde ; it 
must have been later. And there is a mistake in what the biographer 
states as to his having been entrusted to S. Illtyd by his parents. He 
was a young man, not a boy, at the time. 

Among his companions were Samson and Paul. 

" Of these men, the most holy Samson was afterwards Archbishop 
of the Britons, whilst Paul presided as bishop over the Osissmi." The 
mention of Samson as archbishop indicates the lateness of the period 
at which this account was drawn up. The archbishopric was not 
founded till 848, and it must have taken more than a century for the 

^ See ii, pp. 93-4. ^ Vita i™% p. 326. 

S. Gildas 105 

fable to have grown up that Samson had ever exercised metropolitan 

The Life of S. Paul gives Dewi, Samson and Gildas as the fellow- 
pupils of that Saint under Illtyd. And the same four are named in 
the Life of S. Illtyd. 

We must set aside as mere hagiographical rhetoric what the bio- 
grapher says : " From the fifteenth year of his age, through the whole 
period of the present life which he lived in this world, up to the very 
last day on which he was called by the Lord, it was only three times 
in the week, as we have learnt from a trustworthy source, that he 
took a most scanty food for his body. He buffeted his body with 
frequent fastings and with protracted vigils ... he withstood vices, 
while he struggled against the temptations of the devil, and tortured 
himself in resisting the pleasures of the body." 

This may be true enough of his mode of life after he had embraced 
the monastic discipline, but that cannot have been when he was fifteen, 
but rather when aged thirty or more. 

The Rhuis biographer probably knew nothing about Gildas having 
been a family man, but we cannot acquit Caradog, or whoever wrote 
the second Life. To him the genealogies were accessible. But it 
seemed more becoming to a saint not to admit this, and he therefore 
skimmed over this early episode, falsifying his facts to suit the ideas 
of the twelfth century. 

" Nau," says he, " the King of Scotia . . . had twenty-four sons, 
victorious warriors." Actually they had been beaten and driven 
into ignominious flight by the Picts. " One of these was named Gildas, 
whom his parents engaged in the study of literature. ... He eagerly 
and diUgently studied among his own people in the seven arts until 
he reached the age of youth, when, on becoming a young man, he 
speedily left the country." 

In the first Life we are informed that the youthful Gildas performed 
some miracles. As S. lUtyd " dwelt with his disciples in a narrow 
island, confined, and squalid with its arid soil," Gildas prayed, and 
" the island expanded in all directions, blossoming round with various 

We obtain an explanation of this from the Life of S. Illtyd (c. 13).' 
Ynys was a term applied not only to islands, but also to monastic 
colonies. At Llantwit lUtyd desired to reclaim the rich aUuvial soil 
between it and the sea, and set to work with his disciples to build a 
sea wall to enclose it, and thus extend rich pasture-land to enhance 
the territory of his ynys. The Rhuis biographer did not understand 
the early meaning given to the term, and so converted the circumstance 

io6 Lives of the British Saiitts 

into a miracle. He goes on to relate how that S. lUtyd sowed the 
island, but the sea birds destroyed his corn ; then Gildas, Samson 
and Paul drove them into a barn. The story appears m the Life of 
Paul, in that of Samson, and in that of Illtyd ; but in the two latter 
the miracle is attributed to Samson alone, in that of Paul to that 
saint. The biographer of Gildas had these Lives before him. He 
adopted the incident, and added the name of his hero. 

The Rhuis author adds that Gildas was at other schools beside that 
oflUtyd. "Cum plurimorum doctorum scholas peragrasset." He 
apparently went to Ireland, there to finish his monastic training. 
He was in Ireland when an event took place which recalled him to 

Huail was the only one of the brothers who did not embrace the 
ecclesiastical profession. He seems to have been a filibuster. " Hueil 
major natu belliger assiduus et miles famosissimus nuUi regi obedivit, 
nee etiam Arthuro. AfHigebat eundem, commovebat inter utrumque 
maximum furorem " iyita 2^^). He would often swoop down from 
Scotia, plunder and burn in Wales. The use of the term Scotia for 
Scotland is indicative of the late date at which this Life was drawn 
up. Clearly Huail had collected the remnant of his clansmen in 
Strathclyde, and carried on a wanton war of devastation against his 
own race, in place of assailing the scattered foes of the Britons, the 
Picts, and Goidels. A council of war was held in Minau — apparently 
Manaw, the Isle of Man — and he was surrounded there and killed.^ 

The Welsh traditionary story is different. According to that, Huail 
ventured to make love to a lady whom Arthur admired, and this led 
to Arthur having Huail's head hacked off on the Maen Huail, a stone 
still pointed out in S. Peter's Square, Ruthin.^ 

The slaying of Huail caused great offence. Gildas, who was at the 
time in Ireland, hastened to Wales to exact retribution. Several 
ecclesiastics intervened, and as a blood fine Arthur surrendered several 
parcels of land to the family of Caw, after which Gildas consented to 
give Arthur the Kiss of Peace. 

It is possible enough that the foundations made in Radnorshire 
by some of the brothers of Huail were on land thus, and then, granted 
in mulct for the execution. 

In Ireland Gildas had made the acquaintance of S. Brigid. It is 

1 " A Scotia veniebat saepissime, incendia ponebat, praedas ducebat cum 
victoria ac laude. Unde rex universalis Britanniae audiens magnanimum 
juvenem talia fecisse et squalia facere persecutus est victorosissimum juvenem 
et optimum, ut aiebant et sperabant indigenae, futurum regem. In persecutione 
autem hostili et in conventu bellico in insula Minau interfecit juvenem pra^- 
datorem." Vita 2''", ed. Williams, p. 402. ^ See under S. Huail. 

xS^. Gildas 107 

pretended by the Rhuis biographer that he went to North Britain, and 
did something there towards the conversion of the Picts. That he 
did revisit Strathclyde is possible enough. li ne had anything to do 
with the Picts we cannot say ; he has left no traces behind him of 
any spiritual work wrought there. 

The author of the second Life says that Gildas had brought from 
Ireland with him a beautiful and sweet-sounding bell ; and that he 
went with it to Nant Carfan, where he shewed it to S. Cadoc, who 
greatly admired it and wanted to buy it. Gildas refused, alleging 
that he was on his way to Rome, and purposed offering it "to the 
bishop of the Roman Church." Cadoc was forced to swallow his 
disappointment. However, when Gildas arrived in Rome, and the 
Pope knew that it had been greatly desired by Cadoc, he refused to 
accept it ; and on his return, Gildas made a present of it to the Abbot 
of Nant or Llan Carfan. This incident occurs also in the Life of S. 
Cadoc (c. 23). 

On his way back from Rome it was that Gildas landed on the Isle 
of Houat off the coast of Broweroc ; and after a brief sojourn there 
(" aliquamdiu "), crossed over to the mainland, to the long spit that, 
like a crab's claw encloses the inland sea of the Morbihan. 

That Isle of Houat was itself but a remaining fragment of the ancient 
coastline that ran from the spit of Quiberon to Le Croissic. Long 
before the historic period the sea had broken through and attacked 
another barrier, partly of sand dunes and partly of granite cHffs. 
Finding one weak spot, a fault in the granite, it had burst through 
that and formed the inland sea of the Morbihan enclosed between the 
tongues of land Of Locmariaquer and Sarzeau. 

Entering this lagoon, Gildas drew his boat to land, and ascending 
the peninsula of Sarzeau, lighted on an ancient camp, " quoddam 
castrum in Monte Reuvisii in prospectu maris," and there erected a 
monastery. ^ 

This took place, as we are assured by the Rhuis biographer, when 
he was aged thirty, and at the time when Childeric, son of Meroveus, 
was king of the Franks, a prince still pagan. ^ The Chronicon Britan- 
nicum gives the date 520.^ Now Childeric this cannot have been, 

1 Vita I™", ed. Williams, p. 348. 

^ " Childericus enim eo tempore Merovei fiKus gentilium errori deditus im- 
perabat Francis, quod ex gestis veterum prudens lector cognoscere potest." The 
biographer in these words seems to let us see he had been dipping into Gregory 
of Tours, but being at sea as to the true period of the Hfe of Gildas he misplaced 
his arrival at Rhuis by some forty to forty-fifty years. 

' This chronicle was drawn up in 1356 ; Dom Morice, Memoires pour Servir, 
etc., 1742. 

I o 8 Lives of the British Saints 

for he died in 481, and was succeeded by Clovis, baptized in 496, who 
died in 511. Childebert succeeded, and reigned to 558. The king 
then must have been Childebert, and the biographer must have been 
very badly instructed in early Frank history to make such a blunder. 
He saw in the MS. before him a name Childe . . . probably with the 
last letters illegible, and concluded that this was Childeric, son of 
Meroveus. It is possible enough that in the early portion of his reign 
Childebert may have been a bad Christian, and some remark to this 
effect may have led the late biographer to say that the king was " gen- 
tilium errori deditus." 

Probably at this time Brendan paid a visit to Gildas, and was 
churlishly received, in the winter of 523-4. If Gildas were born in 
476, then he made his first settlement at Rhuis in the autumn of 520. 

We are told that Gildas asked Brendan to undertake the supervision 
of his settlement, but that Brendan declined. This is intelligible 
enough. Gildas wanted to return to Britain ; he had with him but 
a handful of followers ; he was unknown as an ecclesiastical leader ; 
he probably contented himself with obtaining a concession of the old 
camp and some adjoining land from the Count, and then desired 
to revisit Britain that he might collect disciples for his monastery. 
So only can we reconcile the two accounts we have. The Rhuis bio- 
grapher says nothing of his visit to and residence at Glastonbury, and 
the author of the Vita 2^^^ passes lightly over all that took place in 

Leaving Rhuis with some few of his followers, Gildas departed for 

Professor Hugh Williams is disposed to reject the whole account by 
the author of Vita 2^^ relative to the residence of Gildas at Glaston- 
bury after his return from the Continent. " All the sections in refer- 
ence to Glastonbury and Gildas' tarrying there can be no otherwise 
regarded than as a piece of literary fiction." 

But it is never well to reject traditions that are precise when recon- 
ciliation is possible. 

Caradog, or whoever wrote the Vita 2^^, says that Gildas was seven 
years abroad, before returning to Britain. If our reckoning be right, 
this would be from 527. 

" At the end of the seventh year he returned, with a large mass of 
volumes, to Greater Britain . . . and great numbers of scholars 
flocked to him from all parts." ^ 

Gildas had now a part to play, to qualify for a saint. This could 
only be done in one way, by undergoing austerities. 

' Vita 2^, p. 394. This is difficult to reconcile with his meeting S. Finnian. 

S. Gildas 109 

" It was his habit to go into a river at midnight, where he would 
remain unmoved until he had said the Lord's Prayer thrice. Having 
done this, he would repair to his oratory, and pray there on his knees 
unto the Divine Majesty until broad daylight. He was wont to sleep 
moderately, and to lie upon a stone, clothed with only a single garment. 
He used to eat without satisfying his wants, contented with his share 
of the heavenly reward." ^ 

On his return to Britain he went into " the district of Pepidiauc," 
now Dewisland, in Pembrokeshire, where he preached every Lord's 
Day in a church on the seashore. This is the Caermorfa of the Life 
of S. David by Giraldus, and here is supposed to have occurred the 
incident of his becoming mute because Non was present in the church, 
pregnant with David. ^ Unfortunately for the story, David is repre- 
sented as having been a fellow disciple of Gildas in the school of S. 
Illtyd, in the very early Life of S. Paul. Moreover, the same story is 
told of Bishop Ailbe, who baptized David, and was his kinsman. The 
purpose of his visit to Pebj'diog is obvious enough. There was the 
great monastery ruled by Paulinus, that sent so many missionaries to 
Ireland. He sought thence to glean some restless spirits who would 
attach themselves to himself and follow him to Armorica. 

From Pebydiog he went with Uke purpose to Llancarfan, where he 
propitiated Cadoc with the gift of the bell. " And Cadoc, abbot of 
the church of Nantcarfan, asked the teacher Gildas to superintend the 
studies of his schools for the space of one year." ^ 

Cadoc, in fact, wanted to absent himself and visit Scotland. Gildas 
consented, and whilst he was at Llancarfan, " he himself wrote out 
the work of the four Evangelists, a work that still remains in the 
church of S. Cadoc, covered all over with gold and silver." * 

" At the close of the year, and when the scholars were retiring from 
study, the saintly abbot Cadoc, and the excellent master Gildas, 
mutually agreed to repair to two islands, viz., Ronech and Echin. 
Cadoc landed in the one nearer to Wales, and Gildas in that which 
lies over against England." •' 

The author of Vita i^ pretends that the saints lived on the islands 
for seven years. But the Life of S. Cadoc says that the saint was 
wont to retire to the islets only for the season of Lent. " In the days 

1 Vita 2da, p. 396. 

2 Ihid., pp. 398, 400. " In tempore Trifini regis." Triphun, who was the 
son of Clotri, is mentioned also in the Life cf S. David, and the story of the silence 
of Gildas before the pregnant Non is told in the same Life. 

' Ibid., pp. 404, 406. * Ihid., p. 406; see ii, p. 14. 

^ Ihid., p. 406. 

1 1 o Lives of the British Sai7its 

of Lent " he was there, but " on Palm Sunday he returned to Nant- 
carfan." ^ 

The author of Vita 2^^^ cannot state the truth when he makes Gildas 
occupy the islet for seven years. He seems to have mistaken what 
is said in the Life of S. Cadoc. In that Cadoc departs from his monas- 
tery for the north of Britain, and remains away seven years. In it 
Gildas arrives from Ireland with his bell, after the return of Cadoc 
from North Britain. Then follows the story of the bell, not told in 
the same words as in the Life of Gildas, but the same in its details. 

In the Life of S. Finnian of Clonard we read that he went to two 
holy men inhabiting the Isle of Echni.^ They are not named, but 
it is not improbable that these were Gildas and Cadoc. The date can 
be fixed fairly closely, for Finnian returned to Ireland before the death 
of Muirdach, King of the Hy Cinnselach, who died in 525, according 
to the most approved computation. 

A curious story is given in the Life of S. Finnian relative to his 
intercourse with Gildas whilst he was in Wales, but he doubtless re- 
visited Wales later. 

He went to Cill-muine, in Pebydiog, and there met Gildas and Cadoc 
and David, and found Gildas and David in vehement contest for supre- 
macy. It was decided that Cadoc should judge between them. Cadoc, 
however, was unwilling to offend either party, and he thrust the re- 
sponsibility on Finnian, who adjudged the supremacy to David.^ 

What would seem to be the basis of this story is that whilst Gildas 
was in Pebydiog he did endeavour to wrest from David his succession 
to the abbacy of Ty Gwyn or the Old Bush, but failed ; after which 
he visited Llancarfan. It was probably then that Gildas and Cadoc 
agreed to spend Lent on the two islets, Ronech and Echni. These 
are the Steep and Flat Holmes, in the Bristol Channel ; and on these 
alone in England are found the entire-leafed peony and the wild leek. 
It is supposed that these plants have lingered on there from the gardens 
of the ancient settlers in monastic days. 

Whilst on the Steep Holmes Gildas built himself a chapel and a 
cell, and is credited with having elicited a spring. He lived on birds' 
eggs and fish ; and occasionally visited Cadoc, who returned his visits.* 

^ " Quadragesimalibus diebus consuevit Sanctus Cadocus manere in duabus 
insulis, videlicet, Barren et Echni ; in die vero Palmarum veniebat Nantcaruan, 
ibi expectans, et faciens Paschale servitium." Cambro-British Saints, p. 45. 

^ Vita S. Finniani in Cod. Sal., col. 193. 

" Life of Finnian of Clonard in Book of Lismove, pp. 222-3. 

* Vita 2''^, p. 406. Confirmed by the " Life of S. Oudoceus " in Book of Llan 
Ddv, p. 138, but Echni is given for Ronech. Ronech means the Isle of " Seals " 
(raoel-ron) . 

aS*. Gildas 


The islands had at last to be abandoned on account of the piratical 
incursions of the Northmen.^ 

From Llancarfan, Gildas went to Glastonbury. He had doubtless 
•collected some disciples in Pebydiog, and had added to the band some 
•of the pupils of Cadoc, who desired to see the world. Now he sought 
to swell the body by adherents gained at Glastonbury. 

At Glastonbury Gildas was well received. " He built a church 
there ... in which he fasted and prayed assiduously, clad in goats' 
hair, giving to all an irreproachable example of a good religious life." ^ 

Whilst Gildas was at Glastonbury a strange incident took place, 
according to the author of the second Life. 

At this time Melwas was king of what is now called Somerset ; 
he had carried off Gwenhwyfar or Guinevere, Arthur's queen. There- 
upon Arthur laid siege to Glastonbury, whither Melwas had retired, 
but was not able to effect much, " propter munitiones arundineti et 
fluminis ac paludis causa tutelffi ; " and Melwas retained Gwenhwyfar 
there for a whole year. 

Arthm: had convoked the levies of " Cornubia and Dibnenia," and 
the monks of the Holy Isle felt the inconvenience of the siege. The 
abbot, along with Gildas, interposed ; and Arthur, very unheroically, 
expressed himself ready to forgive and forget if his wife were sent 
back to him. Gwenhwyfar was accordingly returned to her husband, 
and the two princes met on good terms ; and in token of fraternal 
union visited together the church of Glastonbury.^ 

Geoffrey of Monmouth very rarely condescends to give a date to 
the events he relates. When he does, we may suspect that he had 
some authority for it. He says that Arthur died in 542.* The 
Annales Cambrics give the date as 537.^ But as they antedate the 
Battle of Mount Badon by four years, so here they may give a date 
-some five years too early. The Welsh chronicle in the Red Book of 
Hergesi makes an interval of twenty-two years between the victory of 
Mount Badon and the death of Arthur. ^ The Annales C amines make 
twenty-one years. Although very little reliance can be placed on the 
Welsh chronicle, and less still on Geoffrey of Monmouth, yet both 

^ " Venerunt piratae de insulis Orcadibus, qui afdixerunt ilium raptis ab eo 
■suis famulis servientibus et ductis in exilium cum spoliis et omnibus suae habita- 
■tionis supellectilibus." Vita -z^^, p. 408. For all his asceticism, Gildas -u'as 
■careful not to retire to solitude -without servants to -wait on him, and suitable 
furniture for his cell. ^ Ihid., p. 410. 

' Ibid., pp. 408, 410. Melwas is the Meliaudes of the Romancers, who 
make him father of Tristan. 

* Hist. Reg. Brit., xi, c. 2. ^ Ed. PhilUmore in Y Cymmrodor, ix, p. 154. 

' O Oes Gwrtheyrn in Bruts, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 404. 

112 Lives of the British Saints 

witness, along with the Cambrian annals, to there having existed a 
tradition that Arthur survived the famous victory some twenty-one- 
or twenty-two years. There would accordingly be no anachronism 
in supposing that he and the chieftain of the Domnonii were at war 
about 530-534, the period during which we suppose that Gildas was. 
at Glastonbury. And it may be to this domestic broil that he alludes, 
when he says that during a generation after Mount Badon peace 
reigned, so far that the incursions of the enemy had ceased, but that 
it had been broken by civil broils, " Cessantibus licet externis bellis, 
sed non civilibus." 

The author of the second Life pretends that Gildas remained at 
Glastonbury, wrote his Epistle there, which he calls his History of the- 
Kings of Britain, and died there. 

We shall see, in the sequel, what perhaps gave rise to this idea. 
On the other hand, the monk of Rhuis knew nothing of the visit to 
Britain and residence at Glastonbury. Yet that Gildas should return 
after having obtained a concession of land on the Sarzeau peninsula, 
in order to collect a number of followers to fill the large monastery he 
had foiinded in Brittany can hardly be questioned. 

There is collateral evidence of Gildas having been in South Wales. 
In the lolo MSS. he is said to have founded Llanildas, afterwards 
called Y Wig Fawr (the Great Wood), in Glamorgan. ^ This is pro- 
bably Wick, subject to S. Bride's Major, which, however, Rees gives 
as dedicated to S. James. ^ That is no more than a Norman or English 

Moreover, Aidan or Maidoc, son of Gildas, was actually left in 
Pebydiog with S. David at an early age, as pupil. This shows that 
Gildas had been there, and that although the contention for the 
mastery had been sharp between them, it was patched up, and in 
token of reconciliation, Gildas committed his boy to be fostered and 
trained by David.^ 

Many of the brothers of Gildas were in Anglesey ; but he does not 
appear to have gone into Northern Wales. 

At length, after an absence of seven years, Gildas returned with 
a body of recruits to Rhuis, and the monastery was organised on an 
extensive scale. 

When the biographer speaks of the " Mountain of Reuvisium " 
he conveys to the mind an entirely false impression. Rhuis stands 
but a hundred feet above the Atlantic on a tableland that extends 
to Sarzeau, and thence declines gently to the sea. The spot is bleak 
and wind-swept, but towards the Morbihan is tree-grown and covered 

1 P. 220. " Essay on Welsh Saints, p. 338. ^ See his Life, i, pp. 116-26. 

/S. Gildas 1^ I 3 

with vineyards. This is the furthest point to the North where wine 
is made, and such as is made is little better than the poor native cider. 
Originally there was more timber, but not on the plateau. Towards 
the ocean the high, ground breaks down in precipitous cliffs, but further 
south-east the rocks give way, and the bay of Sucinio is formed, on 
which stands the castle of the ancient Dukes of Brittany. The whole 
of the coast has greatly altered since Gildas settled there, as the 
granite is soft and full of faults. The sea has gained on the land, 
and in places has completely changed the coastline. 

The monastery of Rhuis had its wood, and a church was erected in 
this part of the promontory. It was called Coetlann. Here, we 
are informed that Gildas destroyed a dragon, and to this day the 
fosse is pointed out in which it was supposed to have Iain. 

Gildas undoubtedly gained the favour of Weroc I, the Chief or 
Count of the British settlers who occupied all the country round 

It was, perhaps, due to him that he obtained a concession at Cas- 
tennec on the Blavet. Here a finger of hill projects, and the river 
makes a loop round it. The sides are steep, and the summit was 
crowned by the old Roman town of Sulim, fallen, when Gildas settled 
there, into complete ruin. 

Here he established a small monastery, not among the ruins, but 
on the neck of land at a place called Castennec. With this establish- 
ment, a curious circumstance is associated. Among the wreckage 
of the old town was a granite image of Venus, stark naked, and by 
no means decent, standing 7 feet high, with a bandlet about the head 
on which are cut the letters IIT. Before it stood a huge granite 
basin. The image received religious worship, and we may well suppose 
that in accordance with their strong sense of the necessity of doing 
away with idols — and such an idol as this — Gildas and his disciple 
Budoc would throw it down. They did more, they buried it under 
the foundations of their monastery a little distance off. 

When the Northmen devastated the country in the tenth century, 
the establishment at Castennec was destroyed and was never again 
restored. But at a subsequent period, in digging among the rubbish 
heaps, the image was disclosed, set up, and at once received a revived 
cult. Those afflicted with gout and rheumatism rubbed their limbs 
against it, and made offerings to it ; women, after their confinements 
bathed in the stone basin before it ; and rites were celebrated in its 
honour characterised by gross indecency. 

The Bishop of Vannes thundered against it, and at last Count 
Pierre de Lannion removed it to his castle at Baud, and had it chiselled 


114 Lives of the British Saints 

■over to render it a little more decorous. His chateau has disappeared, 
as has the Castennec monastery, as has the Roman city of Sulim, but 
the Venus of Quinipili still stands serene, looking out of her blank 
■eyes, having witnessed the destruction of castle, monastery and 
town. 1 

A path from where stood Castennec leads down to a combe through 
which trickles a tiny rill, then ascends a hillside to where stands a farm- 
house among ancient chestnut trees. From this, a rapid descent 
leads to the oratory of Gildas and his disciple Budoc under over- 
hanging granite rocks at the brink of the river, to which oratory they 
retired for Lent and at times when they desired solitude.^ 

Gildas built up a wall on the river face and so enclosed a space 
under the rock. There was a little water oozing out at the spot, 
-hardly a clear spring, as the biographer terms it, but affording sufficient 
■drinking water. 

That Gildas was able to glaze the east window of his cell is recorded 
as something miraculous. 

The chapel is still where Gildas formed his oratory; it has been 
Tebuilt and restored, but preserves early features. The roof is a 
lean-to against the rock, the wall being run further out than in the 
time of Gildas. A mass of granite outside has been hewn into steps 
and a platform to serve as a pulpit. 

Within the oratory are two compartments ; the outer contains an 
altar to S. Budoc (Bieuzy), that within to S. Gildas. On the left 
side of the latter is a block of masonry and granite rock to serve as 
a table for the pain benit that is distributed to the pilgrims on the 
occasion of a Pardon. 

A slab of resonant diorite on a pedestal serves as a bell. It is struck 
with a pebble and rings at the Sanctus, Consecration, and Communion. 
It is traditionally attributed to Gildas. Against the wall is the 
inscription : 

Etat blamah hon doar sanel 
Un ermitagie peur mair-vet 
Beba vein glas hon doai eit cloh 
En hon chapel groeit en urroh. 

The Pardons are on January 29, and Whitsun Monday, but Mass 

"■ De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretagne, i, pp. 180-2 ; Baring-Gould, Brittany 
Xondon, 1901, pp. 45, 47-8. 

' " Tunc denique construxit parvum oratorium super ripam fluminis Blaveti 
sub quadam eminenti rupe, ab occidente in orientem ipsam concavans rupem 
et ad latus ejus dextrum erigens parietem congruum fecit oratorium, sub quo 
de rupe emanare fecit fontem perlucidum." Vita i""", pp. 348, 350. 




S. Gildas 115 

is also said in the chapel on the third Sunday in July, and on the 
fourth Sunday after Midsummer Day. 

The Blavet and its tributaries would seem to have been claimed 
by Gildas as a special field for operations. Possibly, he may have 
thought that he had some rights there. It is conceivable that his 
grandfather Geraint had been granted a domain there, for we find 
S. G^ran with its minihi or sanctuary higher up the river. His uncle 
Solomon or Selyf may also have been the saint and mart3n: commemor- 
ated at Guern, where is his martyrium^ We have, unhappily, no 
documentary evidence to connect these saints with Gildas. But it is 
certainly a remarkable coincidence that about the Blavet we should 
find the names of members of his family in a cluster. 

Fiuther down the river is Languidic, the Lan of Cenydd, the crippled 
son of Gildas, who has also a chapel at Plumelin. Gildas himself 
has a chapel at Malguenac, and a monastic settlement of his was at 

This latter stood where is now Moreac, and not on the site of the 
present town. In 919, owing to the incursions of the Northmen, 
the monks of Rhuis, bearing the body of their founder, fled to Locmin6, 
where they were joined by the monks of that community, and all 
retired together to Berry, and remained at Bourg-Dieu or D^ols, 
tiU loio, when Rhuis, and after that, Locmine, were restored. 

Ten years after the departure of Gildas from Britain, he composed 
his book " in which he reproved five of the kings of that island who 
had been ensnared in various crimes and sins." ^ 

The book De Excidio BritannicR certainly appeared before 547, 
the year in which Maelgwn Gwynedd died of the Yellow Plague, 
probably in 544, twenty-four years after the Battle of Mount Badon, 
and before the peace came to an end. It produced effects which 
we shall now note. 

Gildas was the father of five children. Cenydd had been a member 
•of the college of Cadoc, but afterwards had settled in Gower. 

In his Increpatio Gildas had assailed Vortipore, King of Demetia. 
" Like the pard art thou in manners and wickedness of various 
colours, though thy head is now becoming grey ; upon a throne full 
•of guile, and from top to bottom defiled by various murders and 
adulteries, thou worthless son of a good king, as Manasseh of Heze- 
Mah." » 

Gower was not in Demetia, but it is possible enough that Vortipore 

1 Not Solomon, King of Brittany, killed in 874, but an earlier king of the 
same name. See under S. Selyf. 

'^ Vita i'"^, p. 352. ' De Excidio, ed. Williams, p. 72. 

I 1 6 Lives of the British Saints 

may have had sufficient influence in it to make residence there no 
longer possible for Cenydd ; and it may have been on this account 
that'he migrated to Brittany and placed himself in his father's hands. 
Another son was Aidan, or Maidoc ; he had been placed with S. David ; 
and probably he also had to depart and shelter himself in Ireland. 

Of Dolgan we know nothing, and next to nothing of Nwython. 
But Gwynog had been settled in Powys, and he now' very probably, 
had to escape from the wrath of Cuneglas, prince, it would seem, of 
a district in North Wales, also violently abused by Gildas as " wallow- 
ing in the old fifth of thy wickedness, from the years of thy youth, 
thou bear, rider of many . . . despiser of God and contemner of 
His decree, thou Cuneglas (meaning, in the Roman tongue. Thou 
tawny butcher). . . . Why, in addition to innumerable lapses, 
dost thou, having driven away thy wife, cast thine eyes upon her 
dastardly sister, who is under a vow to God of perpetual chastity ? " 
Gwynog probably fled to Armorica, and it is just possible that he 
may be the Eunius who became Bishop of Vannes at a later period. 
Cenydd was a father of a family, arid there is evidence of his sons 
having also settled in the neighbourhood of Vannes and of the Blavet. 
Caffo, one of the brothers of Gildas, had been a disciple of S. Cybi 
in Mon. Probably on account of the insults cast at Maelgwn by 
Gildas, he was constrained to leave, but the shepherds of the King, 
resenting the outrage, killed him at Rhosfyr, now Newborough, and 
he is accounted one of the martyrs of Anglesey. 

Alleccus, or Gallgo, another, there is some reason to think, was con- 
strained to fly the resentment of Maelgwn, and take refuge in Ireland. 
Maelog, or Meilig, also had been in Mon, with Cybi. He apparently 
had also to escape, and finally settled at Llowes. 

It is not easy to read the "querulous epistle" of Gildas with 
patience. He has left unsaid so much that we desire to know, and 
has poured forth his denunciations in language so extravagant and 
venomous, as to disgust the reader. M. J. Loth says : — " There are 
heaps of contradictions, puerilities, ineptitudes of every kind in the 
work of this Jeremiah of the tenth class, whose ignorance, outsid3 
the Scriptures, defies all comparison, and whose want of judgment 
betrays itself in incredible childishness." ^ 

The bird that befouls its own nest is accounted a very ill bird indeed. 
Yet it is perhaps due to the intemperate violence of the invective 
of Gildas against those of his own race and blood, that the work has 
been preserved. Saxons and English cherished the book, and were 

1 Les mots Latins dans Us langues bnttoniques, Paris, 1892. 

S. Gildas „ 1 1 7 

-able to produce it against the Welsh, as evidence of their vices and 
follies, given by one of themselves. 

In this sorry work, Gildas throws dirt at the princes of his native 
land, against his own cousin Constantine, against Maelgwn, the 
large-hearted benefactor of his family. He heaps abuse on the people 
from whom he sprung. He could see no heroism in the Britons when 
they rose against the Roman invaders. Boudica, whose daughters 
had been outraged, and herself scourged with rods by the Roman 
tribunes, was in no degree justified in resenting these infamies. 
She is to Gildas only a " deceitful lioness," and the Britons are " crafty 
foxes." He varies his metaphor, later on, to liken them to barndoor 
fowl under the trusty wings of the parent birds, the Romans. His 
own flesh and blood are cowards. " They present their backs, instead 
of their shields, to the pursuers, their necks to the sword, while chiU 
terror runs through their bones. They hold forth their hands to 
be bound like women ; so that it became a proverb and derision : 
The Britons are neither brave in war, nor faithful in peace." If, how- 
ever, they rise against their Imperial oppressors, they are " stiff- 
necked and stubborn-minded, ungrateful rebels." Throughout, Gildas 
shows himself to be Roman-minded. 

National independence he cannot away with. At the bottom 
of aU the disasters that befell Britain lay ingratitude to and severance 
from the Roman Empire. Aurelius Ambrosius is praised, but mainly 
because he was of noble Roman blood. When a prophet thunders 
so loudly against the vices of his race, one naturally desires to look 
home, at his own monastic household, and see if that was clean. 

A glance at the Penitential of Gildas suffices to show that the same 
abominations which were rampant in the British world, had found 
a lodging within the walls of his monastery, and had to be provided 

And when he assails his fellow countrymen as cowards, we ask 
what token of courage did Gildas show in denouncing the chiefs 
secular and ecclesiastical in his own neighbourhood at Rhuis, for 
their infamous lives ? His biographer maintains silence on this point, 
It must have been a satisfaction to Gildas that his old friend Cadoc 
should take it into his head also to come to Brittany, and to the same 
parts. But Cadoc was too discreet to settle close to the hot-tempered 
Gildas. He selected for himself a site very similar to that chosen by 
Gildas at Rhuis, at the edge of another inland sea, that of Etel. 

De la Villemarque gives " a tradition still circulating in Armorica," ^ 
relative to the meeting of these saints, and a dispute as to whether 
' La Ligende Celtique, Paris, 1861, jjp. 201-4. 

I I 8 Lives of the British Saints 

Virgil had been saved. Unhappily, no statement made by De la Ville- 
marque, unless established on other authority, can be trusted, and 
it may well be questioned whether the Breton peasant would know 
anything about Virgil. The story has been told under S. Cadoc. ^ 

Gildas would appear to have been on very good terms with Conmore, 
Count of Poher, and regent of Domnonia. This Conmore was a bold, 
ambitious and unscrupulous man. On the death of Jonas, King of 
Domnonia, he seized the rule. He married the widow and assumed 
the regency for the young Judual, son of Jonas, who, however, mis- 
trusting his uncle, fled. 

The original caer or stronghold of Conmore had been Carhaix, the 
old Roman Vorganium, in an elevated bleak situation. Owing to 
the favour in which Gildas stood with him, Conmore surrendered 
to him Carnoet, near Carhaix, on still higher ground, dominating 
the place. 

The river Hieres flows through a lovely valley, between well-wooded 
and rocky hills ; and by the water stands the chapel of the -peniti 
of Gildas. Thence a road scrambles to the high ground on which 
stands the village of Carnoet, where a cluster of squalid cottages 
surrounds a bran-new and very ugly modern church. Beyond the 
village a way still mounts to the highest point of the ridge, that com- 
mands the country for many miles round, and looks down on Caihaix. 
Under the lea of this point, in a well-timbered nook, beside an oozing 
spring, lies the sixteenth century chapel of S. Gildas. The summit 
of the hill shooting above it is crowned by an earthwork. M. de la 
Borderie is mistaken in supposing this to be the remains of a monastic 
enclosure. " Sur un mamelon tres dominant existe une grande 
enceinte circulaire fermee de rejets de terre considerables et de fosses 
de sept metres de profondeur ; or, on le salt, les monasteres bretons 
primitifs de quelque importance devaient tonjours etre, comme ceux 
des Scots, clos d'un rampart de ce genre, soit que le fondateur I'elevat 
lui-meme, soit qu'U s'etablit (comme a Rhuis) dans un fort barbare 
on un camp romain preexistant." ^ 

The camp is of the tenth century, and is of Northman origin. There 
can be no mistake about it. It consists of a tump scooped out at 
top, with a loop bank at the side, forming a bass-court. Its counter- 
part may be seen on the Alun, below S. Davids. Excavations in 
such camps prove the period to which they belong. 

In the chapel is a stone sarcophagus, sunk in the floor, and regarded 
as having been the bed of the saint. On the Pardon in January, the 
peasants offer cocks and hens ; and in the North aisle are three 

^ ii, p. 28. ^ Hist, de Bretagne, i, p. 440. 

S. Gildas 1 1 9> 

ranges of coops to contain the fowls, which cackle through Mass, and 
are sold afterwards, the proceeds going to the repair of the chapel. 

Conmore lost his wife, the widow of Jonas, and daughter of Budic 
II of CornouaiUe, and then asked the hand of Triphena, daughter 
of Weroc, Count of the British of Vannes. 

Weroc was now aged, and his son Macliau, well aware that on his 
father's death his brother Canao would endeavour to kill him, entered 
into negotiations with Conmore, to secure his support. Then it was 
that the Count of Poher and regent of Domnonia asked for the 
hand of Triphena. 

Count Weroc was reluctant to give his consent. He had gauged, 
the character of the man and mistrusted him. 

Thereupon Conmore turned to Gildas, and gained his advocacy.. 
The Rhuis biographer gives us the Breton tradition of his time. He 
says, " Conomerus made it his practice, as soon as he learnt that his 
wife had conceived, to put her to death at once. And when he had 
already done away with many women sprung from noble families, 
parents began to feel much saddened on this account, and to move 
further away from him."^ 

This is mere idle legend. History has recorded only one previous 
wife, and with her Conmore lived happily. ^ 

Gildas had not seen through the design of Conmore ; his vanity 
was flattered by being asked to further the suit of the Count, and 
he persuaded Weroc against his better judgment to give his daughter 
to the regent. 

As far as can be made out Conmore treated the lady with brutality 
and murdered her son Trechmor, probably by a former husband,, 
killing him at Carhaix. Thereupon Triphena fled from her husband 
and threw herself on the protection of her father. 

The whole story has been so transformed by fable, that it is dif&cult 
to arrive at the facts. 

Gildas heard of what had taken place whilst at Castennec, and 
he rushed off, crossed the Blavet and went to Camors, where was 
Conmore's castle, and taking a handful of earth, cast it against 
the wall, and cursed it and doubtless its master with it. ^ Then he 
hastened on to Weroc and found the runaway wife with him. He 
arranged that so soon as she gave birth to the child she bore in her 
womb, she should be received into a religious house for women, and 
that the child should be given to him. When this event took place, 

1 Vita I"*, p. 354. ^ De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretagne, i, p. 401, note I. 
' " Accepit plenum pugillum terrae et projecit super illam habitationem, 
quae statim Deo volente tota corruit." Vita 1"°", p. 360. 

I 2 o L,ives of the British Saints 

he himself baptized the child, a boy, gave to it his own name, and 
undertook to train it for the monastic profession. 

This is not the form in which the legend is told by the Rhuis 

According to him, both Gildas and Weroc knew the character of 
Conmore, and both were reluctant to allow the marriage. But Con- 
more insisted, and Weroc in a fright sent for Gildas, who then yielded, 
and promised that if Weroc would give his daughter to the Regent 
of Domnonia he himself would be responsible for her safety. When, 
after the marriage, Conmore perceived that Triphena was about to 
become a mother " he meditated killing her as had been his custom." 
She, fearing for her life, ran away. " When her wicked husband 
learnt this, he was incensed with greater anger, and pursued her. 
Having found her on the road-side, hiding under some leaves — for 
she was wearied by her journey — ^he drew out his sword, cut off her 
head, and then returned home." ^ 

Hearing of what had taken place, Gildas went to the place " where 
lay the lifeless corpse of the murdered woman with her offspring in 
her womb . . . prayed, and then took the head and fastened it on 
to the trunk of the body . . . and forthwith she arose whole." ^ 

When the son was born, Gildas had the child baptized, and this 
' ' son also was distinguished for his virtues and miracles, and completed 
with a blessed end the saintly life he had led. Now the Bretons, in 
order to distinguish him from the other S. Gildas, do not call him 
Gildas but Trechmorus." 

The Rhuis biographer does not relate the martyrdom of this Trech- 
mor by his father. Such, however, is the constant tradition.^ 

The whole story is impossible as well as absurd. If Conmore did 
kill a child of Triphena, it must have been a son by a former husband, 
as his fall ensued very shortly aiter the flight of Triphena. 

If Triphena had a son named Gildas, he disappears totally from 
Breton history, and it is possible that he may have gone from dis- 
tracted Brittany to Glastonbury, settled and died there, and thus 
may have given occasion to the mistake into which the author of the 
Second Life has fallen, in making the historian to be buried at 

Trechmor is said to have suffered decapitation at Carhaix, the 
residence of Conmore. He is the patron of the place, and is represented 

1 Ihid., p. 358. = Ihid., p. 360. 

. - ^ Actfi Sti, Trechmori, Bibl. Nat. Fran9ais MS. 22321, p. 870; and Ancient 
Breviary of Quimper. Lobiueau, Vies des Bretagne.ed. 1836, pp. 298-300 ; 
Garaby, p. 300. 

*S'. Gildas 12 1 

at the west end of the church, above the principal doorway, as a 
young man of about twenty-one, holding his head in his hands. 

Trechmor cannot have been identical with the younger Gildas, 
but was a distinct personage, older than the godson of Gildas by 
many years. The younger Gildas was born about 550, and Conmore 
was killed in 555, so that he cannot have put his son by Triphena to 
death as a young man. The only explanation of the story that can 
be adopted is that Conmore married Triphena, who was a widow 
with a grown-up son, Trechmor, and that Conmore, finding Trechmor 
stand in his way, as he had Judual, sought his life and succeeded in 
killing him, whereas he had failed in the case of Judual. 

Count Weroc died shortly after the return of his daughter (550) ; 
whereupon Canao, the Conober of Gregory of Tours, murdered three 
of his brothers, and Macliau fled to Conmore, but after a while stole 
back, threw himself into Vannes, and got himself elected bishop. 

Meanwhile, Conmore had got embroiled with the saints of Leon 
and Domnonia. A conjuration against the Regent was the result, 
and we may be sure that Gildas, flaming with mortified vanity and 
resentment, threw himself into it, heart and soul. 

Conmore fell in a battle fought on the slopes of the Monts d'Arrec 
in. 555- An Abbey du Relecq (of the Bones) was erected on the site 
by Judual and S. Paul of Leon. 

Gildas unquestionably had taken an energetic part in the con- 
juration against Conmore, and he expected to be rewarded, as were 
the other saints who had excommunicated and cursed the Regent 
from the top of Menes Bre. Nor was he disappointed. We may 
attribute to this period the foundations in Domnonia. 

He made a settlement at Laniscat near Corlay and Quintin. " Here," 
says De la Borderie, " not only is Gildas the patron of the parish, 
and the church covered with paintings representing his history, but 
in the commune are likewise a chapel dedicated to him, and a cave, 
of which tradition tells, that he was wont to retire to it, after having 
preached throughout the neighbourhood ; and there he was wont 
to sleep on a stone shaped like a bed, which is still to be seen in the 
cave, and to which processions were made in his honour, to the end 
of the seventeenth century." ^ In this region we have La Harmoye, 
of which Gildas is patron, as also Magoar ; and at Plaintel his son 
Cenydd was installed. 

His monasteries of Rhuis, Castennec and Looming possessed that in- 
dispensable adjunct to a monastic institution, a barren island to which 
the abbot and the more devout might retreat for perfect solitude ; not 
}■ Hist, de Bretagne, i, p. 439. 

12 2 Lives of the British Saints 

so his Domnonian colony. He accordingly sought one out. Striking 
due north, he halted at Tonquedec, and was there sufficiently long 
to leave a lasting impress. It was a halfway house. His chapel is 
there, with his story represented in a series of panels. But his object 
was the sea, the tossing "wine-dark" sea, and he pushed on to Port 
B anc, on the north coast, a little west of Treguier. Port Blanc is 
known to us as the place whence sailed the Breton auxiliaries of Henry 
Bolingbroke. 1' The coast is rugged, and the sea is thick strewn 
with an archipelago of islets. The largest isle is that of S. Gildas ; 
that he coveted, asked for and was given, and it now bears his name. 
Granite rocks start abruptly out of the green sward, and on the side 
towards the mainland, away from the sea-gales, timber grows. Here 
is a dolmen that is called the Bed of Gildas, and a chapel marks the 
site of his oratory. 

Affairs in Broweroc were not to his mind. Canao, who had mur- 
dered his brothers, gave shelter to Chramm, son of Clothair, King 
of Soissons. Chramm had rebelled against his father, and having 
lost his uncle and ally, Childebert, in 558, fled from the resentment 
of his father for shelter in Broweroc. 

Canao took up arms on his behalf, assumed the offensive, invaded 
the Franco-Gallic marches, and committed great ravages. Clothair 
raised a large army and met the Bretons. An engagement ensued, 
and Canao was defeated and slain, 560. 

Chramm fled, was about to take boat and leave the land, when 
he remembered that his wife and daughters were in a fisherman's 
cabin on the shore. He returned to fetch them away and was cap- 
tured. By his father's orders he was strangled with a kerchief, and 
fire was heaped round the hut, and the poor women within were 
burned to death. 

Where was Gildas all this while ? These horrors cannot have been 
enacted far from Vannes. We do not hear that he issued from his 
secure monastery to lift a voice to protest against such deeds of 

No sooner was Canao dead, than Macliau, who had been Bishop 
of Vannes, assumed the temporal Countship along with the spiritual 
rule over Broweroc, and recalled his wife and children. 

Macliau had entered into a solemn contract with Budic H of Cor- 
nouaille to guarantee the safety of their respective children. 

No sooner was Budic dead, circa 570, than Macliau broke his oath, 
invaded Cornouaille, and wrested it from Tewdrig, son of Budic 
The young prince concealed himself, collected followers, and awaited 
' Richard II, Act ii, sc. i. 

S. Gildas 123 

his opportunity. Macliau had been excommunicated by the other 
bishops, but that concerned him not. In 577 Tewdrig emerged 
from his conceahnent, fell unawares on Machau, and slew him and 
one of his sons who was with him. 

The spiritual condition of Broweroc at the period whilst Machau was 
bishop must have been in a most unsatisfactory condition ; there 
were but Gildas and his monks in the diocese to hold aloft the lamp 
of religion. 

It is certainly surprising that not a word of reproach spoken against 
these perfidious princes and their renegade bishop should have been 
recorded as having been spoken, not a line of condemnation has 
come down to us, not even the notice that Gildas put pen to paper 
to rebuke them. But they were near at hand to avenge an insult, 
and with Gildas discretion was the better part of valour. He could 
pour forth scurrility and abuse on princes too far away to touch his 
skin, but he was silent before those who could injure him or his monas- 

Before 549 Finnian of Clonard, whom Gildas had met in Wales, 
was in correspondence with him relative to a penitential code ; and 
Gildas had kept up his interest in Ireland. 

King Ainmire, 565, invited him over to restore religion in Erin,^ 
and the revival that actually took place has been attributed to him 
in concert with Cadoc and David. David himself did not visit the 
island, but he trained men to act there as evangelists. Cadoc and 
Gildas, however, worked there in person. The Rhuis biographer 
has bungled sadly over this second visit to Ireland, made when Gildas 
was very old. He confounds it with the early visit, from which he 
was recalled by the murder of his brother Huail, and from which it 
was separated by something like fifty years. The date of this visit 
to Ireland can be fixed with some certainty. Ainmire became supreme 
King only in 564, and the Annales Cambrice give 565 as the date of 
the Navigation of Gildas into Ireland. 

The lapse of the Irish from their first faith has been hotly contested, ^ 
and yet it is exceedingly probable. It would be but in accordance 
with human nature that there should have been a reaction, and it 
agrees with the experience of missionaries in all ages. The rapid 
conversion of the Irish had been superficial, a relapse was inevitable. 

1 " Eo tempore regnabat Ainmericus rex per totam Hiberniam, qui et ipse 
misit ad beatum Gildam rogans, ut ad se veniret," etc. Vita i"™*, pp. 338-40. 
The date of Aiumire's death is uncertain. The Annals of Ulster give 568 and 
S7S ; the Chron. Scott. 569 ; Inisfallen 561 ; Four Masters 566. 

^ Zimmer, Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland, London, 1902. 

12 4 Lives of the British Saints 

S. Patrick's policy had been that of gaining the outward adherence 
of the adult members of a clan, tolerating old superstitions, and reserv- 
ing to himself to carry the true principles of the faith into the hearts, 
and to mould the minds of the people. " Adhesion to Christianity, 
which was in a great measure only the attachment of a clan to its 
chieftain, and in which Pagan usages, under a Christian name, were 
of necessity tolerated, could not, in the nature of things, be very 
lasting." 1 

Ainmire desired Gildas to remain in Ireland. He declined to do 
this, but " he went about all the territories of the Hibernians, and 
restored the churches, instructed the whole body of the clergy in the 
Catholic Faith, that they might worship the Holy Trinity . . . and 
drove away from them hereticalconceits with their authors." ^ This 
is the exaggeration of a biographer who wrote several centuries later. 
He did something, no doubt, but not much. He built monasteries, 
■and furnished the churches with a form of Mass as said at Rhuis.^ 

But, whatever success he gained in Ireland, his visit there must 
have been sad. S. Brigid, to whom he had given a bell, was dead ; 
so was his friend Finnian of Clonard. He himself was old and weary, 
and he did not remain long in Ireland. He returned to Armorica, 
feeling that his end was approaching, and he departed from the monas- 
tery of Rhuis to die in peace in the island of Houat. 

The Rhuis biographer gives a lengthy harangue addressed by Gildas 
from his death-bed to the monks, but as the writer lived something 
like seven centuries later, he doubtless excogitated it himself. The 
last request made by Gildas was that his body might be placed in a 
boat and committed to the waves. It perhaps shows a lingering in 
his mind of the pagan idea of shipping the dead to the Isles of the 
Blessed beneath the setting sun. 

His wish was complied with, but the people from Cornugallia, in 
their greed for relics, pursued it in boats. However, before they 
could reach the drifting coracle, a wave upset it ; and the body sank.* 
Three months later, a corpse was washed ashore on the sands of 
the Httle bay of Crouesty by Arzon, which may or may not have 
been that of the Saint. After three months' immersion and knocking 
against the cliffs and among the reefs, it must have been totally 

1 Dr. Todd, S. Patrick, 1864, p. 503. ' Vita i"^, p. 342. 

• " Hii ritum celebrandi Missam acceperunt a Sanctis viris de Britannia, 
scilicet a Sancto David et Sancto Gildaet Sancto Doco." De Tribus Ordinibus 
SS. Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, etc., ii, p. 293 ; ActaSS. Hib. in Cod. Sal., col. 

* " Sed hi qui de Cornugallia venerant, qui plures erant, conabantur eum 
tollere et in 'patriam suam transferre." Vita i°", p. 368. 

S. Gildas 125 

unrecognizable, if it were that of Gildas. And be it remembered, 
that he died in January, and this body was not found till May, so that 
it had been exposed to winter and spring storms. However, the monks 
of Rhuis were easily satisfied ; they assumed that this was the corpse 
of their late abbot, and they conveyed it to their church and buried 
it there. 

Gildas died on January 29, and the body that passed as his was 
found on May 11. 

The Annales Cambrice give as the date of his death, 570, so do those 
of Tighernach. Those of Ulster give 569, but as these Annals are 
a year in arrear through the early portion, this gives the same date. 
The Annals of InisfaUen give 567. 

The Rhuis author does not give us the date, nor the age of Gildas 
when he died. He merely says that he was ' ' senex et plenus dierum. ' ' ^ 
If our calculation be correct, he was aged 94 years. In Brittany, 
relying on the entry in the Chronicon Britannicum , that he was born 
in 490, it is assumed that his age when he died was 80. 

The points given in the Life by the Monk of Rhuis are these : — 
Gildas was aged 30 when he arrived first in Houat over against Rhuis : 
" Sanctus igitur Gildas triginta habens annos venit ad quandam 
insulam, quae in Reuvisii pagi prospectu sita est." 
The date given in the Chronicon Britannicum is 520. 
He remained seven years in Armorica and then returned to Britain : 
— " Transfretavit mare Gallicum, et civitatibus Galliee remansit 
stUdens optime spatio vii annorum et in termino septimi anni cum 
magna mole diversorum voluminum remeavit ad major em Brit-, 
tanniam." This we get from the Second Life, attributed to Caradog 
of Llancarfan. The Rhuis biographer did not consider how ab- 
surd it was to suppose that Ainmire should have invited over 
a young man under thirty years of age to renovate Christianity in 
Ireland. He makes Ainmire, who came to the throne in 565, a con- 
temporary of S. Brigid, who died in 525. What can be more obvious 
than that he has confounded together the two visits of Gildas to 
Ireland, the first in 510-2, the second in 565. 

We venture to suggest the following chronology of the Life of 
Gildas, by which the only statement rejected is that of the Rhuis 
biographer, who says that he was aged thirty when he settled at Rhuis. 

Gildas, bom in Arecluta, the year of the victory of Ambfosius 476 

The sons of Caw take refuge in Gwynedd from the Picts and 

Scots, and are granted lands in Mon by Cadwallon Lawhir c. 506 

Vita I""*, p: 36S. 

12 6 Lives of the British Saints 

Gildas loses his wife, and embraces the religious profession 

under S. Illtyd ....... c. 507 

Gildas leaves S. Illtyd and goes to Ireland, where he makes 

acquaintance with S. Brigid . . . . . c. 510 

Gildas recalled from Ireland by the slaying of Huail by Arthur c. 512 
Lands granted in blood fine by Arthur to the family of Caw. 
The Battle of Mount Badon. Gildas goes to Rome, and on 

his way back lands at Rhuis, and obtains a grant of land 

there ......... 520 

Is visited at Rhuis by S. Brendan . . . winter of 523-4 

Returns to Britain to obtain recruits. Meets S. Finnian in 

Pepidiauc, CBt. $1 
Takes charge of Llancarfan for a twelvemonth 
Goes to Glastonbury . ..... 

After seven years in Britain he returns to Rhus, <xt. 58 
Composes De Excidio BritannicB, ten years after his return to 


Flight of his brother and sons from Wales 

The Yellow Plague, and death of Maelgwn Gwyncdd. Visit 

of S. Cadoc to Brittany and settlement at Belz 
Marriage of Conmore with Triphena . ' . 
Conspiracy formed against Conmore 
Defeat and death of Conmore .... 

Grant made of lands in Domnonii to Gildas by Juduil 
Death of Canao, Count of Broweroc 
Macliau becomes Count as well as Bishop of Vannes. Gildas 

is summoned to Ireland by Ainmire, est. 89 
Gildas returns to Rhuis ...... 

Death of Gildas, aged ninety-four years. 

The reason for allowing Gildas seven years in Britain is that the 
author of the Second Life says that Cadoc and Gildas spent seven 
years together on the islets in the Severn Sea, Ronech and Echni ; 
but this is only to be understood of the Lent of those years. And this 
may be an exaggeration of the time spent in Britain. '^ 

After his return to Rhuis ten years elapsed before he wrote De 
Excidio."^ This cannot, have been in 530 after his first arrival, as 
he speaks of a generation having grown up since peace had come on 
Britain in consequence of the victory of Mount Badon ; it must 
therefore have been ten years after his return. If he had written 
in 440, as is generally supposed, that makes twenty years of peace. 
It is better to allow twenty-four years, and if we do that, then we 
find the seven years in Britain collecting disciples accounts for the 

1 " Visitabat unus alterum ; remanentia talis duravit spacio vii annorum." 
Vita 2da, p. 408. 

2 " Sanctus vir . . . post decern annos, ex quo inde recesserat, scripsit epis- 
tolarem libellum in quo quinque reges ipsius insulae redarguit diversis sceleribus 
atque criminibus irretitos." Vita ima, p. 352. This may be a conclusion drawn 
from the words of Gildas : " Silui, fateor, cum immense cordis dolore . . , spatio 
bilustri temporis vel eo amplius." Pnzfat., ed. Williams, p. 2. 



. c. 5 
























S. Gildas 127 

One curious and bewildering divergence in the two Lives of Gildas 
may perhaps be reconciled. The Rhuis biographer says that Gildas 
died in Houat off the coast of Rhuis, and he is certainly correct. But 
Caradog of Llancarfan, or whoever wrote the Life of Gildas that we 
call Vita Secunda, says that he died and was buried at Glastonbury. 

Now Gildas may have resided awhile, and probably did so, at 
■Glastonbury. But he returned to Rhuis. There he became foster- 
father of a child of Triphena andConmore, who was called after him, 
•Gildas. It is by no means improbable that this younger Gildas may 
have gone to Britain and settled at Glastonbury. His life would 
probably not be very safe in Armorica, under the turbulent Canao 
and the unscrupulous Macliau, and if this younger Gildas did live and 
die and was buried at Glastonbury, what more probable than that 
in after ages he should be confounded with his foster-father, who 
"was famous, whilst he himself was obscure ? 

The day of S. Gildas is January 29. He is commemorated on 
that day in the Felire of Oengus, and the Martyrology of Tallaght. 
But in the Mart5rrologies of O'Gorman and of Donegal on November 4. 
On January 29 in the Leofric Missal brought from Glastonbury 
to Exeter : its date is 1050. In the calendar, Cotton MS. ViteH. A. 
xii, of the twelfth century. In a calendar in Saxon characters of 
the eleventh century. Cotton MS. Nero, A. ii. In the Altemps Martyr- 
ology of the end of the thirteenth century on January 27, as also in 
the Norwich Martyrology of the fifteenth century. Cotton MS. 
Julius B. vii. This is based on the Altemps Martyrology. 

But on January 29 Whytford has : — " The feest of Saynt Gyld, a 
lioly man ; " and Roscarrock gives him on that day as Gildas Albanicus. 
■On the same day in the fifteenth century Missal of S. Meen, and in 
the Breviaries of Vannes, 1589, 1660, 1757 ; the S. Brieuc Breviary 
of 1548, and a MS. Missal (fifteenth century) of S. Melanius, Rennes. 
But the Breviary of Leon 1736, and a Quimper Breviary of 1835, 
on February 6. 

On May 11 the finding of the body is commemorated in the diocese 
■of Vannes, Missal 1530, Breviary 1589, and is locally observed by a 
procession to Crouesty from Rhuis. 

The only foundation of Gildas in Wales has been already mentioned, 
Y Wig Fawr, in Glamorganshire, which rests on the doubtful authority 
■of the lolo MSS. Those in Brittany have been already referred to. 
In addition to those of his founding are churches at Auray, dedicated 
to him in the twelfth century, and S. Gildas des Bois, founded in 1026. 

A very fine wooden statue of him of the fifteenth century, and 
thrown into a corner, discarded, is in the chapel of N. D. de Plasquen 

12 8 Lives of the British Saints 

at Locmine. It represents him with his sjmibol, a snarline cur, at 
his side. 

A beautiful modern statue at Rhuis standing over the tomb in the- 
apse of the church shows liim as a young and amiable monk, with 
circular tonsure and Benedictine habit. A silver bus't in the treasury 
contains the skull of the corpse washed ashore at Crouesty and accepted 
as his. 

At Plouegat Guerand, near Lanmeur, in Finistere, is his statue on 
the porch door, 1536. 

The lolo MSS. have among the " Sayings of the Wise " one that 
is attributed to Gildas — * 

" Hast thou heard the saying of Gildas, 
Of the Golden Wood, a man of great dignity ? 
Fortune never will favour the hateful." 
(Ni ryfein ffawd i atgas.) 

In the same work occurs a short religious tract entitled The Principles 
of Prediction of Gildas the Prophet. ^ It is not of the vehement char- 
acter of his genuine writings, and might well, as it stands in the original,- 
be of the seventeenth century. In Welsh Gildas is often given the 
epithet " Prophet." 

Among the " seven questions put by Catwg the Wise to seven wise 
men of his choir at Llanfeithin, and their answers," is the following : — ■ 
" Who is the richest man ? " to which Gildas of the Golden Wood 
replies : — " He who covets naught that belongs to another." ^ 

The Penitential of Gildas and fragments of lost letters are published 
by Mommsen in Pertz, Mon. Germ;. Hist., Chronica Minora, iii. pp. 
86-90 ; and by Prof. Williams in his Gildas, pp. 256-83. His Lorica 
by Prof. Williams in the same, pp. 304-13 ; also in the Liler Hym- 
norum, Henry Bradshaw Society, i. pp. 206-10, and Zimmer, 
Nennius Vindicatus, 1893, pp. 337-40. This Lorica would seem 
to have been composed in 547, when in a panic lest the Yellow Plague 
should extend its ravages to Armorica. 

" Suffragare, quaeso, mihi possito 
Magni maris velut in periculo, 
Ut non secum trahat me mortalitas 
Hujus anni, neque mundi vanitas." 

In deadly fear for himself, he invokes apostles, prophets, mart57is, 

1 P. 252. The " saying " differs in the " Stanzas of the Hearing," Myv. 
Arch., p. 129. It occurs also in the form, " Ffawd i ddiriaid ni ryfain." 

2 lolo MSS., pp. 195-6. 

' Myv. Arch., p. 776. Needless to say, these questions and answers are of 
very late date. 


From I sth century Statue at Locmini. 

aS". Gildas 129 

virgins, confessors, angels of all degrees, as well as the Almighty, to 
protect him. 

" Skull, head, hair and eyes, 

Forehead, tongue, teeth and their covering (the lips). 
Neck, breast, side, bowels, 

Waist, buttocks and both hands. 
For the crown of my head with its hair, 

Ee thou the helmet of salvation on the head ; 
For forehead, eyes, triform brain, ■> 

Nose, lip, face, temple. 
For chin, beard, eyebrows, ears. 

Cheeks, lower cheeks, internasal, nostrils. 
For the pupils, irides, eyelashes, eyelids. 

Chin, breathing, cheeks, jaws, 
Fq- teeth, tongue, mouth, throat. 

Uvula, windpipe, root of tongue, nape. 
For the middle of the head, for cartilage. 

Neck — thou kind One, be near for defence," 

and so on, no part of the body is forgotten. 

This extraordinary prayer was taken to Ireland, and tradition 
attached to it that to any man who should repeat it frequently, seven 
additional years would be added to his life, and a third portion of 
his sins would be blotted out. Nor would the man die on the day 
that he repeated it. 

The Lorica of Gildas belongs to a class of compositions that were 
little better than magical charms ; of which the Deer's Cry of S. 
Patrick is another example, as is also the hymn Sen De. by S. Colman 
mac Ui Cluasaig, composed on account of the pestilence in 697. 
For a critical consideration of the Lorica and of the question whether 
it were composed by Gildas, see Professor Williams' Gildas, pp. 289-303. 

The fragments of letters of Gildas give us a higher opinion of him 
than do his hateful Increpatio or his absurd Lorica. In them are 
words full of real charity and liberality. In one he argues strongly 
against narrowness and self-righteousness in those who hold them- 
selves aloof from others who are imperfect and even evil. "Aaron 
did not cast away the table of the priest of the idols of Midian. Moses 
also entered into hospitality and peaceful entertainment with Jethro. 
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not avoid the feasts of publicans, so that 
He might save aU sinners and harlots." 

" Abstinence from animal food without love is profitless. Better, 
therefore, are they that fast without display, and do not fast exces- 
sively from what God has created, but anxiously preserve a clean 
heart within." " Many," says he, " eat bread by measure, but 
boast thereof beyond measure ; whilst using water, they drink the 

VOL. ni. K 

130 Lives of the British Saints 

cup of hate ; they simultaneously enjoy dry dishes and back-biting." 
"When a ship is wrecked, who can swim let him swim." 
He recommends gentle rebuke of evil doers ! Had he learned by 
experience that his venomous Increpatio had done much harm and 
little good ? " Miriam is condemned with leprosy, because she agreed 
with Aaron in blaming Moses on account of his Ethiopian wife. This 
we should fear when we disparage good princes on account of moderate 
faults." "To the wise man truth shines from whatsoever mouth 
it has issued." 

Giraldus Cambrensis has an explanation of the fact that no mention 
is made of the great deeds of King Arthur in his History. He says : 
" De GUda vero qui adeo in gentem suam acriter invehitur, dicunt 
Britones, quod propter fratrem suum Albanise principem, quem rex 
Arthurus occiderat offensus h^c scripsit. Unde et libros egregios 
quos de Gestis Arthuri et gentis suae laudibus multos scripserat, 
audita fratris sui nece omnes, ut asserunt, in mare projecit. Cujus 
rei causa nihil de tanto principe in scriptis authenticis expressum 
invenies." ^ 

Gildas is commemorated in the Diptychs in the Stowe Missal.'^ 



The lolo MSS. genealogies give two saints of this name, for whom 
they are the sole authority. 

(i) Glassawg, the son of Coedwallawn, and fifth in descent from 
Bran Fendigaid, a pedigree as mythical as could well be. It is added 
that he lies buried in Gwynedd, and that the church dedicated to him 
is Llanynglassawg. He was the father of Glas, the father of S. Mabon 

(2) Glassawg, the son of Glassar ab Geraint ab Nynnio ab Cyn- 
ddilig ab Nwython ab Gildas ab Caw. He was bishop at Caer Gybi, 
•or Holyhead, and had a church dedicated to him in Arllechwedd, 
in the neighbourhood of Bangor. He bestowed lands upon Bangor 

^ De Illaudabilibus WallicB, prol. 
^ Warren, Liturgy of the Celtic Church, p. 240. 

' P. 136. The Glesius mentioned in the boundary of S. Bride's-super-Ely, 
Glamorganshire {Book of Llan Ddv, p. 263), is now the Glasswg. 
* loh MSS. pp. 139-40. 

iS. Glywys Cerii,yw 131 

One saint only is intended — the pedigrees having been mamifac- 
"tiired — and he clearly owes his existence to S. Tegai's entry in the 
older Bonedds, which in Eajoi MS. i6 runs, " Tegai ym Maes Llan 
■Glassog yn Arllechwedd," and in Hanesyn Hen (p. 115), " Tygai y 
JVIeisyn Glassog." Llandegai is meant. 


Glywys Cernyw, or " the Cornishman," was son of Gwynllyw Filwr 
-ah Glywys abTegid ab CadeU Ddyrnllug, by Gwladys, daughter of 
Brychan Brycheiniog. He was thus a brother of the great S. Catwg, 
or Cadoc.^ He is mentioned as " an honoured saint." ^ 

To him is said to have been formerly dedicated the church of Coed 
Cernyv;, " the Cornishman's Wood," now Coedkernew (All Saints), 
in Monmouthshire. He appears to have died a mart}^, for a Merthir 
Gliuis is mentioned in the Book of Llan Ddv,^ the name of which is 
believed to be preserved in Clivis, in Newton Nottage, Glamorgan- 

The Cornish S. Gluvias, of whom nothing is known, is probably 
the same as Gljrwys. 

There was a chapel in the valley of Lanherne, and the farm by it 
is called Gluvian, which seems to point out that the chapel bore the 
same dedication as the parish church of Gluvias. 

In Domesday, however, this latter is called San Guilant, and in the 
Exeter transcript Sain Guilant. Gluvias is certainly quite out of the 
region occupied by the Brecknock-Gwentian settlers, but as GljAvys 
belonged to a later generation, and did not probably come into Corn- 
wall tiU the settlement in the North was a fait accompli, and the excite- 
ment and resentment caused by the invasion had somewhat abated, 
this may explain his church being found on the Fal. The Feast is 
on the first Sunday in May. He is not commemorated in the Welsh 

A S. Cleuzen is patron of a parish in the diocese of Treguier near Pon- 
trieux.* He has been displaced to make way for S.Cletus, Pope. Glywys 
may have become Glewz and then Cleuzen, with the suffix. But 

1 Peniarth MS. 178 ; lolo MSS., p. 130 ; Myv. Arch., p. 426. The name is 
Xatinized Gluiguis, Gliuisus, etc. 

2 Peniarth MS. 178, p. 23. ^ Pp. 225, 412. 

"* Lobineau, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, ed. 1836, i, p. xlv. 

132 Lives of the British Saints 

without further evidence nothing can be concluded towards the identi- 
fication. The cult of S. Cadoc, brother of Glywys, is, however, in. 
force in the parish, where he has a chapel. 

Glywys's grandfather, Glywys ab Tegid, is in one passage in the- 
lolo MS5.1 said to have founded the church of Machen (now S. Michael),, 
in Monmouthshire. But there is no evidence for his sainthood. This- 
Glywys gave name to the principality of Glywysing, which included 
approximately the district between the lower courses of the Usk and 
the Towy, and was not quite conterminous with the Morganwg of 
later times. "- In the preface to the Life of S. Cadoc ^ he is stated to^ 
have had ten children, among whom Glywysing was apportioned,, 
but Pedrog " gave up a transitory for a perpetual inheritance," and 
left for Cornwall. 

S. GNAWAN, Confessor 

A DISCIPLE of S. Cadoc, from Ireland, was so called. * When Cadoc 
returned from Ireland he brought with him " a large company of 
Irish and British clerics, among whom were the religious and very- 
learned men, Finian, Macmoil, and Gnauan, said to be the most cele- 
brated and skilful of all the British disciples." 

Later on, when Cadoc " saw the wicked acts of his father ... he- 
sent faithful messengers of his disciples, Finnian, Gnauan, and EUi,, 
that they might convert him from the errors of his malice and wicked- 
ness, and dispose him to divine obedience." 

Manorowen (B.V.M.), Pembrokeshire, possibly takes its name 
from Gnauan. It is locally called Manernawan by the old Welsh- 
speaking inhabitants.^ "This is very probably the person meant 
by the ' Mynach Naomon ' (or Nawmon) mentioned in the mythical! 
Red 5ooA Triad No. 11 ; ^ and in Trioedd y Meirch [Peniarth MS. 16).. 
The same element, -nawan, seems to occur in Kilnawan in the parish, 
of Llanboidy." ' There is a Kilawen at S. Issell's, near Tenby. 

A " Gnouan abbas altaris Catoci," at Llancarfan, occurs among 
the signatories to a grant in the Book of Llan Ddv.^ He was contem- 

^ P. 148. In Jesus College MS. 20 he is given a different pedigree. 
^ Owen's Pembrokeshire, i, p. 208. 

^ Cambro-British Saints, p. 22. In the Life of S. Gwynllyw, ibid., p. 145^ 
Glywysing is divided among seven brothers. 
^ Cambro-British Saints, pp. 36, 85. 

•'- In the parish list in Peniarth MS. 147 (c. 1566) it is Maner nawon. 
'' Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 301. 
' Owen's Pembrokeshire, i, pp. 290-1. ' P. 180. 

S. Goleu 133 

porary with Bishop Berthwyn, the successor, it would appear, of 

S. GOFOR, Hermit 

The genealogy of this saint is not given, but his name is entered 
in the lolo MSS.} with Gwarwg and others, as one of the saints of 
Gwent, from which we are to infer that he is, or rather was, the patron 
of the church of Llanover (now S. Bartholomew), in Monmouthshire. 
His cell there is pointed out ; and he is " believed to have been buried 
Tinder a ponderous tombstone, on which is carved an ancient British 
cross, laid in the doorway of the church of his name within the front 
porch. In the grounds at Llanover is the Ffynnon Over and its eight 
surrounding wells, all flowing different ways, but uniting in a bath." ^ 

His festival, Gwyl Ofor, is given on May 9 in the lolo MSS. calendar. 

So much for Gofor. The old forms of the name Llanover, however, 
■distinctly point to a personal name being involved, which we might 
write to-day Myfor. Llanover occurs in the Book of Llan Ddv ^ as 
Lanmouor, and elsewhere under similar forms.* The old forms of 
the name of Merthjn: Mawr, Glamorganshire, which appear in the 
Book of Llan Ddv as Merthir Mimor, Myuor, Mouor, etc., point to the 
same name. 

S. GOLEU, Virgin 

Goleu was one of the unmarried daughters of Brychan Brycheiniog. 

In the Cognatio of Cott. Vesp. A. xiv her name is entered, " Goleu 

. in Lan eschin," and in that of Cott. Domitian i, " Gloyv in Lann 

heskjm." Peniarth MSS. 131 (fifteenth century) and 75 (sixteenth 

century) give, " Goleu in Llanhesgyn in Gwent." In the Jesus College 

> Pp. 144, 549. 

^ Nicholas, A nnals and A ntiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales, 
London, 187s, ii, p. 782. Others give the number of springs as seven and nine. 
Tegid wrote some- verses to the well, Gwaith, 1859. p. 90. After this well a well 
in Kensington Gardens was named S. Govor's Well. The late Lady Llanover, 
in her book. Good Cookery, London, 1867, feigns to have derived her recipes and 
knowledge of Welsh cookery from the Hermit of S. Cover's Cell, who Hved in 
the eighteenth century " in a house cut out of a rock adjoining the cell and 
opposite the well of S. Gover." 

^ P. 321. * Owen's Pembrokeshire, ii, p. 301. 

134 Lives of the British Saints 

MS. 20 her name is omitted. In the later genealogies ^ her name- 
usually occurs as Goleuddydd, and the church of which she is patron 
is said to be in Gwent, but its situation is not known. ^ 

A Goleuddydd is mentioned in the tale of Culhwch and Olwen. She 
was the daughter of Amlawdd Wledig, and wife of Cilydd ab- 

S. GONANT, Hermit, Confessor 

Otherwise called Gomond. He was a hermit at Roche, where 
the parish church is dedicated to him. The popular tradition is that 
he was a leper, who lived in the hermitage on a rock, and was- 
daily attended by his daughter, who brought him meat and other 
necessaries. He had a well cut in the rock whence he drank. 

The date at which he lived is unknown. 

His feast is on the Sunday before the second Thursday in June.. 

S. GONERY, Priest, Confessor 

GoNERi, or Gonnery, was a native of Britain, who migrated to 
Armorica. What his original British name was is difficult to dis- 
cover. There was a Gwynoro, son of Cynyr Farfwyn, one of the five 
saints, who, according to tradition, were born at one birth. There 
is no further record of Gwynoro in Wales, but he and his brothers 
are commemorated at Llanpumsaint, Carmarthenshire, and formerly 
at the now extinct chapel of Pumsaint, in Cynwyl Gaio, in the same 
county. Whether Gonery be this Gwynoro is impossible to say. 

Gonery is rendered Vener in Breton, as is also Gwethenoc, and as- 
is likewise Fingar, in Cornish, Gwinear. 

The material for the Life of S. Gonery is not abundant. Albert: 
le Grand has given his story from a MS. Legendarium formerly in the 
church of Plougrescent, from the Proper of Vannes, and from the 
ancient Treguier Breviary. 

1 Peniarth MSS., 178, 187; lolo MSS., pp. iii, i2o, 140; Myv. Arch., pp. 
419, 425. 

2 See Cambro-British Saints, p. 607. Hesgyn or hesgen, " a marsh," occurs- 
in a number of place-names ; Owen's Pembrokeshire, ii, p. 350 ; Record of Caer- 
narvon, 1838, pp. 103, 200. 

aS*. Gonery 135 

In the collection of the Blancs Manteaux Bibl. Nat. Paris, MSS. 
Franf. 22231,15 a copy from the Life in the Legendarium of Treguier. 
This has been printed by the Abbe Lucas, in Revue historique de I'Ouest, 
1888, and apart, Lafolye, Vannes. It is divided into nine lessons. 

The Bollandists endeavoured to obtain a copy of the Life possessed,, 
in the time of Albert le Grand, by the church of Plougrescent, but 
in vain. " Frustra legendam latinam expectarunt majores nostri, 
frustra ego ipsam speram hodie," Acta SS. Boll. Jul. T. iv, p. 422. 

The Life desired by the Bollandists was in all probability the same 
that the Abbe Lucas has published from the MS. in the Blancs Man- 
teaux. That publication is not very correct. There are in it several 
slips that have been pointed out by De la Borderie, in the same Revue 
hist, de I'Ouest, 1888, pp. 243-57, together with a critique on the docu- 

The Vita published is certainly later than the twelfth century. 
It speaks of a seneschal of the chateau of Rohan, which was not con- 
structed till the twelfth century ; and there is reference to the fable 
of Cynan Meiriadog, as given by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It is very 
deficient in precise details relative to the family of the saint, and to 
whence he came and where he landed. One incident, that of his 
trouble with Alvandus, is expanded to a prodigious length, and is 
based, as the author tells us, on the gesta, the " gestes " of Alvandus,, 
a romance or popular ballad. As in the case of all such manufactured 
biographies, where material was scarce, it is stuffed with pious reflec- 
tions and descriptions. The Abbe Lucas has further published in 
the same Revue a Breton ballad of S. Gonery, but this is not earlier 
than the seventeenth century. It is founded on the Vita, but adds 
one particular, that Gonery was a fellow disciple with S. Tudwal, 
and that he induced Tudwal to sail with him from Britain to Armorica.^ 

Whence this detail was culled, whether from a lection in the church 
of Plougrescent for the Saint's day, or whether it was due to a con- 
jecture because Plougrescent is near S. Tudwal's church at Treguier, 
we cannot tell. No weight can be attached to such a statement. 
Tudwal landed on the coast of Leon above Brest, and Gonery appar- 
ently to the south, in Broweroc (Morbihan). 

Gonery was a native of Britain. He left his native land and migrated 

1 " Gant Tual eun he vanati 
Eon manac'h Sant Koneri. 
* * * 

Kerkent sant Tual a zentaz 

Ha gant Koneri a devaz 

Gant Koneri ha kalz ous penn 

Ouz penn tre-ugent'nu eur vandan." 

136 Lives of the British Saints 

to Brittany, " ad Minorem Britanniam applicuit." " Gonerius 
Britannia venit in Armoricam." 

He landed somewhere — not specified — in Broweroc, and went up 
country into the forest of Brecillien to Brenguilli, near Rohan. 1 This 
place in 1265 was a tref in the vast parish of Noyala.^ Probably an 
ancient road crossed the forest from the Roman town of Sulim, now 
Castannec, to Corseult, and if so then the settlement of Gonery was 
on this highway. The whole of the upper waters of the Blavet seem 
to have been taken possession of by British Saints. 

At the time that Gonery settled at this place, there lived a rough- 
tempered chief of the name of Alvandus at Noyala.^ As he was 
returning from hunting one day he passed the cell * of Gonery, and 
saluted him courteously, but the hermit was engaged on his office, 
and made no response. Alvandus rode on, highly incensed, and 
muttered threats against a man who had settled on his land without 
leave, and who had not the good manners to acknowledge his 
greeting. Some of his servants, hearing this, fell behind, and thrashed 
Gonery with their whips and sticks, and beat him with their fists. 

The steward of Alvandus, afraid that they might serve the hermit 
too severely, went back to the cell, and found that he had fallen, 
and that two of his ribs were broken. He threatened the over-officious 
domestics, and obliged them to desist from further ill treatment. 
Then he hastened to his master, and represented to him the condition 
in which Gonery lay. Alvandus, who was a good-hearted man, if a 
little hot-tempered, was greatly concerned, and went himself to the cell 
and offered to take the battered and suffering hermit home with him, 
and have him properly attended to there. But Gonery declined this, 
and Alvandus then readily gave him the patch of land about his cell 
to clear and cultivate. After that, he frequently visited the saint 
and listened respectfully to his instructions. Gonery had a pleasing 
exterior. ^ 

The story went that one day as Gonery was celebrating mass 
for a marriage, the stone altar slab at which he stood snapped with a 
loud report, but happily the two portions did not fall. The altar slab 
rested on a single central support, and was long afterwards shown as 
miraculously stayed up although cracked. After a while Gonery 

1 " A castro Rohani per spacium duorum millium fere distat." 

^ Le Mene, Paroisses de Vannes, ii, p. 382. 

^ " Alvandus erat sevissimus Christianus, manu atrox in potentes, ferox in 
mites, in populum depopulatus." 

* " In hoc loco sibi casam edificans quas casa usque in hodiernum diem in 
ecclesiam est conversa." 

' " Corpore magnus, membris robustus, vultu plaudus, risu jucundus." 

S. Gonery 137 

quitted the iorest of Brenguilli, and made his way to the north coast 
at Plougrescent, near Treguier, and there he died and was buried. 

The parish church at Plougrescent has been rebuilt, but the most 
interesting chapel of S. Gonery remains. It possesses a superb fif- 
teenth century painted ceiling. At the west end, under the tower, 
on one side is what is supposed to have been the stone boat in which 
Gonery crossed.over to Brittany. It is an ancient, very rude sarcophagus. 
On the further side of the chapel is his tomb. The peasants creep into 
it, and take out a little dust which is tied up in a rag, and conveyed 
to those sick with fever, and it is supposed to heal them. Then these 
little parcels are returned to the church. 

At the east end of the chancel are two statues, one of S. Gonery 
habited as a priest, in chasuble, with arms extended, and with a 
wreath of roses on his head. The other statue represents his mother, 
who is traditionally held to have crossed over with him. She is habited 
as a queen, as she was of royal descent. The local tradition is that 
her name was Elebouban, and she is so named in the Breton ballad 
of S. Gonery. Garaby gives as her day May 23. 

Not only is the " holy soil " employed as a febrifuge, but also the 
" water of S. Gonery." The priest blesses water into which the relics 
of the saint have been dipped, according to a form that has received 
episcopal approval. 

S. Gonery is invoked by the sailors of the coast, who have great 
confidence in his protection. They argue that if he crossed the Channel 
safely in a stone boat, he can assuredly secure their safety in a vessel 
of wood. 

Albert le Grand gives this saint on April 4. The Bishop of Treguier 
in 1514 ordered that his feast should be celebrated on the first Tues- 
day in April, but in 1770 it was transferred to April 7 (Brev. Trecor. 
1770 ; Brev. Corisop. 1783). 

But the Breviary of Quimper of 1589, on July 19 ; and in the MS. 
Treguier Legendarium of the fifteenth century on July 18, as also 
La the various Breviaries, 1630, 1652, 1660. 

According to the Acts of the saint he died on July 18. The Pardon 
at Plougrescent is on the fourth Sunday in July. 

S. Gonery is patron of the parish that bears his name near Pontivy, 
also of Plougrescent, and of S. Connec, near S. Gonery. He has 
chapels at Hemoustoir, Langoat, Lanvellec, Locarn, Ploezal, and 

At the latter is a statue of the saint bare-headed and long-robed, 
over which is cast a mantle. His right hand holds a staff, his left 
an open book. 

138 Lives of the British Saints 

S. Elebouban, his mother, receives a still vigorous cult, especially 
in the islet of Loaven, off Plougrescent, where are the ruins of an 
ancient chapel that was dedicated to her. Around it are remains of 
dwellings, and among them traces of a village oven ; and to the 
chapel is attached an ancient disused cemetery. In the gable of the 
chapel is a niche that contains the statue of the holy woman, behind 
folding shutters. She is represented crowned and holding a book. 

A procession is made to this chapel on the Monday in Rogation 
Week, carrying the head of S. Gonery. If the weather be stormy 
and the passage dangerous, the pilgrimage is postponed to the follow- 
ing Thursday. On reaching the isle, a hymn of Holy Matrons is sung, 
and then come special prayers. Women visit the isle from the begin- 
ning of summer, taking their little children with them, to invoke the 
aid of S. Elebouban to make them strong on their legs. ^ 


S. GOULVEN, Bishop, Confessor 

Although this saint was not born in Britain, his parents emigrated 
from our island, and he was born shortly after their arrival in Leon. 
It is accordingly permissible to include him in this work. 

The Life is found in a copy made of the ancient Vita by Breton 
Benedictines in the seventeenth century, and is contained in the 
twenty-eighth volume of the collection of the Blancs Manteaux now in 
the Bibliotheque Nationale, MS. Frangais 22321 ; from which it 
was printed by A. de la Borderie in Memoires de la Soc. d'Emidation 
des Cotes du Nord, T. xxix., and published separately?, Rennes, 1892. 

Another, by Albert le Grand, in his Vies des Saints de Bretagne, 
was derived from MSS. in the Cathedral archives of Leon, and the 
ancient Breviaries of Quimper, and the Proprium Sanctorum of Rennes. 
This was, however, founded on the Life published byDe la Borderie. 

A Vita is also given in the Acta SS. Boll. Jul., I, pp. 127-9, derived 

from one printed in Gonon ; VitcB Patrum Occidentis, Lyons, 1625, 

lib. ii, p. 85. The Life first mentioned served as the basis of the 

Lections in the Breviary and of the other Lives, and is the only one 

'■ Garaby, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, 1839, pp. 457-8. 

S. Goulven 139 

that need concern us. It is not ancient, as it was composed after 
1 186 ; for it contains an account of a miracle then performed. There 
are other indications to the same effect which have been pointed out 
by M. de la Borderie. 

The author was almost certainly a native of Goulven in Leon, as he 
exhibits acquaintance with the localities to a remarkable degree. 
He was an honest writer ; for he says that he can relate nothing par- 
ticular of what Goulven did as Bishop, because he could find no written 
records, or any relation of what he then did that was worthy of con- 
fidence, " Quia ad nos nee scripto authentico nee recta relatione per 

Owing to a mention in the Life of relations between Goulven and 
Count Even, and the repulse of Danes and Northmen, Dom Lobineau 
supposed that the saint lived in the tenth century. But it is possible 
enough that there was an earlier Even, who gave his name to Lesneven 
(Aula Eveni) ; and the author may have mistaken earlier pirates for 
those who created such devastation in the tenth century. 

That Goulven was in relation with S. Paul of Leon, and succeeded 
him, can scarcely be doubted. 

Glaudan, a native of Britain, left his country along with his wife, 
Gologwen, who was expecting shortly to become a mother. They 
arrived in Letavia, and their boat entered what is now the Anse de 
Goulven, a broad shallow bay, left dry at low tide, and sheltered from 
the rolling billows by a sandy spur on which now stands the village 
of Plouneour-Trez. ^ They found the country covered with dense 
forest. Glaudan arrived only just in time, for his wife was taken with 
the pangs of maternity. He brought her ashore, as the evening fell, 
and then hastened in quest of shelter for her head. There was a colonist 
settled there, but when asked to receive the poor woman, he chur- 
lishly refused. Glaudan conducted Gologwen to a place on high ground 
called Odena, and which still bears the name Maner an Odena, where 
she gave birth to a man-child. There was no spring near, but a rustic 
living in a cottage hard by gave Glaudan a pail (cadum) , in which he 
might bring water from the nearest source, and he pointed out to 
Glaudan the path that led to the spring. 

Glaudan set the pail on his shoulder and went in quest of water, 
but the night was falling, the track lay among dense bushes, and was 

^ " Glaudanus, relictis Britonibus transmarinis inter quos oriundus extiterat, 
mare transito, venit in partes Letanise, qus est pars Armorica; sive Britannia; 
minoris, cum Gologuena uxore sua praegnante." For Letania should be read 
Letavia, and Letavia was not a part of Armorica ; it included tlie whole. The 
name Goulven is probably the same as the Guollguinn of the Book of Llan Ddv 
(index, p. 402). 

140 Lives of the British Saints 

much overgrown, and he lost his way. Finally, he got back to his 
wife, but without water. Discouraged and distressed, he prayed to 
God, and thereupon a spring gushed forth, and he was able with the 
limpid water thus miraculously provided, to furnish his wife with the 
water she required. The spring, which is seven minutes walk from 
Odena, still flows, and bears to this day the name of the Fontaine de S. 

Putting aside 'the miraculous element in the story, we see that this 
actually was the spring to which the rustic had directed Glaudan 
with his pail. The Life goes on to say that considering the sacredness 
of the spring, and that the water ought not to be employed for common 
purposes, they dug in another spot and found another source. This 
probably means that this was done very much later ; or else that 
the rustic demurred to Glaudan employing the spring daily, and forced 
him to sink a well for himself. Both springs are shown in the hamlet 
of Kerouchen, or Kerouchic, west of the village of S. Goulven. 
" The holy-well is surrounded by a wall of cut stones. The other, 
the profane spring, is eight feet distant outside the enclosure." ^ 

There was a colonist named Gothian,^ rich and fearing God, who 
lived hard by at Ker-Gozian on a height now called le Vieux Chatel, 
about seven minutes walk from the Holy Well. Hearing of the 
arrival of the colonists, and of the distress in which they were, he at 
once took care that they should be supplied with the necessaries of 
life. He, moreover, stood godfather to the child, and as he was himself 
without issue, he adopted the boy, to whom the name of Goulven was 
given. He sent him to school, where we are not informed, and the 
little fellow being bright, made great progress with his studies. 

That Glaudan and Gologwen were of good family, and that they 
bad already kindred in the country, is probable. On their death 
Ihey were buried with their kin, " parentibus ejus defunctis et ad 
patres suos appositis," and Goulven embraced the monastic life, 
•contrary to the wishes of his foster-father Gothian, who had designed 
him as his successor. Goulven did not go far away ; he selected a 
■spot near where he had been born, still called Le Desert, but which 
was overgrown with brambles. Here he erected a cabin as his feniti, 
and allowed no woman to approach it, and he erected a chapel or 
■oratory at Odena, where he had first seen the light. 

Goulven left his cabin only once a day, and then he walked 

^ Kerdanet, in his edition of Albert le Grand, 1837, pp. 368-9. 

^ " Godianus, vir dives ac timens Deum de cujus nomine usque ad hodiemum 
•diem Villa Godiani vocata est." It has lost the name no^w, but it -was called 
Kergozian as late as 1497. Kerdanet, ibid., p. 369. 

aS*. Gouhen 141 

round his little domain, his miniti, and planted three crosses at inter- 
vals, which bore long the name of the Stations of S. Goulven. As a 
companion he had a disciple named Maden. Many came to the saint 
tor mstruction, for heahng, and some took refuge within his sanc- 
tuar}-, which he surrounded with a ditch and mound. 

One day a peasant named Joncor, in Plouneour-Trez, found a mass 
of gold when ploughing, probably some prehistoric torques, and 
sending for Maden, bade him take the treasure to his master. Goulven 
received the gold and made of it three bells, one he gave to his own 
church, and one to that of Lesneven ; the third he reserved, and 
it finally came to Rennes. He also made of the gold a chalice and 
three crosses.^ 

At this period there ruled in Leon a chieftain named Ewen, or John, 
who had his Lis or Court at Lesneven (Lis-an-Even) . A band of 
Saxon pirates landed on the coast and began to ravage Leon. Ewen 
sought the saint, desired his prayers, and then fell on the marauders 
and drove them to the coast and cut them to pieces. ^ 

The biographer has confounded this Ewen with another who hved 
in the tenth century, and the pirates he also supposes to have been 
Northmen. There is no reason to doubt that there was a chief of 
the not uncommon name of John, who immediately succeeded Withur, 
and who gave his name to Lesneven. 

From the Life of S. Melor we know that there had been inroads of 
the Saxons, who are there called Frixones, about this period.^ 

Goulven was on intimate terms with Paulus Aurelianus, the Bishop 
of Leon, and on the death of that saint was chosen to succeed him. 
But he was wholly unfitted for the office, having spent his days in 
solitude, and after a very brief episcopate, he fled from his charge 
into the country of the Reddones, and settled at S. Didier, a com- 

^ In the legend, Goulven sends Maden to Joncor to ask him to give him some- 
thing. Joncor is ploughing, and he takes up handfuls of earth and puts them 
into Maden's lap to take to his master. As he carries them, the earth is trans- 
formed into gold. 

^ " Temporibus ilHs, insulani piratas Daci et Normani . . . Multas provincias 
et maxime Britanniam nostram Armoricam infestabant cum igitur quadam vice, 
navigio adducti, Letaniam {? Letaviam) quae nunc est Leonia — in manu valida 
intra vissent . . . comes Evenus qui cognominatus est Magnus, cujus sedes erat 
in oppido quod ab ejus nomine Lesnevenum, quasi Aula Eveni, usque in diem 
dicitur hodiernum, collectis militibus et peditibus Christianis, praedictis paganis 
congredi affectabat," p. 220. 

^ " Is (Jan Reith) post desolationem Frixonum et Corsoldi ducis nostram adieus 
desertam Comugalliam," etc. Vita S. Melori in Anal. Boll., T.V. (1886), p. 166. 
This was at an earlier period, but these raids probably continued for over a 
century. The second Count Even made a grant to the monastery of S. "SVin- 
■waloe in 955. Cart. Landevennec, ed. De la Borderie, p. 163. 

142 Lives of the British Saints 

muneof Chateaubourg in Die et Vilaine. "In this parish are pre- 
served reminiscences of S. Goulven, Bishop of Leon, who retired there 
into solitude and died as a liermit, about the year 600. . . To this 
day a wood near the ancient manor of Motte-Merioal bears the name 
of the Bois de S. Goulven ; the ditches are shown, not now very deep, 
which enclosed what is called the Garden of S. Goulven ; there stood 
an old cross lately replaced by one of granite. Finally, on the fringe 
of the wood, in the field des Brousses, are an old well and the oven 
of S. Goulven. The hovel occupied formerly by the pious hermit 
must, accordingly, have been alongside of these ruins, but the site 
is no longer pointed out. Nor is there any traditional record as to 
where stood a chapel on this spot. However, annually the parish 
of S. Didier assembles at the foot of the above-mentioned cross and 
celebrates on July 6 the feast of S. Goulven, who sanctified this wood." ■"• 

The Life of S. Goulven was drawn up late, in the twelfth century, 
and contains some anachronisms, as the introduction of " Count " Even, 
who lived in the tenth century. But in its broad outlines it may be 
trusted, as founded on fairly trustworthy tradition. The blunders 
have been pointed out by De la Borderie. 

Paul of Leon died about 570. We may suspect that Goulven was 
a kinsman, or else he was hardly likely to have been chosen to replace 
him. The holding of the headship of a monastery in the hands of a 
kinsman, one of the same blood, had not died out in Brittany at so 
early a period. 

" The communities were composed of actual or reputed relations, 
all related, in a very near degree, by a real descent from a common 
ancestor, that is, the heads of the different households which made 
up the community, whether tribe, village, or family, were all closely 
related to each other. If a man did not come within the prescribed 
limit of relationship he did not belong to the community, but was 
a stranger ; and, as a stranger, he was 'prima jade an enemy, and 
therefore a person to be knocked on the head at the earliest possible 
opportunity." ^ 

This was true largely of the religious communities. Strangers 
and refugees were received into the sacred tribe of the saint, but had 
no right to succession to the headship of the community. That 
must go to one of the blood-relations of the saint. It is consequently 
not credible that Goulven could have been chosen to be bishop and 
abbot unless he belonged to the family of Paul by blood relationship. 

In the Life published by De la Borderie, Goulven is said to have 

1 De Corson, PouilU Hist, de I'ArchevecM de Rennes, iii, pp. 717-8. 
^ Willis Bund, The Celtic Church of Wales, London, 1897, P- 55» 

/S. Govan 143 

■died in the year 500. Early Lives never give the date of the year, 
solely of the month. 

Paul of Leon survived the elevation of Judual to the throne of 
Domnonia but a few years, and can hardly have died later than 570. 
We may place the accession of Goulven to the episcopal throne then. 
That he remained long bishop is improbable, as nothing is recorded 
•of his episcopal acts, and he was immediately followed by Tenenan. 

Goulven is patron of the parish that bears his name. A holy well 
a little way out of the village has an enclosed space and tank before 
it ; and on one side a stone bath in which the infirm were placed and 
water from the well poured over them. But the practice has been 
abandoned within the memory of man. He is also patron of Goulien, 
near Pontcroix, in Finistere ; he has chapels as well at Caurel, Lan- 
vellec near Plouaret in Cotes du Nord, and at Henvic. He is second 
patron of S. Didier in Ille et Vilaine, where he died ; also of Locmaria- 
Plouzane and Plouezoch. His day is July i in the MS. Missal of 
Treguier of the fifteenth century, in the Breviary of Dol, 1519, and 
in Albert le Grand. But July 7 in the Leon Breviary of 1736. And 
July 8 in the Quimper Breviary of 1835, and in the Breviary of Rennes 
of 1627. At Goulven his fete is on July i, and this is his day in 
Roscarrock's Calendar. There is a statue of him as a bishop at Goul- 
ven, and one above his holy well, as a Bishop without any distin- 
^ishing attribute. 

He is invoked against fever and for maladies to cattle. 

There is a chapel bearing his name, under the form of Gelvin, in 
S. Sithney parish, Cornwall. [Register of B. Stafford, 1398, p. 225). 

S. GOVAN, Abbot, Confessor 

There is a chapel of S. Govan, or, as now called, S. Gowan, on the 
south coast of Pembrokeshire, and the saint has given his name to 
the bold headland of contorted rock that shoots 160 feet above the 
sea. The head is traversed by a fissure, narrow and deep, between 
limestone crags, and accessible by a flight of rude steps. The chapel 
is built across the chasm, and is of a very early and rude character. 

There can be little doubt as to who this Govan was, i.e., Gobhan, 
the disciple of S. Ailbe, known as S. Ailfyw, or Elfyw, in Welsh. The 
name is common in the Irish Martyrologies, and it is difficult always 
to distinguish the saints of that name one from another. The name 
means "a smith," whence Gobannium (Abergavenny), "a smithy." 

144 Lives of the British Saints 

Gobhan, also called Mogopoc, was S. Ailbe'scook. Gobhan was of 
the clan of the Hy Cinnselach. As the Saintly Master desired to- 
have a correct form of the order of the Mass, he sent his disciples 
Lugich and Cailcenn to Rome, and his cook along with them. 

As they were about to start, the three said to Ailbe, " Promise us 
that we shall all return safe and sound to Ireland." " I promise 
it," answered Ailbe. 

On board ship Gobhan was so sea-sick that he thought he must 
die, and the rest really believed his end was at hand. What to da 
without their cook they did not know, and they thought, moreover, 
that the promise of Ailbe would fail. From exhaustion Gobhan fell 
into fits of fainting and utter prostration. But after a while he rallied,, 
and said to his fellow travellers : " You have been guzzling on this 
voyage, and not fasting, as was seemly, and that upset me." ^ 

Gobhan afterwards, having returned from Rome, became Abbot 
of Dairinis in his native country of the Hy Cinnselach, or Wexford. 

There was a Gobhan — possibly the same — who was for a while- 
disciple of S. Senan of Iniscathy, and he is said to have been 
brother of S. Setna. Ailbe died 527-31, ^ and Gobhan may have- 
gone to Senan after his death. 

But he is certainly to be distinguished from a namesake, " the 
father of a thousand monks," who settled in Ulster, although Colgan 
supposed there might be identity. 

According to local tradition, S. Govan spent his last years in retreat 
on the headland in Pembrokeshire that bears his name. Within 
his chapel there is a " wishing place," a fissure in the rock just large- 
enough to hold one person. Whoever, seated in it, forms his wish,, 
with full confidence in the merits of S. Govan, and turns himself about 
each time that he repeats it, is certain to have his desire accomplished. 
Tradition has it that S. Govan concealed himself in this recess from, 
pirates, and the rock closed about him, and, when they were gone,, 
opened to allow his exit. 

A little below the chapel is his Holy Well, covered by a rude roof,, 
now almost dry, whither patients were wont to repair to drink of the 
miraculous water. But the healing influence of the saint^s merits- 
attaches as well to a deposit of red clay lodged in an angle of the 
cliff, due to decomposition of the rock. " The lame and blind pil- 
grims are still conveyed by their friends down the rude steps chiselled 
by the holy man, and, after being anointed with a poultice formed of 

1 Vita S''. Albei in Salam. Cod., col. 255. In the original Gobhan actually 
dies, but revives and rebukes the others for eating and not fasting. 

2 Chron. Scottorum gives the later date. See under S. Ailbe, i, p. 135. 

S. Govan 145 

the moist clay, are left there for several hours to bask under the 
summer's sun." 

The chapel is of the simplest form, consisting of a nave 20 feet bj^ 
12 feet. It has a stone altar and a small tower, and is approached 
by a long flight of fifty-two steps, which, according to the popular 
story, cannot be counted by any one both ways alike. ^ 

The tale is told that a silver bell hung above the chapel. This 
was stolen by pirates, but a tempest arose and the vessel was 
wrecked, but the bell was conveyed by angelic hands to the side of 
the well, where it was entombed in a rock, which on being struck 
gives a metallic sound.^ 

Govan's name cannot be perpetuated, as is generally supposed, 
in the Monmouthshire church-name Llangofen.^ 

S. Govan or Gobhan's Day is March 26, according to the Martyr- 
ologies of O'Gorman, and Donegal. 

He is possibly known in Brittany as S. Gavan, at Plouguerneau, in 
Finistere, in a thoroughly Irish colonised district. 

There was another saint of the same name, who belonged to a later 
generation, and who was a disciple of S. Fursa or Fursey.* He had 
two brothers, Algeis and Etto, whom S. Fursey ordained priests 
along with Gobhan. They beheld the Lord Jesus, Who appeared 
to them in vision by night and said to them, " Come unto Me, all 
ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Come, 
ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from 
the beginning of the world." Next day, being Sunday, they sought 
their master, and told him what had occurred, and how they had 
aU seen the same vision, and heard the same words, and that, having 
taken counsel together, and remembering the words of Christ, " Unless 
a man forsake father and mother, yea, and his own life also, he cannot 
be My disciple," they had resolved to set forth on pilgrimage. Fursey, 
on hearing this, was glad, and gave thanks to God ; but, smiling, 
said, " Certainly ye shall not go, unless I accompany you." He 
then called to him his two brothers, Ultan and Foillan, and said, 
"Do ye desire to serve Christ along with me ? " They replied, 
"Whither thou goest, there will we go also." So Fursey and the 
rest departed from Ireland, taking ship for Britain. And after 

.1 Fenton, PemhrokesUre, ed. 181 1, pp. 414-6, ed. 1903, pp. 226-7; Tour in 
Quest of Genealogy through several parts of Wales, etc., by a Barrister, London, 
1811, pp. 88-90; Arch. Camb., 1880, p. 338. 

* Bye-Gones, second series, vol. vi, p. 278. 

' ii, p. 202. His name enters into the Uuor-govan of the Cartulary of Re- 

* Colgan, Acta SS., Hit., Appendix ad Acta S. Furstsi, c. vi, p. 96. 


146 Lives of the British Saints 

having been for awhile among the East Saxons, they departed for 

Gobhan travelled along with Fursey to Corbeny in the department 
of Aisne, about sixteen miles south-east of Laon, on the way to Rheims. 
Here he and a band of brethren separated, after giving each other 
the kiss of peace, and each chose his own field for labour. Gobhan 
repaired to Laon and spent some time in the church of S. Vincent, 
which had been founded by Queen Brunehild after the death of Sigi- 
bert in 580. Desirous of making a new establishment, Gobhan, 
accompanied by a single disciple, penetrated to a place in the ancient 
forest of Vosage (Vosaga sylva, Vosagum foreste), which was haunted 
by wild beasts, and where he discovered an old fortress on the summit 
of a steep rock now called Le Mont de I'Hermitage. 

There, wearied with his journey, he lay down ; folding his hood 
under his head for a pillow, and planting his staff in the ground, he 
bade his disciple watch whilst he slept. Singing in his sleep, he 
chanted the psalm, " Lord, remember David and all his trouble ; how 
he sware unto the Lord : and vowed a vow unto the Almighty God 
of Jacob ; I will not come within the tabernacle of mine house : nor 
climb up into my bed ; I will not suffer mine eyes to sleep, nor mine 
eyelids to slumber : neither the temples of my head to take any rest ; 
until I find out a place for the temple of the Lord : an habitation 
for the mighty God of Jacob. Lo, we heard of the same at Ephrata : 
and found it in the wood." And then opening his eyes, he saw that 
a sparkling rill had broken out of the ground where he had set his 
staff, and he resolved on there setting up his rest for ever. 

He went to Laon to Clothair II, and asked him to grant the site 
to him. This the king did, and thenceforth this portion of the forest 
has borne the name of the Forest of S. Goban. 

He now set to work to construct a monastery, and to build a church. 
The people thereabouts were wild and stubborn, and Gobhan could 
not make much way with them. He interceded in prayer for the 
natives, praying, " Take away, O Lord, their guilt from them, or else 
take away my life." 

In a vision of the night, the Lord spoke to him, and told him that 
barbarians more savage than the Vandals, were coming out of the 
North, and that he would fall by their swords. 

Soon after a horde of invaders swept over the district, laying it 
waste, and, penetrating to his monastery, cut off his head. He was 
buried in the church afterwards called by his name. On the wall 
is inscribed : "0 Gobane gratiam impetres et gloriam his qui tibi 
serviant," these being the closing lines of a sequence that gives a 

S. Gredfyw 147 

summary of his life. His day is June 20.^ As far as can be judged, 
the date of his death was in 648. 

Miss Margaret Stokes gives an interesting account of a visit to S. 
Goban near Laon.^ 

" We reached the Hermitage at last ; I found that it had been 
occupied by a monk even within last century. It stands, as it were, 
on a tiny island in the middle of a pond filled with those little scarlet 
gold-fish which shoot like flame through the green depths of the forest 
mirrored in the water. . . . When I first saw the cave I was almost 
tempted to believe that it was a dolmen, but its vast size rendered 
that impossible. The chamber underneath the enormous rock which 
forms the roof, measures 10 feet 11 inches wide, and 13 feet in depth. 
Then three little cells, or closets, open at the back. It would be easy, 
by filling up the small open space behind, and by fixing a door and 
wooden plank in the front, to make this cave quite air-tight." 

Near the Calvary at S. Goban is shown a large stone with a hollow 
in it, supposed to have been made by the saint's head, when he used 
the block for a pillow. 

In the parish church are the relics of S. Gobhan, and a statue, as 
also an interesting sculpture as bas-relief in the retable, representing 
the life and martyrdom of the saint. Miss Stokes gives a representation 
of one compartment of the retable, showing Gobhan seated reading 
near his forest cell. 

As Gobhan left East Anglia about 634, and Ireland some ten years 
•earlier, he can hardly have been born before 578; this saint cannot, 
therefore, possibly be the same as the Gobhan who was cook to S. 
Ailbe, who died about 530, and the disciple of Senan of Iniscathy, 
which latter died about 568. 

There is nothing to lead us to suppose that Gobhan, disciple of 
S. Fursey, ever was in Pembrokeshire, but there is a probability that 
his earlier namesake may have been there, as S. Ailbe waT a native 
of Menevia and had his church, S. Elvis, now a ruin, at Solva. 

S. GREDFYW, Confessor 

The pedigree of " Gredfyw of Llanllyfni " is known to occur in but few 
MSS., e.g. CarAif MS. 5 (1527) and Hanesyn Hen (Cardiff MS. 25), 
p. 115, where he is given as the son of Ithel Hael of Llydaw, and the 

1 Acta SS. Boll., Jun. iv, pp. 23-5. 

" Three Months in the Forests of France, London, 1893, pp. 217-23. 

148 Lives of the British Saints 

brother of Tegai, Gredifael, Llechid, and others. " Gredfiw of Llan- 
llyfni," without pedigree, is given by Lewis Morris from one of the 
MSS. used by him in the compilation of his so-called alphabetical 
Bonedd y Saints The name of the patron of Llanllyfni is usually 
written Rhedyw, but this is an error due to not taking into account 
the initial mutation. ^ 

Llanllyfni is in Carnarvonshire, and it is there alone that he seems 
to have left his name, indicating it as the scene of his labours. The 
parish derives its name from the river. Ffynnon Redyw, his Holy 
Well, formerly enclosed within a small rectangular building, supplied 
the water for baptism.^ His shrine, popularly called Bedd Rhedyw, 
was, until a restoration of the church in the latter part of the eighteenth 
century, to be seen behind the altar, rising about two feet above the 
level of the floor ; and outside the church, above the window of Capel 
Eithinog, is his effigy now very much defaced, which used to be held 
in great veneration. Opposite the effigy is a stone, now built into 
the churchyard wall, on which his devotees used to kneel before the 
effigy, and on which are said to be visible the impress of their knees. 

There is a local tradition that the saint dwelt at a house in the 
parish called Eisteddf a Redyw (his seat) , and the remains of his chair 
are still shown there. The print of his horse's hoof, and the mark 
of his thumb on a stone near it, are also shown. There is besides a 
cottage in the parish called Tyddyn Rhedyw.* 

" The wake is holden on July 6, when a considerable number of 
persons assemble together to buy harvest implements, horses, and 
cattle." 5 Others give Gwyl Redyw on November 11.' It does not 
occur in any of the calendars. 

S. GREDIFAEL, Confessor 

Gredifael, Gradifael, or Gredifel, was one of the sons of Ithel Hael 
of Llydaw,' who migrated to Wales in the second half of the fifth 

^ Myv. Arch., p. 426. 

^ Ridicus, S. Garmon's father, is irregularly given as Rhedyw in the lolo 
MSS., and he is once actually styled "saint" (p. 131). Gredfyw would be 
liable to be reduced to Gredyw, which is the form in Cardiff MS. 5. 

^ Arch. Camb., 1847, p. 209. 

* Ambrose, Hynafiaethau, etc., Nant NantUe, Penygroes, 1872, pp. 16-7 ; Y 
Gwladgarwr, 1838, p. 44; Lewis, Topog. Diet, of Wales, s.v. Llanllyfni; Cymru, 
November, 1895, P- 226. 

^ Carlisle, Topog. Diet, of Wales, 181 1, s.v. Llanllyfni. 

' Browne Willis, Bangor, 1721, p. 273 ; Cambrian Register, 1818, iii, p. 224. 

' Hanesyn Hhi, p. 115 ; Myv. Arch., p. 426 ; lolo MSS., pp. 112, 114, 133. 
Cynddelw (twelfth century), in his Ode to S. Tyssilio, seems to connect him with 

iS. Greit 1/j.g 

century. He and his favourite brother Fflewyn, we are told in the 
lolo MSS. — but the statements are utterly unhistorical — were " saints 
of Cor y Ty Gwyn ar Daf, in Dyfed, where they were with S. Pawl of 
Cor Illtyd, superintending a Bangor," the foundation of which is also 
attributed to the three. The two brothers certainly founded a church 
each in Anglesey. Gredifael founded Penmynydd church, sometimes 
called Llaiu-edifael. His shrine, Bedd Gredifael is in the little chapel, 
Capel Gredifael, in the church. It was formerly believed that if 
a person subject to fits lay for a night on Bedd Gredifael he would 
be cured of them. Ffynnon Redifael is in Cae Gredifael, near the 
church. Its water cured warts, which were first pricked with a pin 
until they bled and then washed in the well. 

Some half a dozen Welsh calendars, and among them the earlier 
ones, have his festival entered against November 13 ; two have it 
against the 14th ; and one against the 22nd. Browne Willis ■■■ gives 
the 13th, but Nicolas Owen ^ and Angharad Llwyd ^ the 30th. 

He is included by Dafydd Nanmor in his list of the hundred or more 
saints to whose guardianship he commits Henry VII.* 

S. GREIT, Confessor 

In the Life of S. Elgar, the Bardsey hermit, in the Book of Llan 
Ddv, written from the account given by him to Caradog, probably of 
Llancarfan (died c. 1147), reference is made to one Greit or Graid, who 
is mentioned as a confessor. The hermit related how Dubricius, 
Deiniol, Padarn, and many another saint, who had been buried in 
Bardsey, constantly administered, in " the likeness of corporeal sub- 
stance," to his wants, and how one of them advised him one day to 
go to the grave of the confessor Greit, near to which, on a stone, God 
would send him every third morning a fish wherewith to sustain him- 
self ; but of this diet he by and by grew weary. ^ 

Nothing is known of Greit, other than that he was one of the 20,000 
saints buried in Bardsey. 

Meifod, Montgomeryshire, where he is credited with having performed a miracle 
{Myn. Arch., p. 179). He is also mentioned in a poem by Gruffydd ab Meredydd 
{early fourteenth century), " Pawl pedyr gradivel y del oedv " (Red Book of 
Hergest, col. 1203 ; Myv. Arch., p. 297). Gradifel was also a district name 
iGorchestion Beirdd Cymru, 2nd ed., p. 157). 

' Bangor, 1721, p. 282. ^ Hist. Anglesey. 177$, V- 5^- 

' Hist. Anglesey, 1833, p. 328- * lolo MSS. r. 314. 

' P. 3. See under S. Elg.a.r, ii, p. 434. 

150 Lives of the British Saints 

Two or more persons of the name occur, one, the son of Hoevvgi, 
in the Gododin, and another, the son of Eri, in Culhwch and Olwen. 
These were probably considerably earlier. 

S. GRWST, Confessor 

GwRWST, Gorwst, or Grwst, was the son of Gwaith Hengaer, des- 
cended from Coel Hen (Godebog) through Urien Rheged. His mother 
was Euronwy, daughter of Clydno Eiddyn.^ He is the patron of 
Llanrwst, in Denbighshire, in which parish is also his " Cataract," 
Rhaiadr Rwst. There was formerly in the church, " a wooden Image 
of this Saint in y" Breod (? Rood) loft." ^ His festival, Gwyl Rwst, 
occurs on December i in a good many of the Welsh calendars. A 
fair used to be held at Llanrwst on the eve of his festival, O.S., and 
is still held on December 11. This accounts for the dedication of the 
church being sometimes given as to S. Andrew.* 

The name of " Sanctus Grwst " occurs with SS. Daniel and Trillo, 
among the signatories to the grant by'Maelgwn Gwynedd to S. Kentigern. * 

S. GUDWAL, Bishop, Confessor 

The Life of S. Gudwal is a recomposition of a much more ancient 
biography, by a monk of Blandinberg. The Life exhibits a remarkable 

^ Peninrih MSS. 16 and 45 ; Hafod MS. 16 ; Hanesyn Hen, p. 113 ; Myv. 
Arch., p. 425, etc. In the Bonedd in Peniavth MS. 12, where his mother's name 
is wrongly given as Creirwy, he is called Gwrwst Letlwm, "the half bare," but 
this was the name of an ancestor, the grandson of Coel. Grwst is in Old-Welsh 
Gurgust, the literal equivalent of the Irish Fergus = Viro-gustus. The name 
occurs also in Pictish and Old-Breton. There are two streams in Carmarthen- 
shire bearing the purely Irish form Fferws, i.e. Fergus. In the Taxatio of 1291, 
p. 287, Llanrwst is given as Lanwrvst. As a common noun Gwrwst means the 
cramp. The name is to be distinguished from that of Gwrgwest or Gwrwest, 
daughter of Ceneu, which, however, is matched by the Breton Gourvest or 
Gurvest of Plou-gourvest, in Finistere. 

^ Bp. Maddox's (1736-43) MS. Z, in the Episcopal Library, S. Asaph. 

' Willis, Bangor, 1721, p. 364. December i is entered as his day in the calen- 
dars prefixed to the Welsh Prayer Book and New Testament of 1567, and Bibles 
of 1588 and 1620. In a sixteenth century Ust of Welsh fairs [Cardiff MS. 11) 
we have, " Ffair yn llan Rwst gwyl ondras." 

* Red Book of S. Asaph, p. 118, in the Episcopal Library, S. Asaph. 

S, Gudwal 151 

knowledge of the localities, such as could only have been acquired by 
one living on the spot ; but along with this occur grotesque blunders, 
where the Flemish monk who recomposed the Life endeavoured to 
improve what he found in the text, and by so doing fell into error. 

This Life is found in the Acta SS. Boll. Jun. i, pp. 729-42 ; a critique 
thereon in vi, pp. 84-7. The same, abridged by John of Tynemouth, 
in Capgrave's Nova Legenda AnglicB, but with the addition of a few 

The reHcs of the saint were conveyed to Blandinberg near Ghent 
in or shortly after 919, to preserve them from the ravages of the North- 
men. With them was doubtless brought the original Vita. This was 
laid under contribution by a monk of Blandinberg, who was also the 
author of a sermon on the Translation of the saint. As in this latter 
there is an allusion to the death of Gilbert, abbot of Blandinberg, 
which took place in 1138, we may place this Life as a composition of 
the middle of the twelfth century. Much confusion has been occa- 
sioned by the identification of Gudwal with a totally distinct per- 
sonage, Gurwal, Bishop of Aleth. Albert le Grand gives the Life of 
S. Gxrrwal taken from the old Legendarium in MS. of the diocese of S. 
Malo, and in this there is not a trace of the fusion ; but in the later 
Breviary of S. Malo, the two have been identified. 

On account of the devastation wrought by the Saxons, and the 
ravages of plague, a great exodus took place from Britain. ^ 

Cadoc was one of those who fled from the Yellow Plague in 547, 
and we may assume that he took Gudwal with him. When in 
Brittany, Cadoc founded a monastery on an islet in the Sea of Etel 
near Belz. After a while he departed, and committed the charge of 
his settlement to a monk Cadwaladr. We may suppose that Gudwal 
was at the time too young and inexperienced to assume the headship. 

The Isle of S. Cadou is very small, too small for it to be possible for 
a large community to subsist on it, whereas over against it is another 
of considerable extent, now occupied by farms. The biographer says 
that Gudwal elected this larger island to which to retreat, and that 
he carried off with him a hundred and eighty-eight of the brethren. 
He says that he went thither for retirement ; but that cannot have 
been a private retreat, when he had such a number of monks with 
him. It looks rather as if there had been a schism in the community. 

According to local tradition, Gudwal disembarked on the promontory 
of Plec, which the author of the Life calls Plecit. Here to this day is 

1 "Sanctus Gudwalus Britanniae finibus ortus, ex nofcili prosap'a : r]n9. tempu.s 
nativitatis erat quo se mucro furoris domini a terra ilia suspendit ; quam eo 
usque gladio, fame, et peste afflixit." 

152 Lives of the British Saints 

pointed out the hillock, called Verdon, on which the new settlement 
was made, and whereon he elicited a spring by striking the soil with his 
staff. Here stands now a chapel dedicated to S. Brigid, and near it 
a hch bearing the inscription lAOU.^ 

On slightly rising ground in the long peninsula, that was then an 
island, Gudwal planted his caer, his stockaded residence, and a farm- 
house that recalls him in its name Kergoal, now occupies the site. 
But the bustle and distraction of the place was too much for Gudwal. 
Going to the extremity of Le Plec he looked across an arm of the still 
island sea, and his eye rested on a nook on another island that took his 
fancy. The inland sea of Etel is in shape like an octopus, with its 
long, writhing arms extended on every side. The island that now 
arrested the imagination of Gudwal was one of promontories and bays, 
and in the depth of one of these bays he planted his place of retreat, 
Locoal. The land was covered with oak trees. 

The Blandinberg monk misunderstood the text of the Life he recom- 
posed, in which the spur of land called Le Plec had been noticed 
for its length, and it is in fact six miles long. But he took the passage 
to mean its elevation, and so has converted the low gravelly strip of 
land into a prodigious cliff ; and knowing nothing of the composition 
■of the subsoil, which is granite, he has made this imaginary cliff to be 
of marble. 2 The author of the Life says that Gudwal contrived an 
ingenious apparatus (machina) to keep out the tide, and that he em- 
ployed the monks in raising dykes, and that he established a water mill, 
probably turned by the outrush of the tidal waters. The embankment 
was miraculously constructed, according to the Blandinberg monk, as 
a protection against the furious billows of the ocean. But the sea of 
Etel ripples under the breeze, the tide enters through a narrow mouth, 
and never can be lashed into anything more serious than wavelets. 

Many stories are told of the saint, borrowed from various sources, 
as that he plucked a thorn out of the foot of a wolf that approached 
him limping, asking with pleading eyes to be relieved. The old tale 
of Androcles revived, told also of one of the saints of the Syrian desert. 

How long Gudwal lived at Plec, with occasional retreats in Lent and 
for rest at Locoal we are not told, but after a time he wearied of his 
residence there, and departed to the fringe of the forest of Camors. 
This Ues to the south of the Tarun, a confluent of the Blavet. Here 

'■ De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretagne, i. p. 493. 

^ " Rupem vastam prominentem, instar habitabilis insulse . . . banc erga 
marmoreae soliditate innitentem, cum mari in gyro concludebat, nullo inter se 
compugnantium fluctuum turbine quassat." Acta SS. Boll., Jun. i, p. 730. 

S. Gudwal 153 

resided a chief who had migrated to Cornouaille (in Cornuviam)/ on 
account of the discord that reigned in his native land. His name is 
^iven as Mevor. He probably occupied the old fortress that had 
belonged there to Conmore. 

Gudwal sent a deputation to him to ask permission to settle on his 
land. This was granted, and he formed a colony at Locoal in what 
since 1790 has been the commune of Camors, at a distance of three 
kilometres to the south of the present parish church. Here Gudwal 
collected about him two hundred monks, and here he died. 

His body was taken back to his former retreat on the Sea of Etel, 
and there it remained till the ravages of the Northmen at the beginning 
of the tenth century compelled the monks to abandon the place, and 
fly with it to Blandinberg in Flanders. 

An outrageous story is told of his relics by his biographer. In the 
year 1043, when the body was being borne processionally round the 
church on his festival, the figure of Christ on the rood suddenly, with 
a loud report, wrenched out the nails that held the hands, and turning 
about, respectfully [humilHer) bowed to the body of the saint. 

S. Gudwal's Day in the Brev. Venet.,1586, and the Vannes Missal 
of 1530 is June 6 ; as Gurval he occurs in the Vannes Breviary of 
1583 and that of 1609. In the fifteenth century MS. calendar of S. 
Meen on June 7. Whytford has on June 6, " the feest of Saynt Good- 
wale, a bisshope borne of y^ noble blode of Englonde, that for synguler 
perfeccyon resygned his mytre and dwelled upon a desolate rocke 
where he buylded a monastery, and by miracle had there a well of 
quycke water, and there he gadered clxxxviii monkes ; and because the 
rome was lytell he went unto the see at the lowest ebbe and charged 
the see in the name of our Lorde it shold kepe that place and never 
flowe nearer the monastery, and so had y^ groude for ever ; he heled 
the seke, reysed ye deed, with many other myracles, and had ravelacios 
■of augels." 

He is entered also in Nicolas Roscarrock's calendar on the same 
day. A tomb was erected over his grave in Locoal church in 1666, 
with a figure of the saint on it. But in 1878 the original tomb of the 
saint is thought to have been found below the floor of the church. No 
church was founded by the saint in Wales or in Cornwall. The sup- 
position that Gulval in the latter has him for patron is erroneous. 

Gudwal is invoked in the tenth century Celtic Litany in the hbrary 

1 He had entered Cornouailie. To reach him the messengers were obhged to 
traverse a vast forest. The BoUandists mistook Cornuvia for Cornwall, and 
supposed that Gulval by Penzance was founded by S. Gudwal. Comubia is, 
however, clearly the kingdom of Comubia in Armorica. 

154 Lives of the British Saints 

of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury, as Guidguale.^ In that pub- 
lished by Mabillon from a MS. at Rheims, as Goidwal ; ^ and in that 
of S. Vougai as Guidguale. De la Villemarque read Guitgual.* Gud- 
wal is shortened in Breton into Goal. He has a chapel at Calan in 
the parish of Brech, Morbihan, also at Ploemel and Pluvigner and Ste. 
Helene in the same department. 


S. GUERNABUI, Priest, Confessor 

A DISCIPLE of S. Dyfrig, a cleric ; * he was appointed princeps or 
head of the monastic settlement at Garth Benni.^ 

Pepiau, son of Erb, King of Erging, granted Mainaur Garth Benni 
" usque ad paludem nigrum inter silvam et campum et aquam et jacu- 
lum Constantini regis socri sui, trans Guy amnem " to God and Dubri- 
cius, and delivered it into the hand of Junapeius.* 

This is identified as Welsh Bicknor, enfolded by the Wye. What 
is meant by the " jaculum Constantini regis " is difficult to conjecture, 
but perhaps it was an upright menhir bearing that name. 

Guernabui is mentioned as having had an alummis named Gur- 
guare,'' probably a disciple intended to succeed him in the rule of 
Garth Benni. He appears to have been associated with Aidan the 
bishop at the granting of Mafurn by Cinuin, son of Pepiau ; ^ and at 
the grant by Athruis, King of Gwent, to Bishop Comeregius ; aregrant 
after devastation, of Lann Cinmarch, Lann Deui, Lann Junabui, and 
other churches, he appears as Guernapui Gurit Penni, i.e. of Garth- 
benni, and his disciple Gurguare as of Lann Enniaun, or Llandogo, 
in Monmouthshire.' Guernabui does not appear to have been a 
founder, nor to have received any cult. 

^ Revue Celtique, 1888, p. 88. ^ Vetera Analecta, 1723, ii, p. 669. 

^ Vies des Saints de Bretagne, par Alb. le Grand, ed. 1901, pp. 225-6. 

* Book of Llan Ddv, pp. 75, yy, 80. His name to-day would appear as Gwerna- 
bwy. For the second element-&MJ, see under S. Gwenabwy. 

' Ibid., p. 164. " Ibid., p. 72. ' Ibid., p. 164. 

* Ibid., pp. 162-3. * Ibid., pp. 165-6. 

S. Guorboe [55 



S. GUNUINUS, Confessor . 

GuNUiNus, or Gunuiu, was a disciple of S. Dubricius.^ As Gun- 
nuinus (otherwise Gunnbiu) Magister he occurs as one of the leading 
clergy that took part in the election of Oudoceus as Bishop of Llandaff, 
and were afterwards present at his consecration at Canterbury. ^ He 
signed two grants to Bishop Berthguin as Gunuiu Lector.* 

He cannot be identified with the Guinnius that came over with 
S. Padarn from Brittany to Llanbadarn, and was one of the four 
Auces whom he placed over the churches he had founded in Cere- 

S. GUORBOE, Confessor 

The little that we know of this saint is to be found in the Book of 
Llan Ddv. There a grant occurs ^ in which Guoruodu, King of Erging, 
gave to Bishop Uvelviu an uncia of land, " in the midst of which he 
erected a building in honour of the Holy Trinity, and there placed 
his priest Guoruoe," to perform the offices of the church, which was 
named Lann Guorboe from its first priest-in-charge — a good illustra- 
tion of the mode of Welsh church " dedication " during the earliest 
period. The church has been identified, but wrongly, with Garway, 
in Herefordshire. It is said to be in campo Malochu,^ some distance 
to the north of Garway. Two later grants, to Bishops Junapeius and 
Comeregius, are witnessed by " Elhearn Abbas Lann Guorboe." ' 

Guoruoe, or Guruoe, was clerical witness to two grants in Erging 
to Bishop Grecielis.* Possibly the persons are not identical. 

The name would to-day assume the form Gwrfwy or Gorfwy, as 
would also the Herefordshire river-name Guormui, or Gurmuy,' now 
known in English as the Worm. 

1 Book of Llan Ddv, p. 80, The name would be to-day Gwynfyw. 

2 Ibid., pp. 131-2, 140. ' lUd., pp. 182, 189. 
* Cambro-Briiish Saints, p. 191. 

5 P. 162. ' Ibid., p. 165, and see i, p. :09, ii, p. 414 of this work. 

' Ibid., pp. 164, 166. * Ibid., p. 170. 

' Ibid., pp. 43, 134-5. Gwi-fwy is to be distinguished from Gwrfyw (Gurbiu), 

156 Lives of the British Saints 

S. GUORDOCUI, Abbot, Confessor 

GuORDOCui was a disciple of S. Dubricius,^ and appears as a witness 
in two grants made to that saint. ^ Later he is given as abbot ot 
Llanddewi or Dewchurch, in Herefordshire.^ He must have lived on 
to the times of Athruis, King of Gwent, son of Mouric, and father of 
Morcant, for he was one of the witnesses of the regranting of a number 
of the Dubricius churches to Comeregius, the bishop. But that 
Comeregius was ever bishop of Llandaff is more than doubtful. Later 
all the churches granted to him fell under the hand of the Bishop of 
Llandaff, and then it was feigned that he had been the eighth prelate 
in that see.* 

The date of the death of Morcant is probably 663. This is given 
in the Annales Cambrics, but the Morcant there specified is not spoken 
of as son of Athruis, so that we cannot be certain. If this be Morcant 
son of Athruis, usually known as Morgan Mwynfawr, then the date 
of Athruis would be early in the seventh century. 

Guordocui would in modern Welsh be Gwrddogwy. 

S. GUORVAN, Bishop, Confessor 

A DISCIPLE of S. Dyfrig,5 who witnessed a number of grants to him. 
His name takes several forms, as Gurvan, Gorvan, and Guoren. As 
bishop he is named as present when Teudur, son of Rein, and Elgistil, 
son of August, Kings of Brycheiniog, swore to keep the peace on the 
altar of S. Dyfrig and the Holy Gospels. After that Teudur slew 
Elgistil, and was excommunicated by Gurvan and his clergy, who 
stripped the altar, and laid the crosses on the ground, along with the 
relics of the saints. Teudur submitted, and paid compensation for 
his crime by surrendering Lann Mihacgel Tref Ceriau, in Brecknock- 
shire. ^ 

The grant has been modernised. There were no churches dedicated 
to S. Michael before 718,' in Wales, and the compiler of the Book of 
Llan Ddv altered the ancient name to that by which the place was 
Icnown in his own day. The church in question has been supposed to 
he Llanfihangel Tal y Llyn, in Brecknockshire. The same compiler 
converted Guorvan into the tenth bishop of Llandaff.^ With Llandaff 
he probably never had anything to do. 

In the lolo MSS. ^ it is stated that Bishop Gwrfan of Llandaff 

1 Book of Llan Ddv, p. 80. ^ Ibid., pp. 75, yy. 

^ Ibid., pp. 164, 166. * Ibid., pp. 303, 311. 

= Ibid., p. 80 « Ibid. pp. 167-8. 

' Annales CainbHis, s.a. * Book of Llan Ddv, pp. 303, 311. ' P. 221. 

S. Guron 157 

founded Llansanffraid Fawr, or S. Bride's Major, and the church of 
Drenewydd Ynottais, or Newton Nottage (now dedicated to S. John 
Baptist), both in Glamorganshire. 

S. GURHAUAL, Abbot, Confessor 

GuRHAUAL, or, as his name is also spelt, Guorhauarn and Gurthauar 
was " Abbas Ilduti," i.e. Abbot of Llantwit, who was one of the three 
great abbots of the Diocese of Llandaff. His name occurs as witness 
to a number of grants in the Book of Llan Ddv during the episcopates 
of Oudoceus, Berthguin, and Trichan.i 

S. GURMAET, Confessor 

A DISCIPLE first of S. Dubricius and afterwards of S. Teilo,^ and 
patron of Lann Guruaet,^ now Llandeilo 'r Fan, on the Mawen, in 
Brecknockshire, and also of S. Wormet,* somewhere near Chepstow 
and Tintern, possibly where stands Howick at present. 

His name would appear in modern Welsh as Gwrfaed. 

S, GURON, Hermit, Confessor 

Leland gives among extracts from the Cartulary of Bodmin, in 
Cornwall, 5 " Bosmana, id est, mansio monachorum in valle, ubi S. 
Guronus solitarie degens in parvo tugurio, quod relinquens tradidit 
S. Petroco." 

It is probable that Goran in the Deanery of S. Austell was the place 
to which he retired. He had a chapel at Bodmin, and also at Gorran 
Haven. The episcopal estate at Goran is called Polgorran. S. Goran 

^ See index to Book of Llan Ddv, p. 403. The name occurs as Guorhaual on 
p. 202, and in Brittany as Uurhamal. For the element-haual, see ii, p. 254. 
^ Book of Llan Ddv, p. 115. ' Ibid., pp. 154, 255. 

* Ibid., p. 323, in the fourteenth century Synodalia. 
° Collect, i, p. 75. 

158 Lives of the British Saints 

is called Gorronus in Bishop Brantyngham's Register, 1270, and 
Goranus in those of 1271 and 1272. 

According to William of Worcester, he was commemorated in the 
Bodmin Antiphonary as Woronocus on April 7. His Holy Well is in 
the churchyard at Bodmin, on the south-west side of the parish church. 

The village Feast at S. Goran is on Low Sunday. 

Nicolas Roscarrock conjecturally identifies him with Gwron ab 

S. GURTHIERN, Confessor 

The authority for this saint is a Life in the Cartulary of Quimperle, 
published by Leon Maitre and Paul de Berthou, Paris, Le Chevalier, 
1896, pp. 3-7. It is a document of very slender historic value. 

It opens with a pedigree of Gurthiern, whom it makes son of Bonus, 
son of Gloui, son of Abros, son of Dos, son of Jacob, son of Genethan, 
son of Judgual, son of Beli, son of Outham the Old, son of Maximian 
(Maximus), son of Constantius, son of Constantine the Great. 

Bonus is given by Nennius as the son of Gloiu, and brother of Gui- 
tolin, who was grandfather of Gwrtheyrn, the recreant Vortigern. 
But all the earlier pedigree above Gloui is fictitious. 

Gloui is the Gloiu who is said to have built, and given his name to, 
Caer Loew, or Gloucester [Jesus College MS. 20). 

The author also gives the maternal ancestry of Gurthiern. His 
mother was Denoi, daughter of Lidin, King of all Britain. Clearly 
Tenoi is meant, daughter of Lleuddun Luyddog. She was married to 
Dingad ab Nudd Hael. The pedigree would stand thus : — 


Guitolin Bonus = Tenoi = Dingad 
I I I 

I I I 

Guitaul S. Gurthiern S. Lleuddad S. Baglan And others 




d. c. 464 

There is some chronological blunder in Nennius, in making Gwrthejnrn 

grandson of Guitolin. In fact, his pedigree cannot be trusted at all. 

The Life goes on to say that Outham the Old was father of two 

' See ii, p. 191. 

S. Gurthiern 159 

sons, Beli and Kenan (Meiriadog), and so identifies him with Eudaf 

Hen, the father of Helen or Elen, wife of Maximus. ^ This will suffice 

io show how worthless the genealogy in the Life is. Gurthiern was 

■engaged when a young man in a contest, in which he killed his sister's 

■son, and, filled with compunction, he retired from the world into a 

valley " in the northern part of Britain." There he spent a year, 

.after which, attended by two servants, he departed, and meeting a 

woman who was carrying a human head, he asked her what she was 

about. She replied that her son had been decapitated, and that as 

she could not carry away his body, she was conveying his head to his 

tomb, " ad monumentum ejus." 

Gurthiern then miraculously restored the dead man to life, having 
first replaced the head on his neck. 

Then he departed to the neighbourhood of the River Tamar, where 
he and his followers resided for a long time.^ 

An angel appeared to him, and bade him enter a vessel ^ which he 
would see floating on the sea. This he did, and was wafted to a cer- 
tain island off the coast of Armorica, the Isle of Groix, where he re- 
mained till he received another call to depart to the place prepared 
for him, named Anaurot (Quimperle), where he remained to the end 
■of his days. 

The writer of this Life informs us that he obtained his material 
from a certain faithful layman named Juthael, son of Aidan. 

In addition, we have a document narrating how that in or about 
1037 the relics of Gurthiern were discovered in the Isle of Groix. In 
this document, Gurthiern is entitled " Rex Anglorum," and is made 
a contemporary of Grallo, King of Cornouaille (470-505), and of 
Weroc, Count of Vannes (500-550). It makes Grallo the donor to 
him of Anaurot or Quimperle ; and it further states that at a time 
when the crops were ravaged by insects, Goeroc (Weroc) sent to 
Gurthiern an embassy consisting of three men, Guedgual, Catuoth and 
Cadur, to solicit his aid. The saint blessed some water and bade 
that the crops afflicted should be sprinkled with it, which done 
the insects disappeared. In return for this, Weroc granted to him 

1 " Ipse Kenan tenuit principatum quando perexerunt Britones ad Romam. 
Illic tenuerunt Leticiam " (Llydaw). The genealogy further makes Anna 

■ cousin of the B. V. Mary, to have been wife of Outham, -who was son of Maxi- 
mus, killed in 388 1 Gloiu as a man's name is well attested ; three are indexed 
an the Book of Llan DAv. 

2 " Exierunt ad ripam fluminis quod dicitur Tamar, et ibi manserunt long 

-tempore." . ,, 

» " Aspicite mare cotidie et veniet ad vos vas in quod intrabitis. 

i6o Lives of the British Saints 

the plon of Kervignac on the Blavet, in Morbihan. The name by 
which Gurthiern is known to the Bretons is Gonlay or Gondle. 

Where he tarried on the Tamar can only be matter of conjecture. 
Poughill, near Stratton, near, but not on the Tamar, is dedicated to 
S. Olaf. It is possible enough that a king saint such as Olaf may- 
have been substituted for a British royal saint with a name unpro- 
nounceable by Enghsh mouths. 

The Feast of Gurthiern was observed in Brittany in the diocese of 
Quimper on June 29, but was transferred to July 3, on account of its- 
incidence on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul. 

There is a statue of S. Gurthiern in his chapel on the He de Groix,. 
representing him as an aged hermit, in long habit, bareheaded, and 
holding a staff. 

The name Gurthiern is the same as Gwrtheyrn or Vortigern. Usu-- 
ally, and in calendars and liturgically, the saint is called Gunthiern.. 


In the Book of Llan Ddv ^ occurs the grant of Meurig, King of Mor- 
ganwg, to Bishop Oudoceus, of Ecclesia Guruid, which seems to be^ 
the Llan Irwydd of the Myvyrian Parish -list, ^ where it is entered 
between the parishes of Llangoven and Llanfihangel Tor y Mynydd,. 
in Monmouthshire. Guruid is presumably the name of a Welsh saint,, 
but of him nothing is known. 

S. GURVAN, Hermit 

All that we know of Gurvan occurs in the Life of S. Clydog, and'. 
a grant in the Book of Llan Ddv.^ He, his brother Lybiau (Llibio),. 
and his sister's son, Cinuur (Cynfwr), left Penychen, one of the ancient 
cantrefs of Central Glamorgan, owing to some dispute, and settled at 
Clodock, on the River Monnow, in Herefordshire, and there led an_ 
eremitical and solitary life. " With the advice and assistance of the- 

1 P. 143- 

^ Myv. Arch., p. 749. It does not occur in the same list in Dr. GwenogvryA> 
Evans' Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 919, Llan Issen being substituted for it. 
' Pp. 194-S ; see ii, pp. 154, 245, of this work. 

S, Gurwa/ 1 6 1 

Bishop of Llandaff, they built an improved church " on the spot, and 
Pennbargaut, King of Morganwg, made a grant to it of lands on both 
sides the Monnow. 

These three hermits were " the first inhabitants and cultivators of 
the place after the martyrdom of Clydog." Cinuur had four sons. 
Ithel, son of Morgan, King of Glywysing, subsequently made a grant 
of the territory to Bishop Berthguin of Llandaff. 

S. GURWAL, Bishop, Confessor 

The authorities for S. Gurwal are : a Life in three lections in the 
Breviary of S. Malo, 1517 and 1537, Acta SS. Boll. Junii i, p. 727 ; 
also a Life in Albert Le Grand's Collection, from a Legendarium in 
MS. of ,the church of S. Malo, now lost. There is a Life in MS. Bibl. 
Nat., Paris, MS. Fran9ais 22321, p. 776. 

S. Gurwal was a native of Britain, and almost certainly related to- 
S. Machu (Malo) and to S. Samson. He is said to have led a religious 
life from early childhood, and to have been a disciple of S. Brendan, 
and then to have founded a monastery of which he became abbot. 

The introduction of S. Brendan is due to his history having been 
vitiated by the interpolated Life of S. Machu, who was said to have 
been educated at Llancarfan by Brendan, who was its abbot. Bren- 
dan never was abbot there ; after Cadoc came EUi, and the names of 
the successors are known through the Book of Llan Ddv and the car- 
tulary that follows the Life of S. Cadoc. When Machu retired to 
Saintes, about the year 614 or 615, he informed his monks that he 
had designated Guirwal to be his successor, no doubt because he was 
nearest of kin. 

On the death of Malo in or about 621 Gurwal was visited by a dele- 
gation from Aleth, and he reluctantly consented to leave Wales and 
accompany them to Armorica. He remained over the see but a year 
and a few months, and then resigned in 622 or 623. He probably 
found himself incompetent as a bishop. 

He then retired to Gwern, now called Guer, in the forest of BrecUien, 
near Ploermel in the diocese of S. Malo, formerly, now included in 
that of Vannes. There he remained till he died. 

The parish church there is dedicated to him. The site of his re- 
treat is I'Abbaye, now a hamlet. An ancient building remains there 
with round-headed windows, and walls of herring-bone masonry., 

VOL. in M 

1 62 Lives of the British Saints 

^' Cela sent, k n'en point douter, I'art remain en decadence, ou le 
roman primitif ; cest un debris curieux et rare, qui merite d'etre re- 
ligieusement conserve." ^ 

S. Gurwal is given in the MS. Missal of S. Malo of the fifteenth cen- 
tury on June 12, but in the S. Malo Breviary of 1537 on June 6, the 
same day as S. Gudwal, with whom he is often confounded, but with 
whom he has no connexion. The S. Malo Breviary of 1627 on June 6. 

Under the name of Gurguaer or Gurguall, he is invoked in the 
eleventh century Litany published by D'Arbois de Jubainville.^ It 
is difficult to discover his name in Gwent, where it should be 
sought. 3 

S. GUYER or GUIER, Hermit, Confessor 

When S. Neot came to the place now called after him, he found a 
cell that had been occupied previously by a venerable hermit, named 
Guier, and he took up his residence in it. 

Nothing is known about him. 

Nicolas Roscarrock enters on May 7, " Deposition of S. Wier, Con- 

A chapel was dedicated to him at S. Neot. 

S. GWAINERTH, Hermit, Confessor 

. Of this saint we know but little. His church, Lann Sant Guainerth, 
is mentioned in the Book of Llan Ddv * as one of the churches in Erging 
belonging to that see. It is now known as S. Weonard's, on the old 
coach-road from Hereford to Monmouth. The Welsh form of the 
church-name is somewhat unusual. It was not the practice among 
the Welsh to " style " a purely Welsh saint. 

The saint is said to have been a hermit, who sought retirement 
Jiere, and was formerly represented as an old man sustaining a book 

^ Rosenzweig in Bulletin politique, 1872, p. 142. 

* Revue Celtique, iii, p. 449 ; xi, pp. 136, 143. 

, ' In Revue de Bretagne, Dec, 1909, M. de Calan maintains the identity of 
Gudwal with. Gurwal, but this M. Loth, a better authority, will not admit. 

* Pp. 275—7. It is to be distinguished from Lan Waynarth, now Llanwenarth, 
on the Usk, in Monmouthshire: 

S. Gwarthan 163 

a.nd with an ox in the painted glass that adorned the north chancel 
window of the church. ^ 

S. GWALEHES, Hermit, Confessor 

All we know of this saint is to be found in the Life of S. Cadoc ^ 
'{Cotton Vesp. A. xiv). His name is written in the MS. Gualehes, 
-Gualees and Walees. One day Cadoc sailed with his two disciples, 
Earruc and Gwalehes, from the island of Echni (the Flat Holmes) 
to the island of Barry, both in the Bristol Channel. On landing he 
asked them for his enchiridion, or manual. They repli-ed that they 
Jiad lost it on the Flat Holmes. In a fury he ordered them to re-embark 
and recover it, and cursed them that they might never return. They 
Tvent on their errand and found the book, and started on their return 
journey. Cadoc was sitting on a hill-top in the island awaiting their 
return, and saw in the distance their boat suddenly overturn, and 
both men drowned. Barruc's body was cast on Barry Island, and 
buried there, but that of Gwalehes " was carried by the sea to the 
island of Echni, and there buried." The manual was afterwards 
found inside a salmon caught by his attendants for Cadoc'S dinner, 
"free from all injury by water." 

Gwalehes is mentioned by Camden, who says that he was a 
disciple of Barruc, as he learned from an ancient monument in 
Llandaff Cathedral, but gives no copy of the inscription. Last 
century a tombstone was found on the Flat Holmes, conjectured 
to be that of the saint, but simply bore a cross. ^ 

S. GWARTHAN, Martyr 

Gwarthan was the son of Dunawd ab Pabo Post Prydyn, and 
"brother of SS. Deiniol and Cynwyl. His mother was Dwywai, daughter 
•of Lleenog. His title to saintship, which is somewhat doubtful, 

^ Arch. Camb., 1855, p. 161 ; 1861, p. 116. Kerslake, in his Saint Richard, 
1890, p. 33, makes a mistake when he identifies Gwainerth with S. Fingar pr 
Gwinear. ^ 

' Cambro-British Saints, pp. 63-4. The Isle of Gresholm, off the coast of 
Pembrokeshire, is called in Welsh Gwales. ^ Ibid., p. 357. 

164 Lives of the British Saints 

rests entirely upon the late documents in the lolo MSS^ He and 
his brothers are there credited with having had a share in the establish- 
ing of Bangor Iscoed. Previously the three were " disciples " at 
Llancarfan, where Gwarthan was Cadoc's periglawr or confessor, 
and it was Cadoc that sent them to " superintend " the Bangor. He 
was " killed by the pagan Saxons in their wars in the North. His 
church is Llanwarthen,^ in the Vale of Clwyd." There is no trace 
whatever to-day of a church of the name in the Vale. 

He was a warrior, and appears to have fallen in the battle of Catraeth. 
He is mentioned in the Gododm as " Guarchan, son of Dwywei, of 
gallant bravery." * 


Some late writers * mention Gwarw or Gwarwg as a saint of Gwent, 
by whom is meant the patron of the church still called by the Welsh 
Llanwarw,^ but by the English, Wonastow, near Monmouth. It 
is usually given to-day as dedicated to S. Gwyno or Wonnow. Its 
real patron, however, is the well-known S. Winwaloe. In the Book of 
Llan Ddv ^ the church is called Lann Gunguarui, which occurs later 
as Wonwarrowstow, Wonwarestowe, etc. Gwarw represents-guarui. 
The English would appear to have preserved the first, and the Welsk 
the last part of the name.' 

See further under S. Winwaloe. 

S. GWAWR, Matron 

All the authorities, both early and late, agree in the few particulars 
there are respecting this saint.^ She was a daughter of Brychan. 

1 Pp. 126, 129, 1 50-1 ; and ii, pp. 275, 326, of this work. 

2 " Lanwarthan " is the spelling of a submanor name of Narberth in a charter- 
of 141 3-4 (Edw. Owen, Catal. of MSS. relating to Wales in Brit.Mus., p. 626). 

' Skene, Four Ancient Books, ii, p. 91 ; i, p. 407. Stephens, in his Gododin,: 
makes Gwarthan succeed his father in his patrimony of Gododin (see the index, 
p. 412). « E.g. lolo MSS., p. 144. 

^ Dr. J. G. Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 919 ; Myv. Arch., p. 749. It: 
occurs also as Llanwarwg. 

* P. 201. ' Y Cymmrodor, xi, p. 85. 

' Cognatio de Brychan', Cambro-British Saints, p. 271 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 4I9>. 

/S. Gweirydd 165 

■Brycheiniog, and became the wife of Elidyr Lydanwyn and mother 
-of the well-known bard Llywarch Hen. Elidyr was a prince of the 
Northern Brythons, of the race of Coel Hen, and Llywarch's patrimony 
we learn, was Argoed Llwyfain, which Skene locates on the river 

The Progenies Keredic and the pedigrees in Jesus College MS. 20 
give a Gwawr who was daughter of Ceredig ab Cunedda Wledig 
and mother of Gwynllyw, the father of S. Cadoc ; but elsewhere she 
is Gwawl. The former document mentions also a Pedyr Lanwaur 
who was nephew to Gwawr. Lanwaur here may stand for either 
Llan Wawr or Llan Fawr, but the exact situation of the church 
and whether this Gwawr may be regarded as its foundress, are questions 
which cannot be satisfactorily determined.^ 


GwAWRDDYDD is given as one of the reputed daughters of Brychan, 
but her name occurs only in the late lists of his children. ^ According 
to these she was the wife of Cadell Deyrnllwg, and mother of Cyngen ; 
but she has clearly been confounded with Tudglid, the wife of Cyngen, 
and mother of Cadell. She is sometimes said to have been a saint 
in Merionethshire, in particular at Towyn.* Gwenddydd, another 
reputed daughter of Brychan, is connected with Towyn, and so is 
Cerdech, another daughter. See under both names. 


S. GWEIRYDD, King, Confessor 

All that we know of this saint, whose title to a place among the 
Welsh saints is extremely doubtful, is to be found in a document 

426 ; lolo MSS., pp. Ill, 120, 140. Gwawr, and also Gwawrddydd, are names 
for Aurora and the dawn. 

' Four Ancient Books, ii. p. 413. 

* See, however, Owen's Pembrokeshire, ii, pp. 469-70. 

» Myv. Arch., pp. 419, 426 ; lolo MSS., pp. iii, 120, 140. Geoffrey of Mon- 
mouth gives a Gwawrddydd, daughter of Efrog. 

* Peniarth MS. 178 ; Cambro-British Saints, p. 270. 

r 6 6 Lives of the British Saints 

printed in the lolo MSS. ^ from a MS. circa 1580, which gives the- 
" Names and Genealogy of the Kings of Glamorgan from Morgan 
Mwynfawr to lestyn ab Gwrgan," wherein it is stated, " Gweirydd 
ab Brochfael was a wise, but unfortunate king ; for diseases and 
rough, ungenial seasons had greatly damaged the country ; being 
the calamitous consequences of wickedness that occurred in his age ; 
and which emanated from a prevalent recourse to depravity, ille- 
gality, and impious abominations. He built the church of Llan- 
weirydd, which is now called Y Caerau, where he had a mansion, 
although he held his court at Cardiff." 

Gweirydd was the sixth in descent from Morgan Mwynfawr, who 
died circa 665. He must, therefore, have lived about the latter part 
of the ninth century. He was succeeded by his son Arthfael. 

Caerau Church, in Glamorganshire, is now dedicated to S. Mary., 
It goes without saying that the name Caerau (the Fortifications),, 
by which alone the place is to-day known, is considerably older than 

S. GWEN of Cornwall, Matron 

GwEN, daughter of Cynyr of Caer Gawch, and sister of S. Non, was- 
married to Solomon or Selyf , King of Cornwall, and became the mother 
of S. Cybi. 2 Nothing is recorded of her. She must have received her 
sister in Cornwall, and obtained for her an extensive grant of land. 
And she herself founded a church, now called S. Wenn. Selyf is 
thought to have fallen early, in Armorica, to which he had gone, as 
the first settlers regarded themselves as still under the rule of their 
princes in Britain, and made domain lands for them in their new 
colony, and Selyf is said to have been murdered by pagans there. 
But the authorities for this are untrustworthy. 

A S. Gwenne or Candide is venerated in Brittany in the diocese of 
Vannes, but it is doubtful if this be Gwen the wife of Selyf. She is 

1 Pp. 12-17. Geoffrey of Monmouth mentions a Gweirydd, Bruts, pp. 94-8, 
who in the Latin text occurs as Arviragus. The name is met with also in the 
Record of Caernarvon, p. 60. For a Glamorgan aged hermit of the name, who 
dwelt in a cave underground, and was regarded as a sorcerer, see Sir J. Rhys, 
Celtic Folklore, p. 189. The name is distinct from Gwerydd. 

' Hanesyn HSn, p. 109 ; .Myv. Arch., p. 421. Cardiff MS. 5 (1527), p. 119 
gives Gwen, daughter of Tewdwr Mawr, as mother of S. Elian, but it is a mis- 
reading for Cenaf or Cena. 

/S. Gwen 167 

commemorated there on October 3, according to Garaby, but this is 
Gwen Teirbron, and his authority is not great. 

The Feast of S. Wenn is on October 18. Oengus in his Felire has 
on October 3, " Candida, a happy sun " ; but Gorman has, " Candidus, 
a chaste man." On this day in the Roman Martyrology is Candidus, 
a Martyr at Rome. He does not appear in Usuardus, but in Bede's 
additions ; and in some of the versions of the Martyrology of S. Jerome 
is Candida or Candidus. On the strength of this doubtful martyr, and 
of doubtful sex, Gwen has been given this day. 

S. Gwen daughter of Cynyr has received no cult in Wales. 

Dedications to her in Devon and Cornwall are : — ■ 

The parish church of S. Wenn, and that of Morval. A ruined chapel 
at S. Kew, and another at Hartland (Bp. Stafford's Register, 1400). 
At S. Wenn in S. Kew is a very early rude cross. 

The parish church of S. Wenn is called Ecclesia Sts Wennse in the 
Registers of Bishop Bronescombe, 1260 ; Bishop Grandisson, 1329 ; 
Bishop Brantynghame, 1371. 

There is an entry in William of Worcester of a S. Candida or Whyte 
which is a translation of the name given, at " Whyte-chyrche per 
[not filled in) miliaria de Cherde, et dedicata die Pentecosten," and 
here reposed her body. 

It has been supposed that the name originates from a mistake. 
When the first stone churches were erected, they were whitewashed, 
and so acquired the names of Whitchurches. But when this practice 
became obsolete, then some other reason was sought to explain the 
name, and it was assumed that a S. White or Candida was the patron- 
ess. Whitchurch-Canonicorum, near Lyme-Regis in Dorset is placed 
under the two-fold dedication of S. Candida and S. Cross. There is 
also a Whitchurch-cum-Felton near Bristol. The existing church is 
dedicated to S. Gregory, but was formerly considered to have been 
under the patronage of S. Candida. But see what is said hereon 
under S. Gwen Teirbron. 

S. Candida, a Roman martjn:, was commemorated on August 29. 
Another Candida martyr in Africa on January 5, and another martyr 
also in Africa on March 9. AS. Candida martyr at Alexandria 
on March 21, and one of the same name at Carthage on September 20. 

A S. Guen or Candida is culted at Scaer in Finistere, and it is sup- 
posed that she is identical with S. Ninoca ; but this is doubtful. She 
is there represented as an abbess, and an abundant holy well bears her 

1 6 8 Liwes of the British Saints 

S. GWEN of Talgarth, Matron 

GwEN was a daughter of Brychan according to both the early and 
the late lists of his children.^ She founded the church of Talgarth, in 
Breconshire, where, according to the lolo MSS.^ she was " killed by 
the pagan Saxons." In the Cognatio she is unmatched, but other 
accounts give her as the wife of LIjtt Merini, and mother of Caradog 

Clodfaith, a reputed daughter of Brychan, is also said to have been 
a saint at Talgarth, as well as in Emlyn.^ Browne Willis * and others 
enter Gwendeline against Talgarth, but its true dedication is to Gwen. 


This saint was the daughter of Emyr Llydaw, a grand-daughter of 
Aldor, an early chief in Armorica, who had his headquarters where is 
now Castelaudren. She was married to Eneas Lydewig, probably in 
Armorica, and became the mother of S. Cadfan. ■' 

She was left a widow, and then married Fracan, cousin of Cador or 
Cado, Duke of Cornwall, and with him migrated back to Armorica, 
They had two children, Jacob or James and Gwethenoc ; and, after 
arriving in Brittany, two more, Winwaloe and Cleirve. 

Owing to her having been twice married, and having a family by 
each husband, she was called Teirbron, or the Three-breasted ; and the 
author of the Life of S. Winwaloe, Wurdistan, states that she actually 
had this conformation.® But there is nothing of this in the Life of her 
other sons, SS. James and Gwethenoc. In like manner, a woman who 
was thrice married, and had a family by each husband was called Four- 

' Cognatio de Brychan ; Jesus College MS. 20 ; Cambro-British Saints, p. 270 ; 
lolo MSS., pp. Ill, 140; Myv. Arch., pp. 419, 426. 

" P. 120. ' ii, p. 151. 

* Parochiale Anglicanum, 1733, p. 182. Jones, in his Brecknockshire, ed. 
1898, p. 473, thought it should be to Gwenfrewi, as also the church of Vaynor 
{supposed to be to Gwendeline), in the same county. 

'■ Myv. Arch., p. 425 ; lolo MSS., p. 112. There is an account of her in Arch. 
Camb., 1864, pp. 40-3, where is also an illustration of the statue in the chapel 
of S. Venec. 

" " Parente eorundem (sc. Uueithnoci et Jacobi) Alba (Gwen) nomine, quas 
cognominatur Trimammis, eo quod ternas, sequato numero natorum, habuit 
mammas." Vita Sti, Winwaloei in Cart. Landeven, p. 9. 

' Deirinell, mother of SS. Domangart and Mura, was called Four-Breasted, 
because she reared three families, a pair of breasts being allowed only to the 
first family. 

''.If ^ 


In the Chapel of S. Venec. 

S. Gwen Teirbron 169 


As related to the ruling family, she was granted tracts of land „. 
Domnonia, one, now called Pleguien, is near Lanvollon in Goello. 
In^ the church there she is represented seated, with three breasts, a 
■child in each arm, and another lying at her feet. The cure being some- 
what ashamed of the statue has relegated it to the tower. The Pardon 
there is on the Sunday in the Octave of S. Anne. 

She also had a settlement in Kemenet lUi, at Plouguin near Plou- 
dalmezeau. In the chapel of the chateau of Lisguen in the parish, is 
an altar painting representing her, and Fracan, and S. Winwaloe. 
Her third breast is there ingeniously disguised as a broad gold brooch. 
In the park are remains of a chapel of S. Winwaloe. 

A third settlement was at S. Guen in Cotes du Nord, near Mur. 
She has, however, been abandoned as patroness for a S. Guenin, 
Bishop of Vannes. But that the place was originally a -plou of 
hers would appear from there having been in the parish a chapel 
of S. Fracan. 

Between Quimper and Chateaulin is the chapel of S. Venec, in the 
parish of Brasparts. In this chapel is a statue of her, three-breasted, 
and with her three sons by Fracan, James, Gwethenoc and Winwaloe. 
Also another statue, of a saint in armour, probably Cadfan, who has a 
chapel in the parish. 

More statues of the Three-breasted Gwens existed, but they have 
been got rid of by the cures, who have buried them, regarding them as 
somewhat outrageous and not conducive to devotion. ' 

Nursing mothers offer to her a distaff and flax, to secure the desired 
quantity of milk. 

Garaby gives October 3 as the day of commemoration of S. Gwen, 
but see what has been said thereon in the preceding article but one. 
Nicolas Roscarrock gives June i. 

For further particulars see S. Fracan. 

The church of Whitchurch-Canonicorum in Dorset is dedicated to S. 
Candida or White ; and in it is the shrine of the saint in the transept. 
Beneath the east window is the recessed tomb of the saint. The monu- 
ment consists of two parts. The lower part is composed of an old 
thirteenth-century base brought from some other place and rebuilt in 
its present position. There are openings, three in number, beneath the 
tomb for the insertion of handkerchiefs, etc., to touch the shrine. On 
the top of this old base is a plain fourteenth-century coffin, covered 
with a Purbeck marble slab. This coffin was opened by the Reverend 
Sir Wilham Palmer, in 1848, and found to contain a stone box in 
which were some bones, the supposed relics of S. Candida. The monu- 
1 Bulletin de la Soc. Arch, de FinisUre, ii (1874-5), p. 104. 

I 7 o Lives of the British Saints 

ment is locally known as the " shrine of S. Candida." In 1899 there 
was a dangerous settlement of the walls of the north transept owing to 
the sinkage of the clay soil, and in March 1900 an ominous fissure 
appeared. The work of underpinning the walls and putting in a 
foundation of cement, was carried out by the then Vicar, the Rev. 
Charles Druit. It was during the execution of this work that the 
re-discovery of the relics was made. The broken end of the coffin 
having been withdrawn from under the Purbeck marble slab, there 
was seen within the end of a leaden casket of eight inches square, and 
on it, cast in raised letters on the lead, was the following inscription of 
the twelfth or early thirteenth century : — 

CT. Reliqe See. W. 

Further examination showed that the floor of the coffin was covered 
with dust and many fragments of bone, wood, and lead, including two 
perfectly sound teeth, one molar and one incisor. The reliquary 
itself, on being carefully drawn out, was seen to contain a large num- 
ber of bones, presumably those of a small woman of about forty years 
of age. These were not disturbed in their resting-place, but one of the 
thigh bones which lay uppermost was measured, and was found to be 
13 J inches long. The larger fragments found on the floor of the coffin 
were placed with the rest of the bones in the reliquary, and all the 
smaller fragments and dust were reverently collected into a small 
metal box and placed within the coffin. The lead reliquary had been 
found torn, but on one side that was uninjured was found, cast in 
raised letters, the following inscription : — 

^ Hie. Requesct Rliqe, See. Wite. 

All the relics were carefully replaced in the stone coffin, the broken 
end being securely cemented in its place. 
Now, who was this S. Candida, or White ? 

The Church of Whitchurch-Canonicorum was founded by King 
Alfred. In 919-920, Matuedoi, Count of Poher, " cum ingenti multi- 
tudine Britonum," fled from Brittany to England, carrying with them 
the relics of their saints. They were kindly received by Athelstan, 
who was not then king, and he located them in various places, mainly, 
probably, on the south coast and in Cornwall, where they might be 
among those speaking the same tongue. At Wareham in Dorset have 
been found inscribed stones bearing British names, but in a Breton 
form, and similar, if not identical, with forms found in Breton cartu- 
laries of the ninth and tenth centuries. It has been conjectured that 
these are monuments of some of these Breton refugees. ■■■ 

' McClure, British Place-names, S.P.C.K., 1910, p. 161. 

iS. Gwenabwy 


Now we know that Athelstan gave relics of various Breton saints to 
churches in Wessex, and it is by no means unlikely that he thus en- 
dowed the church of Whitchurch, founded by his grandfather, with 
the bones of S. Gwen, the mother of such illustrious saints as S. Cadfan 
and S. Winwaloe, and which the Breton refugees would certainly 
carry away with them to save them from the depredations of the North- 
men. Athelstan might be the more led to give the body of S. Gwen to 
Whitchurch, because of the name, Gwen being white in English. In 
Brittany she is variously called S. Candide and S. Blanche. Accord- 
ing to the legend there told, she was carried off by English pirates to 
London, but she climbed down the side of the ship and walked back to 
Brittany over the water, but not tiU one of the pirates with an axe had 
chopped off two of her fingers. ^ In the legend she is not regarded as a 
virgin, but as a mother of several sons. In the legend there is mani- 
fest confusion. There is a reminiscence of the pirates, but she is made 
to be carried off by them, instead of her body being taken away from 
them. And she is represented as conveyed to England ; which prob- 
ably was true of her body. On the Church of Whitchurch are sculp- 
tured representations of a ship, a pike, and an axe, as well as of the 
water-avens, and conceivably the ship and pike may bear some refer- 
ence to the pirates, and the axe to the mutilation of her hand in the 
popular legend, whilst the water-avens would symbolise her name. 

What helps to make the conjecture more probable, that the Candida 
of Whitchurch is S. Gwen Teirbron, is that Scaer, the church of which 
is dedicated to her under the name of Candida, was in the county of 

S. GWENABWY, Matron 

GwENABWY or Gwenafwy was one of the reputed daughters of Caw, 
and is said to have a church dedicated to her in Anglesey, where she 
lies buried. 2 No church is dedicated to her in Anglesey or Wales to- 
day ; but we may probably regard her as the foundress of Gwennap 
in Cornwall, which has as patroness S. Weneppa. Bishop Brones- 

1 Sebillot (P.), Petite Lis^ende DorSe de la Haute-Bretagne, Nantes, 189-. 

2 Peniarth MS. 75 ; lolo MSS., pp. 117. i43- The second element of the name, 
-pui, mutated into -hui, -bwy, occurring also in Guorapui (-abui), Gwernabwy, 
Junabui (Latinized Junapeius), Rhonabwy, etc., is the Early Goidelic genitive 
poi, " of a son, or boy, or descendant." Sir J. Rhys, Celtae and Galh, 1905, 
p. 43- 

172 Lives of the British Saints 

combe's Register, 1226, gives, " Ecclesia Sanctas Weneppas." So 
also in the Taxation of Pope Nicolas IV, 1288-91, and the Registers 
of Bishop Grandisson, 1342, 13,49, Bishop Stapeldon, 1310, and 
Bishop Brantyngham, 1377, 1392. 

If the S. Winnow on the Foye River be a foundation of Gwynog, 
son of Gildas, which is uncertain, then Gwenabwy had a nephew in 
Cornwall. What is more certain is that she had there her great- 
nephews, Ffili and Eval. According to the story of Culhwch and 
Olwen she was married to Llwyddeu, son of Nwython, and had a son, 
Gwydre, whom " Huail his uncle stabbed ; and there was hatred 
between Huail and Arthur because of the wound." ^ 

Gwenabwy was also the name of a chieftain, the son of Gwen, who 
figures in the Gododin. " Equal to twelve " was he. Gwynabwy occurs 
as a lay witness in the Book of Llan Ddv.'^ 

S. GWENAEL, Abbot, Confessor 

Although Gwenael is a Saint only doubtfully known in Wales, yet 
he has left faint traces of his presence in Cornwall, and we know from 
his Life that he spent some years in Britain and in Ireland, where he 
is said to have founded two monasteries. It is accordingly advisable 
to give an account of him. 

The authorities for his story are as follows : — 

1. A Life composed in the tenth century, before the translation of 
liis body to Paris under Hugh Capet, about the year 950. Of this two 
MSS. are extant, one in the Bibliotheque royale at Brussels, No. 8,931, 
the other, divided into nine Lections was in the Library at Corbeil, but 
is now lost, yet a copy exists made by John Baptist Macculdus, S. J., 
in 1635. 

This Life has been published by the Bollandists, Acta SS. Nov. 3, 
I, pp. 674-8. 

2. A second Life by Guido de Castris, Abbot of S. Denys, in the 
thirteenth century, published by Menardus, lib. ii, p. 368. 

3. A life by Albert le Grand in his Vies des Saints Bretons, derived 
from the Breviaries of Leon, Vannes and Quimper. He also used the 
Life composed in the tenth century. 

Gwenael was son of Romelius, Count {comes) in Brittany, and of 
Letitia his wife. At his baptism he was given his name, which 

^ Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 109. ' P. 122. 

*S'. Gwenael 173 

signifies "The White Angel." One day, when Gwenael was quite 
a child, S. Winwaloe accompanied Romelius on his way from one 
of his cells to his abbey of Landevennec. Albert le Grand says 
that the place was Quimper, and that Winwaloe had come there to 
visit S. Corentine, but this is wholly unsupported by the texts we 

Something bright and pleasant in the face of the little lad attracted 
Winwaloe's attention, and he said to him, " Would you like, my boy, to 
follow me to my monastery and there serve God continually ? " 

" I would desire nothing better," answered the child, and without a 
word to his parents, he followed the Abbot to Landevennec. 

Albert le Grand gives fuller details, which we have quoted in the Life 
of S. Winwaloe. Albert says that Gwenael was seven years old when he 
went to Landevennec, and that he remained there three years before he 
was invested with the monastic habit, and he was forty-three years in 
Landevennec before Winwaloe died. There is nothing of this in the 
Vita i"'", but we cannot suppose that Albert le Grand invented these 
very precise statements. He was a conscientious compiler ; he added 
flourishes of his own, but did not manufacture facts. ^ 

The Vita i™" says that when Winwaloe was dying, his monks urged 
him to nominate a successor, and he indicated Gwenael as the most 
suitable to fill his room. The early Life, on the contrary, implies that 
Gwenael was scarcely out of his noviciate when appointed abbot. ^ 
This is incredible, and we are more disposed to accept the statement of 
le Grand based on some text that has not come down to us. 

Gwenael remained in charge of Landevennec for seven years, ^ and 
then he betook himself to Britain and to Ireland, attended by twelve 
monks. He founded one large monastery in Britain, and another in 
Ireland, and fifty congregations of pious men placed themselves undef 
his direction.* At last he resolved on returning, after four years 
spent in Britain and Ireland,^ and he took back with him fifty monks. 

' He relied on the Quimper Breviary. " Vix septennis," say the Vannes 
Breviary and that of Quimper. " Decennis habitum religionis indutus," Brev. 

' " Beatus Guenailus in his verbis aggressus est : Quo sensu, pater, qua ratione, 
quo consilio, maturis juvenem sapientibus imprudentem, exercitatis neophytum 
et rudem vis praeponere ? Necdum subesse didici, etpraeesse jam cogor ; nec- 
dum monachum feci, et in abbatem eligor ? ImbeciUibus humeris imponitur 
regiminis onus, cui frequentissime succumbunt ipsi fortiores ? " Vital""', Acta 
SS. Nov. i, p. 675. 

' " Septem annos integros . . . praefuit." Ibid. ; and again, " Septem annis 
expletis . . . disgrediehs." 

* " Monasteria duo, alterum in Brittannia, alterum in Scotia construxit.' 
" Quinquagenta coenobiorum conventus , . . patrocinio famuh Dei sese com- 
miserunt." Jbid, p. 676. = Albert le Grand. 

174 Lives of the British Saints 

Gwenael arrived in Cornubia (Cornouaille) in the reign of Rigomalus, 
who received liim and his monks favourably. 

Rigomalus looks like a tenth-century version of Rigmael ; but no 
such prince is known. There was a Righael or Rivol, who was the 
murderer of his brother Meliau and of his nephew Melor, and the Life 
in Albert le Grand calls him by the name. The author of Vita i™ 
calls this prince, " Vir honestate, justitiaque prseclarus, qui et eandem 
(Cornubiam) tam moribus quam legibus venustavit." 

But hagiographers painted princes in fair colours if they were large 
benefactors, and blackened them if otherwise, regardless of their moral 
qualities. It is, however, reasonable to set down this laudation of 
Rivol to the ignorance of the biographer, who added the flourish to 
fill out a sentence, concluding that the prince was all that could have 
been desired because he received Gwenael well. 

In Cornubia the saint now founded three monasteries, after which he 
departed to the Isle of Groix, where he remained for several years 
and made monastic settlements on it. 

Again a spirit of restlessness came over him, and he left the island 
and settled on the mainland in the county of Vannes, wherehe drove 
away a wolf with her cubs, and elicited a spring of water. 

Once, when on his way to the monastery of " Chaloteti," a stag that 
was being pursued fled for protection to him from the hunters, and this 
led to a meeting with Count Weroc, who forthwith made to him a grant 
of two vills. 

At length, full of days, and worn with labours, Gwenael died on 
November 3. 

We find a different account of his movements in Albert le Grand. 

On leaving Britain, Gwenael and his party landed on the Isle of 
Groix, and not after a course of foundation-making in Cornubia, as 
the first biographer intimates. 

He did not remain some years on the isle, but a few days only, and 
then went on by boat to Landevennec, where he was received with 
great joy,""- and where he remained for the space of three years. ^ 

Then only did he visit Rivol or Rualo ^ as called in the Breviary 
lessons, and remained in Cornubia for some — as we learn by the sequel — 
six years, and after that migrated into the territory of Vannes. 

^ " Hinc ad suum coenobium perrexit, ubi incredibili omnium religiosorum 
laetitia exceptus est." Brev. . Quimper. 

^ " Monasterium. Landevenecense, cui sex festituit, triennio . . . inhabi- 
tant." Ibid. 

' " Hinc ad locum Corisopitensis agri desertum profectus, novum in territorio, 
a comite Rualone date, monasterium erexit." Ibid. 

S. Gwenael 


He had not been there nine months before he encountered Weroc the 
■Count, who made a grant of lands to him. Then he returned to Lande- 
vennec, and remained there for four years till his death, which took 
place when he was seventy-five according to one account, seventy 
■according to another. ^ 

It will be seen that there is a precision as to dates of his life which 
lacks in the Vita i""", and that the order of events is reasonable and 
probable, whereas that in the First Life is quite unmeaning. This latter 
■does not make Gwenael return to Landevennec at all after his return 
from Britain and Ireland. In the Vita 2''" we have him make this abbey 
his headquarters from which he undertakes diversions so as to secure 
fresh sites for cells to his monastery. 

The Vita i""* seems to have been composed by some one unac- 
quainted with the localities, and who was furnished with scraps of 
biographical matter that were not in chronological order. He makes his 
hero found several monasteries in the Isle of Groix, which is six miles 
long and two broad, and which could not have supported so many 
similar institutions. Where " Chaloteti " can be, it is perhaps vain 
to ask. The biographer blundered over a name which he did not 
understand, or misread. 

He avoids precise statements as to the periods in the Life of Gwenael, 
such as are given with much exactitude in the Vita 2,^", and he is also 
vague as to the localities where he settled temporarily. On the other 
hand, he makes up for exact historical matter by much rhetorical 
adornment, a common trick with biographers deficient in matter. 

The Life by Albert Le Grand, based on the Acts in the Breviaries, 
seems to us a far more reliable guide than that printed in the Acta 
Sanctorum of the Bollandists. 

The chronology of Gwenael's Life according to the Vita 2''" is as 
follows : — • 

Gwenael, aged seven, follows Winwaloe. 

Assumes the habit 

Becomes abbot at the age of 

Departs for Britain 

Returns to Landevennec 

Retires to a solitude in Cornubia 

Leaves for Vannes 

Returns to Landevennec 

Dies ..... 


10 years. 


But when we come to fix the dates we encounter numerous diffi- 

Kerdanet's note to Albert le Grand, ed. 1837. 

176 Lives of the British Saints 

Three years after his return from Britain, he is brought into rela- 
tions with Rivol, Prince of Cornouaille. The date of this prince is- 
given with some approacli to exactitude by De la Borderie as 538-544. 

When aged seventy, he goes into the territory of Vannes, where he 
meets with the Count Weroc who makes to him a grant of lands. 

There were two of the name, the elder died in 550 as nearly as can, 
be judged. He was at once succeeded by his son Canao, who murdered, 
three of his brothers, and would have murdered a fourth, Macliau, but 
for the interposition of S. Felix, Bishop of Nantes. MacUau swore to 
submit to his brother, then broke his oath, raised a party, took up arms,. 
was defeated by Canao, and flew for refuge to Conmore, Regent of 
Domnonia. Canao fell in 560, but before that, Macliau had slipped 
into the city of Vannes, got himself elected and consecrated Bishop, and 
maintained himself there in defiance of his brother. 

On the death of Canao, Macliau seized on the county, and ruled. 
Broweroc as Count and Vannes as Bishop. He was killed in 577 and 
then his son Weroc II succeeded and ruled till about 594. 

Consequently, if we take 544 as the date when Gwenael received 
grants from Rivol, we have 550 as the date when he encountered 
Weroc, but this cannot have been Weroc I , who died about this date ;: 
and Weroc II was not count till twenty-seven years later. This, 
presents a difficulty that can only be got over by supposing that 
Macliau had his domain about the place where Gwenael settled,, 
and that his son as a youth hunted there and met the saint and. 
prevailed on his father to concede to the saint certain trefs ; that 
this took place during the temporary reconciliation between Macliau. 
and Canao, and that, further, the biographer has given to Weroc the 
title of Count before he had any right to it. 

That this assumption is not destitute of probability may be gathered 
from the precipitate return of Gwenael to Landevennec shortly after 
having received the promise of the two estates. We might have ex- 
pected that he would have remained in Broweroc to consolidate his. 
foundation there ; instead of that, he remained in the district in all 
but nine months and left it never to go there again. Hostilities- 
broke out between Macliau and Canao immediately after the donation 
had been made. Macliau was defeated and fled for his life, and any grant 
he or his son had made was no longer effective. But later, after 
Canao's death and that of Gwenael, the disciples of the saint probably 
reminded Weroc of his undertaking, and when he actually was Count, 
he may have confirmed it to the representatives of Gwenael ; and thus,, 
the biographer was led to antedate his title. 

We come next to a much more difficult problem, that concerning the- 

S. Gwenael 177 

date of the death of Winwaloe, and the succession of Gwenael to the 
abbacy of Landevennec. 

Winwaloe died on Wednesday in the first week in Lent, which fell 
that year on March 3.1 

The fast of Lent among the Celts began, as in the Church of Milan, 
not on Ash Wednesday, but on the Monday after the First Sunday. ^ 
Moreover, had Wurdistan, the biographer of Winwaloe, meant Ash 
Wednesday, he would have said, " Wednesday, the first day of Lent," 
and not, " March 3, the fourth day in the first week of Lent." 

We might suppose that in the sixth century, the Church in Armorica 
observed the Celtic computation and not the Roman. Now by the 
Celtic reckoning, the only years in which Easter Day fell on April 11, 
and Wednesday in the first week in Lent on March 3, were 499, 
583 and 594. The first date is too early, and the others too late. 

But did the Church in Brittany in the sixth century observe the 
Celtic reckoning for Easter ? It is true that many Celtic usages re- 
mained in force in that Church till late. In 818 the Emperor Louis the 
Pious, having defeated Morvan, the Breton prince, received Matmonoc, 
abbot of Landevennec, and inquired of him what were the peculiar 
customs in the Breton monasteries. The abbot informed him that 
they followed the usages of the Scots or Irish. Thereupon Louis 
issued an order addressed to all the monasteries in Brittany, requiring 
the abandonment of the Celtic tonsure, and such other customs as 
were peculiar, and the acceptance of the rule of S. Benedict.^ 

^ Sanctus ergo Wingualoeus . . . quinto nonas Martias, quarta feria in prima 
quadragesimas hebdomada integer et corpore et mente obiit." Vita S. Winwaloei 
auct. Wurdistan, Anal. Boll. T. vii (1888), pp. 248-9. 

' The ,four days before the first Sunday in Lent were not added to the fast 
of Lent till after the time of Gregory the Great, at the close of the sixth century. 
In his sixteenth Homily on the Gospels, he says : " There are from this day 
(the first Sunday in Lent) to the joyous feast of Easter, six weeks, that is, forty- 
two days. As we do not fast on the six Sundays, there are but thirty-six fasting 
days . . . which we offer to God as the tithe of the year." But from the sixth 
century on, sporadically the four days were added, here and there in the Western 
Church, but their observance as part of the fast of Lent was not made obligatory 
till Urban II in the Council of Beneventum, 1091, enjoined their observance. 
They never have been, and are not to this day, observed in the Church of Milan. 
The alteration was not made in Scotland till Margaret, a Saxon princess, married 
to King Malcolm III, a.d. 1069, promoted a religious change, to bring the Scot- 
tish Church into uniformity with that of Rome. Warren, The Liturgy of the 
Celtic Church, London, 1881, p. 7; Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen Lexikon, 1886, 
iv, p. 1,261 ; Dom Gueranger, The Liturgical Year (trs. L. Shepherd), Dublin,^ 
1876, Septuagesima, p. 2. 

' " Hludowicus imperator Augustus omnibus episcopis et universo ordini 
ecclesiastico Britannise . . . cognoscentes quomodo ab Scotis sive de conversa- 
tione sive de tonsione capitum accepissent dum ordo totius sanctae apostolicae 
atque Romanae Ecclesiae aliter se habere dinoscitur . . Et ideo jussimusutet 


178 Lives of the British Saints 

The ordinance is remarkable in this, that it does not mention and 
make a point of the observance of Easter at a different time from the 
Franko-Roman Church, which it certainly would have done had the 
Breton Church varied from the Latin in this particular, at the time. 

Further, it is noticeable that there is absolutely no trace of contro- 
versy on this burning question, which agitated men's minds and excited 
such strong feeling in England, Wales and Ireland. This must have 
been due to the acquiescence, at an early period, of the Breton Church 
in the revised computation followed by the Frank Church.^ 

When we consider the intimate relations in which the Breton saints 
were with the Frank princes and bishops, we maj/ be confident that 
the question as to the time when Easter was to be celebrated was not 
a mooted point between them. S. Albinus, a native of Broweroc, 
became Bishop of Angers, beyond the Breton pale ; S. Samson of Dol 
had a monastery, Penitale in the diocese of Paris, and he was on the 
most intimate terms with its bishop, Germanus ; the position would 
have been strained had they observed Easter at different times. 
Nantes, Rennes, Vannes were in a country overflowed by British 
colonists ; in these anciently established dioceses the Roman 
computation was observed, but we hear of no jar on account of the 
colonists observing the Paschal solemnity at a different time. Paul 
of Leon visited Childebert at Paris to receive confirmation of the grant 
of land made to him by Count Withur of Leon. Childebert consented 
on condition that Paul was consecrated bishop ; we may be sure he would 
have insisted as well on conformity to the Roman usage with regard to 
the celebration of Easter. It would accordingly appear most probable 
that the Breton Church from the first acquiesced in the change. 

The impossibiUty of making Winwaloe's death agree with the Celtic 
computation renders it certain that this was so at Landevennec. The 
Roman Easter, in the sixth century, fell on April 11, in the years 510, 
521, 532 ; and the last of these is the only date that can be reconciled 
with the particulars as given in the Life of Gwenael. We are now able 
to determine the dates in this Life with some approach to accuracy. 

S. Gwenael was born in the year ...... 482 

He followed Winwaloe to Landevennec . . . . .489 

juxta regulam Sti. Benedict! patris viverent, et de tonsura capitis juxta taxatum 
modum cum sanctje Romanae Ecclesias . . . concordent unitate." Cart. Land,., 
ed. De la Borderie, Rennes, 1888, pp. 75-6. 

* " Leur contact avec I'eglise gallo- franke puissamment organisee parait 
avoir de bonne heure modifie ces coutumes speciales, du moin sur le point le plus 
essentiel, I'epoque de la celebration de la Paque. II n'y eut jamais a cet egard 
de dissidence entre les Bretons de I'Armorique et leurs voisins de la Gaule, du 
moins, on n'en trouve nulle. trace." De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretagne, ii. p. 26/I. 

S. Gwenael 179 

He received the monastic habit, aged ten 

S. Winwaloe died, and Gwenael succeeded as abbot 

Gwenael departed for Britain and Ireland 

After four years absence he returned 

Made foundations in Cornubia .... 

Departed for Broweroc, where he remained nine months 

Returned the same or succeeding year to Landevennec 

Died at Landevennec, aged seventy-five 



We will now consider the various epochs in the life of Gwenael 
in more detail. 

He was a native of Languenoc in the parish of Lanrivoare inL^on. 
This we learn from one of the charters of the Cartularyof Landevennec 
which calls Languenoc, " Hereditas Sancti Uuenhaeli, qui primus post 
Sanctum Uuingualoeum abbas fuit" (No. 39). A local tradition, 
however, makes Ergue-Gaberic near Quimper the place where he was 
born. Such a tradition is not, perhaps, worth very much, but it is 
possible enough that, though his patrimony may have been in Leon 
he may have been born elswehere. Languenoc is now Lanvenec on 
a confluent of the river Aber Ildut, that takes its name from S. 

We may dismiss the story in Vita 1"" that Gwenael was appointed 
abbot whilst a boy in his teens, and accept that of Vita ■f' which states 
that he had been an inmate of the abbey of Landevennec for forty- 
three years when Winwaloe died, and that he succeeded him as abbot. 
He remained in that monastery for seven years and then went about in 
Cornubia founding churches. Landevennec at the time was probably 
included in the County of Poucaer, of which Conmore was chief, though 
owing some sort of allegiance to the King of Cornubia. Grallo,who 
had favoured Winwaloe, died, according to De la Borderie, between 
475 and 505 ; according to Dom Plaine, between 500 and 520.^ 

The history of the period that ensues is confused. The Cartularies of 
Landevennec and Quimper and Quimperle give as his successors, Daniel 
Dremrud, and then Budic and Maxenri, two brothers. But from the 
Life of S. Melor we find that his father Meliau was king for seven years 
till assassinated by his brother Rivol. It is not however clear that 
this was in Cornubia and not in Leon. Rivol usurped authority, 
however, in Cornubia, and he occurs in the Life of Gwenael as a favourer 
of the saint. There is no mention of any prince in the Life of Gwenael 
before his meeting with Rivol. 

Before that he had gone, in 539, to Britain and Ireland, where he 
founded two monasteries, and undertook the supervision of fifty others. 
There are no traces of Gwenael's work left in Ireland, but in Wales is 

• Dom Plaine. Grallon le Grand. 

I 8 o Lives of the British Saints 

S. Twinells, a corruption of S. Winells, the prosthetic t belonging to 
the word " Saint." William of Worcester says of the place and saint, 
" Sanctus Wymocus [sic] Anglice Seynt Wynelle, confessor, distat a 
Pembroke per ii miliaria."^ In \heTaxatio of 1291, p. 275,00!. 2, 
the church appears as Ecclesia Sandi Winnoci," and in the Valor of 
1535 ^ as " Vicaria de Sancto Wynoco." 

We should be inclined to accept the popular name, rather than 
that given in the official documents, the writers of which may have been 
guided by their acquaintance with the more famous S. Winoc, and 
have supposed that Winel was a corruption of that name. Phonetic- 
ally it is not possible to deduce Winel from Winoc. 

In Cornwall there is also a S. Wynol, a chapel in the parish of S. 
Germans. There were Winwaloe settlements in Devon and Cornwall, 
probably affiliated to Landevennec, and it is probable that these are the 
estabHshments over which Gwenael exercised some supervision. 

On his return from Britain, Gwenael landed in the Isle of Groix, 
where, however, he remained but a few days, and then by boat went 
to Landevennec, where he was joyfully received. After three years 
exercising the office of abbot, he went, in 546, into Cornouaille to found 
subsidiary houses and cells. There it was that he was so favourably 
received by Rivol. In the Cartulary of Landevennec are no charters 
bearing that prince's name, as a donor of land to the abbey, but there 
are several grants made by Budic. This prince had been driven into 
Wales by a dynastic quarrel. Probably he and Meliau were grand- 
sons of Grallo, and in the struggle for the mastery Meliau got the upper 
hand and Budic was expelled. 

According to the Life of S. Oudoceus, Budic, a native of CornugaUia 
or Armorican Cornubia, was forced to leave his country, and he took 
refuge in Dyfed where he married Anaumed, sister of S. Teilo. After 
a while messages from his principality announced the death of the 
usiu'per , and they invited him to return. This he did, and his son Oudo- 
ceus was born in Armorica. The return of Budic was after the death of 
Rivol about 544 or 545, which is about the time when, according to the 
Life of S. Gwenael, that saint had relations with Rivol. It is possible 
that these relations began with the usurper and continued with Budic, 
who certainly made grants to Landevennec. 

In, or about, 552 Gwenael went into Broweroc. What his founda- 
tions were in Cornouaille can only be conjectured. He is patron of 
Ergue-Gaberic where he is supposed to have been born, of Bolazec 
near Huelgoat, and of Plougonvelen near S. Renan in Leon, and these • 

^ Itin., p. 163. ^ ,:v, p. 384. 

S. Gwenael i 8 i 

may represent his settlements during the yeaxs 546-552. The activity 
shown at this period points to Landevennec having somewhat dedined 
in importance and in recruits, and to his having endeavoured by the 
formation of branch houses to supply the mother-house with addi- 
tional members. It was apparently for the same purpose that he 
essayed his fortunes in Broweroc. 

There he settled in the present parish of Caudan, near Lorient, on 
a creek of the river Blavet. Here, at Locunel (Locus S. Gwenaeli) he 
met with Weroc son of Meliau. Near the chapel is a lech, or early 
Christian tombstone. On the other side of the water is a chapel of S. 
Gwenael and near it another lech. 

In later times, after the devastation by the Northmen, and the res- 
toration after their expulsion, it became a priory under S. Gildas de 
Rhuis. - t 

The saintly abbot died at Landevennec and was buried there, but in 
857 Nominee visited the abbey, and carried off the body of Gwenael 
to Vannes, and it was laid on the epistle side of the choir. 

In 913 or 914 the Northmen destroyed Landevennec and ravaged the 
whole coast. The body of Gwenael was transferred for safety to Cor- 
beil near Paris, where it was torn from its shrine and burnt at the 

In Brittany Gwenael is variously called Guinel, and Vinol and Wynol. 

The churches of which he is patron have been already named. At 
Treguidel in Cotes du Nord is a late seventeenth-century statue of him 
in the chapel of S. Pabu, representing him mitred, with cope and stole, 
and arms extended ; one formerly held a crosier. At Plougonvelen is 
a retable, on which Gwenael is represented as a monk, and Count 
Weroc, with plumed hat and arquebuse, approaches him. 

At Pouldergat is his Holy Well, that is much frequented by such as 
suffer from rheumatism. 

He has and had numerous chapels in Finistere and Morbihan. 

His Pardons are on the Monday in Whitsun week, and on the last 
Sundays in August and November. 

The day of S. Gwenael is, however, November 3. Albert le Grand, 
MS. Missal of Treguier, fifteenth century, Brev. Corisop., 1701, 1789; 
but transferred to November 9, Brev. Corisop., 1835, Brev.Venet., 1589, 
Miss. Venet., 1530 ; Brev. Leon, 1516. 

He occurs in Whytford as Gwenady. In the Auciuaria Usuardi 
as Guinaldi. 

I 8 2 Lives of the British Saints 

S. GWENAN, Virgin 

The authorities for this saint are quite late.^ They represent her 
to be the daughter of Brynach Wyddel by Corth or Cymorth, a sup- 
posed daughter of Brychan. Brynach was Brychan's confessor, and 
he had two other daughters, Mwynen or Mwynwen and Gwenlliw. 

Gwenan was the name borne by King Arthur's favourite ship, which 
was wrecked in Bardsey race or sound, between that isle and the main- 
land, whence called Cas Wenan, Gwenan's Aversion. ^ 


GwENASEDD, Or Gwenaseth, is entered in the lolo MSS.^ among 
the Welsh Saints. She was the daughter of Rhiain or Rhain of 
Rhieinwg, according to the oldest copies of Bonedd y Saint, but accord- 
ing to the late pedigrees, of Rhufawn, otherwise Rhun Hael, the son of 
Cunedda Wledig, who, on the partition of Wales after the expulsion of 
the Goidels by the Sons of Cunedda, received as his share the cantref of 
Rhufoniog (called after him), in North Denbighshire. She was the 
wife of Sawyl Benisel (incorrectly Benuchel), the son of Pabo Post 
Prydyn, by whom she became the mother of S. Asaph.* No churches 
are known to be dedicated to her ; in fact, the authority for her as. a 
saint is of the feeblest. 

The forrn Guynnassed, or Gwynasedd, also occurs, and a district 
name, Lleudir Gwynasedd, which was situated " where the Lliw enters 
the Llwchwr," i.e. , near Loughor, in Gower. ^ The name seems to mean 

^ lo'lo MSS., pp. 121, 141 ; Myv. Arch., p. 428. The name of Gildas's son 
Gwynog, is wrongly spelt Guenan in Hafod MS. 16 (Myv. Arch., p. 416). For the 
Carnarvonshire legend of Gwenan, one of the three sisters of Arianrhod, see'Sir 
J. Rhys, Celtic Folklore, pp. 207-10. The Breton equivalent Guenan occurs in 
Lanvenan (Finistdre) and Penvenan (C6tes-du-Nord). 

^ Additional MSS. 14,866, and 14,903 ; cf. Peniarth MS. 216, p. 59. 

' P. 125, but she is wrongly made to be the wife of Pabo. 

* Harleian MS. 3859 ; Peniarth MSS., 12, 16, 4; ; Hafod MS. 16 ; Hanesyn 
Hen, p. 113 ; Cambro-British Saints, p. 266 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 417-8 ; lolo MSS., 
p. 122, 128. Probably the Rhufawn who gave his- name to Rhufoniog was not 
a son of Cunedda. 

' Skene, Four Ancient Boohs, ii, pp. 32, 95. 

S. Gwenddydd i 8 3 


The./oZo MSS. include Gwenddoleu, the son of Ceidio ab Arthwys, 
as well as his two brothers, Nudd and Cof/arhong the Welsh saints, and 
add that they were saints of Bangor lUtyd, at Llantwit.i But there is 
no ground whatever for regarding Gwenddoleu as a Welsh saint ; ^ he 
was simply a warrior, and feU at the battle of Arderydd, now Arthuret 
in Liddesdale, in 573. According to the Triads he was head of 
one of the three " Faithful Hosts of Britain," and his men main- 
tained the war at Arderydd for six weeks after he was slain. ^ In 
another Triad he is designated one of the three " Battle-bulls of 
Britain." ^ 

At Arthuret are a place and stream called Carwinlaw or Carwinelow, 
and in the mediaeval surveys of the Forest of Liddel, Caerwyndlo.* 
The name is that of the stronghold Caer Wenddoleu, called after this 


Gwenddydd was one of the reputed daughters of Brychan. Her 
name does not occur in the Cognatio de Brychan, only in the late Usts 
of his children. ^ She is said to have been asaint atTowyn, in Merioneth- 
shire ; ^ but the same is also said of her sister Gwawrddydd, which leads 
one to suppose that the same saint is intended, and both names bear 
rather similar meanings — the morning star and the dawn. Another 
daughter of Brychan, Cerdech, is associated with Towyn in the Cog- 
natio. See under the two names. 

In Peniarth MS. 178 (sixteenth century), p. 24, it is stated that 
she was the wife of Cynfor, and mother of, among others, Cadell 
Deyrnllwg and Brochwel Ysgythrog ; but this confuses her with another 
daughter of Brychan, Tudglid, the wife of Cyngen ab Cynfor Cadgathwg, 
and mother of Cadell and others. 

1 Pp. 106, 128 ; cf. Bonedd Gwyr y Gogledd [Peniarth MS. 45). 

= Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 305. 

' Myv. Arch., p. 389. For a " saying " attributed to him, see ibid., p. 130. His 
chessboard was one of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain. 

* Bye-Gones, 1889-90, p. 483 ; Skene, Four Ancient Books, i, p. 66. 

5 Cardiff MS. 5 (1527), p. 120; Harleian MS. 4181, f. 266 (but omitted as 
printed in Cambro-British Saints, p. 271, no. 65) ; Myv. Arch., pp. 419, 425 ; 
Jolo MSS., pp. Ill, 120, 140. 

« Peniarth MSS. 131 (fifteenth century) and 75 (sixteenth century). . 

184 Lives of the British Saints 

No churches are mentioned as being dedicated to her, but Capel 
Gwenddydd was one of the now extinct pilgrimage chapels in the parish 
of Nevern, Pembrokeshire, that were used for solemn processions on 
Holy Days.^ 

There was also a Gwenddydd, the sister of Myrddin. 


In the lolo MSS.^ is entered, without pedigree, Gwenfael as a saint 
in Brecknockshire. It is not stated what church the saint is intended to 
be patron of, but we suspect it is Llanllywenfel {Peniarth MS. 147), 
in the cantref of Buallt, now generally spelt Llanlleonfel. The church 
to-day is not given any dedication. 

The name Gwenfael or Gwynfael occurs on two early inscribed stones, 
the one in South Wales and the other in North Wales, (i) " Vendu- 
magli Hie Jacit," at Llanillterne, near Llandaff ; and (2) " Vinne- 
magli Fili Senemagli," at Gwytherin, Denbighshire. ^ It is not 
impossible that the name Gwenfyl or Gwenful, borne by a reputed 
daughter of Brychan, may be the same as Gwenfael. 

There is a parish called Loquenvel, i.e. Loc-Guenvael, in Cotes 
du Nord, Brittany. 

S. GWENFAEN, Virgin 

GwENFAEN was the daughter of Paul Hen, variously said to be 
' ' of Manaw " — by which, no doubt, is meant the Manaw on the Firth of 
Forth — and " of the North." Her brothers were Peulan, the patron of 
Llanbeulan in Anglesey, and Gwyngeneu, to whom was dedicated the 
now extinct Capel Gwyngeneu in Holyhead parish.* 

The only dedication to Gwenfaen is the church, formerly called 
Llanwenfaen, but now Rhoscolyn, in Anglesey, near the foundations 
of her two brothers. The site of her original church is still pointed out. 

' Owen's Pembrokeshire, i, p. 509. 

^ P. 144. ' Sir J. Rhys, Welsh Philology, 1879, pp. 372, 385. 

* Peniarth MS. 75 (" Pevl Hen o Vanaw ") ; Myv. Arch., pp. 426, 429. Their 
mother is said to have been " Angad Coleion," which looks like a corruption of 
the " (Bod) Angharad in Coleigion (or Coleion)," near Ruthin, of the Hafod BoneM 
{Myv. Arch., p. 416, Cambro-British Saints, p. 268), See ii, p. 201. 

S. Gwenfrensoi 185 

Nothing is known of her history. Her Holy Well stiU exists on 
-Rhoscolyn Head, in form oblong, after the fashion of a bath, and is 
constructed of slabs of stone, and is roughly paved. The water is 
about four feet below the present level of the surrounding ground. At 
the western end the walling is cut through by a small aperture, through 
which the bather passed down a flight of three steps into the water. 
Two triangular seats have been let into each corner of this western end 
for waiting devotees, and are still in situ. The well chamber does not 
appear to have been covered over. The water flows in from a spring 
outside the eastern end of the bath, and escapes by a small conduit 
beneath one of the steps at the western end. It is received in a small 
artificial basin, after filling which, it loses itself in the sea at a spot 
called Perth y Saint, " the Saints' Haven." 

Lewis Morris, the well-known antiquary of the eighteenth century, 
resided for some years at Holyhead, and in one of his poems he men- 
tions this well, and from it we learn that it was used as a charm against 
mental disorders, and two white spar pebbles were cast in as an obla- 
tion, or perhaps for the sake of divination.^ 

Gwenfaen's Festival occurs on November 4 in the Calendar in 
Peniarth MS. 186, and on the 5th in that in John Edwards of Chirk- 
land's Grammar, 148 1 (See Gwenvavn). The latter day is also given by 
JBrowne Willis ^ and Nicolas Owen.* A Gwenfoe occurs in the lolo 
MSS. calendar on November 3. Gwenfo {Peniarth MS. 147, Cardiff 
MS. 14), is the name of a parish known now as Wenvoe (S. Mary), 
near Cardiff. 

S. GWENFREWI, or WINEFRED, Virgin, Martyr 

The authorities for the Life of this saint are not of a good quality. 
She died in the seventh century, and the earliest Life of her that 
exists is the anonymous Vita Sanctce Wenefredce in the Cotton MS. 
in the British Museum, Claudius A. v. (of the end of the twelfth 
century), published rather inaccurately by Rees in the Cambro-British 
Saints, pp. 198-209, and correctly by the BoUandists in the Acta 
Sanctorum, November 3, i, pp. 702-8. 

This Life has an appendix of miracles, certainly not earlier than 
the twelfth century ; but the Life itself may be somewhat earlier. 

1 Edward Owen, " Holyhead Antiquities," in North Wales Chronicle, Sep- 
tember 19, 1903. 

* Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 279. ^ Hist. Anglesey, 177s, p. 58. 

I 8 6 Lives of the British Saints 

The appendix speaks of the time " post expulsionem Francorum a 
tota Venedotia," which refers to the driving of the Normans out of 
Gwynedd in 1135. 

This Life was very probably written by a monk of the neighbour- 
ing monastery of Basingwerk. It speaks of her body as being still 
at Gwytherin. 

The Vita 7,^'^, by Robert, Prior of Shrewsbury, was written some 
time between 1140 and 1167, when he died. Of this three MS. copies 
exist, one in the Bodleian Library, Laud Miscell. 114 (possibly the 
original) ; a second in Trinity College Library, Cambridge, O.4.42 ; and 
a third in the Royal Library, Brussels, 8072, which was formerly in 
the Bodleian. From these it has been printed in the Acta SS. of the 
Bollandists, November 3, i, pp. 708-26. 

Robert had not seen the first Life, as is evident from his prologue. 
He drew his material partly from written matter that came into his 
hands, and partly from oral tradition. In dedicating his work to 
Guarin, abbot of Worcester, he says, " Tibi nuperimam digestam 
beatse virginis Wenefredse vitam direxi, quam partim per schedulas 
in ecclesiis patrise in qua deguisse cognoscitur coUegi, partim quorum- 
dam sacerdotum relationibus addidici, quos et antiquitas veneranda 
commendabat et quorum verbis fidem adhibere ipse religionis habitus 
compeUebat." He probably means by the written material the 
Legendaria of the churches of Basingwerk and Gwytherin. His is 
much the fuller Life ; but the facts in both are few, and are, especially 
in Robert's, mixed up with much frothy declamation and exhortation. 

All later Lives are worthless, as a metrical story of her by Peter 
Langtoft, ed. Hearne, i, p. cxcvi, and reprinted in Analecta Bolland- 
iana, vi, p. 305 ; and a condensation of the Life by Robert and the 
Vita i'"" by John of Tynemouth (in Cotton MS. Tiberius E. i), printed 
in Capgrave's Nova Legenda Anglice. 

The Lyfe of Si. Wenefreide, written in 1401, is from the Vita x'"", 
at least mainly. A version of the Vita 2'*", with amplifications of 
no value, was published " permissu superiorum " in 1633, at S. Omer, 
by J(ohn) F(alconer), S.J., and republished, with some hostile com- 
ments, by William Fleetwood, Bishop of S. Asaph (London, 1713). 
The nine Lections in the Sarum Breviary were taken, almost word 
for word, from the Life by Robert of Shrewsbury. 

There is mention of S. Winefred, and an abstract of her story, in the 
fourteenth century Buchedd Beuno. ^ It does not appear to be derived 
from either of the Latin Lives. 

1 Llyvyr Agkyr Llandewivrevi, ed. J. Morris Jones and Rhys, 1894, pp. 122-3 >' 
Cambro-British Saints', ^-g. 16-17. 

jS. Gwen/rewi 187 

Several copies of her Life in Welsh exist : e.g., in Peniarth MS 
27, part ii (fifteenth century), and Llanstephan MS. 34 (sixteenth 
century). They appear to be translations, in part at any rate, of 
the Life by Prior Robert. The Franciscan friar and bard, Tudiir 
Aled {flor. c. 1480-1530), wrote a cywydd in her honour,^ in which 
her legend and posthumous miracles are set forth. There is another 
short cywydd, sometimes attributed to lolo Goch, Glyndwr's laureate ; ^ 
and another by leuan Brydydd Hir in P anion MS. 42. 

There is no reference to her in Bede, WiUiam of Malmesbury, Henry 
of Huntingdon, Florence of Worcester, Matthew of Westminster, 
or, in fact, in any of the early English historians. Bede was pro- 
foimdly ignorant of British matters, and that the later writers should 
not aUude to her, mainly concerned as they were with English history, 
is not surprising. 

What is niore difficult to account for is the silence of Nennius, Geof- 
frey of Monmouth, and Giraldus Cambrensis. But Nennius says 
nothing, or next to nothing, about ecclesiastical matters. Geoffrey 
of Monmouth was not Bishop of S. Asaph till after he had published 
his fabulous History of the Britons ; Giraldus, although he stayed 
the night at Basingwerk Abbey, a little over a mile from Holywell, and 
wrote his Itinerary and his Description of Wales, is silent relative to 
S. Winefred ; although he wrote later than did Robert of Shrews 
bury, yet nothing can be concluded against the cult of S. Winefred at 
Holywell from his silence. Curiously enough, she is not entered in the 
Calendar of Welsh Saints in Cotton MS. Vesp. A. xiv, of the early 
thirteenth century. 

The MS. of Vita i"^ has written against it, in Claudius A. v, 
" Per Elerium Britaiium Monachum, An" 660," in a seventeenth cen- 
tury hand, to which is further added, " aut Robertum Salopiaensem 
an" 1140, ut vir quidam eruditus meUus docet." The first hand is 
that of Thomas (or Robert) James, Librarian of Oxford, and the 
latter is that of Thomas Smith ; but this latter made a sad blunder 
in supposing it to be identical with the Life by Robert of Shrewsbury. 

It has been objected that there is no notice of S. Winefred in Domes- 
day ; but Domesday takes account of the manors, which are the units 
of composition, and not of the churches, with which its compilers had 
no concern. Its " Weltune " may be Hol3rweU, which is called Tre- 
ffynnon, " Well-town," by the Welsh. The EngUsh name Holywell 

i It lias been several times printed. For a copy, collated with some half 
a dozen MSS., see Bye-Gones, Oswestry, 1874-5, PP- 290-1. 
"2 Gwaith I~ G., ed. Ashton, 1896, pp. 600-3. 

I 8 8 Lives of the British Saints 

seems to occur for the first time in a grant of 1093 (as " Haliwel "), 
and next in one of 1150. 

Gwenfrewi's name does not occur in any early Welsh pedigrees 
of saints. She cannot have belonged to a royal family. This agrees 
with the account in her Life, which certainly represents her as the 
daughter of a man of some means, but not as wealthy and noble. 
Her father was Teuyth, the son of Eylud, who lived in Tegeingl (the 
greater part of modern Flintshire). He is described as a " valiant 
soldier ; " but the Vita 2'*" makes him a powerful chieftain in the 
country, second only to King Eliuth.'^ No such a king in Tegeingl 
is known from other sources ; but a petty king in a province of Gwy- 
nedd may well have escaped notice by historians, and the historical 
records of Wales at this period are meagre in the extreme. His wife's 
name is only known to us through some late pedigrees. She was 
Gwenlo, the daughter of Bugi, the father also of Beuno.^ Winefred 
was their only child. 

Beuno came to Tegeingl and lodged with Teuyth, his brother-in- 
law, who asked him to train his daughter for Heaven. This her uncle 
consented to do, but stipulated that he should have in return a grant 
of lands. Teuyth was not able to give him this without the consent 
of the king ; so he went to Eliuth, who demurred to the request, as 
separating the land from the common land of the tribe. ^ However, 
he finally consented to the surrender of one villa or tref, " Abeluyc," 
out of the three that he possessed ; and on this Beuno built a cell 
and chapel. This was at Sychnant, the " Dry Valley," the chapel 
being probably on the site of the present parish church. 

One Sunday, whilst Teuyth and his wife were at Mass, Caradog, 
the son of Alauc (Vita i™) or Alan [Vita 2"^") , a youth of royal blood, 
was out hunting, and feeling hot and thirsty, he halted at the cottage 
of Teuyth, and went in to ask for something to drink. He found the 
beautiful Winefred alone there, and being a young man of ungovern- 
able passions, and without scruple, attempted familiarities. Winefred 

1 Vita i"", " Teuyth Eylud filius." Vita 2''", " Theuith, filius unius summi 
atque excellentissimi senatoris et a rege secundi, Eliuth nomine." The Life 
of S. Beuno calls him, " Temic, son of Eliud." In Winefred's Welsh Life he is 
given as Tybyt and Tyuyt, and in the pedigrees mentioned in the next note, 
Tyvid and Tyfyd. The name occurs elsewhere — as Temit, a donor to Llancar- 
fan, in the cartulary appended to Vita S. Cadoci, § 58 ; and as Tyvit and Tyvyt 
in the Record of Caernarvon, 1838, pp. 262, 265, 280. 

2 Cardiff MS. 5 (1527), p. 119, " Gwen vrewy verch dyvid o wenlo verch Jnsi 
vrenin Powys J mam " ; so in Llanstephan M S . 81 (eighteenth century). Jnsi= 

' " Nequaquam mihi vel tibi sortitur tuum sequestrare rus a provinciae com- 
munione, ne sibi sit inutile vel meae necessitati." Vita t"'", c. 2. 

S. Gwenfrewi 189 

ran trom him through the door into the inner room, pretending that 
she was going to put on her Sunday gown, and, opening the back door 
of the house, fled down the valley to the little chapel of S. Beuno. 
Caradog, finding that the girl did not return, jumped on his horse 
and pxu-sued her. He caught her up at the chapel door, and then 
in a rage cut off her head with his broad-sword. Where the head 
fell the rock opened and a spring bubbled up. S. Beuno rushed to 
the chapel door, and so roundly cursed Caradog that he melted away 
"Uke wax before the fire." Then he set on Winefred's head, and 
she recovered, but always retained a scar.i This occurrence took 
place on June 22. In commemoration of the miracle, when Beuno 
left, Winefred undertook to send him a habit {casula) of her own 
weaving every year in gratitude. 

Higden has preserved a tradition of Caradog's descendants which 
has been thus Englished by Trevisa 2 — 

He J'at dede J'at dede, Ha]? sorwe on his sede ; 
His children at alle stoundes BerkeJ' as whelpes of houndes. 
For J'y pray J'at mayde grace Rijt at Tpat welle place, 
Op'iT in Schroysbury strete ; Pere jPat mayde reste]? swete. 

The name of his father, Alauc, is supposed to survive in Penardd 
Halawg,3 now Penar-lag, the Welsh name of Hawarden. 

Beuno some little time later departed for Clynnog, from some 
unexplained cause. In a few years Winefred also left, and went 
first to Bodfari, where was a hermit, S. Deifer, who sent her on to S. 
Sadwrn at Henllan ; but he did not want to be troubled with her, 
and sent her to S. Eleri at Gwytherin, who placed her under the super- 
vision of his mother, Theonia, and on the death of Theonia she 
became superior over the virgins the latter had ruled. 

The Vita 1""' says she went on pilgrimage to Rome, and says 
nothing of her journey to Gwytherin and her interviews with Deifer 
and Sadwrn.* On her return a council of British bishops was held, 

^ Fuller, in his usual quaint manner, observes, " If the tip of his tongue who 
first told, and the top of his fingers who first wrote, this damnable lie, had been 
cut off, and had they both been sent to attend their cure at the shrine of S. Beuno, 
certainly they would have been more wary afterwards how they reported or 
recorded such improbable untruths." Worthies, ed. 1840, iii, p. 538. Beuno 
is credited with having raised six persons in all from the dead. 

^ Polychronicon, ed. Babington, 1865, i, p. 428. Cf. Peniarth MS. 163, " Ef 
a vydd plant oi lin Ef yn kyvarth val kwn hyd pann ddelwjoit yno [Holywell] 
i offrwm nev i mwythic." 

' " Pennardd Alavc " is given as a variant reading in Brut y Tywysogion, 
Rolls ed., p. 372, from the Book of Basingwerk (Gutyn Owain). The name seems 
to mean " Alog's Hill." 

* " Eo tempore, ut memorant, Romam petiit, visitandi causa sanctorum 
apostolorum loca, ut ibi in prassentia reliquiarum sanctorum, se totam Deo devote 
offeret," c. 9. 

I 9 o Lives of the British Saints 

which she attended, where a canon was passed requiring those saints 
who lived dispersed to congregate in monasteries.^ 
. According to the Vita 2^ she founded a convent of virgins at Beuno's 
church in HoljAvell, and remained there after his departure for seven 
years, until his death. 

She was constituted superior over eleven virgins at Gwytherin, 
and there she died, and was buried by S. Eleri,^ having survived her 
decollation fifteen years. Her relics were translated with great pomp 
to the Abbey at Shrewsbury in 1138.2 At the Dissolution her shrine 
was rifled of its contents, and only one portion of her relics, a finger, 
it is alleged, escaped destruction. 

We come now to a consideration of some of the difficulties that 
occur in the story, and make it impossible to accept it, without con- 
siderable deductions. The initial difficulty is with her name, in Welsh 
Gwenfrewi, which is suspiciously descriptive of the Holy Well. Some 
writers have regarded it as being equivalent to Gwenffrwd, a some- 
what common brook-name in South Wales, meaning " a Fair or Clear 
Brook ; " but this cannot be admitted. Her name is Gwenfrewi, and 
is matched by the Coll ab Coll-frewi of the Triads. It was not her 
original name. To quote her Welsh Life in Llanstephan MS. 34, 
" The people of that country say that her name at first was Brewy, 
and that it was on account of the white thread round her neck that 
she became called Gwenn Vrewy ; " * that is, from her decollation. 
But it should be remembered that Gwyn or Gwen was not an uncom- 
mon prefix and affix in the case of Welsh saints' names. There is no 
notice of the change of name in the Vita i*"", but we are told that 
she was generally known as " Candida Wenefreda." 

It is popularly assumed that Winefred is the English form of the 
Welsh Gwenfrewi ; but it would be quite impossible to philologically 

1 " In diebus illis, totius Britanniae sancti ad synodum Wenefredi conciona- 
bantur. Ad quam cum aliis Sanctis etiam beata Wenefreda ascendit. Ibidem- 
que omnibus ritu synodali religiose institutis, videlicet, ut sancti qui antea 
disparati singillatim vivebant, nuUam habentes regulam nisi voluntatem ; postea 
gregatim convenirent in locis ad hoc congruis, et eorum conversationem sub 
prioribus provectis sibi praefectis emendarent." Ibid. 

- Vita I""" states that she was buried on June 24, and Vita 2''" that she died 
on November 2. Edward Lhuyd, in his Itinerary, 1699, gives a sketch of her 
tombstone in Capel Gwenfrewi at Gwytherin, and also of her arch or shrine in 
the church. 

' A portion of her shrine is still in the abbey, by one of the north-west pillars. 
Her great bell there was famous for its fine tone. It weighed 35 cwts., and 
required four men to ring it. It was broken in 1730, and sold. 

* Cf. of the well, " Fons martyris trium dierum spatio lacteo liquore emanare 
visus est," Vita 2^"-, c. 26. The name of one of the three villis owned by Teuyth 
was Gwenffynnon, " the White or Fair Well." This may have been the original 
name of the well. 

aS*. Gwenfrewi 191 

squaxe the names. As a matter of fact, there is no relationship what- 
ever between them. Gwenfrewi has been simply guessed into the 
purely EngUsh name Winefred, earlier Winefridu, compounded of 
^ine, "a friend," and fridu, "peace." i 

The story of the head being cut off is a commonplace in Celtic 
liagiography. S. Sidwell and her sister, S. Jutwara, whom we equate 
■with the Breton S. Aude, had their heads cut off ; so had S. Noyala or 
Newlyna; so had a daughter of Ynyr Gwent, S. Tegiwg, whose 
lead also S. Beuno put on ; so had the carpenter who married Tegiwg, 
-with the same results ; and there are many more instances. 

What really happened was probably no more than this, that Wine- 
fred ran away from Caradog, he overtook her, and in the straggle 
■she was wounded by him in the throat, but was easily cured by her 
mother and Beuno. 

As to the fountain springing up on the spot, that also is a common- 
place in Celtic legend. The damsel whose head was cut off in the 
hazel brake by the wife of Boia, in the Life of S. David, gave occasion 
to a miraculous spring rising where her head fell. It was the same 
-with S. Jutwara, and with S. Tegiwg and S. Noyala. 

The spring of Holywell is remarkable for the volume of water that 
.:gushes forth, and doubtless was in veneration in pre-Christian times. 
That Beuno had his chapel near it is probable enough, and also 
probably employed it as a baptistery. He may have regenerated 
"Winefred in it. 

The red ferruginous veins in the stones of the well, and the crimson 
Muscus subrubeus or (Lin.) Byssus iolithus found growing on them in 
the water, was easily supposed to be the blood of the martyr miracu- 
lously reproduced in testimony to the truth of the story. ^ 

1 See Prof. Skeat, " The Corrupt Spelling of Old English Names," in The 
Cambridge Antiquarian Society's Communications, vol. xiii (1908). 

^ It is said in Vita i""' of the ■well, " Cujus lapides usque in hodiernum diem, 
■utpote in die prima, sanguinolenti videntur ; massa etiam utthus odorat." In 
Vita 2*2, " Et quoniam de corpore in decensu devexi montis jacente multus 
-efiusus sanguis, lapides aspergine ipsius infecti tarn in fontis scaturigine quam 
in rivo illius seu in amborum margine passim jacebant ; et, quod dictu vel auditu 
mirabile est, lapides illi conspersi sanguine adhuc pristinam conspersioncm 
retinent. Nam sunt quasi coagulato cruore perfusi . . . muscicula vero, quae 
•eisdem lapidibus adhasret, quasi thus redolet." 

The ■violet-scented moss clinging to the side of the -well is Jungermannia as- 
plenioides, and is found in many other -wells, as are also pebbles streaked -with 
Ted. The moss is popularly kno-wn as S. -Winefred's Hair. In Peniarth MS. 
a 18, p. 693, it is called " G-weryd G-wenbhre-wy." Drayton in his Polyolbion, 
.2nd part, 1622, p. 59, refers to it : — 

" her mosse most s^weet and rare. 
Against infectious damps for Pomander to ■weare." 

192 Lives of the British Saints 

The following occurs in Cardiff MS. 50, of the sixteenth century : — 
" The Mosse y* groweth vppon Stones w'hin yt ys very sweete of 
odour and smeU, whereof there bee Garlandes made and caryed many 
myles for y** rarenes of the matter. Yt ys sayde that Stones, Wands- 
or handkercherffs cast into yt do gather as yt were redd spottes of 
the Colour of blood." 

Count de Montalembert says : " At the spot where the head of this, 
martyr of modesty struck the soil, there sprung up an abundant, 
fountain, which is still frequented, and even venerated, by a popula- 
tion divided into twenty different sects, but animated by one common 
hatred for Catholic truth. This fountain has given its name to the 
town of Holywell. Its source is covered by a fine Gothic porch of 
three arches, under which it forms a vast basin, where, from morning' 
to evening, the sick and infirm of a region ravaged by heresy, come to 
bathe, with a strange confidence in the miraculous virtue of these- 
icy waters." 

The source had, of course, flowed for thousands of years before 
Winefred existed. 

From Holywell Winefred migrated to Gwytherin, where she had a. 
monastery, and died. With regard to Deifer, Sadwrn, and Eleri 
we have dealt with them elsewhere, under their respective names. 

Of the conclave of prelates passing the canon for collecting the 
hermits into communities we know nothing. There was indeed a. 
Council held at York in 660, in which S. Cedd was consecrated by 
two British bishops, but it is most unlikely that this conclave cani 
have been attended by S. Winefred. 

We come now to the chronology of her Life. 

We are told that she was a young girl when Cadfan was king.'- 
Cadfan, whose tombstone is at Llangadwaladr, in Anglesey, is gener- 
ally held to have died about 630, and this is about the date of 
Beuno's departure to Clynnog, which was in the reign of Cadwallon,. 
his son. 2 

The Vita 2'^" says that Winefred remained seven years at Holywell 
after the departure of Beuno, i.e. to 637, when she went to Gwy- 
therin. She did not live to an advanced age, for S. Eleri outhvcd 
her and buried her, and we may put her death as occurring about 

On the whole, we are not justified in rejecting the broad outline- 

* Vita i"", c. I, " In diebus agitur quibus Catuanus super Venedociae provin- 
ci^.s reguabat," etc. 

^ " A gwedy mar-w Katuan yd aeth Beuno y ym-welet a Chad-walla-wn vab> 
Catuan oed vrenhin gwedy Catuan." Buchedd Beuno in Llyvyr Agkyr, p. 123.. 

S. Gwenfrewi 193 

of the story of S. Winefred because of the fabulous and adventitious 
matter that has grown about it, and we are disposed to regard her 
relations with Deifer, Sadwrn and Eleri, and her residence at Gw3rtherin, 
as the most certain points in her story. That as a young girl she was 
solicited by a certain young cub of a noble, that she resisted him, and 
that she was scratched in the scuffle with him is aU that can be 
admitted ; out of that a huge overgrowth of fable has arisen. 

Archbishop Arundel, in 1398, and Archbishop Chicheley, in 1415,^ 
ordered the celebration of her festival, with nine lessons from her 
legend, and it was then introduced into the Sarum Breviary. Before 
that her name occurs in no calendars ; afterwards it was introduced 

She has two commemorations — June 22, that of her decollation or 
martyrdom, and November 3, that of her second death and, after- 
wards, her translation. The latter is her principal festival. The 
two days occur in a good many Welsh calendars from the fifteenth 
century. A few calendars give Gwenfrewi against September 19 and 

It is somewhat remarkable that there are, or have been, but very 
few churches in Wales dedicated to S. Winefred. The parish church 
of Holywell was originally dedicated to her (with festival on Novem- 
ber 3), but apparently from the eighteenth century it has been dedi- 
cated to S. James the Apostle. The chapel over the Well is still dedi- 
cated to her. At Gwytherin, within a few yards of the church, on the 
south side, and within the churchyard, stood Capel Gwenfrewi, until, 
as stated in its Terrier of 1749, it was " some years agoe demolish'd 
by one Edwards lately Rector of the Parish." The modern parish 
church of Penrhiwceiber, and a church in the parish of S. Fagan (Aber- 
dare), both in Glamorgan, are dedicated to her. She is not, how- 
ever, the patron of Vaynor, in Breconshire, as sometimes given. 
There is a S. Winefred's Well at Woolston, in the parish of West 
Felton, Salop — a cruciform bath, with a cottage, evidently a chapel 
formerly, above it, as at Holjrwell. The spot is supposed to have 
been one of the resting places for her relics on their way to Shrewsbury. 

In Devon there are Manaton and Branscombe, the latter having 
changed its patron, probably after 1415, from S. Branwalader to S. 
Winefred. Kingston-on-Soar and Screveten, in Nottingham, and 
Stainton, in Yorkshire, have her as patron, unless it is a mistake for 

1 Wilkins, Concilia, iii, pp. 234, 376.' The collects, in Welsh, for the two 
commemorations may be found in Allwydd Paradwys, Liege, 1670, pp. 361, 373- 
" Caniad Gwenfrewi " is given as the name of an old Welsh air. Myv. Arch. 

p. I.075- 

VOL. III. ° 

194 Lives of the British Saints 

S. Wilfrid. The modern church of Bickley, in Cheshire, is dedicated 
to her. The parish of Holywell, in the city of Oxford, is so named 
from the Well of SS. Winefred and Margaret, near the church. 

In the legend, S. Winefred is said to have sent annually the habit 
she had woven for S. Beuno on a stone in the well,i where " the 
parcel was not wetted by the water, and the stream carried it, dry 
and uninjured, down into the broad estuary of the River Dee. All 
that day and the following night it was borne forward by the waves, 
and in the morning was cast on the shore close to the spot where 
Beuno had fixed his habitation. In the morning, when Beuno came 
out of the church, he stood for some time on the shore, admiring the 
expanse of waters and watching the ebb of the tide, when his eye was 
caught by the folded cloth left on the shore by the retreating waves. 
He went forward and raised it, unfolded the cloth wrapped round it, 
and found the cloak unharmed by the waves ; even the outer 
cloth was perfectly dry." ^ And that after a voyage of some sixty 
miles or more ! 

The WeU of S. Winefred, issuing from the upper beds of the chert, 
is a really singular phenomenon on account of the enormous quan- 
tity of water it yields. It is the most copious natural spring in Britain, 
and is justly regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of Wales. The 
stream formed by the fountain, formerly called by the Welsh Afon 
Wenfrewi, runs with a rapid course to the sea, which it reaches in a 
little over a mile. Dr. Johnson, who passed through Holjrwell in 1774, 
notes in his Diary that it then turned no fewer than nineteen mills. 
An analysis of the water shows that " there is nothing remarkable 
in its composition, as regards either the quantity or the quality of 
the substances dissolved in it, excepting perhaps its freedom from 
organic matter." ^ " Its peculiarities are that it never freezes, 
although intensely cold, and scarcely ever varies in the supply of 
water, the only difference after wet weather being a considerable 

^ Vita 1^, " Kalendis Mail, venit beata virgo cum pluribus aliis ad fontem 
in quo pra^cepto viri dei munus suum depositura erat ; acceptamque casulam 
albo prius mantili involvit ; sicque in medio lontis eam deposuit ; se dicens 
fontis ministerio hanc beato viro Beunoo dirigere. Et ecce, mirabile dictu, . . . 
pauniculus ille quo casula involvebaturnullamlesionem ab aqua patiebatur nee 
vel minimam. aquae infusionem sentiebat, etc." With the story compare that 
of Brigid, the daughter of Cii Cathrach, sending a chasuble to S. Senan, which 
she sent to Inis Cathaig in a basket, placing it on the Shannon. Lives of Saints 
from the Booh of Lismore, ed. Dr. Wh. Stokes, i8go, pp. 218-9. The large stone 
now in the bath, near the steps, is known as S. Beuno's Stone, and regarded as 
a wishing stone. ... 

' The Life of Saint Winefride, edited by Thomas Swift, S.J., Holywell, S. 
Winef ride's Presb3rtery, 1900, p. 36. 

' Barrat in Quart. Journ. Chem. Soc, xii (i860), p. 52. 


From 1 5</! century Glass in Llandyrnog Church. 

/S. Gwenfrewi 195 

<iiscoloration of a wheyey tinge. It rushed out of the rock with 
such rapidity, that the basin, which could contain 200 tuns of water, 
was, when emptied, refilled in two minutes, proving that there was 
■a continual supply at the rate of 100 tuns a minute. The supply is 
now reduced to about 21 tuns a minute. The chapel over the well 
IS an exquisite specimen of late Perpendicular work, and was erected 
by Margaret, Countess of Richmond, and mother of Henry \\\. The 
groined arches which rise from the polygonal sides of the well are 
particularly rich and graceful, and are adorned with figures and escutch- 
eons of the Stanley family, Catherine of Aragon, and others. The 
five angular recesses are, no doubt, intended to represent the five 
porches of the pool of Bethesda." ^ 

At the well, under a niche, is a pretty statue of S. Winefred, with 
palm branch in one hand and crozier in the other ; but she is incor- 
rectly represented as wearing a crown, as though of royal race. There 
is a figure of her, as well as of S. Beuno, in one of the panels of the 
fourteenth-century refectory pulpit of Shrewsbury Abbey. She is 
also represented in fifteenth-century glass in the chancel window of 
Llandyrnog Church, in the Vale of Clwyd ; and was formerly in Clynnog 

As the Bollandist De Smedt, S. J., very judiciously observes : " Is 
the history of S. Winefred to be admitted as certain and proved, such 
as we have it in the two Lives ? That I would not dare to affirm, for 
we receive the story only from traditions of uncertain origin, perhaps 
only committed to writing in the twelfth century, some five hundred 
years after the period at which S. Winefred lived, as we judge from 
the authority of these same traditions. And this authority, forsooth, 
is not sufficient to enable us to believe firmly in the stupendous mir- 
acles attributed to this holy virgin." ^ The opinion of De Smedt 
is sure to be shared by aU men of intelligence, their minds unclouded by 
prejudice. No amount of frothy verbiage can obscure the fact that 
five hundred years elapsed between the supposed decollation of S. 
Winefred, and the story being committed to writing — plenty of time 
for the growth of fable. That the crimson moss was believed to be 
the saint's blood held its own till recently, and is only reluctantly 
abandoned because scientific evidence is too strong to be overcome. 

1 Murray's Handbook of NorthWales, 1885, pp. 40-1. See also Mrs. Tlirale's 
observations on the well in her Journal (1774J, recently published for the first 
time; Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Thrale, by Broadley and Seccombe, London, 1909, 
-pp. 187-8. The Well iS: now held on a lease by the Jesuit Fathers of the 
Holywell Mission from the Holywell Urban Council. 

.2 Acta SS. Boll., Nov. i,p. 694. See also " The BoUandists on S. Wiuefride " 
an the Month for 1893, pp. 421-37, by Herbert Lucas, S.J. , 

196 Lives of the British Saints 

The Apostle cautioned his converts against giving heed to " cun- 
ningly devised fables ; " this is not even cunningly devised. 

Haddan and Stubbs go too far when they class her among saints 
" who almost certainly never existed at all." 1 The documentary 
evidence as to her existence, it is true, is not of the best kind. At 
most, in early times she was a purely local saint. By the twelfth 
century, some 500 years after her death, she had at Holywell and at 
Gwytherin a notable cult and a definite story. The celebrity of the 
Well named after her, and her translation, may be regarded as having 
been mainly responsible for her eminence as a saint. 

S. GWENFREWI, Daughter of Brychan 

A GwENFREWi is entered in some of the later lists of Erychan's 
children as a daughter of his,^ but she is entirely unknown to the 
Cognatio and other early authorities. No particulars are given of 
her except in Peniarth MS. 131 (fifteenth-sixteenth century), where 
it is stated that she was " the wife of Cadrod Calchfynydd, whom 
Tynwedd Faglog violated at Rhydau Tynwedd." This, however,, 
is a mistake, for the Cognatio gives Brychan's daughter Gwrygon 
Goddeu as wife of Cadrod. 

The churches of Talgarth and Vaynor, in Breconshire, have been 
supposed, but wrongly, to be dedicated to this Gwenfrewi. ^ 


Capel Gwenfron is given by George Owen in his Pembrokeshire * 
as one of the ruined pilgrimage chapels in the parish of Nevern, Pem- 
brokeshire, that were formerly used for solemn processions on Holy 
Days. Gwenfron is a female name, but it is not borne by anyone 
included among the Welsh saints. 

In the Third (or latest) Series of the Welsh Triads a Gwenfron, daugh- 
ter of Tudwal Tudclud, is distinguished as being one of the three ' 
" Chaste Women of the Isle of Britain," ^ but in the same Triad in 
the so-called First Series her name is given as Gwenfadon. ^ 

1 Councils, etc., i, p. 161. Sir J. Rhys in Revue Celtique, ii (1875), p. 116, is 
disposed to regard her as " a water-nymph or dawn-goddess." 

^ Peniarth MS. 131, p. iii ; Cambro-Bniish Sdints, p. 271 ; lolo MSS., p. 140. 
' Jones, Breconshire, ed. 1898, pp. 331, 473. 

* i, p. 509. With its elements transposed the name occurs as Bronwen. 
5 Myv. Arch., p. 410. " Ibid., p. 392. 

S. Gwenllwyfo 197 


GwENFYL, or Gwenful, is reputed to have been a daughter of 
Brychan, and her name occurs, with Gwynan, Gwynws, and Call- 
wen, as children of his, not included in the ordinary lists, that occur in a 
Demetian calendar, of which the earliest copy is in Cwrtmawr MS. 
44, of the sixteenth century.^ Gwenfyl and her sister Callwen are 
commemorated therein on November i. In the calendar in Addi- 
tional MS. 12,913, written in 1508, occurs " Urvul a Gwenvul " 
on July 6. Her chapel, Capel Gwenfyl, stood in the village of Llan- 
geitho, Cardiganshire, but was allowed to fall down in the seventeenth 
century. Marriages are known to have been celebrated in it, and it 
had a cemetery.^ There is a Ffynnon Wenwyl or Wenfyl on a farm 
of the name, near the Alun, less than a mile from the church of Llan- 
armon-yn-Ial, Denbighshire. 

Browne Willis ^ and Meyrick * give Capel Gwynfyl or Gwynfil, 
subject to Llanddewi Brefi, as dedicated to S. Gwynfyl, with festival 
on November 2. It was situated in the township of Gwynfyl, 
and separated from the village of Llangeitho proper by the river 
Aeron. The same saint and chapel are intended. 

S. GWENLLIW, Virgin 

Some late accounts give Gwenlliw, with her sisters Mwynen and 
Gwenan, as daughters of Brynach Wyddel by Corth or Cymorth, 
daughter of Brychan ; ^ but they are also said to have been daughters 
of Brychan.^ All that may perhaps be safely said of them is that 
they were of Brychan's saintly tribe. The authorities for their exist- 
ence are quite late. 

Nothing is known of Gwenlliw. 

A Gwenllian is given in Peniarth MS. 178 as a daughter of Brychan, 
but the name is a mistake for Lluan. 


Gwenllwyfo, or Gwenllwyddog, is simply entered, without pedi- 
gree, in the Myvyrian Archaiology ' as the patroness of Llanwenllwyfo, 

1 Denominated S. 

2 Cymru 1903, p. 56. See further under SS. Erfyl and Gwenfael. 

3 Parochiale Anglic. I733. P- I9S- ' Cardiganshire. 1808, p. 47- 

6 lolo MSS.. pp. 121, 141. With the name cf. C-vvynlUw or Gwynllyw. 
■8 Myv. Arch., p. 428 ; cf. p. 417- ' ^- 426. 

198 Lives of the British Saints 

in Anglesey. Her festival, according to Angharad Llwyd,^ is Novem- 
ber 30 ; but beyond this nothing seems to be known of her. 


S. GWENOG, Virgin 

The pedigree of Gwenog is nowhere given. ^ She is the patroness 
of Llanwenog, in Cardiganshire, the two divisions of which parish 
are called Blaenau Gwenog and Bro Gwenog. The festival of Gwenog 
W3T:yf is Januajry 3, and occurs in the calendar in Cwrtmawr MS. 44 
(sixteenth century), and in that in Additional RIS. 14,886 (written 
1643-4), as well as in Browne Willis and a number of Welsh Almanacks 
of the eighteenth century. On her festival is " a fair at which for- 
merly offerings were made." The fair, called Ffair Wenog, is now 
on January 14. Her holy well, Ffynnon Wenog, is in a field near 
the church, and gives an abundant flow of crystal water, which was 
believed to be efficacious in the case of young children with weak 
backs. They were to be bathed or immersed in the well early in 
the morning before sunrise. 

The fifteenth century Llanstephan MS. 116, a copy of the Laws of 
Hywel Dda, contains several invocations to S. Gwenog, from which 
it is inferred that the MS. was written in the parish of Llanwenog, or 
by a native of it. It furnishes an interesting specimen of the dialectal 
peculiarities of South Cardiganshire.^ 

" Haved Wennok " (Hafod Wenog), somewhere in the neighbour- 
hood of Neath, occurs in inspeximus charters (1289, 1336) of Neath 

S. GWENONWY, Matron 

GwENONWY was the daughter of Meurig abTewdrig, King of Mor- 
gan wg. Though nowhere expressly mentioned as a Welsh saint, she 

1 Hist. Anglesey, 1833, p. 282. 

' Gwenog was also a man's name. It occurs as that of a clerical witness in 
the Book of Llan Ddv, p. 186 ; cf. also the Black Book of S. David's (1326), ed. 
Willis Bund, 1902, pp. 187-9. The name is to be distinguished from Gwynog. 

' J. Gwenogvryn Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., ii, pp. 567-8. See also 
Aneurin Owen's ed. of Welsh Laws, 1841, p. 579, and Myv. Arch., p. 946, where 
at the end of a legal Triad we have " Gwenoc helpa ! " (Gwenog help us !). 

' G. T. Clark, Cartes, ii, p. 195; iv, p. 159- 

S. Gwerydd 199 

might well be included among the number. She was the wife of S. 
Gwyndaf Hen, by whom she became the mother of S. Meugant and 
S. Henwyn. She was sister to Athrwys, King of Gwent, Comereg,, 
Bishop of Llandaff, Ffriog andldnerth, as well as of Anna andAfrella. 
In the Booh of Llan Ddv ^ are two documents recording the grant 
of the villa of Guennonoe or Guinnonui to the church of Llandaff, 
in the time of Bishop Berth wyn. It was situated " juxta paludem 
Mourici," and is supposed to be in Mathern, Monmouthshire, near 
Pwll Meurig. " The ruins of the chapel exist in a brake between 
PwU Meurig Village and Mounton." ^ 

S. GWENRHIW, Virgin 

GwENRHiw was one of the daughters of Brychan Brycheiniog.* 
She is entered as Gwenrhiw Forw3mi, or Virgin, against November i 
in the Calendars in Peniarth MSS . 187 and 219, and the Prymer of 
i5i8. No churches axe known to be dedicated to her. 

Gwenrhiw (also Gwenthrew) is the name of a township of Kerry, 
in Montgomeryshire. 

S. GWERYDD, Confessor 

Gwerydd, as saint, is known to us only through the lolo MSS.,^ 
and his existence is very doubtful. He is said to have been a son 
of Cadwn ab Cynan (or Cenau) ab Eudaf, descended from the mythical 
Bran Fendigaid. His church is said to be Llanwerydd, afterwards 
called Llanddunwyd, San Dunwyd, and S. Donats, in Glamorgan- 
shire. ^ 

He is also credited with having had a chapel formerly dedicated 
to him at Emral, near Bangor Iscoed.« Caer Werydd is usually given 
as the Welsh name of Lancaster. 

' Pp. 179, 191- 

2 Wakeman, Supplementary Notes to Liber Landavensts, 1853, p. 12. 

' Cardiff MS. 5 (1527), p. 120; Cambro-British Saints, p. 271. 

» Pp 100 13s 370 ; cf. Taliesin Williams, Doom of Colyn Dolphyn. London, 

137, p. 154- Guerith is the father of a lay witness in the Book of Llan Ddv, 

p. 386. ' Bye-Gones, Oswestry, 1882-3, p. 164. 

2 00 Lives of the British Saints 

S. GWESTLAN, Bishop, Confessor 

In the Llyfr Ancr Welsh Life of S. David, this saint's name is spelt 
Gwestlan, Gweslan and Goeslan, and is latinized as, among other forms, 
Guistilianus and Gistlianus. He was maternal uncle to S. David, 
being the son of Cynyr of Caer Gawch, and brother of SS. Non and 
Gwen. He was a bishop in the district of Menevia, but no churches 
are known as bearing his name. He resided at the Old Bush, which 
is probably where was later Ty Gwyn on the slope of Carn Lhdi. 

David must have owed his education in part to him. David said to 
his uncle, " From the place where you propose to serve, scarcely one 
in a hundred will go to the kingdom of God." This he said an angel 
had told him, and he added that the angel had shown him " a place 
from which but few would go to hell ; for every one who should be 
buried in the cemetery in sound faith would obtain mercy." ^ This 
is Rhygyfarch's story. As has been said, under S. David, there were 
practical reasons for moving the site of the monastery. Gwestlan 
would seem to have acted as bishop in this monastery under Mancen, 
who was superior. 

From the Welsh Life of S. David we learn that one summer there 
was a great drought at S. David's. Gwestlan and Eliud (Teilo) prayed 
to God, and obtained two fountains possessing healing properties, 
which were called after them Ffynnon Gwestlan and Ffynnon Eliud. ^ 

His Festival occurs as March 2 in the calendar in Cotton MS. Ves- 
pasian A. xiv, but as the 4th in that in Additional MS. 22, 720. 

S. GWETHENOC Abbot, Confessor 

GwETHENOC and James were twin brothers, sons of Fracan and 
Gwen Teirbron, and born in Britain, probably in Cornwall (see 
S. Fracan). 

The Life of the brothers is contained in a MS. in the National Li- 
brary at Paris (MS. Lat. 5296, f. 62) ; it has been extracted in part 
by De Smedt, and these portions printed in Catalogus Codicum hagio- 
graphicarum Latin., 1887, T. i, pp. 578-82. They are also spoken 
of in the Life of S. Winwaloe, their brother, who was born after Fracan 
and Gwen had come to Armorica. 

1 Cambro-British Saints, p. 124; cf. Giraldus, Opera, iii, p. 386. 

^ Llyfr Ancr Llanddewi Breft, ed. Profs. J. Morris Jones and Rhys, 1894, p. 1 10. 

S. Gwethenoc 201 

On reaching the north coast of Brittany, after Fracan and his 
wife had formed their settlement, they committed their three boys to 
S. Budoc, who was living an eremitical life in the island of Brehat, but 
kept there a school for young Britons. 

One day, as the twins left their class, and all the other lads indulged 
in romps, they lighted on a blind beggar. Thereupon one anointed his 
eyes with spittle, and the other made the sign of the cross over them. 
Then, the legend says, he recovered his sight — probably the attempt 
failed, but the writer of the biography could not admit this. The 
man made such an outcry, that a rabble of boys collected round him 
and drew him and the twins before Budoc, who inquired into the 

Another day, when he was alone, James encountered a leper, who 
extended his diseased hand for alms. James in an access of com- 
passion, stooped and kissed the loathsome palm. 

After having spent several years under Budoc, the brothers went 
to the peninsula of Landouart, and founded there a little community, 
of which Gwethenoc undertook the direction. 

On a certain day, when they were harvesting, a harmless grass- 
snake bit one of the brothers, in whose sheaf it lurked. He was in 
deadly alarm, not being aware that such snakes are innocuous, and it 
was thought miraculous that he was none the worse for the adventure. 

At last the monastery became so crowded that the twins yearned 
for a more quiet life, and they retired — the Life says together, but 
according to the Life of S. Winwaloe, it was Gwethenoc alone who 
departed, and confided the charge of the monastery to James. 

There was an islet at no great distance from the settlement that 
could be reached by boat. However, an unusually low tide happen- 
ing to occur, the brothers walked on the sand and waded till they 
reached it, and found there a fresh-water spring. 

Here they established another monastery, which also in time became 
populous, and the brothers ruled it together as fellow abbots. 

They became so famous that, even whilst they were alive, sailors 
when in danger invoked their aid. When they did so, suddenly the 
heavenly twins appeared in light upon the vessel, one at the head, the 
other at the stern, and went about handling various parts of the ship, 
" quasi curiosi," and conducted the vessel safely into port. They 
had obviously usurped the position of Castor and Pollux. 

The monastery founded by the brothers was afterwards known as 
S. Jacut-de-la-Mer, on a peninsula, near Ploubalay in Cotes du Nord. 
It never was an island, but a peninsula. 

It is said that the brothers one night dreamt that they saw S. Patrick, 

2 o 2 Lives of the British Saints 

who informed them that in heaven they would occupy thrones on a 
level with his own. 

There is a chapel, half buried in sand, now called S. Enodoc, on the 
Padstow Harbour, that appears in Bishop Lacey's Register, Septem- 
ber i6, 1434, as Capella Sti. Gwinedoci, and which is described as 
" the chapel of Guenedouci " in an inventory of the goods of the 
chapel made in 1607-13. 

William of Worcester gives a commemoration of S. Wethenoc from 
the Bodmin Calendar on November 7, but although he possibly means 
the same saint as Gwinedoc of the Register of Bishop Lacey we cannot 
say for certain that he does. 

At S. Enodoc the Feast was formerly held on July 24, but in 1434 
Bishop Lacey transferred it to July 13. 

The Welsh dd and Cornish th in Breton becomes z, and Gwethenoc 
has been altered into Goueznou, the final c falling away. By this 
he has been confounded with another saint, also called Goueznou, 
and who originally, doubtless, was a Gwethenoc, and was the son of 
Tugdo and Tugdonia, and is commemorated on October 25, and whose 
Life we shall give presently (under S. Gwyddno). 

There is a chapel of S. Goueznou at Pleguien near S. Brieuc, and 
as this is the plebs of his mother Gwen, who has her statue in the 
church, unquestionably the chapel belongs to her son Gwethenoc, and 
not to the Goueznou son of Tugdo. 

Garaby gives November 5 as the day of S. Gwethenoc ; as we have 
seen, the Bodmin Calendar gave November 7. July 6 was observed 
as the feast of the translation of the relics of SS. James and Gwethenoc 
— MS. Missal of S. Malo, fifteenth-century MS. Breviary of S. Melanius, 
Rennes, and the S. Malo Breviary of 1537. 

S. GWLADYS, Matron 

GWLADYS was one of the many daughters of Brychan, and the 
wife of Gwynllyw Filwr, King of Gwynlljrwg, by whom she became 
the mother of Cadoc and others. ^ John of Tynemouth, in his Life 
of S. Keyna, mentions her as Brychan's " primogenita filia." 

There are two very different accounts as to how Gwynllyw ob- 

1 Cognatio de Brychan; Jesus Coll. MS. 20; Myv. Arch., pp. 419, 426; lolo 
MSS. pp. Ill, 120, 140. 

Si Gwladys 2 o 3 

tamed Gwladys for his wife. That in his Life ^ is commonplace, 
enough. Having " heard of the gentleness and beauty " of Gwladys, 
he sent ambassadors to Brychan asking him that she might become 
his wife, and he was accepted as an eligible suitor without ado. 

In the other account, given in the prologue to the Life of her son, 
S. Cadoc,^ Gwynllyw is said to have carried her off by force. She 
was of " very high reputation, elegant in appearance, beautiful in 
form, and adorned with silk vestments." He sent messengers to 
Brychan " earnestly requesting that she should be given to him in 
marriage ; but Brychan was angry, and, full of rage, refused to be- 
troth his daughter, and slighted the messengers." GwynUyw there- 
upon " armed as many as three hundred slaves, who should take the 
young lady away by force." They came to Brychan's court at Talgarth, 
" and found the young lady before the door of her residence, sitting 
with her sisters, and passing the time in modest conversation ; whom 
they immediately took by force, and returned with speed." 

Brychan followed in hot pursuit, " whom when GwynUyw saw, he 
frequently ordered the said young lady to be brought forward, 
and he made her ride with him ; and not flying, but taking her slowly 
on horseback, he preceded his army, waited for his soldiers, and man- 
fully exhorted them to battle." He arrived safely with her at the hill 
Boch riu earn (now Vochriw) , which formed the boundary between 
Brycheiniog and GwynUywg. Sitting on top of the hill happened 
to be King Arthur with his two knights, Cai and Bedwyr, playing 
dice, and they observed what was taking place. " Arthur was imme- 
diately seized with love towards the lady," but his companions dis- 
suaded him from taking her away from her captor, and, on learning 
that Gwynllyw was within his own territory, they " rushed upon his 
enemies, who, turning their backs, fled with great confusion to their 
own country." Thus, with the assistance of Arthur, Gwynllyw 
brought his prize triumphantly " to his palace that was on that hill," 
which was afterwards called AUt Wynllyw. 

" King Gwynllyw united himself in lawful wedlock " to Gwladys, 
and " four lamps were seen shining every night, with great brightness, 
in the four corners of the house where she remained, until she brought 
forth her first-born son," Cadoc. 

The same Life, further on,3 does not speak favourably of GwynUyw 
and Gwladys. GwynU3rw, now advancing in years, stiU clung to his 
free-booting habits, and otherwise " disgraced' his life with crimes." 
Cadoc was grieved at hearing this, and sent three of his faithful dis- 

1 Cambro-British Saints, p. 146. ' Ibid., pp. 23-4. ' Pp. 84-6. 

2 04 Lives of the British Saints 

ciples to try to prevail upon him to mend his ways. Gwladys rea- 
soned with her husband, " Let us trust to our son, and he will be a 
father to us in heaven." He gave way, and they both " confessed 
their crimes with the satisfaction of penance." They now devoted 
themselves to religion, and in expiation of their sins, " Gwladys built 
for herself a church in Pencarnou ; Gwynllyw also soon erected an- 
other monastery." Pencarnou is probably to be identified with Pen- 
earn, in the parish of Bassaleg, Monmouthshire. On a cliff over- 
looking the River Ebbw is an old building which has been converted 
into two cottages, called Rock Cottages. This is supposed to have 
been her church. The old people of the neighbourhood used to say 
that they had always heard that there had been a church there, with 
a graveyard attached. A large mound behind the cottages is thought 
to be her grave. ^ Her spring is in Tredegar Park. 

The church that Gwynllyw erected was Eglwys Wynll3rw, now known 
as S. Woolos, in Newport, close to which he had his dwelling, and near 
it, on " the bank of the Ebod " or Ebbw, as stated in the Life of S. 
Gwynlljrw,^ Gwladys had her abode. Here " they both lived religiously 
and abstemiously," and bore their penance, " enjoying the fruits of 
their own labour." ^ 

The situation of another church dedicated to S. Gwladys is well 
known, viz. Eglwys Wladys, or Capel Gwladys, on Gelligaer Moun- 
tain, about two miles to the north of Gelligaer Church. It has been 
in ruins for many centuries, but its foundations, consisting of west 
tower, nave and chancel, within an enclosure, are still visible. It was 
privately occupied " as a house " in 1584.* The parish attached to 
it now forms part of the parish of Gelligaer, the parish church of which 
is dedicated to S. Cadoc. 

To her is dedicated also the modern parish church of Bargoed, 
formed out of Gelligaer in 1904. Forest Gwladys is on Gelligaer Moun- 
tain, Llwyn Gwladys in Llangynwyd, and Bryn Gwladys in Pentyrch. 
Edward Lhuyd gives Croes Wladys among the crosses of Bangor 
Iscoed, but this cannot have been named after Brychan's daughter. 

1 Mrs. Harcourt Mitchell, Some Ancient Churches of Gwent, 1908, p. 28. 

2 Cambro-British Saints, p. 14S. ^ See further under S. Gwynllyw. 

* Cardiff Records, i (1898), p. 398. For the grant to Margam Abbey by Wil- 
liam, Earl of Gloucester, 1 147-83, of " all the land of S. Gladus, with its pastures 
as far as the Bohru earn," etc., see Birch, Hist, of Mavgam Abbey, London, 1897, 
p. 16. 

S. Gwrddelw 205 



S. GWRDAF, Confessor 

GwRDAF, reducible to Gwrda, is a Welsh personal name, occunring 
only rarely, but quite distinct from the common noun gwrda, meaning 
an optinitis or nobleman. The name does not occur in any pedigrees 
of the Welsh Saints,! but the church of Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire, 
is under the invocation of S. Gwrdaf. Sometimes Cawrdaf ab Cara- 
dog Freichfras is given as its patron, but this is impossible, on philo- 
logical grounds. 2 In the Talley Abbey charter of 1331 the church 
is called " Lanurdam." ^ Rees took the name as simply bearing the 
more obvious meaning of " the Church of the Holy Man "—not em- 
bod3dng the name of any particular saint — and adds that the Wake ap 
Llanwrda depended upon November 12, i.e. All Saints' Day, O.S.* 

By the Gwrda on December 5 in the calendar prefixed to Allwydd 
Paradwys, 1670, is meant S. Cawrdaf, whose festival falls on that day. 

Of Gwrdaf nothing is known. 

S. GWRDDELW, Confessor 

In the various lists of Caw's children given in the lolo MSS. occur 

the following names, Gwrddelw (in four lists), Gwrddwdw (one list), 

Gwrddyly (two lists), and Gwrthili (one list).^ There can hardly 

. be a doubt that the four forms represent but one name. None of 

^ As might be expected, the lolo MSS. (p. 144) duly enter Gwrda as patron of 
Llanwrda. Castell " KeUi Wrda " in Brut y Tywysogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, 
p. 378, is a curious corruption of " Kenilworth " Castle. In his list of wells in the 
parish of Cwm, near S. Asaph, Edward Llwyd enters "Ffynnon Wrda corrupte 
proDh-ftrda." Browne Willis, Parochiale Anglicaniim, 1733, p. 176, gives animagin- 
ary Cwrda as patron of Jordanston, Pembrokeshire. The Welsh name of the 
parish is Tre Iwrdan (Peniarth MS. 147, c. 1566 ; the Jordanus of Geoffrey's 
Hist. Reg. Brit. ,-viii,c. 19, appears as Jwrdan in the Welsh text) , one name being 
a translation of the other. 

^ Jones, Breconshire, ed. 18.98, p. 37, thought the parish-name might be a 
corruption of Llangawrdaf ! 

= Daniel-Tyssen and Evans, Carmarthen Charters, 1878, p. 63. The termina- 
tion-dam (latei-daf) = -tamos, occurs also in Cyndaf, Gwyndaf, Maeldaf, etc. On 
the chalice {1673) the parish-name is spelt " Lanworda." 

* Welsh Saints, p. 270. 

5 Pp. 109, 117. ^Z7. 142-3- 

2 o 6 Lives of the British Saints 

them can be identified with any of Caw's sons mentioned in the tale 
of Culhwch and Olwen. Gwrddelw appears in Brittany as Gourdelw 
or Gurdelw.'- 

In the Myvyrian Archaiology^ Gwrtheli or Gartheli is entered as 
patron of Capel Gartheli (or simply Gartheli), formerly a chapelry 
within the parish of Llanddewi Brefi, Cardiganshire, but now, with 
Bettws Leiki, a separate benefice. The lolo MSS.^ state that Gwr- 
ddyly had a church in Caerleon on Usk. 

January 7 occurs in the Calendar in Peniarth MS. 219 {circa 1615) 
as the festival of Gwrddelw, and in Nicolas Roscarrock as that of 





S. GWRFYW, Confessor 

GwRFYW, or Gorfyw, was the son of Pasgen ab Urien Rheged, 
and father of S. Nidan. * He is said to have a church dedicated to 
him in Anglesey, but its situation does not appear to be now known. 
There was formerly a Capel Gorfyw at Bangor, but it has long since 

A Gurbiu occurs as a clerical witness to a Monmouthshire grant 
to Llandaff in the time of Bishop Oudoceus.* The name is evidently 
the same as the Breton Gorve of Locorve, at Plouray (Morbihan) 
and Glomel (C6tes-du-Nord). 

1 Lan Gwrdeluu occurs in the Cartulary of Landevennec, p. 41. 

2 P. 426. = P. 117. 
1 lolo MSS., p. 102. 

6 Willis, Bangor, 1721, p. 285; Y Gwyliedydd, 1832, p. 162; Myv. Arch., 
p. 426. 

" P. 150. Gwrfyw is to be distinguished from Gwrfwy (Guorboe). 

S. Gwrhai 207 


The lolo MSS. reckon Gwrgi, the son of Elifer Gosgorddfawr, among 
the Welsh saints, but as those documents are of late compilation, and 
as there is no other evidence to support this, his inclusion is extremely 
doubtful. He and his brother Peredur are therein said to have been 

saints " or monks of Bangor lUtyd at Llantwit, Peredur being 
penrhaith, or principal. He is also mentioned as being of Cor Dochau, 
at Llandough, near Cardiff, and to have founded the church of Penarth. ^ 

One of the stanzas forming the " Sayings of the Wise " says : ^ — 

Hast thou heard the saying of Gwrgi, 
Counselling on the Sunday ? 
" The lucky (or happy) needs but to be born." 
(Nid rhaid i ddedwydd namyn ei eni.) 

Gwrgi figures rather as a character that is partly historical and 
partly mythical. The Triads have a good deal to say about him. 
His mother, Eurddyl (the Euerdil of the Cognatio de Brychan), the 
■daughter of Cynfarch Gul and sister of Urien Rheged, gave birth to 
triplets, Gwrgi, Peredur and Ceindrech Benasgell.* He and others 
formed the " horse-load " that rode on their horse Cornan (or Corfan) to 
see the funeral pile of Gwenddolau at Arderydd,* now Arthuret, where 
the latter had been slain in battle, in 573. Another Triad ^ speaks 
of Gwrgi and Peredur as being deserted in battle by their retinue 
at Caer Greu and of both being killed by Eda Glinmawr, Nennius's 
Aetan or Eata Glinmaur of Deira. This was in 580.* According 
to the Verses of the Graves the grave of Gwrgi, " the lion of Gwynedd's 
braves," is in Gower. ' 


S. GWRHAI or GWRAI, Confessor 

Gwrhai, or Gwrai, was one of the many sons of Caw, or as his name 
is given in Gwrhai's pedigree, Cadw.^ He is said to have been a " saint " 

• Pp. 105, 128, 221. " Gwrci presbiter Sancti Catoci " signs two grants to 
LlandafE during the episcopate of Herwald, who was consecrated in 1056 [Book 
of Llan Ddv, pp. 272-3). The name occurs in Breton as Gurhi and in Irish as 
Ferchu, and means " man-dog." The Irish Ferchon (the genitive of Ferchu) is 
represented in Welsh by Gwrgon. ^ iglo MSS., p. 253 -..Myv. Arch., p. 129. 

' Myv. Arch., p. 392. Elifer had seven sons in all (Black Bh. of Carmarthen, 
■ed. Evans, p. 5). 

* Myv. Arch., pp. 394, 396 ; Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 301. 
= Myv. Arch., pp. 390, 398, 408 ; Mabinogio.n, p. 305. 

« Annales CambriiB, p. 5. ' Black Bk. of Carmarthen, ed. Evans, p. 66. 

8 Hafod MS. 16 {c. 1400) ; Myv. Arch., p. 425 ; Cambro- British Saints, pp. 

2o8 Lives of the British Saints 

or monk of Bangor Deiniol in Carnarvonshire and to have settled 
at Penstrowed, in Arwystli, near Newtown, Montgomeryshire, and 
founded the httle church there. ^ See under SS. Garai and Llonio. 
Gwrai, son of Glywys, was the eponym of Gurinid,^ or Gorwenydd, 
which formed one of the nine divisions of the old principality of Gly- 
wysing. It is his sepulchrum and mons, in S. Bride's Major, that 
are mentioned in the Book of Llan Ddv. * 

S. GWRHIR, Confessor 

This saint's pedigree is not given. He is styled Gwas Teilo, the 
Servant of Teilo, and is said to have been a " saint " of Bangor Catwg, 
at Llancarfan.* He was the original patron of Llysfaen or Lisvane, 
under Llanishen, near Cardiff, now dedicated to S. Denis. He is 
mentioned as a bard ; and a Triad " states that " Gwrhir, Teilo's 
Bard at Llandaff," was one of " the Three Cynfebydd (or Primitive 
Bachelors) of the Isle of Britain," whatever the precise meaning 
of that may be. The other two were Tydain Tad Awen and Menyw 
Hen, which places him in rather mythical company. S. Ystyffan 
is also accounted a Bard of Teilo. 

One of the " Sayings of the Wise " stanzas is as follows : * 

Hast thou heard the saying of Gwrhir, 

The Servant of Teilo, a bard of truthful language ? 

" Whoso deceives shall be deceived." 

(A wnel dwyll ef a dwyllir). 

S. GWRIN, Confessor 

GwRiN was the son of Cynddilig ab Nwython ab Gildas,' but of 
him next to nothing is known. He is patron of Llanwrin, in Mont- 

268-9; lolo MSS., pp. 102, 136. The name occurs as Guorai, Gurhai, and 
Gurai in the Book of Llan Ddv. 

' B. Willis, Bangor, p. 278, who is followed by most others, is wrong in giving 
its patron as Gwrci. ^ Cambro-British Saints, p. 22, 53. 

^ Pp. 176, 190 ; Owen's Pembrokeshire, ii, 305. 

lolo MSS., p. 107. 

^ Myv. Arch., p. 409. For Gwrhyr, " Interpreter of Tongues," see Sir J. 
Rhys, Hibbert Lectures, p. 489, and Celtic Folklore, pp. 51 1-2. 

' lolo MSS., p. 255. 

' lolo MSS., pp. 137, 139. His name occurs in the Guurgint barmb truch of 

aS*. Gwrnerth 209 

gomeryshire, which had been previously dedicated to SS. Ust and 
■L'yroig. In. the lolo MSS. he is stated to have been a saint at Trefwrin 
or Wrinston, the Castle of which and part of the Manor are in the 
parish of Wenvoe, near Cardiff. 

His festival does not occur in the calendars, but Browne Willis 
sari's of Llanwrin that it is dedicated to " S. Wrin, November i, tho' 
the ^\'ake is kept May i." ^ 

S. GWRMAEL, Confessor 

GwRMAEL, or, as we should expect his name to be written, Gwrfael, 
is said to have been the son of Cadfrawd (saint and bishop) ab Cadfan 
(ab Cynan) ab Eudaf ab Caradog ab Bran.^ He was brother to 
Cadgyfarch, saint and bishop, the patron of Bryn Buga or Usk. The 
church of Gwrmael is said to be that of Caerloyw or Gloucester. 

Gwrmael's pedigree is so mythical that his existence is very doubtful. 

S. GWRNERTH, Confessor 

Gwrnerth was the son of S. Llywelyn ab Tegonwy ab Teon ab 
Gwineu Deufreuddwyd. ^ In one entry in the lolo MSS.^ he is given 
a brother, Gwyddfarch, a saint of Bangor Cybi, in Anglesey. Both 
Gwrnerth and his father are said to be of TraUwng, i.e. Welshpool, 

There is a religious dialogue, in verse, between Gwrnerth and his 
father in the fourteenth-century Red Book of Hergesi (col. 1026), 
the composition of which is attributed to S. Tyssilio.^ It bears 
the following inscription — " Ltywelyn and Gwrnerth were two peni- 
tent saints at TraUwng in Powys ; and it was their custom to meet 

the old Welsh pedigrees in Harleian MS. 3859, which would now be Gwrin Farf 
drwch, but out of whose name has been evolved the mythical Gwrgant Farf- 

1 Bangor, p. 361 ; Parochiale Anglic, p. 221. 

2 lolo MSS., pp. 116, 136. 

3 Peniarth MSS. 12, 16,45 ; Myv.Arch., pp. 416, 426; Cambro-British Saints 
pp. 267, 270 ; lolo MSS., pp. 107, 129 (at the former reference he is made a. 
brother to Llywelyn). 

* P. 104. ^ Skene, Four Ancient Books, ii, pp. 237-241. 


2 I o Lives of the British Saints 

together during the last three hours of the night and the first throe 
hours of the day to say tlieir Matins [Pylgeint) and the Hours of the 
day besides. And once upon a time Llywelyn, seeing the cell of 
Gwrnerth shut, and not knowing why it was so, composed an englyn." 
A postscript adds — " Tyssilio, the son of Brochwael Ysgythrog, 
composed these verses concerning Gwrnerth's coming to perform 
his devotions with S. Llywelyn, his companion ; and. they are called 
the Colloquy of Llywelyn and Gwrnerth." 

The inscription, if not the poem itself, cannot be much older than 
the MS. in which it occurs. The poem consists of thirty triplet verses, 
nearly half of which begin with the catchwords Eiry mynyd (Moun- 
tain snow), which occur also in a similar poem, but not religious, 
that follows it. In the poem one addresses the other as " brother," 
but in the postscript they are spoken of as companions. 

The festival of Gwrnerth and his father Llywelyn is on April 7, 
and occurs in the majority of the Welsh calendars. 

No church is attributed to Gwrnerth as patron. The speedwell 
is called in Welsh both gwrnerth and llysiau Llywelyn (whence the 
English fluellen) from these two saints, as suggested long ago by Dr. 
John Davies in his Botanologium, 1632. 

S. GWRTHEFYR (VORTIMER), Prince, Martyr 

GwRTHEFYR Fendigaid (" the Blessed "),^ the son of Vortigern or 
GwrthejTrn Gwrtheneu, is accounted a saint and a martyr, but nothing 
is known of him beyond what is related by Nennius. " Vortimer, the 
son of Vortigern, valiantly fought against Hengest, Horsa, and his 
people ; he drove them to the isle of Thanet, and thrice enclosed 
them within it ; and beset them on the Western side." The Irish 
Nennius says, "The Britons took this island thrice from them," and 
says nothing of any movement to the West. 

" The Saxons now despatched deputies to Germany to solicit 
large reinforcements, and an additional number of ships : having 
obtained these, they fought against the kings and princes of Britain, 
and sometimes extended their boundaries by victory, and sometimes 
were conquered and driven back. 

1 Vortimer is in old Welsh Guorthemir, becoming later Gwrthefyr. The name 
Vortiporius of Gildas appears as Guortepir in the old Welsh genealogies in Har- 
leian MS. 3859, and later in Jesus College MS. 20 as Gwrdeber. The two are 
liable to be confused. 

aS*. Gvorthefyr 2 1 1 

Four times did Vortimer valorously encounter the enemy ; the 
first has been mentioned, the second was upon the river Darent, the 
third at the Ford, in their language called Epsford, though in ours Set- 
thirgabail, there Horsa fell, and Catigern, the son of Vortigern ; 
the fourth battle he fought was near the Stone on the shore of 
the GalHc sea, where the Saxons, being defeated, fled to their 

" After a short interval Vortimer died ; before his decease, anxious 
for the future prosperity of his country, he charged his friends to 
inter his body at the entrance of the Saxon port, to wit, upon the 
rock where the Saxons first landed ; ' for though,' said he, ' they 
may inhabit other parts of Britain, yet, if you follow my commands, 
Ihey will never remain in this island.' They imprudently disobeyed 
this last injunction and neglected to bring him where he had 

In the Irish Nennius it stands somewhat differently, " a battle 
on the bank of the Deirgbeint ; a battle on the bank of Rethenergabail, 
in which Orsa and Catigern, son of Gortigern, were slain ; and a 
battle on the shore of the Ictian Sea (the Channel), where they drove 
the Saxons to their ships, muliebriter ; and a battle on the banks 
of Episfort." 

We may follow this struggle better from Mr. Green's account of 
The Making of England, though he does not even allude to the gallant 
Vortigern. " In the first years that followed after their landing, 
Jute and Briton fought side by side ; and the Picts are said to have 
at last been scattered to the winds in a great battle on the eastern 
■coast of Britain. But danger from the Pict was hardly over when 
•danger came from the Jutes themselves. Their numbers probably 
.grew fast as the news of their settlement in Thanet spread among 
their fellow pirates who were haunting the Channel ; and with the 
increase of their number must have grown the difficulty of supplying 
them with rations and pay. 

" The dispute which rose over these questions was at last closed 
by Hengest's men with a threat of war. But the threat was no easy 
one to carry out. Right across their path in any attack upon Britain 
■stretched the inlet of sea that parted Thanet from the mainland, 
a strait which was then traversable only at low water by a long and 
■dangerous ford and guarded at either mouth by fortresses." 

That they did attempt to cross, and were met and driven back 
by Vortimer, we learn from Nennius, but Mr. Green entirely dis- 
regards his testimony. Here was fought the first battle ; and the 
Jutes when foiled summoned aid from Germany. 

2 12 Lives of the British Saints 

By some means, however, when so reinforced, they succeeded in 
crossing ; probably they took the Britons by surprise, as some time 
had elapsed before the assistance arrived, and the Britons had with- 
drawn in fatal security. 

"The inlet may have been crossed before any force could be col- 
lected to oppose the English onset, or the boats of the Jutes may 
have pushed from the centre of it up the channel of its tributary, the 
Stour, itself at that time a wide and navigable estuary, to the town 
that stood on the site of our Canterbury, the town of Durovernum. 
Durovernum had grown up among the marshes of the Stour, a little 
cluster of houses raised above the morass on a foundation of piles . . . 
and the military importance of its position was marked by the rough 
oval of massive walls that lay about it. . . . But neither wall 
nor marshes saved Durovernum from Hengest's onset, and the town 
was left in blackened and solitary ruin, as the invaders pushed along 
the road to London. 

" No obstacle seems to have checked their march from the Stour 
to the Medway. Passing over the heights which were crowned with 
the forest of Blean, they saw the road strike like an arrow past the 
line of Frodsham Creek through a rich and fertile district, where 
country-houses and farms clustered thickly on either side of it, and 
where the burnt grain which is still found among their ruins may 
tell of the smoke-track that marked the Jutish advance. As they 
passed the Swale, however, and looked to their right over the potteries 
whose refuse still strews the mud-banks of Upchurch, their march 
seems to have swerved abruptly to the south. . . . The march of 
the Jutes bent along a ridge of low hills which forms the bound of the 
river-valley on the east. The country through which it led them 
was full of memories of a past which had even then faded from the 
minds of men ; for the hill-slopes which they traversed were the 
grave-ground of a vanished race, and scattered among the boulders that 
strewed the soil rise cromlechs and large barrows of the dead. One 
mighty relic survives in the monument now called Kit's Coty House, 
a cromlech which had been linked in old days by an avenue of huge 
stones to a burial ground some few miles off near the village of Adding- 
ton. It was from a steep knoll on which the grey, weather-beaten 
stones of this monument were reared, that the view of their battle- 
ground would break on Hengest's warriors ; and a lane which still 
leads down from it through peaceful homesteads would guide them 
across the river-valley to a ford which has left its name in the village 
of Aylesford that overhangs it. At this point, which is still the lowest 
ford across the Medway, and where an ancient trackway crossed 

aS*. Gwrthefyr 213 

the river, the British leaders must have taken post for the defence of 
West Kent ; but the Chronicle of the conquering people tells nothing 
of the rush that may have carried the ford, or of the fight that went 
straggling up the village. We hear only that Horsa fell in the moment 
of victory ; and the flint -heap of Horstead, which has long pre- 
served his name, and was held in aftertime to mark his grave, is thus 
the earliest of those monuments of English valour of which West- 
minster is the last and noblest shrine." 

After this success the conquerors pressed on, and the Britons 
made another stand on the Darent, and here apparently the natives 
were victorious, for the Jutes retired, and did not make further 
advance till the next year. But with the spring of 456 they were 
again on the move ; a battle was fought " near the stone on the 
shore of the Gallic sea, where the Saxons being defeated, fled to their 
ships." This can hardly be Stone, between Dartford and the Thames, 
for both the Latin and the Irish Nennius speak of it as on the English 
Channel, and we may conjecture it was at Folkstone. Perhaps, 
instead of at once pushing towards London, the invaders ravaged 
the south of Kent. 

In the following year, however, the decisive battle of Crayford, 
a ford in " a little stream that falls through a quiet valley from the 
chalk downs hard by at Orpington. The victory must have been 
complete, for, at its close, as the Chronicle of their conquerors tells 
us, the Britons ' forsook Kentland, and fled with much fear to Lon- 
don.' " 1 

Shortly after this disastrous battle, Vortimer died, probably of 
his wounds ; and immediately after, the discontent and resentment 
of the Britons rose against Vortigern, and he was driven from his 
position as king, by his people, headed by Ambrosius Aurelius, and 
Germanus (afterwards Bishop of Man).^ 

Gwrthefyr does not seem to have founded any churches. Geoffrey 
■of Monmouth says that he " restored churches " and he is followed 
by Matthew of Westminster and Henry of Huntingdon. 

The name of Gwrthefyr does not occur in any Calendars. 

In a Welsh Triad it is said that his bones formed one of the three 
" Precious Concealments " {Madgudd) of Britain, for as long as they 

1 Green, The Making of England, London, 1897, i, pp. 35-41. 

2 Henry of Huntingdon tells the story differently, but we do not know what 
was his authority. He makes Ambrosius leader in the Battle of Aylesford, with 
Vortimer and Catigern under him. Matthew of Westminster does not make 
Ambrosius supreme till later ; he also graphically describes the battle, but this 
is taken from Geoffrey of Monmouth. Geoffrey says that Vortimer was poisoned 
by Rowena, wife of Vortigern his father, and daughter of Hengest. 

2 14 Lives of the British Saijtts 

were concealed in the chief harbours of the island no invasion of 
the Saxons could ever take place, but they were revealed by his father 
Gwrtheyrn, " for love of a woman." ^ 

Among the " Sayings of the Wise " triplets occurs the following : * 

Hast thou heard the saying of Gwrthefyr 
The Blessed, of wise import ? 
" A string too tight is easily brolven." 
(Llinyn rhy dynn hawdd y tyrr.) 


S. GWRTHWL, Confessor 

Of this saint nothing is known. His name has come down to us 
in that of the church of Llanwrthwl, in North Breconshire. We 
have it also in Maes Llanwrthwl, the name of an old mansion in the 
parish of Caio, Carmarthenshire, not far from which, near Pantypolion, 
where the Paulinus stone originally stood, is Llech Wrthwl. Theo- 
philus Jones doubtfully suggested ^ as the person involved Morddal 
Gwr Gweilgi, whom the Triads * state taught the Welsh people, in 
the time of Alexander the Great, the art of building in stone and 
mortar ; but this is impossible, if for no other reason than that the 
initial letter would have to be G and not M. Ecton and Browne 
Willis give Mwthwl as the saint's name. 

The most likely name approaching Gwrthwl that we can suggest 
is Gwrthmwl,^ which was borne by more than one person living at 
an early period. One was Gwrthmwl (or Gyrthmwl) Wledig, who,, 
according to a Triad,^ was fen hynaif, or "chief elder,." of "the 
throne-tribe " at Penrhyn Rhionedd in the North, which acknow- 
ledged Arthur as " supreme King." It may be inferred from another 
Triad ' that he was slain in Ceredigion. 

March 2 is given as " Gwyl Wthwl " or " Wrthwl " in the Demetian 
Calendar (denominated S). The Prymers of 1618 and 1633, enter 
" Mwthwl " on the same day. 

^ Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 300 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 391, 396, 406. 

2 lolo MSS., p. 255. 

' Breconshire, ed. 1898, p. 283. He is followed by Carlisle, Topog. Diet., 1811, 
and others. ^ Myv. Arch., p. 409. 

* The m should properly become /, as in gwrthfynegi, etc., and in such a position 
would further be liable to disappear, as in Cynfyw, Cynyw ; Gredfyw, Gredyw. 

" Skene, Four Ancient Bks., ii, p. 456 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 389, 407. One Triad 
(e.g. Mabinogion, pp. 305-6), mentions his " carw (or tarw) ellyll." He occurs. 
ibid., p. 160 ; cf. Skene, ii, p. 287. 

' E.g., Mabinogion, p. 301. According to one (no. 39) of the Englynion y 
Beddau, the grave of a certain Gyrthmul is in Kelli Uriauael, Briafael's Holt. 

S. Gwryd 215 


The name Eglwys W'rw, borne by a church in Pembrokeshire, 
would most naturally suggest Gwtw ^ as its patron saint, and it is 
foi this reason alone that our notice has been placed, somewhat 
oddly, under the above heading. The name is spelt in a variety 
of forms. In the Valor of 1535 2 it is " Eglusero " ; in the parish 
list in Peniarth MS. 147, c. 1566, " Eglwys Irw " ; and by Owen 
in his Pembrokeshire * " Eglosserowe," who also gives * " Capell 
Erow " as a pilgrimage chapel in ruins in the same parish, which 
latter affords clear proof that the initial letter of the saint's name is 
a vowel, but whether E it is doubtful. Later writers give it as Erw 
and Eirw. The name clearly, despite the local etymologists, has 
nothing to do with erw, hence " the Church of an acre " ; and to 
connect it with gwryw or gwrw, " male," would be absurd. 

Nothing is known of the saint, not even the sex for certain. In 
the Demetian Calendar (S), the earliest MS. of which is' Cwrtmawr 
MS. 44, written in the second half of the sixteenth centiuy, the saint 
is designated " Virgin." Later writers say the male sex. Fenton,* 
who took the latter view, says that in the reign of Queen Elizabeth 
there was a sort of chantry chapel in the churchyard, wherein, on 
the south side, was shown the tomb of the saint in hewn stone. The 
parishioners never buried in the chapel, from a superstitious belief 
that corpses there interred would in the night-time be ejected. 

The saint's festival, which occiurs only in the Calendar already 
mentioned, is entered as " Gwyl Urw (Wrw) Forwyn " on October 
21. Fenton gives it on November 3, which is the festival of S. Cristiolus, 
and Carlisle, in his Topographical Dictionary, 1811, says the church 
is dedicated to that saint ; but this is surely a mistake. A large 
fair, caUed Ffair Feugan, was held at Eglwys Wrw on the Monday 
after Martinmas, O.S. ; but Meugan was the great saint of the deanery 
of Kemes. 

S. GWRYD, Friar 

In the Demetian Calendar (S) occurs the following entry, " Gwryd 
the Friar (Y Brawd Wryd) on AU Saints' Day. This Friar drove 

' Sir J. Rhys, Welsh Englyn, 1905, pp. 23-4, is disposed to connect the Gwrw 
of Eglwys Wrw with the Irish gorm, " conspicuous, famous." 

^ iv, p. 399. ' i. PP- 288, 298, 312, 398, etc. 

* i, 'p. 509. ^ Pembrokeshire, i8ii, pp. 531-2. 

2 1 6 Lives of the British Saints 

the oppression [gormes] from Einion ab Gwalchmai, which had been 
following him for seven years." '^ We are not told what the oppression 
was, but, inferentially, something mental. 

Einion ab Gwalchmai ab Meilir was a bard of Trefeilir, Anglesey, 
who flourished circa 1170-1220. Five poems by him, mostly of a 
religious character, are printed in the Myvyrian Archaiology.^ 

In the lolo MSS.^ occurs " The Fable of Einion ab Gwalchmai 
and the Lady of the Green Wood," by Hopkin ab Thomas of Gower, 
who lived at the end of the fourteenth century. In it Einion, who 
had married Angharad, the daughter of Ednyfed Fychan, is enticed 
away from his wife and son by a hideous goblin [ellylles), who appears 
to him in the form of a lady of surpassing beauty. The illusion is 
taken off him by " a man in white apparel, mounted on a snow-white 
horse," who brings him back, after an absence of twenty-nine years, 
to his wife on her wedding-dajr. 

By the " oppression " referred to in the Calendar is evidently 
meant the illusion of the Fable, and the man in white would be Gwryd. 
He lived about the year 1200, an exceptionally late instance among 
the Welsh saints. 


GwRYGON of Goddeu was a daughter of Brychan. In the Vespasian 
Cognatio her name is given as Gwrycon Godheu, in the Domitian 
version as Grucon Guedu, and in Jesits College MS. 20 as Grugon. 
In all the later lists of Brychan's children her name is spelt Gwrgon.* 
She was the wife of Cadrod Calchfynydd, Lord of Calchfynydd, which 
Skene -has identified with Kelso in Roxburghshire.^ He identified 
Goddeu with Cadyow, near Hamilton.^ 

1 Gwryd is not a name of frequent occurrence. A certain " Gwryd ap gwryd 
glav " was buried at Maes y Caerau, near Dinas Emrys (Dr. J. G. Evans, Report 
on Welsh MSS., ii, p. 355 ; see also pp. 369, 453). Hafod Wryd is a place in the 
Machno Valley, near Bettws y Coed. 

- Pp. 230-2 ; Stephens, Literature of the Kymry, 1876, pp. 48—51. 

^ Pp. 176-9. The same story is told of Ednyfed Fychan, whose daughter 
Einion had married. With variants, it is a widely spread folk-tale. Tennyson's 
Enoch Arden is a well-known instance. 

* Peniarth MS. 75 (sixteenth century) ; Myv. Arch., pp. 419, 426 ; lolo MSS., 
pp. Ill, 120, 140. " Tynwedd Faglog violated her at Rhydau Tynwedd " (first 
reference). In Peniarth MS. 131 (fifteenth century) she is called Gwenfrewi 
ty mistake. Gwrgon is a man's name. 

5 Fouy Ancient Books, i, pp. 172-3. See ii, p. 42, of this work. 

^ Ibid., ii, p. 414- Sir J. Rhys, Celtic Britain, 1904, p. 156, says that " it was 
possibly Lothian but more likely Galloway." 

S. Gwyddahcs 217 

Gwrygon's name occurs in the Cair Guricon of the Catalogue 
of Cities in Nennius {§ 76), the Old- Welsh name of Viroconium 
(Uriconium), whence our Wrox-eter and Wrekin.^ The Roman 
town is supposed to date from about A.D. 50. 

No churches are known to be dedicated to Gwrygon, nor does 
her name occur in any of the Calendars. 

S. GWYAR, Confessor 

In one document printed in the lolo MSS.^ Gwyar is mentioned 
as one of the " twelve sons of Helig ab Glanog, of Tyno Helig, in the 
North, whose lands the sea overwhelmed; and they became saints 
at Bangor Fawr in Maelor ; afterwards some of them went to Cor 
Cadfan in Bardsey. They lived in the time of Rhun ab Maelgwn," 
that is, about the middle of the sixth century. 

This is the only entry wherein his name occurs, and his existence 
must rest entirely upon this document, printed from a transcript 
made in 1783. 


In the parish of Dihewyd (subject to Llanerchaeron) , in Cardigan- 
shire is a place called Llanwyddalus, well-known formerly for its 
great fair held on April 26 (O.S.), later May 9. It preserves the name 
of a now extinct church or chapel dedicated to S. Gwyddalus or Gwy- 
•ddalys, whom some regard as a Welsh saint, but Browne Willis,-' Mey- 
rick,* and others treat the name as the Welsh form of Vitalis, whose 
festival they give on April 28. He is thus identified with the S. 
Vitalis, who, with his wife Valeria, was martjTred in the second century, 
and are commemorated together on April 28. He is venerated at 
Rjivenna, where he suffered martyrdom. But we should hardly 
expect to find a comparatively obscure Roman saint culted in the 

1 Y Cymmrodor, ix, p. 183 ; xi, p. 49 ; xxi. The Dinlle Urecon of Ll3rwarch 
Hen's Elegy to Cynddylan was probably the camp on the Wrekin. 

* P. 124. 

' Pamchiale Anglicanum, 1733, p. 193. In a list of parishes, written in 1606, 
the parish-name is given as " 11. Vitalis " (Dr. J. G. Evans, Report on Welsh 
MSS., i, p. 916). * Cardiganshire, 1808, pp. 43, 46, 185. 

2 I 8 Lives of the British Saints 

wilds of Cardiganshire. Besides, it would have been impossible for 
Vitalis to assume in ^Velsh the form Gwyddalus at any period down 
to the late Middle Ages. In Old-Welsh the equivalent of Vitalis 
was Guitaul, the name of Vortigern's father or grandfather, which 
became later Gwidawl and Gwidol, as in the " Ellyll Gwidawl " 
of the Triads, and the brook that has given its name to 
Aber Gwidol, on the Dovey. However, the identification of Gwy- 
ddalus with Vitalis is at least as old as the sixteenth century, and 
the church of Dihewyd is to-day given as dedicated to S. Vitalis. 

The saint's festival, which only occurs in the Demetian Calendar (S), 
is entered as " Gwyl Fidalis i [martyr] a Bidofydd," on April 26, on 
which day, it is added, was a fair. The fair was known far and wide 
as " Ffair Dalis Fawr." ^ When Lampeter became a railway centre 
it gradually migrated thither, where it is still a very prosperous fair, 
extending over three daj^s. 

The water supply of the village of Dihewyd comes from the Saint's 
Holy Well, Ffynnon Dalis, near the village, above which formerly 
stood a small chapel. 

S. GWYDDELAN, Confessor 

The pedigree of this saint is not given, but his festival, August 
22, occurs in a good number of the Welsh Calendars from the sixteenth 
century downwards. He is the patron of Llanwyddelan, in Mont- 
gomeryshire, and Dolwyddelan (sometimes, but wrongly, written 
Dolydd Elen, " Elen's Meadows "), in Carnarvonshire.^ The former 
church has been guessed by Browne Willis * and others to be dedicated 
to a S. Gwendolina, with festival on October 18. There is a holy well 
in Dolwyddelan, near Gelli'r Pentref, commonly called Ffynnon Elan, 
which was originally covered with a small building. Its water is 

^ F is properly a mutation of B or M, but it here evidently represents V. There 
was a Fidelis, a disciple of SS. Dubricius and Teilo, who is coupled with a disciple 
whose name may probably be represented to-day by Llywel (Book of Llan Ddv, 
pp. 115, 126-7). There is an inscription to a certain Vitalis at Caerleon. Vita- 
lius is another form of the name. 

2 Dalis points to Vi-talis. For the aphjeresis cf. Llan Dogo (on the Wye), 
for Llan Euddogwy ( = Oudoceus), seiet for society, taten for pytaten, etc. 

' The early spellings of Dolwyddelan invariably end in an ; e.g. the " Ecc'a 
de Doluythelan " of the Norwich Taxatio, 1254 ; the Record of Caernarvon, pp. 
g-ii, 211 ; and the rhyme syllable in mediaeval poetry. With the name cf. 
Dolbadarn. Gwyddelan means " the little Irishman " ; cf. the Gwyddelyn 
of Trioedd Arthur a'i Wyr. See what is said under S. Llorcan. 
or, 1721, p. 360; Bacon, Liber Regis, 1786, p. 1,047. 

S. Gwyddfarch 219 

said to possess tonic qualities and to steam sliglitly in frosty weather. 
It was considered beneficial especially for weakly children and para- 
lyzed limbs. Cloch Wyddelan, a handbell, made of sheet metal, 
and supposed to have belonged to S. Gwyddelan, is now preserved 
at Gwydir, Llanrwst. 

S. GWYDDFARCH, Confessor 

GwYDDFARCH was the son of Amalarus or Malarus, who is des- 
cribed as " tywyssawc y Pwyl," literally, " Prince of the Pwyl." i 
"Y Pwyl" is probably the Welsh modification of the French La 
Pouille, for Apulia (Puglia), in South Italy, and does not mean Poland, 
Holland, or Welshpool as has been variously suggested. 

Gwyddfarch was the founder of Eglwys Gwyddfarch (or Wydd- 
farch) in Meifod, Montgomeryshire, which has now entirely dis- 
appeared. The local legend speaks of him as an anchoret, who 
had his rocky bed, Gwely Gwyddfarch, on the slope of Gallt yr Ancr, 
the Anchoret's Hill, a bold eminence standing out above the village 
and commanding a magnificent view, and it was his warning voice, 
soon after his death, heard in the dead of night, that determined the 
precise spot whereon the church of Meifod should be built. He 
breathed his last in his Gwely. So the current tradition. ^ The 
Gwely, to-day, is a trench some eight yards in length. 

Eglwys Gwyddfarch stood, accbrding to the Meifod terriers of 
1631 and 1663, on the west side of the present churchyard, just out- 
side the wall, and had a small churchyard attached to it. At the 
date of the earlier terrier it was inhabited as a cottage, with its church- 
yard converted into gardens. This church, so called, was merely 
an oratory which was soon to be superseded by the more imposing 
edifice erected by S. TyssDio. Besides these two churches another, 
Eglwys Fair, was consecrated on the spot in 1155. The churchyard 
encloses about four acres. ^ 

There is a grant of 1467, by several cardinals, of a remission of 
100 days to those who should repair to the chapel of S. Gwyddfarch, 

1 PeniaHh MSS. 16, 45 ; Hafod MS. 16 ; Hanesyn Htn, pp. 34 (" or Pwyl "), 
117 (" Afalarus ") ; Llanstephan MS. 28 (" Maelarus ") ; Myv. Arch., p. 426; 
Cambro-Byitish Saints, p. 267 ; lolo MSS., p. 104. His name, which is totem- 
istic, is occasionally written Gwythfarch. Marchwydd is a transposition of the 
name-elements. Yr Hen Gyrys o lal, the early collector of Welsh proverbs, is 
sometimes called Gwyddfarch Gyfarwydd. As a common noun it means a 
wooden horse, and occurs in poetry as an epithet for a ship. 

2 Gwaith Gwallter Mechain, 1868, iii, pp. 95-100. 

= Archdeacon Thomas, Hist, of Dio. S. Asaph, i (1908), pp. 496-7- 

2 2 o Lives of the British Saints 

Abbot and Confessor, or to the cemetery at Chirk of S. Tyssilio, and 
perform certain acts of devotion.^ The local tradition, however, 
always speaks of him as an ancr, an anchoret or recluse. 

At the end of the eighteenth century there was in the chancel window 
of the present church a legend containing the invocation, " Scte 

His festival occurs in none of the Welsh Calendars but that in 
LlanstephanMS. 117, of the middle of the sixteenth century, where 
" Gwyddyfarch " is entered against November 3. 

According to the Life of S. Tyssilio or Suliau, preserved by Albert 
le Grand, Gwyddfarch was abbot of Meifod.^ 

Tyssilio, who had no love for a military life, came to Meifod to 
study letters and enjoy the peace of the religious life. 

Brochwel would not hear of his son becoming a monk, but at the 
earnest solicitation of Tyssilio, Gwyddfarch consented to shear 
his head and invest him with the habit, and then, to escape from 
pursuit, fled to Ynys Suliau, where he spent seven years. 

When this period was over Gwyddfarch recalled him, and informed 
him that it was his desire to make a pilgrimage to Rome. Tyssilio, 
thinking that trouble would ensue should the abbot quit Meifod, 
entreated him to remain, but Gwyddfarch had set his mind on the 
journey. However, one day when the two were together, the abbot 
was weary, lay down and went to sleep, and dreamed that he had 
seen a great city with churches and palaces. When he awoke he 
said that he had seen as much of Rome as he wanted, and that he 
would take his pupil's advice and remain at home. 
^Not long after this Gwyddfarch died, and was succeeded as abbot 
by Tyssilio. 

This took place before the battle of Bangor Iscoed and the fall 
of Chester, which was in 613, ; and we may place the death of 
Gwyddfarch as occurring about the year 610. 

Another Gwyddfarch is entered as a Welsh saint in one of the 
pedigrees (written circa 1670) printed in the lolo MSS.^ He is given 
as a son of S. Llywelyn of Trallwng or Welshpool, and brother of S. 
Gwrnerth, and said to have been a saint of Bangor Cybi, in Anglesey. 
Nothing is known of him. 

1 Arch. Camb., 1880, p. 150. Ibid., 1879, p. 291, it is suggested thatGwydd- 
farch may have been the hermit whom the British bishops consulted before giving 
their reply to Augustine. 

2 Albert le Grand, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, ed. 1901, pp. 841-3. The Life 
was taken from one extant in Le Grand's time in the Church of S. Suliac on the 
Ranee, above S. Malo ; also from the Breviary lessons of the churches of Leon 
and Folgoet in nine lections. ^ P. 104. 

S. Gwyddloyw 221 

S. GWYDDLEW, Confessor 

GwYDDLEW was, according to the lolo MSS.} a son of GwynllyTv 
■Tilwr, and a saint or monk of his brother's Cor at Llancarfan. He is 
therein said to be the father of a female S. Cannen ; but, as Gwyddlyw, 
in another entry, ^ the father of a male S. Canneu. 

If we may equate his brother Glywys Cernyw with Gluvias on the 
Fal, we may perhaps consider Gwyddlew as represented by S. Wyllow 
on the Foye at Llanteglos. William of Worcester, who calls him 
Vylloc or Wyllow, says that he was an Irishman, that he lived as a 
hermit ; and was murdered by a kinsman, Mellyn. After his head 
was cut off, he rose and carried it from the bridge of S. Willow to 
Lanteglos church. 

If WyUow be Gwyddlew he was not Irish, but his mother was Gwladys, 
daughter of Brychan, and he was consequently half Irish. 

The Feast at Lanteglos, according to William of Worcester, is on 
the Thursday before Pentecost. 

A cave is shown on S. Wyllow's Hill, by Lanteglos, in which he is 
traditionally said to have lived. 

S. GWYDDLOYW, Bishop, Confessor 

GwoDLOYW, or Gwyddloyw, was a son of Glywys Cern3rw, the 
Gluvias, as we conjecture, of Cornwall, and a nephew of S. Cadoc, 
is the grandfather of Gwodloyw was Gwynllyw Filwr, King of Gwyn- 
lywg. According to the lolo MSS.^ he was "Bishop of Llandaff, 
and before that confessor to the saints in Cor Catwg," i.e. Llancarfan. 
It is tempting to identify him with the Gudwal, a native of Britain, 
who fled to Llydaw, when his native land was a prey to the sword 
and pestilence (see under S. Gudwal), but the final syllables are not 
favourable to the identification. It is, however, remarkable that 
Gudwal should have been at Cadoc's foundation in Broweroc, and 
should have been there as much junior to Cadoc, who, if the iden- 
tification could be established, would be his uncle. 

A namesake Gwydlonius, but certainly not the same man, as he 
lived much later, appears as the eleventh Bishop of Llandaff in 
the catalogue of the Bishops of that see in the Book of Llan Ddv,* 
but this list is unreliable, and was conjecturally drawn up. The 
name of a Bishop Guodloiu, no doubt the same person, appears in a 
1 p. 130, " Ibid., p. 108. 

3 P. 130. * Pp. 303, 311- 

2 2 2 Lives of the British Saints 

single charter, and in it no name of a contemporary King is given. 
But among the witnesses who signed with him are some who can be 
fixed at a mucli later period than that of the son of GlywysCernyw.i 
The Welsh do not account Gwodloyw or Gwyddloyw as a founder. 
The late and not very trustworthy reference to him in the lolo 
MSS. evidently confounds the earlier with the later Gwodloyw. 

S. GWYDDNO (GOUEZNOU), Abbot, Bishop, Confessor 

This saint, invoked in the tenth-century Celtic Litanies as Woed- 
novius, is now called in Breton Goueznou, as is also Gwethenoc, the 
half-brother of S. Winwaloe. 

The authorities for his Life are a MS. translation of his Acts from 
the Leon Breviary in the Bibl. Nat. Paris, Franjais 22321, p. 733 ; 
a Life in Albert le Grand from the Lessons in the Leon Breviary 
and the Legendaria of Leon and Folgoat. Also a rhythmic com- 
position by William, Chaplain to the Bishop of Leon, Eudes, to whom 
he dedicated it, in 1019. 

Gwyddno was born in the Isle of Britain. He lost his mother, 
and when he was aged 18, his father Tugdon resolved on quitting 
his native land and settling in Armorica. He accordingly started, 
taking with him his son Gwyddno and his daughter Tugdonia, and 
his eldest son, Majan. 

They probably landed in the harbour of Brest, for there still exists 
a chapel in the parish of Guipavas called S. Toudon, sometimes cor- 
rupted into Saint-Hudon. 

Majan settled at a place called Loo Majan in the parish of Plouguin, 
but Gwyddno planted his lann near Brest, where the parish still bears 
his name. 

One day, Conmore, Regent of Domnonia, who had not as yet embroiled 
himself with the saints, was hunting near Brest when he came upon 
Gwyddno, and, taking a liking to him, told him he might appropriate 
as much land as he could dyke round in a day. 

Gwyddno summoned Majan to him, and the brothers started with 
a fork which they dragged behind them, and as they advanced, the soil 
miraculously rose on one side in a bank and formed a trench on the 
other. By this means they enclosed a square area of about two 

' Book of Llan Ddv, p. 168. On the next page hi,s name is spelt Guidlouius. 

S. Gwyddno 223 

The miracle is an invention and embellishment. Conmore marked 
out for Gwyddno the limits of his minihi, and thenceforth, as Albert 
le Grand informs us, it became a sanctuary and place of refuge to 
all kinds of malefactors. Having found a spring of good water, 
Gwyddno set his brother to clean it out, enclose it and form a stone 
basin into which it might flow and be retained. This Holy Well 
still exists, and is much resorted to ; it was reconstructed at the 
end of the sixteenth century. 

Gwyddno one day begged of a woman some cheeses. She replied 
that she had none, which was false. When the saint had departed, 
she found her cheeses turned to stone. These pebbles — for they 
were round Uke seaworn pebbles — were long preserved in the church 
of Lan-Gouezenou. They were actually cursing stones to be turned 
by any one who desired to bring down evil on another, whilst for- 
mulating his wish. But when this practice passed into oblivion, 
the story was made up to account for them. There is a set of them 
still to be seen at Lanrivoare, and many remain in different " cursing 
wells " and " cursing stations " in Ireland. 

As Gwyddno objected to female society, he set up a great stone 
as a demarcation beyond which no woman was to pass.^ 

Houardon, Bishop of Leon, fell ill and died, and Gwyddno was 
chosen to succeed him. The date of this event cannot be fixed. 
Gwyddno ruled the church of Leon for twenty-four years. At the 
end of this time he went to visit S. Corbasius, where is now the town 
of Quimperle and where the saint was constructing a monastery. 
As the bishop was standing under the planks of the scaffold on which 
the workmen were standing, one of them let fall his hammer, and it 
struck Gwyddno on the head, broke in his skull and killed him. He 
died on October 25. 

The usual date given for the death of Gwyddno is 675, but this 
is clearly impossible, as he received his grant of land from Conmore 
before 550. The biographers were embarrassed by this difficulty 
and supposed a second Conmore, son of the first, but history 
knows of no other. The Chronicon Briocense calls him the pestilent 
Conmore. 2 

1 " Feeminarum imprimis contubernium, familiaritatemque sic abhorrebat 
ut ne accessum quidem ad sui coenobii septa iis, ullo modo, permitteret, pr^Efixo 
utique termino, quem ultra progredi nefas esset." Led. Brev. Lion. 

^ " Conmore pestifera, quamvis liomo pessimal conditionis esset, plurimas 
tamen dedisti possessiones et franchisas religioso viro sancto Goueznovo et ejus 
ecclesicE in territorio Ossimorensi sitae." The Chron. Brioc. is so late that it is 
not of much authority, but in this instance it may have followed the lost Life 
more faithfully than Albert Ic Grand, who saw the chronological difficulty. 

2 24 Lives of the British Saints 

Under these circumstances it is impossible to determine approxi- 
mately even the date of Gwyddno's death. S. Goueznou's day is 
October 25 in the Brev. Leon., 1516 and 1736, and the Brev. Corisop., 


The saint is very liable to be confounded with Goueznou, Gwethenoc, 
son of Fracan and Gwen Teirbron, but he can be distinguished if 
we bear inmindthatthe Goueznoufound inCotes du Nord is Gwethenoc, 
and that the saint 6i this same degraded form of name in Leon is 

Gwyddno or Goueznou is invoked as Guidnove in the tenth-cen- 
tury Litany in the Library of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury, and 
in that at S. Vougai, and as Guodnou in the eleventh-century Litany 
published by D'Arbois de Jubainville. ^ 

He is mentioned in the Life of S. Paul of Leon under the name of 
Woednovius, " qui alio nomine Towoedocus vocabatur,"^ as having 
been a priest under S. Paul. Under this form, corrupted to Touezec, 
he is patron of a chapel near S. Brieuc.^ 

In Cornwall we have his name perhaps in the parish of Perran Uthno, 
otherwise Little Perran, near Marazion, called Lanuthnoe in Bishop 
Bronescombe's Register at Exeter, and Udnou Parva in the Taxatio of 
1291, where we also find a Lanudno, now extinct, but is represented 
by the manor of Lan Uthno, in the parish of S. Erth. * 

In the lolo MSS. ^ Gwyddno Garanhir, of the race of Maxen Wledig, 
is included among the Welsh Saints. His territory, Cantre'r Gwaelod 
(the Lowland Hundred), was overrun by the sea, and now lies in 
Cardigan Bay. There is no foundation whatever for regarding him 
as a Welsh saint. 

S. GWYDDYN, Hermit 

GwYDDYN, or Gwddyn, is only known to legend as a hermit ^ at 
Llanwddyn, in Montgomeryshire. GwelyWddyn, his Bed or Grave, 

^ Revue Celtique, 1890, pp. 137, 142. 

^ Vita S. Pauli Leonensis, ed. Plaine, p. 28. 

' J. Loth in Revue Celtique, 189, op. 143. 

* Owen's Pembrokeshire, i, p. 246. 

^ P. 138; cf. p. 145. Gwyddno seems to mean "skilled in wood"; cf. 
Tudno, Machno, etc. A bye-form of the name is Gwyddneu. 

* Sometimes he is made to be a giant, who lived here. A brook, sometimes 
called Nant Owddyn, is a tributary of the Vyrnwy, and flows by Gwely Wddyn. 
It is generally called Ceunant Pistyll. 

SS. Gwyn^ Gwyno, etc. 22 ^ 

is a smooth mound on a hill, a little to the south of the now submerged 
village, on the other side of the Vyrnwy. His cell is a recess in the 
rock not far from the Gwely. It is popularly believed that there are 
great treasures hidden about his cell, but every attempt at discover- 
ing them has been frustrated by tremendous storms of hail and 
thunder. A German miner named Hennings met with this experience 
in 1869. Llwybr Wddjni is the path, stUl traced over the mountain, 
along which it is said that he used to go to visit S. Melangell at Pen- 
nant, five miles off. Sarn Wddyn, his causeway over the Vyrnwy 
near his Gwely is now beneath the lake. 

To Gwyddyn was originally dedicated the church of Llanwyddyn 
or Llanwddyn, afterwards to S. John Baptist, the Patron Saint of the 
Knights Hospitallers. The manor, with the church, came into the 
possession of the Knights at an early date ; hence the rededication. 
The site of the old village of Llanwddyn, with the church and church- 
yard, is now covered by Lake Vyrnwy, which supplies Liverpool with 
water. The church erected by the Corporation of that city to replace 
it is situated about two miles from the old site, near the crest of a hill 
overlooking the great embankment. It was consecrated in 1888, 
when the original dedication was restored. 

Llanwddin, or Llanwdden, was the name of one of the two ancient 
townships of Llangystenin, in Carnarvonshire, and may possibly pre- 
serve the designation of an extinct chapel dedicated to Gwyddyn. 

CEITHO, Confessors 

In the Demetian Calendar (S), of which the earliest known copy 
is in Cwrtmawr MS. 44 (sixteenth century) , occurs the following entry — 
" The Festival of the Five Saints (Y Pumpsaint) is on the Festival of 
All Saints. These five were brothers, who were born the same time, 
at one birth, of one woman. Their father was named Cynyr Farf- 
W5m, of the parish of Cynwyl Gaio, in Carmarthenshire ; and their 
names were Gwyn, Gwyno, Gwynoro, Celynin, and Ceitho. Ceitho 
has a special Festival " ■*■ (August 5). Their Festival occurs in no other 

1 In the copy of the calendar in Panton MS. 10 (c. 1780) the words " er yn- 
weth " (at one time) of the Cwrtmawr copy have been read " i Erinwedd," con- 
verting them into a name for their mother ! Four ont of the five brothers {Gwy- 
noro omitted) are mentioned by Lewis Glyii Cothi (fifteenth century) in a verse 
of his Ode to Caio [Gwaith L. G. C, Oxf., 1837, p. 313). The editor's notes. 
however, are entirely wrong. For the Celtic legend of Five, Seven, or more 
Saints bom at one birth, see Owen's Pembrokeshire, ii, pp. 409—12, and this 
work, ii, pp. 398-405. 


2 2 6 Lives of the British Saifits 

Calendar on this day, but in the Additional MS. 14, 886 (1643-4) we 
have " Gwyl Pymsaint " against January 7, and this is the festival 
day which Browne Willis ^ gives for Llanpumpsaint. In the Book of 
Llan Ddv^ they are called "Pimp Seint Kair Kaiau." 

Their father has been supposed to be the same as Cynyr Farfdrwch, 
said to be the son of Gwron ab Cunedda,^ but this is a mistake ; 
neither can he be identified, as has also been done, with Cynyr Farfog (or 
Ceinfarfog), the father of Cai, the Sir Kay the Seneschal of Arthurian 
romance, and from whom Caer Gai in Merionethshire derives its name. 
This latter Cynyr is associated with Penllyn, in which district Caer 
Gai is situated. 

To the Five Saints is dedicated the church of Llanpumpsaint in 
Carmarthenshire ; also, formerly, a chapel called Pumpsaint,* in the 
parish of CynwylGaio, in the same county. To Ceitho is dedicated 
Llangeitho, in Cardiganshire. 

A curious legend connects the Five Saints with a large block of sand- 
stone at Cynwyl Gaio called Carreg Pumpsaint. It stands upright 
at the foot of the hill below the Ogofau, the old Roman gold mines, 
and is shaped like a basalt column, with large artificial oval basin- 
shaped hollows on its sides. It is three and a half feet high and a 
little over two feet in width. The legend says that, time out of mind, 
there lived in the neighbourhood five saints who had a wide reputa- 
tion for sanctity, and were objects of ill-will to a wicked magician who 
dwelt in caverns near. He had in vain tried to bring them into his 
power, until one day they happened to be crossing the Ogofau, and 
he, by his wicked enchantments, raised a terrific storm of thunder, 
lightning and hail, which beat upon and bruised the saints, and they 
laid their heads against a large boulder standing near for shelter. 
So great was the force of the hail that the impression of their heads 
can be seen to this day upon the four sides of the stone. The enchanter 
transported the saints into his caverns (the Ogofau) where they sleep. 
Tradition says they will awake, and come back to the light of day, 
when King Arthur returns, or when the Diocese is blessed with a truly 
pious and apostolic prelate ! ^ 

According to another version they were five young pilgrims on their 
way to the shrine of S. David, who, exhausted with fatigue, reposed 
on this pillow their weary heads which a violent storm of rain and 

1 Parochiale Anglic, 1733, p. 189. ^ Pp. 56, 62, 287. 

^ Rees, Welsh Saints, p. 212. He is not to be identified either with Gwryn 
(or Cynyr, as later corrupted) Farfdrwch of Meirionydd. 

* It is called in full in the Booh of Llan Ddv, ut supra, Lann Teliau Pimp Seint 
Kair Caiau. 

5 Arch. Camb., 1878, pp. 322-3. 

SS. Gwyn^ Gwyno, etc. 227 

hailstones affixed to the stone. A mahgnant sorcerer appeared and 
carried them off to his cavern, where they are destined to remain 
asleep until the happy day mentioned.^ 

The block, supposed to have on it the impression of the five 
heads on each of its four sides, has been extracted from the mine, 
and was originally horizontal. The hollows are actually mortars in 
which the quartz was crushed for gold. 

Another legend relates that once upon a time a certain woman 
named Gweno was induced to explore the recesses of the cavern beyond 
a frowning rock which had always been the prescribed limit to the 
progress of the inquisitive. She passed beyond it, and was no more 
seen. She had been seized by some superhuman power, as a warning 
to others not to invade those mysterious •penetralia; and still on 
stormy nights, when the moon is full, the spirit of Gweno is seen to 
hover over the crag like a wreath of mist. 

Gweno has given name to Ffynnon Gweno (the actual position of 
which is now not known), which had formerly a high reputation for 
healing virtues, and it is hardly out of memory that crutches were 
suspended above it ; and also to Clochdy Gweno, an isolated rock 
standing up in the midst of the great gold excavations. ^ 

Legend associates also the Five Saints with Llanpumpsaint, for- 
merly a chapelry in the parish of Abergwili, but now a separate parish. 
They at first, it is said, intended to found their church there on Moelfryn 
Clynneuadd, where are still some remains, but nothing but ill-luck 
attended their labours. Ultimately they decided upon the present 
spot. Their Holy Well, Ffynnon Bumpsaint, is near the church.^ 
The following, relating to this parish, is extracted from Archdeacon 
Tennison's Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Carmarthen, July and 
August, 1710 — " There are five wells or pools in the river which tra- 
dition says were made use of by the five saints, and that each particular 
saint had his particular well. On S. Peter's day yearly between two 
and three hundred people got together, some to wash in, and some 
to see these Wells. In the summer time the people in the neighbour- 
hood bathe themselves in the wells to cure aches."* A large flat 
stone, bearing incised crosses and other marks, formerly lying in the 
churchyard, has been removed into the church, and on it now stands 
the altar. It was popularly called Carreg y Pumpsaint. 

^ Cambrian Register, iii (1818), pp. 40-1 ; The English Works of Rev. Eliezer 
Williams, London, 1840, pp. 155-6. 

^ Arch. Camb., ut supra. ' Yr Haul, 1849, pp. 222-4. 

* Given in Evans (J. T.), Church Plate of Carmarthenshire, London, 1907, 
p. 80. 

2 2 8 Lives of the British Saints 

Gwj-n ab Nudd is given in one entry in the lolo MSS. ^ as a Welsh 
saint ; but he is a well-known figure in Welsh mythology — the 
King of Annwn, the Welsh Under-world. 


S. GWYNDAF HEN, Confessor 

GwYNDAF Hen (the Aged) was one of the many sons of Emyr Llydaw. 
No pedigrees but those in the lolo MSS. appear to include him among 
the Welsh saints. He is there said to have been " confessor {periglor} 
to S. Garmon ab Ridicus, and to have come to this Island with the said 
Garmon in the time of Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu." He married Gwe- 
nonwy, the daughter of Meurig ab Tewdrig, King of Morganwg, and 
sister to Anna, the wife of Amwn Ddu. He was the father of SS., 
Meugant and Henwyn, the former of whom seems to have remained 
with him. He was also periglor in Cor Illtyd at Llantwit ; and it is 
added that " he was afterwards made principal of Cor Dyfrig at 
Caerleon on Usk, and in his old age went to Bardsey where he lies 
buried." ^ No reliance can be placed on some of these statements. 

Gwyndaf is the patron of Llanwnda, in Carnarvonshire, and of 
another church of the name in Pembrokeshire. In the parish of 
Troedyraur, Cardiganshire, was formerly a chapel known as Capel 
Gwnda. It stood on the banks of the Ceri, where now is the Rectory. 
In the bed of the river there is a rock with a flat surface in which 
are holes, visible in summer, said to have been made by Gwyndaf's 
knees whilst engaged in prayer when once journeying through the 
country. From these holes was derived a medicine for wounds and 
sores, which effected a cure for the people of this parish only, who used 
to bathe their feet etc. in them. His piety and good deeds becoming 
known, he was invited to his residence by the great man in the neigh- 
bourhood, who gave him the land on which he erected this chapel. 
Gwyndaf in return bestowed his blessing upon him and the neigh- 
bourhood. Near the chapel is a small waterfall, which forms a pool 
in the river, known as Cerwyn Gwynda (his brewing tub), and on 
the other side of the river in the parish of Penbryn are two places- 
called Felin Wndaand Capel Gwnda, the latter a farm. 

1 P. 123. 

2 lolo MSS., pp. 108, 132-3 ; cf. p. 112. The element -daf, for old Welsh 
-tarn, occurs in Cyndaf, Maeldaf, etc. 

S. Gwyne// 229 

There is a legend current in Llanwnda, Pembrokeshire, that one 
day whilst returning there from Fishguard, in crossing the brook that 
divides the two parishes a fish leaped and frightened his horse, so 
that he was thrown and fractured his leg. He thereupon cursed the 
brook that never a fish should appear in it ; and so it came to pass. 
There is here a Carn Gwnda. 

His festival does not occur in any of the Calendars. Browne Willis, 
however, gives November 6 for his church in Pembrokeshire, and 
April 21 (S. Beuno's Day) for that in Carnarvonshire. ^ 

In Additional MS. 31,055,' in the autograph (1594-6) of Sir Thomas 
Williams, are a number of " Sayings " attributed to him, called 
" GeLriau Gwynda Hen." They are of the aphoristic, ethical char- 
acter of collections well-known in late mediaeval Welsh literature, 
which, by their sentiments and diction, are rarely older than the MSS. 
in which they occur. 

S. GWYNDEG, Confessor 

GwYNDEG was one of the sons of Seithenin, King of Maes Gwyddno. 
whose land was overflowed by the sea and now lies under Cardigan 
Bay. They aU afterwards became " Saints " in Bangor on Dee. He 
was the father of Cynyr of Caer Gawch, S. David's grandfather, and 
of a S. Padrig. He is known to us through one late document only 
in the lolo MSS.^ A certain Gwndec (Gwyndeg) is mentioned among 
the dozen " seamen " who formed S. Cybi's teulu or " family," * 
and who were nearly aU saints associated with Anglesey. 


In a list of Welsh parishes circa 1566, and others later ,^ is given a 
parish in Monmouthshire as Llanwynell or Llanwnell, which is entered 

1 Y Tmethodydd, 1856, p. 378. The legend of Gwyndaf, more particularly 
the traditions current in the Troedyxaur Valley, has been put into verse by 
Gwynionydd in his Briallen Glan Ceri, 1873, p. 9. 

2 Parochiale AngUcanum, 1733, pp. 176, 209. 

^ They occcur at ff. i^&'-isy^, and are followed by"Geiriau Selyf Ddoeth " 

"■ P. 141. 5 Their names are given in a short poem, Teulu Cybi Sant. 
« Dr. J. G. Evans, Re-port on Welsh MSS., i, p. 919 ; Myv. Arch., p. 749. 

230 Lives of the British Saints 

between Llanfihangel Torjmiynydd and Llangwm. Its exact situation, 
it would appear, is not now known, but it was probably at, or in 
the neighbourhood of. Wolves Newton, so called from the Wolff 
family, which lived there in the fifteenth century. ^ The name sug- 
gests a S. Gwynell as the church patron, but the ordinary hagiological 
sources have no record of even his name. Lewys Dwnn, however, 
gives the following note — " Syr Vwniel L. off Wolffs Newton Knight. 
He accepted the Christian Faith aiio 188, and erected a church at 
his own expense." ^ The editor suggests that this was Llanwnell, 
being, as usual, named after its founder. 

S. GWYNEN, Virgin 

Of Gwynen, or Gwnen, usually regarded as a female saint, no more 
is known than that she has given her name to the church of Llanwnen, 
Cardiganshire. She is invoked, along with Gwenog of the neigh- 
bouring parish of Llanwenog, in a copy of the Laws of Hjrwel Dda in 
Llanstephan MS. 116, of the second half of the fifteenth century ; 
and also in Dafydd Nanmor's Ode to Henry VII, in a long list of Welsh 
and other saints, to whose guardianship he commits the King. ^ Lewis. 
Glyn Cothi * mentions " Teml Wynen Ian," " the Temple of Holy 

Llanwnen is now generally believed to be dedicated to S. Lucia, 
and Willis ^ and Meyrick,^ give the parish feast on December 13, the 
festival of S. Lucy of Syracuse. In the earliest copy (Cwrtmawr 
MS. 44) of the Demetian Calendar (S) is entered against this day,. 
" Gwnnen "^ and Gwnns ( = Gwynws), two sons of Brychan," by the 
former of whom the Llanwnen patron is evidently meant, but here 
made to be a male and not a female saint. This is the only calendar 
in which the festival occurs. A fair is held at Llanwnen on December 
13, which was also its date O.S., no account, contrary to the usual 
custom, having been taken of the eleven days difference between 
the two Styles. On December 13 is also commemorated the illus- 
trious Finnian of Clonard, whose name may be equated with Gwynan,, 

- G. T. Clark, Genealogies of Morgan and Glamorgan, London, 1886, p. 432. 

' Heraldic Visitations, ed. Meyrick, Llandovery, 1846, i, p. 11. 

3 lolo MSS., p. 314. The copy in Cardiff MS. 7 (sixteenth century) reads 
" Gwnan." Several persons named Guinan, lay and cleric, occur in the Book 
of Llan Ddv. 

^ Gwaith L. G. C, Oxf., 1837, p. 208 ; cf. p. 120. 

^ Parochiale Anglic, 1733, p. 194. * Cardiganshire, 1808, p. 46. 

' The Great (1806) copy has "Gwynan." 

S. Gwynhoedl 231 

though his namesake of Moville, as we take him, was culted under the 
form Ffinan in Anglesey. 

Capel Gwynen or Gwynan, near Beddgelert, now extinct, stands 
for (in fuU) Capel Nant Gwynain, being so called from the river there 
of the name. 


S. GWYNGENEU, Confessor 

GwYNGENEU was the son of Paul Hen,i sometimes said to be " of 
the North " and at other times " of Manaw," no doubt the Manaw, 
a district lying on the Firth of Forth, and not the Isle of Man. 
He was brother to SS. Peulan and Gwenfaen, who have dedications 
at Llanbeulan and Rhoscolyn in Anglesey. To Gwyngeneu was 
dedicated the now extinct Capel Gwyngeneu in the parish of Holyhead. 

His festival is not known. His name occurs sometimes as Gwrgeneu 
and Gwylgeneu. Ceneu, " a whelp or cub," is a somewhat common 
name-element in Welsh. 

S. GWYNHOEDL, Confessor 

Gwynhoedl was one of the sons of Seithenin, King of Maes Gwyddno, 
whose territory the sea submerged and now lies under Cardigan Bay. ^ 
He and his brothers, after this catastrophe, are said to have become 
" Saints " at Bangor Iscoed. He is the patron of Llangwnadl, Car- 
narvonshire. The church is sometimes said to be dedicated to the 
Holy Trinity, and at other times to S. Michael and S. Gwynhoedl. 

The name " Vendesetli " occurs on an inscribed stone, of about 

1 Peniarth MS. 75 (sixteenth century) ; Myv. Arch., pp. 426, 429. His father's 
name is usually given, but wrongly, as Pawl Hen. At the first reference it is 
"■ Pevl Hen o Vanaw." See further under S. Gwenfaen. 

2 Peniarth MSS. 16, 45 ; Hafod MS. 16 ; Cardiff MS. 5 (1527) ; Myv. Arch., 
pp. 419, 426, 428 ; Cambro-British Saints, pp. 267-8 ; lolo MSS., p. 141. His 
name is variously spelt Gwynnoedyl, Gwennoedyl, Gynodyl, Gwynodl, and 
Gwnadl. He is no doubt the Geneddyl of the Seithenin list on p. 105 of lolo 
MSS. Gwnodl is a township of the parish of Llangar, Merionethshire. Hoedl 
was rather a common name-element among the Brythonic Celts. Gwynhoedl 
had a brother named Hoedlo)rw. 

232 Lives of the British Saints 

the sixth century, found in the neighbouring parish of Llannor. It 
occrus also as " Vennisetli " on an inscribed stone at Llansaint, 
Carmarthenshire. Both forms would to-day be represented by this 
saint's name, and it is highly probable that the Llannor stone com- 
memorates him. An inscription, in Gothic capitals, on the pier sup- 
porting the easternmost aisle arch in Llangwnadl Church has been 

thus read : — 


The name means " him of the blessed or happy life." 

His festival does not occur in any of the Calendars, but it is given 
by Browne Willis as January i.^ 

S. GWYNIN, Confessor 

This saint was a son of Helig ab Glanog.^ Some of the earlier 
genealogies* have by mistake substituted his grandfather's name for 
his father's, making him son of Glanog ab Helig Foel of Tyno Helig. 
They ascribe to him two brothers, Bodo, or Boda, and Brothen. The 
late lolo MSS.. pedigrees are, as usual, more circumstantial. Accord- 
ing to these, ^ Gwynin was one of " the twelve sons of Helig ab Glanog, 
of Tyno Helig in the North, whose lands the sea overwhelmed, and they 
became Saints in Bangor Fawr in Maelor ; and, afterwards, some of 
them went to Cor Cadfan in Bardsey. They lived in the time of Rhun 
ab Maelgwn," i.e. about the middle of the sixth century. Their 
territory is now covered in part by the Lavan Sands, on the Carnarvon- 
shire coast. 

Gwynin is the patron of two churches in Carnarvonshire — Llan- 
dygwynin^ or Llandegwning (subject to Llaniestyn), and Dwygyfylchi 
(" the two converging passes "), which is retained as the name of the 
parish and of a hamlet, Penmaenmawr being that of the town. His 
festival does not occur in any of the Welsh Calendars, but it is given 

1 Cathrall, Hist, of North Wales, 1828, ii, p. 122 ; Arch. Camb., 1848, pp. 147- 
150. It has been supposed that it terminated with the date 750. 

^ Bangor, 1721, p. 274; so also Cambrian Register, iii (1818), p. 224. 

3 Cardiff MS. 25 {Hanesyn HSn), pp. 30, 35, 118 ; Cardiff MS. 5 (1527), p. 
118 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 418-9, 426, 429. The termination is also given as -un, 
-wn, and -yn. The name occurs in Brittany as Guenin. 

^ E.g., Peniarth MS. 16 (his name as Gwymin) ; Hafod MS. 16. 

^ P. 124 ; cf. p. 106, where it is stated that he was a saint in Ceredigion. 

« This form imphes that he was sometimes known as Tygwynin, with the 
honorific preiix to ; cf. Tjrfaelog for Maelog, etc. We should, however, have 
expected the name to appear as Tywynin. 

aS*. Gwynio 233 

as having been observed on December 31 in the former parish and on 
January 31 in the latter. ^ 

In the Penmaenmawr Survey,'^ written by Sir John Wynn of Gwydir 
(died 1626), it is stated, " Beda (Boda) and Gwynn (Gwynin) weare 
both sainctes in Dwygyfylchi, and doe lye buried att the end of the 
Churche in a litle Chappell annexed to the west end of theChurche." 
This makes the church to be dedicated to the brothers conjointly. 
There are no traces now of the chapel. 

The Wynnin who has given name to Kilwinning, in Cunningham, 
with the S. Winning's Well there, and to Caerwinning, at Dairy, was 
" born in the Scotic province," and his legend is in the Breviary of 
Aberdeen. His festival is January 21.^ 

S. GWYNIO, Martyr 

Of this saint very little is known ; of his parentage nothing. In 
Cardiff MS. 5 (1527), p. 117, there is the following note, in Welsh — 
" Gwnio of Llanwnio was kiUed by the Irish (y Gwythel) whilst going 
to Cil Sant (the Saint's Retreat), and Ffynnon Gwnio sprang up 
where his head fell ; " that is, he was decapitated there by them. 
Llanwynio is a parish in Carmarthenshire, the church of which is 
dedicated to him, and CU Sant is about a mile and a half south of the 
church. The situation of his Holy Well does not appear to be known, 
but there is a Ffynnon Felan between the church and Cil Sant. Lewis 
Glyn Cothi * mentions " Gwynio Wyn," Blessed Gwynio. 

The Book of Llan Ddv ^ enters " Eccluis Gunniau [vel Guiniau) ubi 
natus est Sanctus Teliaus " among the possessions of the church of 
Llandaff in the old cantref of Penfro, in Pembrokeshire. This church, 
Eglwys Wnio or Wynio, is believed to be S. Twinnel's, dedicated to S. 
Winnocus,® but Dr. Gwenogvryn Evans plausibly suggests ' that it 
was Penally. 

His festival at Llanwynio is given by Browne Willis on the same day 
in two different months, on March 2 ^ and May 2 with,' apparently, 
an error as to the month. 

' Willis, Bangor, 1721, pp. 273, 275 ; Carlisle, Topog. Diet., 181 1 ; Cambrian 
Register, iii (1818), pp.222, 224. ^ Reprint, Llanfairfechan, 1906, pp. 18, 19. 
' Forbes, Kalendars 0/ Scottish Saints, 1872, pp. 463-6. 

* Gwaith, Oxf., 1837, p. 412 ; cf. p. 295. The name Guinniaw occurs in Brit- 
tany [Revue Celtique, xxix, 1908, p. 300). 

* Pp. 124, 255. " Owen's Pembrokeshire, i, pp. 292, 321. 
' Book of Llan Ddv, p. 402. ' Parochiale Anglic, 1733, p. 188. 

' Browne Willis MS. 37 {1720), fo. 137, in Bodleian Library. Rice Rees, 
Welsh Saints, p. 308, gives the two dates. 

2 34 Lives of the British Saints 

S. GWYNLLEU, Bishop, Confessor 

GwYNLLEU, or Gwynllef, was the son of S. Cyngar ab Garthog ab 
Ceredig ab Cunedda Wledig.^ He had a brother S. Cyndeyrn (not 
Kentigern). Some of the pedigrees, more especially the later ones, 
give his name as Gwynlliw. 

His festival, November i, occurs only in the Demetian Calendar (S) — ■ 
as Gwyl Wnnlle — and he is entered as Bishop, and patron of Llangwnlle, 
in Cardiganshire, by which is meant Nantcwnlle. ^ 

S. GWYNLLYW, King, Confessor 

The authorities for the Life of Gwynllyw are : — 

1. The Life of S. Cadoc, already described under S. Cadoc. 

2. The Life of S. Gundleus in MS. Cotton. Vespas. A. xiv. (early 
thirteenth century), printed by Rees in Camh'O-British Saints, pp. 145- 
157, but collated with the copy in MS. Titus D. xxii (fifteenth century). 
This is a most unsatisfactory composition, inasmuch as the author 
deliberately and wantonly altered facts so as to write for edification. 
It is significant of the method of mediaeval hagiographers to compare 
the picture of the early life of Gwynllyw, as revealed in the Life of S. 
Cadoc, with that presented by the panegyrist in the other Life. There 
is a condensation of it in Capgrave from John of Tynemouth, which has 
been reprinted in Acta SS. Boll. , Mart, iii, p. 781. 

To deal with the second authority. The basis of this would seem 
to have been a Welsh poem on the Conversion of the King. But most 
assuredly tampered with, in the facts, by the hagiographer, and we may 
suspect that the story in the Life of S. Cadoc more nearly represents 
the theme of the poet. The writer says : " Britannus quidam versifi- 
cator Britannice versificans, composuit carmina a sua gente, et Britan- 
nico sermone laudabilia de conversatione Sanctissimi Gunlyu, et da 
miraculis conversati que Deus pro illius amore concessit operari, nondum 
eadem finita erant carmina a compositore ; quarta enim pars carminum 
defuerat in compositione, quesierat autem materiam compositurse, 

1 Peniarth MSS. 16, 27, 45 ; Hafod MS. 16; Hanesyn H6n, p. 112 ; Myv. 
Arch., p. 426; Cambro-BHtish Saints, p. 265; lolo MSS., pp. 102, no, 125. 
Gwynlleu is compounded of Gwyn, and the Lieu of the well-known Mabinogion 
name, Lieu (Llew) Llawgyffes. 

2 The instanc(.s in which Llan becomes Nant are few ; e.g. Nant Nyfer (Nevern) 
— Llanhyfer. Nant to Llan are more numerous : Nant Carfan — Llan Carfan ; 
Nant Honddu — Llanthony, etc. 

S. Gwynllyw 235 

non fuit tamen facultas ingenii ultro invenire. Interea marina undosi- 
tas vehementissima cum fortissimo rigore, contexit campestria, sum- 
mersit cunctos habitatores et edificia . . . incepit quartam partem 
carminum comppnere, timens submergi tunc pro timore. Dum in- 
cepisset impleta est fluctibus ; post hasc ascendit trabes superius, et 
secutus est it arum tumens fluctus tercio super tectum, nee cessat ille 
fungi laudibus. Illis finitis, Britannus poeta evasit." ^ 

GwjTilljrw Filwr, or the Warrior, as he is generally called in Welsh, 
was the son of Gljrwys ab Tegid ab Cadell. ^ His pedigree as given in 
the Life of S. Cadoc ' differs from this. It makes him the son of 
Gluiguis ab Solor ab Nor ab Ouguein ab Maximianus. His mother is 
said to have been Gwawl (GwawT in the Progenies Keredic and Jesus 
College MS. 20), daughter of Ceredig ab Cunedda.* The latter 
pedigree is the one given him also in Jesus College MS. 20, but it reads 
Filur for Solor, both, in fact, taking his epithet for his father's name. 

Gw\-nllyw was regulus of G\vynlly~wg, i.e. , Gwynlljrw's Land, a district 
lying between the Usk and Rumney Rivers. It was anciently in 
[Morganwg, but is now in Monmouthshire. It is generally anglicized 
into ^^"entloog.5 

Gwynllyw had several brothers, who natalico more divided their 
father's kingdom between them — Etelic, who obtained the principality 
over Edelygion, in Monmouthshire ; Paul, who had Penychen, in 
Glamorgan ; Seru, to whom fell Seruguunid, or Senghenydd, in Gla- 
morgan ; Gurai, who had Gurinid or Gorwenydd, the present Deaneries 
of Groneath Upper and Lower, in Glamorgan; Mar was given possession 
of Margam, Cettil of Kidwelly, and Cornouguill of Carnwyllion, in Car- 
marthenshire. Again another named Metel had to his share Cruc- 
metil. But one, Pedrog, loving the kingdom of God above the posses- 
sions of earth, migrated to Cornwall and embraced the ecclesiastical 

The Life of S. Petroc by John of Tynemouth does not confirm this 
last statement ; it makes Petroc son of Clement, a regulus in Cor nwall, 
and chronologically it is most likely that Petroc was nephew and not 
brother of Gwynllyw. 

1 Cambro-Britiih Saints, p. 151. His name is latinized Gundleiis. In one 
MS. in the lolo MSS., p. 149, he is called Cynlais. Theophilus Jones, Breconshire, 
ed. 1898, p. 485, supposed Ystradgynlais Church to be dedicated to him. 

2 Peniarth MSS. 12, 16, 45, etc. 

^ Cambro-British Saints, p. 81. . * Ibid., p. 82. 

= The name occurs in a variety of forms, the oldest being the Guinnliguiauc 
of the Annates Cambrics (Cymmrodor. i.v, p. 167), which appears later as Gwyn- 
llyawg, to be treated as a sister form of Gwynllywg (Gunliviuc in the Book nf 
Llan bdv). Gwentllwg (whence Wentloog) and Gwaunllwg are late corrupt 

236 Lives of the British Saints 

The older genealogies give GwynlljAV three sons, Bugi, Catwg (Cadoc), 
and Cemmeu (Cynfyw). One late document printed in the lolo 
MSS.''- gives the following children, all of whom were saints : Catwg, 
Cammarch, Hywgi (Bugi), Glywys Cern3fw, Cynfyw, Gwyddlew, Cy- 
flewjn-, Cannen, and Maches. 

GwynUyw, having rioted as a bachelor, deemed it advisable to 
settle down to the matrimonial estate. How he got married is differ- 
ently described by the two writers, his panegyrist and the author of 
the Life of S. Cadoc. 

The former says : " When, by the common advice of the inhabitants, 
he desired to get married, he sent ambassadors to Brychan, King of 
Brycheiniog, for he had heard of the gentleness and beauty of his 
daughter, Gwladys. She being requested as a bride and promised, was 
given that he might enjoy legal nuptials." 

The other version of the transaction is very different. GwynUyw 
sent many messengers to the father of the virgin, who was called 
Brychan, being inflamed with passion at her delightful report, and 
desiring to marry her respectably. The father of the girl, on recep- 
tion of the legation, was indignant and filled with fury, and absolutely 
refused to betroth his daughter to him ; he treated the messengers 
with contumely and sent them home. This they took amiss, and re- 
turned and related what had been done to them, to their master. 
Having heard this, the King, drunk with fury, armed as many as three 
hundred serfs, so as to carry off the girl by force. They immediately 
set out and reached the court of the aforesaid reguhis, at Talgarth, 
and found the damsel outside the gate, sitting with her sisters, and 
passing the time in modest conversation. Her they immediately 
carried off by force, and returned at full speed. 

" When Brychan, her father, learned this, he was touched with grief 
to the heart, and mourning the loss of his most dear daughter, sum- 
moned all his friends and neighbours to recover his child. All his 
auxiliaries having assembled, with haste he pursues his enemy and his 
accomplices. Now when Gwynlljrw saw them, he ordered the girl to 
be brought to him, and to ride along with him on the same horse. 
Hardly deigning to fly, he preceded his soldiers slowly, with the girl 
behind him, and exhorted his men to fight gallantly. But Brychan 
and his men, boldly attacking the ungentle King and his followers, 
slew two hundred of them, and pursued them to the hill which bounded 
their respective territories, and which in the British tongue is called 
Boch riw earn, which signifies the cheek of a stony road. " This is now 

' P. 130. See also this work, ii, p. 417. 

S. Gwynllyw 237 

Now it happened that Arthur and his two knights, Cai and Bedwyr 
(Bedivere) , were at the time seated on the top of the hill and were play- 
ing dice. When they saw what was going on, Arthur, who was of an 
amorous complexion, proposed to knock over Gwynllyw and carry off 
the girl he had behind him. But his comrades dissuaded him from so 
gross an act and told him that he had best first inquire who the man 
was who had the damsel en croupe. When Gwynll57w gave his name, 
and stated that he was on his own lands, then Arthur and his men 
went to his assistance, and drove back the soldiers of Brychan. 

" Then Gwynllyw went with the aforesaid virgin Gwladys to his 
palace, that was on that hill, which from his name was afterwards called 
in British, AUt Wynll3AV, or the Hill of Gwynllyw." 

In due course of time Gwladys conceived, and there were prospects of 
her becoming shortly a mother. 

Now about this time " some of Gwynllyw's thieves (quidam ex 
Gundleii latronibus) went, with the purpose of committing a robbery, to 
a town wherein dwelt a religious Irishman, who was a hermit, and 
served God devoutly, which thieves the aforesaid Gwynllyw loved, and 
instigated to robbery (eosque sepius ad latrocinia instigabat)." 

This hermit had no other possessions save one cow, the finest in the 
country, and he and his twelve ministers lived on its milk. This cow 
the thieves carried off, on the very night upon which Gwladys became a 

Next day the hermit, whose name is variously given as Meuthi and 
Tatheus or Tathan, hastened with his disciples to the caer of Gwynll3AV 
to demand back his cow. The King saw him coming, and resolved on 
playing a practical joke on him. He ordered his servants to place a 
cauldron of scalding water on the floor, to cover it with reeds, and 
throw a cloth over the whole. 

As soon as the Irish hermit entered, Gwynllyw courteously waved 
him to this seat, but the shrewd old man, either suspecting mischief, 
or seeing some steam escape from under the covering, seated himself 
so gingerly on the edge as not to fall in and be scalded as the King had 
purposed. As told by the hagiographer, the reeds became miraculously 
stiff and sustained him.-^ 

Gwynllyw was perhaps ashamed of himself, or perhaps saw he might 
get an advantage out of the hermit if he cultivated his friendship, so he 
gave him back the cow, and engaged him to baptize the new-born son, 
and this was done, and the child called Cathmail. Afterwards the boy 
was given to Tatham, to be educated by him. 

=■ Vita S" Tathei in Cambro-Bntish Saints, p. 260. The story is told dif- 
ferently in the Life of S. Cadoc. In it the practical joke is not mentioned. 

238 Lives of the British Saints 

The picture drawn by the professional hagiographer of S. Gwynllyw 
is very different. " He reigned over the seven districts of Glamorgan 
on account of himself and his brothers ; all the inhabitants were 
obedient to the laws, no one then dared to injure another. If any one 
committed an injury, he suffered punishment ; for bribery he would 
justly lose his patrimony. Peace being confirmed, there were no con- 
tentions in his time, he was a pacific king, and a liberal governor in his 
court . . . his countrymen gloried in such a lord, they frequently 
returned bounteously laden on the annual attendances." ^ 

Side by side with this comes the testimony of the other biographer — 

" Gwynllyw was given up to carnal allurements, and frequently in- 
stigated his guards to robbery and plunder, and lived altogether con- 
trary to what was just and right, and disgraced his life with crimes." ^ 

The conversion of the King did not take place till he was advanced 
in years. His son Cathmail (Cadoc) became an important monastic 
founder, and ruled as prince-abbot at Llancarfan. 

The account of the conversion differs in the two Lives. According 
to that of Gwynllyw, an angel came to him in a dream and read him a 
long theological discourse. But the Life of S. Cadoc says that this 
latter, " seeing the wicked acts of his father . . . sent faithful messen- 
gers of his disciples to him, to wit, Finnian, Gnavan, and his loved 
pupil EUi, that they might convert him from the errors of his malice 
and wickedness." This they did, and Gwladys backed up their exhort- 
ation. She said to the old King, " Let us trust to our son, and he will 
be a father to us in heaven." 

Gwynllyw was brought to repentance and surrendered the rule over 
his principality, and resolved on building a church. In true Celtic 
fashion he looked out for an omen, and one day, finding a white ox on 
the high ground where now stands S. Woolo's church, Newport, with 
one black spot on its forehead,^ he thought that a significant token of 
where he was to settle. He received the consent of Dubricius, the 
Bishop, and marked out a cemetery, and in the midst of it built a 
church of boards and rods (tabulis et virgis). 

A little distance from the church was an old caer or camp, and in this 
Gwynllyw and his wife lived. " They did not wash themselves in the 
frosty season of winter more seldom than in the heat of summer ; they 
rose from their beds in the middle of the night, and after a bath re- 
turned to their coldest apartment, put on their clothes, and visited the 

1 Vita S" Gundlei in Cambro-British Saints, p. 146. 

^ Vita 5"' Cadoci in ibid., pp. 84-5. 

' The ox was called Dutelich, which is explained (p. 148) as meaning " the 
ox with the black forehead." Thelych occurs as the name of a monk in the 
Life of S. Brynach (ibid., p. 12). See also the Booh of Llan Ddv, p. 420 (index). 

S. Gwynllyw 239 

church, praying and kneeHng before the altars until day. Thus they 
led an eremitical life, enjoying the fruits of their labour, and taking 
nothing which belonged to other persons." ^ 

The position of the old fort occupied by Gwynll3Av can be identified. 

We must premise that the church is now known as S. Woolo's, a 
building of unusual length, and standing on the summit of a lofty hill, 
caUed Stow Hill. 

In a field within a short distance of the church " there was, not 
long ago," writes Mr. C. O. S. Morgan, ^ " a moated mound, on the 
summit of which was planted a clump of fir-trees. There are several 
of these mounds about the country. They consist of a circular, conical 
mound, having a flat table-top, usually about fifty feet in diameter, 
and surrounded by a deep fosse or moat. The summits are always flat. 
This mound is now in the grounds of Springfield, laid out by the late 
Mr. Gething. It is, however, no longer a mound, but is buried up to 
the top with the spoil brought up by the shafts during the excavation 
of the tunnel of the Great Western Railway, which runs underneath. 
Its site, however, is still marked ; for, in order to preserve it, as the fir- 
trees were all cut away, I suggested to Mr. Gething to collect the large 
masses of rock brought up out of the tunnel, and place them in the form 
of a cairn on the summit of the mound. This mound used to be some- 
times called ' The Grave of S. Woolos ' ; but that was incorrect, as 
these mounds were not burial-places, but the dwellings or strongholds 
of the chieftains or rulers of the district, and in subsequent times were 
converted into castles by the erection of stone edifices on their summits 
in lieu of the timber or wattled structures which originally crowned 
them. This mound I believe to have been the dwelling of Gwynllyw, 
the prince of this district, where he founded his church in close prox- 
imity to it ; and I fully believe that that mysterious portion of S. 
Woolo's Church,' generally called S. Mary's, is the church, or rather the 
site of the templum first erected by our saint, and enlarged and altered 
at various subsequent periods (but always spared) by adding on the 
east end, like the church of S. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, 
when the great abbey was added on to the east end of it." 

But this promenade of the old couple down to the Usk in a state 
of nudity, and their bathing together, as well as their promixity to 
one another, did not approve itself to the mind of their son Cadoc, 

^ " Nocte enim media surgebant de lectulis, et redibant post lavacrum lateri- 
bus frigidissimis, inde induti visitabant ecclesias." Cambro-Byitish Saints, p. 
149. They seem to have stalked naked down hill to the Usk, and back again. 

^ Arch. Camb., 1885, pp. 261-3. S. Woolo's is from a colloquial Eglwys 
Wnllw. The mound was called in Welsh Twyn Gwynllyw. 

240 Lives of the British Saints 

and he insisted on a separation. ^ It was hard on the old people, 
but Cadoc was a severe rigorist, and he insisted on it. So he fixed 
on a point on the bank of the River Ebbw, where was a spring of the 
coldest water, in which his mother might continue her daily ablutions. 

The precise spot has probably been fixed by Mr. Morgan. He says — 
" On the banks of the river, just above Ebbw Bridge, is a cliff, on the 
top of which is a small spot of ground, adjoining Tredegar Park walls, 
of less than half an acre, on which there is a very old cottage. This 
small detached spot of ground has always belonged to the church of 
S. Woolo's, and was part of the glebe land ; and when the glebe lands 
were sold, a few years ago, it was purchased by Lord Tredegar. A short 
distance off, in the Park, there issued from the bank a remarkably 
beautiful spring of very cold water, over which a bath-house was 
erected in 1719, and it was always called ' The Lady's Well.' " Mr. 
Morgan conjectures that Lady's Well is a corruption of Gwladys' Well, 
and that the explanation of this piece of land having belonged from 
time immemorial to the church of S. Gwynllyw is, that it was the site 
of the hermitage of the mother of S. Cadoc. There was once probably 
a chapel on the rock, as the place is still called " The Chapel." 

Recently, moreover, Lord Tredegar has discovered the tumulus in 
which, it is conjectured, she was buried, hard by the chapel and the 

At last, worn out with age and austerity, and feeling that the end was 
near, Gwynllyw sent for Cadoc and Bishop Dubricius, and received 
at their hands the last rites of the Church. He was buried by Cadoc 
in his own church, Eglwys Wynllyw, i.e. S. Woolo's.^ 

There was formerly in the parish of Llanegwad, Carmarthenshire, 
a Capel Gwynllyw, which is only remembered as a cowhouse. It was 
situated about half a mile from a place still called Nantergwynllyw, 
on the banks of the Towy, about a mile above Dryslwyn Castle. 
Gwynllyw is supposed to have retired here some time or other. This 
" Chaple of Gwnllow " (or Gwnllew) is mentioned in the inventory of 
Church goods taken in 1552, as is also another " Chaple of Saynt 
Gwnlei," in the parish of Llanelly, in the same county, at Capel 
Isa, in the hamlet of Westfa.^ The ruins of this chapel also have 
practically disappeared. 

The following occurs among the ' ' Sayings of the Wise " triplets :— * 

^ " Noluit ut tanta vicinia esset inter illos, ne carnalis concupiscentia invisi 
hostis suasione a castitate inviolanda perverteret animos." Cambro-Bntish 
Saints, p. 149. 

2 Ibid., p. 63. Until about 1836 S. Woolo's was the only church in Newport. 
The district called Pilgwenlly (Gwynllyw's Creek) is in the parish of Holy Trinity 
(1864). 3 Carmarthen Charters, 1878, pp. 30, 33. * lolo MSS., p. 255. 


From Statue at S. Woolo's. 

*S'. Gwyno 24.1 

Hast thou heard the saying of Gwynllyw, 
The son of Gly-wys, in mutual upbraiding ? 
" It avails not to reason with a madman." 
(Cymhwyll ag ynfyd nid gwiw.) 

In the Calendar (as well as his Life) in the MS. collection of Lives of 
Welsh Saints in Cotton. Vesp. A. xiv. Gundleus or Gwynllyw is entered 
on March 29 ; so also in the Calendars in the lolo MSS. , Peniarth MS. 
219 (c. 1615), and AUwydd Paradwys, 1670. Nicolas Roscarrock gives 
the same day ; so does Whytford, as Gundlewse. In the Calendar in 
Hafod MS. 8 (late sixteenth century) it is March 28.^ Under the 
form of Gwenleue he is invoked in [^the tenth-century Exeter Litany, 
published by Canon Warren, and also in the tenth-century Celtic Litany 
in the Dean and Chapter Library, Salisbury. ^ 

S. Gwynllyw is represented, in a niche, in the tower of S. Woolo's, 
Newport, as a warrior crowned. 

His name has gone through strange mutations. Leland says of the 
Church of Newport, " The Chirch is S. Guntle, Olave in Englisch." ^ 

It is possible that Poughill near Stratton, in Cornwall, was 
originally dedicated to him, but is now regarded as having S. Olave 
as its patron. A good number of the family of Gwynllyw settled in 
Cornwall. The inscribed stone at Stowford bears the name on it of 
GvNGLEi, which is akin to that of Gundleus. The Brychan family to 
which he was allied through his wife are in force over the north-east of 
Cornwall. His son Cadoc had a chapel and Holy Well near Padstow ; 
his brother or nephew, Petroc, was the apostle of the county ; his 
son Gljrwys is probably the S. Gluvias of the Fal. 

S. GWYNO, Confessor 

A SAINT of this name is entered in the genealogies in the lolo MSS., * 
where he is stated to have been of the lineage of the mythical Bran 
Fendigaid, and to be the patron of Llanwyno, or Llanwonno, in Glamor- 
ganshire. Elsewhere, in the same work,^ we are told that this church is 
dedicated to S. Gwynog, the son of Gildas, whose name is deliberately 
cut down to Gwyno to match the church-name. 

1 Browne Willis, Survey of Llandaff, 1719, append., p. 8, gives his day by 
mistake as March 2. 

^ Revue Celtique, 1888, p. 88. 

^ Itin., iv, fo. S3. See further on S. Gwynll}rw being called S. Olave, Johns 
(W. N.), History of the Church of S. Gwynllyvt/, Newport, 1891, p. 24. 

* Pp. loi, 13s. ^ Pp. 117, 137. 


2 42 Lives of the British Saints 

There was, however, a S. Gwyno, who was one of the Five Saints of 
Caio (see SS. Gwyn, etc.), but probably we have another of the name 
here. To him is dedicated Llanwonno, which was formerly one of 
the five capellm under Llantrisant — " the Church of the Three 
Saints," of which latter Gwyno is also considered to be patron in con- 
junction with SS. Illtyd and Tyfodwg. He is likewise the patron of 
Vaynor, formerly called Maenor Wyno, in Breconshire^ ; but he is 
not the patron of Wonastow, near Monmouth, as is sometimes sup- 
posed.^ The saint's Holy Well, Ffynnon Wyno, is near Llanwonno 
Church, and also a farm called Dar (or Daear) Wyno. 

SS. GWYNO and GWYNORO, see SS. GWYN, etc. 

S. GWYNOG, Bishop, Confessor 

GWYNOG, son of Gildas,^ is probably the Guiniauc invoked in the 
tenth-century Celtic Litany from Rheims published by Mabillon.* 
There is, however, liability to confusion, owing to there having been 
several saints bearing the same name. A Winnoc belonged to the 
family of Judicael, and died in 717, but he left Armorica at an early 
age,^ and lived all his monastic life in Flanders, and it is there rather 
than in Brittany that he was culted. 

Gwynog, son of Gildas and grandson of Caw, must have been born 
between 487 and 507, if our chronology of the life of Gildas be correct. 
We may with confidence regard the Genocus of the Latin Life of S. 
Finnian of Clonard, as this Gwynog. 

* In the British Museum Harley Charter III. B. 29, dated 1481, the parish is 
called, in error, " parochia Sci. Gwynoci." In another Harley Charter, III. B. 43, 
of 1387-8, it is mentioned as the parish of Gwinau, i.e. Gwyno. Browne Willis, 
Paroch. Anglic, 1733, p. 181, gives S. Gwendolina as its patron, with festival 
on October 18. Theo. Jones, Brecknockshire, ed. 1898, p. 473, again, imagined 
it was S. Gwenfrewi. 

" Rees, Welsh Saints, p. 345. This church is dedicated to S. Winwaloe. 

^ Gwynyawc in Peniarth MS. 45 and Myv. Arch., p. 416 ; Gwynog in Cardiff 
MS, 5 (1527) ; Myv. Arch., pp. 426, 428 ; and lolo MSS., pp. 102, 137 ; Guenan 
(by mistake) in Hafod MS. 16, and Cambro-British Saints, p. 268. In the lolo 
MSS., pp. 117, 137, his name has been purposely cut down to Gwyno. At the 
last reference but one he is said to have been a " saint " of Llantwit and Llan- 
carfan. He is to be distinguished from S. Gwenog and S. Gwyno. 

« Revue Celtique, 1888, p. 88 ; also J. Loth in same, 1890, p. 135. 

= He was disciple from childhood of S. Bertin at Sithin. " Winnocum a 
puero sua disciplina instructum . . . quem ab infantia nutriebat." Acta SS. 
O. S. B., iii, p. no. 

S. Gwynog 243 

Finnian came to iBritain in 527-9, and settled a controversy that 
had arisen between Gildas and David. Then he went on to Llancarfan, 
where, having been affectionately greeted by Gildas and Cadoc, he 
returned to Ireland with his two British disciples, Buite and Genoa. ^ 
Whether he had received Gwynog as a pupil before this, or only now, 
we are not informed. We can well understand Gildas committing his 
young son to Finnian to be trained by him in Ireland, to be his spiritual 
foster-father, before he himself departed for Rhuis, doubtless intend- 
ing that his son should rejoin him,when fully educated and disciplined. 

In Ireland, Genoc made a foundation at Kilglin, near Kilcoch, in 
Meath, and he is commemorated in the Irish Martyrologies on December 
26, under the names of Genoc and Mogenoc. 

On his way home, Finnian visited S. Coeman at Dairinis, and S. 
Loeman. He arrived in Ireland when Muiredach mac Aengus was 
king of the Hy Cinnselach, who is supposed to have died in 325 after a 
reign of nine years. We must either suppose that this arrival in Ire- 
land refers to a previous crossing thither, which is most probable, or 
that Gwynog had been confided to Finnian at an earlier period ; that 
is, if the identification be admitted. The reception given to Finnian 
is described as effusive, as given to a stranger, so that the former con- 
jecture is most likely to be right. How long Gwynog remained 
with Finnian we do not know ; we next find him settled in Wales. His 
most noteworthy church there was Llanwnog, near Caersws, in Mont- 
gomeryshire. The position was one of importance, as Caersws was an 
old Roman town at the junction of three rivers that combine to form 
the Severn, in an extensive basin surrounded by mountains. To the 
north of Caersws stands a dome-shaped height surmounted by a fort- 
ress of earthworks, and on the slope of the mountain, commanding the 
plain and the gorges down which stream the rivers, facing the sun, 
was the spot chosen by Gwynog for his church. 

In, or about 540, perhaps as late as 544, appeared the Incre-patio of 
Gildas against the princes of Wales. If Cuneglas, against whom 
Gildas hurled abuse, and whom he called by offensive names, were, as is 
supposed, the King of Powys, the son of Gildas could not remain in 
his territory, enjoying his protection. 

It is not credible that a prince, against whom Gildas had railed as 

" a bear, a rider of many, wallowing in the old filth of his wickedness, 

a tawny butcher," would endure the presence on his lands of the son of 

1 " Completo peregrinationis sue anno xxx° cepit iter cum Sancto Biteo et Sancto 
Genoco, et cum aliis quibusdam religiosis Britonibus, qui propter vite ejus sanc- 
titatem adheserunt ei. . . . Accepta igitur benedictione a Sanctis viris Cath- 
maleo et Gilda pervenit cum suis ad mare. Igitur navigantibus Finnianus et 
hii qui cum eo erant mare, cum Deo adjutorio pervenerunt ad portum quendam 
in campo Itha, nomine Dubglais." Acta SS. Hibevn. in Cod. Sal., col. 195. 

2 44 Lives of the British Saints 

the man who had so pubhcly and grossly insulted him. The sons and 
brothers of Gildas must have cursed the day when that intemperate 
epistle was flung at the heads of the princes, and have forced them to 
quit their pleasant settlements. 

That Gwynog went now to Rhuis is a mere matter of conjecture. 
That he was for a while at Cadoc's monastery on the Sea of Etel is ren- 
dered probable by there being a Church, Plouhinec, dedicated to him, 
near it. We venture on a suggestion. Gildas had lived on the best 
possible terms with Weroc, Count of Broweroc. The country round 
Vannes was occupied by immigrant Britons. He had interfered in the 
domestic arrangements of the Count, had persuaded him against his 
better judgment to give his daughter in marriage to Conmore, the 
regent of Domnonia, and had received the grandson of Weroc, also 
named Gildas, into his monastery. 

Weroc died about 550, leaving five sons, Canao, Macliau, and three 
others. To divide the county into five equal portions was to give 
meagre mouthfuls to men with large appetites, and following Celtic 
precedent, Canao murdered three of his brothers, and sought the life of 
Macliau, who, however, managed to make his escape to Conmore. 
About 552 Macliau crept back into the country and secretly stole into 
Vannes, which was a Franco-Gallic city not in the power of the Counts 
of Broweroc, had his head tonsured, and offered himself for the throne 
of bishop, which was then vacant. He was elected and consecrated. 
About eight years later, Canao accorded protection to Chramm, the 
fugitive son of Clothair, who had revolted against his father, and had 
been defeated. What follows has been already described, but may 
be repeated here to make clear what we suggest. 

Clothair marched into Brittany at the head of a large army, and a 
battle ensued in which Canao was defeated and slain. No sooner 
did Macliau know of the death of his brother, than he donned military 
equiprhent, recalled his wife and children, whom to satisfy Franco- 
Roman prejudice he had dismissed, and claimed to be Count of Bro- 
weroc. The bishops of the province of Tours excommunicated him, 
but he disregarded the sentence. Then he entered into a compact 
with Budic II of Cornugallia, in virtue of which each was to stand by 
the children of the other in the event of the death of one of them. 
Budic died in 570, whereupon, with total disregard of his oaths, 
Macliau drove Tewdrig, son and heir of Budic, from his domains, and 
annexed them to his own. Tewdrig for some time wandered as a 
fugitive, but having collected a band of adherents, suddenly came 
down on Macliau, killed him and one of his sons, Jacob, and reinstated 
himself as King of Cornugallia. This was in 577. At once, another 

S. Gwy7iog 245 

son of Macliau, named Weroc, assumed the countship, and ruled Bro- 
weroc for twenty years, engaged nearly the whole time in conflict with 
the Merovingian kings. The Church of Vannes must have been in a sorry 
plight, when its bishop had been leading a purely secular life, and 
was under a sentence of excommunication. When Macliau was dead, 
it was important that it should have over it a man of integrity, morals 
and piety, as its chief pastor. Gildas died in the same year that Macliau 
unfrocked himself. The Church of Vannes chose as his successor one 
whom Gregory of Tours calls Eunius. Was this Gwynog the son of 
Gildas ? We cannot be sure,^ Welsh tradition represents Gwynog 
as a bishop ; he is so figured in stained glass in the Church of Llanwnog. 
None, it might well be supposed by the people of Vannes, could be better 
calculated to redress the disorders caused by Macliau than a son of 
Gildas summoned for the purpose from the neighbouring monastery of 

We do no more than offer the identification as possible. 

After the defeat of Canao for seventeen years (577-594) hostilities 
were almost incessant. 

The Franks had devastated Broweroc, and had established them- 
selves in Vannes itself. Macliau had not attempted to expel them, 
but it was other with Weroc IL He took the town by surprise directly 
after his father's death. 

Next year (578) so as to recover it, Chilperic collected a large force 
and marched to the river Vilaine, but was attacked in the night, and a 
rout and slaughter ensued. Weroc II, however, was not in a condi- 
tion to pursue his success ; he came to terms with the Frank King, 
and promised to pay arrears of tribute, and surrender the city of 
Vannes. Thereupon Chilperic withdrew. No sooner was he gone, 
than Weroc made difficulties about fulfilling his engagement, and sent 
the bishop, Eunius, to Chilperic with a catalogue of grievances and 
demands. Chilperic was furious at the breach of engagement, and 
resented it on the unoffending bishop, whom he sent into exile, and 
hostiUties recommenced. 

Weroc, on his part, was highly incensed at the treatment his envoy 
was receiving, and he carried fire and sword into the country of the 

Gregory of Tours does not speak highly of the character of Eunius. 
" Nimium vino deditus erat, et plerumque ita deformiter inebriatus, 
ut gressum facere non valeret." He was taken from Angers, whither 

1 Gregory of Tours does speak of a Winoc, Hist. Franc, v. 24, viii, 34 ; but 
he was a mere ascetic, and, not having an ecclesiastical position, would not have 
his name latinized. * Greg. Turon., Hist. Franc, v, cc. 27, 41. 

246 Lives of the British Saints 

he had been relegated, to Paris. Whilst there he was celebrating the 
Divine Mysteries, one morning, when he broke out into a snort, like the 
neighing of a horse, and fell down with blood streaming from his mouth 
and nose. He had, in fact, broken a blood-vessel.^ 

Eunius was reconducted to Angers, where he died in 580. 

The only church in Wales that we know for certain to be dedi- 
cated to Gwynog is Llanwnog (at the foot of Allt Wnog), in Mont- 
gomeryshire. The church of the adjoining parish of Aberhafesp is 
sometimes given (by Browne WiUis and others) as dedicated to him, and 
sometimes to S. Llonio, of the neighbouring parish of Llandinam. At 
Penstrowed, adjoining Llanwnog, Gwynog's uncle, Gwrhai, has a 
dedication. The chapels of SS. Gwynog and Noethan, near the Church 
of Llangwm Dinmael, Denbighshire, have long ago been converted into 
a mill and a kiln.^ A chapel, Llanwynog, under Clodock, in Hereford- 
shire, is now extinct, as is also the little chantry chapel,' Capel Gwynog, 
in the parish of Caerleon, mentioned in the Chantry Certificates, 1548,, 
and Bishop Kitchin's Return, 1563. There was formerly a Capel 
Gwynog in the parish of Llanfachraith, Merionethshire. According 
to tradition, Gwynog paid a visit there to S. Machraith, and caused a 
crystal spring to burst forth near the church, whose water was effica- 
cious in various ailments. A small chapel was afterwards erected over 
it, and the well is still called Ffynnon y Capel. ^ The church of S.. 
Twinnels, Pembrokeshire, which appears, for instance, in the Taxatio 
of 1291 as Ecclesia S. Wynnoci, cannot be regarded as a dedication to 

In Wales Gwynog is generally found coupled with his brother,, 
Noethan or Nwython. 

The Welsh Calendars do not agree upon the day for his commemora- 
tion. The festival of SS. Gwynog and Noethan occurs on October 22, 
in the Calendars in Peniarth MSS. 27 (part i.), 186, 187, 219, Mostyn 
MS. 88, Llanstephan MS. 117, Jesus College MS. 6, Additional MS. 
14,882, and the Welsh Prjmier of 1546 ; on the 23rd, in the Calendars- 
in the lolo MSS. and the Prjrmers of 1618 and 1633 ; and on the 24th 

1 Greg. Turon., Hist. Franc, v, c. 41, 

" Myv. Arch., p. 428. The mill still exists. Edward Lhuyd (Peniarth MS. 
251, p. 96) mentions it as Melin y Capel, and also says that " Fynnonwnnod ",, 
i.e. S. Gwynog's Well, was situated a quarter of a mil£ from the church. 

* Taliesin, Ruthin, 1859, p. 136. 

* In Owen's Pembrokeshire, i, p. 503, is mentioned Coedywinoke, i.e. Coed! 
Wynog, in Nevern parish. Bottwnog (" Botwynnok" in the Record of Caer- 
narvon, pp. 30, 257), dedicated to S. Beuno, does not appear to have been calletl 
after S. Gwynog. Guinoc occurs as a lay witness in the Book- of Llan Ddv, p. 
143. " D61 Wnnog " (now Tylwnog) is the seventeenth-century spelling of the: 
name of a tenement in the parish of Cefn, S* Asaph-. 


From stained glass at Llanwnog. 

^S*. Gwynws 247 

in the calendar in Peniarth MS. 172, There is very little doubt, how- 
ever, that the correct day is the 22nd. 1 

In a window in Llanwnog Church, Gwynog is represented, in stained 
glass of the fifteenth century, as a bishop. The inscription underneath, 

oancte Guinoce [ora pro nobis], " is imperfect. ^ 

In an Ode to Henry VII, Dafydd Nanmor commits the King to the 
guardianship of upwards of a hundred saints by name, among whom he 
gives Gwynog. 3 

A S. Guinochus, Bishop and Confessor, commemorated on AprU 13, 
is known to the Scotch, being honoured in Buchan, but he is assigned 
to the ninth century, and sometimes to the thirteenth.* 

S. GWYNWS, Confessor 

In the Demetian Calendar (S), of which the earUest copy is of the 
sixteenth century, are entered two brothers, Gwynen and Gwynws,^ 
who are said to have been sons of Brychan ; but the name of either does 
not occur in any one of the numerous lists of Brychan's children. They 
are commemorated on December 13. 

Of Gwynws but next to nothing is knovra. It is quite possible that 
he was the Guinnius mentioned in the Vita S. Paterni ^ as one of the 
four persons {duces) whom that Saint set over the " monasteries and 
churches " that he had founded in Ceredigion. 

Gwynws is esteemed the patron of Gwnws, sometimes called Llan- 
wnws in Cardiganshire. On the chaHce (1574) the name is spelt 
" Llanonose." Edward Lhuyd says Ffynnon Wnws was famous for 
curing eyes. There is a farm caUed Penlan Wnws in the parish of 

1 Browne Willis, Bangor, 1721, p. 277, gives the 26th, and he is followed by 
Rees, Welsh Saints, p. 258, and others. 

^ Gwallter Mechain in The Cambrian Quarterly, i {1829), pp. 30-1, gives as 
the inscription, " Sanctus Gwinocus, cujus animae propitietur Deus. Amen. 
This is absurd. Moreover, the " Sancte Guinoce " still extant show that it was 
an invocation of the saint. The glass was removed about i860 from the east 
window to a small one on the rood-loft stair in the north wall. 

3 lolo MSS., p. 314- 

* Forbes, Kal. Scott. Saints, 1872, p. 358. 

5 The name is generally spelt now Gwnws or Gwnnws. 

« Cambro-British Saints, p. iQi- .._..'. 

24 B Lives of the British Saints 


Rees 1 enters Gwyrfarn, with Festival on Trinity Sunday, in his list 
of Welsh Saints who lived between 664 and 700, " including those of 
uncertain date." We may confidently say that a saint of this name 
never Hved ; he owes his fictitious existence entirely to a misreading.- 
Rees evidently came upon him in the Cambrian Register (1818) copy ^ 
of the Demetian Calendar (S) first published in the Greal (1806). The 
entry therein runs, translated, " S. Gwryfarn (or Gwyrfarn) on Trinity 
Sunday, with a great festival on the Saturday evening before, when it 
is customary to bathe against the tertian ague." In the copies in the 
Gwyliedydd (1825) and the Archceologia Cambrensis (1854), it is read, 
" Gwyl y GwjTyfon," meaning the Feast of the Eleven Thousand Vir- 
gins (Oct. 21). The Greal copy reads, " Gwyl y gwr a vu varw," 
^nd the earliest copy of all, that in Cwrtmawr MS. 44, of the second half 
of the sixteenth century, " Gwyl y gwr yfarw," whatever may be the 
actual allusion. 

S. GWYTHELIN, Bishop, Confessor 

In the lolo MSS.^ occurs the following entry : " Gwythelin (saint 
and bishop) ab Teithfalch ab Nynniaw, of the lineage of Bran Fendigaid. 
It is not known where he was bishop." 

In all probabihty the same person is meant by the Cyhylyn of the 
next entry. See under S. Cyhylyn.* 

A Guethelinus (Kuelyn) is mentioned by Geoffrey of Monmouth 
as metropolitan of London. He was sent to Armorica for help against 
the Saxons, and was the instructor of Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther.^ 

S. GWYTHERIN, Confessor 

This saint, of whose parentage nothing is known, is the patron of 
the church of Llanvetherin (pronounced Llanverin), in Monmouthshire, 

1 Essay on the Welsh Saints, p. 308. ^ iii, p. 221. 

3 P. 137. * ii. p. 217- 

5 vi, cc. 2-6. He has also (iii, c. 13) a Guithelinus (Kuelyn), King of the 
Britons. Nennius (§ 49) gives Guitolin as the name of Vortigern's grandfather, 
and mentions (§ 66) a Guitolinus as having quarrelled with Ambrosius. The 
name is the Welsh form of the Latin Vitalinus. One of the Welsh names of 
Warwick is Caer Wythelin. 

S. Gwythian 249 

now dedicated to S. James the Apostle. Rees^ wrongly gives S. 
Merin as its patron. A grant of the church, under the name Ecclesia 
Gueithirin, was made to the Church of Llandaff, in the time of Bishop 
Kud. The document is printed in the Book of LlanDdv,^ and in -the 
fourteenth century appendices to that work the name occurs as Len- 
-wyther3m.3 The sepulchral effigy of a priest, now in the church- 
yard, but formerly in the chancel of this church, bears the inscriptions, 
" S. Vetterinus," and " Jacob P'sona." * The personal name involved 
is the same as that of the parish-name Gwytherin, in Denbighshire, 
and is a derivative from the Latin Victorinus. 

The S. Gwytherin ab Dingad, made to be brother of SS. Lleuddad, 
Baglan, and others, owes his existence to a misreading, and only occurs 
in quite late documents. ^ The entry out of which he has been evolve d 
runs thus in the earlier genealogies, " Eleri ym pennant gwytherin yn 
rywynnyawc," * that is, " Eleri in Pennant Gwytherin in Rhufoniog." 
The name has now been cut down to Gwytherin. The saint meant is the 
Elerius of the Life of S. Winefred, and there can be no doubt as to the 
■church having been originally dedicated to him. To-day, it is, like 
Llanvetherin, dedicated to S. James the Apostle. Edward Lhuyd 
mentions " Lhech Gwrtheryn " as the boundary between the parishes 
i3f Ysbytty If an and Penmachno.' 

S. GWYTHIAN, Confessor 

The parish church of S. Gwythian, or Gwithian, on the north coast of 
Cornwall, is dedicated to this Saint, and S. Gothian's chapel remains 
in the sands a ruin — probably as ancient as that of S. Piran at Per- 

S. Gwythian is a daughter church to Phillack, and therefore a later 
ioundation. The royal manor and seat of the prince was at Connerton, 
in the parish, and it remained a royal manor continuously. Leland 
calls it Nicanor or Cenor. The creek of the Hayle estuary running 
inland here was called Connordore, or Connor's Water. 

1 Welsh Saints, pp. 236, 343. ^ P. 228. 

3 Pp. 320, 327. In the Taxatio of 1291 the spelling is Lanwetheryn. 
* Arch. Camb., 1847, pp. 248-250 ; 1876, pp. 338-9. 
5 lolo MSS., pp. 113, 139; Afyw. Arch., p. 426, etc. 
' Peniarth MSS. 12 and 16 ; Hafod MS. 16, etc. 

' One of the forms of the oldest recorded Welsh name of Glastonbury, given 
aby William of Malmesbury, is Ynes-witherim, which might well be -witherin. 

250 Lives of the British Saints 

S. Gwythian can hardly have been one of the Irish party. A Gwy- 
thian was Count in the East of Cornwall, when S. Samson arrived there, 
and found the people in Trigg performing idolatrous rites about a 

A boy tearing about the field on a horse was thrown and taken up 
insensible. Samson took the lad in his arms and was successful in 
restoring him ; and the people supposed that a miracle had been 
wrought. That the story is not a fabrication of the writer we con- 
clude. Had it been so, he would assuredly have made the boy son of 
the Count. 

The name of Gwythian is variously given as Guidianus {Vita 1™"), 
Widianus (Vita 2^"), and Gedianus [Vita 3'"). 

It is noticeable that we have Lawhitton, Lan-Gwidian, in the neigh- 
bourhood, though not indeed in the same deanery. The Cornish names 
of parishes on the Tamar, where brought in contact with English, have 
been as much altered as have the Welsh names in that part of Pem- 
brokeshire which is called " Little England beyond Wales." Thus, 
as in Pembrokeshire, Llan Aidan has been altered into Llawhaden, 
and Llan Dyfai into Lamphey, so has Lan Gwidian become Lawhitton, 
Lan Sant has become Lezant, and Lan Winoc has been converted into 
Lewannick. Landrake has in vulgar parlance become Larrick. 

In Domesday Lawhitton appears as Languittetone. We cannot be 
at all sure that this is a Llan founded by Gwidian or Gwithian, but it is 

Then we find a Langwithian in S. Winnow parish, near'S. Samson's 
foundation at Golant, and this leads to the supposition that for a while 
he followed this great Saint. 

He seems after a while to have entered the congregation of S. Win- 

That he was no obscure Saint appears from his inclusion in the 
Litany of S. Vougai, as also in that pubhshed by MabiUon. In the 
former his name immediately precedes that of S. Winnow. The form 
assumed by his name in the former is Guidiane, in the latter Guoidiane.'- 
His name occurs in the Life of S. Gurthiern in the Cartulary of Quim- 

If he followed Winwaloe into Cornwall, then we can understand 
how that he should found his chapel of S. Gothian not far from the 
Winwaloe settlement at Towednack, and it may have been he who gave 
up to his master the land where are the Winwaloe churches in East 
Cornwall in a cluster, all in the Trigg district and near Tregeare, which 
perhaps may be the Tricorium where he had his dwelUng. 
1 Revue Celtique, 1890, p. 137. 

S. Gynaid 251 

S. Gvvithian is called the chapel of S. Gothian in Bishop Lacy's 
Register, September 28, 1433. The S. Gwithian feast is on November i. 

The relics of S. Gwithian (Guedian), together with those of S. 
Gurthiern, S. Paulennan, and some others, were "invented" in the 
Isle of Groix, by Benedict, Abbot of Quimperle (1066, Bishop of Nantes, 
1081).^ They were supposed to have been concealed there from fear 
of the Northmen in 843-878. 


GwYTHYR occurs in one entry in the lolo MSS.^ as a son of Maxen 
Wledig, who is included among the Welsh Saints ; but there is no 
authority for so regarding him. Eglwys Wythwr (or Wythyr) is the 
Welsh name for Monington, in Pembrokeshire, but it is said to mean 
" The Church of the Eight Men," from the number of freeholders which 
tradition assigns to the parish at one time. The church is dedicated 
to S. Nicholas. 

The Emperor Maximus had a son named Victor, on whom he con- 
ferred the title of Augustus. Maximus was defeated and beheaded at 
Aquileia in 388, and Victor was put to death shortly after. Gwythur 
or Gwythyr is the form which Victor would assume in Welsh. 

S. GYNAID, Hermit 

At the end of Buchedd Llewddog Sant in Llanstephan MS. 34 (six- 
teenth century) we are told that, after two monks from the South,, 
there came to Bardsey, " Malysgedd, Gynaid, Luwsianus, and Cipri- 
anus, pilgrims, who wrought miracles. The said Gynaid lived in a 
cave, his sustenance being drops of water to drink,^ and he still heals 
the sick. It is on this account that the island was first called the 
Island of the Saints." 

1 Cartulaire de Quimperli, ed. L. Maitre et P. de Berthon, Paris, 1896, p. 7. 

2 P. 138. The name occurs in Brittany as Withur. 

3 Tliis seems to be the meaning of the Welsh, " ai ymborth ef oedd ddeigyr o- 
ddyfwT yw yfed." In the cywydd to the " Twenty Thousand Saints " by Hywel 
ab Dafydd (fifteenth century) Bardsey is called " tir gwnaid " {al. gnaid), which 
may possibly comprise the hermit's name. 

252 Lives of the British Saints 

S. HAWYSTL, Virgin 

Hawystl is said to have been a daughter of Brychan, but she 
occurs only in the later lists of his children.^ The name in the Cog- 
natio de Brychan that approaches it nearest in form is TudhistU, of 
which, if we are to regard her as a daughter of Brychan, it must be 
a corruption. It appears in the later lists also as Tangwystl and 

In Peniarth MS. 178 (sixteenth century) we are told that " Ha- 
wystl is a saint (female) in Caer Hawystl," ^ but in the lolo MSS.^ 
the statement is expanded, " her church is at Llan Hawystl in Caer 
Lo3rw " (Gloucester). The latter has been supposed to be Aust, 
under Henbury, near Bristol. Llan Awstl, in Machen, Monmouth- 
shire, has also been suggested.* 

Hawystyl or Awystyl Gloff is given in the early genealogies as the 
father of Deifer of Bodfari, Teyrnog of Llandyrnog, etc. ; and Ha- 
wystyl Drahawc (the Arrogant) occurs in the Triads also as the name 
of a man. 

S. HEILIN, Confessor 

In the list of the children of Brychan in the sixteenth century 
Peniarth MS. 75,^ p. 21, is given as a son, " Heilin, in Dyffryn Aled." 
The Aled is a river in northern Denbighshire, a tributary of the Elwy, 
which runs past the village of Llansannan ; but there does not appear 
to have ever been a dedication to Heilin anywhere within its valley. 
There was, however, a chapel dedicated to a saint of this name at one 
time in the township of Trefollwyn, in the parish of Llangefni, Angle- 
sey. Henry Rowlands (d. 1723), the historian of Anglesey, wrote 
of it in his Antiquitates Parochiales ^ — " It (the township) had for- 
merly a chapel dedicated to a certain S. Heilin, which now, through 
the injury of time and the coldness of ancient piety, has fallen into 
ruins." Lewis Morris ' (d. 1765) also mentions " Cappel Heily {al. 
Heilin)," and its churchyard, as in Llangefni. 

> E.g., lolo MSS., pp. Ill, 140; Myv. Arch., p. 419. 

2 So also Myv. Arch., p. 426. ' P. 120. 

* Camhro-British Saints, p. 607. 

5 This seems to be the only Brychan list in which the name occurs. Heilin 
or Heilyn is not a rare name. At an early period there was a Heilin, son of 
Gwyddno, and a Heilin, son of Llywarch Hen (Skene, Four Ancient Books, ii, 
pp. 56, 266; of. p. 155). 

" Arch. Camb., 1849, p. 265. ' Ibid., 1896, p. 140. 

S. He/an 253 

William of Worcester gives Helye as one of the children of Brychan 
who migrated to Cornwall, and founded a church there. He gives 
this saint as the twentieth child, and again as twenty-third Adwen 
Helye. Evidently HeiHn is intended. Leland, in his list, gives Adwen 
as twenty-second and Helic as twenty-third, but he gives Delic as 
the fifth, which is the Delyan of WiUiam of Worcester. 

Delyan is probably Endelion, and Helye seems to have been sup- 
posed to have founded Egloshayle, but the name signifies no more 
than the church on the salt marshes. 

Nicolas Roscarrock gives him as Helim.^ 

S. HELAN, Priest, Confessor 

According to Leland, there was a Helena of the company of S. 
Briaca. He probably meant Helen or Helan, the brother of Germoe 
or German, who was one of her companions as well. The party of 
seven brothers with their three sisters, after having left some traces 
in Cornwall, crossed to vVrmorica, and landed probably in the estuary 
of the Ranee, from which they proceeded up the river, founding 
churches on their way ; and finally reached Rheims in the time of 
S. Remigius {see under SS. Achebran and German MacGuill). 

By the Ranee S. Helan founded Lanhelen and S. Helen, the former 
in Ille-et-Vilaine, the latter in Cotes du Nord, but they are adjoining 

In the east window of S. Helen the saint is represented habited 
as a bishop in fifteenth century glass, giving his benediction to a 
field of spring corn. 

Very little is known of the saint's life, beyond the mention by 
Flodoard. But his office from the Rheims Breviary is given by the 
Bollandists in the Ada SS. for October 7, iii, pp. 903-5. 

The brothers must have remained some time on the Ranee and in 
its neighbourhood, as there are several churches there that bear their 

S. Ailbe, returning to Ireland through Gaul, encountered them, and, 
as his Acts relate, settled them in a monastery there. The legend 
is this. Arriving in this region he found the river dried up, and, pity- 
ing the people, he struck a rock with his staff four times, whereupon 
four streams gushed forth from it which, flowing in different directions, 
watered the whole province,^ " In ilia autem regione magnum edifi- 
cavit monasterium, in quo reliquit filios Guill." If the map be looked 

• See i, pp. 313, 318-20. " Acta SS. Hibern. in Cod. Sal., col. 244. 

2 54 Lives of the British Saints 

at in vol. i, p. io6, it will be seen that four or even five rivers rise 
from the same elevated ground near S. Aubin du Cormier, in lUe-et- 
Vilaine ; these are the lUet, the Chevre, the Veuvre, and the lUe. 
The Couesnon rises more to the east. The monastery founded by 
S. Ailbe must have been situated in this district. 

After having tarried some time in the district, the seven brothers 
and their sisters moved on to Rheims, where they were well received 
by S. Remigius, and Helan settled at Bucciolus, near Biscuil, sur- 
rounded by pleasant meadows, near the Marne. 

Here he lived for many years instructing the people in the Faith, 
and here he is supposed to have died and been buried. He is com- 
memorated on October 7 in the Mart5n-ology of SS. Timothy and Apol- 
linaris, Rheims, and in that of Molanus ; and he has been introduced 
into the modern Roman Martjrrology. In the Irish Martyrologies of 
TaUaght, Donegal, and O'Gorman he is entered, as a priest, on 
October 8, and Chellan or Ceallan was doubtless the Irish form of his 

In the Martyrology published by Molanus : " In pago Remensi, 
vico, qui vocatur Busciolus, depositio Sancti Helani, presbyteri et 

A S. Helen, Bishop of that see, is imagined, but his name occurs in 
no authentic list of the bishops. 

There are several chapels in West Cornwall dedicated to S. Helen, 
one at S. Just in Penwith, and one in Burian. One also in Landewed- 
nack, and another in Ruan Major. One also is mentioned in Bishop 
Stafford's Register, at Ingleby, in Crantock parish. 

S. Helen, of Scilly, is a modern corruption of S. lUid ; and we 
cannot be sure that some confusion may not have arisen respecting 
the others. 

S. HELEDD, Virgin. 

In Monmouthshire there is a church called LlanhiUeth, dedicated 
to S. lUtyd. In parish lists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 
the name is spelt Llan-hyledd, -hiledd, with, in one MS., vorwyn, 
" virgin," added. ^ The Llan Helet of the Englynion y Beddau ^ 

'■ Dr. J. G. Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 920 ; Myv. Arch., p. 749. 
Coxe, Monmouthshire, 1801, p. 253, imagined the church to be dedicated to a 
S. Ithel. Yr Heledd Wen and Yr Heledd Ddu are respectively the Welsh names of 
Nantwich and Northwich in Cheshire. " Gyru halen i'r Heledd," to send salt 
to the Wiches, is a proverbial saying. Heledd means a brine or salt pit. 

2 Black Book of Carmarthen, ed. Evans, p. 64; Skene, Four Ancient Books, 
ii, p. 29. 

S. Helen 255 

woTold appear to be the same name. Heledd is rare as a personal 
name,^ and we are probably right in assuming that Hiledd is a variant 

The Welsh saintly genealogies know nothing of a saint of 
this name, but Cyndrwyn, the grandfather of SS. Aelhaiarn, Cyn- 
haiarn and Llwchaiarn, had a daughter so called. Cyndrwyn lived 
towards the close of the fifth century, and was prince of that part 
of ancient Powys which included the Vale of the Severn about Shrews- 
bury. He is said to have been of Llystinwynnan, in Caereinion, 
now represented by Llysyn, in Llanerfyl, Montgomeryshire. He 
was the father of the celebrated Cynddylan and seven other sons, 
most of whom, if not all, were killed in the wars with the Saxons. He 
had also nine daughters. Their names are recorded in the elegy by 
Llywarch Hen on the death of Cynddylan, Heledd being twice men- 
tioned by name. 2 

Among the " Sayings of the Wise " triplets occurs the following ^ : — 

Hast thou heard the saying of Heledd, 

The daughter of Cyndrwyn, of extensive wealth ? 

" Prosperity cannot come of pride " 

(Ni eUir llwydd o falchedd). 

The " saying " differs in the " Stanzas of the Hearing " * : — 

"It is not conferring a benefit that causes poverty " 
(Nid rhoddi da a wna dlodedd). 

Whether Llanhilleth takes its name from her it would be difficult to 

S. HELEN or ELEN, Queen, Widow 

Much difficulty exists relative to this Saint, on account of her having 
been confounded with Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. 
The latter was erroneously supposed to have been a daughter of Coel, 
a British king, whereas, actually, she was a native of Drepanum, in 
Asia Minor, and is said to have been there a sfabularia, or female 
ostler, whom Constantius Chlorus took as his concubine or wife — it is 
not easy to say which. 

1 In one of the Triads (e.g., in Mabinogion, p. 306) Heledd is given as a man's 
name apparently, despite the footnote in Myv. Arch., p. 392. 
^ Skene, ut supra, ii, p. 288. 
3 lolo MSS., p. 254. * Myv. Arch., p. 128. 

256 Lives of the British Saints 

Helen, or as in Welsh, Elen, the British Princess, was the daughter 
of Eudaf ab Caradog,^ and is generally known in Welsh tradition as 
Elen Luyddog,^ or Elen of the Hosts. Geoffrey of Monmouth in his 
Historia has two Elens, which have been confounded. One he makes 
to be daughter of Coel, who in the Latin text is called " Coel dux 
Kaercolvin, id est Colecestrise " (v, c. 6), but in the Welsh text, " Koel 
jarll Kaer Loyw," or Earl of Gloucester, and the same text adds of 
Elen, " a honno uu Elen Luydawc," ^ identifying her with the daugh- 
ter of Eudaf, words, however, which have nothing equivalent to them 
in the Latin. This Elen he also makes mother of Constantine — and 
the Welsh legend attributing the Invention of the Cross to Elen Luy- 
ddog is complete. But it should be mentioned that " Helen Luicdauc " 
is given as the mother of Constantine, and credited with the Invention, 
in the Old Welsh pedigrees in Harleian MS. 3859, a MS. of circa iioo, 
but containing pedigrees which were collected, it is believed, in the 
tenth century. He gives the other Helen's father, in the Latin, as 
" Octavius dux Wisseorum," and, in the Welsh, as " Eudaf jarll Ergig 
ac Euas," names which it would not be possible to equate ; and he 
locates her father, not at Carnarvon, but in Herefordshire, or (so 
San Marte) in Essex. By the former Elen is meant S. Helena, and 
by the latter Elen of Carnarvon. The epithet " Lluyddog " has 
become applied to both ; properly it can belong to the latter only. 

No doubt the genuine Welsh tradition about Elen Luyddog is that 
contained in the Welsh saga. The Dream of Maxen the Gwledig.'^ There 
Eudaf and Elen are associated with Caer Aber Sain, i.e., Segontium, 
the old Roman town of Carnarvon. She had been seen in a dream, 
as a maiden of transcendent beauty, by the Roman Emperor Clemens 
Maximus, called in Welsh Maxen Wledig, and he comes hither with 
his army to make her Empress of Rome. He remained in the island 
so long that the Romans made an emperor in his stead. He and Elen, 
and her two brothers Cynan and Adeon, set out for Rome and take 
it by storm. Maxen, being re-instated, allowed his brothers-in-law and 
their hosts to settle wherever they chose. Adeon returned to Britain, 
while Cynan reduced Brittany and settled there. Greoffrey makes 
Cynan, whom he calls Cynan Meiriadog, to be Elen's cousin. 

■■ Peniarth MSS. 12 and 45 ; Hafod MS. 16, etc. The classical Helena is 
called in ihe Welsh translation of Dares Phrygius Elen Fanog, Elen with the 

2 The epithet Lluyddog is applied also to Lleuddun, Llyr, and Yrp, more 
especially in the Triads. ' Bruts, ed. Rhys and Evans, pp. 107-8. 

■* Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, pp. 82-92. For the mythical treatment 
of the story see Rhys, Hibbert Lectures, pp. 161-7, where other Elens are also 

S. Helen 257 

Clemens Maximus was raised to the purple by the legions in Britain 
in 383. He was a Spaniard, and had acquired great reputation under 
Theodosius, in the war against the Picts and Scots (368). He was a 
humane and good ruler, who showed favour to the native Britons. 
Unfortunately for himself and for Britain, Maximus did not content 
himself with establishing himself as King in Britain, but aspired to 
be Emperor of Rome. He assembled a large army of Britons, prepared 
a fleet, and crossed the channel. His wife's brother Cynan threw 
in his lot with him, and led to his assistance the flower of the native 

On reaching Gallic soil, Maximus was joined by the troops there 
placed, and he proceeded to attack the feeble Emperor Gratian, then 
in Paris. Gratian fled with three hundred cavalry, with intent to 
join his brother, Theodosius the Younger, in Italy. On his way, he 
found the gates of every city closed against him, till he reached Lyons, 
where he was treacherously detained by the governor, till the arrival 
of Andragathius, general of the cavalry of Maximus, when he was 
assassinated. His death was followed by that of Melobaudes, King 
of the Franks, but these were the sole victims, and Maximus was able 
to boast that his hands were unstained by Roman blood, except that 
which had been shed in battle. 

Theodosius now agreed to resign to Maximus the possession of the 
countries beyond the Alps ; nevertheless in his heart he was resolved 
on revenge. 

Gildas poiors a flood of abuse over Maximus. He says : — •" The 
island retained the Roman name, but not the morals and law ; 
nay, rather, casting forth a shoot of its own planting, it sends out 
Maximus to the two Gauls, accompanied by a great crowd of followers, 
with an emperor's ensigns in addition, which he never worthily bore 
nor legitimately, but as one elected after the manner of a tyrant and 
amid a turbulent soldiery. This man, through cunning art rather 
than by valour, first attaches to his guilty rule certain neighbouring 
countries or provinces against the Roman power, by nets of perjury 
and falsehood. He then extends one wing to Spain, the other to 
Italy, fixing the throne of his iniquitous empire at Treves, and raged 
with such madness against his lords that he drove two legitimate em- 
perors, the one from Rome, the other from a most pious life. Though 
fortified by hazardous deeds of so dangerous a character, it was not 
long ere he lost his accursed head at Aquileia : he who had, in a way, 
cut off the crowned heads of the empire of the whole world." ^ Gildas 
says nothing of Helen anywhere. 

1 Gildas, ed. Hugh Williams, p. 31. 

258 Lives of the British Saints 

Maximus had established himself at Treves as the capital of his 
portion of the Empire, and doubtless Helen was there with him. 
The tradition at Treves is that the present Cathedral was the palace 
of the Empress Helena, which she gave up to the Church. To this 
day it bears evidence of having been adapted from a domestic purpose 
to sacred usages. The atrium, open to the sky, was only domed 
over comparatively late in Mediaeval times. At Treves, however, 
Helen the British Princess, wife of Maximus, has been confounded 
with Helena the mother of Constantine ; and there is no historical 
evidence for asserting that the more famous Helena was ever there, 
and this misconception has been made to serve as a basis for the origin 
of the " Holy Coat," shown as a relic in the Cathedral. 

Maximus soon became dissatisfied with the government of half 
the Empire of the West, and resolved on the conquest of ItalJ^ He 
accordingly collected an army, and marched into Italy. He entered 
Milan in triumph, but was defeated, and lost his life at Aquileia, in 
388. His followers were dispersed and Cynan and his Britons never 
again saw their native land. " Britain," says Gildas, " is robbed of 
all her armed soldiery, of her military supplies, of her rulers, cruel 
though they were, and of her vigorous youth, who followed the foot- 
steps of the above-mentioned tyrant, and never returned." - But 
he says nothing of the populating of Brittany by Maximus's soldiers. 

To Welsh tradition Helen is much better known as the great road- 
maker than as a saint. The latter role she has probably entirely 
derived from her namesake. In Maxen's Dream it is said, " Elen 
bethought her to make high-roads from one town to another through- 
out the Island of Britain. And the roads were made. And for this 
cause are they called the roads of Elen Luyddog." ^ Roman roads 
and old mountain tracks are still most commonly called in Wales 
Sarn Elen (often Helen), Ffordd Elen, and Llwybr Elen, meaning 
respectively Elen's Causeway, Road, and Path. For instance, Sarn 
Elen, running through the site of Beddau Gwyr Ardudwy, near Fes- 
tiniog, and another south of Dolwyddelan, and the old road or track, 
Llwybr Elen, or fuller, Llwybr Cam Elen, between Llandderfel and 
Llangynog. The site of Caer Elen, near Llanfihangel yn Nhowyn, 
Anglesey, is on the old Roman road to Holyhead. 

The spignel or baldmoney (meum) is called in Welsh Ffenigl Elen 
Luyddog (her fennel), or Amranwen Elen Luyddog (her whitewort]. 

In the Triads she is simply " Mistress of the Hosts " (Lluyddog). 
One of the three expeditions, called "The Three Silver Hosts," that 

1 Gildas, ed. H. Williams, p. 33. ^ Mabinogion, p. 89. 

S. Helen 259 

left these shores and never returned, was that which went with Elen 
Luyddog and her brother Cynan.^ 

Local tradition says that she once led an army along Ffordd Elen 
to Snowdon, and whilst passing through Cwm Croesor her youngest 
son (who is not named) was killed with an arrow by the giant Cidwm. 
There is a Ffynnon Elen there. 

Elen was the mother by Maxen of Owain Finddu, Ednyfed, Peblig 
{of Llanbeblig, Carnarvon), Cystenin and Gwythyr, all of whom are 
in the later genealogies entered as saints.^ Other sons of Maxen 
were Anhun (Antonius) and Dimet. 

There are but few churches in Wales dedicated to S. Helen or 
Elen, and it is doubtful whether they are dedicated to Elen Luyddog 
or to the mother of Constantine. There is a Llanelen in Monmouth- 
shire (called " Eccl. de Sancta Elena " in the Norwich Taxatio, 1254), 
and a now extinct Llanelen in the parish of Llanrhidian, in West Gower. 
Bletherston, in Pembrokeshire, now dedicated to S. Mary, is called 
in Welsh Tref Elen, and there is an Elen's Well in Llawhaden parish 
{of which Bletherston is a chapelry), which makes it probable that the 
church originally bore this dedication. Eglwys Ilan, in Glamorgan- 
shire, and Tref Ilan, in Cardiganshire, are sometimes doubtfully 
ascribed to her. There is a Ffynnon S. Elen, near Yr Hen Waliau, 
at Carnarvon, and by it were formerly to be seen the remains of a 
small chapel. 3 Coed Helen, near the same town, is a modern corrup- 
tion of the old name Coed Alun. A villa named " Lanelen," with 
land held of " Sea Elena," is mentioned in the Record of Caernarvon^ 
as in the commote of Twrcelyn, Anglesey. 

In Cornwall and Devon there are the following Helen dedications : — 
The Parish Church of Helland (Lan Helen). The Parish Church of 
Paracombe (N. Devon). The Parish Church of Abbotsham (N. 
Devon). A Chapel at Davidstowe, licensed by Bishop Lacy, August 
30, 1443. A Chapel on Lundy Isle. The chapels in the Land's End 
and Lizard districts bearing her name were probably named after 
Bishop Helen or Helan and not after Helena. 

In the Tavistock Calendar, " Sancta Elena, regina," was com- 
memorated on August 25. 

The Empress Helena, mother of Constantine, was not introduced 
into Calendars tiU comparatively modern times, on August 18. Her 

' E.g., Peniarth MS. 45 (Skene. Four Ancient Books, ii, p. 462). 
- lolo MSS., pp. 113, 138. 

2 John Ray, among others, mentions it in his Itinerary of 1662, Select ■ Remains, 
London, 1760, p. 228. 
^ London, 1838, p. 67. 

2 6o Lives of the British Saints 

name is not found in any ancient Latin Martyrologies, nor in the Exeter 
Calendar of the twelfth century, nor in that of Bishop Grandisson. 
But she is inserted in Capgrave's Nova Legenda, compiled in 145© 
and published in 1516, in Whytford's Martiloge, 1526, in Wilson's 
Martyrologies, 1608 and 1640, and in seven or eight Welsh Calendars 
of the sixteenth century. 

There was a " Helena, virgo," commemorated in a Dol Calendar 
of the fifteenth century, and the Welsh Calendars in the lolo MSS. 
and Prymer of 1618, on May 22, and in the modern Roman Martyr- 
ology, as of Auxerre, on this day ; there were two more, one at 
Troyes, the other at Argis, commemorated on May 4, but of them 
also nothing is known. 

William of Worcester says that " S*^ Elena, mater Constantini 
imperatoris," was commemorated in the Church at Launceston, but 
does not give the day. This shows that in the fifteenth century the 
cult of S. Helen, wife of Maximus, had been transferred to the widow 
of Constantius Chlorus. 

The Church of S. Helen's, Bishopsgate Street, London, was a founda- 
tion of the thirteenth century, and the dedication is to the mother 
of Constantine. At this period, the fable of her having been a British 
princess was accepted. 

S. Helen was a popular saint in Cheshire, where several churches 
are dedicated to her. 

At Paracombe, the Revel with fair is held on August 18. At 
Abbotsham, the Feast is observed on the Sunday after Midsummer 
Day. At Helland, the Feast is kept on the first Sunday in October. 



Some of the late genealogical lists ^ include Helig ab Glanog among 

the Welsh saints ; actually he was the father of three Welsh saints, 

and the account we have of him in a well-known legend scarcely 

entitles him to that distinction. Our notice of him shall therefore 

be brief. 

1 Myv. Arch., p. 426 ; lolo MSS., pp. 124, 147 ; also Rees, Welsh Saints 
p. 298. 

iS. Helig 261 

The three saints, Boda, Gwynin, and Brothen are in the older pedi- 
grees 1 given as sons of Glanog ab Hehg Foel, of Tyno HeHg. The 
later ones ^ transpose the names Glanog and Helig, so that the latter 
becomes their father and not grandfather. They also ascribe to him 
five, six, and even twelve sons. Helig is almost invariably mentioned 
— as is also Gwyddno of Cantre'r Gwaelod — as the man " whose 
territory the sea over-ran." 

Tyno Hehg, or Helig's Dale,^ was a low-lying tract of land on the 
north coast of Carnarvonshire, stretching from Puf&n Island to Pen- 
maenmawr. Traeth Lafan, or the Lavan Sands, of to-day forms a 
part of it. Tradition fixes the spot where Llys Helig, Helig's Palace, 
stood about midway between Penmaenmawr and the Great Orme's 
Head, over against the hill, Trwyn y Wylfa (neither this name nor 
Traeth Lafan have an3rthing to do with the " weeping " after the 
inundation, as is popularly supposed). The neighbouring sailors 
still affirm that they can trace in calm weather its ruins in the waters 

Sir John W3mn of Gwydir, in a tract written between 1621 and 1626, 
gives an account of Helig and the inundation that befell his " moste 
delicate fruytfuUe and pleasant vale," in which stood his " chieffest 
pallace . . . the ruynes wherof is nowe to bee scene uppon a grownd 
ebbe some two myles within the sea directly over against Trevyn yr 
Wylva . . . unto which hyll Helyg ap Glannog and his people did 
runn upp to save themsealves, beynge endaungered with the sudden 
breakynge in of the sea uppon them, and there saved there lyves . . . 
wryngynge there handes tog5rther, made a greate outcry bewaylinge 
there misfortune and call3mg unto God for mercy, the poynt of which 
hill to this day is called Trwyn (r) Wylfa, that is to say the poynt of 
the dolefull hill or the mowrnynge hill." He adds, " Helig ap Glan- 
nog hadd another manor house att Pullheli, the ruyns wherof is to bee 
scene neere unto the house of Owen Madrjm on the right hand as you 

1 Peniarth MS. 16 and Hafod MS. 16. 

^ Hanesyn Hin, pp. 35, 118 ; Cardiff MS. 5, pp. 118-9 ; lolo MSS., pp. 42, 
106, etc., and the references in note i. 

3 For the use of tyno (in the Book of Llan Ddv, tnou, tonou) in Breton place- 
names see Loth, Chrestomathie Bretonne, Paris, 1890, p. 167. Traeth Lafan 
is pleonastic, traeth being prefixed when the meaning of llafan, shore, strand, 
had been lost. 

'■ The " ruins " have been inspected on several occasions, e.g., in 1864 (Owen 
Jones, Cymru, i, p. 627), and between 1906 and 1909, but with small results. 
Mr. Wm. Ashton (Battle of Land and Sea, 2nd ed., 1909, pp. 183-7), who visited 
them, under favourable conditions, in September, 1908, reports that he observed 
several perfectly straight lines of tumbled remains of walls, with rectangular 
corners, and calculated the entire ruin to be from 400 to 5,00 yards in circum- 
ference. J 

262 Lives of the British Saints 

goe out of the towne towardes Abererch ; this towne was called Pull- 
helig, and of late PuUheU." ^ 

The popular version of the story is of a different cast. This relates 
that the calamity had been foretold as a judgment upon Helig for his 
wickedness four generations before it came about. As he was riding 
through his territory one evening he heard the voice of an invisible 
follower warning him, " Vengeance is coming, is coming ! " (Dial a 
ddaw ! Dial a ddaw ! ). He asked excitedly, " When ? " The 
answer came, " In the time of thy grandchildren, great grandchildren,, 
and their children." HeUg probably calmed himself with the thought 
that thus it would not happen in his lifetime. But on the occasion 
of a great feast held at the palace, and when the family down to the 
fifth generation were present taking part in the festivities, the butler 
noticed when going to the cellar to draw more drink for the revel- 
lers that the water was forcing its way in. He had time only to 
warn the harper of the danger, when all the others, in the midst of 
their carousing, were overwhelmed by the flood. ^ 

Helig's father, Glannog, has given his name to Ynys Glannog (or 
Lannog), the old name of Pufhn Island. It occurs as Insula Glan- 
nauc under the year 629 in the Annales Cambrics. Giraldus Cam- 
brensis^ thought the name Enis Lannach (or Lenach) meant "the 
ecclesiastical island, because many bodies of saints are deposited 
there, and no woman is suffered to enter it." 

S. HENWG, Confessor 

This saint's name does not occur so much as once in any of the 
saintly pedigrees, and all that is known of him is to be found in some 

1 An Ancient Survey of Pen Maen Mawr, Llanfairfechan, 1906, pp. 8-1 1. 
The tract is printed also in Cambrian Quart. Mag., iii (1831), pp. 39-48, and 
Arch. Camb., 1861, pp. 140-55. For some interesting details relating to Helig 
see Owen's Pembrokeshire, ii, pp. 454-5. Sir J. Wynn calls Tyno Helig by 
the name of Cantre'r Gwaelod, which was borne by the land now under Cardigan 

2 Y Traethodydd, 1859, pp. 159-160 ; Y Brython, 1863, pp. 393-4. For an 
amplified version see Cymru Fu, Wrexham, pp. 244-7. Lady Marshall founded 
upon it her poem, Helig's Warning," KCym.iic'Legen&ott'iie Seventh Century," 
London, 1854. For a Welsh libretto on the legend see Odlau Cdn, by Robert 
Bryan, 1901, pp. 153-93- 

3 Itin. Camb., ii, c. 7. He evidently took the second part of the name as a. 
derivative of llan. 

^S*. Henwyn 263 

notices of Taliessin in the lolo MSS.^ "The Chief of the Bards " 
is therein said to have been the son of S. Henwg (or Einwg Hen) 
of Caerleon on Usk, the son of Ffiwch Lawdrwm ab Cynin ab Cynfar 
(or Cynfarch) ab Clydog Sant of Euas — on to Bran ab Llyr. One 
of the notices mentions him as Henwg Fardd (the Bard) of S. Catwg's 
Cor at Llancarfan, whilst another assures us that " Taliessin, Chief 
of the Bards, founded the church of Llanhenwg at Caerleon on Usk 
in memory of his father, named S. Henwg, who went to Rome to 
Cystennin Fendigaid to bring SS. Garraon and Bleiddan to Britain 
to ameliorate the Faith and renew Baptism." There is, of course, 
no truth whatever in, at any rate, the latter extravagant statement. 
Llanhenwg, or Llanhynwg, now written Llanhenog or Llanhennock, 
is situated a short distance to the N.E. of Caerleon, and its present 
dedication is S. John Baptist. ^ The tower was huge and lofty, but 
is now no more ; only a few stones remain.^ Tennyson refers to it in 
his Enid — 

Now thrice that morning Guinevere had climb'd 
The Giant Tower, from whose high crest, they say, 
Men saw the goodly hills of Somerset, 
And white sails flying on the yellow sea. 

An early memorial stone, now at Cefn Amwlch, Carnarvonshire, but 
formerly at Gors, near Aberdaron, bears the following inscription : — 


(Here lies the priest Senacus with many of the brethren). Senacus 
was a Goidelic name which appears in Irish as Senach, Seanach, and 
in Welsh as Henog.* It can hardly be that the patron saint of Llan- 
henwg is intended. 

S. HENWYN, Confessor 

In the pedigrees of Welsh saints in the thirteenth century Peniarth 
MSS. 16 and 45, Henwyn is said to have been the son of Gwyndaf 
Hen of Llydaw, and periglawr or confessor to Cadfan (his cousin) 

1 Pp. 71-3, 79 ; cf. p. 144. Lady Llanover in her Good Cookery, London, 
-[867, p. I, names him as one of " the three primitive Saints of Gwent," the other 
two being Gover and Gwarwg. Henog is the name of a brook which falls into 
the Irfon at Llanwrtyd. For -wg and -og see ii, p. 40. 

2 B. Willis, Paroch. Anglic, 1733, p. 206. 

3 Papers relating to the History of Monmouthshire, 1886, pp. 57-8. 
^ Sir J. Rhys, Y Cymmrodor, xviii (1905), pp. 92-3. 

264 Lives of the British Saints 

and the saints that were contemporaries with them in Enlli.i In the 
later genealogies his name occurs under a variety of forms, Hewnin, 
Hefnin, Hefin, Honwyn, Howyn, Hewyn, and Hjrwyn. The last 
is the form most frequently met with to-day. 

S. Gwyndaf's wife, and the mother of S. Meugant — and it may be 
supposed also of Henwyn — was Gwenonwy, daughter of Meurig ab 
Tewdrig, King of Morganwg. Henwyn's father and brother lie buried 
in Enlli. In the late lolo MSS.^ it is stated that he was a saint or 
monk of Cor Illtyd at Llantwit, and that he afterwards became a 
bishop in Enlli. 

In Buchedd Llawddog we are told that that saint, who had aban- 
doned his title to succeed his father Dingad as King, used to retire 
daily to some secret place for private meditation and prayer. His 
brother Baglan, to gratify his curiosity, one day requested Henwyn 
to take with him his hand-bell and follow Llawddog to his retreat, 
that he might know where he went. In the Cywydd to Llawddog by 
Lewis Glyn Cothi, " Henwyn with his holy bell " is again mentioned, 
and it would appear from it that this incident took place at Llanfaglan, 
in Carnarvonshire, and that Henwyn was instrumental in inducing 
Llawddog to migrate to Bardsey, where he afterwards became abbot 
in succession to Cadfan. 

Henwyn is the patron of Aberdaron, at the extreme end of the Lleyn 
promontory, whence pUgrims generally crossed over to Bardsey. 
Aberdaron Old Church has been replaced by another about half a mile 
off. The saints, or pilgrims, used to meet at a large stone here, called 
AUor Hywyn, for prayer. The " Altar " no longer exists, having been 
blasted many years ago. Ffynnon Saint is close to where it stood. 

His festival day is not entered in any of the Calendars, but the 
wakes at Aberdaron are said to have been on January i or 6,^ 

In an obscure poem in the thirteenth century Book of Taliessin, 
containing allusions to a number of celebrated horses of Welsh legend, 
occurs the following : — 

The good Henwyn brought tidings from Hiraddug. * 

There was formerly in Bristol, in the very centre of the city, a church 

' Also Hanesyn Hen, p. 114. In the copy of the Bonedd in Hafod MS. 16 
(circa 1400) his name is spelt Hennen. It is Henwyn in lolo MSS., p. 103. 
As " Hywyn, in Aberdaron " he is entered among the children of Ithel Hael 
in Hanesyn H^n, p. 115. There is a Bod Hywyn in the parish of Llanegryn, 
and over against it, in the adjoining parish of Llangelynin, a Bod Gadfan. 

2 lolo MSS., p. 132. 

3 Willis, Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 274; Cambrian Register, iii (1818), 
p. 224; Cathrall, N. Wales, 1828, ii, p. 118. 

' Skene, Four Ancient Books, ii, p. 176. Geoffrey of Monmouth [Bruts, p. 69) 
mentions Henwyn (Henuinus), Earl of Cornwall. 

S. Herbauld 265 

of S. Ewen, now covered by the Council House. At Gloucester and 
at Hereford were also churches of S. Ewen, destroyed at the Great 
Rebellion, as they stood outside the walls. 

An extinct church of S. Owen or Ewen was in Chepstow, now con- 
verted into two dwelling-houses. Just within the mouth of the Wye, 
on the left or the EngUsh shore, at the southern extremity of Offa's 
Dyke, is an ancient landing-place, caUed in the Ordnance Survey 
" Hewan's Rock," but in an inquiry by a Court of Survey in 1641 
called " Ewen's Rock." 

It has been suggested that these are dedications to S. Hywyn ; 1 
but it is very doubtful. 

S. HERBAULD, or HERBOT, Hermit, Confessor 

" Among the saints of Brittany," says Canon Thomas, " none has 
a more extended cult than S. Herbot or Herbauld, and yet, although 
the peasants offer him their butter, and recommend to him their 
cows, they know nothing of his life." ^ 

His Life was preserved in his church at Berrien, in Cornouaille, till 
between 1340 and 1350, but perished during the wars of Blois and 
Montfort, when the English pillaged the church. However, a Life 
existed there in MS. before the French Revolution, based on oral 
tradition, and the BoUandists obtained a copy of it and published it 
in the sixth volume of the Acta Sanctorum for June. It is not an 
ancient account, and was written in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. 

Therein he is said to have been a native of Britain, who crossed 
the sea into Armorica. The period is not stated, but it was, we may 
suppose, at the time of the great migration in the fifth or sixth century. 

He is said to have settled at Berrien on the southern slope of the 
chain of the Monts d'Arree, but the women were angry with him 
because he drew men away from the work of the fields to hear his 
sermons, and they stole his linen which he hung on the hedge after a 
wash. One day they pelted him with stones. He was so angry that 
he cursed Berrien that it should thenceforth produce little else but 
stones. According to a proverb, there are four things the Almighty 
cannot do, level Brazpartz, clear Plouye of fern, rid Berrien of stones, 
and make the girls of Poullaouen steady. 

^ Thos. Kerslake, S. Ewen, Bristol, 1875, pp. 2-5. 

^ Vies des Saints de Bvetagne, by Albert le Grand, ed. 1901, p. 663. '■ ' 

2 66 Lives of the British Saints 

Leaving Berrien he came to Nank and asked a farmer there to lend 
liim a pair of oxen for ploughing. The man replied, he had none to 
spare. So Herbot cursed Nank that thenceforth it should produce 
only good-for-nothing cattle. 

Coming to Rusquec he met with a better reception. A farmer 
there bade him take from his herd what oxen he chose. Herbot 
selected two that were white. He harnessed these with the bark 
of a willow to a bough of a tree, from which he had not stripped the 
leaves, and thus ploughed his land. Afterwards the two white oxen 
would not leave him ; but always, even after his death, were to be 
found at nightfall couched by the porch of his chapel. Any men 
needing their ser\'ices had only to borrow them of S. Herbot at night 
and return them before daybreak. On one occasion, however, a 
grasping farmer did not restore them, but locked them into his shed. 
Thenceforth they have been no longer at the service of men, though 
it is said that sometimes they are still visible at night couched by 
the porch of S. Herbot. 

When S. Herbot had built his oratory he asked for slates to roof it. 
"Yes," said the man, " if you will chip the slates for me." S. Herbot 
took off his cap, placed the slates on it and trimmed them thus, 
giving the slates a perfect shape and doing his cap no harm. 

S. Herbot is reckoned one of the richest saints in Brittany. To 
him are offered cows' tails ; some ten or a dozen of these may be 
seen suspended on the left-hand side of his altar. The sale of the 
hair of the tails offered amounts in the year to a good sum, as m.any 
as 1, 800 lb. of hair being given, and this sells at from 80 c. to i fr. 25 c. 
per lb. 

Pilgrims arrive in the month of May. Mondays and Fridays are 
the days preferred. The cattle are driven round the church, then 
led to the Holy Well, where they are allowed to drink, and whence 
also bottles of water are taken for use at home in the event of the 
cattle falling ill. 

The chapel of S. Herbot is near Huelgoet, but in the parish of 
Loqeffret. It is beautifully situated among beech trees in a valley, 
at the foot of bleak hills, and a stream comes brawling down in a pretty 
cascade near by. The chapel of the saint is actually a large church. 
A few houses about it are converted, during the Pardon, into as many 
hostelries, and the ample stables and sheds receive the cattle that 
have come to offer their tails to the saint. 

The church possesses a fine square tower without spire or pinnacles. 
The date is 1516. The west front is fine. Throughout, the carving 
of the granite is admirable, the foliage is treated with great boldness. 

S. Hi a 267 

On the south is a deep porch also well sculptured, with the aposdes 
within, and twenty-four httle statues in the arcade of the entrance. 
The date of the porch is 1498. The apse is flamboyant like the rest 
of the church, but the buttresses are later additions in 1618 and 1619. 
The interior is adorned with a beautiful renaissance screen and re- 
turned stalls, but no roodloft. On the west face the twelve apostles, 
on that inside the minor prophets and the sibyls. In the chancel is 
the tomb of the Saint. It is a work of the fifteenth century. There 
are some old stained-glass windows. That on the south at the east 
end represents S. Yves between a rich man and a poor suitor. The 
date is 1556. The central window contains the story of the Passion, 
that on the north, S. Laurence on the gridiron. The date 1556, which 
is also probably that of the central window. Outside the screen 
are two altars piled up with the cows' tails offered to the Saint. 
Formerly they were hung about the sanctuary. There is a little 
ossuary on the west side of the porch. 

In the Breton Litanies of the ninth and tenth centuries, is the name 
Hoiarnbiu, but it has no relation to Herbot.^ 

The Bollandists give June 17 as the day of S. Herbot, but solely 
because that is the day of Huarve or Huerve. 

He seems to have had a chapel at Marazion in Cornwall, under the 
name of Ervetus (B. Stafford's Register, licensed 1397). 

In Brittany he has many chapels, mainly in Finistere. He is 
specially invoked against maladies to oxen and cows. 

He is represented on his tomb in monastic garb, with long hair and 
beard, the right hand resting on a staff, a book suspended from his 
girdle. Also with staff, holding an open book, and with bare feet, in 
the south porch. Another statue over the western entrance. An- 
other as an old man bareheaded and barefooted, with an ox at his 
feet ; a statue of the sixteenth century at Guipavas. A good statue 
of the fifteenth century at Scaer. 

S. HIA, Virgin 

This was one of the Irish settlers in Penwith, Cornwall. Accord- 
ing to Leland she " was a nobleman's daughter and a disciple of S. 
Barricius," i.e. Finbar. He adds that she came with S. Elwyn, and 
that " one Dinan, a great lord in Cornewaul made a church at Pen- 
dinas at the request of la, as it is written in S. le's legend." 
^ Loth, hes noms des saints bretons, Paris, 1910, p. 61. 

2 68 Lives of the British Saints 

Unhappily the legends of both S. Hia and S. Elwyn are lost. 
Dinan is certainly not the name of the lord, but a word which occurs 
especially in place-names, meaning " a little fortress." 

William of Worcester gives us the additional information that she 
was the sister of S. Euny and of S. Ere. 

Now Ere, the foster father of S. Ita and S. Brendan, died in 514. 
According to the glossator on Oengus he was the father of Eoghain 
or Euny, but was probably only his spiritual father, as there is an- 
other account of Euny's parentage.'- Eoghain of Ardstraw died 
about 570. S. Barr or Finbar is difficult to fix. If, as is stated in 
his Life, he was acquainted with S. Senan, who died in 544, then we 
may put his death as taking place about 550. Now, it is interesting 
to find that he did have religious women under his direction, and 
that one of the foundations in Ireland by a disciple of his was Cill la, 
afterwards occupied by Bishop Lidheadhan or Livan. In one of the 
Lives of S. Barr, a number of women are mentioned as having been 
under his direction, but they are nearly all spoken of not by name, 
but as daughters of so-and-so. One named is Her, and with her 
Brigid. It is probable that this Her is a mistake of the copyist for 
Hei, and that she was the foundress of Cill-Ia, and identical with the 
S. Hia who came to Cornwall. According to the story given by Anselm, 
Hia resolved to be of the party of Fingar and Piala, but they left 
Ireland without her. Thereupon she went after them floating upon 
a leaf, and arrived in Cornwall before them. The myth of the leaf 
is due to a confusion between her and Hia or Bega, the foundress of 
S. Bees. This latter is said to have been wafted over on a sod of grass. 

What is true in the story is that Hia was one of the earlier settlers 
in West Cornwall, before the arrival of the swarm under Fingar. 

When this second body of Irish arrived, we are told by Anselm, 
the author of the legend of Fingar, that they found " quoddam habita- 
culum non longe a litore ... in quo Virgo quaedam sancta manebat 
inclusa ; et nolens S. Guingnerus eam inquietare, salutata virgine, 
ad aliimi locum transiere pransuri." 

Fingar and his party landed in Hayle mouth, and went to Hia's 
settlement hard by ; she is the " virgo sancta." But she was ill- 
pleased at this arrival of fresh colonists and declined to have anything 
to do with them. This is the probable meaning of the story as given 
by Anselm. 

1 4 According to William of Worcester she died and was laid at what is 
now called S. Ives. This is likely enough, for she has left no cult in 

' Filire of Oengus, ed. Whitley Stokes, pp. cxxxii, clxvii. 

S. Hoedloyw 269 

Ireland, nor have several of Barr's disciples, which leads to the surmise 
that many migrated. 

The name Hia is, of course, identical with that of Hieu, who received 
the habit from S. Aidan, and was placed at Hartlepool, but she belongs 
to a later date. 

Hia had a church, not only at Pendinas, but also at Camborne. 

Her feast, according to William of Worcester, was on February 3. 
It is still so kept at S. Ives, but at Camborne on October 22. 

S. Hia's Well, called Venton Eia (Ffynnon la), is on the cliff under 
the village of Ayr, overlooking Porthmeor. It was formerly held in 
reverence, but has, of late, degenerated into a " wishing well." The 
spring is under the walls of the new cemetery, and it is doubtful 
whether the water be now uncontaminated. 

There is a representation of S. Hia on the churchyard cross, and 
she, with S. Levan and S. Senan, are in a window of the church erected 
in 1886. 

In 1409 some parishioners of Lelant complained that they were 
so distant from their Parish Church, that they found great difficulty 
in attending service ; and they prayed that the chapels of S. Trewen- 
noc. Confessor, and S. Ya, the Virgin, which they had rebuilt at their 
own cost might be dedicated, and provided with fonts and cemeteries. 
Bulls from Popes Alexander V and John XXIII were procured, and 
the chapels were consecrated on October 9, 1411. 

S. Hia should be represented, clothed in white wool, as an Irish 
Abbess, with a white veil, and holding a leaf.^ 

S. HOEDLOYW, Confessor 

Hoedloyw was one of the sons of Seithenin, King of Maes Gwy- 
ddno, whose territory was inundated by the sea, and now lies beneath 
Cardigan Bay. After the catastrophe Seithenin's sons all became 

^ The passage relative to her voyage on the leaf runs as follows in Anselm's 
account of S. Fingar: — " Paullulum jam. altius navigando a terra discesserant, 
cum ecce virgo quaedam, nomine Hya, nobili sanguine procreata, pervenit ad 
littus, felici sanctorum cupiens adunari coUegio : cernensque procul a litore 
jam remotos, nimio anxiabatur dolore ; et fixis in terra genibus, manus et oculos 
ad sublimia erigens, mente consilium e coelo flagitabat devota. Et modicum 
inferius relaxans obtutum, contemplatur super aquas folium parvum ; et protensa 
virga, quam manu gestabat, tangens illud, volebat probare an mergeretur. 
Et ecce sub oculis ejus coepit crescere et dilatari, ita ut dubitare non posset a 
Deo illud obsequium missum. Et fide fortis folium audaciter conscendens, 
mirabiliter Dei virtute prelata, alterum socios prsevenit ad littus." Vita S. 
Fingari in Acta SS., Mart, iii, p. 456. 

270 Lives of the British Saints 

saints or monks of Bangor on Dee. But all that is known of Hoedloyw 
is contained in one entry in the lolo MSS.^ Among his brothers was 

S. HOERGNOUE, Confessor 

Is invoked in the Celtic Litany of the tenth century in the Library 
of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury. ^ 

In that of S. Vougai he is called Huarneue.^ But De la Villemarque 
thought he read Huarve. The writing is faint, and the document 
greatly injured by damp.* 

In the list come Hoeiardone, who was bishop of Leon, Hoergnoue, 
and Hoiarnuine, whom M. J. Loth equates with Isserninus. He is of 
opinion that this Hoergnoue is the patron of Lan-Houarneau, and that 
he is distinct from Hoeiarnbiu ^ or Hoarve, the popular blind saint. 
This, however, is inadmissible. Hoarve was certainly the founder of 
Lanhouarneau ; and no trace of a tradition exists as to another saint 
of a similar name who can have been confounded with him, as supposed 
by M. Loth. 

S. HOERNBIU, or HUERVE, Exorcist, Confessor 

This Saint is invoked in the Litany of the eleventh century pub- 
lished by M. D'Arbois de Jubainville,^ and also, if De la Villemarque's 
reading be allowed, in that of S. Vougai as well, as Huarve.' The 
name has gone through many forms, Hoearnveo, Hwrveo, Houarve, 
Herve and Harve.'' 

He is one of the most popular saints in Cornouaille and Leon. 

' P. 141. With the name compare Hoitliw and Hoydelew in the Record of 
Caernarvon, pp. 4, 22, 59, no, and Hoedlyw in the Bruts, ed. Rhys and Evans, 
p. 302. 

2 Revue Celtique, ix, p. 88. 

3 A. le Grand, Vies des SS. Bretagne, new ed., 1901, p. 227. 
■* Bulletin de la Soc. Arch, de Finistire, 1890, p. 20 seq. 

^ Revue Celtique, xi, p. 144. 
° Revue Celtique, iii, p. 449. 

' Le Grand, Vies des SS. Bretagne, new ed. 1901, p. 226. 
' De la Borderie, Saint Hervi, gives the various forms assumed by the Saint's 
name, pp. 254-5. 

aS*. Hoernbiu 271 

■I ne Life of the Saint was transcribed in the seventeenth century by 
the Breton Benedictines, for their collection now called that of the 
Blancs-Manteaux, which is in the Bibliotheque Nat. of Paris. 

They made their copy from three sources : — 
, I. The Lectionary of Tr^guier. 

2. The Breviary of Leon. 

3. A MS. in the abbey of S. Vincent du Mans. 

Moreover, the Pere du Paz, who made the transcript, collated the 
Lives with other MSS. to which he had access, and has noted the varia- 

This has been published by De la Borderie, Saint Herve., Rennes, 
1892, with critical examination and notes. 

Secondly, we have the Life in Albert le Grand's collection, based on 
the Legendaria of Nantes and Leon and of Folgoet ; also on the 
Breviaries of Leon, Quimper and Nantes ; also on a Life in 
MS. broken up into lections with hymns and anthems, formerly 
preserved at le Faouet. 

The Life of S. Herve has also been dealt with by Dom Plaine in 
Revue de I'Ouest, Rennes, 1893, published separately. Dom Plaine is 
of no weight as a critic. 

The Life of the Saint in De la Villemarque's La Legende Celtique, 
Paris, 1859, pp. 318-329, is utterly worthless. It is based on forged 
ballads, of which a great number appeared under the auspices of De 
la Villemarque. 

The ancient Life, according to De la Borderie, is of the thirteenth 
century, but his grounds for basing this opinion are slender. In 
the Life he is said to have been buried in a shrine made strong with 
plates of iron and lead. De la Borderie says that wooden cof&ns 
only came into use in the twelfth century. But that oaks were 
scooped out and employed as coffins from a very early period is certain. 
Stone sarcophagi were indeed employed for all great men, temporal 
or sacred. But in Brittany there may have been some difficulty in 
digging one out of granite — no other stone was available — and the earlier 
use of an oak block sawn in half or dug out may have continued. 

However, the character of the Life, its prolixity, the introduction 
of dialogue, its affectations, show that it is late. Nevertheless it 
certainly contains some early traditions quite inconsistent with the 
ideas prevalent in Medieeval cloisters. The redactor took great 
liberties with his story and doctored it up to suit his idea of what 
ought to have taken place. We shall attempt an analysis and 
point out the alterations made by the redactor. 

Although Huerve never was in Britain, yet he was the son of a 

272 Lives of the British Saints 

British bard, and his Life is a valuable contribution towards Celtic 

De la Borderie arbitrarily distinguishes between what he conceives 
to be ancient and what modern elements in the text. We shall not 
follow his division ; but it may be pointed out that portions of the 
Life seem to belong to an earlier text, as the style is ruder and the 
structure is obscure. 

Hoarvian was a Briton and a bard, who crossed the seas ^ and 
visited the Court of Childebert at Paris, where he delighted the cour- 
tiers by singing his own ballads, to melodies of his own composition. ^ 

At length the desire came on him to revisit Britain, but he desired 
first of all to see his countrymen settled in Armorica. Childebert 
loaded Hoarvian with presents, gave him a letter to Conmore, who 
was his viceroy in Armorica, ordering him to prepare for the bard a 
boat to carry him over to his native isle. " Short is the passage 
between our Domnonia and further Britain," ^ says the author. The 
King further gave instructions that Hoarvian should be lodged on his 
journey in the Royal villes on the way.* 

Here we have the early and genuine record ; but when the mon- 
astic biographer tells us that as a bard in kings' courts, he was a 
great giver of alms, assiduous in prayer and vigils and " ab omni 
mixtione muliebri semper sejunctus," he is putting his own colours 
on the picture. 

He arrived at the castle of Conmore, who was then in Leon, and 
rode about with him, and doubtless amused him with his harp and 
songs at night. 

One day as they were out together, they lighted on a spring and 
saw there a singing girl (qusedam psalmista puella), whose good looks, 
and possibly her voice, charmed Hoarvian ; he asked her name, and 
learned that it was Rivanon, that she lived with her brother Rigur, 
and that her parents were dead. The chief of their plou was Maltot. 

Hoarvian urged Conmore to obtain the girl for him to be his wife ; 
the brother and the chief gave their consent, the girl herself does 
not seem to have been consulted, and the same night they were mar- 
ried. There was no losing time between love-making and wedlock 
in those days, apparently. 

^ This is not stated at the outset, but later on. 

^ " Hie, magnae industrias plurimarumque linguarum peritus, sed cantor 
figmentarius : novos enim fingebat cantus rythmicis compositionibus, quibus 
imponebat neumatum modos antea inauditos." Saint Hervi, p. 256. 

^ " Brevis est transitus maris inter nostram Domnoniamet ulteriorem Britan- 
niam." Ibid. 

' " Qui dum abiret per regias sedes," etc. Ibid. 

S. Hoernbiu 273 

ine spot where Hoarvian had met Rivanon was Landouzan, a 
tr&f of Drenec near Plabennec in L6on. 

. -"^^^^ morning Rivanori cursed the child that would be conceived 
m her womb, that it should never see the light.i Hoarvian was 
greatly shocked at this outburst ; but the curse had been uttered and 
could not be recalled. When the child was born, he was named 
Hoernbiu or Hoarve, and he was born bhnd. Rivanon hated her 
chUd ; however, she reared it to the age of seven. 

All this portion of the story seemed so inhuman and horrible that 
the compilers of the Lectionary of Treguier cut it clean away. 

The redactor touched it up, and gave it an aspect not quite so 
savage. He says that Hoarvian had no idea of marrying, indeed had 
vowed celibacy ; but an angel appeared to him in a dream and foretold 
that he would find a girl by a spring, named Rivanon, and that it was 
the Divine will that he should marry her, and beget a son who would 
be a great saint. ^ 
This smacks of the monastery. 

The truth was that Hoarvian fell in love with the girl and married 
her, against her wishes, and this occasioned the explosion of rage and 
resentment which caused her to curse her unborn child. The im- 
precation was omitted by Albert le Grand and by De la Villemarque 
from their versions of the story. It scandahzed them as it did the 
compilers of the Treguier Breviary. Both assert what is not said 
in the Life, that the damsel had also been visited by an angel before- 
hand, ordering her to marry the bard. 

But even De la Borderie reads into the story what he is hardly 
justified in doing. " La passion ardente et absolue de la virginite 
nous raporte aux premiers ages duchristianisme." Rivanon, we have 
no reason to suppose, resented being married, only she objected to 
being married without her consent to a, perhaps, aged bard. He 
goes on upon his assumption, " la vengeance impitoyable du voeu 
viole " — we have no hint given us that she had made a vow of chastity — 
" exercee pas la mere meme sur son fils, pauvre enfant innocent encore 
i naitre, est un trait de ferocite qui sent I'antique barbarie. Et 
cela est si vrai que, saufe cette premiere version de la Vie de S. Herve, 
on ne trouve ce trait nulle part. Tous les legendaires de datte pos- 

' " Si in me genuisti filium, cunctipotentem deprecor Deum ut non videat 
lumen humanum. At ille : O mulier, quam ingens commissum suae soboli 
matrem tain destestabile detrementum imprecari ! " Saint Hevvi , p. 258. 

^ " Vult Deus ut filium habeatis electum Sibi . . . non est execrabilis con- 
cubitus, ex quo editus fuerit filius saluti plurimorum in Eetemum prof u turns. 
O quam bonum semen et quam preciosum, quod nunquam desinet Domino 
facere fructum." Ihid., p. 257. 


2 74 Lives of the British Saints 

terieures out recule devant I'odieuse de ce fait ; une mere, par res- 
sentiment, infligeant au fils qu'elle porte dans ses flancs ime infirmite 
cruelle ; la cecite de saint Herve ayant pour cause la volontd et la 
vengeance de sa mere — et cependant cette mere tenue pour sainte ! " 

The author of the Life gives no motive for the curse. De la Borderie 
supposes one — a previous vow of virginity. 

Happily we can compare the procedure of a modern redactor with 
the old monastic recomposer of the Acts of S. Huerve. This modern 
redactor is De la Villemarque, and he is the worse offender of the 
two. He makes Hoarvian a disciple of S. Cadoc, and quotes the 
lessons given by S. Cadoc to a pupil, Ystudfach, recorded in the Myvyrian 
Archaiology } as actually delivered to Hoarvian. He does more. 
He forges a song sung by Rivanon at the fountain as that heard by 
the bard when he became enamoured of her. " Although I be, alas, 
but a simple iris at the water's edge, I am called the Little Queen," 
and so on ; and he gives a dialogue held with " the Frank 
count " — he did not recognize Conmore — as contained in a popular 
Breton poem. He describes from another ballad, manufactured by 
himself, the banquet at the wedding. He makes Huerve born three 
years after the marriage, and Hoarvian to die two years later, and 
then introduces another fictitious ballad, as the address of Rivanon to 
her son, and gives the pretended original among the Pieces Justifica- 

If a man who set up to be a scholar, and was held to be honourable, 
could thus try to impose on his generation, in the nineteenth century, 
there is some excuse ior the hagiographers in the thirteenth plajdng 
the same tricks. 

This barbaric incident certainly belonged to the earliest Life of the 
Saint which was re-edited in the thirteenth century, or later. There 
are other indications of antiquity. The commendation of the bard 
by Childebert to be lodged in the royal viUes on the way, and the men- 
tion of the spring being beside the via regalis ; this was the old Roman 
road that led from Vorganium (Carhaix) to Aber Vrac'h, and which 
in the Middle Ages had certainly fallen into disuse. So also is the 
description of the negotiation of the marriage with the chief of the 
flou or tribe to which Rivanon belonged. 

Huerve was born at Lann Rigur, now Lann'oul in the parish of 
Plouzevede, but he was brought up by his mother at Caeran, now 
Queran, in Treflaouenau, near Plouzevede. How this came about 
is not very easy to discover, as this district is far from the place where 
Rivanon was married. The idea may have arisen from the fact that 

» P. 780. 

S. Hoernbiu 275 

a scooped out " cradle " was preserved as a relic at Caeran, probably 
the original tomb of the saint. ^ All his early life seems to have 
been passed further west. Rigur, brother of Rivanon, is supposed 
to be the same as Rivor, founder of Lanrivoare, where he is repre- 
sented as a priest. 

We hear no more of Hoarvian. His relations with Rivanon were 
strained, and he probably abandoned her, and returned to Britain. 

From a very early age Huerve wandered about as a beggar, with 
another boy as his guide, whose name is variously given as Guurihuran 
and Wiuharan, and in late times Guiharan. 

As they passed through a village, the peasants who were at their 
dinner, charitably gave the blind boy some cakes, ^ and Huerve, 
seated on a stone, sent his guide to collect alms. Whilst thus seated, 
a fit of sneezing came on, and one of his milk teeth fell out, and he 
put it on the stone. The inhabitants of the village saw it blaze like 
a lamp and increase in splendour till it became a globe of fire radia- 
ting light in all directions.^ So as not to frighten the people, Gui- 
haran picked up the tooth and carried it off. 

The luminous tooth is a mythologic feature imported into the story. 
The Harpies had a shining tooth between them, and Odin's horse 
had one golden tooth inscribed with runes. In the Legend of S. 
Patrick his tooth plays a part. " One day as he was washing his 
hands in a ford, a tooth fell out of his head into the ford. Patrick 
went on the hill to the north of the ford, and sends to seek the tooth, 
and straightway the tooth shone in the ford like a sun." * 

Another day the two boys were traversing a village, when a group 
of Uttle shepherd children yelled after Huerve, " Where are you off 
to, little blind boy ? " No gross insult, but enough to enrage Huerve, 
who turned and cursed them that they should ever be stunted in their 
growth, in fact be dwarfs. ^ Some little time after, passing by 
the same spot, Huerve struck his foot against a stone and hurt it, 
whereupon he cursed all the stones of the place that neither iron nor 
steel should be able to cut them.* 

The vindictive character of the Saint dominates his whole history, 
and is very Celtic in appearance ; but it must be remembered that 
in the Apocryphal Gospel of the Infancy, the same vindictive char- 
acter is attributed to our Lord. 

1 "Ubi ante fores ecclesias ejus adhuc exprimitur lectulus." Saint Hervi, 
P- 258. 

2 " Occurerunt sibL incote afferentes ex sua farina caritatis amore cibaria. 
Ibid., p. 259. •' Ibid., p. 259. 

* Tripartite Life, ed. Stokes, i, p. I97- ' Saint Hervd, p. 260. 

" Ibid., p. 260. 

276 Lives of the British Saints 

One day when Huerve was a full grown man, a British tiern or chief 
of a plou, named Mallo, was robbed by a couple of his serfs, who 
fied to the coast to take boat, and escape beyond the seas. Mallo 
went after them, and passed where Huerve was in too great haste 
to salute him. Huerve cursed him, a storm came on and drove the 
tiern back, and he was constrained to offer an apology.^ We shall 
meet with another instance further on. 

The story of the cursing of the children and of the stones looks 
like a late local legend imported into the Life, and of no more value 
than that of the men of Stroud having been cursed by S. Thomas a 
Becket to ever after grow tails, because they had docked his horse. 

At the age of seven, Huerve went to a saintly monk named Har- 
thian or Arthian, whom Albert le Grand calls Martianus, and re- 
mained with him till he was fourteen, learning grammar and the eccle- 
siastical chant. Then he departed to a kinsman (consobrinus) S. 
Urphoed, in the land of Ach. 

He asked Urphoed where his mother was, she having retired from 
the world to lead an eremitical life. Urphoed replied that he did not 
know, but if Huerve would occupy his cell, and the guide, Guiharan, 
would attend to his farm and harrow the ground with the ass, he 
would depart in quest of her. The MS. of S. Vincent du Mans adds, 
that Urphoed told him she had taken with her a little maid, named 

After some search, Urphoed found Rivanon, and she consented to 
see her son. 

Meanwhile, a wolf had carried off the ass and eaten it. Huerve 
prayed, and the beast came to him and submitted to the yoke and 
did all the farm work hitherto performed by the ass. Much the same 
story is told of S. Malo and of S. Thegonnec. 

Urphoed now returned and informed Huerve of where his mother 
was to be found, and added that she was in failing health. The 
youth then departed and saw her, and she begged him to revisit her when 
she was at the point of death, and that he might be within reach, she 
bade him request Urphoed to abandon his cell to him. Huerve 
did so, and Urphoed obligingly departed into the forest of Duna, 
that once covered Bourgblanc, near Plabennec, and much country 

Huerve now occupied the old cell " cum suis familiaribus et manci- 
piis," so that he seems already to have been gathering a party about 

When Rivanon was dying, Huerve was with her, and administered 

^ Saint Herv6, pp. 266-7. ' Ibid., p. 261, note. ^ Ibid., p. 262. 

S. Hoernbiu '^11 

to her the last Communion. He was only a layman at the time, and 
it must have been entrusted to him by a priest to convey to her.^ 

After having buried his mother, he remained for three years in the 
cell Urphoed had surrendered to him, and he had many scholars 
who came to him. 

Then he considered it his duty to inquire after Urphoed, and he 
went ui quest of him, but found him dead, buried in his cell, which 
had fallen into ruins. 

He next visited S. Hoardun, Bishop of L^on, who ordained him 
exorcist, and wandered about taking with him Christina, his mother's 
niece and companion. His scholars accompanied him wherever 
he went, so, we are assured, did the wolf.^ 

At last he resolved on making a permanent settlement, and decided 
on planting himself by the stream Lyssem, the present La Heche, that 
separates the parishes of Lanhouarneau and Ploune venter. He 
arrived here when the crops were green, and demanded of the owner 
of a field, named Innoc, to surrender part of it to him. The man 
demurred ; however he consented at last, and Huerve cut down the 
green corn where he purposed constructing his monastery. At har- 
vest, the remainder of the crop yielded a double quantity. The place 
has since been called Lanhouarneau. 

In or about the year 550 a great conjuration was formed against 
Conmore, regent of Domnonia. At the bottom of it was S. Samson, 
but certainly also Gildas was influential in the matter, for he hated 
Conmore with a deadly hate. Probably also Budoc H was in it, 
worked up by S. Teilo, acting as a messenger from Samson. 

The object aimed at by the conspirators was the destruction of 
Conmore, and the elevation of Judual or Juthael, son of Jonas, to 
the throne of Domnonia and Leon. , 

In order to strike terror into the mind of Conmore, and to impress 
on the minds of the people a conviction that he was predestined to 
defeat and death, a convocation was summoned to meet on the Menez 
Bre, a rounded hill only some 700 feet high, but the most conspicuous 
in the district, as standing by itself. The author of his Life de- 
scribes the gathering as "an assembly of bishops and people for the 
excommunication of Conomerus, prefect of the king." ^ 

It was probably a gathering of saints to curse him, after the manner 

* " Hoarveus matrem adhuc viventem adiit, cui sanctum viaticum praebuit." 
Saint Hervei., p. 263. 

2 " Inde perrexit (Hoarveus) cum discipulis et praevio atque Cristina nomine, 
genetricis nepta et ancilla." Ibid. p. 264, note. 

^ " Conventus prssulum ac populorum, ut excommunicarent pra;fectum 
regis Conomerum." Ibid., p. 269. 

278 Lives of the British Saints 

usual among Celtic bards, who ascended a hill, and standing back to 
back looking every way, and stabbing in the air with thorns, uttered 
a curse which must inevitably bring destruction on him against whom 
it was launched. 

Huerve, who was only an exorcist, was summoned to it, and almost 
certainly Gildas, who was but a priest. 

Huerve, impeded by his infirmity, arrived late, and the assembly 
waited for him twenty-four hours. When he appeared, ill-formed 
and covered with rags, one in the gathering exclaimed, " What, have 
we been kept all day for this little blind fellow ? " The remark was 
not courteous, but Huerve took it in great dudgeon and cursed the 
man.i Thereupon he fell down, his face covered with blood and 
blinded. At the interposition of the bishops present, Huerve restored 
sight to the man, by washing his face in water from a spring he miracu- 
lously called into existence on the hill. 

If we translate this out of the language of a monastic hagiographer, 
it comes to this — Huerve was late, one of those present found fault 
with him. This the blind man resented and knocked the man down, 
by a blow in the face that drenched him in blood. However,, when 
the feUow had washed the blood away, he was all right. 

A chapel was erected on the hill to commemorate the miracle, and 
it still stands there, and the spring is still shown. 

A curious story follows. 

Huerve returned from Menez Bre with Bishop Hoardon, and the 
bishop expressed his wish that he could look into heaven and see 
its glories. Then Huerve prayed and lo ! heaven was opened, and 
he saw the celestial orders there. Then said Huerve, " I wUl teU you 
all their names." ^ 

Then Huerve chanted the hymn of Miriam Cantemus Domino, 
that occurs in the Irish Liber Hymnorum, as one employed in the 
monastic offices. It was appropriate to the destruction of Conmore, 
the new Pharaoh. But Huerve added thereto, giving in order the 
names of all those in heaven beheld by the bishop.^ The writer 
adds the remark, " Recitabat carmen : Cantemus Domino. Quod, 
quamvis sit vulgariter editum a prsedecessoribus Sanctis, est vener- 
abiliter autenticum." By which he probably means that the hymn 

1 " Cur me detrahis ? Detrimentum luminis quod patior patiaris." Sainf 
Hervi, p. 269 

2 " Aspice sursum, Coelestium enim spirituunx personas et nomina vobis 
revelabo." Ibid., p. 271. 

3 " Apertum est igitur super eos coelum, etviderunt omnes choros coelestium 
civium, discernentes quosque ordines angelonim atque singulos ordines patriarch- 
arum, prophetarum, apostolorum, martyrum, confess^orum atque virginum, 
audientes suaves melodias eorum." Ibid., p. 271. 

S. Hoernbiu 279 

of Miriam, with the addition in the vernacular, was of old, but that 
nevertheless it was — or the Cantemus Domino was — an accepted eccle- 
siastical canticle. But it is not specifically stated that Huerve did make 
an addition to the hymn. Nothing of the kind exists in Breton at this 
day except one on the celestial hierarchy and the saints by Michel de 
Nobletz (1577-1654), which some have supposed to be a recast of the 
earUer ballad-hymn. But before we can accept this we must first 
be satisfied that Huerve did more than chant the Cantemus Domino 
of the Celtic Church in the vernacular. 

One day a fox carried off one of his hens. He addressed himself to 
prayer, and Reynard returned and delivered up the hen unhurt, to 
the admiration of S. Hoardon and of Guiharan, " his inseparable 
companion." At their desire the prayer he had made was written 
down, and served for centuries after as a sort of charm against the 
incursions of foxes into poultry yards. "• 

He visited the monastery of S. Majan, at Loc Maljan in Plouguin, 
near Ploudalmezeau, and Majan presented to him all his monks and 
disciples. Amongst these was one whose name Huerve asked. The 
man replied : " My name is Huccan, and I am an Irishman, and a 
blacksmith and carpenter. I am also a mason. Also a skilful sailor ; 
in a word, I can do anything with my hands." 

" Very well," said Huerve, " make the sign of the cross on the ground 
and worship it." 

Huccan hesitated. Thereupon the blind saint ordered him to 
reveal who and what he really was. And Huccan was compelled 
to admit that he was an unclean spirit. 

Then Huerve ordered the man to be bound and led to S. Goueznou, 
the brother of Majan. This was done, and the three abbots decided 
to throw Huccan over the rocks into the sea. From that time the 
rock has been haunted, as the author informs us. The incident has 
been softened down by the late biographer. What really occurred 
was the execution of a troublesome Irishman, who was a scandal 
to the monastery of S. Majan. To disguise this the biographer repre- 
sents him as a devil. 

As Huerve was now growing old, he announced to S. Hoardon that 
he would shortly die. When Christina " nonna et consobrinus ejus " 
heard that, she made petition of him that she might be allowed to 
die at the same time. On the sixth day of his last sickness, he was 

1 " Quam ipsi, nee mora, scriptam posteris reliquerunt. Quoniam saepe 
sa;pius, nostris enim temporibus, per hanc fures produntur ; vel furta negaji 
nequeunt, aut reperiuntur. Conludium sancti Hoarvei ipsa nuncupata." Saint 
HervS, pp. 271-2. 

2 8 o Lives of the British Saints 

visited by Hoardon, and after receiving his benediction, expired. 
At the same time Christina sank beside the bed and died. 

At the death of S. Huerve were present the bishop Hoardon and 
the three abbots, Conogan, Majan and Mornrod. Conogan or 
Guenogan became afterwards Bishop of Quimper. Mornrod cannot 
be traced. Huerve died on June 17. 

We know the period at which Huerve Hved, but not the date of 
his death. Conogan was not yet bishop. He is known to us by a 
grant made by him to S. Winwaloe, and a pact between them. Win- 
waloe died in 532. The revolt against Conmore was in 550, and he fell 
in 555- Unhappily we have no data for fixing the period of Hoardon. 

S. Huerve was buried at Lanhouarneau. In 878 his body was 
taken to the Castle of Brest to save it from the devastations of the 
Northmen. It remained there till 1002, when Geoffrey, Duke of Brit- 
tany, made a present of it to his confessor, Herve, Bishop of Nantes, 
who placed it in his cathedral. These relics were lost at the Revolu- 
tion. At Rennes, however, it is supposed that the skull is preserved. 

He is patron of Faouet-LanvoUon, of Lanhouarneau, of Malestroit, 
of Ploare, of Saint-Herve, etc., and has chapels in a great many places. 

The statues and representations of S. Huerve are numerous. There 
is one, a statue of the seventeenth century, at Guimiliau, where he 
is represented with his wolf. Another at Lampaul- Guimiliau, accom- 
panied by his little companion, Guiharan, and the wolf at his 
feet with the harness of the ass upon him. One at Kerlaz near 
Douarnenez, very rude but realistic. He is shown with his eyes open, 
Guiharan at his side with a whip, leading the wolf. 

At Loc Melar near Landivisiau is a side altar with a painting above 
it of the eighteenth century, very faded ; in the centre is the saint 
conducted by his boy guide. On each side are compartments repre- 
senting scenes in his life. i. The Saint, on Menez Bre, eliciting a 
spring. 2. Huerve with S. Paul of Leon in place of S. Hoardon, 
with heaven open above. 3. The saint led by Guiharan, and a 
ladder up which his mother's soul is mounting to heaven. 4. The 
wolf drawing a cart, under the conduct of Guiharan. 
To S. Huerve are attributed certain sayings. 

1. Guell eo diski mabik bihaix Better teach a child 
Eged dastum madou d'eghan. Than store wealth for him. 

2. An den iaouank en diegi The idle youth 

A zastum poan var benn kozni. Collects trouble for age. 

3. An neb a zizeut ouz ar stur Who will not obey the helm 
Ouz ar garrek a zento sur."- Will fall on a sandbank 

' A. le Grand, Vies des SS. de Bretagne, new ed., 1901, p. 245. 


Statue formerly in the Church of Kerlaz, near Douarnenez. 

S. Hoier7iin 281 

In the MS. Trdguier Missal of the fifteenth century, the L^on Breviary 
^^ 1736, that of Quimper, 1835, that of Leon, 1736, that of Redon, 
1627, and in the Treguier Breviary of S. Yves of the thirteenth century, 
he IS commemorated on June 17. 

o. Huerve is invoked for sore eyes. 

At Marazion in Cornwall was a chapel of S. Ervet (B. Stafford's 
Register, Ucensed 1397). It is uncertain whether by Ervet is meant 
Huervetus or S. Herbotius. 

A story is told of S. Huerve that he silenced the croaking of frogs 
in a marsh ; much the same is told of S. Bruno. On this De la Ville- 
marque remarks, " Or, par une espece de prodige de la tradition, 
un chant populaire, intitule les Vepres des grenouilles, est venu jusqu'a 
nous, et il est I'oeuvre des bardes paiens d'Armorique, representes 
dans les recits populaires pieux sous la figure grotesque de ces bestioles 
croassantes : il offre un resume des doctrines druidiques du iv^ siecle, 
et il a paru si necessaire de le detruire aux premiers missionnaires 
Chretiens, qu'ils en ont fait une contre-partie latine et chretienne." ^ 

Now this Vesper of the Frogs is none other than the " Sing a Song 
of One, O ! " sung throughout Europe, and sung also by Jewish chil- 
dren. 2 

M. de la Villemarque published this song in his Barzas-Breiz in 1839. 
He himself composed and introduced a line into it, to signify that 
this was a lesson given by a Druid to his pupils. M. Luzel has col- 
lected the same song in Brittany, in many places, and has shown that 
no such a line exists in any version he has found. ^ 

S. HOIERNIN, Confessor 

In the Celtic Litany in the Dean and Chapter Library at Salisbury 
this saint is invoked.* 

M. J. Loth says: " S. Isarninos, Iserninos, as eisarno-, isarno-, has 
given hoiarn, houarn, iron ; Iserninos has given Hoiernin (more regu- 
lar than Hoeiarnin), Houernin, in the Cartulary of Redon 860- 
866, Huemin in 833, to-day Pluherlin, Morbihan ; also Saint Hernin 
in Cornouailles, and Les-Hernin, 1411, Treff-leshernin, 1436, a tref 
of Seghen, Morbihan (Rosenzweig Did. top.) ; transformed by the 
Romanomania of our clergy into Saint Germain, but it was pronounced 
Lesernin." * 

1 La Ligende Celtique, 1864, p. 277. 

2 Qjj the distribution of this song see Baring-Gould's Songs of the West, London, 
Methuen 1892, PP- xxxv-vi. 

3 Luzel (F M.), Sonniou Breiz-Izel, Paris, Bouillon, 1890. 

1 Revue Celtique. ix, p. 88. ' Ibid., xi, p. 144- 

282 Lives of the British Saints 

Albert le Grand gives a meagre account of this Saint, based on a 
MS. preserved at Loc-harn.^ 

According to him, this Saint whose name has gone through so much 
change, was a native of Britain, who crossed over and settled in the 
parish of Desault near Carhaix. The chief at Quelen promised that 
he should have as much land as he could enclose in a single day. He 
took his staff, trailed it behind him and paced along. And the staff 
not only drew a furrow but made a deep trench and threw up a bank, 
and Hoiernin enclosed a considerable area by this means. Much 
the same story is told of other saints, as Goueznou and Brioc. Here 
Hoiernin lived till his death, and he was buried in his oratory. 

The place was ravaged in the war between Conmore and Judicael, and 
remained desolate till another Count of Poher, named also Conmore, 
was hunting in the region, when a stag he was pursuing fled to the 
tomb of the Saint for refuge, and there the hounds would not touch 
it He accordingly ordered a church to be built on the spot. Mate- 
rials were collected, when lo ! the birds were found to have gathered 
twigs and leaves and to have built up a little dome with them over 
the tomb. 

Locarn is near Mael-Carhaix in Cotes du Nord. A bust and relics 
are preserved in the church. There is a Holy Well surmounted by a 
thirteenth century statue of the saint in monastic habit, holding a 

At Saint Hernin near Carhaix, in Finistere, but in the same district, 
is another statue of him. 

Although Albert le Grand speaks of two Counts of Poher named 
Conmore, there was but one ; the erection of the church over the 
tomb must have occurred before 550, probably some years previously, 
as during the period just preceding, Conmore was quarrelling with the 
saints, and not at all disposed to build chapels. This throws back the 
date of S. Hoiernin. We cannot, however, identify him with S. 
Isserninus the companion of S. Patrick, for Albert le Grand speaks 
of him as a Briton, and had his Hernin been the helper of the Apostle 
of Ireland, he would not have failed to have found this recorded in 
his Acts. 

Hoiernin died on the first Monday in May ; but his day is given 
by Albert le Grand and Lobineau on November 2. Iserninus is 
called by the Irish Fith. 

" Llanyhern3m " is mentioned as a chapel under Llanegwad, Car- 
marthenshire, in the inventories of Church goods taken by the Com- 
missioners in 1552-3. 

1 Vies des SS. de Bretagne, new ed., 1901, pp. 553-4- 

S. Muail 283 

S. HUAIL, Prince, Martyr 

HUAIL is called Cuillus in the Life of Gildas, by the Monk of Rhuis.» 
He was son of Caw ab Geraint ab Erbin, known as Caw of Prydyn. 
He was obliged to fly with the rest of his family from the North, owing 
to the incursions and devastations of the Picts and Scots, and was 
well received by Maelgwn Gwynedd. 

It is possible that in a fit of disgust at being compelled to leave 
his territories, and in a sudden caprice for religion, he may have accom- 
panied Gildas, his brother, to Brittany, and lived for a while as a 
recluse on the Blavet. At Mekand, a couple of miles below the grotto 
into which Gildas retreated, is another grotto to which one Rivallo 
or Rivalain (Rig-huail) is said to have withdrawn. 

The cave is at the confluence of the Sarre with the Blavet, and is 
about ten feet deep. Here is an image of the saint, and hither in times 
of dry weather the villagers come in procession to obtain rain, by the 
intercession of the Saint. Near by also is a settlement of the nephew of 
Huail, S. Cenydd, locally called Kihouet or Quidi. If this be the same, 
he soon wearied of the Ufe of an anchorite and returned to Britain. 

In the lolo MSS. ^ he is said to have been a saint of Llancarfan, and 
to have founded a church in Ewyas, Herefordshire. 

The story of the manner in which he lost his life is given by 
Edward Jones, in his Bardic Museum,^ on the authority of Edward 
Lhuyd, who derived it from a Welsh MS. in the handwriting of John 
Jones, of Gelli Lyfdy, dated June 27, 1611. It is accordingly merely 
a legend and of no historic worth. 

Huail, was so imprudent as to court a lady of whom Arthur was 
enamoured. The King's suspicions having been aroused, and his 
jealousy excited, he armed himself secretly, and resolved on observing 
the movements of his rival. Having watched him going to the lady's 
house, some angry words passed between them, and they fought. 
After a sharp combat, HuaU got the better of Arthur, and wounded 
him in the thigh, whereupon the combat ceased, and they were recon- 

^ Ed. Hugh Williams, p. 324. " Caunus ejus genitor et alios quatuor fertur 
habuisse filios, Cuillum videlicet valde strenuum in armis virum." His name 
is given as Hywel by John of Tynemouth and others. It is a somewhat rare 
name, but was borne by a few others, e.g. (as Hueil), in the Book of Llan Ddv,. 
p. 274, and the Record of Caernarvon, p. 102. 

2 P. 117. 

3 London, 1802, p. 22 ; Peter Roberts, Chronicle of the Kings of Britain, 
i8ii pp. 360-1. Lhuyd (Parochialia, supplement to Arch. Camb. for 1909, p. 
146) mentions the stone thus under Ruthin: "Maen Heol is a flat Stone in 
y" middle of the street " ; but the stone is neither flat nor in the middle of the 

284 Lives of the British Saints 

died, but with the proviso that Huail should never mention the matter, 
under penalty of losing his head. 

Arthur retired to his palace, which was then at Caerwys, in Flint- 
shire, to be cured of his wound. He recovered, but ever after limped 
a little. 

A short time after his recovery, Arthur fell in love with a lady at 
Ruthin, in Denbighshire, and, in order the more frequently to enjoy 
her society, he disguised himself in female attire. One day he was 
dancing with this lady, thus disguised, when HuaU happened to see 
him. He recognized him by the lameness, and said, " This dancing 
might do very well but for the thigh." Arthur overheard the remark. 
He withdrew from the dance, and in a fury ordered Huail to be be- 
headed on a stone called Maen Huail, still standing in S. Peter's Square, 

There was some other cause for disagreement, according to the 
story of Culhwch and Olwen in the Mabinogion} Huail had stabbed 
his nephew Gwydre, son of Gwenabwy his sister and of Llwydeu, 
" and hatred was between Huail and Arthur because of the wound." 
In the same story it is said that " he never yet made a request at the 
hand of any lord." ^ 

The Rhuis author of the Life of Gildas says that " Cuillus, a very 
active man of war, after his father's death, succeeded him on the 
throne." The author of the other Life, supposed to be Caradog of 
Llancarfan, says : " Huail, the elder brother, an active warrior and 
most distinguished soldier, submitted to no king, not even to Arthur. 
He used to harass the latter, and to provoke the greatest anger between 
them both. He would often swoop down from Scotland, set up con- 
flagrations, and carry off spoUs with victory and renown. In conse- 
quence, the King of all Britain, on hearing that the high-spirited 
youth had done such things and was doing similar things, pursued 
the victorious and excellent youth, who, as the inhabitants used to 
assert and hope, was destined to become king. In the hostile pursuit 
and council of war held in the island of Minau (Man), he killed the 
young plunderer. After that murder the victorious Arthur returned, 
rejoicing greatly that he had overcome his bravest enemy. GUdas, 
the historian of the Britons, who was staying in Ireland directing 
studies and preaching in the city of Armagh, heard that his brother 
had been slain by Arthur. He was grieved at hearing the news, wept 
with lamentation, as a dear brother for a dear brother." Gildas at 
once hastened to Wales, full of resentment and desirous of revenge. 
" When King Arthur and the chief bishops and abbots of all Britain 
' Ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 109. ' Ibid., p. 107. 

S. Hunydd 285 

heard of the arrival of Gildas the Wise, large numbers from among 
the clergy and people gathered together to reconcile Arthur for the 
above-mentioned murder." ^ Arthur was obliged to pay blood- 
money, after which Gildas gave him the Kiss of Peace. 

Apparently the Prince Huail was a vulgar marauder, who richly de- 
served his fate. Arthur was perfectly justified in executing him for 
his depredations. 

He is distinguished in the thirteenth century Triads of Arthur and, 
his Warriors^ as one of " the Three Diademed Battle-chiefs {Taleithiog 
Cad) of the Isle of Britain " ; and among the " Sajnngs of the Wise " 
and the " Stanzas of the Hearing " occurs the following : — ^ 

Hast thou heard the saying of Huail, 

Son of Caw, the cautious reasoner ? 

" Often will a curse drop out of the bosom." 

(Mynych y syrth mefl o gesail.) 

S. HUNYDD, Matron 

This was one of the married daughters of Brychan. Her name is 
thus entered in the Vespasian Cognatio — " Hunyd, que iacet sub 
petra Meltheu, que fuit uxor Tudual flaui, mater Cunin cof (i. me- 
morie)." In the Domitian Cognatio she is called Ninctis (for Nunidis), 
whilst in Jesus College MS. 20 she occurs as Goleudyd. In the later 
genealogies her name, through a misreading, is given as Nefydd, and 
she is said to have been a saint at the place called Llech Gelyddon in 
Prydyn, i.e. Pictland.* There seems to be no ground for identifying 
her husband, Tudwal Befr, with Tudwal, Saint and Bishop, who is 
nowhere given the epithet Pefr, "the Fair." 

Her son, Cynin, is regarded as the patron of Llangynin, in Carmar- 

There is a township of the parish of Cilcain, Flintshire, whose 
correct spelling would appear to be Llystin Hunydd. The locality 
of " The Stone of Meltheu " (Mellte) is not known ; probably 
it was in South Wales, where Mellte is a Breconshire river-name, and 
the parish-name, Bedwellty, in Monmouthshire, means " Mellte's- 

' Vita 2^'-, ed. Hugh Williams, pp. 400-5. 

* Peniarth MS. 45 ; Skene, Four Ancient Books, ii, p. 458. 
3 lolo MSB., p. 253, cf. p. 157 ; Myv. Arch., p. 128. 

* Myv. Arch., pp. 419, 428. Hunydd was not a particularly rare name. 
See the Record of Caernarvon, p. 320 (index). 

2 86 Lives of the British Saints 

S. HUUI, Confessor 

In the grant by Caradog.the son of Rhiwallon, of " Villa Gunhucc, in 
Guartha Cum," to the Church of Llandaff, in the time of Bishop Her- 
wald (consecrated 1056), mention is made of " the four saints of Llan- 
gwm, Mirgint, Cinficc, Huui and Eruen." ^ There are two Hangwms 
in Monmouthshire — Llangwm Ucha and Isa, which form one benefice, 
the churches of which are to-day dedicated to S. Jerome and S. John 

This seems to be the only mention we have of Huui. It has been 
suggested ^ that his name may possibly survive in that of the parish 
of Pen-how (S. John Baptist), Monmouthshire. 

S. HYCHAN, Martyr 

Hychan was one of the reputed sons of Brychan. His name does 
not occur in the Cognatio, only in the late lists of Brychan's chil- 
dren. ^ He is patron of the little church of Llanychan, in the Vale of 

There is a tradition at Llandebie, Carmarthenshire, that Hychan 
was slain by the pagan Irish on a field there near the station, called 
Rhandir Hychan (his share-land or inheritance), but now, colloquially, 
Cae Henry Fychan. Llandebie Church is dedicated to Brychan's 
daughter, Tybie, who met with a similar death here, and the tradition 
states that the Hychan of the field-name was her brother. 

Llan-hychan (or -ychan), somewhere in Carmarthenshire, is given 
in old Welsh almanacks as the name of a place where a fair was held, 
Old Style, on the second day after Michaelmas, i.e. October i. It has 
long since been discontinued ; but it occurs in an almanack for 1775, 
and possibly in later ones, on October 12. 

Browne Willis * gives Hychan's Festival on August 8. 

S. HYDROC, Hermit, Confessor 

Of Lanhydrock, in Cornwall,William of Worcester says that " Sanctus 
Ydrocus " was a hermit, and that his day, according to the Bodmin 

' Book of Llan Ddv, p. 274. 2 Owen's Pembrokeshire, ii, p. 276. 

' Myv. Arch., pp. 419, 426; lolo MSS., pp. iii, 119, 140. With the name 
Hychan compare that of S. Ehan or Ahan, in Iffendic and Parthenay, Brittany. 
gor, 1721, p. 327. 

S. Hydroc 287 

Calendar, was May 5. The name leads to the supposition that he 
was of Irish origin ; it occurs in Irish Martyrologies as Huydhran, 
and this is the same name as Odran. ^w is a diminutive employed 
arbitrarily with oc. We suspect that Hydroc is theOdrhanwho was 
brother of S. Medran or Madron, disciple of S. Ciaran of Saighir. (See 
under S. Madron.) In the Irish Calendars his day is October 2, but 
also May 8 ; on the latter day as a Bishop. We may equate the 
Huydhran or Odran of May 8 with Hydroc, May 5. It is possible 
that WiUiam of Worcester wrote viii, which has been incorrectly 
printed by Nasmith as v. 

When Colgan wrote his Acta Sanctorum HihernicB, an ancient Irish 
Life of S. Odran was in existence, and he purposed giving this later ; 
but imhappily Colgan did not continue his collection beyond the last 
day of March, and since his time, the ancient Life has been lost.^ 

All we know of him is that he and his brother Medran were sons of 
MacCraith, son of Frochall, and that they were natives of Littir, 
now Latteragh, in Tipperary.^ The two brothers, as boys, set off 
on their travels and visited S. Ciaran of Saighir. There S. Medran 
desired to remain, and place himself under the teaching of this illus- 
trious saint. Odran was much annoyed, and remonstrated with his 
brother, that this was a breach of their engagement. They referred 
the matter to Ciaran, who took a candle that had just been extin- 
guished, put it in Medran's hand, and bade him blow on the smoulder- 
ing wick. If it flamed, he was to remain. If it refused to do so, he 
was to go on with Odran. The wick, on being blown on, burst into 
flame, and Odran had to depart alone. As he left Ciaran said to him : 
" Hear me, brother Odran, I assure you that although you may wander 
far and wide, you will die in your native place of Littir." ^ 

Odran was one of the disciples of Senan, who assisted to bury him 
at Iniscathy.* 

After many travels, Odran did finally come back to Ireland and 
buUt a great monastery at Littir, and there he died, according to the 
Annals of the Four Masters, in 548. 

His day in the Martyrology of Tallaght is October 2, but also as 
Bishop on May 8 ; on the same day in the Martyrology of Donegal. 
As the name is not uncommon, ^ it is not possible to say whether 

1 Colgan, Ada SS. Hib., Vita S. Kierani, p. 461, and note i, p. 463- 

2 Ibid., p. 465- 

3 Irish Life of S. Ciaran, ed. Mulcahy, Dublin, 1895, pp. 44-5. 

* Book of Lismore, p. 221. •, ^ e /- 1 

5 There was an Odran, S. Patrick's charioteer ; another a pupil of S. Colum- 

ciUe; another a disciple of S. Columba of Tir-da-glas; another the father of 

S. Mochua. 

2 8 8 Lives of the British Saints 

these were the same or different saints. He seems to have been re- 
garded as a tutelar saint of Waterford, and has a Holy Well, Tobar- 
Odran,near the churchyard of Kilkeiran (Cill-Ciaran) in the parish of 

As Ciaran is the Cornish S. Piran, it is not impossible that Odran 
migrated with him to Cornwall, and that he may be the Cornish Saint 
Hydroc of Lanhydrock. The fact that the feast there should be on 
May 5, and his day in Ireland May 8, seems to favour the supposition. 

S. HYLDREN, Bishop, Confessor 

Lansallos church, in Cornwall, is dedicated, according to Bishop 
Bytton's Register, to Sta. Ildierna ; and in Bishop Stapeldon's Regis- 
ter the patron is also given (1320) as Sta. Ildierna. 

However, William of Worcester says, " Sanctus Hyldren, episcopus, 
jacet in parochia Lansalux juxta parochiam Lanteglys ; ejus festum 
agitur primo die Februarii, id est Vigilia Purificationis Beatse Marise ;" 
and Nicolas Roscarrock enters him on February i in his Calendar 
as S. Ildierne. 

Ecton, in his Thesaurus, gives S. Alwys as the patron. There 
was a Welsh S. Elldeyrn, brother of the infamous Vortigern, to whom 
is dedicated the church of Llanillterne, under S. Pagans, in Glamor- 
ganshire. His nephew, Edeyrn, crossed into Brittany, where he 
has left a mark. It is possible that EUdeyrn may also have quitted 
Wales, where after the disgrace and ruin of his brother he could not 
well remain, and settled in Cornwall. 

S, HYWEL, Knight, Confessor 

Hywel was son of Emyr Llydaw, and with the rest of his brothers 
he was forced to fly from Armorica, on account of a family struggle 
for the supremacy. It has been supposed that they were expelled, 
or expatriated themselves, to save their throats from being cut by 
Grallo. But nothing can be said on this subject which is not pure 

The sole authority for Hywel as a Welsh saint is an entry in the 
seventeenth century Llansannor Achau'r Saint printed in the Iolo> 

• O'Hanlon, Lives of the Irish SS., x, p. 17. 

S. Iddew 289 

M5S.1 In this MS. he is called Hywel Faig or Farchog, and is said to 
have been the father of Derfel Gadarn, Dwyfael or Dwywai, Arthfael, 
and Hywel Fychan, all saints. It states that he hes buried at Cor 
Illtyd, Llantwit Major. In the Triads and the Mabinogion tales he 
appears as a knight of King Arthur's court, which accounts for his 
epithet Marchog. In the Triads he is mentioned as one of the three 
" Royal knights " of the Court, who, invincible in battle, were yet 
so remarkable for their amiable manners and gentle speech that no 
one could refuse or deny them anything they asked. ^ In Geraint 
and Enid he is one of the knights of the court that went with Geraint 
to Cornwall. 3 

He is esteemed the patron of Llanhowell, under Llandeloy, Pem- 
brokeshire, and also, it would appear, of the Monmouthshire church 
spelt Llanhowel in sixteenth century parish lists,* but to-day Llan- 
llowell, and said to be dedicated to S. Llywel. Browne Willis * 
gives it as dedicated to S. Hoel, with Festival on October 3.1. 

Breton tradition makes Hywel the husband of Alma Pompsea, 
mother of S. Tudwal. There is no documentary evidence that this 
was so. 

In the Welsh pedigrees he is made the father of Hywel Fychan, so 
that he would be Hywel Fawr, or the Elder, and the Bretons designate 
him as Hoel le Grand, or Hoel Meur. They make Hywel Fychan 
have to wife a daughter of Maelgwn Gwynedd. 

He has been laid hold of by the romancers, Geoffrey of Monmouth 
and Wace, and converted into a gallant prince of Armorica who as- 
sisted Arthur in his wars against the Romans. It is doubtful if he 
ever set foot again in Armorica, after having fled from it in his youth- 

S. HYWGI, see S. BUGI 


S. IDAN, see S. NIDAN 

S. IDDEW, Confessor 

In the Myvyrian Archaiology ^ is entered, as a saint, Iddew Corn 
Brydain, the son of Cawrdaf ab Caradog Freichfras. In the lolo MSS.'' 

' P. 132. 2 Myv. Arch., pp. 393, 411, 4I3- 

3 Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 265. In the Dream of Rhonabwy 
he is one of Arthur's " Counsellors," ibid., p. 159. 

^ J. G. Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 920 ; Myv. Arch., p. 750. 
^ Parochiale Anglicanum, lya. P- 176. ° P. 426. ' P. 123. 


290 Lives of the British Saints 

the same entry occurs as Iddawg Corn Prydain, the son of Caradog 
Freichfras. The latter incorrect form renders him Hable to be con- 
founded with Iddawg Cordd Prydain, the son of Mynio, one of Arthur's 
men, who, by his treachery, brought about the fatal battle of Camlan. 
He figures in the Dream of Rhonabwy. Iddew was the brother of Cathan 
and Medrod. 

S. IDDON, King, Confessor 

Rees 1 gives as a Welsh saint Iddon, the son of Ynyr Gwent, and 
brother of SS. Ceidio, Cynheiddon, and Tegiwg. His mother was 
S. Madrun, the daughter of Vortimer. The genealogies of the Welsh 
saints do not recognize him as a saint. 

Yn37r was succeeded by Iddon as King of Gwent, and several grants 
of land were made by him to the Church of Llandaff. Llanarth, Llan- 
tilio Pertholey, and Llantilio Crossenny, in Monmouthshire, were 
given during the episcopate of Teilo, the last-named being a grant in 
grati1.ude for a victory over the Saxons in answer to Teilo's prayer. 
Llangoed, the situation of which is not known, was another grant 
made in the time of Bishop Arwystl.^ 

Iddon was a good king, but Rees, it would seem, was the first to 
include him among the Welsh saints. He is mentioned in the Life 
•of S. Beuno ^ as having gone to Gw5medd to that Saint in quest of his 
sister, Tegiwg, who had eloped with a labourer. He killed the man 
at Aberffraw, in Anglesey, but Beuno raised him to hfe again. There 
is a Tre Iddon, above Llyn Coron, not far from Aberffraw.* 

No churches are mentioned as being dedicated to Iddon. Bettws 
Wyrion Iddon, " the Bede-house of the Grandsons of Iddon," the old 
name of Bettws y Coed, is late comparatively, and cannot be regarded 
as referring to him. 

The early form of Iddon was ludon,^ which was also the Breton 
form, later luzon, and is the name of a saint or saints in Brittany, 
where there are several dedications under the name, viz., Lannion, 
in Gourin, Morbihan, which occurs in the Cart, de Quim-perU as Lan- 
iuzon ; Lannion, in C6tes-du-Nord ; Lannuzon, in Scrignac, Finistere ; 
and Loquion, in Gestel.- 

1 Welsh Saints, pp. 233-4. ^ Booh of Llan Ddv, pp. 121-4, 166-7. 

3 Lyfr Ancr, p. 125 ; Cambyo-British Saints, p. 19. 

* It should be stated that Iddon was by no means an uncommon name ; see, 
e.g., the Record of Caernarvon, p. 323 (index). Crogen Iddon is the name of 
one of the townships of Llangollen. 

^ See Book of Llan Ddv, p. 407 (index). 

aS*. Idunet 291 

S. IDLOES, Confessor 

Idloes, the patron of Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire, was the son 
of Gwyddnabi ab Llawfrodedd Farfog.^ Very little is known of him. 
One Achau'r Saint 2 gives him a daughter named Meddvyth, of 
whom see under S. Meddwid. 

His festival, September 6, occurs in the lolo MSS. calendar and in 
the Pr3Tners of 1618 and 1633. A fair was formerly held (O.S.) at 
Llanidloes on the first Saturday in September. His Holy Well, 
Ffjmnon Idloes, was situated on the Lower Green, now Hafren Street. 

lolo Goch,^ Owen Glyndwr's laureate, invokes his protection in 
a poem, and Lewis Glyn Cothi,* in the next century, says of one of 
his subjects — 

He was an aged knight, of good morals, 
Like Sadwru or Idloes. 

Among the " Sayings of the Wise " triplets occurs the following : — ^ 

Hast thou heard the saying of old Idloes, 
A peaceful man, amiable in his life ? 
" The best quality is that of maintaining morals;" 
(Goreu cynueddf yw cadw moes).' 

In the " Stanzas of the Hearing " ^ the " saying " differs slightly : — 

" The best prosperity is the maintaining of morals." 
(Goreu cynnj'dd cadw moes). 

S. IDUNET, Confessor 

In the Celtic Litany of the tenth century from the Library of the 
Dean and Chapter of Salisbury, published by Canon Warren,' S. 
Ediunete is invoked ; in that published by Mabillon, he is called 

'■ Hafod MS. 16 ; Hanesyn Hin, pp. 3y, 120 ; Myv. Arch., p. 426 ; Cambro- 
British Saints, p. 268. His grandfather, Llawfrodedd Farfog (Farchog in a 
few rather late MSS.), is celebrated in Welsh legend. He was one of " the 
Three Tribe-Herdsmen of the Isle of Britain " ; he tended the kine of Nudd 
Hael, in whose herd were 21,000 milch cows {Myv. Arch., p. 408). His own 
cow, Cornillo, was one of " the Three Chief Cows " of the Island {Peniarth MS. 
16) ; whilst his knife was one of " the Thirteen Treasures " of the Island ; it 
would " serve four and twenty men at meat all at once " {Y Brython, i860, 

P- 372). 

2 Cardiff MS. 5 (1527), p. 118; Llanstephan MS. 81, p. z. 

3 Gweithiau /.G., ed. Ashton, p. 533. 

' Gwaith L.G.C., p. 332. ^ lolo MSS., p. 251. 

« Myv. Arch., p. 127. ' Revue Celtique, ix (1888), p. 88. 

■* Vetera Analecta (ed. 1723), ii, p. 669. 

292 Lives of the British Saints 

A Life of the Saint is in the Cartulary of Landevenec, at what 
date composed there is nothing to show.^ The Vita is curious, for 
up to a certain point it calls the Saint Idiunet, and thenceforth Ethbin. 

Capgrave, in his Nova Legenda, gives John of Tynemouth's con- 
densation of the Life. He calls the Saint throughout Egbinus, and 
does not once use the name Idunet. 

M. J. Loth considers that two distinct saints were confounded to- 
gether. 2 But we are rather disposed to think that the Life as a whole 
belongs to an Ethbin, but was clumsily adapted by the compiler 
of the Cartulary of Landevenec to make it apply to Idunet. 

Idunet was a genuine personage. He occurs in the Cartulary of 
Landevenec as a brother of S. Winwaloe, " non post multum tempus 
sanctus Uuingualoeus iter edidit ad fratrem suum Edunetum," 
who lived near what is now Chateaulin, but was then known as Castel- 
Nin.^ " jEdunetus occurrit sancto Uuingualoseo ridens cum ve- 
nientem ad se, et seipsum sancto Dei commendavit, id est, corpus et 
animam et spiritum et omnia quse habebat, et terras quas Graalonus 
rex sibi dedit." 

In the Life of S. Winwaloe no mention whatever is made of this 
brother, and it is impossible to accept this record as sufficient auth- 
ority for making Idunet a son of Gwen Teirbron. 

Idunet had no Life, and the monks of Landevenec, lacking one, 
took that of a different saint, Ethbin, who was associated with a totally 
different Winwaloe, a monk of Taurac, and adapted it to their purpose, 
but so clumsily, that in part of the narrative they substituted the 
name Idunet for Ethbin, but not throughout. John of Tynemouth 
possessed, not the Landevenec manipulated Life, but the original 
Vita of S. Ethbin, and he does not speak of the saint as having borne 
the other name of Idunet. How clumsy the work was may be judged-, 
moreover, by this. In the Vita the parents of Idunet are named, 
Eutius and Eula ; and nevertheless in the Cartulary he is given as 
" brother " of Winwaloe, son of Fracan and Gwen Teirbron. 

We are disposed to think that Idunet was a kinsman, possibly a 
half-brother of Winwaloe, who lived where is now Chateaulin, and 
that the Vita in the Cartulary has nothing whatever to do with him.. 
See S. Ethbin. '1 

He is patron of ChateauUn, where his pardon is on the fifth Sunday 
after Easter ; of Pluzunet (Plou-Iduneti), near Plouaret, C6tes-du- 
Nord ; of Tregourez, near Chateauneuf, Finistere ; and he has chapels 

^ Cart, de Landevenec, ed. De la Borderie, Rennes, 1888, pp. 137-41 ; ^<^tct 

SS. Boll., October, viii, pp 487-8. 

2 Revue Celtique, xi (1S90), p. 141. 

^ Cart, de Landevenec, ed. De la Borderie, p. 145. * ii, pp. 466-7. 

-5*. lestyn 293 

<?!' Ploun6v&et near Carhaix, and Laurenan by Merdrignac, Cotes- 

At Tr^gourez the Patronal Feast is held on the third Sunday in 

At Pluzunet is an eighteenth century statue of him in Benedictine 
habit. Idunet, under the form Ediunet, is invoked in the tenth 
century Litany published by Warren, and as Idunet in that in the 
Missal of S. Vougai.i 

S. lESTYN, Hermit, Confessor 

Iestyn, son of Geraint ab Erbin,^ King or Prince of Domnonia, 
was the founder of Llaniestyn in Carnarvonshire, where is also 
the church of his nephew, S. Cybi. He probably followed Cybi 
to Anglesey, for he is patron there of another Llaniestyn, where is 
a stone with an effigy, bearing an inscription purporting that he was 
buried there. 

lestyn is represented, in low relief, in the garb of a hermit of the 
fourteenth century, with a lourdon or staff, terminating at the top 
in a dog's head, in his right hand. The slab has on it, in Lombardic 
capitals, the following inscription : — " Hie lacet Sanctus Yestinus Cui 
■Gwenllian Filia Madoc Et Gryffyt Ap Gwilym Optulit In Oblac(i)o(n)em 
Istam Imaginem P(ro) Salute Animarum S(uarum)." It formerly 
•stood in front of the altar, on a raised mass of masonry, but is now 
placed vertically in the wall. The shrine which enclosed the relics 
•of the saint is gone. The sculptor who designed and executed this 
interesting effigy appears to have sculptured also that of S. Pabo in 
Llanbabo Church. Both are of the fourteenth century.^ 

lestyn was brother to Cador, Duke of Cornwall, Caw, Cyngar, and 
'Selyf. In the lolo MSS. he is said to have been a saint of Cor Garmon 
at Llancarfan. 

>■ Revue Celtique, xi, pp. 136 141. 
, 2 Peniarth MSS. 12, 16 ; Hanesyn Hen, pp. lOg, 121 ; Camhro-British Saints, 
p. 270; Myv. Arch., pp. 421, 427; lolo MSS., pp. loi, 116, 136. The name 
lestyn is the Latin Justinus. In Breton it is lostin and lestin. There is a 
Ker-istin in Marzan, Morbihan. In the Taxatio of 1254 Llaniestyn, Anglesey, 
is entered as " Ecc'a de Lanyustin." Eastington, a manor in the parish of 
Rhoscrowther, Pembrokeshire, was formerly called lestynton. 

' Arch. Camb., 1847, PP- 324-5. At p. 289 there is an engraving of the effigy. 
For a description see ibid., 1874, pp. 217-24 ; also Westwood, Lapidarium 
W allies., 1876-9, p, 196. 

2 94 Lives of the British Saints 

He may have been the founder of S. Just-in-Roseland, in Cornwall, 
a part peculiarly affected by the royal Domnonian family, and not 
far from S. Gerran's, his father's church, and Dingerein, the royal 
palace. But if so he has been supplanted by a Justin or Just in the 
Roman Calendar ; it is impossible to say by which. There are in that 
Calendar twenty-three Justs and seven Justins. 

He was probably forced to quit Cornwall at the same time as Cybi, 
in consequence of the dynastic conflict hinted at in the Life of S. Cybi, 
when Constantine made himself king. 

It is possible that he may be the Justin whom we meet with in 
Brittany at Plestin (Plou-Iestin). He had occupied a cell there, but 
left on pilgrimage. Whilst he was absent, an Irish colonist, EfQam, 
arrived and took possession of his cell. When he returned he found his 
ceU occupied and the land around it appropriated by the Irishman. 
According to a local legend, the controversy as to the right to the 
habitation was settled amicably between them by this means. Each 
seated himself within the cabin, and they waited to see on whose face 
the setting sun would shine through the tiny window. Presently the 
declining orb broke from its envelope of cloud, and sent a golden 
ray in through the opening and irradiated the countenance of Effiam. 
Thereupon Justin arose, saluted him, and seizing his staff, departed." 
They would seem, however, to have compromised matters. It was 
arranged that Efflam should rule the ecclesiastical, and Justin the 
secular community. This is obscurely related by the biographer of 
Effiam, a late writer, who did not comprehend the tribal arrangements 
in vogue at an earlier period. What he says is that Justin gave his 
name to the plou or flehs, and that Efflam took the headship of the 
lann ; and that they agreed to live at some distance apart. 

The place where Justin settled is now by contraction called Plestin 
(Plou-Iestin), and in the church S. Justin is represented as a priest. 

The festival of S. lestyn does not occur in any of the Welsh 
Calendars. Festivals were held at Llaniestyn, Anglesey, on April 12 
and October 10, and at Llaniestyn, Carnarvonshire, on October 10.* 

The day on which he is said to be commemorated in Brittany is 
April 19 ; ^ but churches bearing his name have been transferred to S. 
Just, Bishop of Lyons, who died in 390, and whose day is September 2. 

The feast at S. Just-in-Roseland is August 14. If we deduct eleven 

^ Le Braz in Annales de Bretagne, T. xi, p. 184. 

2 Willis, Survey of Bangor, 1721, pp. 275, 282 ; Cambrian Register, iii (1818), 
p. 224. Nicolas Owen, Hist, of Anglesey, 1775, p. 58, gives April 15. 

3 Kerviler and De la Borderie, but neither gives his authorities ; both 
apparently follow Garaby. The Pardon is on the Fifth Sunday after Easter. 

/S. leuan Gwas Padrig 295 

days we have August 3. There is no Just or Justin commemorated in 
the Roman Calendar on either of these days. 

A Iest3m ab Caden (Cadan, or Cadfan) ab Cynan ab Eudaf ab Cara- 
dog ab Bran Fendigaid is in late genealogies ^ represented as having 
been a saint, some generations earlier than the son of Geraint, but 
his existence is very doubtful. They are given the same ancestry. 

S. lEUAN GWAS PADRIG, Monk, Confessor 

This minor Welsh saint has been more fortunate than many of 
the more important ones, for we have had preserved for us his Life, 
in Welsh. There is a copy of Buchedd leuan Gwas Padrig in Llan- 
stepkan MS. 34, written in the sixteenth century, and another in 
MS. 104, written in the following century, in the same collection. The 
Life, however, as we have it, cannot be much, if any, earher than the 
sixteenth century. It has never been pubhshed. 

leuan ^ ab Tudur ab Ehdan ab Owain Fychan ab Owain ab Edwin 
Frenin was bom in Llwyn, a township of the commote of Ceiomeirch, 
or Cinmerch,^ now l3mig within the parish of Llanrhaiadr, near Den- 
bigh. He was a disciple of S. Patrick : hence his epithet Gwas Padrig, 
" the servant of Patrick," which, as a personal name, Anghcised to Gos- 
patrick or Cospatrick, was borne by the well-known eleventh century 
Earl of Northumberland. With it compare the Strathclyde names 
Quos-Cuthbert, Cos-Mungo, and Cos-Oswald. A number of Welsh- 
men in early and mediaeval times bore names thus formed, among 
them Gwas Dwyw (Duw), Gwas Crist, Gwas Mair, Gwas Mihangel, 
GwcLS Dewi, Gwas TeUo, and Gwas Sant Ffraid. They are transla- 
tions or imitations of a well-known Goidehc formxila, probably of pre- 

' Myv. Arch, p. 427; lolo MSS., p. 118, cf. pp. loi, 116. 

2 Sometimes he is called Ifan or Evan. leuan, lefan, Ifan, Iwan, and loan 
are all Welsh forms for John. Evan Evans is none other than John Jones, 
only less Anghcised. leuan's pedigree cannot be genuine. His father's name 
is also given as LlyTvelyn ; thus the entry in Llanstephan MS. 187 (c. 1634), 
p. 237, "Euan ap llywelyn, gwas Patrig, fanach, sant Cerig yDridion, ar Uwyn 
yngeinnech." He is associated with S. Mary Magdalene in a cywydd written 
in her honour by Gutyn Ceiriog, of which copies occur in Llanover MS. B. i, 
fo. 63a (c. 1670), and Cardiff MS. 26, p. 99. 

' For its boundaries and extent see WiUiams, Records of Denbigh, Wrexham, 
i860, pp. 46-7. At p. 58 is mentioned " Gavel Waspatrik " as being in Denbigh. 
Quimerch, which occurs in Breton charters as Ecclesia de Keynmerch, Keinmerh, 
and Keymerch, is near Chateaulin, in Finistere. 

296 Lives of the British Sai7its 

Celtic origin. Gwas Padrig is represented in Ireland by Mael-Phatraic 
(now Mulpatrick), meaning, literally, " the tonsured man (or devotee) 
of Patrick," and in Scotland by Gille-Patraic, " the servant of Pa- 
trick." Compare also Mael-Brighde and Gille-Brighde, "the servant 
of Brigid." The formula implies that the person so named was under the 
charge, or was born on the day (or some other connexion) of that 
particular saint. 

According to his Life, leuan was a worker of miracles ; but those 
recorded are stock instances, and have been often attributed to others. 
He wrought his first miracle, when a boy of twelve, by killing an 
infuriate adder that was aiming at a drainer, and he had his prayer 
granted that " there should never till Doomsday be seen an adder 
in that land," and, moreover, no " venomous vermin " should ever 
hurt those who offered to leuan. One season the crows and other 
birds devastated his father's and other persons' crops to such an extent 
that he was moved to " drive them all before him into his father's 
barn." Tudur was so impressed with the youth's performances that 
he sent him with his blessing to Menevia to become a disciple of S. 

He was there for some time, and when the great Apostle, in 
obedience to the warning voice, left Wales for Ireland, leuan also 
with others accompanied him. But leuan was not destined to remain 
in Ireland long. One day S. Patrick, whilst preparing to say Mass, 
sent his Welsh disciple to fetch fire. leuan went to the cook, and 
returned with the glowing embers in his lap, without his garment 
having been even singed. S. Patrick, in compassion for the Welsh, that 
they should not be deprived of having so great a wonder-worker in 
their midst, requested him to return to his native country. leuan bade 
his master farewell and went down to the shore, but could find no 
means of embarking. In his perplexity he prayed, and saw a blue slab 
floating on the surface of the water towards him ; and on this he safely 
landed on the coast of Anglesey. He now felt very thirsty ; he thrust 
the point of his staff into the ground, and forthwith bubbled up a 
crystal spring. 

" From thence he came to Llwyn in Ceinmeirch — to his own 
patrimony — and contemplated making a cell there for prayer to 
God. He has in Llwjm thirteen wells." 1 An angel, however, told 
him not to erect his cell there but to proceed southwards until he ' 
spied a roebuck, and on the spot he saw it rise there to establish 
his cell. "And he came to the place that is called Cerrig y Drudion, 

^ An Artesian well, sunk in 1906 at Llwyn Isa, about two miles from Denbigh, 
provides the town with an abundant supply of the purest water. 

S. leuan Gwas Padrig 297 

and there built he his cell, where is a church dedicated to leuan Gwas 
Padrig and Mary Magdalene." 

The church is now regarded as dedicated to S. Mary Magdalene i 
alone, and the Gwyl Mabsant or wake followed her festival, July 22. 
Ffynnon Fair Fadlen is near the church, but her earlier well was 
in Caeau Tudur. 

Edward Lhuyd (i6gg) gives an interesting early MS. note from the 
Parish Register, which shows that Gwas Padrig was, previously to the 
Reformation, represented in stained glass in the chancel window of 
Cerrig Church, but the glass has long since disappeared. " levan ap 
Llewelyn of Kinmeirch surnamed Gwas Patrick as written by his 
picture at y'^ east end of Kaer y Drydion written A°. 1504. Evanus 
Patricius animarum confessor was y'^ ist founder of y° Ch : of K. y 
Druidion in y*" year of our Lord 440 and dedicated it to M : Magdalen. 
It was afterwards repair 'd and augmented A°. 1503." Lhuyd men- 
tions his Holy Well, Ffynnon Gwas Padrig, as possessing very cold 
water, which cured swelling in the knees, etc. ; and another well, 
Ffjmnon y Brawd, the Friar's Well, which removed warts, etc. In 
the terrier of 163,1 are named as part of the glebe, Bryn y Saint, and 
Erw'r Saint. 

By a deed dated 1506, in consideration of the small income of the 
benefice, certain messuages and tenements were added, " ad laudem 
Dei et Sanctas Marise Magdalenae ac Sancti leuan nuncupati Gwas- 
batryc vanagh patroni ibidem." ^ 

From the fact that his Life brings him to Anglesey leuan may be 
one of the patrons of Llantrisant in that island. Browne Willis ' 
gives that church as dedicated to the three saints, Sannan, June 13, 
Afan (sometimes spelt Afran), December 17, and leuan or John, 
August 29. The last date is the festival of the Decollation of S. John 
Baptist, but it is hardly possible that by this leuan is meant the Bap- 
tist. The parish is • situated on the side of the island that leuan 
would be likely to land, and not far from the coast. 

Nothing further seems to be known of leuan Gwas Padrig. 

Several clergy named louan (O. Welsh for leuan) occur in the Book 
of Llan Ddv. Louan, more correctly perhaps louan, was one of " the 
learned men and doctors that flocked to Dubricius for study," * and this 
same disciple was probably the clerical witness to several grants by 
King Pepiau of Erging to the church of Llandaff. 

1 B. Willis, Bangor, 1721, p. 364. 

2 MS. D, fo. xxxiv b, in the Episcopal Library, S. Asaph. 

^ Bangor, p. 279. * Book of Llan Ddv, p. 80. 

298 Lives of the British Saints 

One of the " Sayings of the Wise " triplets runs ^ :— 

Hast thou heard the saying of Ifan, 
Brother in the Faith to Catwg of Llancarfan ? 
" A grain of sand sliines its destined best " 
(Tywynid graienyn ei ran). 

S. IFOR, Bishop, Confessor 

Ifor is said to have been the son of Tudwal (Saint and Bishop), the 
son of Corinwr, of the mythical line of Bran Fendigaid. He was a 
bishop, but we are not told of what see, and the founder of a church 
in England. 2 He was not a son of Hunydd (Nefydd), daughter of 
Brychan, as has been assumed. ^ He is not known to the earlier 
authorities ; and in all probability by him is intended the " Eborius 
Episcopus de civitate Eboracensi provincia Britannia," * who was 
present at the Council of Aries, 3,14. 

Ifor is one of the many saints, mainly Welsh, to whose guardianship 
a poet in an Ode to Henry VII commits that king. •" 

Giraldus Cambrensis ^ mentions the entire expulsion of rats from 
Ferns by the curse of S. Yvorus, bishop, " whose books they had 
probably gnawed." This was Ibhar, bishop of Beg-Eire, Begery 
Island, in Wexford Haven, who died in 500 or 505, and is com- 
memorated on April 23. 

S. ILAN, Bishop, Martyr 

But little is known of this saint. He is the patron of Eglwys Ilan, 
in Glamorganshire, which is caUed Merthir Ilan, that is, the martyrium 
of Ilan, in the Book of Llan Ddv.^ Sometimes the church is given as 
dedicated to S. Helen,^ and even to S. Elian. In the Taxatio of 1254 
the church occurs as Eglisulan, in that of 1291 as Eglishilan, and 
in the Valor of 1535,' as Egloysyland. Trefilan, in Cardiganshire, 
usually regarded as dedicated to S. Hilary, bears Han's name. A 
late, untrustworthy list i" of the early bishops of Llandaff includes 

1 lolo MSS., p. 254; cf. Myv. Arch., p. 859. 

2 lolo MSS., pp. 116, 136. 2 Rees, Welsh Saints, p. 148. 

4 Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, etc., i, p. 7. '^ lolo MSS., p. 314- 

« Topog. Hibern., Dist. ii, c. 22 (Opera, v, p. 120, ed. Dimock, 1867). 
' Pp. 32, 44. ' WiUis, Llandaff, 1719. append., p. i. 

•> iv, p. 350. Elan and Ylan are also met with. For the substitution of 
Llan and Eglwys for Merthyr see Cymmrodorion Transactions, 1906-7, pp. 85-6. 
1° Liber Landavensis, p. 623. 

S. liar 299 

There is a Bod Ilan in Llanfihangel y Pennant, Merionethshire ; 
and S. Ilan is the name of a castle near S. Brieuc, C6tes-du-Nord. 

S. ILAR, Martyr 

The late documents printed in the lolo MSS. give two Welsh saints 
of this name. One/ an liar who came to this island with Cadfan, 
and has a church dedicated to him in Glamorganshire, by which is 
evidently meant S. Hilary, near Cowbridge. It is, however, dedicated 
to S. Hilary. The other,^ liar, son of Nudd Hael, by whom, of course, 
is intended Eleri, the son of Dingad ab Nudd Hael, the Elerius of the 
Life of S. Winefred by Prior Robert of Shrewsbury, and the patron 
of Gw3d;herin, Denbighshire. 

liar is the Welsh form of the Latin Hilarus, just as Eleri is of 
Hilarius. These two Welsh saints are constantly confounded with 
the great S. Hilary of Poictiers, as is also Elian Geimiad. 

The only church that can, with any degree of certainty, be said to 
be dedicated to liar is Llanilar, in Cardiganshire, with which he is 
associated under the name liar Bysgotwr,* or the Fisherman. But 
this church is also claimed for S. Hilary.* 

The Welsh Calendars give the festival of S. liar in January, but 
are rather undecided as regards the day, the 13th, 14th, and 15th 
being assigned him.^ Similarly, though the festival of S. Hilary 
should be on January 13, the day on which he died, as in the 
Anglican Calendar, the 14th is that marked in the Roman Calendar, 
the alteration being made that the day might not interfere with the 
Octave of the Epiphany. 

In the sixteenth century Demetian Calendar (S), which gives 
liar on the 15th, he is called liar Ferthjn:, or the Martyr, with the 
addition, " or rather Droedwyn," that is, " the White-footed." 

Lewis Glyn Cothi,® in the fifteenth century, invokes his protection 

1 P. 108. 2 p. i3g. 3 Myv. Arch. p. 426. 

* B. WiUis, Parochiale Anglic, 1733, p. 195. The Glamorganshire church is 
given as " Ecclesia S. Hilarii " in the Book of Llan Ddv, see index. The following 
are some of the sixteenth century Welsh spellings for it, " Sain tilari," " Saint 
y lari," " Sain Hilari (or Eleri) " ; Dr J. G. Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, 
pp. 827, 919 

= See i, p. 70. By " Gwyl Seint liar " in Brut y Tywysogion (ed. Rhys and 
Evans, p. 349) is clearly meant the Festival of S Hilary. 

« Gmaith L.G.C., 1837, pp. 88, 337. So also in the Ode to Henry VII, 
lolo MSS., p. 314. In " Cywydd y Pryns Arthur " by Dafydd Llwyd, in 
Llanover MS. B. i, fo. 336, occurs the couplet — 

llavj- vaeno drosto rag drwg 
ag jlar rag drwg olwg. 

300 Lives of the British Saints 

for the subject of one of his poems, and alludes to his festival as " Gwyl 
liar hael a'i loer hir," " the Festival of the generous liar with his long 

SS. Hid and Ilud 

Ilud is entered as one of the unmarried daughters ^ of Brychan in the 
Vespasian Cognatio, but she is not in the Domitian copy. The name 
would now be Iludd. In the list of his children in Jesus College MS. 20 
the name was miscopied by the fifteenth century scribe as Llttd, and he 
adds that she is commemorated " yn Ruthun ygwlat Vorgant," that 
is, in Rhuthyn, the manor and commote of the name in the Vale of 
Glamorgan, embracing the parish of Llanilid, which the scribe evi- 
dently implied derived its name from her. He seems to be the sole 
authority for the association, and though the Church of Llanilid may 
have been originally dedicated to her, it certainly at an early date 
came to be regarded as under the invocation of S. Julitta and her son, 
the child-martyr S. Cyriacus. 

Its full Welsh designation has always been, " Llanilid a Churig," 
as for instance in the parish list, circa 1566, in Peniarth MS. 147. In 
the Taxatio of 1254 it is called " Ecclesia Sancte Julite," and this, 
or something similar, has been the prevalent form in Latin documents.^ 
For Hid = Julitta see further under that name. 

In " The Genealogy of lestyn ab Gwrgant," the eleventh century 
prince of Glamorgan, we are told that Eurgain, wife, as supposed, 
of the historical Caratacus or Caradog, sent for S. Hid, " of the land 
of Israel," from Rome to Britain, to assist her in the conversion of 
the Welsh. " This Hid is called, in the lections of his Life, S. Joseph 
of Arimathsea. He became the principal teacher of the Christian 
Faith to the Welsh, and introduced good order into Cor Eurgain, 
which she had established for twelve saints, near the church now 
called Llantwit." He afterwards went to Glastonbury, " where he 
died and was buried, and Ina, king of that country, raised a large 
church over his grave." ^ 

1 It occurs as the name of a layman in the Book of Llan Ddv, p. 149. 

2 In a will of 1690 it is called" Saint Juliet's " ; G. T. Clark, LimftMi Patvum 
Morganics, 1886, p. 393. 

3 lolo MSS., p. 7 ; cf. p. 219. Joseph of Arimathsea is called Hid also in 
the Cywydd to S. Mary Magdalene by Gutyn Ceiriog, referred to under S. Ieuan 
GWAS Padrig. 

s. I Hog 301 

We are further told that S. IHd, " a man of Israel," came hither 
with Bran Fendigaid from Rome, that he converted many of the 
Welsh to Christianity, Caradog and Eurgain among them, and that 
he is the patron of Llanilid in Gwent.^ A house in that parish, called 
Tre Bran, is supposed to confirm the connexion of this " man of Israel," 
that is, Joseph of Arimathsea, with the place. 

The following occurs among the " Sayings of the Wise " ^ : — 

Hast thou heard the saying of S. lUd, 
One come from the race of Israel ? 
" There is no madness like extreme anger " 
(Nid ynfydrwydd ond trallid). 

This saint can only be regarded as " a man of straw," being the 
creation of some of the late mediaeval Glamorgan antiquaries, who 
were familiar with the legend of the Holy Grail, most probably through 
Walter Mapes. 

S. ILLID, Bishop, Confessor 

According to William of Worcester, Illid, Hid, or Elidius, a Bishop, 
reposed in one of the isles of Scilly. Elsewhere he calls the island 
" Insula Seynt Lyde (fuit fill us regis) . " Leland says : " Saynt Lide's 
Isle, wher in tj/mes past at her Sepulchre was grete superstition." ^ 
Either her is a misprint for his, or else Leland confounded Lyde of 
Scilly with Lidgy of Egloscruc or S. Issey. 

William of Worcester says that his day in the Tavistock Calendar 
was August 8. As the Abbey of Tavistock had a cell in Scilly, its 
calendar is likely to be correct in describing him as a Bishop. 

S. ILLOG, Confessor 

The genealogies know nothing of this Welsh Saint, but his festival, 
August 8, entered as " Gwyl Illog yn Hirnant " occurs in a good 
number of the earlier Welsh Calendars. In the Calendar in Additional 
MS. 14,882, written in 1591, the entry is " g. Illoe abban sant," 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 100, lis, 135. 149-50. Cyndaf was likewise "a man of 

2 Ibid., p. 255. ' Itin., iii, 9. 

3 o 2 Lives of the British Saints 

which includes apparently one of the two Irish Saints of the name 
Abban. He is patron of the little church of Hirnant, in Montgomery- 
shire. His holy well, Ffynnon lUog, once much resorted to for its 
mineral properties, is near the church, and a tumulus on an eminence, 
called Carnedd lUog, is supposed to cover his remains. Here also 
are Gwely lUog, his Bed, and a brook, Aber lUog. 

Browne Willis ^ gives the dedication of Coychurch, in Glamorgan, 
as to Illog, but this church, called in Welsh Llangrallo, is dedicated 
to S. Crallo. 

S. ILLOGAN, Priest, Confessor 

The Church of lUogan, near Redruth, in Cornwall, is dedicated to 
a saint of this name. 

In Bishop Bytton's Register, the designation is " Ecclesia Sti. 
Elugani," also YUugani, 13,09-10. So also in the Register of Bishop 
Stapeldon, 13,07-8. In that of Bishop Stafford, the church is that of 
" Sancti lUogani de Logan," and " Sancti lUogani alias Illugani," 
1397-1403 ; but in the latter year, also " Seynt Luganus." In that 
of Bishop Grandisson, 1352, " Sancti lUogani," also 1360 and 1366. 
So also in those of Bishop Brantyngham, 1374, 1382, 1383. 

S. Illogan may be the same as the Illog of the Welsh Calendars, 
and Illogan Parish is probably the Landhillok of the Blanchminster 
Manumissions. 2 The -an of Illogan is a diminutive. There is no 
record of the parentage of Illog in the Welsh pedigrees, and it is there- 
fore possible that he may not have been a native. 

It will not do to insist on Illog and Illogan being identical. The 
Feast at Illogan seems against this, as it is on October 18, whereas 
S. lUog's day is August 8. But what does seem possible is that Illogan 
is the same as the Irish lUadhan or loUadhan, a native of that part of 
Southern Ireland which poured so many saints into Cornwall. His 
father was Cormac, King of Leinster. His aunts, Feidhlem and Mer- 
gain, had been baptized by S. Patrick, as had also his grandfather, 
Ailill, King of Leinster, at Naas, in 460. 

After the death of Cormac, his son, Cairbre the Black, succeeded, 
reigned eleven years and died in 546. 

Illadhan's sisters were Eithni and Derchartain, whom we are dis- 
posed to identify with Stithiana of Stythians and Derve of Camborne. 

1 Survey of Llandaff, 1719, append., p. 3 ; Paroch. Anglic, 1733, p. 200. 
^ Goulding, Blanchminster Charity Records, 1898. 

S. Illtyd 303 

lUadhan was a priest at Desert lUadhan, now Castle Dillon ; he 
was married, and was the father of S. Criotan or Credan, disciple of 
S. Petrock. He belongs to a later date than that of the great migra- 
tion, and his settlement in Cornwall must have been due to some other 
cause, if we may equate Illogan with Illadhan. 

In 543 occurred the plague called the Blefed, and this was followed 
in 547 by the terrible Yehow Death, or Cron Chonaill, that raged till 
550. It swept Wales as well as Ireland. Many Saints fled across the 
sea with their disciples and famihes, under the impression that they 
would escape infection if they put a tract of sea between them and 
the afflicted region. This may have been the occasion of the migra- 
tion of S. Illadhan. That he went further is possible. A certain 
EUocan had a cell in the forest that occupied the centre of Armorica. 
When Judicael was king, one Laurus, a British monk, asked for a 
site, and Morona, wife of Judicael, obtained that EUocan should be 
turned out, and his foundation given to the new and more favoured 
saint. ^ Judicael came to the throne in 610. It is possible that this 
EUocan may be the same as Illogan, but if so he must have been advanced 
in age. He can hardly have remained in Brittany, as he received no 
cult there. 

UnhappUy, no Life of this Saint has come down to us. In Ireland 
he is known only as having been in priest's orders, and having led 
an eremitical life where is now Castle Dillon. That he died there we 
do not know. William of Worcester says that he was informed by 
the Dominicans of Truro that S. lUogan's body rested in the church 
that bears his name. In Illogan was a chapel at Selligan (S. lUogan) 
that may have been his ancient cell. 

He had a chapel, according to Lysons, at South Pool in Hartland. 
It may, however, be doubted if the lUocan or Helligan there be the 

S. loUadhan is commemorated in Ireland on February 2 ; but is 
not included in the Calendar of Oengus. Gorman designates him 
as " venerable, great-faced." 

S. ILLTYD, Abbot, Confessor 

The Life, the sole Life that we have of this remarkable man, is 
extant in three MSS. : — (i) In Cotton. Vespasian A. xiv, ff. 43&-52, 
of the early thirteenth century, printed in Cambro-Bvitish Saints, 

1 Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B., viii, c. 64; Vita S. Lanri in Bibl. Nat. Paris MS 
Frangais, Blancs Manteaux xxxviii. 

304 Lives of the British Saints 

pp. 158-182 ; (2) in Cotton. Tiberius E. i, part ii, ft. 101-1026 ; and 
(3) in Bodl. Tanner 15, f. 34. The two latter are John of Tynemouth's- 
abridgment of the first. This has been printed in Capgrave's Nova 
Legenda Anglim. ed. Horstman, 1901, pp. 52-6. Lobineau, however, 
in his Vies des Saints de Bretagne, has composed a Life, derived mainly 
from Capgrave, but also from the ancient Breviaries of Leon and Dol. 

The Life is a late composition. It mentions Robert Fitzhamon 
(died 1107) as ruling over Glamorgan ; but it was written before the 
appearance of Geoffrey of Monmouth's fabulous History, ior it makes. 
Dubricius Bishop of Llandaff, and not Archbishop of Caerleon. 
Arthur is indeed spoken of as " a great conqueror," but there is nothing 
in the story about his extraordinary achievements. 

Into the narrative have been taken portions from the Life of S. 
Samson, but he is not made an Archbishop of Dol. The writer mistakes 
Samson, Abbot of Llantwit, who was buried there and had an inscribed 
cross, with Samson of Dol, who lived three hundred years earlier, and 
fabricates a legend to explain the existence of his body and stone at 
Llantwit. The Life of S. Cadoc was also laid under contribution. 
Nevertheless, the Vita S. Iltnti is doubtless based on an earlier Life, 
which has been expanded with the additions aforementioned, and with 
traditional incidents. 

Much perplexity has arisen relative to the date at which Illtyd lived,, 
on account of the statement made that he was appointed head of 
Caerworgorn by S. Germanus of Auxerre. It is impossible to reconcile 
this with his date as Master of Saints, Gildas, Samson, and Paul. But 
this difficulty partly vanishes if we accept the Germanus in question 
as having been the Armorican, who became Bishop of Man, and not 
the Auxerre Saint of the same name. But Germanus cannot have 
appointed Illtyd to Caerworgorn, as he died before Illtyd was converted. 
The mistake springs out of the fact of Illtyd having been in early life 
a pupil of Germanus. 

Illtyd was a native of Letavia, i.e. Armorica, or Lesser Britain. 
Among those who fled from Britain and settled in Lesser Britain was 
one Bicanus, of noble birth and military prowess. He was married to 
Rieinguhd, daughter of Anblaud, King of Britain. ^ Amlawdd Wledig, 
as we know from Welsh sources, was married to Gwen, daughter of 

1 " Bicanus, miles famosissimus, illustris genere, et in armis militaribus 

Tantus vir eximie nobilitatis voluit uxorare et hereditari ex filis, velle com- 
plevit, uxorem ducens filiam Anblaud, Brittannie regis Rieingulid ; haec vocata 
voce Brittannica, quando latinetur, sonat hoc regina pudica." Cambro-British 
Saints, p. 158. In the Nova Legenda her name is spelt Rieinguilida. In modern 
Welsh the name would be represented by the component words rhiain or rhian 
and gwyl or gwylaidd, with the meaning of " a modest lady." 

S. Illtyd 305 

Cunedda Wledig, and was the father of Eigyr or Igerna, and grandfather 
of Arthur. Rieingulid had as sisters Gwyar, the wife of Geraint ab 
Erbin, and Tywanwedd, the wife of Hawystl Gloff. One pedigree 
makes Bicanus the son of Aldor, and brother of Emyr Llydaw, but 
according to another account Aldor was the father of Rieingulid. ^ 
In either case, Germanus the Armorican would be their uncle, and Illtyd 
his great-nephew. 

lUtyd ^ was the fruit of the union, and he had as brother S. Sadwrn. 
He was educated in " the seven sciences " by Germanus, and was 
N\TLth him for awhile in Paris, and had Brioc as his fellow pupil. ^ But 
he had no desire to embrace the monastic Hfe, and, leaving the Contin- 
ent, he crossed the sea and served under King Arthur, who, according 
to one account, was his first cousin,* and this is borne out by the Welsh 
pedigrees. He married a wife, Trynihid, a virtuous woman. 

After awhile he quitted Arthur, and attached himself to Poulentus, 
King of Glamorgan. This was Paul of Penychen — a cantref in Mid- 
Glamorgan — ^uncle of S. Cadoc, and brother of Gwynll5rw, King of 
GwynUywg, between the Usk and Rumney rivers. 

One day he was out with a party of the retainers of Paul, when they 
rudely demanded food of S. Cadoc, which, after some demur, he 
granted to them. The story is told much more fully in the Life of 
S. Cadoc. The men were out hawking, and were fiftyin number. Cadoc 
gave them twenty wheaten loaves, a barrel of ale, and a pig, which they 
roasted for their dinner. lUtyd had strayed from the party, and was 
not privy to their violence. Misfortune befell the fowlers, for they were 
engulfed, doubtless got into a morass, and some, if not all, losttheir 

' In the lolo MSS., pp. 113, 131, 148, the confusion is carried still further. 

2 His name occurs under a variety of forms — Iltutus, Ildutus, Hildutus, 
Eldutus, Ulltyd. Illtyd, lUtud, EUtyd, etc. In the grant of Pembrey church to 
the Abbey of Sherboume he is called Elthut (Dugdale, Monast., ed. 1846, iv, p. 63). 
According to his biographer he was named Iltutus because " he (ille) was safe 
(tutus) from every sin." lolo Morganwg, in Llanover MS. 2, p. 93, observes 
that it " is a name still pretty common in the Parish of Lantwit, particularly 
in the antient Family there of the NichoUs, who generally give that name to 
the eldest son (and whom I suppose to be descendants of this Saint) ! " The form 
Iltyd is an Anglicized^speUing. Iltutus occurs among the " Archbishops " of 
London. In Llantwit the first syllable of the name has been elided. Illtyd Farchog 
is made to bear arms — " Arg., 3 masts, 3 tops of castles or and 6 darts or ; " 
Llyfr Baglan, ed. Bradney, London, 1910, p. 309. 

^ Vita S. Brioci, ed. Plaine, c. 9. He is mentioned in the Vita S. Samsonis 
(Book of Llan Ddv, p. 10) as " Abbas Ildutus Sancti Germani discipulus humana 
at divina peritus." 

* " Audiens interea mUes magnificus Arthurii regis sui consobrini magnifi- 
centiam," etc., Cambro-British Saints, p. 159. Illtyd is frequently called in 
Welsh Illtyd Farchog, i.e. the Knight. 


306 Lives of the British Saints 

lives. ^ This has been magnified into the earth opening her mouth, and 
swallowing them all up. 

lUtyd was so thankful for his preservation from being smothered in 
the festering slime that he went to Cadoc and asked his direction. 
Cadoc advised him to assume the clerical tonsure and abandon the 
military profession, and he resolved on following this recommendation. 
His early training under Germanus had left a deep trace on his mind, 
that had for a while been co\ ered over, but which now revealed itself 
as ineradicable. 

The narrative of the Conversion of S. Illtyd as given in the 
two Lives introduces a chronological difficulty that must be solved. 
As it stands it is out of perspective with the whole chronology of 
the Life of S. Cadoc, for how is it possible that Illtyd, who, as a child 
indeed was with Germanus the Armorican, who died in 474, can have 
been converted by Cadoc, who died in or about 577 ? 

The story of the conversion is in its earliest form in the Life of 
S. Illtyd, and was thence taken into the Life of S. Cadoc. 

It will be seen at once that this story is a reduplication of that of 
Cadoc and the warriors of Sawyl Benuchel ; but with the introduction 
into it of the episode of lUtyd's conversion. 

We would suggest that there is a basis of fact in the story. Illtyd, 
who at the time was in the service of Paul of Penychen, was hunting, 
when some of his party got engulfed in a morass and perished. This 
so affected the mind of Illtyd that he resolved on renouncing the world. 

Now the author of the Life of S. Illtyd had heard the tradition of 
Cadoc and Sawyl Benuchel and the swallowing up of his soldiers, and he 
assumed that the two incidents were the same. He corrected, as he 
thought, the name of the chief from Sawyl to Paul, and — being ignor- 
ant of chronology — took for granted that Cadoc was then at Nant- 
carfan. The author of the Life of S. Cadoc read this story in the Life 
of S. Illtyd and transferred it to his Life, unconscious that it was but 
a cooking up of his hero's experiences with Sawyl. 

As a matter of fact, when Illtyd was converted, Cadoc can hardly 
have been born, or at all events, have been more than an infant. 

The only other way of escape from the difficulty is by assuming that 
there was an earlier Cadoc, but, as we have shown, ^ of that there is no 

Illtyd, accordingly, withdrew from the service of Paul of Penychen, 

and went, " accompanied by his wife and attendants," to the banks of 

the Nadauan, i.e., the Dawon or Thaw, in South Glamorgan, " and it 

being summer-time, he constructed a covering of reeds, that it might 

^ Cambro-British Saints, pp. 45-6. ' ii, pp. 12-14. 

S. Illtyd 307 

not rain upon their beds ; and while their horses were depastured in 
the meadows, they slept the night away, their eyes being heavy." 

During the night, Illtyd brooded over what had been advised by 
Cadoc, and a dream served to confirm his resolution. He had shrunk 
from speaking to his wife of his change of purpose, but now he 
determined to speak out. 

At dawn he roused her from sleep, and told her to leave the hut and 
look after the horses. " She departed naked, with dishevelled hair, 
that she might see after them." The wind was high in the raw early 
morning, and the unhappy woman's hair was blown about. Presently 
she returned with the information that the horses had not strayed, and, 
shivering with cold, she attempted to get into bed again. But, to her 
disgust, Illtyd roughly told her to remain where she was ; he threw 
her garments to her, and bade her dress and be gone. The poor 
woman clothed herself and sat down, sobbing, at his side. But steeled 
against all kindly and pitiful feelings, he announced to her his intention 
of quitting her for ever ; and, resolute in his purpose, he dressed himself 
and departed for the Hodnant, a pleasant dip, shallow among low hills, 
and watered by a tiny stream. It was well-wooded, and seemed to 
him a suitable spot for a retreat. Having made up his mind to settle 
there, he went to S. Dubricius, and before him he was shaved and 
assumed the monastic habit. Then he returned to Hodnant, and 
Dubricius marked out for him the bounds of a burial place, and in the 
midst of this Illtyd erected a church of stone and surrounded the whole 
with a quadrangular ditch. ^ Here he lived an ascetic life, bathing 
every morning in cold water, and rising to prayers in the midst of the 

Hodnant, which the biographer interprets as signifying " The Fruit- 
ful Valley" {yallis Prospera),'^ lies in a sheltered hollow, but commands 
the low level country that stretches to the Severn Sea. Above it 
stands a height crowned by an ancient camp now called the Castle 
Ditches. " Every spring-time glowing masses of golden gorse, while 
in autumn the red and yellow of the bracken, and the olive-green of 
countless blades of grass " make of it " a miracle of colour. We hear 
the dull boom, boom, boom, of the angry waves as they break on those 

^ " Constniens in primis illico habitaculum, presule Dubricio designante 
cemiterii modum, et in medio . . . oratorii f undamentum. His designatis fundavit 
ecclesiam munimine fapideo facto, et quadrangiilari super ambientem fossam." 
Camhro-British Saints, pp. 163-4. 

^ There is a Hodnant also at S. David's, and another in the parish of BrjTigwyn, 
Radnorshire. The name would now be more regularly Hoddnant. The 
hagiographer treated the name as being compounded, apparently, of hawdd, 
hodd-io, and nant. 

3o8 Lives of the British Saints 

foam-fringed cliffs which guard the coast to east and west of Castle 
Ditches, just as they were heard by those men who lived, laboured, 
and taught here centuries ago. We see the white gulls circle round the 
cliffs as if they were never weary of being on the wing ; we see the 
blue dome above us with the great clouds sailing majestically across ; 
we see the ever-restless, ever-changing ocean, now blue, now purple, 
now a mass of molten gold at sunset. All these things we see to-day, 
and they gladden our hearts just as they gladdened the heart of lUtyd 
when he rested from his journey, and ' the delightsome place pleased 
him well.' " ^ 

But Hodnant, or rather some part hard by, had, according to some 
late documents printed in the lolo MSS., been previously occupied 
by a School for Saints, called by the various names, Caer Worgorn, 
Cor Tewdws,^ and Cor Eurgain.^ Some writers have located the 
Romano-British city of Bomium or Bovium at Llantwit * while 
others suppose it to have been at the village of Boverton, a mile 
to the S.E., or at Cowbridge. But the college had been destroyed by 
the Gwyddyl pirates, and when lUtyd settled there all was desolate. 
That he was appointed over the college of Caer Worgorn by Germanus 
of Auxerre is an error. His old master, the Armorican, may very 
possibly have had something to do with its regulation, but we cannot 
admit that he founded Llantwit, and placed Illtyd over it.^ 

If we may trust the lolo MSS.,^ Illtyd's congregation grew rapidly, 
and at one time numbered three thousand " saints " or monks. Laus 
perennis was kept up without cessation night and day.' 

It is stated in the Book of Llan Dav ^ that Illtyd was made abbot of 
Llantwit by S. Dubricius, who, we are further informed, " visited the 
residence of the blessed Illtyd, in the season of Lent, that he might 
correct what wanted amendment, and confirm what should be ob- 
served." ^ It does not, however, appear that Celtic bishops had any 
jurisdiction over the monasteries within their dioceses. 

' Fryer (A. C), Llantwit Major, London, 1893, pp. 9-10. Leland, Collectanea, 
1774, iv, p. 93, gives the following tradition : " Est etiam in ilia regione quidam 
locus, vocatus vulgariter locus Scti. Iltuti, cujus precibus, ut fertur, obtinuit 
a domino, ut nullum animal venenosum infra prascinctum illius parochiae esset, 
nee ut animal hue usque visum est aliquod vivum, mortuum tamen dicitur iUic." 

^ The site of Cor Tewdws is marked on the Ordnance Map in a field to the 
north of the church, where the foundations of early buildings have been discovered. 
See Rodger (J. W.), The Ecclesiastical Buildings of Llantwit Major (illustrated), 
Cardiff, igo6. 

^ ii, pp. 416-7. 

* For the discovery of Roman remains in the neighbourhood of Llantwit, 
see Arch. Camb., 1888, pp. 413-7 ; 1894, pp. 253-5. * i". PP- 62-3. 

' Pp. 144, 149-51 ' Myv. Arch., -p. 408. 

' P. 71. ' Vita S. Dubricii in ibid., p. 81. 

S. Illtyd 309 

One day Meirchion, King of Glamorgan, was hunting, when a fawn 
he was pursuing fled for refuge to the cell of Illtyd, and the King, on 
entering, saw the panting beast crouched at the feet of the abbot. He 
did not venture to kill it, and Illtyd pacified Meirchion by the offer of a 
meal, as he was hungry after his sport. The King, however, grumbled 
at what was given to him, broiled fish, without bread and salt, and 
water from the spring. However, he satisfied his cravings thereon, 
and then lay down to sleep. On waking he was in a better temper, 
and confirmed Illtyd in his holding of the Hodnant valley as his own, 
and granted that he should make of it a tribal school. ^ Illtyd kept 
the fawn with him and tamed it to draw wood and do other light domes- 
tic tasks. 

The incident took place at an early period, before he had many 
disciples. When he had security of tenure, disciples flowed to him 
from every quarter, among them men of good family. " He cultivated 
the land, he sowed and reaped, and lived by his labour. He had 
labouring men to till the soil [operarios cultores) in the fields. Seed 
multiplied, and toil met with abundant reward. .... He had a 
hundred in his family, as many workmen and clerics, and poor, a 
hundred of whom he fed daily at his board." ^ He had as scholars 
Samson, Paul (of Leon), Gildas and David.^ He was accordingly 
the first great Teacher of Saints in Wales. 

He is thought to have had, at one time, under him Maelgwn, after- 
wards King of Gwynedd. Gildas, in his Increpatio, says to this prince, 
" Warnings are certainly not wanting to thee, since thou hast had as 
instructor the refined teacher of almost the whole of Britain." * He 
does not name Illtyd, but he very possibly may speak of him. Then 
Maelgwn and he would have been fellow-pupils, and Gildas spoke from 
his own knowledge when he described the excitement and pleasure 
among the godly caused by Maelgwn's conversion, or the hopes it 

1 " Vestrum gimnasium erit venerabile, tributarii tibi servient et omnes 
indigenae." Cambro-British Saints, p. 167. According to the local tradition, 
lUtyd's " Golden Stag " is buried here somewhere, with his feet to the west, 
and when discovered great prosperity will come to Llantwit. 

2 Ibid. 

3 In the Life of Paul the same are mentioned, but in that of Gildas David is 
omitted. Strangely, the former Life identifies lUtyd's monastery with a small 
island on the borders of Demetia, which was once called after Pyrus, but at the 
time of writing after Illtyd. This would be Caldey Island, known in Welsh as 
Ynys Vyx (or 65^:). On the difficulty raised, see Gildas, ed. H. Williams, pp. 
332-4 ; and for the inscribed stone on Caldey, on which it has been suggested 
lUtyd's name occurs, see Y Cymmrodor, xviii (1905), pp. 56-7, and Arch. Camb., 
1908, pp. 247-9 ; 1910, pp. 332-4. 

* Gildas, ed. H. Williams, p. 82. 

3 I o Lives of the British Saints 

The property of Illtyd increased largely, and he was ordained priest. 
Hard by, as already stated, had been the Romano-British city of 
Bovium, and the Roman settlers had banked out the Severn tides from 
the rich alluvial lands along the coast. But the sea-wall had given 
way : it had been neglected and left unrepaired, so that the high tides 
overflowed. Illtyd employed his pupils and workmen in restoring the 
banks with stone and clay.^ But his first attempts were doomed to 
failure ; three times did he repair the walls, and as often did the strong 
tides, driven before a west wind, crumble his banks away. For awhile 
his heart failed, and he meditated abandoning the flats. But he 
recovered from his temporary discouragement, and a fourth attempt 
proved successful. 

In the meantime, his poor deserted wife, Trynihid, had been living 
in involuntary widowhood, in a little retreat, where she spent her time 
in good works. " She prayed constantly, she was found blameless 
and irreprehensible in her conversation, and lived devoutly, comfort- 
ing innumerable widows and poor nuns in their vocation." 

At length an irresistible longing came over her to see her husband 
again ; and, leaving her retreat, she sought him out. On reaching 
Llantwit, she saw a man working in the fields, lean, and with a dirty 
face, and, going up to him, recognized Illtyd. In her delight at meet- 
ing him once more she spoke and endeavoured to engage him in con- 
versation ; but he turned his back on her, and refused to speak and to 
answer her questions. He denied her the common kindness of a hos- 
pitable lodging, and she went away sorrowful, " looking as pale as if 
she had suffered from a fever." ^ And they never met again. 

King Meirchion had a steward named Cyflym, who grievously annoyed 
Illtyd. He grudged his tenure of the rich pasture land by the Severn 
without paying tax to the King, and took every occasion that offered 
to vex the Saint. At length the annoyance became so intolerable that 
Illtyd left, and spent rather over a twelvemonth in a cave at Lingarthic, 
on the river Ewenny, famous for its gwyniad, a salmon-like fish of 
delicious flavour, deriving its name from the silvery brightness of 
its scales. 

1 " Operatus est immensam fossam limo et lapidibus mixtam, quam retruderet 
irruentem undam, qu;e solebat fluctuare ultra mensuram." Cambro-Bntish 
Saints, p. i68. 

2 " Interea visitare voluit Sanctum Iltutum, et iter capiens visitavit, ubi 
operosum vidit fossorem per assidua fossura, lutulentum per faciem, macies- 
quoque tenuaverat faciei superficiem ; inquisivit ab eo suave colloquium, 
displicuit inquisitio audienti, inquisitus nullum reddidit responsum. . . . Reversa 
est postea sic ante, nevis et pallore contexta, ac veluti febrieitans pallida.'" 
Ibid., p. 172. 

S. Illtyd 311 

Illtyd had not gone to a great distance, but he remained concealed 
there, near the old Roman road ; and probably Ewenny Priory after- 
wards, early in the twelfth century, 1 sprang up on the site hallowed 
by his temporary stay. 

WhUst there he was one day sunning himself outside his cave, and 
watching the travellers who went by to the bridge over the Ewenny 
and Ogmore, when he heard the tinkle of a little bell, and presently a 
man came in sight who carried in his hand one of those bronze angular 
beUs common in Celtic lands, and it shone in the sun like gold. A bell 
exercised a peculiar fascination on a Celtic Saint, and he hasted to the 
man to look at what he carried, and sound it himself. His eyes sparkled 
with delight, and his ears drank in the rich tones of the bell with 
pleasure. He inquired whether it were for sale. " Oh, no," replied 
the man, " I am taking it to David in Menevia. It has been fashioned 
by his fellow pupil, and your old disciple, GUdas, and he sends it to 
David as a present." 

Reluctantly the Saint surrendered the bell, and the man went on his 
way. But when David heard the story, and knew that Illtyd had 
handled the bell and delighted in it, " Go," said he, " take it to my old 
master from me. He shall possess it." ^ 

After a year's retirement Illtyd returned to his monastery. The 
steward Cyfljnn was now dead, but his successor, Cefygid, was even 
worse disposed, and this man exercised great influence over Meirchion, 
and embittered him against the abbot, so that, sorrowfully, lUtyd 
had to retire once more from his charge, and returned to his cave by 
the Ewenny, where he now spent three years. 

On the death of the second steward, who perished miserably in cross- 
ing a swamp, he returned to Llantwit, and thenceforth remained 

Hearing that a famine was afflicting his native Armorica, as there 
was abundance of corn in his granaries Illtyd ordered vessels to be 
laden with as much as could be gathered together, and, along with these 
corn-ships, he sailed for Brittany. The biographer says that he desired 
to visit Monte Tumba, in Normandy, and the Church of S. Michael 
thereon, but this is an anachronism, as the supposed apparition of the 
Archangel there did not take place till about 710, when Autbert, Bishop 
of Avranches, pretended to have seen the vision, and erected the Church. 

* Turbervill, Ewenny Priory, London, 1901, p. 35. 

2 Cambro-British Saints, p. 175. An ancient buUding at Llantwit, now used 
as the town-haU, has in its belfry a bell inscribed, " Sancte Iltute, ora pro nobis." 
The local tradition declares, but mistakenly, this bell to be the original bell 
of the Saint. Edgar, when he invaded Glamorgan, carried his bell off, but after- 
wards restored it. . 

312 Lives of the British Saints 

Actually, Illtyd, we may be confident, landed in Leon, in the Aber- 
Ildut, that bears his name to the present day, and he founded a church 
near the mouth, Lanildut. But he probably did not stay there, as 
no other traces of him are found in this neighbourhood. 

He put off with his corn-ships again, and, coasting round the north 
of Leon, entered the Jaudy, and floated up with the tide as far as La 
Roche Derrien. From this point inland he has left several indications 
of his presence. What the natives specially needed at the time was 
seed-corn, and with this he provided them. 

Their gratitude was great, and they urged him to remain in his native 
land. This, however, he was unwilling to do, and after having dis- 
charged the contents of his vessels, remaining perhaps over a couple 
of winters, possibly even longer, he returned to Glamorgan. 

This expedition to Armorica was purposed for some further object 
than relieving the temporary needs of the people. The whole of the 
peninsula was being rapidly colonised by settlers from Britain, and 
Illtyd visited it to see whether there was a prospect there of founding 
daughter-houses to Llantwit. 

That he went into Cornugallia, or Cornouaille, appears certain, as 
near Guemene, now in Morbihan, is a plon that bears his name, and a 
■plou implies the foundation of an eccesiastical or secular tribe. This 
is PloUdut, now Ploerdut, and he is still culted there as patron. More- 
over, in the Monts d' Aree is his peniti, or place of retreat from monastic 
cares, Loc-Ildut inSizun. Half-way between the flous.nd the peniti 
is Pleyben, a foundation of his great-uncle Germanus. 

At last he resolved on returning to Glamorgan, greatly to the regret 
of the people of Letavia. " The citizens wished him not to go back, 
but to remain in that country ; yet he would not stay there although 
so greatly desired, and he chose to dwell in Britain, although an exile 
from his paternal ancestors." 

When well advanced in age, he became, however, impatient to be 
back in the land of his birth, and to lay his bones there. Accordingly, 
he again embarked, and landed in the Bay of Mont S. Michel. He 
died, if we may trust the biography, at Dol. But Dol had not at that 
time been founded by Samson, who was in Cornwall when the news 
reached him of the decease of his old master. ^ 

The story as told in the Second Life of S. Samson is this : Whilst 
Samson was in his monastery, apparently at SouthUl, in Cornwall, a 
disciple of S. Illtyd came to him, who had himself formerly been a pupil 
of Samson. The latter asked him how it fared with S. Illtyd, and 
whether he was still alive. 

' Vita zda S. Samsonis, ed. Plaine, c. i8. 

S. Illtyd 313 

The monk replied that Illtyd had been ill and failing, when there 
■came to him two abbots to visit him, one named Isanus, and the other 
Athoclus. When he saw them, the old man said to them, " I rejoice 
exceedingly to behold you, my brothers, for the time of my departure 
draweth nigh, and my soul will soon rest with Christ. But, brethren, 
be comforted, for the time of your own departure is not far distant. 
At the third watch of the night, I, in your presence, shall be borne to 
heaven by the hands of angels, and brother Isanus shall see the angels 
in the form of golden angels carrying my soul away. And on the 
fifteenth day following brother Athoclus shall pass to his rest, and 
you, Isanus, shall in like manner behold his soul borne away by angels 
as eagles having feathers of lead. And after forty days shall Isanus 
finish his course and go to Christ. But you, brother Atoclius (else- 
where Athoclus), loved much the things of this world. On account of 
your avarice the angels will have leaden instead of golden wings. But 
you are clean, because you have lived a saintly life from your infancy, 
only you are weighed down by your money-greed. God, however, 
will purge this out of you." 

And as Illtyd had foretold, continued the monk, so was it. At 
the third watch of the night the old man passed away, and Isanus had 
a vision of his spirit being borne to heaven amid hymns, and attend- 
ant crowds of angels. But as to the two abbots, Athoclus and Isanus, 
it was with them as Illtyd had prophesied. Athoclus accordingly 
must have died on November 21 ; Isanus, however, on December 16. 

When Samson heard of the death of his old master, he said, " The 
soul of my venerable teacher Illtyd is now in possession of eternal life, 
where death never comes and has no power to hurt. Blessed is that 
life in which death fears the dead." 

Whence the two abbots came we are not told, nor, what is more to 
the point, where Illtyd was when he died. The monk who reported his 
decease may have come from Brittany or from Wales. 

Isan is known as having been a saint of the college of Illtyd, and as 
the founder of Llanishen, in Glamorganshire, and of Llanishen, in 
Monmouthshire. Athoclus, or Atoclius, cannot be traced. He is as 
unknown to the Bretons as to the Welsh. Perhaps his avarice stood 
in the way of popular canonization. 

The death of Illtyd must have taken place before 546, which is the 

latest date to which can be attributed the passage of Samson 

into Armorica. It took place some time between 527 and 537, on 

November 6.^ 

1 In the lolo MSS., p. 103, it is stated that he was succeeded in the abbacy by 
Peirio, the son of Caw ; but he is clearly confounded with Pirus, head of Caldey. 

314 Lives of the British Saints 

Germanus was probably in Wales in 462, but if he visited lUtyd 
it must have been several years later. Arthur, lUtyd's cousin, is 
supposed to have fallen in 537. Germanus, his master, died in 474. 
His pupil Gildas deceased in 570 ; Paul in or about 567 ; Samson about 
565. There is no mention in the Life of S. lUtyd of the Yellow Plague 
which broke out in 547, but the deaths so quickly following each other 
of Isan and Athoclus may possibly have been due to that. 

There is a Welsh tradition that lUtyd died in Breconshire, where is 
the Bedd Gwyl Illtyd. 

At Llantwit is the very interesting inscribed stone of Illtyd, erected 
by one Samson, the King, and covered with beautiful Celtic interlaced 
work. The inscription on it runs : + iltuti : samson regis : Samuel 
+ EBiSAR + ; and on the reverse : + samson posuit hang 
CRUCEM + PRO ANMiA Eius +.^ It belongs to a period a century 
or two later than Illtyd. 

The memory of Illtyd is honoured by the Welsh on account of his 
having introduced among them an improved method of ploughing. 
Before his time they were accustomed to cultivate the ground with the 
mattock and the over-treading plough {aradr arsang), implements 
which the compiler of a Triad ^ upon husbandry observes were still 
in use among the Irish. In another Triad ^ he is said to have been one 
of " the three Knights of the Court of Arthur who kept the Greal " 
(the Holy Grail), the other two being S. Cadoc and Peredur 

Mr. Ernest Rhys, in an article entitled, " AKnight of the Sangreal," * 
observes : " S. David's not excepted, I know of no vOlage or town 
that has quite as individual an air of antiquity under antiquity as 
Llantwit Major still wears. You cannot turn anywhere but some 
decorative angle of a wall, or half-obliterated foundation, or garden 
returned to nature and wildness, offers you the clue that you would 
give your whole bookshelf of antiquity to be able to take. However, 
it is still your romance-books that must help you to disinter this 
Pompeii of the Saints and the original knights-errant. Their dis- 
tinctive scenery, their interest of place, their succession of hermit- 
cwm, forest waste, and miraculous seaside bringing strange vessels to 
land, recur at every step through the confines of the ancient demesne 
of Illtyd. If you leave the point in the graveyard, near the old cross, 
where his wheel-cross stood, and climb the bank above the Hodnant 

1 For the inscribed and sculptured stones at Llantwit, see Mr. Romilly Allen's 
paper in Arch. Camb., 1889, pp. 118-26, and Sir J. Ehys's, ibid., 1899, pp. 
147-55 (both illustrated). 

2 Myv. Arch., p. 406. 

3 Ibid., p. 411. 

■* Nineteenth Century and After, Jan., 1904, pp. 90-7. 

S. Illtyd 315 

to the old gatehouse, and the columbarium, you cross a grass meadow 
then, which is full of buried traces of the grange and outer walls and 
buildings of his mediaeval successors. Then you can cross it to the 
traditional road through Colhugh to the sea, where the brook flows out 
through the smooth pastures haunted by the sea-mews and so often 
fondly described by the old poets and romancers, to a sea-coast, wild 
and rarely rock-buHt, and pierced with innumerable caverns. There 
is the very seaside of the Grail histories. ... If you look behind the 
histories of the Sangreal you find a scenery very hke that of the Llan- 
twit region, and a disappearing figure of a knight very like that of 
' lUtyd Farchog.' " 

A great number of churches are dedicated to Illtyd in Wales — 
Llantwit Major (LlaniUtyd Fawr), Newcastle, Llanharry, Llantrithyd, 
Llantrisant (with SS. Gwyno and Tyfodwg), Llantwit Vardre (Llan- 
iUtyd Faerdre, formerly one of the five capella under Llantrisant), 
Llantwit-juxta-Neath (LlaniUtyd Fach, or Glyn Nedd), under Neath, 
Oxwich, Ilston (contracted from Iltwitston, formerly called Llan- 
iUtyd Gwjn:), all in Glamorganshire ; LlanhUleth, in Monmouthshire ; 
Pembrey, in Carmarthenshire ; Llantood (the Llantwyd of the Valor 
of 1535), under S. Dogmael's, in Pembrokeshire ; LlaniUtyd (otherwise 
lUtyd), and Llanhamlach (with S. Peter), in Breconshire ; and Llan- 
eUtyd,^ in Merionethshire. 

A sepulchral slab was discovered in the nave of Oxwich Church in 
1891, bearing an inscription which has been read thus : " Hie jacet 
Hvgo Qvondam Rector Ecce J[ltvti] S[ancti] Pivs " ^, which con- 
firms the dedication of the Church to S. lUtyd. 

Near the Breconshire LlaniUtyd Church (situated on Mynydd 
lUtyd, and originally in the parish of Devynock) is the Bedd Gwyl 
lUtyd mentioned above. Tradition has it that he lived, died, and was^ 
buried in this hamlet. The Bedd is a small tumulus within a much- 
destroyed rectangular enclosure, near a pool on the mountain. It is 
said to have received the name, " the Grave of S. lUtyd's Festival," 
from its having been a custom to watch there formerly on the Vigil 
of the Saint's day. ^ 

Ty Illtyd (his House) is the name of a well-known cromlech, or cham- 
bered cairn, on a hiUock on Manest Farm, in the parish of Llanham- 

' There can be no doubt as to the dedication of this church to the great- 
Teacher of Saints. Edward Lluyd, in his notes {1699) on the parish, says, " Of 
Elltyd they have no more to say than that he was Elldyd Farchog." The parish- 
name is spelt " Llanvlltvd " and " Llaunvlldit " in the Record of Caernarvon^ 
pp. 200, 277, and " Llanilltid " on the chalice (i 591-2). 

^ Davies (J. D.), West Gower, pt. iv (1894), pp. 130-1 (sketched). 

3 Jones (Theo.), Breconshire, ed. 1898, p. 501 ; Arch. Camb., 1853, p. 326. 

3 1 6 Lives of the British Saints 

lach, about four miles from Brecon. The chamber has been denuded 
of the cairn which once covered it, exposing the large flat slabs of stone 
forming the sides and roof. 

It received its appellation from a popular idea that the saint had 
made it liis hermitage. There are several small incised crosses carved 
on the slabs. ^ There formerly stood within a few paces of it a stone 
called Maen lUtyd, and a little distance off is Ffynnon lUtyd, the stream 
of which divides the parish from Llansantffraid. At Llanwonno, in 
Glamorganshire, is another Ffynnon Illtyd. S. lUtyd's Well at 
Llandridian, in Gower (apparently Llanrhidian), is said to have given 
forth a copious stream of milk in 1185.^ 

There is a poem extant written in his honour by Lewys Morganwg ^ 
(flor. c. 1460— 1520). It is for the most part a versification of the Latin 
Life. Of his life on the bank of the Hodnant it says : — 

The fasting and penance of his faith 
Would he, bare-headed, daily undergo ; 
And each night, in a cold spring, 
Would he remain naked a whole hour. 

He cultivated his own land, and the sea once overflowed it ; but — 

The sea did he so manfully, 

With his staff, compel to retreat, ' 

That the tide would not ascend the Dawon 

Where his staff had been placed. 

The Meirchiaunus, or Meirchion (i.e., Marcianus) of the Vita is here 
called Marsianws, according to the later pronunciation. 
One of the " Sayings of the Wise " triplets runs * : — 

Hast thou heard the saying of Illtyd, 

The studious, golden torqued knight, 

" Whoso doeth evil, evil betide him." 

(A wnel ddrwg drwg a'i dylud). 

In Cornwall there are but faint traces of Illtyd. A chapel dedicated 
to him formerly existed at S. Dominick.^ 

1 Westwood, Lapidarium Wallics, p. 67 ; Arch. Camb., 1867, pp. 347-55 
.(illustrated in both) ; ibid., 1903, p. 173 ; Jones (Theo.), ut supra, p. 452. Giral- 
dus Cambrensis, Itin. Camb., i, c. 2, records the tradition that Illtyd " led the 
life of a hermit " here. With the name Ty Illtyd compare the Breton dolmen- 
name, Ty Sant Heleau, " S. Teilo's House," at Landeleau, in Finistere. 

2 Annales de Margan in Annates Monastici, Rolls, 1864, i, p. 18. There is a 
"" S. lUtyd's Brook " somewhere near Neath ; Birch, Neath Abbey, p. 250. 

' Printed in lolo MSS., pp. 292-5. The MS. from which it was taken is 
Ltanover MS. B. i (c. 1670), where it occurs at ff. 6oa-6ib. There is a copy 
also in Ltanstephan MS. 47 (c. 1630). 

^ loto MSS., p. 252. 

5 Oliver, Monasticon Dioc. Ex., p. 438. 


Statue at Locildnt, Sizun. 

S. Illtyd 317 

•In Brittany he is patron of Landebaeron, in C6tes-du-Nord, where a 
portion of his skull is preserved ; of Coadout, and Trogueris, and 
S. Ideuc ; and in Finistere of Lanildut. He has also chapels at Loc- 
Ildut, in Sizun, and he is honoured in the Lande of Plouguiel. There 
is a fifteenth century statue of him at Loc-Ildut. At Coadout is a 
dolmen, destroyed in 1863, except for three stones, one of which is 
much polished. On this, according to local tradition, S. Illtyd and 
S. Brioc were wont to meet and pray together, and it contains hollows 
supposed to have been worn by his knees. To him is also dedicated 
S. Ideuc, Ille-et-Vilaine.i 

The day on which Illtyd died was November 6. His festival, strange 
to say, occurs in but few Welsh calendars. It is in those in Cotton. 
Vesp. A. xiv, RndAllwydd Paradwys (1670) and in Nicolas Roscarrock, 
on November 6. Whytford, on the same day, has, " In Englond y'^ feest 
of Saynt Yltute, cosyn vnto Kyng Arthur & a seculer knyght, that 
forsoke aU y^ worldly pompe & was a religyous man, of hygh per- 
feccyon & many myracles." In the fifteenth century MS. Missal 
of Treguier and the Breviary of Leon, 15 16, on November 7 ; but in 
the Quimper Breviary of 1835 on November 6. In the Leon Breviary 
1736, on November 14 ; and in an unofficial Heures Bretonnes, of the 
sixteenth century, on November 6. Browne WiUis ^ gives the same 
day for his festival at Llanelltyd, Merionethshire. Edward Lhuyd, 
however, says that they kept their Gwyl Mahsant there on 
S. Stephen's Day. 

The dates in the Life of S. Illtyd can only be fixed conjecturally. 

He was bom about the year ...... 450 

He became disciple of Germanus of Armorica about . . 460 

Left him when Germanus returned to Britain . . circa 462 

Became a knight and married . . . . . ,, 47^ 

Was converted by S. Cadoc and founded Llantwit . ,, 476 
Retired to the banks of the Ewenny, and Samson made abbot 

provisionally . . . . . . . 5 21 

Returned to Llantwit and Samson left . . . 525 
Died aged between yy and 87 .... ■ 527-537 

S. lUtyd is invoked in the Celtic Calendar of the tenth century in 
the Library of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury. ^ 

1 De Corson, PouilU de Rennes, vi, p. 80. In eleventh and twelfth centuries, 
Eccl. Sti. Idoci. 

2 Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 277. 

3 Revue Celtique, 1888, p. 88. 

3 I 8 Lives of the British Saints 


It is usual to regard the church of Llanina, in Cardiganshire, as 
dedicated to the famous warrior, legislator, and ecclesiastical benefac- 
tor, Ina, Ine, or Ini, King of the West Saxons, who died at Rome 
about 727, but apart from his fame we can find no ground for its dedi- 
cation to him. Indeed, there is an antecedent improbability in a 
Saxon King's having a dedication in so purely Welsh a district. 

According to the Progenies Keredic in Cotton. MS. Vesp. A xiv, 
Ceredig ab Cunedda Wledig had a daughter named Ina. Her name, it 
is true, does not occur in the genealogies of the Welsh Saints, but she 
belonged to a great saintly tribe, and her father was allotted Ceredigion, 
in which Llanina is situated, on the conquest of Wales by the sons of 
Cunedda. It is more than probable that the church is dedicated to 

In the Demetian Calendar (S) February i is entered as the festival of 
Ina Farchog, or the Knight, and Browne Willis ^ gives the same day for 
the parish feast at Llanina. The West Saxon King, however, is com- 
memorated on February 6 ; but his reputation, no doubt, accounts for 
the appellation. 

" Offeringes in the name of devoc'on " were made to S. Ina at 
Llanina Church in the latter part of the sixteenth century.^ In the 
sea, not far from the church, is a rock called Carreg or Craig Ina. 

The name Ina is rather rare, but we have it in Llwyn Ina, Ina's 
Forest, which is mentioned in a Glamorgan grant in the Book of Llan 
Ddv,^ and in Gwaun Ina, Ina's Meadow, in the parish of Llangwyfan, 

S. INDRACT, Martyr 

The story as given by Wilham of Malmesbury is to this effect : — 
Indract was the son of an Irish King, and he, with his sister Dominica, 
and nine companions, started on a pilgrimage across the sea. They 
got as far as the mouth of the Tamar, where they settled, and hved 
together for some time in prayer and strictness of hfe. Indract planted 
his staff in the ground, and it took root, and became a mighty oak. 

1 ParochiaU Anglic, 1733, p. 194. So also Meyrick in his Cardiganshire, 
1808, p. 46. 

" HarUian MS. 6998, fo. 19. 

= P. 258. On p. 127 Ina occurs as the name of a layman. 

S. Indract 319 

He also made a pond, from which he daily drew fish, probably salmon, 
for his little community. 

One day he discovered that a member of his society had privily 
carried off a fish for his private consumption, in addition to the regular 
meals. After this the supply failed, and Indract deemed it advisable 
to leave. What apparently took place was a quarrel among the 
members over the weir in the Tamar, which grew so hot that the con- 
gregation separated into factions, and one under Indract left. He 
went on to Rome, visited the tombs of the apostles, and then retraced 
his steps, and in course of time reached the neighbourhood of Glaston- 

The little party lodged at Shapwick, when one of the officials of King 
Ina, named Horsa, supposing that the pilgrims had money, fell on them 
by night, murdered the entire party, and carried off whatever he could 
lay hands on. 

King Ina at the time had his court at " Pedrot." Being unable to 
•sleep during the night, he went forth, and saw a column of light stand- 
ing over Shapwick. Probably Horsa had set fire to the cottage of 
"wattles in which were his victims. 

Next day Ina heard of the tragedy and ordered the removal of the 
bodies to Glastonbury, which he was refounding. Whether the mur- 
derer was punished we are not told. According to this legend the 
€vent took place about 710. 

There are difficulties in the story. How could the early part of the 
bistory of the slaughtered men become known, as all had been mas- 
sacred ? No such a person as Indract, son of a King in Ireland, is known 
in Irish history. The name is, however, found as that of the twenty- 
first abbot of lona, who was in office in 849, in which year he trans- 
ported the relics of S. Columba to Ireland.^ The Annals of Ulster 
state that he was killed by the Saxons on March 12, 854. ^ We are not 
informed where he was slain, and it is probable that this is the Indract 
■of William of Malmesbury's legend. Nothing more likely than that 
after having been abbot for a while, the desire came on him to visit the 
holy sites, and that for this purpose he traversed Wessex, and halted in 
Cornwall, where the British tongue was spoken. The massacre cannot 
bave been complete ; some of the pilgrims must have escaped, and the 
matter was brought to the ears, not of Ina, but of Ethelwulf , the father 
•of Alfred the Great. 

' Reeves, S. Columba, Edinburgh, 1874. 

2 Annals of the Four Masters in 852 ; Annals of Inis fallen, 840. The Irish form 
•of the name is Indreachtach Hy Finachtain. It is thought that he was at one 
■time Abbot of Londonderry. 

320 Lives of the British Saints 

That Indract did visit Cornwall is shown by the church of Landrake- 
bearing his name (Lan Indract) , and by the existence of his chapel and 
holy wellat Halton, in his sister's foundation, S.Dominick on the Tamar> 
Some fragments of the chapel remain with fine ilex trees by it, conceiv- 
ably scions of that tree which William of Malmesbury tells us existed, 
in his day, and was held to have originated out of the staff of the saint. 
The Holy Well is in good order, and, though possessing no architectural 
beauty, is picturesquely situated under a large cherry tree. The water- 
is of excellent quality and is unfailing. Water for baptisms in 
S. Dominick is drawn from this well, although situated at a consider- 
able distance from the parish church. 

Dr. Oliver gives the chapel as dedicated to S. Ilduict.^ This is one 
of his many blunders. The MS. of Bishop Stafford's Register, from, 
which he drew his information, gives the chapel as that " Sancti. 
Ildracti." Ildract is, of course, Indract (March 6, 1418-9), but in this, 
entry the mistake is made by the Registrar of making the Saint a 
Confessor instead of a Martyr. 

Landrake in Bishop Stapeldon's Register, 1327, is Lanracke. In 
Domesday itis'Ricca.n. It is now popularly called Larrick. The church, 
is supposed to be dedicated to S. Peter, and the village feast is held on. 
June 29, S. Peter's day. The name, however, and the situation, near 
S. Dominick, favour the idea that it was a foundation of S. Indract. 

The day of SS. Indract and Dominica, according to Whytford and. 
Wilson, is May 8. William of Worcester ^ says, " Sanctus Indractus- 
martir et confessor die 8 Mali, jacet apud Shepton per 5 milaria de- 
Glastynbery cum sociis suis centum martiribus." 

The Bollandists give February 5, on the worthless authority of 
Challoner. But May 8 is the day in the Altemps thirteenth century 
Martyrology, and in the fifteenth century Norwich Martyrology 
[Cotton. MS. Julius B vii), and in Capgrave. 

In Art, Indract should be figured as a pilgrim with a salmon in his- 
hand, and a staff that is putting forth oak leaves. 

S. lOUGUIL, or lOUIL, see S. LLYWEL 

S. ISAN, Abbot, Confessor 

The parentage of this Saint is not known. In the lolo MSS. ^ he; 
is said to have been a Saint or monk of Bangor Dltyd, i.e., Llantwit.. 

' MonasHcon Exon., p. 438. ^ Itin., p. 150. ' P. 107. 

S. Isho 321 

He is very probably the abbot Isanus, who, with another abbot, 
paid a visit to S. Illtyd just before his death. 1 See under S. Illtyd. 

Isan is beheved to be the patron of Llanisea or Llanishen, in Glamor- 
ganshire. A church of the same name in Monmouthshire is also prob- 
ably dedicated to him. It is given in the Booh of Llan Ddv 2 as Lann 
Yssan, and also as Lann Nissien. The Norman ecclesiastics read into 
the name that of Dionysius or Denis. In a Tintern charter the Mon- 
mouthshire church occurs as " the Church of Dionysius of Lanissan " ; 
whilst the Glamorgan one is probably the " Capella de Sancti Dionysii " 
{sic) of the Tewkesbury charter of 1180. It is said that there are re- 
mains of a Capel Denis in the latter parish, which may mark an earlier 
site of the church. ^ Browne Willis gives both churches as dedicated 
to S. Denis,* but he does not assign a festival day. Most probably 
the Apostle and Patron of France, on October g, is intended. 

A Lann Issan or Yssan, in the Hundred of Roose, Pembrokeshire, 
was claimed by the Bishops of Llandaff as belonging to that see.^ This 
church, however, is identified with S. Ishmael's. 

Isan's festival is not entered in the Welsh calendars. Abbot Isan 
died on December 16. 

S. ISHO, or ISSUI, Martyr 

This saint is the patron of Patrishow or Patricio, subject to Llanbedr 
Ystradyw, in Breconshire. The earliest form under which the church 
name occurs is Merthir Issiu, in the twelfth centuryUoo^ of Llan Ddv,^ 
which records its consecration by Bishop Herewald (1056-1103) ; but 
in more recent times it was called Pertrissw [Peniarth MS. 147), 
Partrisw (Myy. ylycA.),andLlanysho (1553), among other forms. The 
remote, curious little church, with its three stone altars, is of very great 
ecclesiological interest.' 

' Vita 2da S. Samsonis, ed. Plaine, c. 18 ; Mabillon, Acta SS. (O.S.B.), i, p. 168. 

2 Pp. 241-2, 321. The name, with, the honorific prefix to or ty, seems tD be 
the Tinysan or Tanasan of the same work (see index, p. 420). The Mabinogi 
of Branwen mentions Nissien and Efnissien, the two half-brothers of Bran 

' Green, Churches of Llandaff, Aberdare, 1907, pp. 52, 150-1 ; Cardiff Records, 
V, pp. 368, 523. 

* Paroch. Anglic, p. 206 ; Llandaff, append., p. 2. 

= Book of Llan Ddv, pp. 56, 62, 124, 255, 287. " P. 279. 

' It has been described and illustrated in Arch. Camb. for 1902, pp. 98-102, 
and 1904, pp. 49-64 ; a'so in " A Short Account of the Church of ishow the 
Martyr," 1907, by Mr. R. Baker-Gabb. 

VOL. III. "■- •' Y 

322 Lives of the British Saints 

There can be very little doubt, we think, that the first part of the 
parish-name stands for Merthyr, but the change of initial m io p in 
Welsh is very unusual.^ As for the Saint's name, the Book of Llan 
Ddv spelling, Issiu, must be for Issui, which would naturally become 
Isswy, Isso, and Isho. Common spellings of the name are Ishow and 
Ishaw, but more correctly it should be Isho. 

There is no record whatever as to Isho's parentage ; and the only 
name that suggests itself to us for a possible equation is that of Yse, 
whom William of Worcester and Leland ^ give as one of the children of 
Brychan, and by whom is evidently intended the patron of S. Issey, 
Mevagissey (i.e. SS. Meva and Issey), in Cornwall. But the early 
Episcopal Registers give Ida or Itha, an Irish saint, as patroness of 
S. Issey, which name seems to be a corruption of S. Itha. See under 
that Saint's name. 

The little that is known of Isho is derived from the local tradition, 
which we give in the words of Theophilus Jones, the historian of the 
county : 3 " It is stated that he was a holy man, who led a religious life 
in this retired spot and his little oratory upon the bank of a small rivulet 
called Nant Mair, or Mary's Brook, which runs at the bottom of the hill 
on which the church is built ; that having long lived in high estimation 
among the natives, whom he instructed in the principles of Christianity, 
he was at length murdered by an ungrateful traveller who had been 
hospitably received and entertained by him in his humble cell. A 
small cavity scooped out in the side of a bank, and walled with stone, 
but open in front, is still pointed out as the chapel, or as others say, the 
well of Saint Ishaw ; if either, it was the latter, as the space is by no 
means calculated for the offices of a chapel, and besides in the back, 
close to the ground, is an aperture evidently intended for the admission 
of water. In the walls are several small niches, formed, apparently, 
for the reception of oblations from pious votaries." 

Richard Fenton, who visited Patrishow in 1804, wrote in his diary : * 
" Below the church saw the sainted well of Ishaw, being a very scanty 

' A converse instance occurs to us in Postyn, the old form of the name of a 
township of Llansannan, which has been altered, by fa'se analogy, to Mostyn. 
The interchange of m and J inWe'sh is, however, quite common ; maban — baban, 
menyw — benyw, etc. Possibly Merth'risho first became Bartrisho, and the B 
was afterwards provected, as in Potfari for Bodfari, etc. 

2 See i, pp. 318-9. M. J. Loth, in Revue Celtique, xxix. (igo8),p. 307, suggests 
that Issiu may have been the same as the Breton Saint Igeau of Pligeau, which 
is very improbable. Browne Wilis's dedicaton of the church to S. Patricius 
(Paroch. Anglic, p. 181) is, of course, a mere guess. 

^ Breconshire, ed. i8g8, p. 377. The first edition of this worlc appeared in 
three parts in 1805-9. 

* Theophilus Jones : his Life, etc., ed. Edwin Davies, Brecon, 1905, p. 145. 

S. Ismael 323 

oozing of water, to which, however, was formerly attributed great 
virtue, as within the building that encloses it there are little niches to 
hold the vessels drank out of and the offerings they left behind." It 
is a httle rectangular well, walled in on three sides, and arched over. 
Willis, as quoted by Theophilus Jones, says that the festival day 
of Isho was October 30, and this is the day Rees gives. ^ 

S. ISMAEL, Bishop, Confessor 

According to the Life of S. Oudoceus ^ Ismael was the son of Budic 
or Buddig, the son of Cybrdan, of CornugaUia or Cornouaille. Budic 
was forced by some dynastic revolution to quit his native country, 
and he " came with his fleet to the region of Dyfed in the time of Aircol 
Lawhir, who was King thereof." He was hospitably received, and 
making his abode in Dyfed, he married Anauved, daughter of Ensic or 
Usyllt ab Hydwn Dwn (the father also of S. Teilo) by Guenhaf, daughter 
of Livonui. The children by the marriage were SS. Ismael, Tyfei, 
and Oudoceus (Euddogwy). 

After some years had elapsed ambassadors came to Budic from 
Cornouaille announcing the death of the king, and that the people, 
wishing to elect a successor of " the royal progeny," had in council 
made choice of him, and were desirous that he should immediately 
undertake the government. The proposal was accepted, and Budic, 
taking with him his wife and family, returned to his native land, and 
established his dominion over the whole of Armorica, " which in his 
time extended as far as the Alps." 

Ismael has nothing to do with the Jewish name Ishmael. It is a 
fossUized Old-Welsh form, and would now have been Ysfael, which 
actually occurs as the name of a stream in Llanddarog, near Carmar- 
then. It is found in a stiU older form as Osmail, the name of one of 
the sons of Cunedda Wledig, which appears in the Life of S. Carannog ^ 
as Ismael. 

Ismael and his brothers returned to Wales. He is mentioned in the 
Life of S. David * as a disciple of that Saint, and was with him in Hod- 
nant, founding his monastery, when he was encountered by Boia. 

* Welsh Saints, p. 308. 

^ Book of Llan Ddv, p. 130. For other Ismael names, see its index, p. 406. 
The Welsh pedigrees know nothing of Ismael. 

' Cambro-Bntish Saints, p. 10 1 ; Owen's Pembrokeshire, i, p. 296. 

* Cambro-British Saints, p. 124; Giraldus, Opera, iii, p. 387. 

324 Lives of the British Saints 

From the Life of S. Teilo ^ we also learn that the three brothers were 
disciples of Dubricius, and subsequently of Teilo. On the decease of 
David, Teilo consecrated his nephew bishop, and " sent him to take 
charge of the church of Menevia." 

All the churches dedicated to S. Ismael are situated in Pembroke- 
shire, with the exception of Llanishmael or S. Ishmael's, near Kidwelly, 
in Carmarthenshire. In Pembrokeshire there are Camrose, Rose- 
market, S. Ishmael's in Roose (under Hasguard), and Uzmaston. To 
him is also very probably dedicated Haroldston S. Issel's (or East) 
in the same country. The S. Issel's here stands apparently for 
S. Ismel's. The Issel, patron of S. Issell's near Tenby (called in Welsh 
Llan or Eglwys Usyllt), is, however, Usyllt, the father of S. Teilo.2 

S. Ishmael's in Roose was formerly known in Welsh as Llan (or 
Eglwys) Ysmael. As Eglwys Ysmael it is given as one of " the Seven 
Bishop's Houses in Dyfed ; " and it is laid down that " the abbot of 
Ysmael should be graduated in literary degrees." ^ In the Book of 
Llan Ddv * Lann Yssan or Issan occurs among the possessions of the' 
Bishops of Llandaff in Roose. There can be no doubt that by it is 
meant S. Ishmael's. With Isan and Ismael may be compared the 
fuller forms of the names of SS. Cadoc and Brioc. 

The festival of S. Ismael, June 16, seems to occur only in the Calendar 
in Cotton. MS. Vesp. A. xiv. Browne Willis ^ gives June 25 as his 
festival day at Uzmaston. 


S. ITHA, or ITA, Virgin, Abbess 

This very remarkable woman was the Brigid of Munster, and the 
spread of her cult in Devon and Cornwall shows that there must have 
been communities of women in ancient Dumnonia under her rule, 
and affiliated to the mother-house at Killeedy. This leads to the sur- 
mise that a migration of the Hy Connaill may have led to a settlement 

' Book of Llan Ddv, p. 115. 

^ Owen's Pembrokeshire, i, pp. 307-8. 

' Aneurin Owen, Welsh Laws, Rolls, 1841 (folio), p. 273. On p. 794 it is 
" Lan Yssan in Ros." Cf. the Record of Caernarvon, p. 189, " Sci Ismahelis ". 
Giraldus, Itin. Camb., i, c. 11, speaks of S. Caradog's religious life " apud Sanctum 
Hysmaelem in Rosensi provincia." 

* Pp. 56, 62, 124, 255. " Paroch. Anglic, 1733, p. 177- 

aS*. Itha 


in these parts, a surmise strengthened by the fact of inscribed stones 
bearing Kerry names being found in Devon. 

According to Wilham of Worcester, the body of S. Ida lay at S. Issey, 
and he adds that she was a martyr. It is probable that this fifteenth 
century writer made hasty notes only during his flying visit to Cornwall, 
and that he fell into an error through carelessness in calling her a 
mart5n:. That presumed relics of S. Issey may have been shown at 
S. Issey is probable enough, but it is not probable that they were 

In the Monasticon Dr. Oliver was guilty of a mistake. He misread, 
or misunderstood. Bishop Stafford's entry relative to Egloscruc, or 
S. Issey, and supposed that it referred to Egloskerry, and accordingly 
made SS. Ida and Lidy patronesses of the latter church, and, further, 
blundered in making S. Filius patron of S. Issey, in place of Philleigh, 
which was anciently Eglosros. He has been followed by Mr. Cope- 
land Borlase, who had not the means of discovering the errors. These 
have been pointed out by Prebendary Hingeston-Randolph in his 
edition of Bishop Stafford's Register, p. 316. In Bishop Bronescombe's 
Register for 1259 (p. 250), S. Issey is indicated as dedicated to S. Ida. 
In Bishop Grandisson's Register the church is "Sancte Ide," 1330, 1334, 
1354 ; " S'* Ida," 1362. The church when visited by the Bishop in 1331 
possessed an " Antiphonarium, cum Legenda ; " also " Legenda Sanc- 
torum competens prasterquam in principio, quod est corruptum." 
Ecton in his Thesaurus gives S. Esye als. Issye als. Ithy als. 

Ida is the Latin form of Itha. Itha became corrupted into Ithey, 
and then into Issey. The Manor, however, retained the title unchanged 
as S. Ide, and extended through a part of the parish and also into those 
of Little Petherick, S. Ervan, S. Breock, Padstow, and Mawgan. Near 
the church of Little Petherick, in Lysons' time, were the ruins of a 
chapel of S. Ida. 

S. Teath, pronounced S. Teth, is another corruption of S. Itha. 

MS. Lives of S. Ita exist in the Bodleian Library, Rawlins, B. 505, 
pp. 164-70 ; and in the so-called Codex Kilkenniensis in Bishop 
Marsh's Library, Dublin, foil. 110-3. Colgan has published a Life in 
Acta SS. Hibern., Vita S. Itce sive Midce, Jan. 16, and this has been 
reproduced in the Acta SS. Boll., i. pp. 1062-8. She is mentioned in 
the Life of S. Brendan of Clonfert, and in that of S. Aidan or Moedoc, 

Itha was a daughter of the royal house of the Deisi, who had been 
expelled from Meath in the third century by Cormac Mac Airt, and 
obliged to find new homes. One portion of the tribe, under Eochaid, 

326 Lives of the British Saints 

crossed into South Wales and settled there, but another migrated to 
the South of Ireland and occupied the present county of Waterford. 

Itha was the child of Cenfoelad Mac Cormac, and of Necht, and was 
lineally descended from Conn of the Hundred Battles, King of Ireland 


Her birth took place about 480, and as her parents were Christians, 
she was baptised, and given the name of Dairdre, which was Latinized 
into Dorothea. She acquired the nick-name of Ith later, on account of 
her " thirst " for the living water of heavenly truth. 

She had two sisters whose names have been preserved : Necht, who 
married Beoan, and became the mother of S. Mochoemog or Pulcherius ; 
and Fina, who is numbered among the Saints. In the Life of S. Fintan 
of Dunbleisc (Doone in Limerick) we are told that his mother's sister 
was S. Fina, but his mother and Fina are said to have been daughters of 

From an early age Itha had made up her mind to embrace the monas- 
tic life. This was not at all in accordance with her father's purpose, 
who had made arrangements for her marriage. When Itha learned his 
intentions, she refused food, and " fasted against " her own father, who 
was by this means compelled to give way.-"- 

She then received the veil at some church not specified, in the pre- 
sent county of Waterford, and departed into the territory of the Hy 
Luachra or Hy Connaill, that is to say, into the present county of 
Limerick, where she settled under the slopes of the Mullaghareick 
chain, at a place called Cluain-Credhail, that is now known as Killeedy, 
or the Cell of Ida. She had several devout women as companions, and 
there she formed a college. 

The Life passes abruptly from the early days of Itha, and her taking 
the veil, to when she is an Abbess at Killeedy, but from an incident that 
occurs in the narrative we conclude that for a while she had been under 
the Abbess Cainreach at Clonburren, in Roscommon. The incident is 
as follows : — 

One day Aengus, Abbot of Clonmacnois, sent a priest to celebrate 
the Eucharist and communicate the congregation of S. Itha. After- 
wards the holy woman bade her disciples fold up and pack the vest- 
ments in which the priest had celebrated, and send them with his bag- 
gage as a present to Clonmacnois. The priest demurred ; he had been 
instructed by his Abbot to receive nothing in return for the service 
rendered. Then Itha quieted his scruples by saying, " Long ago, your 
Abbot Aengus visited the convent of the holy virgin Chinreach. I 
was there at the time. Chinreach washed the feet of Aengus, and wiped 
» Colgan, Acta SS. Hibern., Vita S. Ita, c. iv, p. 66. 

S. Itha 327 

them with a towel. I at the time was by, kneeling and holding part of 
the towel, and I helped to dry his feet. Tell him that. He will be 
pleased, and not reject the little present now offered with all my heart." 
This is the sole intimation that we have of Itha having passed any time 
with S. Cainreach of Clonburren, who is meant by Chinreach.^ 

The district occupied by the Hy Connaill Gabhra, among whom Itha 
made her abode, comprised the baronies of Conello and Glenquin. She 
must have been invited thither, as the chief of the clan at once gave her 
lands, and would have granted her more, but she refused to receive 
them. She needed sufficient to maintain her establishment in neces- 
saries but not in wealth. The Hy Connaill chose her to be their tribal 
Saint, to bless their undertakings, and to curse their enemies, as well as 
to undertake the education of their daughters. 

To impress the imaginations of the rude natives, she had recourse to 
great austerities, and acquired the repute of being able to perform 
miracles, and to have the gift of prophecy. 

Among those who lived with her was her sister Necht. Itha had 
engaged a skilful carpenter, Beoan, to construct a church for her, and 
she soon perceived that a flirtation was in progress between the artificer 
and Necht. Like a sensible woman, she at once favoured the mutual 
attachment, having satisfied herself that her sister had no vocation for 
the monastic life, and she saw that they were married respectably. ^ 

Itha was resolved not to yield to the temptation of making the com- 
munity wealthy, and she constantly refused presents made to it. One 
day when a rich man pressed gold into her hands, she rejected it, and 
sent for water wherewith to wash off the soil of filthy lucre. " What 
ought I to do with the money ? " asked the man. " Use it aright," was 
her reply. " Gold may help you to make a display, or, on the other 
hand, to relieve distress." * 

She maintained an affectionate regard for S. Ere, who placed the little 
Brendan with her to be nursed, till he was five or six years old. Bren- 
dan remained warmly attached to his foster-mother, and consulted her 
in his difficulties. One day, when she was an old woman and he in 
vigorous manhood, he asked her what three things, in her opinion, 
were most pleasing to God. She promptly repHed, " Resignation to 
the Divine will, simphcity, and largeheartedness." " And what," 
asked Brendan further, " is most hateful to God ? " " Churlishness, a 
love of evil, and greed after gain," was her reply.* 

There was another community of rehgious women at no great 

1 Colgan, Ada SS. Hibern., Vita S. Itcs, c. xvii. 

= Ibid., c. XV. Their child wa^ S. Mochoemog or Pulcherius. 

' Ibid., c. xviii. * Ibid., c. xix. 

328 Lives of the British Saints 

distance. This society was thrown into confusion by the fact of a 
theft having taken place among the maidens, and suspicion rested 
on one of them, who steadfastly protested her innocence. The superior, 
unable to get at the bottom of the mystery, proposed that all should 
go to Killeedy and visit S. Itha. This they accordingly did, and 
on arriving kissed the saint, with the exception of the girl who was 
accused of the theft, and who shyly held back. Itha fixed her eyes 
intently on her and said " Kiss me, my child, your face proclaims 
your innocence." She then privately informed the superior that 
her suspicions rested on a bold, pert girl, who had already got into 
trouble about some other matter. On investigation, the stolen 
article was found in the possession of her whom Itha had indicated. ^ 

A widow named Rethna lived somewhere in the plain of the Liffey, 
near Kildare. She had a daughter in a condition of chronic ill-health. 
She consulted her foster-son, S. Colman of Oughval, and both agreed 
to ask Itha to cure the girl. On their arrival at Killeedy, Itha was 
not a little embarrassed by the petition. She, however, extricated 
herself from the difficulty with dexterity. She replied that, cer- 
tainly, she could heal the patient, if desired, but informed the mother 
that the damnation of her daughter was assured, were she restored 
to robust health, whereas the girl was certain to inherit heaven if 
she continued infirm.- The choice was left to Rethna, who could 
hardly do other than accept eternal blessedness with its concomitant 
disadvantage in this life. By this means Itha was released from 
the risk of attempting, and failing in the attempt, to work a miracle. 

One of her community deserted and wandered about the country, 
and finally became servant to a Druid in Connaught. Itha did not 
forget the girl ; she continued to be anxious about her, and induced 
S. Brendan to find out where she was, and then to induce the King 
of Connaught to effect her liberation. This he did, and she received 
back with compassion the runaway, together with a child she had 
borne. ^ It was by her advice that Brendan took ship and sailed 
in quest of the Isles of the Blessed, and probably discovered Madeira 
and the Canaries ; and it was she who recommended him, when 
about to undertake a second voyage, to abandon the use of wicker- 
work boats covered \vith hides, and to make vessels of oak planks. 

Her uncle died in the Nandesii country. She sent for his eight 
sons, and told them that their father was in Hell, but she would get 
him out, if they would each for a year give bread and butter or a 
sandwich and a candle daily to as many poor folk. At the end of 
a twelvemonth they returned. '' He is out to his middle," said 

' Colgan, Acta SS. Hibern., Vita S. ItcB, c. xxiv. ^ Ibid.., c. xxxi. 

S. Itha 329 

Itha, " go on in the same way another year." They did so and came 
again. " He is out now wholly," she said, " but stark naked. To 
clothe him decently you must go on with your alms for a third year." 1 
A hymn to the infant Jesus is attributed to her by the Scholiast 
on the Felire of Oengus. It may be rendered thus :— 

Jesuskin, whom I adore, 
Nursed by me in little cell, 
Clerk may come with richest store, 
I have Christ, and all is well. 

Nursling rocked by me at home, 
Nursling of no vulgar clown, 
Jesus with the host of heaven 
To my bosom cometh down. 

Jesuskin of heavenly birth, 
Endless good, of Hebrew maid, 
Nobler than a Clerk of Earth, 
Lowly on my lap is laid. ■■ 

Sons of Princes, sons of Kings 
Though they to my country come. 
Not from them make I demands I 
Jesus is my rest, my home. 

Sing in chorus, damsels pure. 
Greatest tribute is his due. 
High in heaven his Throne endure. 
Though he comes to me and you.^ 

One day a basket was found suspended to a cross near the con- 
vent, and in it was a newly-born babe. It was taken in, baptised 
and nursed by St. Itha. Afterwards it was discovered that the 
child was one born to Fiachna, King of West Munster. The origin 
of the infant was so scandalous that at first it was proposed to kill 
it, but instead it was committed in the manner aforesaid to the charge 
of Itha. As it was found in a basket [cummain) , the name given 
the child was Cummin ; he grew up and was educated to the ecclesiastical 
profession, and is known as S. Cummin the Tall. He was the author of a 
hymn in honour of the Apostles, included in the Irish Liber Hymnorum. ^ 
The chronology of S. Cummin, however, shows that, although he may 
have been left at Killeedy as described, it cannot have been during the 
lifetime of S. Itha. 

' Colgan, Ada SS. Hibern., Vita S. Itts, c. xxx. 

2 A literal translation in Whitley Stokes' Filire of Oengus, p. xxxv. One verse 
is obscure, and is omitted above. 
' Liber Hymnorum, ii, p. 9. 

3 3<^ Lives of the British Saints 

The hymn attributed to her served as a basis for the invention 
of a story that she had prayed, and was given the infant Jesus to 
nurse on her lap. Similar stories have been told of other Saints, 
as S. Catherine of Alexandria, S. Frances of Rome, S. Catherine 
of Bologna, S. Rose of Lima ; also of S. Anthony of Padua and 
S.Nicholas Tolentino. All grew out of a saying of Christ (S. Matt. xxv. 

As already said, the clan of Hy Connaill held her in the highest 
reverence, along with S. Senan. The Vita says " tota gens Huaconaill 
Sanctam tam n matronem suam hie et in future accepit," and, " Sancta 
Virgo, eandem gentem et terram suam multis benedictionibus bene- 

When it went to war with another tribe, the Cinraidh Luachra, 
or the Corca Duibhne, her aid was invoked to curse the eneriiy. As 
the campaigns proved successful, her hold on the respect and affections 
of the clan became doubly secure. 

In her old age she was afflicted with cancer.^ This has been repre- 
sented by legend as her suffering from a beetle that devoured her 
sides and grew to the size of a pig. Her last illness was most pain- 
ful, but was borne with extraordinary patience. Before her death 
she blessed not her own community only, but also the clergy of the 
tribe to which she was attached. 

She died on January 15, 569 or 570. This is her day in the Mar- 
tyrologies. In the Salisbury Calendar, on January 15, as " S. Doro- 
thea, also called Sith." Whytford gives her on January 15, as " Saynt 
Dorythy, that by an other name is called Saynt Syth." Wilson says 
on January 25, a mistake for January 15, " Eodem die in Cornwallia 
depositio S. Ithse, genere Hibernicse, sanctitatis et miraculis clarae, 
in qua regione aliquot fana, aliaque monumenta in ejus honorem 
erecta, extant." In the Christ Church, Dublin, Martyrology, she 
is entered on May 13, " Eodem die Sanctse Sithe, Virginis," but these 
words are added in the margin in a hand of the sixteenth century. 
In the Calendar prefixed to the Chained Book of the Corporation 
of DubUn, on this same day, " Sancta Sitha, Virgo." In a MS. Bre- 
viary of the fifteenth century in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, 
on the same day, " Site Virginis ix lect." She is, however, every- 
where else set down on January 13. 

She is also called Mita, Mida and Mide, a contraction of Mo-Ita, 
My Ita. 

In an Indulgence granted by Bishop Stafford, October 18, 1399, 

' The Irish word is Daol. Colgan renders it vermis ; Dr. Todd, a cockchafer. 
There can be little doubt that what is meant is cancer. 

S. Itha 331 

to such as should pray for the soul of the Lady Matilda Chyverston, 
he speaks of the church of Egloscruc, " Sanctorum Idi et Lidi, Mar- 
tirorum," a clerical error. In another document, however, in 1400, 
the vicarage is described as that of " Sancte Ida, alias Egloscruk." 
But Bishop Brantyngham, April 26, 1382, makes the same blunder, 
calling the church that " Sanctorum Ide et Lydi de Egloscruk," 
but in 1383 correctly, " Sanctarum Ide et Lide " ; and Bishop Grandis- 
son invariably so, 1330, 1334, 1333, 1362. 

S. Itha can be regarded as a martyr only in consideration of her 
painful final illness. 

The question may be raised, how comes it that we have dedica- 
tions to her, or foundations bearing her name, in Devon and Corn- 
wall ? Probably S. Petroc had something to do with this. S. Dagan, 
who was a disciple of S. Petroc and of S. Pulcherius, was nephew 
of S. Itha. Petroc, who had been trained in Ireland, when settling 
in Cornwall, would wish to establish communities for women there, 
and he would almost certainly send to Ireland for some trained in 
the great female schools there to undertake a similar work in Dum- 

Dedications to S. Itha are : — The parish church of S. Issey. Ecton 
gives Issye alias Ithy. The parish church of Mevagissey, according 
to Ecton, is dedicated conjointly to S. Mewan and S. Issey. The 
parish church of S. Teath. The parish church of Ide, near Exeter. 
A ruined chapel in Little Petherick. A ruined chapel in Helsborough 
Camp, Michaelstow, where she is known as S. Sith. 

The farm adjoining Gulval is Landithey, so that it would seem 
probable that this was originally a foundation of S. Itha, but settled 
in afterwards by S. Wulvella, and the church is now dedicated to 
her in place of Itha. 

S. Issey Feast is on the Sunday nearest to November 20. S. Teath 
Fairs are on the last Tuesday in February and the first Tuesday in 
July. Anciently her feast was May i, says Nicolas Roscarrock. 

As S. Tethi or Etich, Virgin, Roscarrock enters her feast as the 
Saturday after the Epiphany, which comes near to the day of S. Itha 
in the Irish Martyrologies. 

In Art she should be represented in white as an Irish Abbess, with 
a beetle or crab at her side, or with an angel bearing loaves, as it 
was fabled that she was fed with bread from heaven. 

3 32 Lives of the British Saints 

S. IVE of S. Ive's Bay, See S. HIA 

S. JAMES, Abbot, Confessor 

James, Jacob, or Jacut, Gwethenoc, and Winwaloe were all three 
sons of Fracan, a cousin of Cado, Duke of Cornwall. 

Their mother was Gwen of the Three Breasts, who had been pre- 
viously married to Eneas Lydewig, and by him had become the 
mother of S. Cadfan. 

The story goes that Gwen actually had three breasts, and that 
the three brothers were born and suckled together. There was a 
daughter as well, but, as the author of the Life of S. Winwaloe says, 
" she did not count," and no special breast was provided by nature 
for her. This nonsense springs out of a misunderstanding. A woman 
M-as called three or four breasted, if she had been married more 
than once, and had reared a family by each husband. This fabulous 
matter disappears from the Life of SS. James and Gwethenoc, recovered 
by the Pere de Smedt from a MS. in the National Library at Paris 
{Catalogus Codicum HagiograpMcorum Latin., 1889, T. i, pp. 578- 
82). This begins thus : " Fuit in occiduis Britannici territorii 
partibus vir quidam opulentus et inter convicaneos suos nomina- 
tissimus, Fraganus nomine, habens conjugem coaequibilem, lingua 
patria Guen appellatam, quod Latine sonat Candida. Quibus divina 
pietas trium sobolem filiorum largita est, quorum duos gemellos 
uterus profudit in lucem, tertium vero delude parturivit, his duobus, 
juniorem. Gemelli quidam alter Gwethenocus, alter Jacobus, tertius 
autem appellatus est Wingualoeus." 

According to this, the family belonged to the West of Britain 
and Gwethenoc and James were twins, Winwaloe being born somewhat 
later. The Life of S. Winwaloe is more explicit. After describing 
the ravages of the Saxons, and the great plague which devastated 
Britain (446-7) , it goes on to mention the flight of many of the natives 
to Armorica. " Inter quos autem fuit vir quidam illustris — nomine 
Fracanus, Catovii (Cadoi) regis Britannici, viri secundum saeculum 
famosissimi, consobrinus. . . . Cujus etiam prsedicti regis erat terra 
Nominse (Dumnoniae)." ^ 

Gwen Teirbron was the sister of Amwn Ddu, the father of S. Sam- 
son ; also of Pedrwn, father of S. Padarn. She was first cousin to 
S. lUtyd. This being so, it is quite impossible that the plague des- 
cribed in the Life of S. Winwaloe should be the Yellow Death, which 
raged from 547 to 550 ; but must be that earlier plague spoken of 

1 Vita Sti. Winwaloei in Cart. Landevenec, Rennes, 1888, c. ii. 

S. Jaoua 333 

by Gildas, and which swept the island in the fifth century. The 
writer refers by name to Gildas, and the whole passage is probably 
taken from him. 

For the history of S. James we must refer to what has been already 
said under S. Gwethenoc. 

That the two brothers left Brittany and visited their native Corn- 
wall is probable ; for we have a foundation of S. Gwethenoc at Lewan- 
nick, and this is near the Winwaloe foundations of Tresmere and 
Tremaine, and the Jacobstow foundation is not far distant from 
these latter. Hard by was the great Petherwin district of their 
cousin S. Padam, and S. Samson's was at Southill. 

At S. Breward were an ancient chapel and a cemetery of S. James. 
Bones are still found there, and this seems to indicate that it was 
once an ecclesiastical centre of some importance. A mere chapelry 
would not have a graveyard around it. 

There were chapels dedicated to S. James at Camborne, at BoUa- 
size in Braddock, at Goldsithney in Perran-uthnoe, but it is not 
possible, without knowing the date when they were founded, to 
say whether they are to be attributed to one of the Apostles of the 
name, or to the brother of S. \A''inwaloe. 

The Calendars of S. Meen and S. Malo give as his day February 
8, but the Calendar of the diocese of S. Brieuc gives June 3. The two 
brothers are, however, sometimes coupled with S. Winwaloe, and 
commemorated on March 3. Albert le Grand gives February 8, which 
is no doubt the correct day. 

In Brittany he is patron of S. Jacut-du-Mene, S. Jacut-sur- 
Mer, S. Jacut-sur-Aro. 

In Art, James should be represented as an Abbot with a ship in 
his hand, and a star above his head, to show that he and his brother 
have inherited the attributes of the Dioscuri. 

S. JAOUA or JOEVIN, Bishop, Confessor 

The authority for the Life of this saint, the nephew of Paulus 
Aurelianus, is the lections of the Breviary of Leon, printed in the 
Acta SS. Boll., Mart, i, p. 139 ; also a Life by Albert le Grand based 
on the same Breviary lessons, and on the MS. collections made by 
Yves le Grand, in the fifteenth century, and which contained all 
he could gather relative to the early history of the Church of Leon. 

3 34 Lives of the British Saints 

Jaoua was born in Glamorgan, in the cantref of Penychen, and 
was son of the married sister Of S. Paul. 

At an early age the boy was sent by his uncle to be educated. After 
this was complete, he returned to his parents. When, however, he 
heard that Paul had crossed into Armorica he resolved on following 
him, and took boat. A furious gale broke on the vessel as it drew 
towards the west coast of Finistere, and it was driven south, and 
happily entered the harbour of Brest and ran up the river of Faou. 
He and his shipmates went on shore at Landevenec, where they 
were well received by Judoval, the Abbot ; and there Jaoua remained 
as a simple monk till he was ordained priest. Then Judoval sent 
him to Brasparts, near Pleyben, on the slopes of the Monts d'Arree, 
where a good deal of paganism still lingered among the primitive 
population. At Faou, at the head of the long creek that runs east 
from the Rade de Brest, lived a chief who did not at all relish the 
advent of the monks, and although doubtless a British colonist, he 
was averse to their settling in the land and securing large tracts of 
land. Hearing, one day, that Jaoua and his abbot Judoval, as well 
as another abbot, Tadec by name, were to meet at a place now 
called Daoulas, he went there with some of his armed men, burst 
in the door of the church, cut down Tadec at the altar, and pursued 
Judoval and Jaoua as they fled. He caught up the elder, and slew 
him ; but Jaoua had younger legs, and he made good his escape 
and took refuge at Brasparts. 

The Legend relates that a dragon came out of the water and devas- 
tated Le Faou ; what is probably true is that the indignant monks 
of Landevenec appealed to Budic, King of Cornouaille, and he threa- 
tened the chief with condign punishment, unless he made amends 
and paid blood-money. He accordingly submitted, and gave up 
a bit of land where the murders had been committed, and where was 
then founded the abbey of Daou-Gloas (the Two Murders) ; and 
S. Jaoua became first abbot. 

However, Jaoua found this no bed of roses ; he was so harassed, 
whether by recalcitrant monks, or by secret opposition from the 
chief, that he threw up his charge, placing over the community a 
nephew of the chief, named Tusvean, and went to Leon to his uncle, 
who at once resigned the bishopric and abbey, and appointed his 
nephew in his room, that he might retire to the Isle of Batz. Jaoua 
summoned to him a disciple named Kenan and ordained him priest, 
and sent him to Ploucerneau. 

As the harvest failed at Daoulas, it was at once concluded that 
this was due to the bad treatment shown to Jaoua, and he was entreated 

S. Julitta 335 

to return and bless the place and remove the ban he was supposed 
to have cast on it. He consented. On his way back he revisited 
Brasparts, where he was attacked by fever. However, he was im- 
patient to be back, and pushed on, crossed the range of the Monts 
d'Arree and the river Elorn, and died at Plouvien, near Plabennec. 
He died on March 2, after having been bishop of Leon for a year 

His body was laid in a tomb, over which a sepulchral monument 
with his figure on it was raised in 1646, but it is in a pretty, late Flam- 
boyant chapel of 1567. Jaoua died about the year 568. 

He is commemorated on March 2, MS. Breviary of Treguier, fifteenth 
century ; the Breviary of Leon, 15 16, 1736 ; in Les Heures Bretonnes 
du XV^ Cent.; and Breviaries of Quimper and S. Majo. 


S. JUDNOU, Abbot, Confessor 

JuDNOU was a disciple of S. Dubricius,^ and was abbot of Bolgros.^ 
This is supposed to occupy a site on Belli-moor, in Madley, Hereford- 
shire, the native place of Dubricius in Ynys Efrddyl. It must have 
been devastated by the Saxons and never restored. 

S. JULITTA, Widow 

The Saint Juhtta of Tarsus, and her son Cyriacus, have assumed 
undue prominence in Cornwall. Julitta of Tarsus has displaced 
local saints. Those whom she has supplanted are : — (i) Ilud, daugh- 
ter of Brychan ; (2) Juhtta, mother of S. Paternus ; and (3) Jutwara 
■or Aude. 

1. S. Juhot of North Cornwall is probably Ilud, given in the Cognatio 
as one of the unmarried daughters of Brychan, and whom Leland 
renders Juliana. Hid is the Welsh form of Julitta. The feast at 
S. Juhot's is on the nearest Sunday to June 29. 

2. The mother of S. Paternus of Avranches was nanied Julitta. 
The mother of S. Paternus or Padarn, of Llanbadarn Fawr, was 
named Gwen. But the legends of the two saints got intermixed, 

I Book of Llan Duv, p. 80. * Ibid., pp. 164, 166. 

3 3^ Lives of the British Saints 

and Padarn was identified not only with Paternus of Avranches, but 
also with Paternus of Vannes. Then the name of Julitta was taken 
over in place of Gwen as that of the mother of Padarn.^ 

The mother of Padarn was married to Pedrwn, son of Emyr Llydaw. 

In consequence of a family revolution, Pedrwn and several of his 
brothers were obliged to fly to Britain from Armorica, and Pedrwn 
went on to Ireland, where he embraced the monastic life. 

Gwen-Julitta was left in Armorica with her infant son. One day 
she had laid in the window the cloth, out of which she purposed 
fashioning a garment for her boy, when an eagle swooped down, 
carried it off, and employed it as a lining for his nest. At the end 
of a twelve-month, the cloth was recovered, practically uninjured, 
and was put to the use for which originally intended. 

Forty years passed. One day Padarn asked his mother why he 
so often saw tears in her eyes, and when she told him that her heart 
ached to see her husband again, he resolved on going in quest of 
his father. He departed to Britain, and then crossed into Ireland, 
where he discovered Pedrwn, but was unable to induce him to go 
back to his wife. 

It is possible — we can hardly venture to say more — that some of 
the Julitta foundations in Cornwall may have been originally sta- 
tions of the mother of S. Padarn. He is likely to have provided 
for his mother's comforts ; and it was in accordance with Celtic usage 
for a Saint to plant his mother near him to form a monastic school 
for girls. 

The chapel at Tintagel, now in ruins, but still with its altar, is 
said by Leland to have been dedicated to S. Ulitte, or Uliane. In 
Wales, the churches of S. Curig have been transferred to S. Cyriacus, 
and this boy-saint has carried with him the name of his mother Julitta, 
as they are rarely culted apart. 

For the Juhtta dedications in Wales see under S. Curig. 

S. JULIUS, Martyr, see S. AARON 

S. JUNABUI or JUNAPEIUS, Abbot, Confessor 

He was one of the disciples of S. Dubricius, and was his cousin 
{consohrinus) ." 

1 Albert Le Grand makes the mother of S. Paternus of Vannes to be Gwen- 

2 Book of Llan Ddv, pp. 72, 80. His name is written a'.so Junapius, Lunapeius, 
and Hunapui. For the element -put, see under S. Gwenaewy. 

aS*. Juncus 3 37 

He founded a church at Lann Loudeu, now Llanloudy, in Here- 
fordshire. The grant was made byGurcant, son of Cinuin, King of 
Erging.i Another foundation was Lann Budgualan, now Balling- 
ham, on the bank of the Wye. The grant was also by Gurcant, 
" sedens super sepulchrum patris sui et pro anima illius." ^ Pre- 
sumably it was originally dedicated to S. Budgualan, but now to S. 
Dubricius. His main foundation , however, would seem to have been 
Lann Junabui, which has been identified with Bredwardine,^ but 
it might well be Llandinabo, assuming that the present church, which 
is nearly two miles from the Wye, does not occupy the site of 
the old monastic foundation. Hoarwithy at Llandinabo might stand 
for the guduit [gwyddfid) ," honey suckles," in the Lann Junabui 
boundary.* Llandinabo, which is dedication-less, may be regarded as 
the only church dedicated to him now. 

Junabui must have been one of those who were driven from their 
foundations, either by the Yellow Plague, or by the Saxon devas- 
tations, after 577, for he appears in association with S. Teilo.^ He 
is described at first, under Dubricius, as a priest, but later as bishop 
of Llandaff,® its supposed seventh bishop. 

S. JUNANAU, Confessor 

JuNANAU is invoked in the tenth century Celtic Calendar in the 
Library of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury.' 

M. J. Loth supposes him to be the S. Junan who had formerly a 
chapel in Riantec, near Purt S. Louis, in Morbihan, named in 1473.' 
Another chapel of the same Saint, named in 1184, " au detriment 
du nom du malheureux saint," has become S. Aignan, near Pontivy, 
where he has a chapel beside the parish church, named S. Ignaw,. 
transferred to S. Ignatius.* In the Life of S. Samson the name that 
occurs as Winian in one version has Junavius in another. But this 
cannot be Junan. 

S. JUNCUS, Confessor 

Juncus is stated in Nasmith's edition of the Itinerary of William 
of Worcester to he at Pelynt in Cornwall. In the original MS. the, 
name is not Juncus but Itlaw. 

1 Book of Llan Ddv. p. 163. ^ xUd.. p. 164. = Ibid., pp. 73. 364. 

■• Ibid., p. 73 ; Owen's Pembrokeshire, ii, p. 273 

5 Ibid', p. 115. ° ^^i<^- PP- i<53-5- 

' Revue Celtique, 1888, p. 82. » Ibid., 1890, p. I45- 


338 Lives of the British Saiitts 

S. JUST, Priest, Confessor 

S. Just in Penwith is a different person from S. Just in Roseland, 
as the Land's End district was exclusively settled ecclesiastically 
by Irish, the only exceptions being the intrusive foundations of 
S. Paul, Gulval, and Towednack. 

Just is said to have been a son of Fergus, descended fromBrtasal 
Breedach, grandson of Cathair Mor, King of Leinster. He lived 
at the same time as Dunlang, King of Leinster, who died before 460, 
and as lollain, his successor, who was baptised at Naas by S. Patrick. 

S. Patrick took him into his missionary band, and ordained him 

The glossator on the Calendar of Oengus says of him : " The Deacon 
Justinus, i.e. Deacon Just, of Fidarta. It was he who baptised Ciaran 
of Cluain (Clonmacnois) , and of France was he, ut quidem putant." 
But against this hesitating opinion we may set his recorded pedigree. 
It is, however, very probable that he went to Gaul for his ecclesiastical 
education. It is possible enough that there may have been two of 
the same name, and at the same period, one at Fidarta, and the. other 
at Ardbraccan ; but it is more likely that, as Just had a roving com- 
mission, he founded both these churches. 

Fidarta, where S. Patrick placed him, at all events for a time, 
is Fuerty, in Roscommon, which was in the old territory of the Hy 
Many. S. Patrick left his book of ritual and of baptism with him. 
He was the preceptor of Ciaran of Saighir, and in his old age he bap- 
tised the other Ciaran, the wheelwright's son. Unfortunately no 
Life of this Saint has been preserved. Although known as Patrick's 
Deacon, there is no reason to suppose that he was not advanced 
later to priest's orders. 

William of Worcester calls S. Just a martyr, but this is because 
the true S. Just of Penwith had been supplanted by a namesake who 
did suffer for the Faith, and who was in the Roman Calendar. At 
S. Just, the feast varies from October 30 to November 8. The rule 
seems to be that its observance is guided by the Sunday preceding 
the nearest Wednesday in November which will give seven clear 
Sundays to Christmas. 

Just, or Justin, Patrick's Deacon, is commemorated in the Irish 
Calendars on May 5- 

We find a S. Just, under the form Ust, in Wales, as the original 
patron (with Dyfnig) of Llanwrin, in Montgomeryshire, and of the 

1 Tripartite Life, pp. 104, 305, 318. 

S. Justinian 339 

extinct chapel of Llanust, near Fishguard. He is said to have come 
from Armorica with Cadfan. 

S. JUSTINIAN, Hermit, Martyr 

The authority for this Life is a Vita by John of Tynemouth in Cotton. 
MS. Tiberius E. i. pt. ii, ff. 1256-1266, printed in Capgrave's Nova 
Legenda AnglicB, ed. 1901 ii, pp. 93-5. He probably copied or con- 
densed it from one found at S. David's, when he was on his tour through 
England and Wales collecting material for his works, the Marti- 
logium and Sanctilogium, which were taken into Capgrave's book. 
It has been reprinted in Acta SS. Boll. August 23, iv. pp. 635-6. 

Justinian was a native of Brittany,'- who came over to Wales in 
the sixth century, and landed on Ramsey Island, then called Limeneia, 
after a brief sojourn in a territory called Chormeum. 

He found on the island a certain Honorius, son of King Thefriauc, 
or Tyfriog, with his sister and her maid, who were there leading an 
eremitical life. Honorius respected the superior age and virtues 
of the newly arrived Justinian, and offered him the hospitality of 
his ceU. 

" I will accept it," said the stranger, " if you will turn out your 
sister and her maid, and make them keep their distance." A requi- 
sition this, which we are informed, provoked much irreverent derision. ^ 

" That I may enjoy your agreeable conversation," replied Honorius, 
" I will pack them off." And this ungallant, but not injudicious, 
condition made by Justinian was carried into effect. The sister 
and her maid were dismissed " in longinquas regiones." 

A good many disciples came over to Ramsey and placed them- 
selves under the direction of Justinian. S. David now sent for him, 
and so admired his sanctity that he made him his " soul-friend," 
or confessor, and adviser in spiritual matters, so that he must have 
been a priest. David not only sanctioned his residence on the island, 
but also accorded him a site on the mainland for his disciples. The 
bare rocky isle of Ramsey lies off the coast of Treginnis, the southern 
horn of the headland on which stands S. David's. It is a mile and 

1 " Sanctus Justinianus ex nobilissima Britannie Minoris prosapia originem 
■duxit." Ptolemy, in his Geography, ii, c. 2, calls Ramsey Ai/ii/ou ip-qixoi. Its 
Welsh name is Ynys yr Hjnrddod, which is the equivalent in meaning to Ramsey. 

2 '' Petitioni tiie assentirem, si soror tua cum sua pedissequa cubiculum 
Ihabeat a nobis remotum. Quod quibusdam incredulis vertebatur in derisum." 

340 Lives of the British Saints 

three-quarters long by one. mile broad, and rises to two hills, Carrt 
Ysgubor, 300 feet above the sea, and Carn Llundain, rising 446 feet, 
each surmounted by ancient cairns. It has two little ports on the 
land side, and is separated from Treginnis by a dangerous channel, 
rather over a mile across, but narrowing to the south. In the mid 
channel is a rock, the Horse, about which the sea swirls and breaks 
into foam. The tide sweeps through the channel like a mill-race, 
and except in calm weather the crossing to the island cannot be attemp- 
ted. The red Cambrian rocks rise precipitously out of the ocean 
on all sides, gorgeous in the evening sun as they stand up out of the 
emerald water, fringed with foam. Only at the two little harbours 
do they stoop to a lap of sand, and allow a boat to run ashore. On 
the ocean side, however, to the west, is a beach, but it is frowned down 
on by the cliffs. Probably on the grassy sweep where now stands 
a little farm above the Road Isaf, stood the tiny monastery of 
Justinian, with the docile Honorius under him. 

The same incident is told of him as of Gildas. One day a boat 
entered the bay, manned by five men, who came to announce to 
him that his friend David was dangerously iU and desired his atten- 
dance. Justinian at once, without hesitation, entered the boat, 
and the rowers thrust off. But when they were half-way across, 
Justinian saw by the expression of their faces that they purposed 
mischief, and he began to chant the psalm, " Deus in adjutorium." 
So soon as he reached the second verse, " Confundantur et revereantur 
qui quaerunt animam meam," they were transformed to devils, and 
flew away in the shape of crows. Then a stone rose up out of the 
water, and Justinian mounting it was carried over to the mainland, 
and on reaching the monastery of David, found that saint hearty 
and well. 

On the island itself, Justinian had three serfs, whom he kept dili- 
gently employed on farming operations aftd fishing. Weary of his 
strict discipline they conspired to kill him, and falling on him one 
day, cut off his head.i 

Then Justinian, rising up, took his head in his hands, and walking 
over the water, crossed the sound to the little harbour on the main- 
land, and there laid his head down. There he was buried, and 
a chapel was erected on the spot, and the little harbour still bears his 

' Drayton, in Ms Polyolbion (1622, pt. ii, 24th song), is not quite correct: — 

" lustinian, as that man a Sainted place deseru'd, 
"Who still to feed his soule, his sinful! body steru'd : 
And for that height in zeale, whereto he did attaine. 
There by his fellow Monkes most cruelly was slaine." 

S. Justinian 341 

name, Forth Stinan. S. David translated his body to a new tomb 
m his own church, in which he was subsequently buried himself. 

One is inclined to ask, Where was the faithful Honorius all this 
while? There is something kept back by the narrator. We may 
suspect that jealousy had sprung up, and that the attempt to drown 
Justinian, and, finally his murder, were due to this ; and that, con- 
ceivably, Honorius was at the bottom of it. Certainly Honorius 
drops in a remarkable manner out of the story and has not received 
honours, usually so liberally accorded, as a saint. 

The murderers were smitten with leprosy, and withdrew to an 
isolated rock which still bears the name of Gwahan-garreg, " the 
Leper's Rock," where they passed the rest of their days in penitence. 
This is the legendary interpretation of the name, which, with greater 
probabiUty, means " the Dividing Rock." It Hes near the middle 
of the Sound, and " divides " the current. 

Capel Stinan is placed immediately over the cliffs which shelter 
the Uttle harbour of Forth Stinan. It is over a mile from S. David's, 
to the west. " Here those who frequented the Island of Ramsey 
were wont to put up their prayers for a safe passage over the dan- 
gerous fretum that separated it from the main, or to return thanks 
for their preservation after a prosperous voyage." ^ The present 
structure, a beautiful ruin, is attributed to Bishop Vaughan. There 
is a well by it. 

There were formerly two chapels on Ramsey Island, Capel Stinan 
and Capel Dyfanog, the one to the south and the other to the north 
■of the little island. Each had a fine spring of pure water running 
by it. 2 The island was sometimes called Ynys Dyfanog, from the 
latter saint. Fenton ^ quotes a Welsh distich alluding to the neigh- 
bourship of these two saints in Ramsey, " Stinan a Devanog, Dau anwyl 
gymmydog " (Justinian and Dyfanog, Two dear neighbours). Where 
Justinian's head fell in Ramsey a spring miraculously sprang up, 
which became celebrated for its cures. To Justinian is dedicated the 
church of Llanstinan, near Fishguard. 

The festival of Justinian, December 5, is given in the Calendars in 
Cotton. MS. Vesp. A. xiv. and Additional MS. 14, 886, and by William 
of Worcester and Nicolas Roscarrock. 

On the same day by Whytford : " In Wales at the mynster of saynt 

^ Fenton, Pembrokeshire, 181 r, p. 113 ; Basil Jones and Freeman, 5. David's, 
1856, pp. 224-6. The form Stinan comes from Justinanus, which is Capgrave's 
spelling of the Saint's name. 

2 Browne Willis, S. David's, 1717, p. 59. 

•^ Pembrokeshire, p. 123 ; cf., Camden's Britannia, ed. 1722, ii. 763. 

342 Lives of the British Saints 

David the feast of saynt lustiniane a bysshop & martyr, borne of 
the noble blode of the lesse brytayne, and for Chryst he forsoke his 
countree and kynne, & was ledde by an aQgell in to many coutrees, 
where he euer dyd many myracles, & at the last he came vnto saynt 
David & was his dayly ghostly fader, where his own servautes by- 
cause he rebuked theyr synnes stroke of his heed, & bare it ouer the 
see, & the people folowed as though it had ben the drye lande vnto- 
they came where now he lyeth full of myracles." Also Wilson in his 
Martyrologe of 1608, and 1640, on the same day. The Bollandists,. 
Cressy, and Rees,^ however, give his day as August 23. 


S. KEA, see S. CYNAN (Kenan) 



S. KEWE, see S. CIWA 

S. KEYNE, see S. CAIN 


S. LEONORE, Bishop, Confessor 

The authorities for the Life of this Saint are a Vita beginning 
" Fuit vir quidam," in the Bibl. Nat. at Paris, MS. Lai. 5317, of which 
De Smedt has given extracts in Catalogus Codicum hagiographicorum 
bibl. lat. in Bibliotheca nationali Parisiensi, ii, pp. 153 et seq. A M S. 
Life, formerly in the Bibliotheque S. Germain, from which the Bollan- 
dists printed- the Life in Acta SS., July i, i, pp. 118-25, is no longer to 
be found. There was also a Life of S. Leonore in the Library at Arras,, 
that had been seen by the Bollandists. ^^''^ j 

S. Leonore, or Lunaire, was a native of South Wales. His father was. 
called Beteloc, which is probably a misscript for Hoeloc. His mother's 
name was Alma Pompeia, who is almost certainly the same as the Alma 
who was mother of S. Tudwal. 

At the age of five he was sent to S. Illtyd to be trained for the ecclesi- 

1 Welsh Saints, p. 319. 

S. Leonore 343 

astical profession. His brilliant abilities, according to the author of 
the Life, who indulges in extravagance, induced S. Dubricius to conse- 
crate him bishop when he was aged but fifteen years. This absurdity 
is probably due to a copyist who omitted xx from xxxv. Then he 
resolved on going to Brittany, and he left Wales in a boat that was 
navigated by three men in white raiment. He had with him seventy- 
two disciples, 1 and many servants. The three mysterious white- vested 
mariners managed the vessel, one stood midships, one at the prow, and 
the third held the rudder. 

A furious storm swept the sea, and the voyagers were compelled to 
cast everything overboard, down to the stone altar-slab of S. Leonore. 

At length Armorica was reached. As they landed, Leonore saw two 
white doves raise his altar out of the sea, and bring it to him. On 
disembarkation, the three white-raimented mariners vanished. 

The immigrants had come ashore in a sandy bay, backed by sand- 
hills, sheltered on the west by the rocky point of DecoUe, a httle west 
of the now fashionable watering-place of Dinard. Here a feeble 
stream, the Crevelon, empties itself into the sea. At the period, forest 
covered the country, and the trees, though bent away from the sea, 
nearly approached the coast. The httle band set to work to cut down 
the timber and to construct habitations. When, however, they looked 
for seed-corn among their stores, they found to their dismay that it 
had been cast overboard in the storm. 

The story goes that Leonore knelt in prayer. Then one of his monks 
spied a robin redbreast perched on a stump, with an ear of corn in its 
beak, which the bird, when scared, let fall. The grain was sown and 
carefully harvested, re-sown next year, and so on, till from the ear of 
robin redbreast sprang the cornfields of the monastery. In the mean- 
while the colony subsisted on fish and milk, and the wild birds and 
beasts that they snared. 

At this time Childebert was king of the Franks, and he extended 
his rule over Armorica ; but a British settler, Riguald, or Righuel, or 
Hoel the king, had estabhshed himself in Domnonia, and exercised 
rule over the settlers. ^ He was a kinsman of Leonore, and came as well 
from Glamorgan. He would seem to have been Leonore's uncle, 
brother of his mother, if we admit the identity of Alma Pompeia 
with Alma, mother of Tudwal. Much about this time Tudwal also 

1 This number is not to be accepted literally. Tudwal is said to have brought 
over precisely the same number, which is taken from that of Christ's disciples. 

2 " Fuit vir unus in Britannia ultra mare, nomine Rigaldus, qui in nostra 
provincia venit citra mare habitare provincia, qui dux fuit Britonum ultra et 
citra mare usque ad mortem." Vita, in De Smedt, Catalog, cod. Parisiis. 

344 Lives of the British Saints 

arrived from South Wales, bringing with him his mother and, accor- 
ing to tradition, his sister Sceva ; but he and they settled further to 
the west ; and Brioc, also a kinsman by marriage, landed in the 
estuary of the Gouet. 

Leonore's little colony worked hard, clearing the ground for agri- 
cultural occupations, but was perplexed how to deal with the logs they 
had felled. With much labour they rolled them into the bed of the 
little stream, which they choked with them, but, happily, heavy rains 
swelled the petulant Crevelon into a torrent, and it swept the encum- 
brance into the sea,^ where the tide carried the logs about, like ducks 
swimming in the water. ^ The stumps they destroyed with fire. 

The work of settlement exhausted the colonists, they became sulky 
and murmured, and formed a plot to desert Leonora and seek a more 
favourable site elsewhere. But he got wind of it, and by expostula- 
tions and persuasion appeased the malcontents. 

The biographer says that he managed to secure a dozen big stags 
{cervos grandissimos) and trained them to bear the yoke, to plough and 
draw burdens. The story need not be dismissed as pure fiction. It is 
possible enough that such beasts, if caught young, might be rendered 
docUe, and the ploughing required of them would be merely the 
drawing over the soil of a forked stick to lightly scratch the surface. 

When the seed had multiplied sufficiently for a real sowing of a 
harvest field, the occasion was celebrated as one of great rejoicing. 
Leonore led the way to the field, followed by all the brethren from the 
oldest down to the youngest. ^ 

One day, after labour in the fields, Leonore was leaning on his staff, 
when he observed something glittering in the soil thrown up by the 
moles. He dug at the spot and unearthed a gold statue of a ram, a 
relic of the Gallo-Roman occupation. " Gold is for kings and not for 
priests," said he, and laid the curious object aside for use should need 
for it arise later.* 

' " Repererunt totam silvam in mari funditus jactam, et nichil in eodem 
campo remansit nee spinarum neque tribulorum aliquid quod impedimentum 
fecisset sarculo nee aratro." Bibl. Nat. MS. Lat., 5317. 

^ " Viderunt natantem sUvam et coagitatam super mare, sieut anseres flante 
vento in flumine." Ibid. 

' " Leonorus sparsit in eampum semen primus, et post eum omnes fratres 
illius, senes similiter cum junioribus, eeperunt eampum seminare." Ibid. 

* " Quadam die, cum vellet scire qualiter messis proficeret, sumptis tribus 
diseipulis, ad agrum vadit. Dum autem in capite campi super baculum requies- 
ceret, apparuit forma aurei arietis in terra, quem talpaa, ex more fodiendo 
terram in circuitu, diseooperuerant. Quo extracto a loco, ait : Aurum eonvenit 
regibus, non sacerdotibus." Vita S. Leonor. ex MS. Aiyeb., Acta SS. Boll., 
Jul. i, p. 121. 

aS*. Leonore 345 

And, indeed, bad times came on. Righuel died, and the power over 
Domnonia fell into the hands of Conmore, Count of Poher, who ob- 
tained from Childebert the office of vicegerent in Brittany. Jonas, the 
Domnonian king, died, and Conmore at once married the widow. Here 
the author of the Life makes a curious blunder. He confounds Jonas 
with Righuel.i The widow of Jonas had a son, Judual, by her first 
husband, and he accompanied her to her new home. One night she 
dreamed that the men of Brittany came to her son, seated on a moun- 
tain top, and put their staves into his hand. She had the indiscretion 
to communicate her dream to Conmore, who interpreted it as signifying 
his own death, and the accession of Judual in his place ; and bursting 
into a fury, he declared that it was his wife's design to accomplish his 
death for the sake of her son's advancement. 

The woman, in alarm, sent Judual to take sanctuary with S. Leonore ; 
but the Abbot, not feeling confident that the Regent would respect the 
rights of sanctuary, and learning that he was approaching, thrust the 
boy on board ship, and sent him off to sea. 

Conmore, at the time when this took place, was probably at Monte- 
fUant, to the west of the old Roman city of Corseul. It is a fortress 
planted on a point of land with a valley on each side, and accessible 
only by an isthmus to the south. In later times a mediaeval castle was 
erected there, but the prehistoric camp, which was that in all likelihood 
utilized by Conmore, remains intact. 

When Conmore heard that Judual had fled to Leonore, he was further 
incensed, pursued him to the monastery, and peremptorily demanded 
the surrender of the refugee. 

" He is yonder," replied Leonore, pointing to a white sail in the 

Conmore, furious, struck Leonore full in the face with his fist, and 
retired wrathful and discouraged. 

What he feared had, in fact, taken place, Judual had sought refuge 
with Childebert. Conmore at once sent a deputation to the Frank king 
to urge his own claims, and to prepossess him against the British 
prince. His representations induced Childebert to keep Judual at 
Paris under restraint. 

Leonore, redoubting the violence of the Regent, himself now took 
the road to Paris. He was well received, the more so as he produced 
the golden ram that he had found, and presented it to the king, whose 
jewellers estimated the value as, in present money, :^3,6oo. Childe- 

1 " Mortuo autem Rigaldo remansit uxor ejus cum suo filio, nomine Jugualus." 
Bib. Nat. MS. Lat. 537. Judual was son of Jonas, not of Righuel ; Jonas was 
grandson of Righuel or Rivold, but probably succeeded him immediately. 

34^ Lives of the British Saints 

bert was lavish in his promises. " I desire nothing," said the Abbot, 
" save the value of the ram in land, and security of tenure. The dis- 
trict was a wilderness. We have cleared and tilled it, and it is but just 
that we should be allowed to occupy it without hindrance." 

" Go to the top of the hill nearest to your monastery," said the 
king, " and ring your bell. The land is yours so far as the sound of 
the bell reaches." 

Thus secured against molestation, Leonore returned to his settlement, 
where Conmore did not venture to interfere with him. 

Judual was equally successful. As we have seen, he had been per- 
secuted by Conmore, and had betaken himself to Paris to solicit pro- 
tection, which had been guaranteed to him by Childebert. But the 
saintly brothers, if brothers they were, were thorns in the side of the 
Regent. They fomented discontent ; and prepared the ground for 
the rising under the skilful leadership of Samson, who brought Judual 
back from Paris, a rising that ended in the defeat and death of 
Conmore in 555. 

Leonore did not long survive the accession of Judual to the throne ; 
he died at the age of fifty-one about the year 606, and was buried in 
his monastery, the site of which bears his name, altered into S. Lunaire. 

His tomb is in the old parish church, which has happily escaped 
destruction, when a pretentious and ugly modern church was erected 
at a little distance from it. Probably the sarcophagus, which is rude, 
is the original tomb, b'ut over this has been placed a monumental effigy, 
in the fifteenth century, representing the Saint as a bishop. On his 
breast is figured a dove bearing his portable altar. 

In the ancient Breviary of Leon his day is given as July i. So also 
the Vannes Missal of 1530, and the MS. fifteenth century Breviary 
of S. Meen. So likewise the Paris Breviary till 1607, when the observ- 
ance of his day was suppressed. In the Dol Breviary of 1769, the 
commemoration was transferred to February 16. At Coutance it 
was transferred to July 3. 

The translation of the Saint's relics to Beaumont-sur-Oise, which 
took place in the tenth century, is commemorated in the S. Malo 
Missal of 1609 on October 13. 

.S LEUBRI or LAURUS, Abbot, Confessor 

Leubri is invoked in the Celtic Litany of the tenth century published 
by D'Arbois de Jubainville. ^ He is not included in the other Celtic 
* Revue Celtique, iii, p. 449. 

S. Leubri 347 

Litanies, published by Warren, Mabillon, and that in the Missal of S. 
Vougai. M. J. Loth supposes that this Leubri is S. Lery,i who receives 
a cult in Domnonia, and whose name has been Latinized into Laurus. 

The original Life existed in a MS. Breviary of the Abbey of Montfort 
in lUe-et-Vilaine, that had belonged to the church of S. Lery. A 
copy of this is in the Blancs-Manteaux Collection, Bibl. Nat., Paris, 
MSS. Frangais, xxxviii. See also Acta SS. Boll., Sept. viii, pp. 692-7, 
and Lobineau, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, ed. Tresvaux, Paris, 1836, 
ii, pp. 85-94. 

Lobineau made a curious mistake. He says : " On a quelque sujet 
de croire qu'il etait de Broiierech, c'est-a-dire du pays de Vannes," and 
he has been followed by De la Borderie.^ But for this there is no 
authority. He is said to have been a man of noble origin, and to have 
crossed over from Britain, and to have landed at Aleth in the reign of 
Judicael, 610-40. 

Whoever Lery was, when he arrived he went up country into the 
dense and extensive forest of Brecilien, where Judicael had a hunting 
lodge at Gael, and after acquiring the favour of the Queen, Morona, he 
asked the prince to give him lands on which to settle. The most 
economical way of satisfying him, was by turning another saint out of 
his nest and offering it to the new-comer. There was such a saint, 
EUocan, living on the Doneff, that feeds the pretty lake du Due above 
Ploermel. He received notice to quit, and then his cell and lands were 
made over to Lery. 

Disciples gathered round him, and he ministered to the spiritual 
needs of the settlers in the stray clearings of the forest, but devoted his 
special attention to the people of the region round Aleth. He is said 
to have succeded in converting from idolatry some of the original 
natives. He maintained the favour of Judicael till that prince abdi- 
cated, in or about 640, and retired into a monastery. Lery died at an 
advanced age in his monastery on September 30, and was placed in a 
stone cof&n he had brought with him from Britain. 

At the time of the incursion of the Northmen, his body was trans- 
lated to Tours. 

S. Laurus is entered in the ancient calendar of S. Meen on September 
30. The tomb is at S. Lery, but is a structure of the fifteenth century. 
On it the saint is represented in monastic habit, a crosier under the left 
arm, holding a book in both hands, his feet resting on a dog. Above 
the tomb is a wooden bas-relief of the sixteenth century representing 
the death of the saint, his funeral and exaltation. 

1 Revw Celtique, xi, p. 146 ^ Hist, de Bretagne, i, p. 484. 

34^ Lives of the British Saints 

S. LEUTIERN or LUGHTIERN, Bishop, Confessor 

Invoked in the Celtic tenth century Litany in the Library of the Dean 
and Chapter at Salisbury/ and as Loutiern in that published by 
Mabillon.2 He is probably the Lughtiern who was abbot of Ennisty- 
mon in County Clare. Little is known of him. He is commemorated 
on April 28, in several Irish Martyrologies, as those of Tallaght, 
Donegal and O'Gorman. In the gloss on that of Oengus is — - 

Christopher, with Cronan, 
Lughtiern with starkness, 
On his feast, without vainglory 
Went many soldiers to martyrdom.' 

Brigh, daughter of Forannan, son of Conall, was his mother, and 
his father seems to have been Cutrita. Lughtiern was disciple of 
S. Ruadhan of Lothra. He was abbot of Ennistymon, and, along with 
S. Lasrean of Druim Liag, paid a visit to S. Ita, and remained three 
days with her, after which, having received her blessing, they returned 

No Life of this Saint exists. As S. Ita died in 570, and he was her 
contemporary, we must set him down as flourishing at the end of the 
sixth century. 

He would seem to have gone to Brittany, if the Leuthern be the same 
whose relics were carried to Paris by Salvator, Bishop of Aleth, in 965, 
on account of the ravages caused by the Northmen. Hugh Capet, in 
the time of Lothair, transported them to the church of S. Bartholomew 
in Paris. ^ 

As there was a monastic establishment, founded by S. Brendan, in 
Cesambre, off Aleth, and as several Irish saints did settle on the Ranee 
and at its source, it is possible enough that this saint did visit Brittany 
and die there. 

Garaby very confidently identifies the two. He says : " The Lord 
desiring to open a vaster field for the labours of His servant, Louthiern 
was consecrated Bishop in Britain. ... He passed into Armorica. 
There he spent the rest of his life ... in the neighbourhood of S. 
Malo." ^ But he gives no authority for the statement. 

"> Revue Celtique, ix, p. 88. 

2 Vetera Analecta, 1723, ii, p. 669. 

' Filire of CEngus, ed. Stokes, 1871, p. Ixxvii. 

^ Colgan, Acta SS. Hibern., i, p. 70. 

* Duchesne, Script. Hist. Franc, iii, p. 344. 

" Vies des SS. et Bienheureux de Bretagne, 1839, pp. 444-5. 

S. Levan 349 

S, LEVAN, Priest, Confessor 

b. Levan's Church, in Cornwall, is in the district colonized by Irish 
settlers, and he is not unknown to the Irish. 

We must reject as untenable the assertion made by Dr. Oliver, and 
others after him, that Levan is Livinus, apostle of the Frisians, who 
died in 773, concerning whom a Life was forged in the eleventh century. 

Levan is the Irish Loebhan. He was a saint at Killevan in Clonfert 
and Kilmore, where are three chapels dedicated to him. Killevan was 
his monastic foundation. 

In the Egerton MS. list of the four and twenty persons in holy orders 
who were with S. Patrick, he is classed as one of his smiths. " Mac 
Cecht (Laeban) of Domnach Laeban — it is he that made the [bell called] 
Findfardech," which means " the sweet-toned." Colgan also held 
that Loebhan and Mac Cecht (son of a plough) are one and the same. 
But in the list of S. Patrick's household in the ZeaJAa;' iJreac he is dis- 
tinguished from Mac Cecht, erroneously we think. 

As so very Uttle is known of him in Ireland — so completely does he 
disappear from among the disciples of the Apostle, — we may suspect 
that he, like Carannog, left him, and that, moreover, at an early period 
in Loebhan' s career. 

We hear of a Loevan or Loenan as associated with Paul of Leon when 
he left Wales and came to Brittany. But whether this be the same we 
cannot be sure. He accompanied S. Tudwal to Paris, with eleven 
other disciples. On that occasion, as none of these Celtic monks could 
speak the Frank tongue, they asked S. Albinus of Angers to serve as 
their interpreter. The object of Paul and Tudwal going to the Frank 
King, Childebert, was to obtain a confirmation of their several grants 
of land. S. Albinus, or Aubin, was a native of Vannes, and therefore 
able to speak the British tongue. In 538-40 Conmore usurped the 
regency of Domnonia, and it was then that Tudwal and Paul visited 

This same Loevan or Levan wrote the Life of S. Tudwal, a Life that 
is still extant, 1 that was originally written in Irish. Tudwal died in or 
about 553 or 559. 

The probable date for the death of S. Patrick is 493.2 We cannot 
say at what time in his apostohc work Levan was with him ; perhaps 
late, and then only for a short while. There is, however, a difficulty in 
reconcihng the dates, and if the Patrician Loebhan be the same as the 

1 De la Borderie, Saint Tudual, Textes destrois Vies, Vital ma, Mimoires de la 
Soc. Archiol. des C6tes-du-Nord, 2nd ser., T. ii, p. 84. 
^ Shearman, Loca Patriciana, Dublin, 1882, p. 451. 

3 5 o Lives of the British Saints 

Loevan who wrote in Irish the Life of Tudwal, he must have lived to an 
advanced age. 

In Ireland, S. Loebhan, of Ath-eguis, occurs in the Martyrologies on 
June I,'- but the place cannot be identified ; and the name without 
indication of place, on August 9. As in Brittany his Pardon is 
observed on the second Sunday in August, this seems to identify 
Loevan with the Loebhan on August 9. At S. Levan in Penwith, the 
feast is observed on October 15. 

Loevan or Loenan, the associate of S. Paul, founded Treflaouenan in 
the diocese of Leon, and as a companion of S. Tudwal he has a chapel 
at Ploulech in Treguier. He has also a chapel at Plounevez-Moedec. 

Probably Porthleven in Cornwall had originally a chapel bearing his 
name. Dr. Borlase visited the church of S. Levan in 1740, and says ^ : — 
" Whilst we were at dinner at the inn, it was very pleasant to hear the 
good old woman, our landlady, talk of S. Levin, his cursing the name 
Johannah, his taking the same two fishes twice following, his entertain- 
ing his sister, Manaccan ; and as a confirmation of everything we were 
desir'd at our departure to observe his walk, the stone he fish'd upon, 
with some other particulars of like importance." 

The original oratory and the holy well of the Saint were on the 
edge of the cliff, a little below the church. Some remains of the 
well may yet be seen. In the church, on one of the bench-ends, he 
is represented with a cap, in which is a pilgrim's scallop, in a mantle ; 
and in one hand a knotted rope, in the other a book. 

In Art, he should be represented with a bell and a smith's tool. 

At Ploulech, in Brittany, he is figured as an abbot, bare headed, 
a staff in one hand and an open book in the other. At Tredarzec 
as a bishop. He is invoked on behalf of rickety children. His feast 
is kept on the 2nd Sunday in September. He is perhaps invoked 
as Loviau or Lovian in the eleventh century Celtic Litany published 
by M. D'Arbois de Jubainville. M. J. Loth says : " Le nom de ce 
saint vane entre Leviavus et Levianus." 

When the relics of so many Breton Saints were being carried away 
from the coast because of the devastations of the Northmen, in the 
tenth century, among those transported to a place of greater security 
were the relics of Leviavi Episcopi.^ Loviau is perhaps a misreading 
for Lovian or Levian. 

1 Martyrologies of Tallaght, of O'Gorman, of Donegal, and of Cathal McGuire. 

' MS. Par. Mem., p. 4, No. 3. 

^ Duchesne, Script. Hist. Franc, iii, p. 344. 

S. Lily 351 

S. LIBIAU, Hermit 

What is known of this saint, whose name would now be Lhbio, 
is to be found in the Life of S. Clydog, and a grant in the Book of 
Llan Ddv} He, his brother Gurvan, and their sister's son, Cinvur, 
left, through some dispute, their native cantref of Penychen, in Mid- 
Glamorgan, and settled down to an eremitical life at Merthyr Clydog 
or Clodock, in Herefordshire, on the banks of the Monnow, where, 
" with the advice and assistance of the bishop of Llandaff, they built 
an improved church." They were granted lands, on both sides of 
the Monnow, to their church by Pennbargaut, King of Morganwg. 
The three hermits were " the first inhabitants and cultivators of 
the place after the martyrdom of Clydog." 

Ithel, the son of Morgan, King of Glywysing, subsequently made 
a grant of their territory to the church of Llandaff in the time of 
Bishop Berthguin. 

Lech Lybiau, Libiau's Stone, is mentioned in the description of 
the boundary of Mathern, in Monmouthshire. ^ 

Libiau was the name of the 24th reputed Bishop of Llandaff. ^ 
He died in 929. 

For the Anglesey saint of the name see under S. Llibio. 

S. LILY, Confessor 

Browne Willis, in his Survey of the Cathedral Church of S. David's,'^ 
1717, appears to be the sole authority for this saint, whom he calls 
Lily Gwas Dewi, S. David's Servant.^ After alluding to the obser- 
vance at S. David's of the Festivals of S. David on March i, S. Non 
(his mother) on the 2nd, and S. Lily (his servant) on the 3rd, he says : 
" There is a tradition still preserved among the old people of the place, 
that within these hundred years, or not much earlier, at least many 
years after the Reformation, these two saints, S. Nun and S. Lily, 
had as much honour paid them by the country people, as S. David 
himself ; and if any of them had been known to work upon any of 
those days, it would have been esteemed as a very heinous offence. 
Now only S. David's Day is observed." 

1 Pp. 194-5. ^ Ibid., pp. 142, 369. ' Ibid., pp. 303, 312. 

* Pp. 36, Si. ^ For this use of Gwas see under S. Ieuan Gwas Padrig. 

352 Lives of the British Saints 

Later writers speak of him as a beloved disciple and constant atten- 
dant on S. David, and say that there was a chapel dedicated to him 
at S. David's. But we possess no authentic information about him. 
His festival day is not entered in as much as one Welsh calendar. 


S. LUCIUS, King, Confessor 

Bede, in his Chronicle, written about 725, says : — 

" A. 161-180. M. Antoninus Verus cum fratre Aurelio Commode 
annos decern, mensis unum, etc. . . . Defuncto Commodo fratre, 
Antoninum Commodum filium suum consortem regni facit, etc. . . . 
Lucius Britannise rex missa ad Eleutherum Romse episcopum epistola 
ut Christianus efficiatur, impetrat." 

By M. Antoninus Verus Bede means M. Aelius Aurelius Antoninus 
Verus, commonly known as Marcus Aurelius. He was emperor 
from 161 to 180. 

By Aurelius Commodus he means Lucius Ceionius Aelius Aurelius 
Commodus Verus, commonly known as Lucius Verus. He was co- 
regent with Marcus Aurelius from 161 to 169. 

According to Bede in his Chronicle, the message of Lucius arrived 
when Lucius Verus was dead, i.e., after 169 and before 180. Eleu- 
therius was bishop of Rome from I7|- to 192, consequently the alleged 
letter and deputation from Britain arrived between the years 175 
and 180. 

But Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History, written in 731 says, (i. 4) : 
" A. ab Incarn. Domini 156 M. Antonius Verus decimus quartus 
ab Augusto regnum cum Aurelio fratre suscepit. Quorum tem- 
poribus quum Eleutherius vir sanctus pontificatus Romae ecclesiae 
preecesset, misit ad eum Lucius Britanniarum rex epistolam ob-' 
secrans ut per ejus mandatum Christianus efficeretur, et mox effectum 
piffi postulationis effectus est. Susceptamque fidem Britanni usque 
in tempora Diocletiani principis inviolatam integramque quieta 
in pace servabant." Here Bede makes the mission of Lucius take 
place before 169 when Lucius Verus died. He further gives a date 
for the accession of Marcus Aurelius which is wrong, 136 instead 
of 161. Now as Lucius Verus died before Eleutherius became pope, 
he has obviously fallen into chronological error. 

S. Lucius 3 53 

-But at the end. of his History, Bede gives a chronological summary 
(v. 24), and in that summary he writes : — " A. Dom. Incarn. 167 
i-leutherius Romae praesul factus xv annis ecclesiam gloriosissime rexit : 
GUI literas rex Britannise Lucius mittens, ut Christianus efficeretur 
petiit et impetravit." 

Here he gives a wrong date for Eleutherius, he puts him some 
seven years too early. In 167 Soter was bishop of Rome. The reason 
of the discrepancy is that in his Chronicle Bede followed the com- 
putation of the Eusebian-Hieronyman Chronicle, De temporunu 
ratione, whereas in his History he followed the dates given by Orosius, 
and then, in Ms Epitome at the end, reverted to the authority of 
Eusebius- Jerome. 

But neither of his authorities mentioned the deputation of Lucius. 
He had got hold of the statement that Lucius, King of Britain, sent 
a letter to Eleutherius, and he tried to fit it into his history as best 
he might, and that was clumsily and unchronologically. 

Bede drew his information concerning Lucius and his embassy 
solely from the Catalogue of the Bishops of Rome, which he quotes 
almost verbatim. 

Now of the early Catalogues there are two. Of these the first 
contains a list of eighteen bishops from S. Peter to Urban (222-230), 
and this was continued to about 354, during the pontificate of Liberius. 
In it the message of Lucius is not mentioned at all. The entry 
under Eleutherius is : " Eleutherius annis (desunt) fuit temporibus 
Antonini et Commodi, a consulatu Veri et Erenniani usque Paterno 
et Bradno (191)." ^ That is all. 

The second Catalogue is the so-called Felician Catalogue, because 
it closes with Fehx III (IV). This, however, is held not to be an 
original Liter Pontificalis, but an extract from it. It was drawn 
up between 483 and 492. This contains the passage under the head 
of Eleutherius : — " Hie accepit epistolam a Lucio Britannio rege 
ut Christianus ef&ceretur per ejus mandatum." ^ 

Now it is worthy of remark that, on the face of it, the paragraph 
has all the appearance of an interpolation. The form of all the 
entries of the early pontiffs is this formulary : N., natione . . .. 

^ There is a blunder here. Alfidius Herennianus was consul in 171 and then 
not in conjunction with Lucius Verus, but with T. Statilius Severus. M. Keren- 
nius Secundus was consul in 183 along with the Emperor Commodus. The 
Liberian Catalogue, drawn up by Furius Dionysius Filocalus, scribe to Pope 
Damasus, is printed by Mommsen, Ueber den Chronographen von '3 S4, in Abhand- 
lungen d. Koniglicher Acadam. von Sachsen, Leipzig, 1850, i, pp. 547 et seq> 
Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, Paris, 1886, i, pp. 2-12 , 

^ Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, i, pp. S8, 136. 

VOL. III. -'^ A 

3 54 Lives of the British Saints 

«x patre . . . sedit annos . . . menses . . . dies . . . Fuit autem 
temporibus . . . Augusti, a consulatu . . . usque ad consulatum 
. . . Hie constituit . . . Hie fecit ordinationes ... in urbe Roma 
per mens, decembr., presbiteros . . . diaconos . . . episcopos per 
diversa loca numero . . . qui etiam sepultus est . . . et cessavit 
cpiscopatus dies. . . ." No details about transactions abroad. 
Moreover, we have no earlier MSS. of this Felician Catalogue than 
■one of the ninth century. 

The Liber Pontificalis was drawn up at various periods, and was 
amplified as it proceeded through its several editions. It has been 
■erroneously attributed to Anastasius Bibliothecarius. All the earlier 
portion was given its present shape in the sixth century. This has 
the entry under Eleutherius exactly as in the Felician Catalogue. 

In the first place, it may be noted how almost absurd it was to 
make a King of Britain at the time when M. Aurelius was Emperor, 
and Britain was a portion of the Empire. No writer of a notice 
at the time could have so described a Lucius, if he ever existed, and 
was a petty chieftain in Britain. It was not till after the Roman 
hold on Britain ceased in 410 that kingship began to reappear in 
the island. Moreover, had the Britons desired Christian missionaries 
and bishops, they would have sent into Gaul for them in all prob- 

The next point to consider is, how and when this passage was 
inserted in the Liber Pontificalis. 

It is clear that Bede knew no more about Lucius and his embassy, 
and its results, than what he got from the text of the Catalogue he 
had before him. 

Gildas, who wrote his book about 540, knew nothing of Lucius, or 
lie would assuredly have mentioned him and his delegation to Eleu- 
therius and the results, the conversion and baptism of the British 

Pope Gregory knew nothing about it when in 597 he wrote his 
long answer to a series of questions propounded to him by Augustine. 
Augustine had asked : " How are we to deal with the bishops of 
■Gaul and Britain ? " Gregory replied very fully relative to the 
■Gallic prelates, Augustine was to exercise no jurisdiction over them, 
and he gives his reasons. " But as for all the bishops of Britain, 
-we commit them to your care, that the unlearned may be taught, 
the weak strengthened by persuasion, and the perverse corrected 
by authority." 1 

Now, had Gregory known of the conversion of Britain by legates 
1 Bede, Hisl. Eccl., i, c. 27. 

iS. Lucius 3 55 

from Rome with the authority of Eleutherius, he would have men- 
tioned this as showing that the British Church was a daughter of 
the Church of Rome, that its Bishops derived orders and jurisdiction 
from the Chair of Peter, and that therefore he, Gregory, had a right 
to the oversight of that Church, and to the ordering of its affairs. 
But he did nothing of the sort. 

It was, again, quite possible for Gregory to allude effectively to 
the same topic in the letter to King Ethelbert in 60 1, but not by a 
word does he intimate that he knew anything of the story.^ 

Bede does not record the discussion between Augustine and the 
recalcitrant British Bishops at the " Oak." Nor does he give us 
the letter of Laurentius his successor to the British Bishops, though 
he does furnish us with that to the Irish Bishops and abbots. We 
■are consequently unable to draw any conclusions therefrom. 

In 664 was held the assembly at Whitby, when the Celtic Church 
in Northumbria stubbornly resisted Wilfrid, who desired to force 
on it the observance of the Roman computation for Easter. Bishop 
Colman, who spoke for the Celtic usage, appealed to tradition. 
"" The Easter I keep, I received from my elders who sent me bishop 
Iiither ; all our forefathers, men beloved of God, are known to have 
Tsept it after the same manner ; and that the same may not seem 
■contemptible to any or deserving of rejection, it is the same which 
S. John the Evangelist, with all the Churches over which he presided, 
is recorded to have observed." ^ 

What a strong and crushing weapon would Colman have employed 
Iiad he known of the Lucius story ! He would have been able to say : 
■" The British Church, and that of the Scots through the Church in 
Britain, received its rule for the celebration of Easter through those 
bishops sent by Eleutherius at the demand of Lucius. We have kept 
the tradition ; it is you who have altered your computation." 

The contention would have been unanswerable, at all events by 
Wilfrid ; for up to the Council of Nicasa the practice of the British 
harmonized with that of the entire Western Church, and the most 
ancient Roman table for Easter tallies precisely with the British 
Easter, and it was not till 525 that Rome accepted the calculation 
of Dionysius Exiguus. ^ 

In 680 a Council was held at Heathfield, under Archbishop Theodore, 
and S. Aldhelm was instructed to write an epistle to the Britons of 
Domnonia to urge them to submit to Rome. " Quid prosunt bonorum 
■operum emolumenta," he asked, " si extra Catholicam gerantur 

^ Bede, Hist. Eccl., i, c. 32. * Ibid., iii, c. 25. ^ Haddan & Stubbs, Councils, i, p. 1 52. 

3 5^ Lives of the British Saints 

ecclesiam ? " He could not have written this had he supposed that 
the British Church had been founded by Papal legates. Aldhelm 
let slip no argument by means of which he hoped to induce the 
stubborn British Church to submit to the Latin Church. He would 
certainly have appealed to the story of Lucius, had he known it.J- 

Some forty years later, Bede mentions the mission sent by Pope 
Eleutherius and the conversion of Britain. Surely had Gildas, 
S. Gregory, S. Augustine, S. Laurence, S. Colman, and S. Aldhelm 
known anything of this alleged mission, with its splendid results, they 
would one and all have harped upon it. 

When the earlier portion of the Saxon Chronicle was drawn up,., 
probably at the instigation of Archbishop Plegmund in 891, the 
passage from Bede's Ecclesiastical History was taken into it verbatim^ 
but with the date 167 from his Epitome at the end. 

The earliest British testimony to the story is that of Nennius 
who compiled his History in or about 796, using for basis an earlier 
Volumen Brittanice, composed in the seventh century. The story 
of Lucius and his embassy was, however, in the text used by Gilla 
Coemgin when he made his translation into Irish in or about 1071., 
However, it does not occur in the earliest extant MS. of the Historia 
Britonum, the Chartres Codex. It is therefore probably an addition,, 
and it is an ignorant , addition. It runs thus — "Post clxvii annos 
post adventum Christi Lucius Brittannicus rex cum omnibus regulis 
totius Brittannicas gentis baptismum suscepit missa legatione ab' 
imperatore Romanorum et a papa Romano Eucharisto." ^ 

The idea of a persecuting Emperor Marcus Aurelius combining, 
with the Pope to get Britain converted, is absurd. Nennius has.' 
taken the date 167 from Bede, he has amplified the text and misread 
the name of the Pope. There never was an Eucharistus, and Evaristus 
was bishop of Rome about 100-9. Gilla Coemgin, the translator 
into Irish, altered the name to Eleutherius. 

We need not concern ourselves further with Nennius. 

From the silence of all those engaged in controversy in Britain 
down to Aldhelm we may fairly conclude that the story of Lucius, 
was unknown in Britain, and in Rome till after 680, and that it was 
invented and forced fraudulently into the Liher Pontificalis after 
that date. There are no earlier MSS. of the Liber Pontificalis than the 
seventh century. The earliest is after 685. 

It was done with a^ deliberate purpose, to furnish the Papal See 
with a claim to authority over the British Church. It did not origi- 

' S. Aldhelmi Opera, London, 1842, in vol. i of Patres Ecclesi^ Anglicancs. 
." Nennius, ed. Mommsen, p. 164. - 

S. Lucius 3 57 

nate in Britain, but at Rome, where such manufacture was by no 
means uncommon. 

The Roman story is copied into the Boo^ of LlanDdv, a compilation 
of the twelfth century. " In the year of Our Lord 156, Lucius, King 
of the Britons, sent his legates, Elfan and Medwyn, to Eleutherius, 
twelfth pope on the Apostolic Throne, imploring that, according 
to his admonition, he might be made a Christian," etc.i 

William of Malmesbury adds that the Roman Missionaries, Phaganus 
and Deruvanus, went to Glastonbury. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth gives the final touches to the fable. Accor- 
ding to him, Lucius, King of Britain, appealed by letter to Eleutherius 
the Pope, and by solemn decree converted all the heathen temples 
throughout his realm into Christian churches, and transformed the 
■sees of twenty-eight flamens and three arch-flamens into as many 
bishoprics and archbishoprics. Faganus and Duvanus were the bishops 
sent by Eleutherius to convert the British. After having seen all 
Britain made Christian, the great King Lucius died childless at 
Gloucester in 156. 

The next step in forgery was the composition of the rescript of 
Pope Eleutherius to Lucius : " anno centissimo sexagessimo nono a 
passione Christi (i.e. 202), scripsit Dominus Eleutherius Papa Lucio 
Regi Britanniae ad correctionem {al. petitionem) Regis et Procerum 
regni Britannias." The letter is as follows : — 

" Petistis a nobis leges Romanas et Caesaris vobis transmitti, 
quibus in regno Britanniae uti voluistis. Leges Romanas et Caesaris 
■semper reprobare possumus, legem Dei nequaquam. Suscepistis enim 
Tiuper miseratione divina in regno Britanniae legem et fidem Christi. 
Habetis penes vos in regno utramque paginam. Ex illis Dei gratia 
per consilium regni vestri sume legem, et per illam Dei patientia 
vestrum rege Britanniae regnum. Vicarius vero Dei estis in regno . . . 
Gentes vero regni Britanniae et populi vestri sunt ; quos divisos 
debetis in unum ad concordiam et pacem et ad fidem et ad legem 
Christi et ad Sanctam Ecclesiam congregare, revocare, fovere, manu 
tenere protegere, regere, et ab injuriosis et malitiosis et ab inimicis 
semper defendere. . . . Rex dicitur a regendo, non a regno. Rex 
eris dum bene regis : quod nisi feceris nomen Regis non in te constabit, 
■et nomen Regis perdes, quod absit. Det vobis omnipotens Deus 
regnum Britanniae sic regere ut possitis cum eo regnare in aeternum, 
cujus vicarius estis in regno praedicto." 

This forged rescript was taken into the laws of Edward the Con- 
iessor, and on the strength of it, Edward claimed the title of Vicar 

1 P. 68 ; cf. p. 26. 

35^ Lives of the British Saints 

of God in England. " Rex autem quia Vicarius summi Regis 
est, ad hoc est constitutus, ut regnum terrenum, et populum Domini, 
et super omnia sanctam ejus veneretur ecclesiam, et regat, et ab 
injuriosis defendat, et maleficos ab ea evellat." ^ 

There can be Uttle doubt that this formed the basis of the pre- 
tensions of Henry VIII to be Supreme Head in Church as well as 
State in England. 

Another forgery was an epistle from S. Patrick, pretending to 
have been written about 434, in Glastonbury, in which is given a 
list of the names of the clerics sent by Eleutherius to Lucius. The 
names, beside Phaganus and Deruvanus, are Brumbam, Hyregaam, 
Brenwal, Wencreth, Brantcommeweng, Adelwared, Loyor, Wellias, 
Brenden, Swelwes, Hinloernius and Hin. It will be noticed that 
Saxon names are given among some affected to resemble British 
names. Patrick also has with him " Irish brothers " Arnulf and 
Ogmar, " qui mecum venerant de Ybernia." It is a composition 
of the twelfth century. ^ 

As Schoell well says of the legend of Lucius : " Jam nihil, ut opinor 
obstat, quo minus hanc fabulam qua ad recipiendam Pontificis 
Romani auctoritatem inducerentur Britones, inventam esse post 
Augustini adventum censeamus." ^ 

Duchesne has made an effort to remove the discredit that attaches 
to the fable, but it is wholly vain * ; that it is a fable he is compelled 
to admit. 

There have circulated other fables relative to Lucius, as that he 
was baptised by S. Timothy. A homily of the ninth century in 
the Library of S. Gall gives the following story. S. Paul sent his 
disciple Timothy into Gaul. Encouraged thereto by a Gaulish king,, 
Timothy pushed on into Britain, where King Lucius ruled over a. 
pagan people. Lucius summoned Timothy before him, believed,, 
and was converted and baptised along with his family and a great 
number of his subjects. Later, he resolved on leaving his kingdom, 
and preaching the Gospel elsewhere. He passed through Gaul, and 
visited Augsburg, where he was well received by the patrician Cam- 
pesterius, and founded the first Christian community in that city. 

1 \JssheT, Bntannicarum Eccl. Antiquitates.'D-ahlm., i6z9, ^.VV- 102-3. Ussher 
quotes with approval the judgment on this epistle by Bishop Godwin of Hereford I 
" De hac Epistola si me oporteat Sententiam ferre ; non nimis profecto sapere 
seculum Eleutherianum confitendum reor." 

' San-Marte, Gottfried von Monmouth Historia Regum Brit., Halle, 1854,. 
pp. 272-3. 

3 De EcclesiastictB Britonum . . . histories fontibus, BerHn, 185 1, p. 24. 

* Revue Celtigue, vi, pp. 49I-.3- 

S. Lucius 3 59 

Then he went on into the Rhetian Alps. After fasting and praying 
for seven days, on the eighth he began to preach. When he learned 
that in the Masswald, or forest, were uroxen that were adored by the 
natives as gods, the Saint went thither and converted many heathen. 
Those who did not believe threw him into a pit and would have stoned 
him, but he was miraculously delivered. Then the savage uroxen 
came up and licked his feet. When this was rumoured in the town 
of Chur or Coire, the people came forth to meet him with torches 
and hymns. Here the homily breaks off, and we learn nothing 
relative to his death. This story was taken into the Breviarium. 
Curiense, printed in 1490, and was read on the feast of the Saint till 
1646. To the story was added that Lucius after his conversion had 
sent a deputation to Pope Eleutherius to furnish missioners for the 
conversion of the British. In 1646, the Church of Chur accepted 
the Roman Breviary, and lections from Geoffrey of Monmouth ( ! !), 
but with additions from the Chur story ; and Lucius, who had hitherto 
been culted as a confessor, was thenceforth exalted into a martyr. 
Notker Balbulus, d. 912, inserted Lucius as a British king who 
came to Chur, in his Martyrology, but not without giving hint that 
he mistrusted the legend. 

In the sixteenth century the story got expanded and altered. 
It was said that this Lucius was the Lucius of Cyrene mentioned in 
the Acts xiii. i ; also that the saint was stoned in the castle of Martiola,, 
where now stands the cathedral. 

Peter de Natalibus (d. before 1406) says : Lucius the blessed 
Confessor was a King of Britain ; he was baptised by Timothy, the 
disciple of S. Paul ; who having set his realm in order and tranquiUty ; 
having abandoned the vanities of this world ; and many having 
been converted to God through his agency, travelled through Augs- 
burg and arrived at Chur, following the example of many seekers 
after perfection, and died on December 3, in peace." ^ 

But according to the Gesta Treverorum he was baptised by one 
Marcellus. There was a Marcellus, Bishop of Tongres, about 250, 
according to the Ust drawn up by Hubert of Liege in the eighth cen- 
tury — he was probably the same as the supposed Bishop at Li6ge 
about the same time. 

At Chur is shown the Luciuslochlein, into which Lucius and his 
sister Emerita retreated. She was seized by the pagans and burned 
to death at Trimmis. 

The cave of S. Lucius hes about half an hour's walk from the town 

1 Catalogus Sanctorum, i, c. 24. 

360 Lives of the British Saints 

of Chur, high up, and Mass is said in it once a month. A small trickle 
of water in it is used by pilgrims as a cure for sore eyes.^ 

Thackeray, in the first of his Roundabout Papers, speaks of the statue 
of S. Lucius at Coire. " In the Cathedral — his statue appears sur- 
rounded by other sainted persons of his family. With tight red 
breeches, a Roman habit, a curly brown beard, and a neat little gilt 
crown and sceptre, he stands, a very comely and cheerful image." 

Stow in his Chronicle says that the Church of S. Peter, Cornhill, 
London, was founded by S. Lucius, and he gives an inscription in 
that church testifying to this. Stow says " he was after some chronicle 
buried in London and after some chronicle buried at Glowcester." ^ 
Gloucester to-day claims his tomb. 

Lucius of Britain, who sent a delegation to Eleutherius, is a purely 
mythical personage. Professor Harnack by his recent brilliant 
discovery, has shown that the mission must have been from Eleutherius 
to Britium of the Edessenes, between 174 and 179, when Lucius Aelius 
Septimius Megas Abgarus IX was King of Britium.^ 

We will now come to the form the legend assumed in Welsh. This 
is not a long-drawn story of many details. Moreover, it is confined 
to one corner only of Wales — to a small district with Llandaff as its 
centre ; and it is here that the few threads of the legend were woven. 
Glamorganshire has proved fertile soil for the growth of these Christian- 
izing legends. Those associated with Bran and members of his family 
we have already noticed. 

Setting aside Geoffrey of Monmouth's Welsh Brut — a powerful factor 
in its formation — the legend is principally contained in the lolo MSS. 
and the later Triads, and is, consequently, of very late date. Lucius 
is therein said to have been the son of Coel ab Cyllin Sant ab Caradog 
ab Bran Fendigaid, a mythical enough ancestry. This differs from 
the pedigree in Geoffrey's Brut, which makes him the son of Coel ab 
Meurig ab Gweirydd Adarwenidawg ab Cynfelyn ab Teneuan ab 
Lludd ab Beli Mawr, and so on up to Prydain ab Aedd Mawr, the first 
monarch of the Isle of Britain. His name is given under various forms, 
which are merely Welsh renderings of the Latin name — Lleufer Mawr, 
Lleurwg or Lleirwg, and Lies.* The first form is explained by Nen- 

^ Burgener, Die Wallfartsorte d. Schweiz, Zurich, 1867, i, p. 314. 

^ For his association with London, see especially the note in Bp. Browne (of 
Bristol), The Christian Church in these Islands before the coming of Augustine, 
1899, pp. 59-61. 

^ Sitzungsberichte d. k. Preuss. Akad. d. Wissenschaften, rg Mai, 1904; re- 
ferred to in y Cymmrodor, xxi (1908), p. 95. The origin and growth of the myth 
have been lately dealt with in the Analecta BoUandiana, 1905, p. 393, and in the 
English Historical Review, xxii (1907), pp. 767-70. 

* Lleufer means literally " light-bearer," like Lucifer and Phosphorus. We 

S. Lucius 361 

nius, . " Lucius agnomine Lleuer Maur, id est, Magni-Splendoris." 
He is mentioned as " King of the Island of Britain, who Hved at Llan- 
daff. 2 Having conceived a desire to en:ibrace the Christian faith, he 
applied to Rome for teachers, and Eleutherius sent him Elfan, Medwy, 
Dyfan, and Ffagan.^ According to other accounts, the messengers 
sent by Lucius were Elfan and Medwy, and the Roman emissaries 
Dyfan and Ffagan. 

A chronicle * states : " Lies, also called Lleirwg Sant and Lleufer 
Mawr, sent for godly men from Rome to teach the Faith in Christ to 
the Welsh nation. He it was that first erected a church at Llandaff, 
and placed bishops therein, to administer Baptism to the Welsh 
nation. This was the first of our churches, and the most exalted in 
privileges. He also instituted schools there to teach the Faith in 
Christ, and a knowledge of Welsh books." 

Again, " Lleufer Mawr gave property to Cor Eurgain (called after 
him Bangor Lleufer Sant) for 100 saints. He was the first king that 
established national order and law for the Faith in Christ, and he 
founded three sees, viz., Llandaff, Caerwyryl, and Caerfelyn." ^ 

Again, " Lies ab Coel founded Llandaff, and the Rhath Fawr (appar- 
ently Roath, now a suburb of Cardiff), and many others of which the 
names are now not known." ^ 

The two earlier series of the Triads know nothing of him, but he is 
mentioned in two Triads in the Third Series, of about the sixteenth 
century, wherein it is added that it was he who " first gave lands," 
and " bestowed the privilege of country and nation, judicial power and 
validity of oath, upon such as were of the Faith in Christ " ; and on this 
account he is distinguished as one of the three " Blessed Kings (Men- 
wedigion Teyrnedd) of the Isle of Britain." ' 

have the O. Welsh form in the louber of the alphabet attributed to Nemnivus in 
a Bodleian MS. of the ninth century. Lleurwg is derived from lleuer. We 
should have expected Lucius to have assumed in Welsh, at an early period, the 
form Lluc, later Llug, just as lucerna, borrowed early, yielded llugorn, but, as a 
late borrowing, Uusern. The equation Lucius = Lies ab Coel occurs for the first 
time in Geoffrey's Welsh Brut, in the fourteenth century Red Book of Hergest, 
where the Emperor Lucius Tiberius also appears as Lies. But, as Sir J. Rhys has 
pointed out to us, Lies from Lucius cannot be a direct Welsh borrowing. The 
Irish Uss, Us, meaning " light " (the exact equivalent of the Welsh llewych), is 
applied to Lucius in the Martyrology of Oengus (ed. Stokes), where, on March 4, 
we have " Lucius les laindrech," " Lucius, a lucid light ! " Lies = Lucius has, 
therefore, been derived through an Irish source, and that not a very early one. 
It is a name of rare occurrence in Welsh ; the only other instance that we know of 
is in the Bleddyn ab Cynf yn pedigree in Mostyn MS. 1 1 7 (of the thirteenth century) 
and Cardiff MS. 25, p. 71- 

1 Hist. Brit., c. 18. ' lolo MSS., p.. I49- ' Ibid, p. 115. 

i Ibid, p. 38 ; cf. pp. 40, 100. 

s Ibid, p. 149. ° Ibid, p. 220. ' Myv. Arch., pp. 404, 407. . 

362 Lives of the British Saints 

One of " The Stanzas of the Achievements " 1 informs us that — 

The acMevement of Lleirwg, the meek chieftain. 

The son of Coel ab Cyllin the eloquent, 

"Was the forming of books, and the medium of learning. 

To S. Lleirwg was formerly dedicated the church of Llanleirwg, 
later, Llaneirwg, 2 in Monmouthshire. It is now known as S. Mellon's, 
and the church in Latin documents has been called the church of 
S. Melanus since at least the thirteenth century. The parish church of 
the recently formed {1886) parish of Hirwain, in Glamorganshire, is 
dedicated to S. Lleurwg. 

Attesting the apparent truth of the Lucius legend, there are, besides 
Llanleirwg, not far from Llandaff, ancient parish churches dedicated to 
three out of the four Christian teachers mentioned, viz., Dyfan, Ffagan, 
and Medwy. Elf an, who always pairs with Medwy, appears never 
to have had any dedication. We have Dyfan at Merthyr Dovan, 
Ffagan at S. Pagan's, and Medwy at Michaelston-y-Vedw, formerly 
Llanfedwy, the church of which was burnt down in the eleventh 
century, and was never rebuilt, but Llanfedw has survived as township- 
name. In this group Lleirwg and Medwy had, after the Norman Con- 
quest, to make way for Mellon and the Archangel, which shows that 
their churches belonged to a fairly early period. 

The Llandaff tradition would meet with little or no consideration but 
for this little cluster of dedications in the neighbourhood, of which none 
occur elsewhere. For all that, there can hardly be a doubt that these 
dedications represent perfectly historical persons, who, however, lived 
some four centuries, more or less, later than the second. The legend- 
mongers found in the locality certain dedication-names, which they 
guessed, from their similarity only, to be those in the story, and took 
them over, and amplified the legend to what we find it in those sixteenth 
and seventeenth century documents, more especially in the lolo MSS. 

The common centaury is called, among other names, in Welsh, 
Llysiau Lleurwg,^ which also occurs as Llysiau yBleurwg; but they 
are " book " names for the plant. 

S. LUDGVAN, Abbot, Confessor 

The parish of Ludgvan, near Penzance, in Cornwall, appears in 
Domesday as Luduham. In the Exeter Transcript as Luduam. In 

1 lolo MSS., p. 263. 

2 Llan Leirwo, Peniarth MS. 133, of 1550 ; Llan Lirwg, Peniarth MS. 147, 
c. 1566; Llan Leirwg, Jesus College MS. 13, of seventeenth century, and Myv. 
Arch., p. 750. For the loss of II in Llaneirwg, cf. the Radnorshire Llanyre for 
Llanllyr. ' Meddygon Myddfai, Llandovery, 1861, p. 204. 

S. Liudgvan 363 

the Episcopal Registers as Ludewan (Stapeldon 1324, Grandisson 1330), 
or as dedicated to Sanctus Ludwanus (Bytton 1312, Stapeldon 1312, 
1318.) Ecclesia Sti. Ludowanni, Brantyngham, 1382 ; Ludvoni, also 
1382 ; Sancti Ludvone, 1383. This settles the sex of the Saint. 

Mr. Copeland Borlase suggested that Ludgvan stands for Llan 
Ddwynwen, and was named after one of the daughters of Brychan. 
This is quite inadmissible. 

Ludgvan is apparently Lithgean of Clonmore. His feast in the 
Calendar of Tallaght is on January 16, and the Ludgvan feast is ob- 
served in the week of the festival of the Conversion of S. Paul, January 
25. Add eleven days to January 16, required to obtain Ludgvan feast 
O.S ., and we have S. Lithgean's day, January 27. 

Of S. Lithgean not much is known. He was the son of Laignech, 
descended from Cucorb, King of Leinster, and belonged to the clan of 
the Hy Cormaic, who occupied the country west of the Wicklow moun- 
tains on the borders of Wicklow and Kildare. The family cemetery is 
at Killeen Cormac, between Dunlavin and Ballitore, and is known to 
archeeologists as having }delded several Ogham inscriptions. His 
mother, Melda or Bronfin, was sister to S. Ibar, and he was related to 
S. Cuach,Ciaran's foster-mother ,whom we have identified with S. Kewe, 
and S. Ladoca.^ She was buried in the family cemetery at Killeen. 
More remotely, he was related to S. Fiacc of Sletty, the Cornish Feock. 

Lithgean had six brothers, all saints, but the most important of 
them was S. Abban, of Killabban. The manner in which the whole 
family entered religion seems to point to its having been involved in 
the banishment of the Chu Clan for having embraced Christianity, 
and to its being allowed to return on condition that the members em- 
braced the ecclesiastical profession. We find a Lithgean also spoken 
of as brother of S. Achebran or Kevern and a son of Bochra. We must 
not take the title of son or brother too strictly. Whether these be the 
same or different persons, we have no means of judging. S. Lithgean 
had a foundation at Clonmore in the territory of the Hy Failghe or 
Ophaly, but it cannot now be identified. 

He probably moved to Cornwall about the same time as the rest 
from Ossory and Wexford, for he belongs to that period. If the Clon- 
more, where S. Lithgean was, be the Clonmore near Seir Ciaran in the 
barony of Ballybritt, then he must have been a neighbour and intimate 
with S. Ciaran, and have been in close touch with his cousin S. Cuach. 
It is most probable that the same political reasons which induced so 
many to leave the south-east of Ireland operated on Lithgean. 

Lithgean is not to be confounded with Laidhgean, of Clonfert Molua, 

1 Colgan, Acta SS. Hibern, xvi, Martii, Appendix ad Acta S. Abbani, c. iii, p. 626. 

364 Lives of the British Saints 

who belongs to a much later period. This latter is, however, an inter- 
esting personage as preserver of a crude Latin hymn by Gildas, which 
he took to Ireland, and which is preserved, and is the only early speci- 
men we have of Welsh hymnody. It has been pubhshed by Stokes in 
his Old-Irish Glosses. 

The local tradition at Ludgvan is that the holy abbot brought a 
stream of water, from its source at a distance, to flow under the church- 
yard wall ; and it was held that a child baptized in S. Ludgvan' s water 
is miraculously enabled to respond at its own baptism. The stream still 
flows, and supplies the village with drinking water. 



S. LUPUS, Bishop, Confessor 

The authorities for the Life of S. Lupus are : — A Letter of Sidonius 
ApoUinaris [Lib. vi, ep. i) to S. Lupus, and mention in other of his 
letters. A Life of the Saint written by some one who was acquainted 
with his disciples, in .dcteSS. Boll., Julii v, pp. 72-82. A second, and 
larger Life, written at the end of the eighth or beginning of the ninth 
century. This cannot be trusted ; Acta SS. Boll. Julii v., pp. 69-72. 

A letter, purporting to have been written by S. Lupus to Sidonius 
ApoUinaris, was forged by J. Vignier ; see Havet, Questions Merovin- 
giennes, ii, in Bibliotheque de I'Ecole desChartes, xlvi (1885), pp. 252-3. 

S. Lupus was born at Tulle in Gaul, about the year 383, and was the 
son of Epirichius, a nobleman. He married Pimeniola, sister of S. 
Hilary of Aries, and spent seven years with her in great love and happi- 
ness. Then he retired to the island of Lerins, and placed himself under 
the direction of S. Honoratus. What became of his wife is not stated. 

When S. Honoratus was made Bishop of Aries, he went to Macon, 
in Burgundy, to dispose of an estate he possessed there, and was prepar- 
ing to return, when he was met by the deputies of the church of Troyes, 
which had just lost its bishop, 426, to announce to him that he had 
been elected to the episcopal throne of that Church. 
[': In an assembly held at Aries in 429, it was decided to send S. Ger- 
manus of Auxerre and S. Lupus of Troyes to Britain to oppose the 
Pelagian heresy, which had greatly spread in the island. The history 
of that mission has been related in the Life of S. Germanus. 

aS*. Lythan 365 

Lupus and Germanus remained only about a year in Britain, and 
then returned. 

Lupus saved Troyes from being sacked by Attila, king of tlie Huns, 
when Gaul was overrun by the barbarian horde, and he died in 479. 

S. Lupus was a student with a fine hbrary, and Sidonius ApoUinaris 
held his literary judgment in high esteem. His eloquence seemed to 
his contemporaries to recall the golden age of GaUic rhetoric. ^ It was 
probably stilted and full of pedantry, for so only could it have met with 
the approval of such a man. 

Lupus's name was at some late period rendered Bleiddian, or Bleid- 
dan, in Welsh, and two churches in Glamorganshire are usually regarded 
as having been founded by him under that name, viz., Llanfleiddian 
Fawr, or Llanblethian, and Llanfleiddian Fach, or S. Lythan's. 
But there are difficulties in the way of these churches having been 
named after him ; and, moreover, there is no evidence that either 
Lupus or his companion Germanus ever set foot in Wales. See what 
has been said under S. Bleiddian and S. Lythan. 

Whether, on his way home, Lupus halted in Goelo, in Armorica, 
we are unable to say, but it is remarkable that he should have a cult 
there ; he is patron of Lanloup, and has several chapels. A fine four- 
teenth century statue of him is in the church of Pontrieux. His day 
in the Roman Martyrology, and in those ofBede, Hrabanus, Ado, 
Notker, Wandelbert, etc., is July 29. 

S. LYTHAN, Confessor 

Ithel, the son of Athrwys, King of Morganwg, made a grant of 
Ecclesia Ehdon to the Church of Llandaff during the episcopate of 
S. Oudoceus. ^ This is to-day S. Lythan's, a few miles from Cardiff. In 
the later additions to the Book of Llan Dav,^ the church is called Ecclesia 
de Sancto Lythano (or Lithane); so also in the Taxatio of 1254, and 
that of 1291, but in the latter the name is printed Lythano, an error 
for Lythano. The inscription on the Elizabethan paten belonging to 
the Church reads, ^ saincte lethyans 1577. In the parish boundary, 
as described in the grant, is mentioned Hen Lotre Elidon ; and Lum 
Elidon also occurs.* The latter, as Llwyn Elyddon (or Elyddan), 
survived late as the parish-name. 

1 Sidon., Epist. viii,, n, §2. ^ Book of Llan Ddv, pp. 157-8 ; ci. pp. 31, 90. 
3 Pp. 283, 340. ■ ' Ibid,' pp. 32, 44. 

366 Lives of the British Saints 

The parish is also known as Llanfleiddian Fach, to distinguish it 
from Llanfleiddian Fawr (Llanblethian), near Cowbridge. The latter, 
now dedicated to S. John Baptist, is called in various parish-lists of 
circa 1566-1606, Llan-Liddan, -Leiddan, and -Elidan.^ The same 
name is clearly involved, which would to-day be Elyddon, liable to 
become Elyddan. Neither church can, therefore, be dedicated to S. 
Bleiddian or Bleiddan, which it has been the custom to regard as the 
Welsh form of the name of S. Lupus of Troyes. Of Elyddon or 
Lythan we know nothing, but he probably lived a century or more later 
than did Lupus. See also under S. Bleiddian and S. Lupus. 

Browne Willis ^ gives September i as the feast day at S. Lythan's, 
but this is the festival of S. Lupus, Archbishop of Sens, who died in 623. 


The sole authority for this saint is an entry in a MS. of, apparently, 
the seventeenth century, printed in the lolo MSS.^ The name is 
sometimes written Lleminod (or Llyminod) Angel. Possibly the com- 
piler was led away by his epithet to include him. He was the son of 
Pasgen ab Urien Rheged, and brother of S. Gwrfyw. The Venedotian 
Tribes of CoUwyn ab Tangno and Marchweithian traced their descent 
through him. 



S. LLECHEU, Confessor 

Llecheu occurs in the late lists of Brychan's children as a son of his.* 
He is said to have a church dedicated to him at Llanllecheu, inEwyas 
— now mainly included in Herefordshire — which has not been identified. 
He is also connected with Llangan, or Tregaian, in Anglesey.^ In 
Peniarih MS. 178 (sixteenth century) it is stated that he was a saint at 

1 Dr. J. G. Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 919. S. Lythan's is not entered 
in these lists, but lolo Morganwg inserted it as Llanfleiddan Fach in that in 
Myv. Arch., p. 748. 

' Llandaff, 1719, append., p. 2 ; Paroch. Anglic, 1733, p. 199. 

3 P. 128. * lolo MSS., pp. Ill, 119, 140; Myv. Arch., p. 419- 

^ Myv. Arch., p. 427. 

iS. Lleuci 367 

lalyllechau, meaning Talley, in Carmarthenshire ; but this can only 
be an ignorant guess. 

Uacheu, or Llecheu, was the name of a son of King Arthur, who was 
slain at the battle of Llongborth, and is celebrated in the Triads. 

S. LLECHID, Virgin 

Llechid was the daughter — the only daughter, apparently — of Ithel 
Hael of Llydaw, and the sister of SS. Tegai and Trillo, who came hither 
from Armorica with Cadfan.i She is the patroness of Llanllechid, in 
Carnarvonshire, adjoining which is Llandegai. Capel Llechid, called 
also Yr Hen Eglwys, on Plas Ucha, in the parish, no longer exists. 
Legend says that the stones brought to it in the day-time were mysteri- 
ously carried away in the night to the spot whereon Llanllechid Church 
now stands, a distance of about a mile. In 1780 the chapel was fairly 
complete, and some remains of it were to be seen until within recent 
years. Near its site are two fields called Cae'r Capel and Cae'r Bettws. 
Ffynnon Llechid, the saint's Well, still flows hard by, and is behaved 
to possess curative properties. Many persons troubled with scrofula 
and kindred diseases used to repair to it. " So great was their faith 
in it that persons would call for a drink of its water when at the point 
of death." ^ Lewis Glyn Cothi, in the fifteenth century, swears by the 
saint's shrine, " myn bedd Llechid ! " * 

Llechid's festival is entered on December i in the Calendars in the 
Grammar of John Edwards of Chirkland, 148 1, the lolo MSS., and 
the Prymers of 1618 and 1633 ; but as the 2nd in Browne Wilhs,* 
the Camhrian Register,^ and a number of Welsh Almanacks from 1692 
onwards. Nicolas Roscarrock gives November i. 


S. LLEUCI, Virgin, Martyr 

There are two churches in Cardiganshire, and one in Carmarthen- 
shire, which are regarded as being dedicated to S. Lucia, but of whom 

1 Peniarth MSS. 12, 16, and 45 ; Hafod MS. 16 ; Cardiff MSS. 5 and 25 , 
Myv. Arch., p. 427 ; lolo MSS., pp. 104, 112, 133. 

2 Myrddin Fardd, Lien Gwerin Sir Caernarfon, 1909, p. 169. 

8 Works. Oxford, 1837, p. 183. * Bangor. 1721, p. 273. 

5 Vol. iii (1818), p. 222. 

368 Lives of the British Saints 

nothing is known. These are Bettws Leiki and Llanwnen, in the former 
county, and Abernant in the latter. It is quite evident that they are 
not early dedications, but of the Middle Ages. The first-named was 
formerly known as Capel Bettws Leuci, and served a district in the 
extensive parish of Llanddewi Brefi, which has since been made into a 
separate parish. Llanwnen, which is now sometimes given as dedicated 
to " S. Lucia or S. Gwynen," is ascribed by Browne Willis and Meyrick 
to S. Lucia alone, with festival on December 13. But the festival of 
S. Gwynen also fell on the same day, and it is clear that she has been 
merely supplanted by S. Lucia in the dedication, most probably on a re- 
building of the church. 

Lleuci, or Lleucu, is generally taken to be the Welsh assimilation of 
the name Lucia, but if so, it is not quite rule-right. The name would 
have to be a fairly early borrowing, before the c had become the sibi- 
lant it is in Lucy. But who may this Lucia or Lleuci have been ? We 
are disposed to identify her with the Lucia who was one of the numer- 
ous companions of the famous British virgin and martyr, S. Ursula, 
who, with her Eleven Thousand Virgins, was culted at Llanygwyryfon 
and, the now extinct, Capel Santesau, in the parish of Llanwenog, both 
in Cardiganshire. Llanwrlen adjoins Llanwenog ; and, moreover, in 
the contiguous parish of Llanybyther a large fair was held on their 
festival, October 21, O.S., and is still held on All Saints' Day and its 
Eve, which is popularly known as Ffair Santesau. Of this Lucia we 
have no information ^ beyond that she is stated to have suffered 
martyrdom, with S. Ursula and her fabulous maiden host, at Cologne 
in the fifth century, at the hands of the Huns. Her festival at Cologne 
is November 23.2 In the Welsh Life of S. Ursula in Peniarth MS. 182 
(c. 1514) " Lucia Vorwyn " is given among the eleven virgin saints 
whose names are mentioned.^ 

December 13 is the festival of S. Lucia, the young Sicihan saint, S. 
Lucy of Syracuse, who was martyred during the Diocletian persecu- 
tion, 303. Two churches in England are believed to be dedicated to 
her, Upton Magna, in Shropshire, and Dembleby, in Lincolnshire. She 
would have been more likely to receive a cult in England than in Wales. 

1 It has been suggested that she was, perhaps, " Lucia the Happy " of the 
Filire of Oengus (Smith and Wace, Diet, of Christian Biography, iii, p. 744). But 
this was none other than the Lucia of Syracuse : " Lucia with splendour, whom 
thousands moved not." See the Filire, edited by Dr. Whitley Stokes (H. 
Bradshaw Society), 1905, pp. 59, 68, 260, and the index. 

2 Stanton^ Menology, 1887, p. 510. ' Pp. 281, 290. 

/S. Lileuddad ab Dingad 3^9 


There were two Saints bearing the name Lleuddad, the one of 
Armorica, and the other of Wales, and the two have been confounded 
together. The earher pedigrees know nothing of the Armorican, 
Lleuddad Llydaw, as he is sometimes called. He was the son of 
Alan Fyrgan ab Emyr Llydaw, and, with many others, accom- 
panied his cousin, S. Cadfan, to Wales, i He was brother to SS. Llonio 
and Llyfab. The lolo MSS. make him a saint, or monk, of Bangor 
Illtyd, at Llantwit, and afterwards bishop in Bardsey. Rees ^ says 
thatafterthedeathof Cadfan, the first abbot of Bardsey, Lleuddad was 
appointed his successor. But this entirely confuses him with the Welsh 
Lleuddad, whose Life leaves no room for doubt upon the matter. He 
may, however, have gone with Cadfan to Bardsey. 

S. LLEUDDAD AB DINGAD, Abbot, Confessor 

This, the Welsh Lleuddad, was the son of Dingad ab Nudd Hael, of 
the race of Maxen Wledig, by Tenoi, daughter of Lleuddun Luyddog, 
of Dinas Eiddyn in the North.' He was thus a cousin to SS. Kentigern 

' MS. 5 (1527), p. 117 ; lolo MSS., p. 133 (on p. 145 he is given as son 
of Hjrwel ab Emyr Llydaw) ; Myv. Arch., pp. 427, 430. For his father, Alan, 
see i, pp. 136-7. ' Welsh Saints, p. 221. 

^ Peniarth MSS. 12, 16, 45 ; Hafod MS. 16 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 423, 427 ; 
Cambro-British Saints, p. 266 ; lolo MSS., pp. 103, 113, 139. On p. 145 of the last 
work he is called Lleuddad Gwent ; and at the other references it is stated that 
he and his brothers were saints of Llancarfan, who went in a body with Dyfrig to 
Bardsey. His name occurs under a variety of forms, but it is usually Llawddog 
or Llowddog in popular speech in South Wales, and Leuddad in North Wales, 
or rather in Lle}m. Lewis Gljm Cothi combines both in a couplet in his cywydd 
to Mm : — 

" Llowddog, fy Uw a oddef, 
Lleuddad ap Dingad yw ef," 

In the Saint's Buchedd his name is given as Llowddoc and Llewddoc, but in the 
pedigrees always Lleuddad. Giraldus wrote it Leudocus ; but the name is, 
usually Latinized Laudatus. The two fifteenth century bards, Hywel ab Dafydd 
and Thomas Celli, in their Cywyddau i'r Ugain Mil Saint, call him " Llewdad 
Iwydwyn " and " Llewdad Ian " ; and lolo Goch (Gweithiau, ed. Ashton, p. 389), 
" Lleudad llwyd." The parish-name, Llanllawddog, was formerly sometimes 
spelt Llanllaweddog and Llanllywyddog. The names of two lay witnesses in the 
Book of Llan Ddv, Loudoc (p. 237), and Loudoce (p. 150), would now regularly 
become Lleuddog and Lleuddogwy. Sir J. Rhys thinks Lou-doc, later Lleu-ddog, 
to have been a real name made up of Lou-, later Lieu- = Irish Lug, gen. Logo 
(later Logo) , meaning the god Lug, and perhaps ultimately a hero or champion in 
a wider sense ; and -doc, as in Doc-mail, later Dog-mael, Dog-wel. He regards Lleu- 
ddad as another genuine compound, to which there should correspond in Irish 

3 7 o Lives of the British Saints 

and Beuno. He had as brothers SS. Baglan, Eleri, Tegwy, and Tyfriog 
or Tyfrydog. His Life, Buchedd Llewddog Sant, occurs in Llansiephan 
MS. 34 (late sixteenth century), and there is a copy of it in MS. 104 
(early seventeenth century), in the same collection. We give here the 
substance of his legend. 

Dingad ab Nudd Hael, King of Bryn Buga, or Usk, was the father of 
twelve children, 1 all of whom served God. Llewddog declined his 
father's kingdom, and joined his eldest brother, Baglan, in leading a 
rehgious life, apparently in Carnarvonshire. He would continually 
disappear to some secret place for closer communion with God, for 
which he was wrongly aspersed by his brothers. Baglan bade Henwyn 
to take a bell with him and find out where he went. We next find him 
landed in " the Island of the Saints." ^ He was an entire stranger 
there, and Cadfan peremptorily told him that if he did not mean to 
stay he must clear out. Llewddog accordingly became a monk or 
canon of the Augustinian Order. ^ This, of course, is a gross 
anachronism ; and Bardsey was Benedictine. 

When Cadfan felt the approach of death he " bade the community to 
take Llewddog for their abbot after him. Llewddog and his monks 
buried Cadfan, and he thereupon became abbot. The bishops of 
Wales were filled with envy towards him ; and he joined their pastoral 
staffs into one staff at the place now called Bryn y Baglau (the Hill 
of the Pastoral Staffs). Then came Llewddog, with his bell in his 
hand and his canons, and made the sign of the Cross over them, and 
they became disunited. From thence he went to a spot where was a 
well, and took a bowl of milk and threw it into the well. Then he 
separated the milk from the water, which the others were not able 
to do. Whereupon the bishops were convinced that he was greater 
than they, and each of them gave him a portion of his land." * 

Llewddog, now secure in the abbacy, " worked miracles like one of 
the Apostles " to the end of his days, when an angel appeared to him 

Lug-daih, meaning he " of the colour or complexion of Lug." Mr. Egerton Philli- 
more, for eti = later aw, compares Breudi, the old form of Brawdy, and Leureni, 
the old form of Lawrenny, which latter he thinks comes from Laurent-ius or Laud- 
ent-his, the two names being doubtless convertible. 

' Even the later genealogies do not give him as many. 

^ According to the cywydd by Hjrwel ab Dafydd, the saints in Bardsey sent him 
a request to come and preside over them. 

' So Lewis Glyn Cothi. We are to infer from a grant of indulgence, dated 1286, 
that Bardsey was the earliest " domus religiosa de tota Wallia " (Haddan and 
Stubbs, Councils, etc., i, p. 584). 

* Hywel ab Dafydd says that the staffs grew on the hill into one leafy tree, 
which, on Llewddog's prayer, were once more separated ; but he does not say 
■that they were the staffs of bishops. 

S. JLleuddad ab Dingad 371 

and summoned him to Heaven. " Take whoever of thy monks thou 
choosest with thee," said the angel. " Then called he his canons before 
him, and said unto them, ' He that desireth to come with me shall 
come.' And they said, ' We will all come with thee.' ' Not so,' said 
Llewddog, ' the eldest only shall come with me ; the rest must here 
remain serving God.' 

" Three requests did Llewddog make of the angel. First, that his 
canons should die from eldest to eldest, whilst they kept the com- 
mandments of God. Secondly, that the soul of any person buried 
within that island should not go to hell. Thirdly, that so might it also 
happen unto him that should maintain the privileges of the island." 
The three requests were granted him. 

On his death-bed he had a glimpse of the Beatific Vision. " And 
they heard the voice of the Most High God bidding him come, and 
saying, ' It is time that thou come to the feast with thy brethren, 
Llewddog, to the place where thou art bidden.' " And with that 
he passed hence. 

The fifteenth century bard, Lewis Glyn Cothi, also wrote a short 
cywydd, or poem, in his honour. ^ It closely follows the prose Life, 
and ends by invoking Llowddog's blessing upon his territory (that 
chain of parishes) and upon his people ; upon every yoke, and plough, 
and harrow ; upon every ridge and furrow ; and upon every seed- 
corn and tree. 

Giraldus, in the twelfth century, knew something of the tradition 
about Llewddog's first request, for he says ^ that Bardsey, probably 
" from some miracle obtained by the merits of the saints, has this 
wonderful peculiarity, that the oldest people die first." This privilege 
of dying according to seniority is recorded by Higden, whose Latin 
doggerel was thus Englished by Trevisa : — ^ 

At Nemyn in NorJ> Wales A litel ilond ]?ere is, 
Jiat hatte Bardeseie ; Menkes wone]? )>ere alweie : 
Men lyuej> so longe in ]7at hurste, ]?at J)e eldest deijej" furst. 

A late MS. memorandum tells us something more ; how each oldest 
canon would watch diligently for " the hour the thief of this life 
would come " ; how " God, Who is ever faithful, kept His covenant 
inviolate, until the monks ceased to lead a religious life, and wickedly 
profaned His sanctuary ; " and how thereafter each one had, irres- 

' There are copies of it in Llanstephan MS. y (sixteenth century), and Addi- 
tional MS. 14,871 (written in 1617). 
' Itin. Camb., ii, c. 6. 
^ Higden, Polychronicon, ed. Babington, 1865, i, pp. 416, 418. 

3 72 Lives of the British Saints 

pective of age, to obey the uncertain call of death Uke other mortals. 
Religion has now ceased there, and ceased has the wonder too.^ 

In Peniarth MS. 223, in the autograph of Sir Thomas Williams, 
of Trefriw, is given, written in 1602, in Latin, Welsh, and Enghsh, 
" the syme of the Indulgences w"^*^ Laudatus & his successors ob- 
teined of the supreme Bishopes of the Church of Rome, [which] ar 
graunted to all peregrines or pilgrimes & benefactors visiting godly 
& devoutlie " the Island of Bardsey "by reason of y*^ hardnes of 
saylinge & passage to the Jsle." They are assured that if any 
of them " should die by the waye they should not be damned." One 
of the indulgences is the following: "For euery tyme y'j pilgrimes 
shall goe about the churchyard of the xx"" thousand Sainctes, & 
ther in eu'y wyndowe shall say o"^ Lordes prayer they shall obteine 
of o' Lord mercifully a thousand & fyve hundreth yeeres." We 
are told that " when the feste of James thap'le & the teste of Sancte 
LaudatustheAbbate are celebrated vpon one & the selfsame Sondaye 
then . . . that yeere is cofirmed a Jubilee by the Apostolical aucthori- 
tie in the same Jlande." The feast of Lleuddad, however, is some 
six months earlier in the year than that of the Apostle. 

Three pilgrimages to Bardsey were believed to be of equal merit 
with one to Rome. The late Lord Newborough in 1890 erected a cross 
in the centre of the graveyard to the memory of the 20,000 Saints 
buried there. ^ 

=■ This note, we believe, has never been pubUshed. We therefore append here 
an exact copy of it as it occurs in Additional MS. 19,712, fo. 216 (1592) : — 

" Bardeseya. — Notet hie lector quoddam et mirabile et Sanctum & inter 
Mirabilia Wallie in Cronicis annotatum : ad primam autem Monasterii huius 
Insule fundacionem. dominus ipse deus qui peticiones cordis Justorum implet. 
ad deprecatum Sancti Laudati primi abbatis eiusdem Monasterii iniuit pactum 
cum ipso sancto. Statuitque ei et miraculose confirmauit sibi et successoribus 
suis claustratibus ibidem sancte et religiose victuris in perpetuum : Certum et 
priscitum ordinem et successum (mirabile dictu) seriatim moriend : videlicet quod 
eorum maior natu : vel etate grandeuior priusquam eorum etate minor hac luce 
discederet Sic autem poma prius nascentia, priusque ex tempore soils ardoribus 
maturata, Prius ab arboribus vindemiatur. Hoc mortis instinctu premonitus 
ipse maturior etate huius loci quisque canonicus vigillaret utique. qua hora fur 
huius vite venturus esset. vt omni hora preparatus a corporis ergastulo, fratri- 
bus valedicens eis in celum prevolaret. Istudque pactum ipse fidelis deus (vt 
quondam israelitis) irruptum seruauit donect claustrales predicti, religiose viuere 
desierunt, et sanctuarium dei ibidem stupro et sceleribus nefande prophanarunt. 
Ob id qu'dem hodie rupto dei federe. nunc minor : nunc maior, nunc eorum 
m.edius etate, incerta morte, incerto mortis tempore communi mortis Jure, hac 
vita defungitur, Cessauit qui religio et vita monachalis : cessauit et miraculum. 
Tu autem domine miserere nostri." 

^ Its west, north, and south sides bear respectively the following inscrip- 
tions : — 

S. Lileuddad ah Dingad 373 

SS. Cadfan and Lleuddad have been esteemed the patrons of 
Bardsey Island. ^ 

There are four churches dedicated to S. Llawddog, viz., Cilgerran, 
in Pembrokeshire, and Cenarth, Penboyr, and Llanllawddog, in 
Carmarthenshire. They stretch eastwards of Cilgerran almost in a 
straight line, and cover an extensive district. The present dedication 
of Cilgerran is to S. Lawrence, which was changed, as in other instances, 
by the Normans, who probably chose S. Lawrence because his name 
somewhat resembled that of S. Llawddog. ^ On the border of the 
parish lies Cwm Llawddog (his Dingle) through which the brook 
Morgeneu runs, and his Holy Well, with a farm called from it, Ffynnon 
Llawddog, are in the adjoining parish of Bridell. A spot below 
Castle Malgwyn is called Pant Llawddog (his Hollow). Giraldus 
Cambrensis^ refers to , tiie rock at Cenarth Mawr (i.e. Cenarth), 
that had been hollowed out by Llawddog's own hands as a cave- 
dwelhng, and adds that the church there dedicated to him,* the mill, 
bridge, fishery, and an orchard with a delightful garden, all stand 
together on a small plot of ground. At Penboyr, in a field to the 
south-east of the church, stands Tomen Llawddog, known also as 
Tomen MaesUan, a moated mound of about 120 yards in circumference, 
which is one of the highest altitudes in this part of the county, and 
■commands a fine view. Ffynnon Lawddog is in a wood called 
Bron Llawddog, near the church. 

In Lleyn, Lleuddad's memory is perpetuated by Gerddi Lleuddad 
'(his Gardens), in Bardsey, Ogof Lleuddad (his Cave) at Aberdaron, 

" Respect the Remains of 20,000 Saints buried near this spot " ; " In hoc loco 
xequiescant in pace " ; " Safe in this Island, 

Where each saint would be. 
How wilt thou smile 
Upon Life's stormy sea ? " 

1 They are so associated in a poem by the thirteenth century bard Llywelyn 
Fardd [Myv. Arch., pp. 248-50). 

2 S. Lawrence Fair here, held on August 21 (now two days earlier), was at one 
time the most important cattle fair in Dyfed. Llawddog is now forgotten except 
in the topography (J. R. Phillips, History of Cilgerran, 1867). 

' " Habet [Teivi] et piscariam copiosam juxta Kilgarran, in summitate rupis 
■cujusdam, Sancti Leudoci manibus olim exsculptam, in loco qui dicitur Kenarth- 
maur \al. Kanartmaur) . . . Stant autem simul, in angusto scilicet terras ar- 
pento, ecclesia sancti illius, molendinum, cum ponte et piscaria, et -pomerium cum 
horto delectabili." Itin. Camb., ii, c. 3 [Opera, vi, p. 114). 

* It appears that in the Statute Book of the Diocese of S. Davids, temp. Bishop 
lorwerth alias Gervase (12 15-31), Cenarth Church is mentioned as " Ecclesia Sti. 
Xudoci et Novem Sanctorum de Canarlmawr " (Theo. Jones, Breconshire, ed. 
1898, p. 492.) This designation opens up an interesting question, for which see 
-what has been said by one of the authors in the Cymmrodorion Transactions for 
1906-7, pp. 102-5. 

3 74 Lives of the British Saints 

and Ffynnon Leuddad (his Holy Well), on Carrog in the parish of 
Bryncroes. This is a walled well, of about four feet square, and 
was formerly in high repute for its cure of every manner of ailment 
in the case of both man and beast. 

The festival of S. Lleuddad is given as January 15 in the Calendar 
in the Prymer of 1633, and by Browne WilUs,^ but as the 21st in the 
calendar in Additional MS. 14,886 (1643—4). The day observed at 
Cilgerran was August 10, the festival of S. Lawrence, on which a 
fair was held, O.S., and is still held on the igth and 20th. 

There occurs among the " Sayings of the Wise " the following — : 2 

Hast thou heard the saying of Lleuddad, 
For the instruction of a morose man ? 
" Friendless is every loveless person." 
(Digared pob digariad.) 

S. LLEUDDUN, King, Confessor 

Among the many Welsh and other saints whose protection is in- 
voked in a poem ^ for Henry VII is named Llowdden, who must be 
the " S. Llawdden, of Ynys Eiddin, in the North," who is entered 
twice in the lolo MSS.'^ as a Welsh Saint. This seems to be all the 
evidence for so regarding him ; but though his own saintship is doubt- 
ful, he was the grandfather of several eminent Saints. Llawdden 
occurs also in the Life of S. Beuno ^ as that Saint's grandfather. 

The person meant is, more correctly, Lleuddun Luyddog (" of the 
Hosts "), of Dinas Eiddyn, in the North, that is, Edinburgh. He 
is the Leudonus of the old fragmentary Life of S. Kentigern, and the 
eponymus of Lleudduniawn, or Leudonia, the Lothians of to-day.' He 
appears as Llew in Geoffrey's Brut, where it is stated that King Arthur 
gave the districts in the North that he had wrested from the Saxons 
to three brothers, Urien (of Rheged), Llew and Arawn. Llew had 
Lodoneis, that is, the Lothians. In the earlier Life of S. Kentigern 
he is also called Lothus, and is said to have been a " vir semipaganus," 
and King of the Picts. 

Lleuddun was the son of Cynfarch Gul ab Meirchidn, by Nyfain, 
daughter of Brychan, and the father of Denyw, or Denw,, the mother 

1 ParochiaU Anglic, 1733, pp. 189, 192. 

2 lolo MSS., p. 358. 

^ lolo MSS., p. 314. * Pp. 128, 145. 

* Cambro-British Saints, p. 13. " Y Cymmrodor, xi, p. 51. 

S. Llibio 3 75 

of S. Kentigem ; of Tenoi, the mother of SS. Lleuddad, Baglan, 
and others ; and of Perferen or Beren, the mother of S. Beuno.^ 
According to Geoffrey's Brut he was also by Anna, Arthur's sister, the 
father of the celebrated Medrod and Gwalchmai, the Modred and 
Gawain of the Romances. 

Lleuddun is said to have been buried near Dunpender Law, in 
East Lothian. 


S. LLIBIO, Monk, Confessor 

Llibio was, according to the lolo MSS.,^ one of the many sons of 
Seithenin, King of the Plain of Gwyddno, whose land was overflowed 
by the sea and now hes in Cardigan Bay ; and they became saints 
or monks in Bangor-on-Dee. 

But if the same person is meant, he was a disciple of S. Cybi, for 
he is mentioned as having accompanied him with nine others when 
he left Cornwall.* Along with Cybi he went to Aran, to S. Enda, 
and remained there four years. Llibio is mentioned in the Life of 
S. Enda as being his disciple on Aran, but the Irish account makes him 
brother of Enda. The Sanctilogium Genealogicum makes Conall 
the Red and Aibfinn the parents of both Enda and Llibio.* 

From Ireland Lhbio returned with Cybi to Britain and settled 
with him in Anglesey, where he founded the church of Llanllibio. 
The church is now extinct, and the small parish which it served has 
been annexed to Llantrisant. 

The festival of S. Lhbio is on February 28, which is entered as 
his day in a good many of the Welsh calendars from the fifteenth 
century onwards, as well as by Browne Willis, Nicolas Owen, Angharad 
Llwyd, and others. In a short poem, Teulu Cybi Sant,^ he is mentioned 
among the dozen " seamen " who formed that Saint's " family," 
and who were nearly all Saints connected with Anglesey. 

For the Llandaff hermit-saint of the name see under S. Libiau. 

1 Peniarth MSS. 12, 16, 45 ; Hafod MS. 16, etc. 

^ P. 141 ; cf. p. 144. ' Cambro-British Saints, p. 183. 

^ Colgan, Ada SS. Hihern., i. p. 712. ^ gg _ Peniarth MS. 225, p. 130. 

3 7^ L^'^ss of the British Saints 

S. LLIDNERTH, Confessor 

In two of the seventeenth century MSS. of saintly pedigrees printed 
in the lolo MSS.^ Lhdnerth is entered as a Saint, the son of Nudd 
Hael, of the race of Maxen Wledig, and brother of Dingad ; but the 
earher pedigrees know nothing of him. No churches are named as 
being dedicated to him. ' 

We find, however, a S. Llidnerth, or rather Lidnerth, mentioned 
elsewhere. The sixteenth century Glamorgan bard, Thomas ab 
leuan ab Rhys, refers to a saint of the name in several of his poems 
that are preserved in Llanover MS. B. 23 ; thus, " Saint Lidnerth," 
"Lidnerth Abad," " Tir Lidnerth," and " Plwyf Lidnerth." From 
these expressions we gather that he was a non- Welsh saint, because 
he is " styled " ; that he was an abbot ; and that he was the patron 
of a certain parish. 

Several of the Welsh calendars also enter a Saint of similar name 
against June 19, and he is always " styled." The calendar in the 
Prymer of 1546 gives him as Lednerth ; those in Mosiyn MS. 88 and 
Peniarth MS. 172 as Lednart ; that in Llanste-phan MS. 117 as Ledy- 
nart ; those in Peniarth MSS. 27 and 186 as Leonart ; and Welsh 
almanacks of 1729 and 1763 as Leonard. This leaves no room for 
doubt as to the Saint disguised under the Welsh-looking form, Lid- 
nerth. ^ There were only two abbots bearing the name Leonard that 
we know of, and both were of the sixth century ; S. Leonard, abbot 
of Vendoeuvre, commemorated on October 15 ; and S. Leojiard the 
Hermit, who became abbot of Noblac, near Limoges, and is com- 
memorated on November 6. No S. Leonard seems to be commemo- 
rated in June. The latter named is the Leonard who, under Norman 
influence, obtained such popularity in England, where there are 
dedicated to him over 150 churches, all of pre-Reformation date, and 
distributed over 33 counties. The Glamorgan parish of which he 
was patron is Newcastle, near Bridgend, now dedicated to S. Illtyd, 
but there can be no doubt as to S. Leonard having been its former 
patron.^ He was not a particularly favourite Saint with the Welsh 
as far as dedications go. 

1 Pp. 113, 139. 

2 Leonard is sometimes found spelt Leothenard, and Lithenard (Husenbeth, 
Emblems of Saints, 1882, p. xii). 

' G. T. Clark, Cartes, i, p. 21 ; ii, p. 332 ; Birch, Margam Abbey, p. 193 ; Penrice 
and Margam MSS., i, p. 60. 

S. Llonio 3 77 

S. LLONIO, Confessor 

Llonio Lawhir, or Long-i'-the-Arm, was the son of Alan Fyrgan 
■ab 'E.mjc Llydaw, and brother of SS. Lleuddad and Llyfab.i He 
was a native of Armorica and came over to Wales with Cadfan and 
his company. His father also left Armorica, for, according to the 
" Triads of Arthur and his Warriors," ^ one of the " Three Disloyal 
Hosts [Aniweir Deulu) of the Isle of Britain " was " the Host of Alan 
Fyrgan, which turned back from its lord on the road at night, leaving 
him and his servants at Camlan, where he was slain" (in 537). 

An Ode, Owdl Llonio Sunt, written in his honour by Huw Arwystli, 
who flourished in the sixteenth century, occurs in Llanstephan MS. 
53, written circa 1647. It was whilst sleeping one May Eve in Llonio's 
Church at Llandinam, in Montgomeryshire, when on his travels, 
that the " poor despised cripple " became endowed with the divine 
afflatus of poesy. He begins the ode by exhorting Llonio's " parish- 
ioners " to invoke their Saint's good offices in the hour of death 
and in the day of Judgment, and then proceeds with the legend. A 
Latin chronicle, he says, recorded that Llonio had in early life assisted 
his father Alan in fighting the " Pagans " with great slaughter. 
After that he became " a righteous confessor." The " crowned 
one " left Llydaw for Wales, seeking the Kingdom of Heaven, and 
settled on " a delightsome hill on the verdant bank of the Severn," 
at Llandinam.^ Gwrai (no doubt the son of Gildas, and patron of 
the neighbouring parish of Penstrowed) granted him land as far 
as the cock-crow travelled in circumference ; and he proceeded to 
light a fire, to denote possession, but was met with opposition from 
the inhabitants. It nothing availed ; and " Maelgwyn Hir " (prob- 
ably Maelgwn Gwynedd) further conceded to him a tract of land 
extending along the Severn down to Abermule. Of this he granted 
a small portion {tyddyn) to Gwrai, and set the bounds of the remainder 
for his sanctuary. Here he long remained. The bard concludes 
by singing the glories of pleasant Llonio-land. Might he there abide 
while joy and love endured. 

According to the lolo MSS. Llonio was a saint or monk of Bangor 
Illtyd and afterwards of Bardsey, and was at one time periglawr 
or confessor to Bishop Padarn at Llanbadarn Fawr. The only church 

1 Peniatth MS. 45 ; Hafod MS. 16 ; Cardiff MS. 25, pp. 37, 120 ; Myv. Arch.. 
p. 427; Cambro-British Saints, p. 268; lolo MSS., pp. 102, 106, 112, 132-3. 
Possibly the Cardiganshire place-name Llanio bears no relation to Llonio. 

2 Peniarth MS. 45. 

' The dinam of the name seems to be the same as the Breton place-name Dinan, 
" a little fortress." Cf. Dinam in Llangaffo, Anglesey, and Llysdinam, near 

3 7^ Li'^ss of the British Saints 

known for certain to be dedicated to him is Llandinam. The church 
of Aberhafesp, in the neighbourhood, is sometimes ascribed to him, 
but generally to Gwynog, son of Gildas. In support of its dedication 
to Llonio may be mentioned Maelgwn's grant, and the fact that the 
parish was originally " a part of the wide ecclesiastical district which 
owned Llandinam as the mother church," ^ as evidenced by the 
Taxationes of 1254 and 1291. Another church sometimes said to be 
dedicated to him is Llanllwni in Carmarthenshire, but this is merely a 

The festival of S. Llonio does not occur in any of the Welsh Calendars, 
but Browne WiUis says 2 that the " Llandinam feast follows March i." 

According to the lolo MSS.^ Llonio hes buried in Bardsey ; and 
Lewis Glyn Cothi, in the fifteenth century, swears by his shrine, 
" myn bedd Lloniaw ! " * 

Llonnyo occurs as a place-name in the Welsh Laws,^ and has been 
supposed to be Lanion near Pembroke. By the same place is in- 
tended the Llonyon of the Gwrddfeichiaid Triad. 

In the catalogue of Brychan's children in Peniartk MS. 75 (sixteenth 
century) a Llonio is given as a son of his. 


The church of Llanllugan, Montgomeryshire, situated in that exten- 
sive district of which Meifod was the head, is generally supposed to 
have been founded by S. Tyssilio, and is included among the Tyssilio 
churches by Cynddelw {flor. c. 1150-1200) in his poem, Canu Tyssil- 

Llann a wnaetli ae lauvaeth lovlen 
Llann Uugym llogaut offerenn. 

(A church he raised with his fostering hand, 
Llanllugyrn, with a chancel for Mass.) 

This is the earliest spelhng of the name that we know of. By the 
thirteenth century the r had dropped out. To treat Llugyrn as a 
common noun, and render the name, " The Church of the War-horns," 
as has been done, would be absurd. In our opinion, Llugyrn is simply 

1 Archdeacon Thomas, Hisl. of Diocese of S. Asaph, i (1908), p. 507. 
» Smvey of S. Asaph, 1720, p. 290. ' P. 133. 

* Works, 1837, p. 490. ' Ed. 1841, folio, p. 544. 

« Myv. Arch., p. 178 ; Red Book of Hergest, col. 1165. 

S. Llorcan Wyddel 370 

the Welsh assimilation of the Irish name Lorcan. i Metathesis is com- 
mon enough in Welsh ; tangnefedd — tangneddyf, sallwyy—llaswyr, etc. 
The person meant is, we believe, none other than the Llorcan Wyddel, 
or the Goidel, who occurs in two MSS. of the sixteenth century (Peniarih 
MS. 75 and Additional MS. 31,055) as the first named of six persons 
reputed to have been raised from the dead by S. Beuno, and is referred 
to as a " Scot," or Irishman, in that Saint's Welsh Life.2 

When Beuno heard the voice of the hare-hunting Saxon on the 
other side of the Severn he left Berriew with his disciples, and came to 
Meifod, where they remained with S. Tyssiho for forty days, and then 
moved on to King Cynan ab Brochwel, who gave Beuno Gwyddel- 
wern, in Merionethshire, " a place which received its name from the 
Scot whom Beuno raised there from the dead, whose wife had been the 
cause of his death. There Beuno erected a church," and afterwards 
left for Holywell. The legend takes Gwyddelwern to mean the 
Goidel's Marsh, or, possibly, his Alder-grove. ^ The church is, and 
always has been, dedicated to S. Beuno. 

When afterwards Llanllugan passed into the possession of the Church 
of Meifod it became, according to the well-known Welsh custom, a 
Tyssiho dedication, though still retaining Llorcan's name. As illus- 
trating herein Cynddelw's poem might be mentioned the similar one by 
Gwynfardd, in which are enumerated the various churches in the thir- 
teenth century that " Dewi was the owner " or, that is, were dedicated 
to him, among which are such churches as Llangadock and Llangy- 
felach. When Llanllugan, some time between 1170 and 1188, became 
a community for women of the Cistercian Order, in connexion with 
Strata Marcella, it was re-dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, after the 
practice of that Order.* 

It is by no means improbable that to Llorcan Wyddel is also dedi- 
cated the church of the'adjoining parish of Llanwyddelan, for we know 

^ It was a fairly common Irish name, and is sometimes found Latinized?as 
Laurentius. For instance, the name, in Irish, of S. Laurence O'Toole (d. 1180), 
the first archbishop of Dublin, was Lorcan XJa Tuathail. Pen Llarcan occurs as 
a man's name in the Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 112. Ysgorlygan, or 
Scorlegan, is a tenement-name in the parish of Llangynhafal, Denbighshire. 

2 Llyvyr Agkyr LI., ed. Morris Jones and Rhys, p. 121 ; Cambro-British Saints, 
p. IS. 

' Dr. Owen Pughe, in his Welsh Dictionary, renders it, " a moor or meadow 
overgrown with bushes." 

' Archdeacon Thomas, Hist, of Bio. of S. Asaph, i (1908), p. 484- Dafydd ab 
Gwiljmi in one of his poems (No. xi of his published works), after a passing allu- 
sion to " merched Mair " (nuns), says : — 

" Dewis lun, dos y Lan falch. 
Llugan lie mae rhai lliwgalch." 

380 Lives of the British Saints 

nothing of the parentage or history of Gwyddelan, and his name, Hke 
the Gwyddelyn of the " Triads of Arthur and his Warriors," simply 
means " the little Irishman." We may mention, as affording some 
corroboration, that an especial characteristic of churches dedicated to 
disciples of S. Beuno is that they are constantly found in the vicinity 
of churches founded by their master, as shown by the situation of the 
■churches of Aelhaiarn (his "acolyte"), Cynhaiarn, Llwchaiarn, and 
Twrog (his "amanuensis"). In the same district as Llanwyddelan 
and Llanllugan we have the two Beuno churches of Berriew and 
Bettws Cedewain. 

Aelhaiarn was another person raised to life by Beuno, and had for- 
merly a church dedicated to him at Llanaelhaiarn, the small parish of 
which has, for nearly four centuries, been annexed to Gwyddelwern. 
Guilsfield Church, in Montgomeryshire, was originally dedicated to 
Aelhaiarn, but, from its association with Meifod, has come to be re- 
garded as under the invocation of Tyssilio. 

Browne Willis 1 says of Llanllugan that its dedication is not known, 
" no Feast being kept here." The festival of Gwyddelan is August 22. 

S. LLUAN, Matron 

Lluan, whose name occurs in the later documents as Lleian, was a 
daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog.^ She became the wife of Gafran ab 
T)yfnwal Hen, who died in 558, by whom she was the mother of the 
celebrated Aidan mac Gabran of the Irish annals, known to Welsh 
tradition as Aeddan Fradog, or the Treacherous. Aidan was made 
King of the Dalriad Scots of Argyle by S. Columba in 574, being the 
first independent King of the Scots. He was an enterprising and 
aggressive king, for we find him making an expedition to the Orkneys 
in 579 and to Man in 582. He died in 606. In the Welsh Triads ^ he 
is branded as one of " the Three Arrant Traitors of the Isle of Britain," 
because he deserted his own countrymen and went over to the Saxons. 
The others were Gwrgi Garwlwyd and Medrod ; and the three were 
"the cause, it is said, of the Welsh losing the sovereignty of the Isle. 

' Bangor, 172 1, p. 360. 

^ Cpgnatio de Brychan in Vesp. A. xiv and Domitian i ; Jesus College MS. 20 ; 
IPeniarth MS. 75 ; Myv. Arch., p. 427 ; lolo MSS., pp. iii, 120, 138, 140. Her 
name as spelt Ueian means a nun, or titmouse. In Peniarth MS. 178, p. 24, she 
is called Gwenllian. Frequently, in M^elsh, Gafran is made to be son of Aeddan. 
The names are found first inverted, we believe, in the thirteenth century Bonedd 
■Gwyr y Gogledd.. ^ Myv. Arch., p. 405 ; cf. pp. 391, 406. 

S. Llwchaiarn 381 

Lluan was the patroness of Capel Llanlluan ^ (or-lleian), the chapel 
formerly of a hamlet in the parish of Llanarthney, Carmarthenshire, 
but since detached and formed into a separate parish under the 
name Gorslas, with its church dedicated to her. Her sister Tybieu is 
patroness of the adjoining parish of Llandebie. 

S. LLUDD, see S. ILUD 

S. LLWCHAIARN, Confessor. 

Llwchaiarn was the son of Caranfael ab Cyndrwyn, of Llystin- 
wynnan, in the commote of Caereinion, in Powys,^ and the brother of 
SS. Aelhaiarn and Cynhaiarn. His name stands always second in 
order in the earlier Bonedds. He is therein stated to be a Saint " in 
Cedewain," represented in part by the present rural deanery of the 
name, in Montgomeryshire, where two of the churches dedicated to 
him are located. He belonged to a royal and illustrious family. His 
grandfather, Cyndrwyn, was prince of that part of ancient Powys which 
included the valley of the Severn above Shrewsbury. Cyndrwyn.had 
a number of children, one of whom was the valorous Cynddylan, who 
succeeded him in his principality. All his sons, it seems, and among 
them Caranfael, were slain whilst defending the town of Tren against 
the Saxons. Caranfael's three sons, deprived of their patrimony, 
thereupon embraced the religious life, like so many others of the 
^^'elsh Saints under similar circumstances. 

The lolo MSS. state that Llwchaiarn was a Saint or monk of Bangor 
Dunod, that is, Bangor Iscoed, on the banks of the Dee. He hved in 
the early part of the seventh century. 

His legend is told in a somewhat obscure poem, entitled Cywydd 
Llwchaiarn, Filwr a Sant, o Lamyrewig (a poem to Llwchaiarn, 

1 It is so spelt in the Black Book of S. David's (1326), ed. Willis Bund, 1902, pp. 
244, 256. 

2 Peniatth MSS. 12, 16, 45 ; Hafod MS. 16; Cardiff MS. 25, p. 34; Myv. 
Arch., pp. 421-2, 424-5, 427 ; Cambro-British Saints, p. 267 ; lolo MSS., p. 104. 
The name Llwchaiarn means " Iron Dust," and it is curious that " iron " 
should enter as a component part into the names of the three brothers. The 
father's name occurs under a variety of forms. The earlier Bonedds give Hygar- 
fael, but this is shown to be a corruption of Caranfael (Owen's Pembrokeshire, 
ii, pp. 474-5). It stands for an early Carantomaglos. Llystinwynnan (or 
-wennan) is now probably represented by the township of Llysin, in the pai ish of 

382 Lives of the British Saints 

warrior and saint, of Llamyrewig) , which occurs, among other MSS., in 
Peniarth MS. 100 (sixteenth century) and Llanstephan MS. 167 (early 
seventeenth century). It was composed by a local poet, Sion Ceri, 
in the early part of the sixteenth century. 

He says the Saint was a son of Cynfael.^ and first cousin to S. Beuno. 
At Llamyrewig, one of the Montgomeryshire churches dedicated to him, 
and celebrated for the miracles wrought there, was his statue in a niche, 
vested in episcopal habits, with hand up- raised in blessing ; and here too, 
it would appear, lies buried " the blessed Llwchaiarn, the impetuous 
lion." When first he set foot here he heard the ringing of bells on a hill 
on the banks of the Severn, and on its ridge, overlooking the valley, he 
erected a church. Here he prayed in a hair-shirt nine months and 
nine days, kneeling on a cold stone, till his knees were bruised. He 
was granted nine petitions, three of which, the bard says, were for the 
special benefit of his people. He next speaks of him as " a great de- 
hverer, a saintly warrior like unto gallant S. George," who also, like 
him, slew a dragon single-handed. With his pastoral staff he caused 
a hind to leap into a pool, without destroying which his people 
could not live. 2 He had two altars, that is, two churches, in the 
Severn Valley, at which great offerings continued to be made, and 
his territory, as a sanctuary, was not inferior to Bardsey.^ 

There are two churches dedicated to Llwchaiarn in Montgomery- 
shire, Llanllwchaiarn, and Llanmerewig, which represent adjoining 
parishes. The area of Llanmerewig is small, under a thousand acres, 
and its one township was formerly known as Llanllwchaiarn Isa. 
Llwchaiarn is the patron also of two churches in Cardiganshire, Llan- 
llwchaiarn and Llanychaiarn, which latter was formerly also called 
Llanllwchaiarn. Both are on Cardigan Bay. The Saint's missionary 
labours were, it would seem, confined to these two counties. 

We may gather that Llwchaiarn, like Aelhaiarn, was a disciple of 
Abbot Beuno, to whom are dedicated the neighbouring churches of 
Bettws and Berriew. Aelhaiarn is also associated with Montgomery- 
shire, as founder of Guilsfield church, which is not far distant from his 
brother's churches. 

1 This is one of the forms of his father's name.1 " Llwchaiarn having been a 
bishop was probably a " flourish" of the mediaeval sculptor, unless he is to be 
regarded as bishop over his own llans, as was not infrequently the case. 

2 Whence the parish-name, Llam yr Ewig, the Hind's Leap, which appears 
earliest in the Taxatio of 1254, under the form Lamerewic. It is now generally 
written Llanmerewig, out of which an apocryphal Welsh saint has been squeezed 
ere this. There is a Llam yr Ewig also in Carnarvonshire, and another in Merioneth- 
shire, as well as a Llam y Carw in Anglesey. 

' Lewis Morris gives a brief summary oithe cywyddm'ias Celtic Remains, ■p. 278. 

S. Llwyddog 383 

Llwchaiarn's festival is entered as January 11 in the Mo MSS. 
calendar and in the Demetian calendar (S), but as the 12th in the calen- 
dars in Mostyn MS. 88, Peniarth MSS. 187 and 219, the lolo MSS. 
(again), and the Welsh Prymers of 1546, 1618, and 1633. Browne Willis ^ 
also gives the 12th as his feast in the two Montgomeryshire parishes, 
and the same date is entered as his day in Welsh almanacks of the eigh- 
teenth century. The earlier and most numerous calendars thus favour 
-the i2th as his festival. Bishop Maddox (1736-43) in his MS. Book Z, 
in the Episcopal Library at S. Asaph, has under Llanmerewig, " to S. 
Merewitiz. Wake Sunday after twelvth day." 

S. LLWNI, Confessor. 

The genealogies of the Welsh Saints know nothing of this Saint. He 
is the patron of Llanllwni, Carmarthenshire, in the Teifi Valley. In 
the Valor of i535 ^ the parish-name is spelt Llanllony, and in a parish- 
list of 1590-1,^ Llanllowni. The church has been conjectured to be 
dedicated to S. Llonio, and sometimes to S. Luke. Byarth Llwni, his 
Cattle-fold, is mentioned in Mostyn MS. 134, a name with which may 
be compared Buarth Caron, and Buches Tydecho. 

The Saint's festival, Gwyl Lwni, occurs only in the Demetian 
Calendar (S), where it is entered against August 11. The only 
Saint whose name approaches Llwni commemorated then that we 
know of is Leonis, martyr at Augsburgh, or more probably at Rome, 
■on August 12. There is a Gwyl Lwni Bab (Pope) entered against 
September 16 in the Calendar in Additional MS. 14,886 (1643—4). 

S. LLWYDDOG, Confessor 

This Saint's name does not occur in the Welsh saintly genealogies, 
"but he is invoked as one of the Saints of Anglesey in a poem written 
.circa 1600 ; * and in an Ode to King Henry VII the bard commits the 
King to the guardianship of Llwyddog, among a hundred or more 
Saints, mostly Welsh.^ 

Some have supposed him to be the patron of Llanychllwydog or 

1 Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 361. 

2 iv. p. 411. » Dr. J. G. Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 917- 

* Yr Haul, 1882, p. 561. With the name cf. Gwen-llwyddog or -Uwyfo, and 
Hafod Lwyddog or Lwyfog. ^ lolo MSS., p. 314. 


84 Lwes of the British Saints 

Llanerchllwyddog, under Llanllawer, in Pembrokeshire, but the church 
appears in old parish-hsts as Llanachlwydo or Llanychlwydo ; ^ and it 
is generally regarded as being dedicated to S. David. Llwyddog is- 
locally reputed to have been martyred here, or, according to another 
account, treacherously murdered whilst pursuing the chase, and tO' 
have been buried in the churchyard, where are two upright stones, 
commonly said to denote his grave. ^ Fenton, however, states that 
they mark the grave of S. Clydog, also conjectured, from the church- 
name, to be the patron.^ 

Beyond his connexion with Anglesey nothing seems to be really 
known about this Saint. One of the " Verses of the Graves " in the 
twelfth century Black Book of Carmarthen- runs : — * 

The graves on the Long Mountain ( ? the Longmynd) , 
Well do multitudes know them — 
The grave of Gwrien famed in war, 
And Llwyddog, son of Llywelydd. 

Llwydawc Gouynnyat was the name of a young boar which figures, 
in the tale of Culhwch and Olwen, in the Twrch Trwyth Hunt, and was. 
killed at Ystrad Yw, in Breconshire. 


The Welsh saintly genealogies know nothing of a saint of this name^ 

and there is the greatest probability possible that he never existed. 

The name is spelt Llwydian and Llwydion, and he is usually regarded as 

the patron of Heneglwys, in Anglesey, which is also sometimes called 

Llan y Saint Llwydion,^ meaning the Church of the Blessed Saints, 

out of which has clearly been evolved the Saint's name. In a poem, 

written circa 1600, in which a number of Anglesey Saints are invoked,. 

occurs the couplet : — ^ 

Y Saint Llwydion tra del oof, 
Trewalchmai rhof yn nesaf. 

The church was also known as Eglwys Gorbre Sant, Corbre or Cairbre- 
being most probably its original patron.'' 

Browne Willis ^ gives Heneglwys as dedicated to S. Llwydion, with, 
festival on November 19. 

' Dr. J. G. Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 916 ; Myv. Arch., p. 745. 
^ Arch. Camb., 1865, pp. 182—3 ; Westwood, Lapidarium Wallice, p. 122. 
' Pembrokeshire, i8ri, p. 570. * Ed. Dr. J. G. Evans, 1906, p. 66. 

* Dr. J. G. Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 912. Llanllwydan (or -en) is th& 
name of a township of Llanfihangel y Pennant, Merioneth. 

« Yr Haul, 1882, p. 561. ' ii, pp. 180-1. " Bangor, 1721, p. 281. 

S. Llyfab 385 


In the lolo MSS.'^ is entered a S. Llwyfo, by whom is evidently 
intended the Gwenhwyfo of the Myvyrian Archaiology.^ See under 
that saint's name (p. 197.) 


In the hst of Welsh parishes in Peniarth MS. 147 {circa 1566) is 
given under " Swydd Gydweli," Carmarthenshire, a parish (really a 
chapelry) called Llanllyddgen. In the parish-hst in the Myvyrian 
Archaiology it is Llan Hyddgen. The chapelry was in the parish of 
Llangyndeyrn, and in the inventory of church goods taken by the Com- 
missioners in 1552-3 it is given under that parish as " Saynt Lethgen 
is chaple." ^ Of the Saint nothing appears to be known. 

S. LLYFAB, Confessor 

This Saint's name is written Llyvab and Llyuab in the pedigrees in 
Peniarth MSS. 16, 45 and 182, Lleuab in Hafod MS. 16, Llyfab and 
Lefab in Cardiff MS. 25 (pp. 26, 114), and Llynab and Llyfab in the lolo 
MSS. The name, under the incorrect spelling Llynab, has been 
equated with the Lunapeius of the Book of Llan Ddv, a misscript for 
Iunapeius=Iunape= lunabui. 

Llyfab was a son of Alan Fyrgan ab Emyr Llydaw, a brother of SS. 
Lleuddad and Llonio, and cousin of S. Cadfan, with whom, in company 
with many others, he came over from Brittany. According to fhelolo 
MSS.^ these" learned persons became Saints in the Bangors of lUtyd 
and Catwg, but went with Cadfan as Saints to Bardsey. Their churches 
are in Gwynedd, where they lived in great piety and holiness." Llyfab 
was " a bishop in Cor Illtyd, and archbishop of Llandaff " (confusing 
him with lunabui). Of this probably the only correct statement is 
that Llyfab went to Bardsey. 

' P. 144. 2 p_ 42g_ 

^ The correct reading of the inventory is Lethgen (Evans, Church Plate of 
Carmarthenshire, 1907, p. 122) and not Dethgen, as given by us, ii, p. 393. 
* Pp. 103, 112, 132, 134, 14s ; cf. Myv. Arch., p. 427. 
VOL. III. ' C C 

386 Lives of the British Sai?its 

S. LLYR, Virgin 

Llyr Forwyn, or the Virgin, is nowhere entered in the Welsh saintly 
genealogies. Rees^ gives a Llyr who was a son of Brochwel Ysgythrog, 
and there were several men who bore the name. Llyr the Virgin is 
known to us only through the Demetian Calendar (S) which gives the 
festival of Llvr Forwyn (as in the Cwrtmawr MS . 44 copy), and of Vrw 
(Urw) Forwyn, on October 21. It has also, on the same day, the Eleven 
Thousand Virgins. 

To Llyr the Virgin (rather than to Llyr Merini) is dedicated the li ttle 
Radnorshire church of Llanllyr yn Rhos, as it is given in the parish-list 
in Peniarih MS. 147, circa 1566. The name was reduced to Llanur, 
and is now generally written Llanyre, and sometimes even in such 
corrupted form as Llanhir. With the treatment of the name may be 
compared Llanleirwg, which later became Llaneirwg, and has now been 
supplanted by the name S. Mellon's. Browne Wilhs,^ however, gives 
All Saints as the dedication of Llanyre. 

There was another Llanllyr formerly, near Talsarn, in the Vale of, 
Aeron, Cardiganshire. The name, now generally spelt Llanllear, 
is retained by a gentleman's residence. Leland^ thus refers to the 
medieeval nunnery there, " Llan Clere [with Clere corrected overline to 
Lleyr] a Nunnery of White Nunnes in Cairdiganshire apon the Brook of 
Ayron. It was a Celle of Stratflur." 


One late pedigree document printed in the lolo MSS.^ includes Llyr 
Merini among the Welsh Saints, and attributes to him the church of 
Llanllyr in Gwrtheyrnion (in Radnorshire), another in Dyfed, and 
another in Cardiganshire. This is the only evidence there is for him as 
a Saint. He has been confounded with Llyr the Virgin. 

The lolo AISS., on the same page, make him the son of Einion Yrth 
ab Cunedda Wledig and the son of Meirchion Gul ab Gorwst Ledlwm. 
Skene ^ identifies him with Masguic Clop, brother of Meirchion Gul, 
and gives him for son Lleenog as well as Caradog Freichfras. The 

1 Welsh Saints, p. 161 ; Myv. Arch., p. 57. 

' ParochiaU Anglic, 1733, p. 185. 

^ Itin., V, fo. 13 ; Dugdale, Monasticon, v, p. 632 ; Taxaiio of I2gi, p. 276. 

'■ P. 123, With his epithet cf. the Marini-latio of the inscribed stone at Lland- 
yssilio, Pemb. It is of the same origin and meaning, apparently, as the Latin 
marinus. ^ Four Ancient Books, i, p. 168. 

/S. Llywel 387 

sons of Einion Yrth usually named are Cadwallon Lawhir and Owain 
Danwyn ; but some late pedigrees name also Llyr. In Buchedd 
Collen, Llyr is stated to have been " married to Margaret, daughter of 
the Earl of Oxford," and Lhuyd 1 adds that he was " Earl of Henffordd " 
(Hereford). Other late accounts make him the husband of Gwen, 
daughter of Brychan, and of Tywanwedd, daughter of Amlawdd Wledig. 
Besides Llyr Merini, we have Llyr Llediaith, Llyr Luyddog, Llyr 
ab Bleiddut, and others. The name Llyr is better known in Welsh 
as that of the god of the sea, or, in the bards, of the sea itself. It 
occurs in Irish as Ler and Lir.^ 

S. LLYWEL, Confessor 

Llywel' s name does not occur in any of the pedigrees of the Welsh 
Saints, but in the Book of Llan Ddv^ is given a louguil, louhil, or luhil 
as the name of a disciple, first of Dubricius, and afterwards of Teilo. 
There can hardly be a doubt that the intial letter of the name is a 
scribal error for L, with which may be compared the Louan of the same 
scribe written in error for louan. Louguil was the original patron of 
the Church of Llywel, in Breconshire, which adjoins Lann Guruaet, now 
Llandeilo'r Fan, a foundation of a fellow disciple, Gurmaet. The 
church is now regarded as being dedicated to SS. David, Teilo, and 
Llywel. In the thirteenth century it was called " Ecclesia Trium 
Sanctorum deLuel." * Gwynfardd in hispoem^ includes it among the 
Dewi churches. Llanllowell, in Monmouthshire, is also given as 
■dedicated to Llywel. It occurs as Lanlouel in the Taxatio of 1254, 
but as Llanhowel in parish-lists of later date.^ 

louguil, and another disciple, Fidelis, were sent by S. Teilo to the 
•court of Aircol Lawhir, King of Dyfed, to avert death by poisoning, 
and the two witness the grant the King made to the Saint as a thank- 

^ Payochialia, 1909, p. 12. A Triad makes Llyr the possessor of one of the Tri 
Charw (or Tharw) Ellyll of Britain ; Mabinogion, p. 305 ; Myv. Arch., p. 409. 
He is mentioned in one of the Englynion y Gorugiau in the lolo MSS., p. 264. 
I ' For the Llyr names see Owen's Pembrokeshne, ii, pp. 458-9. 
' ' Pp. 115, 126—7. 

I ^ Theo. Jones, Breconshire, ed. 1898, p. 492. Giraldus, Opera, iii, p. 199, spells 
the parish-name Luel. Llywel is also the name of the commote ; Bruts, ed. Rhvs 
and Evans, p. 410. * Myv. Arch., p. 194. 

» Dr. J. G. Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, 920 ; Myv. Arch, p. 750. See 
under S. Hywel. Lanlouel in the fourteenth century additions to the Book of 
Llan Ddv, p. 321. There is a Lanlouel at Pleyben, in Finistere. 

' Ibid., pp. 126-7. 

388 Lives of the British Saints 

S. LLYWELYN, Confessor 

This saint, generally called in Welsh Llywelyn o'r Trallwng, was the 
son of S. Tegonwyab Teon ab Gwineu Deufreuddwyd.^ SomeMSS., 
of less authority, make him the son of Bleiddud ab Tegonwy . ^ He was- 
the father of S. Gwrnerth, who is usuaUy coupled with him, and also- 
(according to the lolo MSS.) of a S. Gwyddfarch, and brother of S. 
Mabon. . He is said to have been a Saint of Bardsey. He is best known 
as the founder of a small religious community at Trallwng or Trallwm 
(meaning a quagmire), short for Trallwng Llywelyn or Trallwng Co ch 
ym Mhowys, now known as Welshpool. 

Llanstephan MS. 187 {circa 1634), p. 230, gives him as the son of 
Einion ab Bleuddud ab Tegonwy ab Theon Gegidfa (i.e., Guilsfield, 
near Welshpool), and adds, " Rhodri Mawr's daughter was his mother, 
Llywelyn Sant was the captain (penietdu) of Rhodri's bodyguard." This 
puts Llywelyn, who is believed to have lived in the sixth century, on 
into the ninth century, for Rhodri was slain by the Mercian army 
in Anglesey in 877. 

In the fourteenth century Red Book of Hergest is preserved a religious 
dialogue in verse, supposed to have been composed by S. TyssiUo, and 
entitled, " The Colloquy of Llywelyn and Gwrnerth." ^ In its present 
form, however, it cannot be much older than the MS. in which it is 
found. For particulars as to this see under S. Gwrnerth. ' 

Cynfelyn ab Bleiddud ab Meirion, of the family of Cunedda Wledig, 
is said to have founded a church at Welshpool, probably a little before 
Llywelyn's time ; * but Llywelyn and Gwrnerth may be regarded as 
having been for centuries the patron saints of Welshpool. The present 
parish church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

The site of their church or chapel has been definitely fixed at the 
corner of Clerk's Lane and Salop Road, and about two hundred yards 
east of S. Mary's Church. The field below it is mentioned as " Maes 
dan Gapell Sainte Lleu'n " in the will of Hywel ab leuan, of Pool, 
August 27, 1545 ; and again, as " maes dan y Cappell," in that of Gil- 
bert Jones of Pool, January 11, 1616— 7. The church was destroyed by 
fire on Christmas Day, 1659, and a drawing of the now demoUshed 
" Old Church " is in the Museum of the Powysland Club at Welshpool,, 
and has been reproduced by Mr. Robert Owen in his Welsh-Pool and 
Powys-Land, 1894, from which we derive the foregoing information. 

1 Peniarth MSS. 12, 16, and]]45 ; Hafod'MS. 16 ; Llanstephan MS. 28,''p. 72 ,-. 
Cambro-British Saints, p. 267 ; lolo MSS., pp. 104, 129. The name probably 
represents an early Lugubelinos. 

^ Peniarth MS. 74, p. 35 ; Cambro-British Saints, p. 271 ; Myv. Arch., p. 427. 

' Col. 1,026 ; Skene, Four Ancient Books, ii, pp. 237-41. . ■* ii, p, 243. 

aS*. Liywes 389 

Llywelyn and Gwrnerth are commemorated together on April 7 in 
most of the Welsh calendars from the fifteenth century. 

From them the speedwell is called in Welsh both Llysiau Llywelyn 
(whence its English name fluellen) and Gwrnerth. 

The protection of Llywelyn, among many other Welsh Saints, is 
invoked in a poem for Henry VII. ^ There is a small, but powerful, 
spring on Cae'r Gors, in the parish of Llangybi, Carnarvonshire, called 
Ffynnon Llywelyn, which was considered beneficial for the King's 
'evil ; but probably it was not named after this Saint. 

S. LLYWEN, Confessor 

Llywen, or Llewen, was one of the many kinsmen of S. Cadfan, 
descended from Emyr Llydaw, that came with him from Brittany to 
Wales. 2 The late pedigrees printed in the lolo MSS. state that he was 
one of the " Sainta and learned men that were, with Cadfan, brought 
to this IslandbyGarmon, who were Saints in the Bangors of Illtydand 
Catwg, but went as Saints with Cadfan to Bardsey ; " ^ who, again, had 
"" their churches in Gwynedd, where they lived in great piety and holi- 
ness of hfe." * These statements are unsupported from other sources. 

There is no church known as dedicated to Llywen in Gwynedd or 
■elsewhere. Llewin is a place mentioned in the Englynion y Beddau.^ 
The LUwen is a brook which runs into the Ystrad at Nantglyn, near 
Denbigh ; and with the name may be compared that of Llyn Llywenan, 
in Anglesey. 

S. LLYWES, Confessor 

Nothing is known of this Saint beyond the fact that the church of 
Xlywes, or Llowes, in Radnorshire, takes its name from him, which 
•church, in the Book of Llan Dav, * is called Podum Liuhess, and Lann 
Meilic ha Lyguess, " the church of SS. MeiUg and Liywes." The name 
is spelt Locheis by Giraldus.' He is mentioned under the form Lyuhes 
in the Life of S. Gildas by the Monk of Rhuis * as having been joined by 
:S. Maelog or Meihg " in the district of Elmail," i.e., at Llowes. 

^ lolo MSS., p. 314. 

2 lAyweii in Peniarth MS. 45 (in Peniarth MS. 16 the name is omitted), Llewen 
in Hafod MS. 16 and Lewyn in Cardiff MS. 25, p. 114 ; cf. also Myv. Arch., pp. 
.427, 430. The name is apparently the first element of Llywenfel, in the Brecon- 
shire church-name Llanlleonfel. 

3 P. 103. ^Ibid.,-p-p. 112, 134. In these documents the name is spelt Llewin 
■and Llywyn. ' Black Book of Carmarthen, ed. Evans, 1906, p. 68. 

« Pp. 149, 255. ' Opera, i, pp. 89, 175. * Ed. Dr. Hugh Williams, p. 326. 

390 Lives of the British Saints 

S. MABENNA, Virgin, Abbess 

This Saint was one of the many daughters, or grand-daughters, 
of Brychan, who sought their fortunes in north-east Cornwall when 
expelled from Brecknockshire by the invaders from the north. She 
is not named in the Welsh lists, but is given in Leland's Itinerary 
and by William of Worcester.^ 

The only church dedicated to her is S. Mabyn, on a wind swept 
hill, but with pleasant wooded vales in the folds of the upland country. 
The church tower is fine and serves as a landmark. 

Unquestionably, the Saint did not plant herself on this bleak emi- 
nence, but made her cell in one of the combes that dip to the Alan 
or the Camel, probably at Treveglos (Tref-Eglwys), where is a holy 
well, a quarter of a mile north of the village. The place is better 
known now as Paul's Ground, from a family of the name of Paul 
having resided there in former times. There were formerly chapels 
at Colquite, Helligan, and Trevesquite. 

Nicolas Roscarrock, who gives as her day November i8, says : 
" There used to be a hymn sung of her, signifying she had twenty 
brothers and sisters, whereof S. Endelient and S. Miniver were two." 

The parish fair at S. Mabyn is on or about February 15. 

S. Mabenna is represented crowned, and bearing a palm in one 
hand and a book in the other, in the Wives' Window at S. Neot. 
Mr. Copeland Borlase ^ assumed somewhat recklessly that the church 
was named after Mabon, the brother of S. Teilo. But the Episcopal 
Registers — Bronescombe, 1266, Bytton, 1317, Stapeldon, 1317, 
Stafford, 1415, Grandisson, 1330, 1340, 1362, etc. — with one accord, 
make the Saint a female ; and the testimony of the S. Neot window is 

S. MABLE, Virgin 

Mable is mentioned in the lolo MSS.^ as a Saint in Gwent, but 
without pedigree. Nothing is known about the Saint's history beyond 
the fact that the church of Llanvapley, in Monmouthshire, is under 
her invocation. 

' i, p. 319. 2 The Age of the Saints, 1893, p. 149. 

^ P. 144. Cefn Mabley is the name of a well-known mansion on the Rumney 
in Glamorgan. A Welsh proverb advises, " Na chais bod yn Fabli cyn bod yn 
Lleucu." There is a variant of it, " Ceisio bod yn Lleucu cyn bod yn Fabli." 


Stained Glass, S. Neot. 

S. Mabon 391 

S. MABON, Confessor 

The lolo MSS. — the sole authority — mention three distinct saints 
of the name Mabon, which it will be well to treat under one article. 

I. Mabon, the brother of S. Teilo, and son of Usyllt (Ensic or 
Enllech) ab Hydwn Dwn ab Ceredig ab Cunedda Wledig. He had a 
sister, Anauved, who was' the mother of SS. Oudoceus, Ismael and 
Tyfei.^ Mabon, like Teilo, was, we may assume, bom in Pembroke- 

II. Mabon, the son of Tegonwy ab Teon, and brother of S. Llywelyn 
of Welshpool. 2 

III. Mabon Wyn, called also Mabon Hen, the son of Glas ab Glassog,. 
of the race of Bran Fendigaid.^ His grandfather is connected with 
Gw3medd. The pedigree of this Mabon is altogether mythical. 

A late catalogue gives a Mabon as one of the " Bishops of Glamorgan 
alias Kenffig." * 

The lolo MSS. ascribe the church of Llanfabon, in Glamorgan, 
to each of the three Saints ; most probably it received its name from 
the brother of S. Teilo. It is therein further stated ^ that " Maenarch, 
Earl of Hereford, built the Church of Gelligaer, and that of Llanfabon, 
in honourable memory of Mabon Sant." Browne WiUis,^ unaccountably, 
gives the church as dedicated to S. Constantine. 

The dedication of the Church of Rhiw Fabon (Mabon's Ascent), 
or Ruabon,' in Denbighshire, is attributed to the brother of S. Teilo 
as well as to the brother of S. Ll5rwelyn ; most probably to the latter. 
It is now under the invocation of the B.V.M. ; festival, that of the 
Assumption. Llanfaban was the name of a chapel, now extinct, on 
the Alaw, in Anglesey. 

In the parish of Llandeilo Fawr, Carmarthenshire, are two manors, 

called respectively Maenor Deilo and Maenor Fabon, the latter of 

which, as the name of a gentleman's residence, is now generally spelt 

Manoravon. The name points to the presence of Mabon in the district, 

associated with his brother. 

1 P. 107 ; cf. Vita S. Oudocei in Book of Llan Ddv, p. 130. Mabon was a 
fairly common name formerly. A cleric of the name signs a grant to Llandaff, 
emp. Bp. Catguaret (ibid., p. 209). A Mabon was bishop of Leon ; and there 
is a Ker-mabon in Morbihan. Peniarih MS. 118 gives it as the name of one 
of the four " Giants " of Llansawyl, in Carmarthenshire. 
• 2 lolo MSS., p. 129. ' Ibid., pp. 116, 136. 

■ ■* Ibid., p. 361 ; Liber Landavensis, 1840, p. 625. ^ P. 148. 

" Llandaff, 1719, append., p. i ; Paroch.' Angl.. 1733, p. 198. We have not 
been able to identify Llanfabon y Fro, Glamorgan ; possibly it is Gileston 

(S. Giles). 

' For the loss of the F cf. Bodorgan, Llanor, Llanol, etc. A proverb says, 
" Gwrach a vydd marw ettoyn Rhiw Vabon " (Myv. Arch., p. 848), " A witch, 
will die yet in Ruabon." 

392 Lives of the British Saints 

The followi