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They are all gone into the World of Light ! 

And I alone sit lingering here ! 
Their very memory is fair and bright 

And my sad thoughts doth clear. 

It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast, 

Like stars upon some gloomy grove, 
Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest 

After the sun's remove. 

I see them walking in an air of glory 

Whose light doth trample on my days ; 
My days, which are at best but dull and hoary, 

Mere glimmering and decays. 

HENRY VAUGHAN : Silex Scintillans, 1655. 











VOL. I. 

t-Z Q 


Published for the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion 

H>efcicatefc to tbc fl&emors of jfour [pioneers 
in Celtic 1bacjiolocj. 





Q. A. P. D. 

Aeterna fac, cum Sanctis Tuis, in gloria munerari. 

Publishers' Note 

THIS work, which is new, and entirely distinct from 
The Lives of the Saints, by Mr. Baring-Gould, issued 
in 1872-77, is published on the initiative, and under 
CYMMRODORION. The funds of the Society, not 
being available for the purpose of producing a work 
of this magnitude, the COUNCIL took the course of 
instituting a Special Subscription Fund, to meet the 
necessary heavy expense of printing and publication. 
In response to their appeal a sufficient number of 
subscribers were obtained to warrant a commence- 
ment of the undertaking, and it is hoped that 
further support will be forthcoming in order to 
ensure the publication of the remaining volumes at 
intervals of not more than six months. On behalf 
of the Society, E. VINCENT EVANS, Secretary. 



IN treating of the Welsh, Cornish, and such Irish Saints as have left 
their traces in Britain and Brittany, one is met with the difficulty 
that there is no contemporary record of their lives and labours, and 
that many of them had no such records left, or if left, they have 
disappeared. Such Lives as do remain were composed late, at a time 
when the facts had become involved in a mass of fable, and those 
who wrote these Lives were more concerned to set down marvels 
that never occurred than historic facts. In most cases, where this 
is the case, all that can be done is to sift the narratives, and eliminate 
what is distinctly fabulous, and establish such points as are genuinely 
historical, as far as these may be determined, or determined approxi- 
mately. It is a matter of profound regret that so many of these Saints 
are nuda nomina, and, to us, little more. And yet what is known 
of them deserves to be set down, for the fact of their names remaining 
is evidence that they did exist, and did good work in their generation. 
In 1330, Bishop Grandisson of Exeter had to lament that the 
Lives or Legends of so many of the Saints to whom Churches in Devon, 
and especially in Cornwall, had been dedicated were lost through 
the neglect of the clergy, and he ordered that duplicates at I ^.st of 
such as remained should be made, under penalty of a mark as fine 
for neglect. Unhappily the collection then made has since disappeared. 
Grandisson himself drew up a Legendarium for the Church of Exeter, 
but into that he introduced hardly any local Saints, contenting 
himself with such Lives as were inserted in the Roman Breviary. 
In the Introduction will be found enumerated the principal sources 

viii Preface 

we have drawn upon for materials in the compilation of the Lives 
here presented. That we have been correct in our judgment as to 
dates, and other particulars, we cannot be confident. Conjecture 
must come in, where certain evidence is lacking. 

The last volume will contain an Appendix of unpublished Pedigrees 
and original texts of Lives, in prose and verse, hitherto unpublished. 

We have to thank many kind helpers in this difficult and arduous 
work. We can name only a few : Principal Sir John Rhys, Pro- 
fessor Anwyl, Mr. Egerton Phillimore, Dr. J. Gwenogvryn Evans, and 
the Abbe Duine, of Rennes ; also Sir John Williams, Bart., and Mr. 
W. R. M. Wynne, of Peniarth, for permission to make transcripts of 
unpublished materials, and the Cambrian Archaeological Association 
for allowing the reproduction of some illustrations from its Journal. 
The authors of this work cannot allow their first volume to appear 
without an expression of lively gratitude to the Honourable Society 
of Cymmrodorion for so generously undertaking the publication of a 
book that appeals to a limited circle of students only. Without the 
Society having done this, it is doubtful whether the work would 
have ever seen the light. 

Contents of Volume I 


i. The Welsh and Cornish Saints I 

ii. Lesser Britain ........ 39 

iii. On Welsh and Cornish Calendars 65 

iv. The Genealogies of the Welsh Saints 86 


S. Aaron S. Byrnach 101 

List of Illustrations 


Map of Monastic Foundations in Wales 35 

Map of Irish Settlements in Brittany 45 

Map of Cornish Dedications between 80-8 1 

S. Aaron. From Statue at S. Aaron, Cdtes du Nord . . facing r iO4 

Map showing Churches of the Companions of S. Achebran . . 106 
S. Aelhaiarn. From Fifteenth-Century Stained Glass at Plogonnec, 

Finistete . . . . . . . . . no 

S. Alban. From the Altar Screen at S. Albans Cathedral . . 140 

S. Allen. From Statue at Scaer . . . . . . . 147 

S. Amwn. Bust of, at Plescop . . . . . . 156 

S. Anne. At Porte S. Malo, Dinan 160 

Bona Dea. At Museum, Rennes 160 

S. Anne's Well, Whitstone 164 


List of Illustrations 


S. Arthmael. From Stained Glass at S. Sauveur, Dinan. . . facing 172 
From Stained Glass at Ploermel . . . . ,, 172 

S. Asaph. From Fifteenth-Century Glass in Chancel Window Llan- 

dyrnog Church, Denbighshire . . . . . 184 

S. Aude. From Statue at Guizeny . . . . . .,,188 

S. Austell. Statue on West Front of Tower, S. Austell . . . ,, 190 

S. Beuno's Head. From Window at Penmorfa, Carnarvon . - ,, 216 

Well, Clynnog ,, 216 

S. Beuno's Chest at Clynnog . . . . . . . ,, 218 

S. Beuno. From the Open-air Pulpit of the Abbey, Shrewsbury . ,, 220 

S. Brendan. Statue at Tregrom 246 

S. Brendan, or Branwaladar. From Statue at Loc-Brevelaire . . 250 

S. Brendan's Chapel and Statue. Inisgloria, Co. Mayo . . . ,, 258 

Cloghan. N. Blasket Island, Co. Kerry . . 258 

S. Brigid. Statue at Lagonna, Guimerch .... 286 

,, Statue at S. Gerans .... 286 

Statue at SS. Dredeneaux ..... 286 

S. Brychan. From Stained Glass Window, S. Neot, Cornwall . . 320 

S. Azenor and S. Budoc. Front Carving at Plourin . . . 

Finnau, yn llesgedd f henaint, 
Hoffwn, cyfrifwn yn fraint, 
Gael treulio yno [Enllt] mewn hedd 
O dawel ymneillduedd 
Eiddilion flwyddi olaf 
Fy ngyrfa, yn noddfa Naf. 
Byw arno, byw iddo Ef 
Mwy'n ddiddig mewn bedd-haddef ; 
A dot cymundeb a V don, 
Byd ail, o tuydd bydolion. 
Heb dyrfau byd, heb derfyn 
Ond y gwyrddfor, gefnfor gwyn. 
O'n boll fyd, Enlli a jo 
lack wlad fm haul facbludo. 

ISLWYN, Saint Enlli. 




SINCE 1836, when appeared An Essay on the Welsh Saints, by the 
Rev. Rice Rees, nothing has been done in the same field, although 
material has accumulated enormously. That work was an attempt 
made, and successfully made, to throw light on a subject hitherto 
unstudied and dark. Archbishop Ussher had, indeed, in his 
Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates, Dublin, 1639, dealt with 
the early history of the Church in the British Isles in a masterly 
manner. But he was unacquainted with the Welsh language, and the 
Welsh MSS. were not accessible to him. Nevertheless, with really 
wonderful perspicuity he arrived at results that were, in the main, 
correct. He dealt with only such of the Welsh Saints as had had the 
good fortune to have their Lives written in Latin, and of such there 
are few, and of these few all were not accessible to him. Moreover, 
these Vita do not always tell the truth, the whole truth and no- 
thing but the truth. 

The importance of the saintly pedigrees is not to be ignored. 
Ecclesiastical preferments were made according to tribal law. The 
family to which a saint belonged had to be fixed, and this was done 
by the pedigrees. Then a claimant to a foundation or benefice of the 
saint had to establish his descent from the family of the saint, without 
which he was deemed ineligible to enter upon it. 

This condition of affairs existed at the time of Giraldus, at the end 
of the twelfth century, for he bitterly inveighs against the hereditary 
tenure of ecclesiastical benefices. 1 And he says that the same con- 
dition of affairs existed in Armorica. S. Malachi (d. 1148) complained 
of the same abuse in Ireland. 

It was with ecclesiastical property as with that which was secular. 

1 Description of Wales, Bk. II, ch. vi. All members of the family, lay as 
well as cleric, had a right to support out of the benefice. Willis Bund, The 
Celtic Church of Wales, 1897, pp. 284 et seq. 

VOL. I. * B 

2 Introduction 

Right to inherit one as the other had to be established by proof of 
descent. The pedigree was the title-deed appealed to in both cases. 
Before the fifth century, indeed, the genealogies are mostly fictitious. 
But it was precisely these fictitious pedigrees which possessed no legal 
value from the fifth century upwards ; however, when the great rush 
was made into Wales by those who had been dispossessed of their 
lands by the Picts in the first place, and secondly by the Saxons, 
these records became of supreme importance. The new comers 
settled down on newly acquired territories, and from thenceforth the 
pedigrees had to be determined and carried on from generation to 
generation with the strictest regard to accuracy, for tribal rights, 
both secular and ecclesiastical, depended on them. 

" Inheritance in land and all tribal rights could only be asserted by 
proof produced of legal descent. And it is clear that such proof con- 
tained in the production of a genealogy could not be left to irrespon- 
sible persons. Consequently, in every Celtic race each branch of a 
family maintained a professional genealogist, who kept a record of 
the family descent from the original tree. But further, for the check- 
ing and controlling of these records, the chief or king had his special 
recorder, who also made entries in the book kept for the use of the 
chief. In Ireland, the High King always had such an officer, to 
register, not only the descent of the royal family, but also of all the 
provincial kings and principal territorial chiefs in every province ; 
in order that, in case of dispute, a final appeal could be made to this 
impartial public record. This officer was an olambh, and it was his 
function periodically to visit the principal courts and residences of 
the chieftains throughout the land, and to inspect the books of family 
history and genealogies ; and on his return to Tara, or wherever the 
High King might reside, to enter into the monarch's book the acces- 
sions to these families and their expansion. 

" So also, every provincial chief and king had his olambh, and in 
obedience to an ancient law, established before the introduction of 
Christianity into the land, all the provincial records were returnable 
every third year to the Convocation at Tara, where they were com- 
pared with each other, and with the monarch's book, the Saltair of 
Tara." 2 

Our Heralds' Visitations, undertaken every few years through the 
land to record pedigrees, were analogous, though the heralds con- 
cerned themselves, not with rights to land, but to the bearing of 

1 O'Curry, Lect. on the MS. Materials of Anc. Irish Hist., Dublin, 1861, pp. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 3 

What Rice Rees did in his Essay was to show the value of the 
pedigrees, and the care with which they had been kept, and how 
trustworthy they were in determining the stocks and the generations 
to which the saints belonged. Here and there, owing to identity or 
similarity of names, errors arose, but this was exceptional. Rees laid 
great stress on the undoubted fact that in Wales as in Ireland a 
foundation took its title from its founder. A saint fasted for forty 
days on a site, and thenceforth it was consecrated to God, and be- 
came his own in perpetuity. Dedication during the Age of the Saints 
meant ownership, and implied therefore much more than is now 
ordinarily understood by the term. It was " proprietary " dedication. 
In a poem by the Welsh bard, Gwynfardd Brycheiniog (flor. c. 1160- 
1220), written in honour of S. David, in which a number of churches 
" dedicated " to him are named, it is repeatedly stated that " Dewi 
owneth " (Dewi bien) such and such church, some of which churches, 
among them, Llangyfelach and Llangadog, had evidently been " re- 
dedicated " to him. 

But although this is certainly true, yet it does not apply to all the 
churches named after a saint. For a piece of land granted to a saint's 
church when he was dead also acquired his name. A saint was a 
proprietor for all ages, whether on earth or in heaven. Thus, all the 
Teilo, Dewi and Cadoc churches were not personally founded by 
these three saints, but were, in most cases, acquisitions made by 
the churches of Llandaff, Menevia and Llancarfan in later times. 
Nevertheless, in general, the presumption is that a church called after 
a Celtic saint was of his own individual dedication. It is hardly 
possible for us to realise the activity and acquisitiveness of the early 
< Vltic saints. They never remained long stationary, but hurried 
from place to place, dotting their churches or their cells wherever 
they could obtain foothold. No sooner did an abbot obtain a 
grant of land, than, dropping a few monks there to hold it for him, 
he hurried away to solicit another concession, and to found a new 

The Lives of SS. Cadoc, David, Senan, and Cieran show them to have 
In-i-n incessantly on the move. S. Columba is reported to have estab- 
lished a hundred churches. S. Abban Mac Cormaic erected three 
monasteries in Connaught, then went into Munster, where he founded 
another ; then migrated to Muskerry, where he built a fifth. Next 
he made a settlement at Oill Caoine ; then went to Fermoy and reared 
a seventh. Again he passed into Muskerry and established an eighth. 
Soon after he planted a ninth at Clon Finglass ; thereupon, away he 
went and constructed a tenth, Clon Conbruin. No sooner was this 

^ Introduction 

done than he went to Emly again to found monasteries, how many 
we are not told. Thereafter he departed for Leinster, and laid the 
foundations of another, Cill Abbain. Then to Wexford, where he 
planted " multa monasteria et cellse." Not yet satisfied, he found 
his way into Meath, and established there two monasteries. After 
that the King of the Hy Cinnselach gave up to him his cathair, or 
dun, to be converted into a home for religion. This abbot must 
have been the founder of some twenty monasteries and cells. And 
he is not unique. All the saints did the same as far as they were able. 
They did not content themselves with this in their own lands ; they 
crossed the seas to Cornwall and to Brittany, and made foundations 
there as well. 

When we come to the extant Lives of the Celtic Saints, we have to 
regret that so few of those which are Welsh have come down to us. 
The majority of these are contained in the MS. volume in the 
Cottonian Collection in the British Museum, Vespasian A. xiv, of the 
early thirteenth century. 

This was laid under contribution by John of Tynemouth, who, in 
the first half of the fourteenth century, made a tour through England 
and Wales in quest of material for the composition of a Martyrologium 
and a Sanctilogium. Of his collection only one MS. is known to exist, 
now in the British Museum, Cotton MS., Tiberius E. i, and this was 
partly destroyed, and where not destroyed injured by fire in 1731 ; 
but of this more hereafter. 

The MS. Vespas. A. xiv contains the following Latin Lives : 
S. Gundleus, S. Cadoc, S. Iltut, S. Teilo, S. Dubricius (two lives), 
S. David, S. Bernach, S. Paternus, S. Clitauc, S. Kebi (two lives), 
S. Tatheus, S. Carantocus, and S. Aidus. 

The twelfth century Book of Llan Ddv adds the following : 
S. Oudoceus, S. Samson, and S. ^Elgar the Hermit. 

Capgrave gives a few more Lives : S. Caradoc, S. Cungar, S. 
Decuman, S. Gildas, S. Jutwara, S. Justinian, S. Keyne, S. Kentigern, 
S. Kened, S. Machutus, S. Maglorius, and S. Petroc, but of these only 
Caradoc belongs exclusively to Wales. There are besides Latin Lives 
of S. Winefred (two), S. Monacella, and S. Deiniol. 

Of prose Lives written in Welsh there are only a few, namely, 
those of S. David, S. Beuno, S. Winefred, S. Llawddog or Lleuddad, 
S. Collen, S. Curig, and S. leuan Gwas Padrig ; but there is a fair 
number of poems written in honour of saints, which are of the 
nature of metrical Lives or panegyrics. They are mostly by authors 
of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but the information they 
supply of the saints themselves is of a varying quality. The Cywy. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 5 

ddau extant are to the following : S. Cawrdaf, S. Cynog, S. Doged, 
S. Dwynwen, S. Dyfnog, S. Einion Frenhin, S. Llonio, S. Llwchaiarn, 
S. Mechell, S. Mordeyrn, S. Mwrog, S. Peblig, and S. Tydecho, not 
to mention others to whom there are Latin and Welsh prose 

John of Tynemouth, in his peregrination, cannot have visited 
North Wales, as he does not take into his collection S. Asaph and 
S, Deiniol, and he certainly omitted Devon and Cornwall. 

In 1330 Bishop Grandisson, of Exeter, wrote to the Archdeacon of 
Cornwall, complaining of the neglect and accident which had caused 
the destruction or loss of the records of the local Cornish Saints, and 
he directed that those which remained should be transcribed, two or 
three copies made, and should be transmitted to Exeter, to ensure 
their preservation ; and he further enjoined that the parish priests 
who failed to do this should be fined. 3 Yet when Grandisson in 
1366 drew up his Lcgcmlnriwn for the use of the Church of Exeter, he 
passed over all these local saints without notice with the exception of 
S. Mt-lor and S. Samson. Had John of Tynemouth visited Exeter, he 
would have used the material collected by Grandisson, now unhappily 

From Brittany we obtain some important Lives of Saints who 
crossed from Wales and settled there, as Gildas, Paul of Leon, Sam- 
son, Mal<>, Maglorius, Tudwal, Leonore, Brioc, and Meven. Ireland 
furnishes a good many Lives, and these of value, as the revival of 
Christianity, after a relapse on the death of S. Patrick, was due to an 
influx of missionaries sent into the island from Llancarfan and Men- 
cvia ; as also because of the close intercommunication between Ireland 
and Wales. Very few Welsh Saints found their way to Scotland, at 
least permanently, and the only saint who may be said to belong to 
Walis as \\vll as to Scotland, whose life has been preserved, is Cyn- 
deyrn (Kentigern). 

When we come to estimate the historical value of these Lives, we 
must remember that none of them are contemporary. The nearest to 
approach is that of S. Samson, composed by a writer who took his 
information from a monk aged eighty, who had heard stories of 
Samson from his uncle, a cousin of Samson, and who had conversed 
with the mother of the saint. All the rest are much posterior, 
composed, mostly in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and later 
by writers who piled up miracles, and altered or eliminated such 
particulars as they considered did not comport with the perfection 

3 Register of Bp. Grandisson, ed. H. Randolph, Pt. I, p. 585.' 

6 Introduction 

of the hero, or did not accord with their notions of ecclesiastical 
order. Joscelyn, in his Life of S. Kentigern, admits having done 


One flagrant instance of bad faith is found in the Life of S. Gundleus. 
The facts relative to the history of the father of S. Cadoc are given in 
the Vita S. Cadoci, but as they displeased the panegyrist of Gundleus, 
he entirely altered them, and represented the early life of the saint 
in a totally different light from that in which it is revealed to us in the 
other document. Other writers, again, deliberately forged Lives to 
support certain pretentions of the see or monastery to which they 

In the ninth century the diocese of Dol had been made metropo- 
litan, with jurisdiction over all the sees of Brittany, removing them 
from being under the archiepiscopal authority of Tours. But several 
endeavoured to slip away and revert to Tours. Among these was that 
of Curiosopitum, or Quimper. To justify this, a Life of S. Corentinus, 
the founder, was fabricated, which represented him as receiving con- 
secration and jurisdiction from S. Martin of Tours, who had died half 
a century before his time. 

Some Lives were composed out of scanty materials, mere oral tra- 
dition. Rhygyfarch wrote his Life of S. David apparently between 
1078 and 1088. The cathedral and monastery had been repeatedly 
ravaged and burnt by the Northmen, and the records destroyed ; 
nevertheless, some records did remain " written in the old style of 
the ancients." To what extent he amplified by grafting in 
legendary matter picked up orally we are unable to say. 

With regard to the miraculous element in the Lives, that occupies 
so large a part, we are not disposed to reject it altogether. The 
miracles are embellishments added, in many instances, by the redactor, 
as a flourish to give piquancy to his narrative. He often could not 
appreciate a plain incident recorded in the early text that he had 
under his eyes, and he finished it off with a marvel to accommodate 
it to the taste of the times in which he wrote. He dealt with a com- 
monplace event much as a professional story-teller treats an inci- 
dent that has happened to himself or an acquaintance. He fur- 
bishes it up and adds point and converts it into a respectable anecdote. 
To the mediaeval hagiographer an incident in a saintly life was not 
worth recording unless it led up to a miraculous display of power. 
Very often the miracle is invented, either to account for the possession 
of a certain estate by a monastery, or as a deterrent to the sacrilegious 
against violation of sanctuary, and these stand on the same ground 
as the terrible " judgments " in Puritan story-books on profaners of 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 

the Sabbath. A little criticism can generally detect where fact ends 
and fiction begins. 

In Joscelyn's Life of S. Patrick we are told that the natives of one 
place made a pitfall in his way, covered it with rushes and strewed 
earth over them, hoping to see Patrick fall into the hole over which 
he would ride. But a girl forewarned the saint, and he escaped the 
pitfall. Joscelyngoes on to say that in spite of the caution given to 
him, Patrick rode over it, and the rushes were miraculously stiffened 
to sustain him. Here is an obvious addition. 

Some lepers clamoured to Brigid for beer, as she was a notable 
brewer. She jestingly replied that she had no liquor to dispose of 
but her bath-water. The writer of her Life could not leave the anec- 
dote alone, and he tacked on the statement that the water in which 
she had bathed was miraculously converted into ale. Where the hand 
of the editor has been so obviously at work, we have deemed it suffi- 
cient to tell the tale, omitting his addition, but calling attention to it 
in a footnote. Where, however, the miraculous is so involved with 
the historic record as to be inseparable from it, we give the tale as 
presented in the original. 

Certain miracles seem to be commonplaces grafted into the Lives 
promiscuously. Such is that of the boy carrying fire in the lap of his 
gabardine from a distance to the monastery, when that at the latter 
had become extinguished. There may well be a basis for this story. 
Fire was scarce, and most difficult to kindle from dry sticks. If that 
on a hearth went out, live coals would be borrowed from the nearest 
village, and a lad from the abbey would be sent for it. The so-called 
incense pots found in tumuli of the bronze age were probably nothing 
else but vessels for the conveyance of live coals, and with such every 
household would be provided. A boy might well convey fire in such 
a vessel in the lap of his habit. It would be too hot for him to carry 
in his hand. 

Nor are we disposed entirely to relegate to the region of fiction the 
tales of dragons that recur with wearisome iteration in the Lives of 
the Saints. In some cases the dragon is a symbol. When Meven 
and Samson overcome dragons, this is a figurative way of saying that 
they obtained the overthrow and destruction of Conmore, Regent of 
Domnonia. In other cases it may have had a different origin. It 
may possibly refer to the saint having abolished a pagan human sac- 
rifice by burning victims in wicker-work figures representing mon- 
sters. In the legend of SS. Derien and Neventer, we read that the 
saints found a man drowning himself because the lot had fallen on his 
only son to be offered to a dragon. He was pulled out of the water, 
the boy was rescued, and the dragon abolished. 

# Introduction 

Such sacrifices, we have reason to believe, were annually offered by 
the non-Aryan natives for the sake of securing a harvest, the ashes 
being carried off and sprinkled over their fields. Caesar speaks of 
human victims enclosed in wicker-work figures and consumed by 
fire, and there are indications, as Mr. Eraser has shown in The Golden 
Bough, that this was practised throughout Europe and the East. It 
has left its traces to this day in Brittany. Wicker-work figures are 
represented on a cross-shaft at Checkley, Staffordshire. That the form 
assumed by these cages of woven osiers were that of a mythical mon- 
ster is not improbable. Caesar indeed says that in Gaul the shape 
given to them was that of a man, but this need not have been so 

Or take the story that recurs in so many of the legends of the saints, 
of the Saint Corentine, or Neot, or Indract, that he had for his supply 
a fish out of a well, that was miraculously restored to life daily, to 
serve him as an inexhaustible provision. There were two sources 
whence this fable sprang, we may suppose. Possibly enough, on the 
tombstone of the saint was cut the early symbol of the fish. Pos- 
sibly, also, there may have been cut on it an inscription like that of 
Abercius of Hierapolis : " Faith led me everywhere, and everywhere 
she furnished me as nourishment with a fish of the spring, very large, 
very pure, fished by a holy virgin. She gave it without cessation to 
be eaten by the friends (i.e. the Brethren). She possesses a deli- 
cious wine which she gives along with the bread." This is alle- 
gorical. The Fish is the 'I^i)?, the symbol of Christ. The 
Virgin is the Catholic Church, though some have supposed the 
reference to the Blessed Virgin Mother. 

The epitaph of Pectorius of Autun is even more obscure, but it 
turns on the same theme. " Celestial race of the Divine Fish, fortify 
thy heart, since thou hast received, amidst mortals, the immortal 
source of Divine Water. Friend, rejoice thy soul with the everflowing 
water of wisdom, which gives treasures. Receive this food, sweet as 
honey, of the Saviour of saints, eat with delight, holding in thy hand 
the Fish." 4 The reference is to the Eucharist, through which Christ, 
the Divine Fish, communicates Himself to His faithful, born of water 
to Him. In the case of Abercius we possess his legend, drawn up 
probably in the sixth century, and it is significant that it is based on 
the inscription which it misinterprets and has converted into an 
extravagant and fabulous narrative. 

Numerous treatises have appeared on the monument of Abercius, of which 
Mr. Ramsay discovered two fragments. The whole matter is summed up in 
an article in Cabrol (F.), Diet. d'Archtologie Chretienne, Paris, 1903, i, pp. 16-87. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 9 

In a very similar manner may an inscription, or merely the symbol 
of the Fish, have furnished material for the myth of the fish in the 
well that recurs in so many saintly legends. 

But there was another source. In Irish mythology, ancl it was 
doubtless the same in the myths of other Celtic races, the Eo Feasa, or 
" Salmon of Knowledge," that lived in the " Fountain of Connla," 
played a part. Over this well grew some hazel trees which dropped 
their nuts into the well, where they were consumed by the salmon, 
and the fish became endowed with all the wisdom and knowledge 
contained in the nuts. In a poem by Tadhig O' Kelly we have this 
passage : 

" I am not able to describe their shields 
Unless I had eaten the Salmon of Knowledge 
I never could have accomplished it." 

Aengus Finn, as late as 1400, employs the same expression and applies 
it to the Virgin Mary, " She is the Salmon of Knowledge, through 
whom God became Man." 5 Consequently, in Celtic myth, the eat- 
ing of the mystic fish signified the acquisition of superhuman know- 

It is also possible that in some poetical story of the life of the saint 
the fact of his daily communicating was put figuratively as of his 
daily partaking of the Fish from the Living Well, the Fish that never 
died, but was ever present to be partaken of by the faithful. This in 
process of time would be misunderstood, and give rise to the fable, 
which agreed singularly with the Celtic symbol. 

It may be thought that we have dealt too liberally with the fables 
that are found in the Lives. But we hold that in a good many cases 
the fabulous matter is a parasitic growth disfiguring a genuine historic 
fact, and therefore we have been unwilling to reject them. 

Probably, in Roman Britain, there were bishops in the principal 
towns, as London, Lincoln, York and Caerleon, and the Church was 
organized in the same manner as in Gaul, each bishop having his see, 
loosely delimited. The Christianity that entered Britain was almost 
certainly through the soldiery and the Romano-Gallic merchants and 
settlers in the towns. But it spread into the country, and the native 
British accepted the Gospel to some extent. 

But when the Wall was abandoned, and there was a rush made 
south by the refugees to Wales, and when others came flying before 
the swords of the Saxons and Angles, the whole ecclesiastical frame- 

5 O'Curry, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, 1873, ii, pp. 143-4; 
Rhys, Hibbcrt Lectures, 1888, pp. 553-4. 

j Q Introduction 

work went to pieces. There were no more sees. Bishops were among 
those who escaped into Wales or crossed the seas to Armorica and 
Spanish Gallicia, but they had no longer any territorial jurisdiction. 
In the desolation and confusion of the times, this was inevitable. 

As the Church in Wales began to recover from the shock, it gravi- 
tated about new centres, monastic institutions, of which the heads 
might or might not be bishops. It was so in Ireland after Patrick's 
time, where no such a thing as a territorial organization was attempted 
till centuries later ; there monasteries were attached to tribes and 
ministered to their religious requirements. Bishops were retained by 
the abbots, but they had no jurisdiction, they were subject to abbot 
or abbess, and were retained for the purpose of conferring orders, and 
for that alone. It began in this way in Brittany, but there the proxi- 
mity to and influence of the Gallo-French Church, and the insistence 
of the Frank kings, rapidly brought the Celtic Church there into the 
approved shape. Such a tribal organization was in conformity with 
Celtic ideas, and followed on that which existed in Pagan times. 
Then there had been the Secular Tribe with its chief at its head, 
and alongside of it what may be called the Ecclesiastical Tribe, 
composed of the Bards and Druids. 

With the acceptance of Christianity, the saints simply occupied the 
shells left vacant by the Druids who had disappeared. Among the 
Celts ah 1 authority was gathered into the hands of hereditary chiefs. 
Of these there were two kinds, the military and the ecclesiastical 
chief, each occupying separate lands ; but the members of the ecclesi- 
astical tribe were bound to render military service to the secular 
chief ; and the ecclesiastical chief on his side was required to provide 
for the needs of the secular tribe by educating the young of both 
sexes, and by performing religious ceremonies. Every tenth child, 
tenth pig, calf, foal, went to the saint, and his tribe was thus recruited. 
Of S. Patrick we are told : 

Fecit ergo totam insulam in funiculo distributionis divisam cum 
omnibus incolis utriusque sexus decimari omneque decimum caput tarn 
in hominibus, quam in pecoribus in partem Domini jussit sequestrari. 
Omnes ergo mares monachos, faeminas sanctimoniales efficiens ; numerosa 
monasteria aedificavit, decimamque portionem terrarum, ac pecudum, 
eorum sustentationi assignavit. Infra brevi igitur temporis spatium nulla 
eremus, nullus pene terrae angulus aut locus in insula fuit tarn remotus, 
qui perfectis monachis aut monialibus non repleretur. 6 

In certain cases an even more liberal grant was made to the Church, 
as in Leinster, where, as the Colloquy of the Ancients informs us, 

Vita S. Patricii, A eta SS. Boll. Mart., ii, c. 17. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 1 1 

" the province dedicated to the saint a third of their children, and a 
third of their wealth." 7 

There was an economic reason which compelled the Celts to estab- 
lish great congregations of celibates. Neither in Ireland nor in Wales 
was the land sufficiently fertile, and the cultivatable land sufficiently 
extensive to maintain the growing population. 

When no new lands were available for colonization, when the three 
field system was the sole method of agriculture known, then the land 
which would support at least three families now would then main- 
tain but one. To keep the equipoise there were but migration, war, 
and compulsory celibacy as alternatives. And we must remember 
that multitudes of refugees were pressing into Wales from North and 
East, far more than that mountainous land could sustain. 

A story is told in the preface to the Hymn of S. Colman that shows 
how serious the problem was even with the aid of the compulsory 
celibacy of the monasteries. In 657 the population in Ireland had 
so increased, that the arable land proved insufficient for the needs of 
the country ; accordingly an assembly of clergy and laity was sum- 
moned by Diarmidh and Blaithmac, Kings of Ireland, to take counsel. 
It was decided that the amount of land held by any one person should 
be restricted from the usual allowance of nine ridges of plough land, 
nine of bog, nine of pasture, and nine of forest ; and further the 
elders of the assembly directed that prayers should be offered to the 
Almighty to send a pestilence " to reduce the number of the lower 
class, that the rest might live in comfort." S. Fechin of Fore, on being 
consulted, approved of this extraordinary petition, and the prayer 
was answered by the sending of the Yellow Plague ; but the ven- 
geance of God caused the force of the pestilence to fall on the nobles 
and clergy, of whom multitudes, including the kings and Fechin of 
Fore himself, were carried off. 8 

On the Steppes of Tartary, where also the amount of land that can 
be placed under cultivation is limited, for the purpose of keeping 
down the population, great Buddhist monasteries have been estab- 
lished, and the children are set apart from infancy, by their parents, 
to become Lamas. 

The duties of the saint were to instruct the young of the 
tribe, to provide for the religious services required, and to curse the 
enemies of the head of the Secular Tribe. The institution of 
schools for the young was certainly much older than Christianity 
in Britain and Ireland. We know from classic authorities, as 

7 Silva Gadelica, Loncl. 1892, ii, p. 218. 

8 O'Donovan, Annals of the Four Masters, 1851, i, p. 131. 



well as from the Irish writers of the heroic legends, that the 
Druids formed communities, that these were presided over by an 
Arch-Druid, that in them were educated the sons of the kings and 
nobles, and that the heads of these schools had lands for their 
support. By no other way can we explain the marvellous expansion 
of the educational establishments which took place after Ireland 
became Christian, than on the supposition that the saints entered 
in upon an institution already existing, and brought into it a new life. 

S. Cyndeyrn at Llanelwy had in it 965 monks. At Bangor Iscoed, 
according to Bede, there were seven choirs, numbering 300 in 
each. S. Lasrian is said to have ruled over 1,500 disciples, S. Cuana 
had 1,746 scholars under him. At a later period, S. Gerald of 
Mayo had in his establishment 3,300. 

Some of these great schools or monasteries contained females as 
well as males, and the double monasteries so prevalent among the 
Angles were formed on the Celtic model. S. Brigid at Kildare ruled 
such a double house of monks as well as nuns. As many of the pupils 
tarried on to prepare for the clerical life, and some of the damsels 
resolved on embracing the ecclesiastical profession also, these young 
people were thrown together a good deal, and the results were not 
always satisfactory. Accordingly, one or other of the saints induced a 
sister, or a mother, or some other approved matron, to establish a 
girls' school, subject to his supervision, yet at a distance from his 
college for youths, sufficient to prevent the recurrence of scandal. 

The course of instruction in these schools consisted in the quad- 
rivium, arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy. Of S. Catwg 
it is said that his master Meuthi during twelve years instructed him 
in Donatus and Priscian, i.e., in grammatical learning. 9 The psalter 
had to be acquired by heart. The Book of Ballymote contains a 
schedule of the studies in these great colleges during the twelve years 
that a pupil was supposed to spend in them. 10 

That the saint was expected to minister in sacred things to those 
of the tribe stands to reason. If his first duty was to be the educa- 
tion of the young, his second was to conduct worship, and to bury 
the dead. To the monastery the people went, especially at Easter, 
to receive Communion and to bring their oblations. The churches 
were small, usually of wattle and dab, 11 and could not contain large 

Ducange, Glossarium ad scriptores medics et infinite Latinitatis, s.v. Quad- 

rivium. The tradition of " the seven liberal arts " of the trivium and quadri- 

vium was current in Wales in at least the fifteenth century. lolo MSS., p. 327. 

1 O'Curry, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, Lond. 1873, ii, pp. 

I 7 I ~3- 

" More Britonum ecclesiam, et cateras officinas, de lignis levigatas . . . 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints \ 3 

jgations. But crosses were erected as stations in different 
localities occupied by the tribe, from whence the saint preached, 
and where probably he also ministered the sacrament. 12 There 
would seem to have been only one cemetery in each tribe that was 
consecrated, and to which the bodies of the members of the tribe were 
conveyed. This, however, is not so certain. 

Something more will have to be said about the third obligation of 
the saint, that of cursing the enemies of his tribal chieftain. 

We shall have to quote Irish sources to illustrate what was 
customary in Wales, as the religious systems were identical in both, 
and as authorities are more copious in Ireland than in Wales. 

The Hy Many in the fifth century were becoming too populous for 
their district. Now, at that time the Firbolgs occupied Connaught. 
Maine Mor and his people coveted their land ; accordingly, they called 
on S. Grellan to curse the Firbolgs. He did so, and then the Hy 
Many defeated them and took possession of Connaught. Attributing 
their success to his imprecations, they bade him impose on them 
dues for ever ; and this he did. " A scruple out of every townland, 
the tirst-born of every family, every firstling pig or firstling lamb, 
and the firstling foal. Let the Hy Many protect my Church and 
frequent it, refuse not their tribute, and my blessing shall be on the 
race. It shall never be subdued carrying my crozier that shall be 
the battle-standard of the race." 13 

We may take a remarkable illustration from the Life of S. Findchua, 
of the manner in which the saints were called in, as Balaam was by 
Balak, to curse the enemies of the tribe to which they were attached. 

Findchua had been baptized by S. Ailbe of Emly. He made a 

nt to the son of the King of the Deisi of his place in heaven. So 

hr hud. he supposed, to earn for himself another place. To do this he 

had made for him seven iron sickles, on which he hung for seven years. 

The men of Meath were attacked by pirates from the sea, coming 
iv and committing great depredations, so Findchua was sent for 
to curse them. When the saint heard that ambassadors for this 
pin pose \\viv coming to him, he ordered for their entertainment " a 
1 of ale sufficient to intoxicate fifty men," and meat in propor- 
tion. Then he came down from his sickles and went with the dele- 

,1-diticare jam incohabant." Vit. S. Kentigerni, Pinkerton, Lives of Scottish 55., 
ed. Metcalfe, Paisley, 1889, ii, p. 51. 

12 Venerabilis pater Kentegernus antistes habebat in consuetudinem ut 
in locis quibus pnrdicando populum adquisitionis nomini Christi subdiderat 
triumphale vexillum sanct;i> crucis erigeret." Ibid. p. 86. 

13 O'Donovan, Tribes and Customs of the Hy Many, Dublin, 1843. 

! ^ Introduction 

gates to Tara. He found the men of Meath in great distress because 
tin- pirates had landed and were spreading over thecountry. " Then," 
we read, " the cleric's nature rose against them, so that sparks of 
blazing fire burst forth from his teeth." Led by the saint roaring 
his incantations, the men of Meath rushed against their assailants 
and exterminated them, " slaying their gillies, burning their ships, 
and making a cairn of their heads." In return for this service Find- 
chua was granted a dun, with the privileges that went with the pos- 
session of such a fortress, also the King's drinking horn, to be 
delivered to him every seventh year. 

When war broke out against Leinster, the aid of Findchua was 
again invoked ; and we are expressly told that he was sent for only 
because the Druid, whose proper function it was to curse the enemy, 
was too old to do the job. The King of Leinster was in his dun at 
Barrow ; Findchua advised him to march against the enemy, and he 
himself would lead the van. Then a prophetic fury seized on him, 
" a wave of Godhead " it is termed, and he thundered forth a metrical 
incantation that began 

"Follow me, ye men of Leinster." 

Then " wrath and fierceness " came on the saint. The result was 
that victory declared for the arms of the men of Leinster. The 
leader of the enemy, Cennselach, threw himself on the protection of 
Findchua, and surrendered to him " his clan, his race, and his pos- 
terity." In return for his services, the King of Leinster granted the 
saint a hundred of every kind of cattle every seventh year. 

We have, in the case of Findchua, not only an instance of getting 
possession of a dun, but also of becoming the tutelary saint over an 
entire tribe that occupying Wexford. 

Again war broke out, this time between Ulster and Munster, and 
the King of the latter sent to Findchua for assistance. " Then Find- 
chua drove in his chariot with his staff in his hand, without waiting 
for any of the clerics, until he got to the dun," where the King was. 
Again he marched at the head of the army, brandishing his crozier, 
and again victory was with those who trusted in him. For his aid 
he was granted a cow from every farm, and a milch-cow to the clerk 
who should carry the crozier in battle, thenceforth, whenever it led 
to battle. The King of Munster, moreover, agreed to rise up before 
Findchua's comarb. 14 

We need follow the story no further. Suffice it to say that in 
later life the saint got a glimmer of thought that being mixed up 

14 " Book of Lismore," Anecdota Oxoniensia, Oxf. 1890, p. 241. The title 
given to S. Findchua was " The slaughterous hero," p. 240. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints i 5 

with so much bloodshed was not quite in keeping with the new reli- 
gion so imperfectly assimilated, " and he repented of the battles 
which he had fought, and the deeds which he had done for friendship 
and for love of kindred," and, we may add, for very liberal payment. 

When Diarmid Mac Cearboil went to war against the Clan Niall of 
the north, whom S. Columba (Columcille) had stirred up against 
him although he was a Christian, he took with him in his cam- 
paign a Druid to perform enchantments and pronounce curses on the 
enemy ; and the Hy Niall had the saint with them to work his counter 
charms and deliver his counter curses. 15 

The office of cursing originally formed part of the duties of the 
Druid. He was a functionary called in likewise at the conclusion of 
contracts. When two individuals entered into a compact, the Druid 
was present to utter imprecations on him who should break the agree- 
nu-nt. Beside the Druid, the file or poet was cailed in, and he gave 
a guarantee that he would compose a lampoon against the trans- 
gressor. This was part and parcel of a process that was legal. When 
S. Patrick, S. Carantoc, and the rest of the Commission revised the 
laws of Ireland, the least possible interference was made with existing 
.-Mirial and legal systems. 

As the Druid ceased to be esteemed, insensibly the Saint stepped 
into his functions. He had thrust on him the duties formerly dis- 
charged by the Druid. From being professional curser of the tribal 
foes, it was but natural that the saint should take on him to curse 
who interfered with the privileges of his monastery, broke 
sanctuary, or even gave him personal offence. 

It was held that a curse once launched could not be recalled, it 
must full and blight ; if it did not strike him at whom it was directed, 
it recoiled and smote the saint or bard who had pronounced it. For 
instance, S. Cieran of Clonmacnois encountered King Diarmid Mac 
Cearboil, who had offended him, and he cried out against him, " I 
will not deprive thee of heaven and earth, but a violent death I wish 
thee, by wound, by water, and by fire." The king at once offered to 
pay any price desired by the saint to escape such a fate. " Nay," 
said S. Cieran, " the missile that I have delivered, by that same I 
myself would be hurt to my death, if it fell not on thee." 16 

Columba visited S. Loman with the White Legs, who hid his books 

t his visitor should ask to have them as a loan. Thereupon Columba 

sed the books that they should no more profit the owner, and 
hen Loman went for them he found that the wet had so stained 

16 O'Donovan, Tribes and CMS/, of the Hy Many. 
16 Silva Gadelica, ii, p. 78. 

1 6 Introduction 

them that they were well nigh illegible. S. Patrick cursed Brenainn 
that he should have neither son nor successor. A saint's curse by 
no means struck only the living ; it affected after generations. Thus 
S. Patrick cursed the sons of Efc for stealing his horses, that their 
descendants should fall into servitude. 17 S. Malo cursed a man to 
nine generations who had spoken abusively of him. 18 

Some jugglers performed their tricks before Patrick. He had no 
food to give them, so he sent to King Loman hard by for some meat. 
At the time Patrick's deacon, Mantan, was cooking the King's dinner. 
Loman and Mantan declared that they would not spare any of the 
meat for those mountebanks. Thereupon Patrick cursed them, that 
Loman's race should never after produce a king or a bishop, and that 
Mantan should never become noted as a saint, but that sheep and 
swine should run over his grave. 19 

In the same way David cursed Joab : " Let there not fail from the 
house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth 
on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread." 20 

When we consider that at least some, if not all, of the non-Semitic 
inhabitants of Canaan belonged to the same stock as that which 
formed the substratum of the population in Ireland and Great Britain, 
we need surprised to find the same ideas relative to the force 
of a curse prevalent in Palestine as in Ireland. A curse, once launched, 
as already said, could not be recalled. If wrongfully pronounced, 
then it reverted and fell on the -head of him who had pronounced it ; 
but no amount of repentance, no amends made, could render it inno- 
cuous. S. Patrick cursed the Hy Ailell because his horses were 
stolen. The bishop he had set over them implored his pardon. He 
wiped the hoofs of Patrick's horses in token of submission, but all in 
vain. The curse must fall. 

It is worth while to show how the conviction of the efficacy of a 
curse remains unshaken to the present day. 

George Borrow, in his Wild Wales, mentions his encounter with an 
Irish woman. " When about ten yards from me, she pitched for- 
ward, gave three or four grotesque tumbles, heels over head, then 
standing bolt upright, about a yard before me, she raised her right 
arm, and shouted in a most discordant voice ' Give me an alms, for 
the glory of God ! ' ' On entering into conversation with this woman, 
he learned that she had been a well-to-do respectable widow with a 
farm and two sons. One day she refused charity to a beggar woman, 

17 Tripartite Life, p. 109. 

" Vita I 1 "* " in Bulletin de la Soc. Arch, d'llle et Vilaine, t. xvi, p. 304. 
19 Tripartite Life, p. 203. 20 2 Sam. iii, 29. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 1 7 

who thereupon cursed her. In vain did she send after the mendicant 
to entreat her to remove the curse, and promised to reward her if she 
would ; this was refused. " All the rest of the day I remained sitting 
on the stool speechless, thinking of the prayer which the woman had 
said, and wishing I had given her everything I had in the world, rather 
than she should have said it." Thenceforth all went ill with her, 
the family, the farm. She became as one possessed, and in chapel 
" I would shout and hoorah, and go tumbling and toppling along the 
floor before the Holy Body." Her sons took to drink, one was con- 
victed and sent to prison, she lost everything and became a homeless 
pauper. 21 

In Wales, till not so long ago the Holy Well of S. Elian was em- 
ployed for invoking a curse on offenders. In Brittany, those who 
have been wronged appeal to S. Yves to this day to punish the wrong- 

\\ V must not be too shocked at this cursing as practised by the 
Celtic saints. It was a legal right accorded to them, hedged about 
with certain restrictions. It was a means provided by law and custom 
to enable the weak, who could not redress their wrongs by force of 
arms, to protect themselves against the mighty, and to recover valu- 
ables takfn from them by violence. A man who considered himself 
aggrieved, and could not forcibly recover the fine, went to a Druid 
in Pagan times, to a saint in Christian days, and asked him to " ill- 
\\ish " tin- \irong-doer, just as now he goes to a lawyer and solicits a 

We will now pass to a feature in the lives of several of the Celtic 
saints that needs explanation. This is the practice of " fasting 
against " an offender. There was a legal process whereby a creditor 
might recover from the debtor, or the wronged might exact an eric or 
fine from the wrong-doer ; and this was by levying a distress. 

In Wales, as in Ireland, there was no executive. The law could be 
rtained, and the amount of the fine decreed, but the creditor or 
aggrieved was left to his own devices to obtain the redress adjudi- 
cated. The court did nothing to enforce its judgments. Conse- 
quently, a man who could not enforce the penalty vi et armis was left 
to choose between two courses : either he might get a saint to curse 
the debtor or wrong-doer, or else he might take the matter into his 
own hands by " fasting against " the offender. 

The process was this. He made formal demand for what was due 
to him. If this were refused, and he were unable otherwise to enforce 

21 Borrow, Wild Wales, Lond. 1901, pp. 691-702. 
VOL. 1. C 

! 8 Introduction 

payment or restitution, he seated himself at the door of the debtor 
and abstained from food and drink. 

In India the British Government has been compelled to interfere, 
and put down this process of dharna. The fact of the levy of a fast 
against a man at once doubled the eric or fine due for the offence. 
In India it was the etiquette for the debtor to fast also ; but in Ire- 
land the only means that one man had of meeting a fast against him 
without yielding was to fast also. The fast seemed to have extended to 
the whole family ; for when S. Patrick fasted against King Laoghaire, 
the king's son ate some mutton, to ttie great scandal of his mother. 
" It is not proper for you to eat food," said the Queen. " Do you not 
know that Patrick is fasting against us ? " " It is not against me 
he is fasting," replied the boy, " but against my father." 22 Hardly 
ever did any chief or noble dare to allow the fasting to proceed to the 
last extremities, because of the serious blood feud it would entail, as 
also because of the loss of prestige in the clan that would be his. 

S. Patrick boldly had recourse to the same method to obtain his 
demands from King Laoghaire. Again, he found that Trian, an 
Ulster chief, maltreated his serfs. Trian had set them to cut down 
timber with blunt axes, and without providing them with whet- 
stones. The poor fellows had their palms raw and bleeding. Pat- 
rick remonstrated with their master, but when he would not listen, 
he brought him to a proper sense of humanity by fasting against 
him. 23 

We find the same thing in Wales. S. Cadoc was offended with 
Maelgwn Gwynedd. Some of the king's men had carried off a very beau- 
tiful girl from his land, the daughter of the steward of the establish- 
ment. The men of Cadoc's ecclesiastical tribe went in pursuit, and 
in revenge massacred three hundred of Maelgwn's attendants. The 
king, " in raging and furious anger," marched against Cadoc's tribe 
to wreak vengeance. Cadoc could not resist by force of arms, so he 
and all his men instituted a fast against the king, who at once gave 
way. 24 

An odd story is that of the men of Leinster, who sent a deputation 
to the great S. Columba to obtain of him the promise that they should 
never be defeated by any foreign king. Columba demurred to 
giving them this assurance, whereupon they undertook a fast against 
him, and he gave way. 25 

S. Caimin of Iniskeltra, being engaged by the King of Ulster to 

22 Tripartite Life, p. 557. 23 Ibid t p 21Q 

24 Cambro-British Saints, p. 94. 

25 Book of Leinster, quoted in Anecdota Oxon, The Book of Lismore, p. 308. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints ig 

obtain the destruction of the army of the King of Connaught, fasted 
against Connaught for three whole days and nights. 

King Diarmid and Tara were cursed by S. Ruadhan, assisted by 
eleven saints of Ireland. In the narrative there is a point of interest 
connected with this practice of fasting. The twelve saints instituted 
tluir fast against the King, fasting alternate days. Thereupon he, 
in retaliation, fasted against them, and so long as one kept even with 
the other, neither could get the mastery, so the saints bribed the 
king's steward, with a promise of heaven, to tell his master a lie, and 
to assure him that he had seen the twelve eating on their fast day. 
\Yhrn Diarmid heard this, he broke his fast, whereupon the saints 
got ahead of him and triumphed. 26 

Another remarkable story is that of Adamnan, the biographer of 
S. Columba. Irghalach son of Conaing had killed Adamnan's kins- 
man Niall. The saint thereupon fasted upon Irghalach to obtain a 
violent death for him. The chief, aware of this, fasted against Adam- 
nan. The saint not only fasted, but stood all night in a river up to 
Ins neck. The chief did the same. At last the saint outwitted the 
chief by dressing his servant in his clothes and letting Irghalach see 
him eat and drink. The chief thereupon intermitted his fasting, and 
so Adamnan got the better of him, and obtained his death. When 
the Queen heard how he had been over-reached, she was in terror lest 
the saint should curse her unborn child. So she "grovelled at his 
Urt." imploring mercy for the child. Adamnan consented only so 
far to curse it, that it should be born with one eye. 27 

\\V have spoken particularly of this levy of a distress by fasting, 
tor it gives us the clue to the extravagant asceticism, not of the early 
(Yltic saints only, but of the yogis and fakirs of India. 

The Celtic saints were perfectly familiar with the law just described ; 
tlu v put its process into operation against the chiefs with excellent 
effect. By no great effort of mind they carried their legal concep- 
tions into their ideas of their relation with the Almighty. When they 
desired to obtain something from a chief , they fasted against him, and 
God was to them the greatest of all chieftains, so they supposed that 
to obtain a favour from God they must proceed against Him by levy- 
ing a distress. 

This lies at the root of all fakir self-torture in India. The ascetic 
dares the Almighty to let him die of starvation. He is perfectly 
assured that He will not do it, lest He should fall into disrepute among 

2 * Silva Gadelica, ii, p. 82. 

27 " Fragmentary Annals," ibid., pp. 442-3. 



the people, assured also that He will be brought to submit, however 
reluctant He may be, in the end, just as would a human chieftain. 

This, indeed, is frankly admitted in the Tripartite Life of S. Pat- 
rick. Patrick was ambitious of obtaining peculiar privileges from 
God, notably that of sitting in judgment over the Irish people at the 
Day of Doom. To obtain this he instituted a fast. When in a con- 
dition of nervous exaltation he fancied that an angel appeared to 
him and intimated that such a petition was offensive to God, and he 
offered him some other favour in place of it. Patrick stubbornly 
rejected all compromise, and continued his fast, as the writer says, 
" in a very bad temper, without drink, without food." After some 
time he fancied that the angel approached him again, offering fur- 
ther concessions. " I will not go from this place till I am dead," 
replied Patrick, " unless all the things I have asked for are granted 
to me." In the end he fell into such a condition of exhaustion of 
body, that he became a prey to hallucinations, thought the sky was 
full of black birds, and deluded himself into the belief that the Al- 
mighty had given way at all points. 28 

A like story is told of S. Maidoc of Ferns, who desired to obtain 
some outrageous privileges that no successor of his should go to hell, 
that no member of his community or tribe should be lost eternally, 
and that till the Day of Judgment he might be able daily to deliver 
a soul from hell. He fasted against God, to wring from Him these 
privileges, and continued his fast for fifty days, and deluded himself 
into the belief that he had forced the Almighty to grant everything. 29> 
There is a story of three scholars in the Book of Lismore that also 
illustrates how completely this legal notion of transacting business 
with the Almighty affected the minds of the early Celtic Christians. 
Three scholars resolved on reciting daily the Psalter, each taking a 
third ; and they agreed among themselves that in the event of one 
dying, the others should take his Psalms on them in addition to 
their own. First one died, then the other two readily divided his 
fifty Psalms between them. But presently a second died, and the 
third found himself saddled with the daily recitation of the entire 
Psalter. He was highly incensed against heaven for letting the other 
two off so easily, and overloading him with obligations. Then, in his 
resentment, regarding God as having treated him unjustly, we are 
informed that he fasted against Him. 

In India the fakirs possess power over the people who flock to them 

28 Tripartite Life, p. 115. Tirechan. the most trustworthy of the biogra- 
phers of S. Patrick, speaks of this fast. 

29 Cambro -British Saints, p. 243. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 2 i 

M treat the gods to obtain for them abundant harvests, or the 
burning of an enemy's house, the recovery of a sick child, or the 
wholesale destruction of an enemy's family. A man who sits on 
spikes, has voluntarily distorted himself, or who lives half buried in 
tlu- earth, is supposed to be all powerful with the gods. Why so ? 
iiise through his self-tortures he has wrung a legal power over the 
.j"ls to grant what he shall ask. The very same race which underlies 
the Hindu population of India underlay the Goidel in Ireland and the 
Brython in Britain. That race which to this day sets up menhirs 
UK! dolmens there, strewed Ireland and Cornwall with them at a 
remotely early period. That same race has scattered these remains 
Moab. \Ve nnd the same legal and religious ideas in India and 
in Ireland ; as also in Moab, which is likewise strewn with dolmens. 
Balaam reimports himself just as would a Christian saint many cen- 
niries later in Erin, because these ideas belong to the non- Aryan 
I vernian race everywhere. Monachism among the Celts, doubtless, 
;ved an impulse from such books as the Historia Lausiaca of 
Palladius, and the Life of S. Martin by Sulpicius Severus ; but it 
;ot originate from the perusal of these books. It had existed as 
Jtcm, from a remote antiquity, among the pagan forefathers of 

I.\<r\ tiling conduced to engage the Christian missionaries in a 

contest <>f ascetic emulation with the medicine men of Paganism. 

They strove to outstrip them, for if they fell short of the self-torture 

practised by the latter, they could not hope to gain the ear of the 

princes and impress the imaginations of the vulgar. In the instance 

S Findchua we have a man emerging from Paganism, practising 

! rightful austerities, and eagerly invoked to occupy the place hitherto 

aed to the Druid. Surely he simply trod the same path as that 

:nn sued by the necromancers before him. Of S. Kevin it is said that 

'named for seven years without sleep, and that he held up one 

arm till it became rigid, and a blackbird laid and hatched her eggs 

in his palm. 30 S. Ere is said to have spent the day immersed in a 

S. Ita to have had only earth for her bed. 

This immoderate and astounding self-torture enabled the saints in 
( eltic lands, with all confidence, to appropriate to themselves the 
keys of heaven and hell, and to give assurance of celestial felicity to 
whom they would, and denounce to endless woe whoever offended 
them. S. Patrick is said to have promised heaven to a story-teller, 
who had amused him with old bardic tales, and to a harper for having 

10 Irish Liber Hymtiomm, ii, 192 ; Giraldus Camb., Top. Hibern., ii, 48 ; 
Book of Lismore, p. 334. 



performed well on his instrument. 31 As we have already seen, the 
twelve saints of Ireland promised heaven to the unfaithful steward 
on condition that he should tell his master a lie, and so deceive him 
to his destruction. S. Carannog threatened to shut heaven against 
S. Finnian unless he would get into the tub he had prepared for him 
as a bath. 32 Senan of Iniscathy threatened King Lugaidh to deprive 
him of heaven if he thwarted him, and he left assurance with his 
community that no man buried in his churchyard should go to hell. 33 
S. Finnian of Clonard made the same promise relative to his own 
burial ground. 34 

So much, then, for the ferocious self-torture exercised by the early 
Celtic saints. But in many cases there was a nobler motive in the 
hearts of these venerable fathers than one of mere following in the 
traces of their pagan predecessors, and outrivalling them. A clue 
to their conduct may be found in an incident related of S. Columba. 

One day he saw a poor widow gathering sting-nettles. He asked 
her the reason. She replied that she had no other food. The old 
man trembled with emotion, went back to his cell, and bade his 
attendant give him thenceforth nettles only to eat. He had come 
among the Picts to be an apostle, to poor as well as to rich, mean as 
well as noble, and he would not fare better than the lowliest among 
those to whom he ministered. The story goes on to say that the 
disciple, seeing the aged master become thin and pinched on this 
meagre diet, employed a hollow elder stick with which to stir the 
nettles, over the fire, and he surreptitiously introduced a little butter 
into the hollow of the stick, that ran down and enriched the por- 
ridge. 35 

There are, moreover, remarkable instances among the Irish ascetics 
of their standing high above a narrow formalism. Some travellers 
came to Ruadhan of Lothra during Lent, and he at once produced a 
meat supper, and, to exhibit true hospitality, not only sat down at it 
himself, but bade his monks do the same. Some travellers came to 
S. Cronan, and he at once produced all he had for their refreshment, 
and sat down with them. " Humph ! " said a stickler for rule, " At 
this rate, I do not see much chance of Mattins being said." " My 
friend," said Cronan, " in showing hospitality to strangers we minister 
to Christ. Do not trouble about the Mattins, the angels will sing 
them for us." 36 

11 Silva Gadelica, ii, pp. 137, 191. 

12 Breviary of Uon, 1516. ^ook of Lismore, pp. 210, 214. 

14 Ibid., p. 219. 35 ifa d p 

34 Vit.T SS. Hibern. in Cod. Salamavtc., p. 548. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 23 

At the same time that the saints were vastly hospitable they re- 
fused to regale kings and their retinue when this was demanded as a 
right. It was one of the conditions of subjection to a secular prince 
to have to find him in food when he called, and to furnish his beasts 
with provender. Compliance with the demand established a dan- 
gerous precedent, for vassalage brought with it liability to military 
service. It was accordingly stubbornly resisted. 

When Maelgwn Gwynedd was hunting in the neighbourhood of 
S. Brynach, he sent to the saint a command to prepare supper for 
him and his attendants. " But the holy man being desirous that he 
and his brethren and also his territory should be free from all tribute, 
asserted that he did not owe the king any supper, nor would he obey 
in any manner to his unjust command." Naturally this produced 
an explosion of anger, but it ended in the saint furnishing the 
meal, which the king formally acknowledged as being accorded 
him out of charity, and not as a due. 37 

S. Senan absolutely declined to pay tax to Lugaidh, the petty local 
king. Then the king sent his race-horse to be turned out on Senan's 
pasture, saying he would take his dues in this manner. Accidentally 
the horse was drowned, and this led to violent threats on the king's 
part and demand for compensation. 

The three obligations required of a monk were obedience, chastity, 
ami ix>verty. Obedience, according to the Life of S. David, must 
be implicit. 38 According to the Penitential statutes of Gildas, a monk 
who neglected executing at once the orders of his superior, was de- 
prived of his dinner. If he forgot an order, he was let off with half a 
meal. If he should communicate with one whom the abbot had ex- 
communicated, he was put to penance for forty days. 39 According 
to the rule of S. David, if a brother should even say of a book that it 
was his own, he was subjected to penance. 40 This, however, may 
be a later addition, for certainly, as we see by instances in the Lives 
of the Saints, it was not an universal rule. With regard to trans- 
gressions of the rule of chastity, great severity was shown, as the 
Penitential Canons show. A nun, who had transgressed, when she 
died, was sunk as an accursed thing in a bog. 41 

It is difficult to say with any amount of confidence how many were 
the offices of devotion performed by the monks during the day and 
night, because so many of the Lives are late, and writers described 

J7 Cambro-British Saints, pp. 10-12. > Ibid., p. 128. 

19 Preefatio Gildee de Panitentia, caps, ix, xi, xii ; in Haddan and Stubbs. 
Councils, i, pp. 113-114. 

40 Cambro-British Saints, p. 128. 4 i Book of Lismore, p. x. 

2 4 Introduction 

the routine in the early monasteries very much as it was known to 
them in Benedictine abbeys of a far later date. They would seem to 
have had the Mass said, not daily, but on Sundays, and daily to have 
recited the entire Psalter ; not, however, invariably in choir, but 
privately in most cases. They had, however, common offices : one 
only of these has been preserved, and is found in the Book of Mulling. 
It is that of Vespers, and is in part illegible. It began with an invi- 
tatory, then came the Magnificat, then something that cannot be 
deciphered, followed by three verses from a hymn of S. Columba. 
Then ensued a lesson from S. Matthew, followed by three stanzas 
from a hymn by S. Secundinus, and three from a hymn by Cum- 
mian Fota. Then the three final verses of the hymn of S. Hilary 
of Poitiers, the Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, and a Collect. 42 

Whether the Laus perennis formed an institution in the great 
monasteries generally cannot now be determined. We learn from 
Joscelyn's Life of S. Kentigern that it was the order at Llanelwy. 
It is spoken of as customary in Llantwit, Bangor Iscoed, Salisbury, 
and Glastonbury. But the authorities are late. The institution 
(dyfal gyfangan) is mentioned in the Triads and the lolo MSS., 43 
but neither can be trusted. If it were established, then it would 
show how close a relation was maintained between Britain and the 
East, and how that a movement there communicated itself rapidly 
to our isle. 

The archimandrite Alexander, an Asiatic by birth, renounced the 
world about the year 380 and became a member of the convent of 
the archimandrite Elias. He remained in it four years, then be- 
came a solitary in the desert for seven, and then suddenly was trans- 
formed into a missionary who traversed Mesopotamia in all directions. 
He gathered about him a congregation of 400 monks on the right 
bank of the Euphrates. Later he established another in Constanti- 
nople near the Church of S. Menas, then one at Gomon, and died 
about 430. Alexander was a man of intense energy and of narrow 
views. The Bible, and the Bible only, literally interpreted, was to 
be the rule of his order. Because he found therein, " Go ye into all 
the world and preach the Gospel to every creature," it was to be a 
missionary confraternity. Because our Lord said, " Sell all that thou 
hast, and distribute unto the poor," therefore the monks were to be 
entirely penniless. Because He said, " Men ought always to pray and 
not to faint," on that account worship should be perpetual. But 
human nature did not allow each man to remain day and night in 

12 Liber Hymnorum, 1898, p. xxii. 

43 Myv. Arch., pp. 393, 408 ; lolo MSS., p. 150. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 2 5 

yer, consequently the work of incessant prayer and psalmody 
should be the function of the community. This was the capital point 
of his rule, and this constitutes an important feature in the history of 
Monachism. It created so much astonishment in men's minds, that 
the name given to the Order was aKoi^rjroi, the Unsleeping Ones. 
It would be indeed remarkable if the Laus perennis could have 
reached Britain as early as the beginning of the sixth century. 

The instruction given in the Celtic institutions was altogether 
oral. " There were no books except a few manuscripts, and they 
were highly prized. The instruction was generally given in the open 
air. It the preceptor took his stand on the summit (of the rath en- 
closure), or seated his pupils around its slopes, he could be conveniently 
heard, not only by hundreds but even by thousands. The pupils were 
rasily accommodated, too, with food and lodging. They built their 
own little huts throughout the meadows, where several of them some- 
times lived together like soldiers in a tent. They sowed their own 
grain ; they ground their own corn with the quern or hand-mill ; 
they iishcd in the neighbouring rivers, and had room within the com- 
mon lands to graze cattle to give them milk in abundance. When 
MipplU-s ran short, they put wallets on their backs, and went out in 
thtir turn to seek for the necessaries of life, and were never by the 
pro pie refused abundant supplies. They wore little clothing, had no 
l.<.ks to buy, and generally, but not always, received their education 
gratuitously. 44 

Tlu- routim- in Clonard can be gathered from the Life of S. Finnian. 
\Ve are told that on one occasion he sent his disciple Senach to see 
what all his pupils were doing. Senach's report was : " Some are 
engaged in manual labour, some are studying the Scriptures, and 
others, notably Columba of Tir-da-Glas, are engaged in prayer." 45 

( Kvinjj to the scandals which had arisen through women being in 
the same monastery or college with men, the abbots often swung to 
the opposite extreme. S. Senan would not suffer a female, however 
aged, to enter the isle in which he lived with his monks. In some 
monasteries the interior within the rath, with its churches and dining- 
hall, was interdicted to women, and this interdiction had subsisted at 
Lamlevenec from the close of the fifth century for four hundred 
years. 44 At the close of the sixth century the rule was in full rigour 

the monastery of S. Maglorius at Sark. Some went even further, 

4 Healy, Insula Sanctorum et Doctontm, 1896, p. 202. 
1 Vita SS. Hib., Cod. Salamanc., p. 200. 
De la Borclerie, Hist, de Bretagne, i, N p. 517. 

2 6 Introduction 

like- S. Malo, who would not allow even a layman to come within the 
embankment. 47 

That in spite of every effort to raise artificial barriers, a very pure 
morality did not always reign among the monks and pupils, appears 
from the Penitential of Gildas ; indeed, that reveals a very horrible 
condition of affairs. 48 

The diet of the monks consisted of bread, milk, eggs, fish. On 
Sundays a dish of beef or mutton was usually added. 49 Beer and 
mead were drunk, and sometimes so freely that in the Penitential of 
Gildas provision had to be made for the punishment of drunkenness. 
At Ynys Byr, or Caldey Isle, where the abbot tumbled into a well 
when drunk, we are assured that S. Samson by his abstinence gave 
great offence to the monks. " In fact," says his biographer, " in the 
midst of the abundant meats and the torrents of drink that filled the 
monastery, he was always fasting, both as to his food and his drink." 50 
The liquor drunk was not only ale, but also " water mixed with the 
juice of trees, or that of wild apples," that is to say, a poor cider ; 
and we are assured that at Landevenec nothing else was employed. 51 
At Llantwit Major " it was usual to express the juice of certain herbs 
good for health, that were cultivated in the monastery garden, and 
mix this extract with the drink of the monks, by pressing it, by means 
of a little tube, into the cup of each ; so that when they returned 
from the office of Tierce, they found this tipple ready for them, pre- 
pared by the pistor." 52 This was clearly a sort of Chartreuse. 

Few features are more amazing in Irish or Welsh ecclesiastical 
history than the way in which whole families embraced the religious 
life. In a good many cases they could not help themselves ; the for- 
tunes of war, a family revolution, obliged members of a royal family 
to disappear as claimants to a secular chieftainship, and to content 
themselves with headships of ecclesiastical institutions. But reli- 
gious enthusiasm was also a potent power determining them in their 
choice. We see this among the Northumbrians. Bede says that 
the same phenomenon manifested itself there ; for chieftains who were 
entirely undisciplined in religion all at once posed as saints, founded 
monasteries, and placed themselves at the head of these institutions. 53 
Into these monasteries they invited their friends and dependents, 

7 Vita i ma 5. Maclovii, i, c. 40. 

18 Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, i, p. 113. 

w Reeves, Life of S. Columba, 1874, p. cxvii. 

10 Vita i S. Samsonis, in Acta SS. O. S. B., sac. i p 17; 
1 Vita S. Winwaloei, ii, c. 12. 
61 Vita i S. Samsonis, i, c. 16 
53 Hist. Eccl. v, 23. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 2 7 

who brought in their wives and families. Bede was so concerned at 
this condition of affairs that he wrote to Archbishop Ecgbert, of 
York, to entreat him to put a stop to such irregularities, as he with 
his Latin ideas considered them. He says that in Northumbria 
there were many nunneries over which the chiefs set their wives. 

In the Irish monasteries, as at Iona r the brethren constituted a 
monastic family, divided into three classes : (i) The Elders, seniores, 
dedicated to prayer and the instruction of the young, and to preach- 
ing ; (2) The lay brothers, operarii, who were principally engaged in 
manual labour ; and (3) The students and servitors, juniores alumni, 
or pnenili familiares. 6 * When S. Samson constituted his monastery 
at Dol, he had, as his biographer says, the same three classes : mon- 
aclii. i//.sTi/>///i. ftimuli. When he went to Paris to visit Childebert 
554), he was attended by seven monks, seven pupils, and seven 
servitors. 55 

The head of the monastic family was called abbot, abba pater, pater 
spirititiilis, or simply pater, very often senex. He lived apart from 
tin- rest of the monks, probably on higher ground than the others, so 
that he might command the entire community with his eye. Under 
him \vas the ceconomtis or steward, often mentioned in the Lives of 
the Saints, notably in those of S. David, S. Cadoc, and S. Samson. 
:uty was to look after the temporal affairs of the monastery, 
and in the abbot's absence he took his place. Below the ceconomus 
' he pistor or baker, who was not limited to making the bread of 
the community, but had oversight over all the food required. S. 
Samson was invested with this office in Ynys Byr, and was accused 
of having been extravagant, and wasting the money belonging to the 
convent. 56 The only other office of significance was that of the cook, 
coqnus.* 7 Among the pupils, the students were not limited to study : 
they divided among them the looking after the sheep and oxen, and 
the grinding of the corn in the mill. 58 They were set an A B C to 
acquire, but this probably means, not only the letters, but the rudi- 
ments of Christian belief. They had also to acquire the Psalms of 
David by heart, as already stated. 

The monks were habited in a tunic and cowl ; the tunic was white, 
and the cowl the natural colour of the wool. In addition, in cold 
and bad weather, a mantle (amphibalits) was worn, sometimes called 

54 Reeves, Life of S. Columba, 1874, p. cvii. 
53 Vita II' 1 *, eel. Plaine, ii, c. 20, p. 66. 
:>8 Vita I, i, c. 35. 

Book of Lismore, p. 207. &8 Ibid., pp. 206, 207, 269. 

2 8 Introduction 

a casula, or chasuble. 59 A good many of the abbots, and even monks, 
seem to have delighted in clothing themselves in goat or fawn skins. 69 

The Greek tonsure, which is called that of S. Paul, consisted in 
shaving the entire head ; the Roman tonsure, as that of S. Peter, 
was restricted to the top of the head, leaving a band of hair round it. 
The tonsure of the Britons and Scots consisted in shaving all the 
front of the head from ear to ear. As we see by the Bayeux tapestry, 
a non-ecclesiastical tonsure was practised by the Normans in the 
eleventh century, which was that of shaving the back of the head. 
The meaning of a tonsure was the putting a mark on a man to desig- 
nate that he belonged to a certain class or tribe, just as colts or sheep 
are marked to indicate to whom they belong. The knocking out of 
certain teeth, the deforming of the skull, and tattooing among Indian 
and other savage races, has the same significance. All men are born 
alike, and to discriminate among them, artificial means must be 
had recourse to. Circumcision among the Jews, Egyptians and 
Kaffirs, has the same meaning. 

The tonsure was known in pagan Ireland, and was probably 
almost certainly general among all Celtic races, the Druids being 
tonsured to mark the order to which they belonged ; and each tribe, 
if it did not wear its tartan, was distinguished by some sort of trim- 
ming of the hair. 

The Celtic tonsure for ecclesiastics was possibly purposely adopted 
from that of the Druids ; but this is not certain, as " adze-head " 
was a term applied to the Christian clergy as derisive, because their 
long faces and curved bald crowns bore a sort of resemblance to a 
tool, the so-called celt. Probably it was the Druidic tonsure with a 
difference. 61 It was this tonsure, so unlike that adopted by the 
monks of the Rule of S. Benedict, which caused such indignation 
among the Latin missionaries. They could not away with it. It 
was the tonsure of Simon Magus. 

Another point of antagonism between the Latin ecclesiastics and 
those of the Celtic Church was the observance of Easter. The Celtic 
rule has been repeatedly explained, and here we will only give it in 
brief from the lucid account of Mr. Hodgkin, in his account of 
S. Columbanus in Gaul. " In this matter the Irish ecclesiastics, with 
true Celtic conservatism,adhered to the usage which had been universaj 
in the West for more than two centuries, whilst the Prankish bishops 

19 Reeves, Life of S. Columba, p. cxviii ; Book of Lismore, pp. 218, 219, 273. 

80 Cambro-British Saints, p. 128. 

1 Three kinds of tonsure are mentioned by the early Irish writers : the 
monastic (berrad manaig), the servile (berrad mogad), and the Druidical forms 
(airbacc giunnae). Tripartite Life, i, p. clxxxv. 

The Jfelsb and Cornish Saints 29 

lutitully following the see of Rome, reckoned their Easter day accord- 
ing to the table which was published by Victorinus in the year 457, 
and which brought the Roman usage into correspondence with the 
usage of Alexandria. The difference, much and earnestly insisted 
upon in the letters of Columbanus. turned chiefly on two points : 
(i) The Irish churchmen insisted that in no case could it be right to 
celebrate Easter before the vernal equinox, which determined the 
first month of the Jewish calendar ; (2) they maintained that since 
tin- I'ussmvr had been ordained to fall on the night of the full moon, 
in no case could it be right to celebrate Easter on any day when the 
moon was more than three weeks old. In other words, they allowed 
the great festival to range only between the I4th and the 2oth day of 
tin- lunar month, while the Latin Church, for the sake of harmony 
with the Alexandrian, allowed it to range from the I5th to the 22nd. 
In theory it would probably be admitted that the Irishmen were 
nearer to the primitive idea of a Christian festival based on the Jewish 
Passover; but in practice to say nothing of the unreasonableness of 
i nating discord on a point of such infinitely small importance by 
harping as they did continally on the words ' the I4th day', they 
their opponents the opportunity of fastening upon them the 
nanir ol Oimrto-decimnn, and thereby bringing them under the ana- 
thema pronounced by the Xi(Tene Council on an entirely different 
form oi dissent." % - 

As has been frequently pointed out, in the earliest monasteries the 
abbot had under him one or more bishops, subject to his jurisdiction. 
This condition of affairs did not last very long. The kings and chiefs 
had been accustomed to have their Druids at their sides, to furnish 
them with charms against sudden death and against sickness, and 
to bless their undertakings and curse their enemies. The abbot 
could not be with the chief or king ; as head of a tribe he had to 
rule a territory, and attend to the thousand obligations that belonged 
to his position. Accordingly, a bishop was sent to the chieftain to 
do the work of medicine-man for him ; this was the beginning of a 
change in the system, approximating it to that of the Church in the 
Empire. The bishop about the person of the chief eclipsed the abbot, 
and became the chief man in ecclesiastical matters belonging to the 
tribe. The Lebar Brecc describes the duties of a bishop : " A bishop 
for every chief tribe for ordaining ecclesiastics and for consecrating 
lurches, for spiritual direction to princes and superiors and ordained 
arsons, for hallowing and blessing their children after baptism (i.e. 

** Italy and her InOadcrs Oxford. 1895. vi, pp. 115-6. 

20 Introduction 

confirming), for directing the labours of every church, and for leading 
boys and girls to cultivate reading and piety." And the same author- 
ity gives as the duties of every priest in a small church : "Of him 
is required baptism and communion, that is the Sacrifice, and sung 
intercession for the living and the dead, the offering to be made every 
Sunday, and every chief solemnity, and every chief festival. Every 
canonical hour is to be observed, and the singing of the whole Psalter 
daily, unless teaching and spiritual direction hinder him." 63 

We will now pass to a consideration of what is of importance re- 
lative to the saints of Cornwall. Here a very remarkable condition 
of affairs is found to exist. The whole of Penwith, or the Land's End 
District, and the Lizard promontory as well, seem to have been laid 
hold of, and its churches founded by Irish saints. 

Then again, in all the north-east and east of Cornwall, even down 
to the sea at Looe, are found saints of the Brychan family of Breck- 
nock. Unhappily, we have no early history of Cornwall that can 
account for this. Only a glimmer of light comes to us through such 
few Lives, or notices of Lives, as remain. 

But if the historians hold their peace, the stones cry out, and testify 
to a very extensive colonisation by Irish. 

We have scanty notices that Caradog Freichfras, who was prince 
of Gelliwig, the territory about Callington, about 480 conquered 
Brecknockshire. He was himself related to the royal family of 
Brychan through his mother. Whether he entered into any compact 
with the ecclesiastics of that family and bade them occupy East and 
North-east Cornwall, on condition that they vacated all their holdings 
in Brecknock, or whether he drove them out, and they fled to Cornwall 
to the Irish colonists there, we do not know ; but certain it is that 
the Brychan family is represented very fully there. The Brychan 
family was Irish, and that there were Irish inhabiting the region to 
which they moved we shall proceed to show. We know from an 
entry in Cormac's Irish Glossary that in the time of Crimthan the 
Great the Irish held/Map Lethain in the lands of the Cornish Britons, 64 
*>., 366-378. 

The lapidary inscriptions give us Irish names, and bear also the 
Ogam script. The Maccodechet stone at Tavistock shows that a 
portion of the Deceti sept from Kerry was settled there. We find 
their names on monuments both in the west of Ireland and in Angle- 
sey. Another stone is that of Dobunnus, son of Enobar. Dobunnus 

3 Tripartite Life, i, p. clxxxiii. 

4 Three Irish Glossaries, by W. Stokes, Lond., 1862, p. xlviii. 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 3 I 

meets us again several times in Kerry. The Cumregnus stone at 
Southill has the Goidelic Manci on it, and one of the Lewannic stones 
the no less Irish ingen ; the other bears the name of Ulcagnus, the 
Irish Olcan, that we find in Kerry as Olacon. 65 The Endellion stone 
to Breocan also has its relatives in Kerry and also in Pembrokeshire. 
It can hardly be by accident that Cormac represents Map or Mac 
Lethain as a fortress of the Irish in Cornwall. This shows that it had 
been erected by the Hy Liathain, who occupied a tract of country in 
Minister close to Kerry. And if we suppose that the Brychan family 

< It-rived from the Hy Brachain in Thomond, then their original seat 
was separated from Kerry by the estuary of the Shannon only. But 
it is not only the family of Brychan that is represented in North-east 

< '< -rim-all ; the closely related family of Gwent was also there. To 
this belonged Petroc of Padstow. Cadoc has also left his mark 
tlu-rr, so has Glywys, and possibly Gwynllyw at Poughill. The 
Stowford stone inscribed to Gungleus looks as though it marked the 

ig- place of one of the same family. On account of the way in 
which the Saxons and Normans supplanted the Celtic saints with 
fresh dedications from the Roman Martyrology in Devon, we are not 
able to determine to what an extent North Devon was settled with 
-lastical foundations from Brycheiniog and Gwent. But Bry- 
nach, son-in-law of Brychan, is found at Braunton, Nectan, a reputed 
son, at Hartland and Wellcombe. In Cornwall it is otherwise. We 
find them extending from Padstow Harbour to the Tamar, and south 

ir as to the river Fal. 

Let us now turn to the west of Cornwall, to Penwith, or the Land's 
End district, and to Meneage, that of the Lizard. Here the whole 
district is ecclesiastically Irish. But, indeed, the invasion extends 
further east, as far as to Newquay, for we have near that S. Piran 
and S. Carannog, which latter, though not actually Irish by birth, 
laboured long in the Emerald Isle, and in the south it seems to have 
^tivtohed with breaks to Grampound. 

Happily we have some account of the invasion that took place 
there. This is in the Life of S. Fingar, written by a monk named 
Anselm, probably of S. Michael's Mount. There were in existence 
other records, to which Leland refers, and which he had seen, and from 
which he made all too scanty extracts, but these are lost for ever. 

From such sources we learn that in the reign of Tewdtjg, King of 
Cornwall, who had palaces or duns at Reyvier on the Hayle river, 
and at Goodern near Truro, and, if we may judge by the place-name, 

5 Studies in Irish Epigraphy, by R. A. S. Macalister, London, 1897. 

* 2 Introduction 


a court at Listewder in S. Kevern, a fleet of Irish arrived in Hayle 
Harbour, and that he fell upon them when they landed and killed 
a number of them. Some took refuge on Tregonning Hill, and en- 
trenched and maintained themselves there. In the end the Irish 
must have got the upper hand, for they meted out the whole of the 
present deaneries of Penwith, Kerrier and Carnmarth between them, 
and extended their foundations into Powder as well. Whereupon 
they elevated those of their party who had been killed by Tewdrig to 
the position of martyrs. Had the Irish been expelled, Fingar would 
not have received a cult, but have been regarded as a free-booter 
who had met with his deserts. 

The occasion of this migration is matter of conjecture, but this 
seems to best explain it. 

The Hy Bairrche, descendants of Daire Bairrche, second son of 
Cathair Mor, King of Leinster and of all Ireland, had occupied the 
country between the Slaney and the Barrow, whilst the Hy Cinn- 
selach, who held what is now the county of Wexford, had been 
growing in numbers and power, and had become straitened between 
the Slaney and the sea. 

Some time about the middle of the fifth century, Crimthan, King 
of the Hy Cinnselach, invaded the Hy Bairrche territory and ex- 
pelled the Hy Bairrche, although Mac Daire. the King, was his own 
son-in-law. There was no alternative ; as chieftain, he must allot 
habitations and land to the men of his tribe, and that could only be 
done by dispossessing a neighbour. It was an obligation not to be 
evaded. The expelled family sought and obtained assistance, and 
many and furious battles were waged between them. In 480 the 
Hy Bairrche defeated the Hy Cinnselach at Kilosnadh, and in 485, 
in another battle, Eochaidh of the Hy Bairrche slew Crimthan, his 
own grandfather. Again ensued battles at Graine in 485, 489, and 
492, in which latter Finchadh, King of the Hy Cinnselach, was slain 
The Kings of Munster had become involved in the contest. In 
489 in a desperate fight at Kelliston in Carlow, Aengus Mac Nadfraich, 
King of Munster, fell fighting against the Hy Bairrche. On the 
death of Eochaidh, his son Diarmidh succeeded, but the strife with 
the Cinnselach was chronic. 

Now it is precisely about this period of internecine war and of 
mutual expulsion of defeated rivals, 490-510, that the great influx 
of colonists from Leinster to West Cornwall took place, and it was 
from the district of the Hy Bairrche and of the Hy Cinnselach. With 
the limited means at our disposal, we are unable to fix the date closely, 
but we know that colonists arrived when Tewdjfit was King in Corn- 



The Welsh and Cornish Saints 3 3 

\\aii. and his date can be approximately determined from the Life 
of S. Petroc. We have further a certain number of Irish Lives of 
the Saints of Leinster that help to fix the period. When looked into, 
it will be seen that the saints who settled in West Cornwall came 
almost rmii-dy from Wexford and Waterford and Ossory. The 
reason of their coming from Ossory we will now consider. This 
emigration was also apparently due to political causes. 

Tin- kinus of Minister had claimed from Ossory what was called 
tlu- " Eric of Edersceol " since the first century. This consisted in 
an annual payment of three hundred cows, as many horses, the same 
number of swords with gold-inlaid hilts, and purple cloaks, all to be 
delivered up at Samhain, the pagan Winter Feast, i.e., November I, 
at Cashel. And the south of Ossory was especially charged with this 
intolerable burden. It was resisted repeatedly. 

sory is divided by mountain ridges into three great plains : to 
the north is the Magh Arget-Ros, the middle is occupied by the Magh 
Krishna, and southernmost of all is the Magh Feimhin. Ossory 
is the Land between the Waters the Suir and the Barrow. It 
was the s.-at of the great tribe of the Hy Connla, divided into three 

During the first part of the second century, a distinguished chief 
ot the race of Connla arose, named Aengus. He disputed the right 
of Mun>ti T to either jurisdiction or tribute in any part of Ossory. A 
battle was fought and the Munster men were completely defeated. 
The eihrt of this victory was the entire emancipation of the middle 
ami south plains, on which the Eric of Edersceol had been levied. 

In or about 170, when Eochaid Lamdoit was king of Ossory, the 
Munstrr men burst into the plains, with resolve to exterminate the 
Hy Connla. The Ossorians, in their distress, appealed to Cucorb, 
kim, r ot Leinster, and he sent Lughaidh Laoghis, at, the head of a 

ge force, to assist the Ossorians. The Munster men were defeated 
ith grt-at slaughter, but the kingdom of Ossory had to pay for this 
tance by the cession of a large portion in the north-east, which 
theiKvtmth constituted the kingdom of Leix, under the overlordship 
of Leinster. 

Another cession of territory took place later to the Hy Bairrche, 
who occupied the barony of Slieve Marghie in Queen's County. Ossory 
was consequently becoming contracted, and thrust more and more to 
the south, where most exposed to the attacks of Munster. Then 
Core, king of Munster, about 370 encroached on Magh Feimhin, 
and established his fortress therein at Cashel. At the same time he 
revived the claim for the Eric of Edersceol, and to enforce it occupied 

VOL. i. 



the whole of the southern plain. This was the beginning of a terrible 
time for the Ossorian royal family, and indeed for all the inhabitants 
of the central and southern plains. Lughaid, the prince of the Hy 
Duach, one of the septs of the Hy Connla, was, somewhat later, 
removed from Magh Reighna, and sent in banishment among the 
Corca Laighde, in the south-west of the county of Cork, or West 

Presently the Ossorians rose in a body, and, headed by such of 
their princes as were not detained in Munster, made a desperate 
struggle to recover their independence. They apparently met at first 
with some success, but very speedily Aengus Mac Nadfraich, grand- 
son of Core of Cashel, entered Magh Feimhin and swept through it 
to drive the Hy Duach out of the middle plain. At the same time a 
kinsman, Cucraidh, great-great-grandson of Core, burst into Magh 
Reighna and Magh Airghet Ros from the north-west. 

Aengus annexed the whole of Magh Feimhin, from which he ex- 
pelled the Ossorians, and he peopled it with the Deisi, who were then 
settled in what we now call Waterford. As to Cucraidh, he was 
given all the remainder of Ossory, the two upper plains, as a kingdom 
under the overlordship of Munster. For seven generations this 
intrusive dynasty occupied upper Ossory. 

Aengus had been baptized by S. Patrick in 470, and he fell in battle 
489. We may set down this invasion and partition of Ossory as 
taking place about 460-480. We know that some of the Ossorian 
princes fled north, but what became of the people generally ? May 
we not suppose that it was at this time, when life was impossible in 
the Land between the Waters, that they took ship and crossed into 
Cornwall ? But it is not there only that we find them but in Brittany 
as well. It is certainly significant that among the saints of Western 
Cornwall and of Western Brittany we find so many Ossorian names. 
That the same sort of thing went on in Alba from Dal-Riada we know 
for certain. The Irish colonists and conquerors of the Picts gave 
their name to Scotland. 

The Saints of Wales belong to eight great families. 

i. That of Maxen Wledig, or Maximus the Usurper, 383-388. He 
is held to have married Elen, daughter of Eudaf, a petty prince in 
Arfon, and Aurelius Ambrosius probably claimed descent from 
Maximus. From the same stock came Rhydderch Hael, the prince 
who established himself supreme over the Cumbrian Britons ; also 
Ynyr Gwent, prince of Gwent, who resided at Caerwent. This family 
would seem to have represented the Romano-British civilisation. 
The pedigree has been disturbed by confounding Elen, the wife of 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 3 5 



Maxell, with S. Helena, the wife of Constantius and mother of Con- 
stantine the Great. 

2. That of Cunedda, which came from the North, from the defence 
of the Wall, and which had been seated in the ancient Roman Valentia. 
This family is said to have expelled the Gwyddyl from Gwynedd, 
Ceredigion and Mon, and to have also occupied Merioneth, Osweilion 
and Denbigh. From it proceeded the royal line of Gwynedd, which 
only came to an end with the last Llewelyn. From this family pro- 
ceeded those important saints, Dewi and Teilo. 

3. That of Cadell Deyrnllwg in Powys, which sent out a branch 
into Glywyssing. Cadell became prince of Powys with his seat at Wrox- 


eter or Shrewsbury, in the fifth century, in consequence of a revolt of 
the Romano-British and Christian subjects of Benlli against their 
prince, who favoured paganism. Cadell was grandfather of Brochwel 
Ysgythrog. This family died out in the male line in Cyngen, 
murdered at Rome in 854. It produced several saints, notably 
S. Tyssilio of Meifod ; and its branch in Glywyssing afforded the 
still more illustrious S. Pedrog and S. Catwg. 

4. That of Brychan, king of Brycheiniog. This was an Irish 
family. Anlach, father of Brychan, made himself master of Breck- 
nock. The family produced an incredible number of saints, who are 
found not only in their native district, but also in North-east and 
East Cornwall. 

5. That of Caw of Cwm Cawlwyd in North Britain. Caw, however, 
was son of Geraint ab Erbin, Prince of Devon. Owing to the inroads 
of the Picts, the family of Caw was forced to abandon Arecluda 
and fly to Gwynedd, where they were well received by Cadwallon 
La whir (v. Life of Gildas), and Maelgwn, his son, who gave them 
lands, mainly in Mon, but apparently with the proviso that they 
should enter religion, so as not to form any small principalities 
which might be politically disadvantageous to the interests of the 
crown of Gwynedd. To this family, which never after its expul- 
sion from the North obtained any secular importance, belonged 
Gildas, the famous abbot of Ruys. 

6. That of Coel Godebog. According to Skene, he was king in 
North Britain, and from him Kyle now takes its name. He was 
ancestor of a large and important family, of Llyr Merini, prince in 
Devon and Cornwall, of Urien Rheged, and of the poet Llywarch 
Hen. From him descended a great many saints, but none of any 
great importance. Pabo Post Prydynn, and Dunawd, and Deiniol of 
Bangor, are the most conspicuous. 

7. That of Cystennin Gorneu, a stock that, like the family of Maxen 
Wledig, derived from an usurper of the purple, Constantine the Tyrant, 
408-411. It was from this stock that issued the family of Caw, given 
above (5). It would seem to have supplied Domnonia (Devon and 
Cornwall) with princes, who were called either Constantine or Geraint. 
The saint of this family that proved most remarkable was S. Cybi, 
unless we prefer the notorious Constantine whom Gildas denounced 
for his crimes and immoralities, but who was afterwards converted. 

8. That of Emyr Llydaw from Armorica. The Welsh pedigrees 
derive Emyr from Cynan, son of Eudaf and brother of Elen, wife 
of Maximus. But this is certainly imaginary. All that we really 
know about Emyr is that probably, on account of an usurpation 

The Welsh and Cornish Saints 3 7 

by one of his sons, the others had to fly from Armorica and 
take iviuge in South Wales, where they were well received by Meurig, 
king of Morganwg, who gave to several of them his daughters in 
marriage. The Bretons pretend that this eldest son, who sent his 
brothers living, was Llywel, or Hoel, " the Great ". From Emyr pro- 
ceeded some men of great mark, as S. Samson, S. Padarn, and, by a 
laughter, S. Cadfan and S. \Vimvaloe. 

To tin- number may perhaps be added that of Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu, 
but it did not proceed beyond the second generation, and then only 
through daughters. 

For centuries, due partly to the sneer of Bede, and partly to the 

1 contempt with which the Latin Church regarded all missionary 

work that did not proceed from its own initiative, the English Church 

looked to Augustine of Canterbury as the one main source from 

whom Christianity in our island sprang, and Rome as the mother 

who sent him to bring our ancestors to Christ. That he did a good 

and grrut work is not to be denied; he was the Apostle of Kent, 

where the Britons had all been massacred or whence they had been 

driven. Hut Kent is only a corner of the island. And it was for- 

ii how much was wrought by the Celtic Church, even for the 

Teutonic invaders, tar more than was achieved by Augustine. 

It was the Church in Wales which sent a stream of missionaries to 
Ireland to complete its conversion, begun by Patrick, a child per- 
:he Celtic Church of Strathclyde, though Professor Bury 
thinks ot Smith Britain. It was from Ireland that Columcille 
went to lona to become the evangelist of the Picts. From Llanelwy 
went forth Ki-ntigi-rn with 665 monks and clerics to restore Chris- 
tianity in Cumbria, which extended from the Clyde to the Dee. It 
Mom lona that the missioners proceeded who converted all 
Noithumnria. Mercia. and the East Saxons and Angles. Honour to 
whom honour is due, and the debt of obligation to the Celtic saints 
in the British Isles has been ignored or set aside hitherto. 

But they did more. To them was due the conversion of Armorica. 
Kvidenee >hows that nothing, or next to nothing, was done for the 
original inhabitants of that peninsula by the stately prelates of the 
Gallo- Roman Church. They ministered to the city populations of 
Nantes and kennes and Vannes, and did almost nothing for the 
scattered natives of the province. They were left to live in their 
heathenism and die without the light, till the influx of British colonists 
changed the whole aspect, and brought the people of the land into 
the told of Christ. 
In Waits, whenever the Norman prelates could, they displaced the 


Celtic patrons from their churches, and rededicated them to saints 
whose names were to be found in the Roman Calendar. The native 
saints were supplanted principally by the Blessed Virgin, but in a 
number of instances by S. Peter. To take a few instances from one 
diocese only, that of S. Asaph. Llanfwrog (S. Mwrog), Llannefydd 
(S. Nefydd), and Whitford (S. Beuno), have been transferred to S. 
Mary. Northop (S. Eurgain), and Llandrinio (S. Trinio) to S. Peter ; 
Guilsfield (S. Aelhaiarn), and Llangynyw (S. Cynyw) to All Saints. 
The two southern cathedrals have received rededications, S. David's 
to S. Andrew, and Llandaff to S. Peter. Bangor was rededicated to 
S. Mary, but S. Asaph has escaped. 

In Cornwall, Altarnon has been taken from S. Kon and given to 
S. Mary, S. Neot's at Menhenniot to S. Anthony, S. Finnbar at Fowey 
has been supplanted by S. Nicholas, S. Merryn by S. Thomas a Becket. 
At Mawnan, S. Stephen was coupled with the patron when the church 
was rededicated. S. Dunstan, on a like occasion, was linked with 
S. Manaccus at Lanlivery and Lanreath. S. Elwyn had to make way 
for S. Catherine, and S. Ruan for the apocryphal S. Christopher. 

The same process has been going on in Brittany, as we shall see in 
the sequel. 

The Celtic Saints may have employed methods which to us seem 
strange and uncouth, but they were in accordance with the spirit of 
their times ; they were not free from the legal conceptions prevalent 
in their race, and these coloured their procedure, and carried them 
to commit acts hardly in accordance with the Gospel, but they were 
whole-hearted in their devotion to Christ, and with a fervour of zeal 
in their hearts which was a consuming fire. They accommodated 
themselves to superstitions, only that they might divest these usages 
of their evil accidents and direct them into harmless currents. They 
sacrificed themselves, their comforts, their everything that makes 
life sweet and joyous, for the sake of their Divine Master, and to win 
a barbarous people to the precepts of Christ. They were but human, 
fallible and sometimes faulty, but what they undertook to do, that 
they succeeded in doing. The Spirit of God, ever present in the 
Church, calls to action in different ways according to the needs of 
the time, and the habits of those among whom work has to be done. 
" There are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. There 
are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh 
all in all." ' Spiritus ubi vult spirat ; et vocem ejus audis, sed nescis 
unde veniat, ant quo vadat : sic est omnis, qui natus est ex Spiritu.*' 

4 i Cor. xii. 5. 67 s . j hn iii, 8. 

Lesser Britain 39 


A KNOWLEDGE of the migrations to Armorica, and the colonisation 
of that portion of what is now called Brittany, is essential for the 
appreciation of the history of Wales and all south-western Britain 
in the fifth and sixth centuries. 

The Armorican peninsula had been occupied from prehistoric 
times by a non-Aryan race, probably speaking an agglutinative 
tongue, a people that erected the rude stone monuments strewn 
broadcast over the land, a people whose dominating religious senti- 
ment was the cult of the Dead. These were subjugated by the Gauls, 
moving into and occupying the Armorican peninsula in five invading 
dans, the Veneti, the Nanneti, the Redones, the Curiosoliti, and the 
mi. These invaders did not exterminate the natives, they 
reduced them to servitude, and refused them the right to bear arms. 

That the religion and religious practices of the conquered race in- 
fluenced the dominant Gaul is what we might expect. The influence 
of a conquered race never does die out so soon as the conquerors are 
established. It affects, moulds and modifies the religion and ritual 
(it the conquerors. And the testimony of the sepulchres in Armorica 
pn>\vs that such was the case there. \ 

Caesar conquered Armorica, and well nigh exterminated the free- 
born Gaulish Veneti. Thousands were massacred, and their wives 
and children were sold into foreign bondage. 1 

In KC. 52. when Vercingetorix, besieged by Julius Caesar in Alesia, 

appealed to all Gallic patriots to rise against the Romans, each of 

the Aimoric tribes furnished a contingent of three thousand men, 

pf the Veneti, too exhausted and broken, who were incapable 

of sending any. 2 

The Gauls settled in Armorica as a dominant race rapidly assimi- 
luted the customs, religion, and adopted the language of their Roman 
conquerors. They seem even to have abandoned Celtic names for 
those of Rome, as among the inscriptions of the period recovered, 
hardly more than two preserved personal names of Celtic origin. 

Under the later emperors, the fiscal exactions in the provinces 
became so intolerable that commerce and agriculture languished. 
Lactantius says : " The number of those who received pay had 
become so greatly in excess of those who had to pay, that the colonials, 

" Itaque omni senatu necato, reliquos sub corona vendidit." De Bella 
Gallico, iii, 16 ; Dion Cass.. xxxix, 43. 
a De Bella Gallico, vii, 75. 


crushed by the enormity of the imposts, abandoned the cultivation 
of their lands, and tillage reverted to forest." 3 He adds details. 
"The fields were measured to the last clod; the vine stocks and 
tree boles were all counted ; every beast, of whatever kind, was in- 
scribed, each man's head was reckoned. The poor people of town and 
country were swept together into the towns, the market-places were 
crowded with families. Every proprietor, together with the free-men 
of his household and his serfs, was registered ; torture and the lash 
were applied on all sides. Sons were forced to give evidence against 
their fathers, and they were placed on the rack to extort this from 
them. The most faithful slaves were constrained by torture to 
testify against their masters, and wives in like manner against their 
husbands. In default of other evidence, men were themselves 
tormented to give evidence against themselves, and when at 
last they were overcome by pain, they were inscribed for goods they 
did not possess. No exception was allowed for age and infirmity. 
Sick and weakly men were all enrolled on the register as taxable. . . . 
And yet full confidence was not reposed in the tax-collectors. Others 
were sent in their traces to find out fresh occasion for imposts. More- 
over, every time the tax was raised, not as if something had been 
discovered which had hitherto escaped the charge, but these new 
agents piled up the dues so as to give proof of their own activity. 
The result was that the cattle dwindled, men died, and yet payment 
was extorted for the dead as from the living, so that finally one could 
neither live nor die without being taxed." 4 

These exactions became more oppressive as the Empire became 
feebler. The Gallo-Roman landed proprietors, the free-men, were 
constrained to abandon their villas, which they were no longer in a 
position to maintain, and to retire within the walls of Nantes. Rennes 
and Vannes. 

The great towns of Aleth, Corseul, Carhaix, Vindana (Audierne), Vor- 
ganium, etc., fell into ruins. The bishops of the three cities absorbed 
the magisterial office, and became civic as well as ecclesiastical rulers. 
But their authority hardly extended beyond the walls of the towns ; 
and if they attempted anything towards the conversion of the abori- 
ginal inhabitants, it was in a half-hearted, desultory fashion that 
produced no lasting results. To add to the general misery, bands of 
sea rovers, described as Frisians, probably Saxons, descended on 
the coast, plundering, butchering and burning. 
At length the tyranny of the Empire could be endured no longer, 

3 De Mortibus Persecutorum, vii. * Ibid., xxiii. 

Lesser Britain 41 

and just as the wave of German invasion began- to wash over Eastern 
Gaul, the Armoricans rose in the West, and expelled the Roman 
magistrates, inspired, as Zozimus informs us, by the example of the 
insular Britons. 5 Rutilius, in his Itinerary, informs us that Exu- 
IK Tuntius, prefect of the Gauls, succeeded in reducing the Armoricans 
in 415-20, but this success was temporary. Sidonius Apollinaris 
attributes the same success to Litorius, praefectorial lieutenant in 435 

;(>, 6 and to Majorian, lieutenant of Aetius in 446.' 
The efforts of Aetius were by no means as successful as they are 
i presented by Sidonius, for in the very next year, 447, the same Ma- 
jorian, despairing of being able to reduce the Armoricans, invited the 
Barbarous Alans to invade the country and to exterminate a people 
he was himself unable to subdue. 8 This proposal would have been 
rarru-d into effect but for the intervention of S. Germanus of Auxerre. 

I" 453>" says Jornandes, " the Armoricans supplied a contingent 
to the confederation that defeated Attila on the plains of Chalons." 9 
A little later, after 468, we hear of Britons in Armorica near the mouth 
ot the Loire. In that year a certain Arvandus, prefect of Gaul, 

vhelmed with debt and ripe for any expedient for recovering 
himselt. intrigued with Euric, king of the Visigoths, and was arrested 
and tried tor high treason in the ensuing year. At the trial a letter 
nt Ins was produced, in which he exhorted Euric not to make peace 
with the Emperor Anthemius, but " as the Britons established upon 
the Loire " were the most able auxiliaries that the Empire possessed, 

Ivised Kuric to fall on them, and rid himself of them, before pro- 
ceeding overtly to attack the imperial power." 10 

Antheniins thm called on these Britons (solatia Britonum postu- 
lavit) to make common cause with him against the Visigoths, and 

lesponded by sending twelve thousand men, under their King, 

minx up the Loire to Bourges, to the assistance of the Count 
Paul, who was assembling an army against Euric. But the Roman 

d was leisurely in his proceedings, and Riothimus remained for 
nearly a twelvemonth at Bourges, during which time Sidonius Apolli- 
naris entered into correspondence with him about some captives the 

ns had taken." 
Riothimus, at last, impatient at his enforced inactivity, marched 

5 T'ndcr the date of 408. 

Carmen VIII. v. ^45 et seq, ; Avitus, Pancgyr., ii. 

7 Carmen I', v. 211-2. 

Prosp. Aquit., Chron., A.D. 44^. 9 De rebus Gothicis, xxxiii. 

" Britannos supra Ligerim sitos impugnare oportere demonstrans." 
Sidon. Apollin., Epist., \, j. 

11 Hid., iii, y. 

. 2 Introduction 

against the Visigoths, whom he encountered at Deols. He was 
defeated and compelled, along with the survivors of his host, t< 
refuge among the Burgundians. 12 

That these Britons at the mouth of the Loire were Christians 
appears most probable, for at a provincial council held at Tours in 
461, only a few years previous to this, appeared Mansuetus, bishop 
of the Britons (episcopus Britannorum), who sat with Eusebius of 
Nantes and Athenius of Rennes. This is the first intimation we have 
of British settlers in Armorica, and in sufficient numbers to send a 
contingent of twelve thousand men against the Visigoths. 

We are not told that Britons were involved in the risings in 408, 415, 
435, 446, but we are afforded the significant hint that they revolted, 
" following the example of the insular Britons." That British colon- 
ists were settled at the mouth of the Loire early in the fifth century 
is accordingly established. 

But had they, at this time, begun to settle in other parts of Ar- 
morica ? We have no contemporary records to show that they had, 
but there are many indications that they had done so. 

According to the Gloss on Fiacc's Hymn on S. Patrick, " Patrick 
and his father, Calpurn, Concess his mother . . . and his five sisters 
... 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." 13 

The statement is late, but it embodies an early tradition. It is 
not said to what part of Armorica these emigrants went, but as we 
hope to show, when dealing with S. Germanus the Armorican, there 
is some ground for supposing it was to Cornugallia. 

According to the Life of S. Illtyd, he was son of Bicanys, an Ar- 
morican of British blood, driven from Armorica apparently by some 
family quarrel which deprived him of his land. 14 Illtyd cannot 
have been born later than 460. So also Cadfan, with a large party 
of refugees, came to Wales early in the sixth century, and we can 
hardly suppose them to have been flying from a country recently 
occupied. Cadfan has left his traces in Cornouaille and in Leon. 

Again, we have Budic, a king of Cornugallia, living as a refugee in 
South Wales, and that in the sixth century, but at the very beginning 
of it. 15 

12 Greg. Turon., Hist., ii, 18 ; Fernandes, De rebus Gothicis, xlv. 

13 Tripartite Life of S. Patrick, Rolls Series, ii, 473-5. Liber Hymn., ii, 
p. 177. See also preface to Hymn of S. Sechnall, Liber Hymn., ii, 3. 

14 Cambro-British Saints, p. 158. 15 Book of Llan Ddv, p. 130. 

Lesser Britain 43' 

Some little weight may be allowed to the catalogue of the princes 
of Cornubia or Cornugallia in the Cartulary of Landevennec. 16 The 
Cartularies of Quimperand of Quimperle give the same list, but obvi- 
ously derived from the same source. They reckon three kings of 
the Britons in Cornubia as reigning before Grallo, who ruled from 
about 470 to about 505. Allow fifteen years for each reign, and this 
tfiv-> u> 435 for the first. 

What is more convincing is that when the colonists arrived at a 
later period, they found the land already parcelled out into pious 
and tret's. There was occasion for a great migration taking place in 
tin- tilth century, but immigration had probably begun earlier. 

I'li'lrr the date 364 Ammianus Marcellinus says : " At this time 
tlic trumpet, as it were, gave signal for war throughout the Roman 
w>rM : and the Barbarian tribes on the frontier were moved to make 
incursions on those territories which lay nearest to them. The 
Picts, Scots, Saxons and Attacotti harassed the Britons with in- 
int mva>ions." 

( hving to the weakness of Britain, that had been partly Romanised, 
and which was ill defended by a few legions, the island became a prey 
to Invaders, It was fallen upon from all sides. The Irish, or Scots 
as tin \ were then called, poured over the western coast and occupied 
nearly tin- wlu.K- ot Wales. The Picts broke over the Wall from the 
north, and the Germans invaded and planted themselves on the east 
and south-east. Large bands of Irish swept over Devon and Corn- 
wall. Their inscribed stones with ogams, as has been already shown, 
can be traced into South Devon. 

From Irish records we find that after 366 Crimthan the Great was 
warring in Alba, Britain, and exacting tribute from it. 17 

In 308, according to Ammianus, matters had reached a critical 
:n Britain. Theodosius was sent into the island, and he drove 
tin- Picts out of London. The relief was temporary. No sooner was 
he gone than they returned. It is of this period of protracted misery 
that (iildas writes: "Britain groaned in amazement under the 

city of two foreign nations, the Scots from the north-west, and 
Picts from the north." According to him the Britons appealed 
o Rome, and a legion was sent into the island, which inflicted severe 
on the invaders. It was, however, almost immediately with- 


' Cart. Land., i-d. De la Borclerie, Rennes, 1888, pp. 172-3. 

" Capessivit postea imperium Crimthanus Fidlogi filius . . . qui septern- 

em annos regnavit, et Albania, Britannia et Gallia victorias retulisse illa- 
rumque regionum incolas vetusta docuraenta produnt." (Keating, from 
Minister documents.) 

A A Introduction 

drawn, and then, " their former foes, like ravening wolves rushing 
upon the field left without a shepherd, wafted across by the force of 
the oarsmen, and the blast of the wind, broke through the boun- 
daries, spread slaughter on every side, and overran the whole country." 
Again a legion was sent, but was withdrawn with a notice that no 
further assistance would be accorded to the island. " No sooner 
were they gone," continues Gildas, " than the Picts and Scots landetf 
from their boats, in which they had been borne across the Cichian 
Valley (the Irish Channel)." The Britons " left their cities, aban- 
doned the protection of the Wall, and dispersed in flight ; and the 
enemy pursued them with more unrelenting cruelty than before, and 
butchered our countrymen like sheep." 

"The power of the Cruithnians (Picts) and of the Gaels (Scots) 
advanced into the heart of Britain," says Nennius, " and drove them 
to the Tin (Tyne). . . . Their power continually increased over 
Britain, so that it became heavier than the Roman tribute ; because 
the object aimed at by the Northern Cruithnians and Gaels was the 
total expulsion of the Britons from their lands." 18 

" Great was the power of the Gael over Britain," says an early 
Irish writer, Cormac, b. 831, d. 903. " They divided Alba (i.e., 
Albion = Britain) amongst them in districts . . . and their residences 
and royal forts were built there." He mentions Glastonbury as in 
their hands, and the fort of Mac Lethain in the hands of the Cornish 
Britons. 19 

In the meantime the Saxon pirates had ravaged and depopulated 
Armorica. Sidonius Apollinaris shows us what devastation they 
wrought, and how they extended their attacks as far south as the 
Saintonge. 20 To more completely sweep the country they planted 
stations along the coast from which they penetrated inland, burning 
and slaughtering. 21 The results of these raids are revealed by the 
spade at this day. All the old sites of Roman-Gaulish towns in 
Brittany lie buried under beds of ashes. 22 

Finally, as Procopius says, the region of Armorica was the most 
desert in all Gaul. 23 This peninsula accordingly offered a field for 
settlement by Britons flying from the swords of the Picts and Scots. 
The exodus began in the fifth century, but it was renewed, and the 

18 Irish Nennius, ed. Todd & Herbert, 1848, p. 73. 

19 Glossary of Cormac, ed. W. Stokes, 1862, pp. xlviii, xlix. 

20 Sidon. Apoll., Paneg. Aviti, vv. 370-2, 348-50. 

21 Greg. Turon., Hist. Franc., ii, 18, 19 ; v, 27 ; x, 9. 
!2 De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretagne, t. i, 221-225. 
23 De Bello Gothico, iv, 20. 


Britons came over in great masses when the Angle, -Jute and Saxon 
obtained a foothold in Britain and rolled back the natives to the 

Three main principalities had been founded in Armorica before 
the new rush of colonists, flying from the Saxons. These were the 
principalities of Dumnonia, Cornubia and Venetia, afterwards called 
Bro-weroc. There was another very soon absorbed into Dumnonia, 
that of Leon, and Po-her was a county in the folds of the Monts 
d'Arree and the Montaignes Noires which eventually fell to Cornubia, 
but which was for a while closely connected with Dumnonia. It is 
reasonable to suppose that natives of insular Dumnonia, or Devon, 
flying before the inrush of the Irish, had settled Armorican Dumnonia 
and given to it the name it bore. So, also, we may suppose that 
Cornubia received its settlers from Cornwall, whence also the natives 
were driven by the Irish, who seized on the Land's End and Lizard 
districts, as also by a great body of emigrants from Gwent. Caerleon 
may have furnished the settlers who gave the name to Leon. 

Vannes, Nantes and Rennes remained Gallo-Roman cities, as 
hostile in feeling to the new colonists as they were to the new Frank 

At first, probably, the settlers maintained a political connexion 
with the mother country. This is implied by a passage in the Life 
of S. Leonore, " Fuit vir unus in Britanicia ultra mare, nomine Rigal- 
dus, qui in nostra primus venit citra mare habitare provincia, qui 
dux fuit Britonum ultra et citra mare usque ad mortem" 24 

What makes this probable is that we meet with the names of the 
Dumnonian princes Geraint and Selyf or Solomon, in Armorica, as 
though certain lands had been reserved to them as royal domain in 
the newly settled lands. But if this recognition of the British princes 
was at first allowed it cannot have endured for long. 

How completely Armorica became settled from Britain appears 
from many allusions. Thus in the Life of S. Illtyd we read : " Let- 
avia. . . sumpsit originem a matre Britannia. Erudita fuit a matre, 
filia." 25 

The biographer of S. Padarn, a late writer, gives us the traditions : 
" Corus ecclesiasticus Monachorum Letaviam deserens Brittanit 
meditabantur oras appetere. . . . Caterva sanctorum ad originem 
unde exierunt, transmittit sub ducibus." 26 

The Book of Llan Ddv, with reference to Guidnerth, of Gwent, wl 

24 De Smedt, Catalogus Codicum Hagiograph. in Bibl. Nat. Parisiens. ii, 153, 
16 Cambro-British Saints, p. 158. 2 Ibid., p. 189. 

Lesser Britain 47 

the murder of his brother was sent on pilgrimage, says that he 
departed for Armorica, as " Guidnerth himself and the Britons and 
the archbishop of that land were of one tongue and of one nation, 
although divided by a tract of land." 27 

\\Y are obliged to repose largely on inference with regard to 
the earliest settlement of Britons in Armorica prior to the migration 
of the first half of the 6th century. But when we come to the 
tinit- of the Anglo-Saxon invasion, it is otherwise, we have document- 

vidence concerning that. 

(iiMas. alter describing in his inflated style the miseries of his 

e Britain, goes on to say: "Some of the wretched remnant 

consequently captured on the mountains and killed in heaps. 

< Uht-rs, overcome by hunger, came and yielded themselves to the 

luinies, to be their slaves for ever, if they were not instantly slain, 
which was equivalent to the highest service. Others repaired to 
parts beyond the sea, with strong lamentation, as if, instead of the 
oarsman's call, singing thus beneath the swelling sails, 'Thou hast 
^'ivi-n us like- sheep appointed for eating, and among the Gentiles hast 
Thou scattered us.' " Gildas does not say whither the British 

.rees betook themselves, that we learn from other sources. 
Eginhanl. writing under the date 786, says : " At the period when 
tt Britain was invaded by the Angles and Saxons, a large por- 
i its inhabitants traversed the sea and came to occupy the 

"imtry of the Veneti and the Curiosoliti, at the extremity of Gaul." 29 

Procopius says : " The isle of Britain is inhabited by three nations 

that are very numerous, each having its own king, the Angles, the 

Saxons) and the Britons. These nations possess such 

.in abundance of men, that annually a number of them quit the isle 

iloni; with wives and children, and emigrate to the Franks, who 

i to them as dwelling the most distant portion of their empire." * 
Procopius. living at Byzantium, was ill-informed. There is no 
nee of Saxons and Angles settling in the extremities of Gaul, 4 
;h there is of " Frisians " ravaging the north coast of Brittany. 
Krnold Nigellus, in 834, also speaks of the migration to Armorica, 
.;nd says that it was conducted peaceably. 

The author of the Life of S. Winwaloe says : " The sons of the 
Britons, leaving the British sea, landed on these shores, at a period 

*' Book of Llan Ddv, p. 181. 

18 De excidio Brit., <!. Williams, p. 57. 

" Cum ab Anglis et Saxonibus Britannia fuisset invasa, magna pars 
incolarum ejus mare trajicentes, in ultimis Galliae finibus, Venetorum et Curio- 
solitarum regiones occupavit." Annul., ann. 786. 

30 De Bella Gothico, iv, 20. 




when the barbarian Saxon conquered the Isle. These children of a 
beloved race established themselves in this country, glad to find 
repose after so many griefs. In the meantime, the unfortunate Britons 
who had not quitted their country, were decimated by plague. Their 
corpses lay without sepulture. The major portion of the isle was 
depopulated. Then a small number of men who had escaped the 
sword of the invaders abandoned their native land, to seek refuge, 
some among the Scots, the rest in Belgic Gaul." 31 Wrdistan wrote 
this in the ninth century, but he rested his statements on early 
authorities, though for this particular fact he quotes only popular 
tradition, " ut vulgo refertur." 

To about the years 460 or 470, in documents relating to Armorica, 
that name prevails, and the inhabitants are spoken of as Veneti, Ossismi, 
Curiosoliti, Redones, or Naneti. But from that date all is altered. 
The name of Armorica disappears, the ancient peoples are no more 
spoken of, but the land is entitled Lesser Britain, and the inhabi- 
tants are Britons. 32 

The linguistic evidence is conclusive as to the extent and com- 
pleteness of the colonisation. " The Armorican Breton tongue was 
not only closely akin to that of the insular British or Welsh, it was 
identical with it." 33 Now, if there had been a mere infiltration of 
colonists, the result would have been a fusion of the British with the 
base Gallo-Latin of the inhabitants. But this did not take place. 
The Gallo-Roman population had disappeared out of the country 
places, and remained only in the towns. Those natives who clung 
to the fields and woods were of the original non-Aryan stock, and 
probably still retained their agglutinative tongue. 

M. de Courson 34 first promulgated the theory that the settlers in 
Breton Cornubia were refugees from the North of Britain, and he 
was followed by M. de la Borderie. According to him the Otadini 
of the Wall fled before the Picts and found a home in Armorica, 
and founded the settlement of Cornubia there. He relied on no 

31 Britannia insula, de qua stirpis nostra origo olim, ut vulgo refertur, 
processit . . . Longe ab hujus moribus parvam distasse sobolem suam non 
opinor, quae quondam ratibus ad istam devecta est, citra mare Britannicum, 
terram tempore non alio quo gens barbara dudum, aspera jam armis, moribus 
indiscreta Saxonum maternum possedit cespitem. Hinc se cara soboles in 
istum conclusit sinum, quo se tuta loco, magnis laboribus fessa, ad oram con- 
cessit sine bello quieta." Vita S. Winwaloei, i, i. 

33 De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretagne, i, p. 248. 

" J. Loth, L' Emigration bretonne en Armorique, p. 92. 

34 De Courson, La Bretagne, Paris, 1863, p. 163 ; De la Borderie, Hist, de 
Bretagne, i, pp. 301-2. J. Loth, in Revue Celtique, t. xxv, p. 91 et seq. 

Lesser Britain 49 

better foundation than this : that there was a Corstopitum on 
the Wall near Newcastle, and that the name of Quimper was Curio- 
sopitum. Also : that a troop raised among the Cornovii of the 
Severn Valley had been sent to guard the Wall, as noticed in the 
Notitia Dignitatum, " Sub dispositione ducis spectabilis Britanni- 
arum, per lineam valli, Tribunus cohortis Cornoviorum." The 
Notitia gives us information relative to the disposition of troops 
dating the period between the reign of Constantine and the retreat 
of the Roman armies. 

Now if Cornovii from the Severn basin had been stationed on the 
Wull, when the troops were recalled, they would go whither summoned. 
If they dispersed, they would return to their own homes. Moreover 
Corstopitum is not the same name as Curiosopitum, of the Coriosoliti. 
What we do know is that Cunedda and a large body of men, who 
did hold the Wall, after the withdrawal of the Roman legions, when 
unable to keep out the barbarians any longer, took refuge, not in 
Armorica. but in Gwynedd, where they drove the Irish out of all the 
north and west of Wales, and established themselves in Gwynedd 
and Ceredigion. and portions of Powys. It is more probable that 
the native Britons of Cornwall founded the Armorican Cornubia, 
when forced to migrate by the occupation of the entire west of the 
peninsula by the Irish from Ossory, and the whole north-east and 
the Tamar down to the mouth by the settlers from Brecknock, who 
were also of Irish extraction. It is significant that something like 
fifty saintly Celtic patrons in Cornwall should also be culted in Finis- 
tere, whereas there is not a trace of any saint from the district of the 
Otadini having ever effected a colonisation there. But no argument 
can be based on identity of names, for the name Cornubia for 
Cornwall does not occur earlier than the end of the 7th century. 
Previously the whole peninsula is spoken of as peopled by the 

( >n settling in Armorica, the colonists from the beginning organized 
themselves into tribes. But the tribal system had to be modified to 
meet the new conditions. 

The ancient tribe consisted of those who were united by blood. 
In all the Celtic tribes the tie of kinship, of blood relationship, was 
that which bound them together. But in process of time this went 
through considerable modification, and upon blood-relationships other 
links were forged, those of mutual rights and mutual protection. 
" This new idea of mutual protection very soon entered most forcibly 
into tribal development, and almost eclipsed the original idea of the 
tie of blood-relationship being the basis of tribal society. The tribe 

VOL. I. -R 


was to a great extent reorganised upon these new ideas, which played 
the most important part in the later tribal development." This 
alteration was forced on the colonists, as annually fresh arrivals 
came to the coast, and solicited adoption into the already constituted 
plebes, if they were not numerous enough themselves to form an 
independent plebs. 

Thus the tribe was reorganised on a broader basis. It formed a 
plou, the Welsh plwyf, consisting of the original band that had come 
over, made up of tribesmen, under their hereditary chief, who dis- 
posed of his clansmen in their trefs, and the settling of controversies 
among them took place in the chieftain's Us. That the regular can- 
tref was formed is improbable, the trefs were fewer, and were multi- 
plied as fresh settlers arrived and placed themselves under the 
jurisdiction of the chief and were received into his tribe by adoption. 

The artificial character of the organisation apparently may be traced 
in the settlement of Fragan, the father of S. Winwaloe. He was 
married to Gwen Teirbron, she being an Armorican Briton by birth. 
So as to have as many pious, nuclei for tribal formations, he not 
only established one near S. Brieuc, and a second in the county of 
Leon, but also constituted a plou for his wife, Gwen, near S. Brieuc, 
and another near his own place in Leon. 

The consolidation of the pious under sovereign princes came some- 
what later. The first to exercise sovereign jurisdiction in Dumnonia 
was Rhiwal, about the year 5I5, 36 but he did not venture to do so 
without the permission of the king of the Franks. 37 

Rhiwal, who died about 520, was succeeded by his son Deroc, who 
ruled till about 535, and to him succeeded his son Jonas, who died 
about 540, leaving a son Judual. Conmore, Count of Poher, married 
the widow of Jonas, and usurped the rule over Domnonia. Judual, 
fearing for his life, fled to S. Leonore, who facilitated his escape to 
the court of Childebert. This Frank king confirmed Conmore in his 

35 Willis Bund, The Celtic Church of Wales, p. 59. 

se .< Riwalus Britanniae dux filius fuit Derochi . . . Hie Riwalus, a transma- 
rinis veniens Britanniis cum multitudine navium, possedit totam minorem 
Britanniam tempore Chlotarii regis Francorum . . . Hie autem rexit Britan- 
niam tempore Dagoberti filii Clotharii." Ex Cod. MS. S. Vedasti Dom Morice, 
Preuves, i, 211 ; Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B., saec. ii. The statement that 
Rhiwal possessed all Little Britain is an exaggeration. This is the Rhiwal who 
received and welcomed S. Brioc. De la Borderie supposed they were distinct 
personages because he placed the period of S. Brioc earlier than need be, misled 
by the assumption that Brioc had been a disciple of Germanus of Auxerre. 

37 Le Baud, Hist. Bretagne, 1638, p. 65. The passage is quoted under S. Brioc 
further on. Also the late Chvon. Briocense, quoted by De la Borderie, Hist. 
Bret., \, 353. 

Lesser Britain 

5 1 

usurpation, made him his lieutenant in Brittany, and retained Judual 
in honorary restraint at Paris, till S. Samson obtained leave in 554 
to organise an insurrection for the overthrow of Conmore, who was 
killed in 555, and then Judual was elevated to the throne of Dom- 
nonia. The pedigree of the princes of Domnonia, as well as can be 
made out, is as follows : 

Khiwal arrived in Domnonia 
c. 455, established himself chief 
; 15, d. c. 520. 

Deroc, prince in Domnonia, 

c- 520-535- 

Conmore, Count = = Jonas, 

of Pohcr, then, 540, da. of Budic I, 
regent of Dom- of Cornubia. 

killed 555. 

- 535-540. 

Judual, b. c. 534, Aurilla m. Miliau, 
pl.urd on the Prince of Cornubia. 

throne 555, d. 580. 

Juthael = Pritella, da. of the 
580-60:; I Count of Leon. 

S. JudiL-.irl, monk, kinj; in 
: throned same year 
tfl l>n>tlur Haeloc. 
d 610, married 
Moron^ abdicated 640, 

usurper 605, 
resigned 610, 
d. c. 615. 

S. Judoc, abb. . . 
in Ponthieu, d. 
c. 668. 
S. W 
abbot in Fla 
d. 717. 


Lon was probably, as already said, colonised from Gwent, or at 
all events the chief who consolidated the settlement there under his 
rule, and gave the name to the land, probably came from Gwent. His 
name was Withur. In the Life of 5. Paul of Leon he is mentioned as 
the chief ; he died probably about 525. According to the Life of 5. 
.[/, Deroc, son of Rhiwal, exercised rule in Leon, perhaps by 
usurpation in the old age of Withur. It is singular that no mention 
is made of him in the Life of S. Paid. About the year 520 Deroc 
U i aim Prince of Domnonia. 

Perhaps the next chief was Ewen, who is mentioned in the Life of 
S. Goulvcn as having his Us or court at Lesneven, and who was engaged 
in repelling an invasion of Saxon or Frisian pirates on the coast. 
But if so, he has been confounded by the writer of the Life with 
another Ewen of Leon who lived much later. Soon after, Conmore, 
Count of Poher, began his encroachments by annexing Leon, and 
thenceforth it formed a portion of Domnonia. 

Cornubia, or Cornugallia, was formed into a principality earlier 

5 2 Introduction 

than Domnonia. The Cartularies of Landevennec, Quimperle and 
Quimper give the following list of the princes : (i) Rivelen Mor 
Marthou; (2) Rivelen Marthou ; (3) Cungar ; (4) Gradlon Mur ; 
(5) Daniel Dremrud ; (6) Budic et Maxenri duo fratres. [Horurn 
primus rediens ab Alamannia interfecit Marchell 38 et paternum 
consulatum recuperavit.] 39 (7) Jan Reith, Hue rediens Marchel 
interfecit ; (8) Daniel Unva ; (9) Gradlon Flam ; (10) Cungare 
Cherovnoc ; (u) Budic Mur, and six others to Alan Caniart, who 
died 1040, and to Hoel V, who died 1084. 

The list is mainly fabulous. The contest of one king with 
Marchell, attributed in the Cartulary of Quimperle to Budic, is attri- 
buted in that of Quimper to Jan Reith. According to the Life of S. 
Melor, Jan Reith did not succeed Budic, but preceded him, and was 
the father of Daniel. We must admit the existence of Grallo the 
Great, who ruled from about 470 to about 505. After him confusion 
reigns in the Catalogue. Budic certainly did not take refuge in 
Alamania. We have no means of determining who Grallo was, and 
whether Budic was of his family. 

Budic had two sons, Miliau and Rivold. Miliau reigned for seven 
years, which were years of prosperity in the land. He was assassi- 
nated by his brother Rivold in or about the year 537, and Rivold 
then married his brother's widow, and obtained the assassination of 
his nephew Melor in 544. Rivold himself died in the same year ; 
and then it was that Budic II, who had been a refugee in Demetia, 
returned to Cornubia and became king. We are now on safer ground. 
He seems to have lived till 570, when he left a son, Tewdrig, who 
was driven "from his principality by Macliau, bishop of Vannes and 
count of Bro-weroc. Tewdrig, however, raised a body of men, 
attacked Macliau and killed him in 577, and recovered his principality. 
Of this there is nothing in the catalogue of princes, and we may well 
question whether any reliance can be placed on the names that occur 

Daniel Dremrud may perhaps be recognised as the founder of 
Plou Daniel in Leon. Jan Reith is probably purely mythical. 

After the death of Tewdrig the history of Cornubia remains a 
blank for a tract of time. If there were princes, they left no trace in 

38 Gregory of Tours, in his Libri Octo Miraculantm, Lib. i, mentions a bar- 
barian chief of the name of Marchil Chillor, who besieged Xantes in 497. Is it 
possible that this can be the same man ? 

89 This passage is in the list in the QuimperU Cartulary. That of Quimper 
agrees with that of Quimperle. 

Lesser Britain 


The pedigree of the princes of Cornubia, for what it is worth, as made 
out from the Lives of S. Melor and S. Oudocui, is as follows : 

Jan Keith, first 

^ttler in ("ormibia. 




Grallo th 


c. . 





. A u r i 1 1 a = 
i Jonas, 
I'rince of 

Miliau, mur- 
dered by his 

Rivold, da. and = Conmore, 
usurper, widow of regent of 
537-544. Jonas. Domnonia, 

1 )omnonia. 


d. 555. 


1C II 









1 via. 


S. Ismael, S. Oudocui, 
Bishop. B. Llandaff . 


;lvna>tks of Brittany have been thrown into the utmost con- 
fusion by historians attempting to construct pedigrees on the prin- that all Brittany was subject to a single king from the latter 
part of thr tilth ri-ntury, and by acceptance of the fable of Cynan 
i .lot: 1 " as a basis for their reckonings. Taking Geoffrey of 
Monmnutlfs preposterous nonsense as if it were genuine history, 
tlu'v have proceeded to extravagances in no whit less absurd. 

In thr eighteenth century Gallet, a priest of Lamballe, drew up a 
:l(^\ <>f the house of Rohan, and with the object of flattering the 
family drrivol its descent from Cynan Meiriadog and from the family 
of S. Patrick. 

dalkt \va< (juitr unaware that Brittany in the early period of its 
: v was not an undivided kingdom, and that it comprised inde- 
pendent principalities and equally independent counties. In the 
manufacture of the genealogy he collected all the material he could, 
all the names of counts and princes he was able to find in the records 

40 The table o ('yuan Meiriadog had its origin in this. Xennius says that 
Maxnmis had takrn soldiers from Britain to assist him against Gratian, he 
did not send them back to Britain, but he planted them from the pond on the 
Mon-; Jrvis (the Gt. S. Bernard) to the city of Cantquic and to the western hill 
of (.'rue Oehidient. The next to speak of this is' Eudo, Bishop of Leon in 1019, 
and lie names Conan Meriadoc. Then came Geoffrey of Monmouth and de- 
veloped the whole story. See De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretagne, ii, 441-63. 
But he ijoes too far in saying " le glorieux Conan Meriadec doit prendre place 
dans la brumeuse phalange des monarquesimaginaires." He makes no allowance 
for genuine \\Vlsli traditions. 

5 4 Introduction 

of the duchy, and he set to work to link them together by imaginary 

Whatever document came to hand and would serve his purpose, 
Gallet accepted it with impartial disregard of its historic value. He 
took Geoffrey of Monmouth in grave earnest. He looked at Colgan's 
Trias Thaumaterga, and picked out from his notes what he had to say 
about the sisters of the Apostle Patrick, and about his residence in 
Letavia. He got hold of Capgrave's Nova Legenda Anglice. He read, 
besides, the Life of Gildas by the monk of Ruys, and that also fur- 
nished him with some names. 

Unhappily Dom Morice, in most matters sensible, was led away 
by Gallet, and in his Histoire Ecclesiastique et Civile de Bretagne, Paris, 
1750, he inserts a pedigree that identifies Cynan Meiriadog with 
Caw of Cwm Cawlwyd, and further marries him to Darerca, sister 
of S. Patrick. 

The pedigree, as he gives it, will be found on the opposite page. 

The assumptions and absurdities of this pedigree are marvellous. 
Cynan Meiriadog, who accompanies Maximus into Gaul in 383, has 
to wife a sister of S. Patrick, and his grandson Grallo marries another 
sister. By her Cynan is father of Gildas, who died in 570. 

Having ascertained from the Life of S. Cybi that Erbin was son of 
Geraint and father of Solomon, which is a mistake according to the 
Welsh genealogies, for by them Geraint was son, not father, of Erbin 
he intercalates Conan Meriadoc, whom he identifies with Caw, 
between Geraint (Gerenton) and Erbin (Urbien). Next, he identifies 
Weroc I, who died in 550, but whom he throws back to 472, with 
Riothim, who assisted the Emperor Anthimius against the Visigoths 
in 468, and was defeated and killed. Moreover, he gives forty-one 
years for three generations. But the pedigree is so preposterous, 
that it does not deserve serious notice being taken of it. Yet it was 
accepted by Deric and printed with amplifications in his Ecclesi- 
astical History of Brittany. 

Moreover, this fictitious pedigree has infected the hagiologists of 
Brittany. For instance, Garaby, in his Vies des Saints de Bretagne, 
1839, under Dec. 30, has Sainte Tigride, Reine de Bretagne, and 
relates how she was daughter of Calpurnius and Conchessa, sister of 
S. Martin of Tours, and continues, " Ses belles qualites la firent de- 
mander, en 382, pour epouse, par Grallon, compagnon d'armes de 
Conan, puis due de Domnonia, comte de Cornouaille, et enfin, en 
434, troisieme roi de Bretagne." 

It is astounding how the imagination of modern as well as ancient 
martyrologists runs riot. Grallo never had anything to do with 

Lesser Britain 


(icn-nton Prince <!' Albanie. 
Miivant Inyomar, pere do 

Conan autrement Conis, Cono, Coun, 
Conomagle, Cathon, etc., suivit, le tyran 
Maxime dans les Gaules 1'an 383, et fut 
gratifie par cet usurpateur d'une portion de 
rAnnoriqno. II epousa Darerca, soeur de S. 
Patrice, et mourn vers 421. 







Cuile, Comte 




plusieurs enfants 


de Cornou- 

Comte de 


ne 421. 

qui prirent la 





part de 1'exlisr. 

aprds son 


Salomon, roi des Bretons 
armoriquains. rpousa la 
tille de Flavins Patricius, 
Remain, mort c. 434. 

Grallo, usurpatenr apres 
Salomon, epousa Tigriilin, 
soenr de S. Patrice et mort 
c. 445. 

Audrien on Aldor, 
Denims on Daniel 
in. c. 4'<4- 


Constantin roi des S. Kebius. Rengilide=Bican Cheva- 
Bretons insulaires Her de 1'isle 
-t pftrede Anrelins (pere et mere 
Ambrosins. de S. Iltut). 

K reel i ou Guerch Eus^be.mort Budoc al. Cybidan 
<>u Kiothime det. c. 490, Dubric, epousa 
par les Goths 47-'. epousa Anaumed fille de 
A>pasia. Ensic, m. c. 509. 

Maxena. Guitcael. 

ou Hoeloc 
IvMtli. on Riwal, 
t"-pon>a Alma 


Ismael Tyfei S. Oucloc 
ivecpjede moine et evequede 
Menevia, Martyr. Llandaff. 
C. 544- 

Conmore Dinot, 
ou Urbion. pre de S. 

Hoel ou Rigual 
Haeloc, epousa 
Rima tille de 
Mael.uwn. tne par 
Canao 547. 

S. Leonore. Canao, Macliau, 
S. Tudgual. tue 560. Comte et 
eveque, tue 
par son 

Budic S. Seve. 
tue par son 
frdre Canao 



tue par Theodoric. 


Domnonia, and he never was sole king over Armorica. That Grallo, 
who actually died about 505, should have been companion in arms 
in 383 with his grandfather, who was also his brother-in-law, is absurd, 
but the amazing thing is that sensible men writing ecclesiastical 
history and hagiography should not have seen these anachronisms 
and avoided them. 41 

The genealogy of the Counts of Bro-weroc, as well as can be made 

out, is as follows : 

Weroc I (parentage unknown), 
d. c. 550. 


Macliau B. 
Vannes, Count 


1 1 1 

Three sons 
murdered by 
Canao 550. 

Trinna = 

S. Ti 

= Con more, 
Regent at_ 

d - 555- 

em or or 
is Junior. 

Weroc II, 


James, killed with 
his father 577. 

Vannes, or Bro-weroc, was colonised from Britain at a very early 
period, but the first chief of whom we hear was Weroc I, who ruled 
from about 500 to 550. He was succeeded by his son Canao, who 
murdered three of his brothers and would have killed another, Mac- 
liau, if the latter had not fled for his life and taken refuge with Con- 
more, regent of Domnonia. Canao fell in 560, and was succeeded 
by his brother Macliau, who was killed in 577, and was in turn suc- 
ceeded by his son Weroc II. 

Such is the epitome of the early history of Domnonia, Leon, Cor- 
nubia and Vannes. This latter was not esteemed more than a county, 
as the British settlers did not obtain possession of the city itself till 
Macliau, who had got himself chosen bishop, united Bro-weroc under 
his rule along with the city itself on the death of his brother. 
But it relapsed after his death, for in 590 the Bishop Regalis com- 
plained that he was as it were imprisoned by the Britons within the 
walls of the city. 

Venantius Fortunatus praises Felix, bishop of Nantes (550-582), 
for having " defeated the British claims, and maintained the covenant 
sworn to," and he speaks of the Britons as " ravishing wolves," and 
congratulates him at being able to hold them off. 42 There was 
no love lost between the bishops and denizens of the old Gallo-Roman 

41 The pedigree in my Lives of the Saints of the Princes of Cornouaille and 
Domnonia is very inaccurate. At the time it was drawn up I lacked sufficient 
original material. (S. B. G.) 

43 " Pro salute gregis, pastor per compita curris. Exclusoque lupo tuta tcne- 
tur ovis, insidiatores removes, vigil arte Britannos." Yen.. Fort., Misccll., iii, 
c. 8. 

Lesser Britain 57 

cities and the independent Britons who occupied the whole country 

These latter were careful to keep on good terms with the Frank 
kings. We have seen how Rivold of Domnonia would not assume 
rule till he had received permission to do so from Clothair. The 
usurper Conmore obtained commission to rule in Armorica as lieu- 
tenant for that king. The bishops and abbots did not venture to accept 
.grants of land till these were ratified by the King in Paris. Thus 
Withur sent S. Paul thither to have his concession of lands confirmed. 
Brioc in like manner had his ratified, so also had S. Samson. It was 
not till the battle of Vouille in 507 that Clovis and his Franks became 
masters of Nantes and of the greater part of Aquitania, but he did not 
gain dominion over the Britons of Armorica. Procopius says, " The 
Franks, after their victory over the last representatives of Roman 
authority in Gaul, finding themselves incapable of contending against 
Alaric and the Visigoths, sought the friendship of the Armoricans 
and entered into alliance with them." 43 

Not till 558, when Canao of Bro-weroc gave asylum to Chramm, 
son of Clothair, king of Soissons, did the Britons embroil themselves 
with the Franks. Hitherto they had been practically independent, 
and, at least till the death of Clovis in 511, under their own kings ; 44 
after that they rendered acknowledgment of being feudatories to 
the Frank kings. 

After the secular organisation came that which was ecclesiastical. 
Kinsmen of the settlers who were in the ecclesiastical profession came 
i\vr, and were accorded patches of land on which to plant their lanns, 
and monastic institutions sprang up, that supplied missionaries to 
the natives who had hitherto been left in paganism, and ministered 
as well to the colonists, and served as schools for the education of 
thr young. Every monastery had its minihi, or sanctuary, about it, 
to which runaway slaves, those pursued in blood-feud, and refugees in 
war, might fly and enter thereby the ecclesiastical tribe. Something 
like fifty-three of these minihis still bear the name in Brittany. 45 

The Latin was the mother church, corresponding to the arnoit 
church of the Irish. Subject to these were the trefs, each with its 
chapel, and served from the mother church. Thus the vast parish 
<>! Xoyala, in Morbihan, till 1790 comprised the treves of Gueltas, 

1:1 n, Itdh <;,>thico, i, 12. 

44 " Chanao regnum integrum accepit. Nam semper Britanni post mortem 
Chlodovechi regis sub potestate Francorum fuerunt, et duces eorum comites, 
non reges appellati sunt." Greg. Turon., Hist. Func., iv, 4. 

45 P. De la Vignc-Villencuve, in Mttn. de la Soc. Arch, d'llle et Vilainc, 1861. 



Kerfourn, Croixanvec, S. Thuriau and S. Geran. That of Pluvigner 
consisted of a conglomeration about the mother church of nine 
treves, Camors, Baud, Languidic, Landevant, Landaul, Brech, 
Plumergat, Brandivy and La Chapelle-Neuve. But here, owing to 
later colonisation of British on a plou that had been settled by the 
Irish, several of these treves became independent lanns. 

In many districts in Brittany the term lann has fallen away. 
This was due to the devastation caused by the Northmen in the ninth 
century, when the country was laid waste, and the inhabitants fled, 
some far inland into France, some to England, where they were 
afforded protection by Athelstan. When they returned the old 
order had changed. The lanns were no longer monastic churches 
with their treves dependent on them, and the parish was organised 
on the Latin system, and was called after the founder simply, without 
the prefix lann. 

But this was not all. Not every Armorican mother church bore 
the title of Lann, for the founders came with colonies and at once 
established tribes, and the place where each secular chief settled was 
not called a lann, for there was in the new lands no such a demand 
for " sanctuary " as in the old, at least not at first, and the settle- 
ment took its name as a tribal centre, plou. Thus we have Ploermel, 
the plou of Arthmael. He was an ecclesiastic and a monk, and we 
might have supposed that his headquarters would have been desig- 
nated a lann. But it was not so. In Wales, where the princes were 
tyrannous, and internecine feuds were habitual, there the llan, the 
sanctuary of refuge, was a most important feature of the ecclesiastical 
order, and it afforded a means to the saint for recruiting his tribe. 
But in Armorica, where the British colonists bore down the natives, 
and there was no resistance, and there was room at first for expansion 
without fratricidal war, there the plou became of more importance 
than the lann. 

The monastic founders had each his loc, corresponding perhaps 
to the Irish till. It was the place of retreat for Lent, and when 
the Saint desired to escape from the daily worry of management 
of a monastery and a colony. These Iocs were originally in 
very solitary places, in islands, or in the depths of the forest. 
But about a good many of them villages and even towns have 
grown up. 

As was the case in Wales, so in Brittany, in addition to the trevial 
churches, there are numerous chapels in a parish. In that of Noyala, 
already mentioned, there are nine. In that of Ploemeur there were 
something like thirty-six. 

Lesser Britain 59 

The chapel was erected either to commemorate some event that 
had taken place on the spot, either in the life of a saint, or on the 
scene of a battle ; or else it was erected in fulfilment of a vow made 
in a moment of danger; or, again, was due to a dream connected with 
the place ; or to the finding there of an image ; or, lastly, a chapel was 
erected for the accommodation of a noble family which had its chateau 
there. The chapel was not a part of the organism of the tribe or 
aiterwards of the parish. It was an outcrop. 

These chapels are extremely numerous in Brittany. They are for 
the most part opened only once or perhaps twice in the year, when 
Mass is said in them, on the occasion of the " Pardon " = Patronal 
Feast. Yet some of them are magnificent monuments of architec- 
ture, far surpassing the parish churches of the district in which they 
aiv situated. 

It was due, probably, to the close and friendly relations maintained 
with the Franks, and association with them, that we hear of no strife 
engendered in Brittany over Celtic peculiarities in ecclesiastical 
matters. In the monasteries, indeed, the Celtic tonsure was em- 
ployed till the year 890, and clergy, even bishops, were often married ; 
l>ut the difference in the time of the celebration of Easter does not 
appear to have existed. Apparently, the British Church in Armorica 
quietly accepted the Roman computation. Had it been otherwise, 

tiould certainly have heard of the fact. 46 

( hie curious document has come to light that shows how strained 
were the relations between the Gallo-Roman bishops of the old cities 
in early period and the clergy of the new colonies from Britain. 
515 and 520 Licinius, Metropolitan of Tours, Eustochius, 
bishop of Angers, and Melanius, bishop of Rennes, issued a monitory 
lett.-r addressed to a couple of British priests named Lovocat and 
( atliiei u. requiring them to desist from certain practices that offended 
their ideas of what was seemly. " We have learned, by the report of 
the venerable priest Sparatus, that you do not desist from taking 
about certain tables into the cabins of your compatriots, upon which 
you celebrate the divine Sacrifice, in the presence of women called 
ConhospiUf, and who, whilst you are administering the Eucharist, 
administer to the people the Blood of Christ. . . . And we have 
deemed it our duty to warn you, and supplicate you by the love of 
Christ, and in the name of the Unity of the Church, and of our common 
laith. to renounce this abuse of tables, which, we doubt not on your 
word, to have received priestly consecration ; and these women, 

46 See further, under S. Gwenael. 

60 Introduction 

whom you call conhospitce, a name which one cannot hear or pro- 
nounce without shuddering." 47 

There was probably a good deal of exaggeration in this charge. 
The three prelates had only the word of Sparatus to go upon, and 
he bore these British priests a grudge. They had, as yet, no churches, 
or the churches were few and far between, and they went their rounds, 
ministering to their fellow immigrants the Bread of Life, as they 
were in duty bound. They carried with them portable altars. This 
was customary among the Celts, and was adopted throughout the 
Latin Church in the eighth century. S. Leonore, on his voyage to 
Armorica, carried his altar-stone with him. S. Carannog cast his 
into the Severn sea, and it was washed up on the Cornish coast. The 
custom of having portable altars was introduced from lona into the 
Northumbrian Church, and the earliest known example is that of 
about 687, in Durham Cathedral. 48 

But early in the sixth century these portable altars were novelties, 
and were accordingly condemned by the three bishops above named. 

As to the conhospita, they were doubtless the wives of Lovocat 
and Cathiern, for the Celtic clergy were usually married. Indeed, 
married bishops and priests appear in Brittany many centuries later. 
The first order of saints in Ireland, according to the of ten- quoted 
Catalogue of the Orders, " muliarum administrationem et consortia 
non respuebant " ; 49 it was later, when the Irish Church became 
monastic, that the women were excluded. The three bishops mis- 
understood the position of these women. They supposed them to 
be the mulieres subintroductte who had given so much trouble from 
the Apostolic period. 50 That these British priests allowed the women 
to administer the chalice to communicants is perhaps a libel, a bit 
of spiteful gossip retailed by Sparatus. 

Owing to the troubles in the South of Ireland at the close of the 
fifth century, when the Ossorians were expelled their land by Aengus 
MacNadfraich and Cucraidh, who gave it over to be peopled by the 

47 Cognovimus quod vos gestantes quasdam tabulas per diversorum civium 
vestrorum capanas circumferre non desinatis, et missas, ibidem adhibitis muli- 
eribus in sacrificio divino quas conhospitas nominatis, facere praesumatis, sic ut 
erogantibus vobis Eucharistiam, illae vobis positis calices teneant, et sanguinem 
Christi populo administrare praesumant." Lovocat et Cathiern, par Duchesne, 
Revue dc Bretagne et de Vendee, 1885, p. 6. 

48 Smith, Diet. Christian Antiquities, i, 69 ; Darcel, " Les Autels portatifs," 
in Didron, Annalcs Archeologiques, xvi, 77-89. 

49 Vita SS. Hib. Cod. Sal., col. 161. 

50 Gildas refers to the custom, " Religiosam forte matrem seu sorores domo 
pellentes et externas veluti secretiori ministerio familiares indecenter levi- 
gantes vel potius . . . humiliantes." De Excid., ed. Williams, p. 164. 

Lesser Britain 6 1 


Southern Deisi, there would seem to have been an exodus of 

dispossessed Ossorians. and they appear to have settled, some in 

Cornwall and others in the west of Brittany. But it was not 

from Ossory alone that a migration took place. The Hy Bairrche 

were driven out of their territory between the Slaney and the 

w by the Hy ( innselach about the middle of the fifth century, 

and internecine war was chronic in Leinster to the close of that 


\\Y find settlements of Irish saints, all from Leinster and Munster, 

the coasts of Finistere and L6on, with churches under the 

invocation of Conlaeth of Kildare, Senan of Iniscathy, Setna, Fiacc 

ttv. Ronan, Ciaran of Saighir, Ciannan, Brendan of Clonfert :. 

and the cult of S. Brigid was widely diffused there. 

Hut there is another curious phenomenon connected with the Irish 

A cluster of these is found in the department of Ille- 

et -Yilaine. The mouth of the Ranee and the Bay of Mont S. Michel 

tless favourite places for landing. Up the Ranee seven 

Iri-h bishops, with pious women accompanying them, plodded at the 

i-t -inning of the sixth century, planting churches all the way, 

and finally readied Rheims in 509, where they were received by S. 

KVmigius.-' 1 Tlu-si- came from the South of Ireland, and were quite 

" -ndi'iit of another srttlrment, unique in its way, made from 


in was founded by Seit. the Irish master of S. Kentigern 
\ ; S, Maccaldus. bishop of Man, is venerated as founder 
Mankind, near Montfort. In the twelfth century the church 
t'-u-d as that of S. Ma^aldus. 52 

cald or Maughold had been a robber chief ; he was converted 
S I 'at rick, and in punishment for his crimes sent adrift in a coracle 
without oars, and with his feet chained. 53 He drifted to the Isle of 

Older S. Uhebran and S. Cn-nnanus MacGoll. 
iM>n. I'onilli' </( Routes, t. vi, s. nom. S. Maugand. 

1 1 lu- punishment of sending adrift on the sea was not uncommonly exer- 
Tli'- criminal was clothed in a vile garment, his feet bound with an iron 
tetter, and the fetter-key was cast into the water. He was placed in a navis 
pellis, a coracle whose wicker framework was covered with hide only one- 
fold deep, and without food, oar or rudder, committed to the winds and waves. 
Muirchu Maccu-Mactheni, in Tripartite Life, p. 288. In the case of aggravated 
manslaughter, according to the Senchus Mor, this was the punishment. When 
I uiclia. son of Domnall, was killed by the men of Ross, his brother Dormchadh 
a>krd advice of S. Columcille as to what punishment he should deal out to the- 
people oi Ros-,. S. Columcille sent two of his clerics to the spot, and they or- 
dered that sixty couples of the men and women of Ross should in this manner 
be sent adrift on the sea. O'Curry, MS. Materials of Ancient Irish History, 
iblin. 1861, p. 333. 

6 2 Introduction 

Man, and we may suspect that the Patrician bishops there, Coindrus 
and Romulus, recommended him to go abroad and practise penance 
and learn the monastic rule in Armorica, where his past history was 
unknown. Hard by the settlement of Maughold is that of another 
Irishman, S. Uniac, as now called, but the patron is S. Toinnau. 54 
It is not possible to identify him ; he can hardly be Toimen, bishop 
of Armagh, who belongs to a later period. He became bishop in 
622 or 623. S. Brendan also had a monastery on Cesambre, 
and a foundation at S. Broladre, and at S. Brelade in Jersey. 

Professor Zimmer has pointed out some evidences of Irish influence 
in Brittany. " In 884 the Breton monk Wrmonoc, in his monastery 
of Landevenec in Brittany, wrote a Life of S. Paul of Leon, who lived 
at the beginning of the sixth century. This Life is based on written 
sources, and the associates of S. Paul who had come with him from the 
south-west of Britain are quoted, with their full names. On one of them, 
Quonocus, there is the additional remark : ' Whom some, adding to 
his name after the fashion of the people over-sea, called Toquonocus ' ; 
and further on we read that the name Woednovius in the same way had 
a second form, Towoedocus. We meet with several other instances. 
. . . During the sixth and seventh centuries the custom prevailed in 
Ireland, and especially in the monasteries, of forming familiar names 
from the full name form, which always consisted of two components, 
such as Beo-gne, Lug-beo, Find-barr, Aed-gen, and Aed-gal. It was 
done by taking one component of the full name and adding the 
diminutive ending -an, -idn (e.g. Beoan, Findan, Finnian, Aedan), or 
by prefixing mo-, to-, and often adding oc as well, like Maedoc ( = Mo- 
Aed-oc), Molua, Tolua, Mernoc, Ternoc. Thus a person of the name 
of Beogne was familiarly called Beoan (' little Beo '), Mobeoc (' my 
little Beo '), or Dobeoc (' you little Beo ') ; in the same way, Lugbeo, 
Luan, Molua, Moluan, Tolua, Moluoc all denote the same person ; 
similarly, Becan, Mobecoc, Tobecoc, Ernan, Mernoc, Ternoc, etc. 
How strong must the influence of the Irish element at the beginning 
of the sixth century have been in the monasteries of Brittany and 
of the south-west of Britain, if British monks imitated this truly 
Irish way of forming familiar names ! It is, then, not surprising that 
among the Breton saints of the sixth and seventh centuries we find 
a dozen or more who by tradition and name are Irish." 55 

Again : in the middle of the sixth century the bards of Ireland, 

54 De Corson, op. cit. s.v. S. Uniac. In the tenth century (913) the name is 
given as S. Toinanus ; in the fourteenth century, S. Thonnanus. He has his 
Holy Well in the parish. 

56 The Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland, Lond., 1902, pp. 68-9. 

Lesser Britain 6 3 

their consternation, discovered that one of their famous traditional 
tales, concerning a cattle raid of some historic importance, was lost. 
Fragments were to be found, but not the tale entire. After Ireland 
had been ransacked for it in vain, they met in council, in 580, and 
appointed a commission to proceed to Brittany and visit the Irish 
settlers there, and inquire whether any of them had carried off a 
complete copy of the great tale. The commission went to Armorica 
and returned, having succeeded in recovering the desired work. 56 
Now, this surely shows that the Irish settlers had remained to stay, 
for unless they had done so they would hardly have carried off their 
HHiiantic and historic literature with them. 

Much difficulty exists in the identification of the saints in Brittany, 
owing to the various forms their names assume. Some, we are 
xpressly told, had double names ; Brioc was also Briomaglus, Kenan 
was known as well as Colledoc, and Meven had a second name, Conaid. 

But it is in the mouths of the people that great transformation 
has taken place. Gorlois becomes Ourlou, Conlaeth is now Coulitz, 
Judoc is Josse, and Brigid is rendered S. Berch'et. Guethenoc is 
transformed to Goueznou, and Gwen is translated into Candida in 
Lower and Blanche in Upper Brittany. Beudoc is softened to Bieuzy, 
and Fingar into S. Venner. 

It is certainly a fact deserving of consideration that, whereas 

Armorica may have been, and probably was, colonised by refugees 

from ail tin- south coast of Britain, nevertheless its ecclesiastical 

usation should be due solely to the Welsh. There is no trace 

whatever of British saintly founders from other portions of Britain. 

The Str.ithrlyde family of Caw may be accounted Welsh, for it 
settled in Anglesey or Mon by the generous hospitality of 

O'Cmry, .VS. Matcnals <>/ .Indent Irish History, Dublin, 1861, p. 8. The 
passage is in tlu- Book of Leinstcr, and runs thus : " The Files (poets) of Erinn 

MOW callt-d together by Senchan Torpeist (chief poet of Erinn and of S. 

:i of Unnmacnoise) to know if they remembered the Tain bo Chuailgne 
in full ; and they said that they knew of it but fragments only. Senchan then 
spoke to his pupils to know which of them would go into the countries of Letha 
to harn the Tain, which the Sai had taken eastwards after the Cuilmenn. Emine, 

andson of Ninine o Muirgen, Sanchan's own son, set out to go to the East." 
^ The date would be about 580. Letha is the Letavia of the Lives of the Welsh 
Saints, or Llydaw, i.e. Armorica, though sometimes it is used for or confounded 
with Latium. Here it is certainly Armorica. The going East means that the 
traveller crossed either to Alba, or from Wexford or Waterford to Forth Mawr 
>. David's and thence travelled to the next crossing to Brittany. The 
Cuilmenn. the great collection of history, is unhappily now lost. It is 
n frrrcd to in the Brehon Laws, and in an ancient Irish Law Glossary. Ibid. 
p. 9, 

6 4 


Mat-lgwn. But this family is only represented in Morbihan and 
Cotes du Nord by Gildas and his sons. 

The principal Welsh saints who have made their mark in Brittany 
are Brioc, of Irish origin, but born in Ceredigion, Cadoc, Curig, 
Carannog, David, Paulus Aurelianus, Arthmael, Edeyrn, Teilo, 
Tyssilio, Gudwal, and Non. There were others, of Armorican extraction 
on one side or the other, who had their education in Wales, as Illtyd, 
Samson, Malo, Maglorius, Meven, Tudwal, and Leonore. 

Other founders were natives of Armorica, but of British origin, as 
James (Jacut), Gwethenocand Winwaloe, Gwenael and Goulven. Of 
the chieftains who held rule we know but little, and almost nothing of 
whence they came. But we do know that Rhiwal of Domnonia was 
from South Wales, for he was a kinsman of Brioc of Ceredigion and 
of Hywel. Withur of Leon was cousin of Paul, who came from 
Penychen in Glamorganshire. Btidic of Cornubia was for some 
years a refugee in South Wales, where he married. Possibly 
enough, he went to the land whence his forefathers had come. 

As in Wales and in Cornwall, so has it been for long an accepted 
procedure in Brittany that the national saints should be displaced 
from their niches to make way for others who are foreign, Italian for 
the most part, but who have received the imprimatur of Rome ; so 
also have the diocesan calendars been weeded of the Celtic saints. 
S. Avee, though she gives her name to a parish, has had her church 
transferred to SS. Gervasius and Protessus. S. Cynan (Kenan) has 
been rejected where lie his bones, for Caius, the pope. S. Derrien 
has retired to make room for Pope S. Adrian ; S. Budoc or Bieuzy, 
the friend and disciple of Gildas, has been supplanted by S. Eusebius. 
At Laurenan, the titular saint Renan has been set aside for S. Renatus, 
and at Audierne, S. Rumon is replaced by S. Raymond Nonnatus. 
At S. Brieuc, the founder fades before the more modern S. Guil- 
laume Pichon. 

In the united dioceses of Treguier and S. Brieuc not a Celtic saint 
is admitted into the calendar during the months of January, February, 
June, July, August, September and December. In March only one, 
Paul of Leon. On the other hand, the calendar is invaded by foreigners. 
Of Italians there are fourteen in January and February, whereas of 
early Breton saints but five are admitted in the entire year. 

In that striking story of Ferdinand Fabre, L'Abbe Tigrane, the 
Bishop of Lormieres is represented in his Grand Seminary turning 
out the Professors as not sufficiently ultramontane to please him, and 
when the teachers murmur, he blandly asks with what do they re- 
proach him. " With what ? " asks the Professor of Ecclesiastical 

On JJ^elsk and Cornish Calendars 65 

History. " In your passion for reform you have, so to speak, 
abolished the Proper of the Diocese, one of the most ancient and 
nio^t glorious of the Martyrologies of France." 

At Treguier, the founder, S. Tudwal, is eclipsed by the Advocate 
S. Yves " advocatussed non latro " ; yet everywhere, to the Breton 
pr<> pie, each saintly founder might appeal in the words of the apostle, 
inscribed under the statue of Tudwal at Treguier: " Et si aliis non 
sum apostolus, sed tamen vobis sum ; scitis quae praecepta dedi- 
(U-riiu vobis per Dominum Jesum." 57 


IN drawing up calendars of the Celtic saints of Wales and Cornwall 
considerable difficulties have to be encountered. A good many of 
tin- saints who founded churches, or to whom churches have been 
dedicated, do not find their places in any extant ancient calendars; 
and it is not possible to rely on many of the modern calendars that 
do insert the names of the early Celtic saints, as trustworthy. Too 
often these names have been inserted arbitrarily and without authority. 
\\ < will .ni\v a list of such calendars as exist, and which have served 
miv or less for the composition of the calendar that we have drawn 
up : and for attribution of day to each Saint. 


The Patronal Festival or Wake of a parish was ordinarily called 
in Welsh r,u'\7 Mtthsttnt, "The Feast of the Patron," and in more 
t t inu-s it began on the Sunday following the festival proper, and the whole of the week, though in the early part of last century 
it seldom exceeded the third or fourth day. There were but few, if 
any. parishes wherein its observance survived the sixth decade of 
l.i-t century. It lost its distinctively religious character with the 
1\ tormation. and thenceforth became merely an occasion for a fair, 
rustic t;ame> and sports, and every kind of merry-making. Where 
there are to-day several fairs held in a parish, that on the Feast of 
Patron is frequently spoken of as the Fair of such-and-such a 
Saint's Festival, e.g. Ffair Wyl Deilo at Llandeilo Fawr. The fair was 
held. Old Style, on the Saint's Festival, as entered in the calendar ; 
New Style, it is eleven days later. To take S. Teilo's Fair at Llandeilo. 
It was formerly held on his day, the Qth of February ; now it is on 

tile Jotll. 

57 i Cor. ix. 2 ; i Thess. iv, 2. 

VOL. I. T? 

66 Introduction 

There are, however, instances of the fairs being held, or, more 
correctly, begun, on the eve of the Saint's Festival ; e.g. at Llanrwst 
(S. Grwst, December i), a fair was held November 30, O.S., now it is 
December n ; at Tregaron (S. Caron, March 5), fairs are now, or 
were, held on March 15, 16 and 17 ; and at Llanrhaiadr ym Mochnant 
<S. Dogfan, July 13), fairs are held on July 23 and 24. Similarly, 
fairs were held at Nevin (S. Mary) on eves of the Festivals of the 
B.V.M., and at Abergele (S. Michael) on Michaelmas Eve. Sometimes 
the fair date was not altered, N.S., as at Llanwnen (S. Gwynen, Decem- 
ber 13) and Llandaff (S. Teilo, February 9) ; and in like manner, old 
fairs on Festivals of the B.V.M. were still kept, N.S., on those days 
at Rhuddlan and Swansea. 

From this it will be seen that one cannot always rely upon the fair 
day in fixing the Saint's Day when the calendars are at variance, as 
they not infrequently are. 

The following Welsh calendars have been made use of in the 
present work : 

A. British Museum Cotton MS. Vespasian A. xiv, of the early 
thirteenth century. The calendar, which is at the beginning of the 
MS., is a very legible one. The festivals entered are not many, but 
they are those of the principal Welsh Saints. 

B. British Museum Additional MS. 14,912, of the fourteenth 
century, prefixed to a copy of Meddygon Myddfai. Imperfect ; begii 
with March, which is indistinct, and the months of November aiu 
December have been transposed. It contains the festivals of bu1 
few Welsh saints. 

C. British Museum Additional MS. 22,720, of about the fifteenth 
century. The festivals of Welsh Saints are but few, and are in a 
somewhat later hand. The Welsh entries are in the earlier part of it. 

D. Peniarth MS. 40, written circa 1469. It is printed in Dr. J. 
Gwenogfryn Evans' Catalogue of Welsh MSS., i, pp. 374-5. It 
contains but few festivals of Welsh Saints. 

E. Peniarth MS. 191, of about the middle of the fifteenth century. 
It is printed in Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans, ibid., i, p. 1019. December 
is wanting. Sometimes the festivals are a day late. 

F. A calendar in the Grammar of John Edwards, Junior, of 
Chirkeslande, now in the Plas Llanstephan Library. It is dated 1481, 
and occurs at fo. 83 of the MS. 

G. Peniarth MS. 27, part i, of the late fifteenth century, by Gutyn 
Owain. It is in part stained ; January very illegible ; a somewhat 
full calendar. 

H. Peniarth MS. 186, of the late fifteenth century, also by Gutyn 

On Welsh and Cornish Calendars 67 

( Kvuin. Printed in part in Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans, ibid., i, p. 1013. 
It is considerably fuller than G. 

I. Mostyn MS. 88, written 1488-9, also by Gutyn Owain. It is 
printed in Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans, ibid., i, pp. 16-17. These three 
calendars are not mere copies of each other. 

J. Jesus College (Oxford) MS. cxli = 6, of the fifteenth century, 
printed in Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans, ibid., ii, p. 36. Imperfect, only 
May October. It is apparently one of Gutyn Owain's calendars. 

K. Jesus College MS. xxii=y, of the late fifteenth century, printed 
in Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans, ibid., ii, p. 38. 

L. lolo MSS., pp. 152-3, taken from " a MS. written circa 1500, 
in the possession of Mr. Thomas Davies, of Dolgelley." December is 
imperfect. This is one of the fullest of the Welsh calendars. 

M. Sir John Prys, Yny Ihyvyr hwnn, London, 1546, reprinted 
^or, 1902, under the editorship of Mr. J. H. Davies, M.A., for 
the Guild of Graduates of the University of Wales, from the unique 
in the Plas Llanstephan Library. The work is to all intents 
and pmjxDses a Prymer, and was probably the first book ever printed 
in the Welsh language. The calendar is often inaccurate, but con- 
tains a few rare entries. 

X. Pcniarth MS. 60, of the sixteenth century. This does not 
i-ontain many entries. 

O. Pcninrth MS. 172, of the sixteenth century, printed in Dr. J. 
<' \\vii<>t;li-yn Evans, ibid., i, pp. 967-8. 

P. Pcninrth MS. 192, of the sixteenth century. It begins with 
December 17, and is followed by January to September 15. The 
innaindrr is lost. The entries are not many. 

Q. Plds Lltinstt'pluin MS. 117, of the middle of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. printrd in Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans, ibid., ii, pp. 571-2. 

R. 7Y<is I.liinstcfyhtni MS. 181, written circa 1556, and printed in 
Dr. J. ( iurnc^tryn Evans, ibid., ii, pp. 770-1. It is a complete calen- 
dar, but lupins with May and ends with April. It belongs to North 

A Demetian calendar, of which there are three MS. copies : 
(<0 (\-rlnhiu-r MS. 44, of the second half of the sixteenth century, 
and (b and c) Panton MSS. 10 and 66, of the eighteenth century ; 
and four printed copies : (a) Y Greal, 1806, pp. 287-8, (b) Cambrian 
Register, 1818, iii, pp. 219-21, (c) Y Gwyliedydd, 1825, PP- 343~4, and 
Irclurologia Cambrensis, 1854, pp. 30-2. This is a list, not a 
calendar proper, and the entries are not arranged in any order, except 
in the Cwrtmawr MS. as printed in Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans, ibid., 
ii, p. 936. November, with its fifteen entries, is by much the fullest 

6 8 Introduction 

month. July and September have no entries. Some of the entries 
are peculiar to this calendar ; others supply details of the saints that 
are not found elsewhere. The following, among others, are note- 
worthy festivals : Rhystyd, Padarn and Teilo (movable), " Fidalis 
and Bidofydd " (April 26), Pumpsaint, Cynddilig, Gwryd Frawd (the 
three on All Saints' Day), " the Festival of the man who died on 
Trinity Sunday, preceded by a great vigil on the Saturday night, 
when it is customary to bathe for the cure of the tertian ague." The 
words " Gwyl y gwr a fu farw " (probably the correct reading) of the 
last quoted entry are converted in some of the copies into " S. Gwry- 
farn " and " Y Gwyryfon " (the Virgins). The list may be described 
as a Demetian calendar, as most of the saints commemorated belong 
to Dyfed, but more especially Cardiganshire. The first entry is 
" Gwyl Geitho," which probably gives a clue to its origin. 

T. British Museum Additional MS. 14,882, written in 1591 by 
" William ap W m ." This is a perfect calendar. 

U. Peniarth MS. 187, written in 1596, and printed, but only in 
part, in Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans, ibid., i, p. 1014. This is a full 
calendar. Some of the entries are curious, e.g. for January, " The 
first day of this month the tops of the mountains appeared to Noah " ; 
7th, " Christ turned the water into wine " ; loth, " Nebuchadnezzar's 
war against Jerusalem." 

V. Hafod MS. 8, of the late sixteenth century, printed in Dr. J. 
Gwenogfryn Evans, ibid., ii, p. 311. It is a meagre calendar. 

W. MS. marginal entries in the calendar to a copy of the Preces 
Privates, published in 1573, in the Library of S. Beuno's Jesuit College, 
near S. Asaph. The entries are in at least three different hands, of 
the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and are by persons 
who lived in north, or rather north-east, Wales, for the majority of 
the festivals, as well as fairs, entered belong to that part. 

X. Peniarth MS. 219, circa 1615, in the handwriting of John Jones 
of Gelli Lyfdy. It is printed in Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans, ibid., i, 
pp. 1043-5, where its festivals are entered with those of Peniarth 
MSS. 27, 186 and 187. 

Y. The calendar prefixed to the Llyfr Ply gain, or Prymer, of 1618 
(fifth edition). This is a full calendar, but a leaf was missing for 
April and May in the copy seen. It frequently corroborates L in some 
of its isolated entries. 

Z. The calendar prefixed to the Llyfr Ply gain, or Prymer, of 1633, 
edited by Dr. John Davies. 

ZA. The calendar prefixed to Allwydd neu Agoriad Paradwys i'r 
Cymrv, a Roman manual published at Liege in 1670. The Welsh 

On Welsh and Cornish Calendars 69 

saints are marked with an asterisk to distinguish them from saints of 
the Roman calendar. 

ZB. Welsh almanacks of the latter part of the seventeenth century 
and the eighteenth century give the festivals of Welsh and other 
saints more or less fully. The first Welsh almanack was that pub- 
lished for 1680, at Shrewsbury. We have consulted a great many 
from that for 1692 down. From about 1780 these festival entries 
became fewer and fewer, and have gradually disappeared almost 
entirely from the ordinary Welsh almanack. 

Zc. Wm. Roberts (Nefydd), in his Crefydd yr Oesoedd Tywyll, 
Carmarthen, 1852, gives the festivals of such Welsh saints as occur 
in the Welsh almanacks of the eighteenth century. 

ZD. The calendar in Williams ab Ithel, Ecclesiastical Antiquities 
of the Cymry, London, 1844, pp. 301-3. It is based upon the festivals 
given in Rees, Essay on the Welsh Saints, 1836, and is not always correct. 

To these may be added the following, which, however, contain but 
few Celtic or W r elsh entries : 

A Welsh Martyrology in Trinity College, Dublin, Library (MS. 50), 

of which Mr. H. Bradshaw speaks with enthusiasm in his Collected 

>S pp. 477-8. "It turns out to be one of the most precious 

monuments of the Welsh Church yet discovered." It was written 

thael, and the initial letters were painted by Johannes, brother 

of Rhygyfarch (died 1097). It is actually the Martyrologium Hierony- 

mitimnn, with entries of Celtic saints, Irish and British. The MS. 

was once in the possession of Bishop Bedell, who lent it to Archbishop 

T, and it was owing to this happy accident that it was saved 

from the destruction which befell almost the whole of Bishop Bedell's 

library after the outbreak of the Civil War in 1641. 

\Ve are indebted to Mr. R. Twigge for kindly examining this Martyro- 
logy for us. It unfortunately contains no other entries of Celtic 
saints than these : March 17, S. Patrick ; July 28, S. Samson ; Sep- 
tember 17, " In Britannis Socris et Stephani " ; December 17, 
" Depos. Judichaili Confess." 

A Martyrology of British Saints, " very peculiar," in the Bodleian 
Library, of the fourteenth century (MSS. Gough Coll., 1833), imper- 
fect ; from March 17 to May 23 is all that exists. 

A Llanthony Abbey Calendar, in the Library of Corpus Chris ti 
College, Oxford. 

We give below a calendar of the Welsh saints carefully compiled 
from the foregoing, noting in each case the particular calendars whicli 
contain the commemoration. They often vary, but the oldest calen- 
dars may be presumed to be the most reliable. 


The ordinary festivals of the Western Church have not been 







S. Gwynhoedl, C. (zd). 

S. Machraith, C. (zd). 

S. Medwy, B.C. (zd). 

S. Maelrys, or Maelerw, C. (zd). 

S. Tyfrydog, C. (vza). 

S. Bodfan, C. (Y). 17- 

S. Gwenog, V. (s, Addit. MS. 18. 

14, 886). 
S. Tewdrig, K.M. (za). 


S. Edeyrn, C. (zd). 
S. Merin, C. (zd). 
S. Ylched (zd). 
S. Gwrddelw, C. (x). 

S. Llwchaiarn, C. (LS). 

S. Llwchaiarn, C. (ILMUWXYZ). 

S. Cyndeyrn, or Kentigern, B.C. 


S. Elian, or Elien, C. (HILMRTUWY). 
S. Erbin, K.C. (HIMQRTUWXY). 
S. liar, B.C. (DENVZ). 
S. Saeran, C. (IKPRUMY). 
S. Tygwy, C. (z). 
S. liar, B.C. (Y). 

15. S. liar, B.C. (s). 

S. Llawddog, or Lleuddad, Ab.C. 

S. Sawyl, C. (Addit. MS., 14, 886). 

1 6. S. Carannog, C. (A). 






2 7 . 

S. Elli, Ab.C. (Lvxvzza). 

S. Catwg, or Cadoc, Ab.C. (ALNV 

S. Dwynwen, V. (HiRXYza). 

S. Silin, B.C. (s). 

S. Tybie, V.M. (zd). 

S. Aeddan Foeddog, or Aidan, 

B.C. (zd). 

S. Ewryd, C. (FMX). 
S. Melangell, or Monacella, V., 

Abss. (HILTUX). 
S. Tyssul, B.C. (zd). 
SS. Y Trisaint, or The Three SS. 

CC. (v). 






1 1. 


S. Ffraid, or Bridget, V. Abss. (in 

most of the Calendars). 
S Ina, Knt. C. (s). 
S. Seiriol, Ab.C. (HYZ). 

S. Dilwar, V. (Q). 

S. Tyssul, B.C. (s). 

S. Dilwar, V. (GHiouxYZza). 

S. Meirian, or Meirion, C, (F). 

S. Ciwa, V. (MX). 

S. Teilo, B.C. (MX). 

S. Cigwa, or Ciwa, V. (AY). 

S. Einion, K.C. (HQUwxvza). 

S. Teilo, B.C. (ACDELNVYza). 

S. Einion, K.C. (o). 







2 7 . 

S. Meugan, C. (i). 
S. Dochow, P.C. (A). 

S. Ffinan, B.C. (za). 

S. Cowrda, C. (xx). 

S. Tyfaelog, C, (Mxvzza). 

S. Llibio, C. (FHOQTUVYZza). 
S. Maidoc, B.C. (A). 

On Welsh and Cornish Calendars 7 i 



i i. 
i .'. 

i 5. 

S. Dewi. or David, B.C. (all the 

S. Gistlian, B.C. (A). 
S. C.wrthwl. or Mwthwl, C. (SYZ). 
S. Non, or Nonita, Wid. (ACELQS 


S. Gistilian, B.C. (c.). 
S. Caron, B.C. (ELSYZ). 
S. Cieran, B.C. (AC). 

S. Sannan, C. (LYZ). 
S. Deifer, or Dier, C. (za). 
S. Rhian. B.C. (c). 
S. Sannan, C. (v). 

:ur. C. (YZ). 


1 6. 






S. Cynog (za). 

S. Padrig, B.C. 

S. Cynbryd, M. (GILMQVWXYZ). 
S. Cynbryd, M. (HR). 

S. Elwad, C. (x). 

Gwynllyw Filwr, or Gundleus, 

K.C. (v). 
S. Gwynllyw Filwr, K.C. (ALXza). 


S. Tyrnog. C. (o). 

rnog, C. (GHiPRUwxYZza). 
S. iK-rfel Gadarn, C. (BGHILMOPQ- 

S. Hrynach, or Byrnach, Ab.C. 


SS. Llywelyn and Gwrnerth, CC. 




t4. S. Caradog, Mk.C. (A). 
13- S. Padarn, B.C. (Aza). 





2 4 . 



S. Padarn, B.C. (BLSWZ). 
S. Padarn, B.C. (E). 

S. Beuno, Ab.C. (FGHIKLOQSUV- 


S. Beuno, Ab.C. (ERZ). 
S. Dyfnan, C. (zza). 

S. Dyfnan, C. (xx). 
S. Meugan, C. (Q). 

SS. Fidalis (Vitalis on 28th) and 
Bidofydd, CC. (s). 

S. Sannan, C. (za). 
S. Cynwyl, C. (zd). 





Asaph, B.C. (Lzza). 


Tyfriog, Ab.C. (s). 





Melangell, V. (Luzza). 







Gofor, C. (L). 


Melyd, or Melydyn, C. 



Ylched (F). 


12. SS. Mael and Sullen, CC. (M). 

13. SS. Mael and Sulien, CC. (EHIJLQ- 


15. S. Carannog, Ab.C. (sza). 

16. S. Carannog, Ab.C. (LZ). 








S. Carannog, Ab.C. (u). 

S. Cathan, or Cathen, C. (zd). 

S. Anno (LUXYZ). 


S. Collen, C. (M). 

SS. Dyfan and Ffagan, CC. (zd). 

S. Garmon, B.C. (LUYZ). 

S. Melangell, V. (EGHIJLMOPQRT- 


S. Garmon, B.C. (NX). 
Translation of S. Dyfrig, or Dub- 

ricius, Ab.C. (za). 
S. Tudglud, C. (GHLOQTUWXYZ). 


1. S. Tegla, V. (GHIJLMOPQRUXYZ). 

2. S. Cwyfen, C. (z). 

3. S. Cwyfen, C. (FGHIJLMOQRUWX- 

S. Tegla, V. (K). 

4. S. Cwyfen, C. (K). 

S. Pedrog, or Petroc, Ab.C. 


5. S. Tudno, C. (xwx). 

6. SS. Y Trisaint, 'CC. (FX). 








S. Rhychwyn, C. (xwx). 

S. Sannan, B.C. (GHIJLOUWXYZ). 

S. Dogfael, C. (zd). 

S. Ceneu, C. (KL). 

SS. Curig and Julitta, MM. (DS). 


SS. Curig and Julitta (or Hid, Eli- 
dan), MM. (in most of the Cal- 

S. Ismael, B.C. (A). 
17. S. Mylling, B.C. (LRUXYZza). 







Decollation of S. Gwenfrewi, or 
Winefred, V.M. (GHIJKMOPQR- 


Translation of S. Brynach, or Byr- 

nach, B.C. (A). 
S. Twrog, C. (XYZ). 
S. Tyrnog, C. (LTIYZ). 

S. Eurgain, Matron (HJTUXYZ). 
S. Trunio, C. (H). 

On Welsh and Cornish Calendars 73 









S. Ccwydd y Gwlaw, C. (L). 

S. Cewydd, C. (B). Gwyl y Gwlaw 


S. Oudoceus, B.C. (za). 
S. Peblig, C. (u). 

S. Peblig, C. (GHIJLMQTXYZZa). 

S. Erfyl, or Urfyl. V. (HILQXYZ). 
S. Dochelin, C. (A). 

an. ('. 
S. Doewan, C. (M). 
S. Dogfan, or Doewan, C. (GHIJL- 

S. Dwyiuvm, V. (Q). 
inon, B.C. (M). 
nllo. K.C. (M). 
S. Elyw (M). 

S. Garmon, B.C. (JQYZ). 
Cewydd, C. (D). 

1 6. 

17. S. Cynllo, K.C. (jLUXYZza). 
S Eliw (L). 

1 8. 



25. S. Cyndeyrn, C. (zd). 

S. .Mordeyrn, C. (zd). 

5. Peris, C. (zd). 

S. Samson, B.C. (F). 

29. S. Bleiddian, or Lupus, B.C. (zd). 

30. S. Garmon, B.C. (p). 

31. S. Garmon in Yale, or Germanus, 



Kihurdd or Alniolhu, V.M. (zd). l6 


4. S. Hui.n, C. (zd). 
it ho. Ab.C. (s). 

-nil... K.C. ( V ). 
S. Ffagan, C. (zd). 
S. Hvchan, C. (zd). 
S. Iliog in Hirnant, C. 

I XYZ). 


II. S. 

Lhvni (s). 
(Vl)i, Ab.C. (Q). 

19- S. Clintacus, or Clydog, K.M. 


22. S. Gwyddelan, C. (LUWXYZ). 

23. S. Tydfil, V.M. (zd). 



27. S. Decumanus, M. (zazd). 

S. Meddwid, or Moddwid (LUXYZ) 
30. S. Decumanus, or Degyman, M. 






S. Silin ( = Giles), Ab.C. (GHIJKLO- 


S. Rhuddlad, V. (Loxvzza). 

S. Idloes, C. (Lwvzza). 

S. Dunawd, Ab.C. (zd). 

S. Cynfarch, C. (LYZ). 

S. Aelrhiw (zd). 

Gwyl y Ddelw Fyw, " The Festi- 
val of the Living Image " (H, 
later hand, LRXYZ). 

S. Eigion, B.C. (L). 

S. Deiniol or Daniel, B.C. (GHIJK- 


S. Tegwyn, C. (zd). 









S. Gwenfrewi, V.M. (YZ). 
S. Gwenfrewi, V.M. (L). 

Ordination of S. Padarn, B.C. (A). 

S. Tegla, V. (JQW). 


S. Tegla, V. (LYZ). 

S. Caian, C. (zd). 

S. Meugan, C. (GHiLMORUXYZza). 

S. Mwrog, C. (T). 

S. Tyrnog, C. (Q). 

S. Elfan, C. (zd). 

S. Meugan, C. (JT). 

S. Barruc, C. (A). 

S. Nidan, C. (HLTUXYZ). 




1 1. 


S. Garmon, B.C. (HIJKLMOQRTU- 

S. Silin, AbvC. (GHIJLMOQRTU- 


S. Cynhafal, C. (GHIJKLMOQRTUW- 


S. Keina, V. (za). 

S. Cain, or Ceinwen, V. (LMV). 

S. Cammarch, C. (LZ). 

S. Cynog, M. (YZ). 

S. Cynog, M. (L) 

S. Tanwg, C. (YZ). 

S. Tanwg, C. (LQUX). 

S. Brothen, C. (Q). 
S. Tudur, C. (YZ). 
S. Brothen, C. (zd). 
S. Tudur, C. (L). 







2 7 . 

S. Llyr, V. (s). 

S. Urw, or Wrw, V. (s). 

SS. Y Gweryddon, or Eleven 

SS. Gwynog and Noethon (or Nwy- 

thon), CC. (GHIJMQTUX). 
SS. Gwynog and Noethan, CC. 


SS. Y Gweryddon, VV. (o). 

S. Cadfarch, C. (vzza). 

SS. Gwynog and Noethon, CC. (o). 

29. S. Teuderius, C. (A). 

30. S. Issui, M. (zd). 

31. S. Dogfael, C. (HLMOQUYZza), 

On Welsh and Cornish Calendars 7 5 


1. S. Cadfan, Ab.C. (zcl). 10. 
S. Callwen. V. (s). 

S. Cedol, C. (zd). n. 

S. Clydai, V. (s). 

S. Clydwyn, or Cledwyn, K.C. (zd). 

S. Cynddilig, C. (s). 

S. Dingad, C. (zd). 12. 

S. Dona, C. (zd). 

S. Gwenfyl, V. (s). 

S. Gwenrhiw, V. (UXY). 

S. Gwryd, Friar (s). 

S. Gwynlleu, B.C. (s.). 13. 

S. Morhaiarn, C. (zd). 14. 

S. Peulan. C. (z). 

S. Uhwydrys. C. (zd). 

SS. Y Pumpsaint, CC. (s). 

2. S. Aelhaiarn. C. (AZ). 

S. Peulan, C. (Y). 15. 

3 Cly.loiJ. K.M. (ALMYZ). 

S. Clydyn, or Clydau. C. (s). 

S. Cristiolus, C. (FGHILMQUWXYZ). 

S. Gwenfaen. V. (L). 

Translation of S. Gwenfrewi, or 16. 

\Vinofred, Y.M. (ORTUXYZZa). 17. 

vyddfarch, H.C. (Q). 18. 

4. S. Gwi-nta.-n. V. (H). 19. 

S. Gwi-nfivwi. V.M. (Q). 20. 

( yii. Ab.C. (GIKI.MOQRSUWXY- 21. 

zza). 22. 

S. Guvnturn. V. (F) 

jfbi, Ai.r. (HS). 

S. Kdweii. V. (LS). 23. 

S. Illtyil. Ah.C. (Aza). 24. 

7 S. Cybi. Ab.C. (A). 25. 

S. Cynnar. Ab.C. (GHILMOQTUW- 26. 

xvz). 27. 

8. S. Cynfanvy, C. (LYZ). 28. 
S. Tyssilio, Ab.C. (GHILMOQTUW- 29. 


9. S. Pabo Post Prydain, C. (tvzza). 30. 
S. Tyssilio. Ab.C. (s). 

S. Cynfanvy, C. (u). 

S. Elaeth, K.C. (FTU). 

S. Cynfarwy, C. (x). 

S. Edern, or Edeyrn, C. (FLUYZ). 

S. Elaeth, K.C. (x). 

S. Rhediw, C. (zd). 

S. Cadwaladr, K.C. (FGHIKLMOQ- 


S. Meilig, C. (s). 
S. Meilir, C. (M). 
S. Padarn, B.C. (LUXYZ). 
S. Gredifael, C. (HLUXvza). 
S. Dubricius, or Dyfrig, Ab.C. 


S. Gredifael, C. (TZ). 

S. Mechyll, C. (K). 

S. Meilig, C. (LYZ). 

S. Cynfab, C. (zd). 

S. Machudd, i,e. Machutus, or 

Malo, B.C. (LYZza). 
S. Mechell, or Mechyll, C. (FLOYZ) 
S. Meugan, C. (s). 
S. Afan, B.C. (szd). 
S. Afan, B.C. (LYZ). 
S. Meugan, C. (R). 
S Llwydian, C. (zd). 
S. Celynin, C. (zd). 
S. Digain, C. (GiLOQUWYZza). 
S. Deiniolen, C. (LTUXYZza). 
S. Gredifael, C. (Q). 
S. Polin, B.C. (szd). 
S. Deiniolen, C. (zd). 

S. Tauanauc, or Tyfanog, C. (A). 
S. Teilo, B.C. (zd). 


S. Baruc, H.C. (za). 

S. Sadwrn, C. (HLQSUYZza). 

7 6 



i. S. Grwst, C. (KLQRUXvzza). 
S. Llechid, V. (FLYZ). 



5. S. Cowrda, or Cawrdaf, K.C. 

S. Gwrda (za). 

S. Justinian, or Stinan, H.M. (A). 


8. S. Cynidr, B.C. (AMYZ). 


10. S. Deiniol, B.C. (zd). 

11. S. Cian, C. (zd). 

S. Ffinan, B.C. (v). 
S. Peris, C. (FHTUwxYzza). 
Dydd lias Llywelyn, " The day on 
which Llywelyn was slain " (K). 

12. S. Fflewyn, C. (FYZE). 
Llywelyn (z). 

13. S. Ffinan, B.C. (BYZ). 

SS. Gwynan (-en) and Gwynws, 
CC. (szd). 


1 6. 

17. S. Tydecho, C. (HiMOPQRUWxYZza). 

1 8. S. Tegfedd, V. (x). 






26. S. Maethlu, C. (zd). 

S. Tathan, or Tatheus, Ab.C. 

31. S. Gwynin, C. (zd). 

S. Maelog, C. (FS). 


No Celtic Calendars for the West of England have been pre- 
served, and the Exeter Calendars almost wholly ignore the local 
saints whose names are not found in the Roman Martyrology. 

1. In 1478, however, William of Worcester made a journey through 
Devon and Cornwall, and examined the Calendars of Tavistock, 
Launceston, Bodmin, and S. Michael's Mount. From these he made 
extracts. His Itinerary has been preserved in Corpus Chris ti College 
Library, Cambridge. William wrote an execrable hand, and scribbled 
rather than wrote in his notebook, which he never transcribed. 
Nasmith published the Itinerary in 1778, having deciphered the scrawl 
with great patience, and, on the whole, correctly. But he made 
many mistakes, and he made occasional slips. Thus, in transcribing 
the Calendar of Bodmin, he omitted from May 28 to July 31. He 
saw under May 28 the entry " S. Germanus Episc. Conf.," and the 
same entry under July 31, the first being the entry of Germanus of 
Paris, and the latter that of Germanus of Auxerre. By an oversight 
he did not transcribe all that intervened. Through the courtesy of 
the Librarian we have been able to collate Nasmith's edition with the 
original text. 

2. A Calendar of Exeter Cathedral of the twelfth century (MS. 

On Welsh and Cornish Calendars 77 

Hurl. tS(>3). In this there arc ;i few Celtic saints, as S. David, S. 
Cieran. S. Petrock, S. Nectan. S. Sidwell, S. Rumon ; but some are 
later additions. It i- printed by Hampson. i. p. 449. 

3. The Calendar of the Leofrir Mis>al. This belonged originally 
to < dastonbnry, but to Glastonbury after it had ceased to be the 
Rome of the British and Irish Churches, and had been refounded by 
the West Saxon King Ina, in 708, and given a Romano-Saxon com- 
plexion. The Leofric Missal was in use in the Church of Exeter from 

to 1072, The MS. is in the Cathedral Library ; but it has been 

ally and accurately published, under the editorship of the Rev. 

F. E. Warren, Oxford, 1883. The Calendar is sadly disappointing, as 

into it few local and Celtic saints were admitted. Gildas, Patrick, 

<>n, Aedan these are about all. 

4. A Calendar in the Grandisson Psalter, circ. 1337 (Add. MS. 
.()). This is the same as the Calendar to the Ordinale of Bishop 

n. and was in use in the Church of Exeter till 1505, when 
hi-> Ordinale was superseded by that of Sarum. This Calendar has 
!>eeii edited and published by the Rev. H. E. Reynolds, with the 
Ordinale. Kxeter, 1882. 

5. In the Cathedral Library, Exeter, is a thirteenth-century Calendar, 
bur on examination it proves to have belonged to the Church of 

ester. It gives S. Petrock and S. Gudwal, but very few other 
saints of the Celtic Church. 

o. A Martyrology for the Church of Exeter, drawn up by Bishop 
n in 1337 ; it is now in the Corpus Christi College Library, 
Cambridge. It includes some more Celtic names, but not 

~. \ Legeiularium for the Church of Exeter was compiled also b}~ 
tiandisson in 1366. This is preserved in the Library of the Dean 
iiul Chapter. Kxeter. It is a bitterly disappointing book. Grandis- 
>n wrote in 1330 requiring all the clergy of parishes in Cornwall to 
nd three transcripts of the legends of the patron saints of their 
chinches to Exeter for preservation, as many of these legends had 
been lost by accident or carelessness. One might have expected that 
he would have made use of the material forwarded to him. On the 
irv. he has employed none, with the exception of that concerning 
mson and S. Melor. Grandisson was a thoroughly Roman-minded 
prelate, the friend of John XXII at Avignon, who had appointed him 
to the see of Exeter in contravention of canonical rule, without con- 
sulting the chapter. The Bishop drew the material for his Legen- 
darinm, and the names of the saints he was pleased to commemorate, 
almost exclusively from the Roman Martyrology, and from 

7 8 


approved Latin lectionaries. A copy of this Martyrology is in Arch- 
bishop Parker's Collection, Corpus Christ! College, Cambridge. 

8. A Calendar in the Book of Hours, of Pilton, near Barnstaple, 
drawn up in 1521 by Thomas Oldeston, who was prior from 1472. 
It is in the Bodleian Library, Rawlinson Liturg. MSS. (g. 12). 

9. The Rev. R. Stanton, in his Menology of England and Wales, 
Supplement, 1892, refers to a Martyrology written between 1220 and 
1224, in the British Museum, MSS. Reg. 2 A. xiii, as " probably for 
the South West of England." However, it proves when examined 
to have been compiled for the church of Canterbury. 

10. Nicolas Roscarrock of Roscarrock, in the parish of Endelion, 
in Cornwall, a friend of Camden, the antiquary, composed a MS. 
Lives of the Saints of Britain and Ireland, according to Mr. Horstman's 
opinion, between the years 1 608-1617. x He enters a number of 
Cornish saints, and gives the days on which they were locally com- 
memorated, as well as some legends concerning them. The volume is 
unhappily defective ; the MS. from folio 402 to the end has had some- 
thing like eighty leaves torn out. To the " Lives " is prefixed a 
Calendar. Roscarrock relied mainly on Whytford and Demster for 
his entries, but he was further assisted by a Welsh priest, Edward 
Powell, for his Welsh entries. The Calendar is complete. So are 
the Lives as far as Simon Sudbury, which is begun, but the rest torn 
away. For matter Roscarrock had recourse to Capgrave and to 
Surius, and easily accessible works, and the bulk of his MS. is there- 
fore of little value. But its worth comes in when he deals with the 
Cornish and the Welsh saints. He gives the days of these in the 
body of his work, though not always in the Calendar. The MS. was 
in the Brent- Eley Collection, having been in the hands of Lord William 
Howard, in whose house Roscarrock died. It has been acquired by 
the University Library, Cambridge, and is numbered Addit. MS. 3,041. 

We have available for consultation a large number of English 
Calendars ; those in MS. are too numerous to be here recorded, and 
for the most part serve our purpose but rarely. The principal MSS. 
and such as are published and accessible are these : 

1. The Sarum Missal. Missale in usum . . . ecclesice Sarum. Ed. 
F. H. Dickenson, Burntisland, 1861-83. An English translation, The 
Sarum Missal, published by the English Church Printing Co., London, 

2. The Hereford Missal, printed in 1502 ; reprinted by W. G. 
Henderson, Leeds, 1874. 

3. The York Missal, published by the Surtees Society, Durham, 1875. 

1 Capgrave, Nova Legenda, ed. C. Horstman, Oxford, 1901, i, p. x. 

On Welsh and Cornish Calendars 79 

4. The Missal of Robert de Jumieges, Bishop of London, 1044-50, 
and Archbishop of Canterbury in 1051. Edited for the Henry Brad- 
shaw Society by H. A. Wilson, London, 1896. 

5. The Peterborough Calendar, 1361-90, in the Archaologia, vol. 
li (1888). 

6. The Lincoln Calendar, before 1500, in the Archaologia, vol. li 

7. Missale ad usum ecclesia West Monasteriensis. Edited for the 
Henry Bradshaw Society by Dr. J. Wickham Legg, Lond. 1891-7. 

8. Liber Vitce of Newminster and Hyde Abbey, Winchester. Edited 
by W. de Gray Birch, for the Hampshire Record Society, 1892. A 
Hyde Calendar of the thirteenth century, very full, is in the Bodleian 
Library, MSS. Gough. 

9. Hampson, Medii JEvi Kalendarinm, Lond. 1841. This contains : 
(a) a Metrical Calendar, of which three copies exist in the British 
Museum ; (b) The Exeter Calendar noted above (MSS. Harl. 863), 
with additions in italics from another copy (MSS. Harl. 1,804) ; 
(c) A Calendar of 1031 (MSS. Cotton, Vitellius, A. xviii) ; (d) A 

ndar (MSS. Cotton, Titus, D. xxvii) ; (e) An English Calendar in 
Norman-French, that belonged to Ludlow Church (MSS. Harl. 273). 

10. A Sherborne Calendar, published for the S. Paul's Ecclesiologi- 
cal Society, 1896, by Dr. J. Wickham Legg. The original MS. is in 
the possession of the Duke of Northumberland. It was written 
between 1396 and 1407. 

11. The Oxford Calendar has been published by W. Anstey, in the 
Rolls Series. Munimenta Academica, 1868. 

12. The Canterbury Cathedral Calendar, circ. 1050 (MSS. Arundell, 
155) ; another 1220-46 (MSS. Cotton, Tiberius, B. iii) ; another early 
in the fourteenth century (MSS. Add. 6,160). 

13. A Martyrology, Roman with addition of English saints, of the 
fourteenth century, in the Bodleian (MSS. Gough, liturg. 4). 

14. A Gloucester Calendar, fifteenth century (MSS. Add. 30,506) ; 
another, thirteenth century, in the Bodleian (MSS. Rawlinson, Litt. 
f. i) ; another in Jesus College, Oxford, also of the thirteenth century 
(MS. ex). 

15. The Bath Abbey Calendar, fourteenth century (MSS. Add. 

16. A Worcester Calendar, fifteenth century (MSS. Harl. 7,398). 

17. Bishop Grandisson's Psalter (MSS. Add. 21,926), drawn up for 
use in the Province of York. Grandisson was Canon of York 1309-27. 
It differs from the Calendar in the Exeter Ordinale. 

18. The Martyrology of Christ Church, Canterbury, of which two 

8 o Introduction 

copies exist. The earlier, of the thirteenth century, is in the British 
Museum (MSS. Arundell, 68) ; the other, of the sixteenth century, is 
in the library of Lambeth Palace (MSS. Lambeth, 20). 

19. A Martyrology that belonged to the Bridgetine Monastery of 
Syon, in Middlesex (MSS. Addit. 22,285). 

20. A Norwich Martyrology of the fifteenth century (MSS. Cotton, 
Julius, B. vii). 

21. Martyrologium Anglicanum in Martene, Ampl. Coll. vi, pp. 

22. A Martyrology contained in a Sarum Breviary of the fourteenth 
century (MSS. Harl. 2,785) is imperfect. It runs from November 28 
to June 17. 

23. Bedce Venerabilis Libellus Annalis sive Kalendarium Anglicanum, 
is really a Martyrology of the Abbey of S. Maximin at Treves. 
Martene, Ampl. Coll. vi, pp. 637-49. 

24. A Calendar of English, Scottish and Irish saints. A MS. of the 
twelfth century in the Bodleian Library (Douce Coll. 50). It is im- 
perfect. It begins with March and ends with October. 

The list might be extended to a great length, but only by including 
Calendars of no particular value. The English Calendars contain 
hardly any Celtic names, except of some few favourites as Patrick, 
David, Samson and Brigid. 

In addition to the Calendars and Martyrologies above given, the 
following works have been consulted : 

1. John of Tynemouth, Sanctilogium, 1350, in MS. Cotton, Tiberius, 
E. i. This has been partly destroyed and all grievously injured by 
fire, but the lives were used by Capgrave, and have been printed by 
the Bollandists from a transcript, which was supplied to them by 
the Monastery of Roseavallis. John of Tynemouth had seen the 
MS. of Lives of Welsh Saints, now in the British Museum, MS. 
Cotton, Vesp. A. xiv, and he condensed the lives therein. 

2. Capgrave, Nova Legenda, London, 1516 ; his MS. is in the British 
Museum (MS. Cotton, Otho, D. ix). It has suffered from fire, and 
is not completely legible. Capgrave merely printed from John of 
Tynemouth, with some additions. A new and excellent edition by 
Horstman, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1901. 

3. Whytford's Martyrologe, 1526 ; an English rendering of the 
Bridgetine Martyrology of Sion House, but with additions. Printed 
for the Henry Bradshaw Society, 1893. 

4. Wilson's Martyrology, ist ed. 1608 ; 2nd ed. 1640. 
Wilson says : 

The JVelsh and Cornish Calendars 8 r 

I have thought it most convenient for the more full accomplishment and 
perfecting of a Martyrologie, that where any day falleth out to be altogether 
there to place one or more of the foresaid ancient saintes, whose 
publifke celebrity hath not byn hitherto kept; and thereof to make a 
commemoration only, noting the same with the syne of an Asteriske or 
Starre in the Marvjent. 

5. Bishop Challoner published his Memorial of British Piety in 
17(11. Challoner took on himself to find fault with Wilson's book, 
hut Wilson had the decency to note arbitrary attribution of saints to 
days, whereas Challoner made no such distinction, so that his book 
is misleading and worse than useless, for he has led others astray. 
His book is simply crowded with blunders. He says : 

A^ to the appointing our British Saints their respective Days throughout 
the year, where our Calendars or other Monuments gave us Light, we have 
geuerallv endeavoured to follow it : but where we could not find the Days 
on which they were formerly honoured, we have commemorated them on 
such other Day-. a< otherwise might have been vacant: thus we have not 
ne /><n /';/ the vear pass without commemorating one or more- 


The consequence is that we are unable to trust any single entry, 
and on looking closely into this wretched compilation, we find that 
ChalloiuT has dealt most arbitrarily with the saints, dotting them 
about just where he willed, and dissociating them from their well- 
established festivals. His sole principle was that of filling gaps. 

.. Wint't'red's Day is June 22, but as he required that day for S, 

Alban. he shitted her to June 24. S. Almedha's Day is August I, 

but Clialloner transferred her to August 2. On October 23 he enters r 

lavi-tork. in Devonshire, the Commemoration of S. Rumon, 


Now, wt- know from William of Worcester that in the Tavistock 

idar the days observed for S. Rumon were January 5, August 28, 

and August 30. This latter day is also given in the Exeter Martyro- 

Init October 23 never was held as a day of commemoration of 

S. Rumon. at Tavistock or anywhere else. 

His attribution of S. Jutwara to December 23 is wanton in its 
recklessness, for S. Jutwara was commemorated at Sherborne and 
elsewhere on July 13. He had but to look in Whytford to learn that, 
and lie misled Williams ab Ithel, who in his Welsh Calendar, relying 
on Challoner. noted Jutwara on December 23. Challoner in this, 
however, follows Wilson. 

His Irish entries are almost invariably wrong. S. Nessan is in- 
serted on June 24, whereas he should have stood on July 24. S. Ere 

VOL. I. 

8 2 Introduction 


of Slane he sets down on April 16, whereas every Irish Martyrology 
has him on November 2. 

On October 16 he notes S. Cyra, Virgin of Muskerry, whereas Ciara 
or Cera of that day was the mother of a family by her good husband 

Nor are his Welsh entries any better. S. Cyngar, or Docwin, he 
inserts on November 5, in place of November 7. S. Paulinus of Ty 
Gwyn he gives as " a man of God of the Isle of Wight," converting 
the Candida Casa into the chalk island ! and he makes him there 
educate S. David. He gives as his day December 31, in place of 
December 23. Deiniol of Bangor he puts down on November 23, 
whereas the Welsh Calendars give September n. Justinian the 
Hermit-martyr, near S. David's, he plants on August 23, in place of 
his proper day, December 5. 

The consequence is that we can never trust Challoner. It is better 
to leave a saint without a day of commemoration rather than follow 
this reckless martyrologist, of whom one can only predicate this, that 
he is generally wrong. 

6. A Roman and Church Calendar, drawn up by the Rev. Dr. Lingard, 
but without bearing his name. It was printed by C. P. Cooper in his 
Account of the Most Important Records, London, 1832, vol. ii, p. 483, 
and was also used by Sir Harris Nicolas, first of all in his Notitia 
Historica, London, 1824, and again in his Chronology of History, 
London, 1838 ; again by Simms (R.) in his Genealogist's Manual, 
London, 1861. In all these, misprints, such as on February 9, Telcan 
for Teleau, i.e. S. Teilo, Bishop of Llandaff, are servilely repeated. 

The original work was executed by Dr. Lingard as well as he was 
able from the scanty materials then available. These were, as he 
says, the printed York and Salisbury Missals, that of S. Paul's, London 
(MSS. Harl. 2,787), the above-mentioned English Martyrologies of 
Wilson and Capgrave. 

7. Sir Harris Nicolas not only reprinted Dr. Lingard's Roman and 
Church Calendar, but he added a valuable "Alphabetical List of 
Saints " in his Chronology of History, one of Dr. Lardner's series, 1838. 
He added many names of Welsh and English saints, having employed 
for the purpose eleven MS. Calendars in the Harleian Collection, two 
in the Cottonian, and two in the Arundell Collection of MSS. 

It is much to be regretted that he did not specify from which MSS. 
he drew his information for each entry. Although he doubtless took 
great pains to be correct, yet in some instances he allowed himself 
to be misled by Lingard, who in turn was misled by Wilson. 

An instance of the manner in which a false attribution perpetuates 

The Welsh and Cornish Calendars 8 3 

tself is that of S. Indract. The Salisbury, Norwich, and Aletemps 
Calendars give as his day May 8. Now Wilson inserted him on 
February 5, but put an asterisk to the name to indicate that he had 
no authority for so doing. Challoner followed suit. So did the 
Bollandist Fathers in 1648. Lingard followed again, and so Indract 
has got fairly established on February 5, a day on which he was com- 
memorated in no church in England in ancient times. 

Wilson gives S. Guier on April 4, but honestly intimates that this 
insertion was purely arbitrary. Challoner accepted this, and so did 
the Bollandists in 1665. Lingard could do no other, and of course 
has been followed. Even the Truro Church Calendar, 1900, gives 
Guier on April 4. 

Wilson, with an asterisk, enters S. Merwyna, Virgin, on May 13. 
This did not suit Challoner, who wanted the day for S. Cadoc or 
Cathmail, who had not the smallest claim to it, so he shifted S. 
Mri WVIKI to March 30. Lingard followed Wilson as the more trusty 
<>t the two, and Sir Harris Nicolas gives May 13 as S. Merwyna's 
Day. But it must be clearly understood that at Rumsey Abbey, 
where her body reposed, neither on May 13 nor on March 30 was any 
commemoration of her made. 

From what has been said it will be seen that the Martyrologies 
and Calendars since Wilson compiled his need a complete overhaul- 

8. The Ada Sanctorum of the Bollandists were begun in 1643, and 
the work is not yet complete. The month of January was composed 
of 2 vols. at first Antwerp, 1643 ; February, 3 vols., 1648 ; March, 
3 vols., 1668 ; April, 3 vols., 1675 ; May, 8 vols., 1680-8 ; June, 
7 vols., 1695-1717 ; July, 7 vols., 1719-31 ; August, 6 vols., 1733-43 ; 
September, 8 vols., 1746-62 ; October, 13 vols., 1765-70, 1780-6, 
1794, 1845, 1853, 1858, 1861, 1864, 1867, 1883; November, t. i, 
1887, t. 2, pt. i, 1894. 

There has been a new edition, ed. by Carnandet, Paris, 16 vols. 
and incomplete. This edition is not a faithful reproduction ; there 
are additions and excisions. 

The great merit of this collection is that the Bollandist Fathers give 
their authorities for the attribution of the several saints to their par- 
ticular days. But they have trusted too far to Wilson, who had not 
the means at his disposal to give to his Martyrology that exactness 
which he doubtless would have desired, and who was too free in 
putting down by guesswork obscure local saints on days upon which 
they never had received a cult. 

9. Analecta Bollandiana. A supplement to the Ada Sanctorum, 


and edited by the Bollandist Fathers. Some thirteen volumes have 
appeared, and the issue is still in progress. 

It contains : (i) hitherto unedited documents on the lives of the 
saints ; (2) ancient Martyrologies reprinted ; (3) lives of saints pre- 
termitted in the earlier volumes of the Ada Sanctorum; (4) newly 
discovered texts, better than those already printed ; (5) variants to 
those published ; (6) critical' notes ; (7) descriptive catalogues of 
MS. collections of hagiographa ; (8) liturgical memorials ; (9) review 
of hagiographical works annually issuing from the press. 

10. Butler (Alban). The Lives of Fathers, Martyrs, and other 
Principal Saints, 1745 and 1789 ; repeatedly reprinted. 

This collection was written for edification, and the author was 
devoid of the critical faculty. He touched up and altered the lives 
as suited his purpose, which was to furnish wholesome reading. He 
accordingly cut out everything of which he disapproved ; and being 
entirely destitute of any sense of poetry, he eliminated precisely 
those incidents in the lives of the heroes of Christianity that give 
them beauty and arrest the attention. He took no trouble to make 
sure that he had set down his biographical notices on the days upon 
which local saints received veneration. 

11. " Britannia Sacra, or the Lives of the Most Celebrated British, 
English, Scottish, and Irish Saints, who have flourished in these 
Islands ; Faithfully collected from their Acts and other Records of 
British History," London, 1745. 

When it is known that this work is by Challoner, we know also 
how to estimate it. 

12. The Menology of England and Wales, by Richard Stanton, of 
the Oratory, London, Burns and Gates, 1887, with a Supplement, 
1892. This is a valuable compilation, if not very critical. 

It contains an incomplete list of MS. Calendars in the British Museum 
and elsewhere. 

Father Stanton says : " No fewer than 108 Calendars have been 
examined for the purpose of ascertaining, as nearly as possible, the 
names of those servants of God who received from our ancestors the 
public honours of Sanctity." 

We do not print a Calendar of Cornish Saints, but refer to the 
Transactions of the Devonshire Association for 1900, pp. 341-389, 
where there is one fairly complete. 

The principal Irish Calendars and Martyrologies are these : 

i. The Felire of Oengus. This is a Metrical Calendar, attributed 
to Oengus the Culdee, a contemporary of Aed Ordnaithe, king of 
Ireland, 793-817 ; but it is certainly considerably later, as it includes 



The Welsh and Cornish Calendars 85 

a commemoration of the supposed author. It includes also S. Sin- 
clu-11. who died in 982. It has a gloss by the O'Clerys, and has been 
piil>li>lied by tin- Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, 1871, edited by 
Dr. \Yhitley Stokes. 

1 IK- Martyrology of Tallagh, attributed to S. Maelruan, who died 
in 788. He may have made the original calendar, but it has received 
addition-;, inr it contains the name of Coirpre, abbot of Clonmacnoise, 
who died about 899. It is imperfect, lacking November, and the first 
M 'lays of December. It has been published, not very correctly, 
and uncritically, by Dr. Kelly, the editor; Dublin, 1857. 

I'he .Martyrology of Donegal, so called because drawn up by the 

i Irish scholar and antiquary, Michael O'Clery, one of the 

1620. He laid under contribution the Cashel Calendar, 

which was compiled in 1030, but which is now lost. It has been edited 

by Dr. James Todd : Dublin, 1864. 

4. I IK- Drummoiid Calendar of the twelfth century. This is an 
ln-h <', dnii lar rather than Scottish. It has been published by Bishop 
Forbes, of Brechin, in his Kalcndars of Scottish Saints, Edinburgh, 

This calendar is of the twelfth century. 

[he Book of Obits, of Dublin Cathedral, edited by Crosthwaite 
and To.Kl : Dublin, 1843. 

1'he Martyrology of Gorman, abbot of Cnocnan-Apostol ; drawn 
i i !<><) ami 1174. It has been edited by Dr. Whitley Stokes, 
tor the Hmry Bradshaw Society; London, 1895. 

7. Sanctorum (/itontmitcim Vita et Passiones, una cum eorum Diebus 

MS. of the thirteenth or fourteenth century (vi, B. i, 16), in 
y of Trinity College, Dublin. Some folios are missing. 

8. Officia Donrinicalia totius anni, cnm Kalcndario ; Psalterium 
atinnni. cum Lcctimulnis c ritis Sanctorum quorundam precipue 

!. MS. written in 1489 (xii, B. 3, 10), in the same 

9. Calendar of Down, of the fifteenth century. Bodleian Library, 
Oxford (MSS. dinonici. Liturg., 215). 

^ 10. (\il (l /,^ns pnf. Quorum Sanctorum Ibernia, by Henry FitzSimon, 
S.J., in tlie sixteenth century, Library of Trinity College, Dublin 
(MSS. xii, B. 3, 10). 

ii. John Colgan, Adu Sanctorum Veteris et Majoris Scotia seu 
Hihcrniu- Sanctorum Insults, Louvain, 1645. This is carried to the 
end of March only. 

In i "47 he issued his Triadis Thaumaturga, sive Divorum Patricii, 
t Br^ida Ada. Unhappily he never completed his 

Acta Sanctorum of Ireland, as he died at Louvain in 1648. 

8 6 Introduction 

Most of his MSS., materials laboriously collected, were dispersed when 
the French revolutionary soldiers swept over the Netherlands. 

12. Lives of the Irish Saints, by John Canon O'Hanlon, n.d,, 
volume for September was issued 1900. The failure of the health of 
the aged author has caused the work to remain incomplete and to 
break off at October 21. A laborious compilation, and the author is 
careful to give references, but it is woefully uncritical. 

Scottish Calendars may be consulted, but they render assistance 
only to a limited degree. 

Bishop Forbes, of Brechin, has published the most important 
Kalendars of Scottish Saints ; Edinburgh, 1872. This contains eleven, 
among these the Drummond Calendar, which is Irish. 

Since then the Foulis Breviary of the fifteenth century has been 
published ; Longmans, London, 1902. 

Brittany Calendars are of far greater importance. We refer 
for these to the monograph on the subject : Breviaires et Missels 
des jEglises et Abbayes Bretonnes de France anterieurs au xvii e siecle, 
par 1'Abbe F. Duine. Rennes : Plihon et Hommay, 1906. 


THE principal sources and authorities, in MS. and in print, for the 
genealogies of the Welsh saints are the following : 

1. The Bonedd in Peniarth MS. 16, of the early thirteenth century ; 
imperfect at the end. 

2. The Bonedd in Peniarth MS. 45, of the late thirteenth century. 
These two early Bonedds have never been published. 

3. The Bonedd in Peniarth MS. 12, in the fragment of Llyfr Gwyn 
Rhydderch, of the first half of the fourteenth century ; printed in 
Y Cymmrodor, vii, pp. 133-4. 

4. The Bonedd in Hafod MS. 16, circa 1400, now in the Cardiff 
Free Library ; a little imperfect towards the end. It is printed, 
with but few inaccuracies, in the Myvyrian Archaiology, pp. 415-6, 
and the missing entries supplied from a Mawddwy MS. It is also 
printed, but very inaccurately, in the Cambro-British Saints, pp. 265-8, 
from the copy in Harleian MS. 4181, of the early eighteenth century. 

The Genealogies of the Welsh Saints 87 

5. The Bonedd in Cardiff Free Library MS. 25, a transcript made 
by John Jones of Gelli Lyfdy in 1640 from a MS. (now lost) supposed 
by him to have been of about the eleventh century. A copy, with few 
variations, of No. I ; also imperfect at the end. 

6. The Bonedd in Plas Llanstephan MS. 28, written in 1455-6. 

7. The Bonedd in Peniarth MS. 27, part ii, of the late fifteenth 

The Achau printed in the lolo MSS., pp. 100-146, from three 
Glamorgan MSS. : 

(a) pp. 100-14, from a Coychurch MS. transcribed or compiled 
about 1670. 

(b) pp. 115-34, from a Llansannor MS. (previously Coychurch), 
of about the same date apparently. 

(c) pp. 135-46, from a Cardiff MS., of which the date is not 
given, but probably the seventeenth century. 

A good deal of interesting information, of later date it would appear 
than the originals, has been worked into these Achau. Mistakes of 
fact and spelling are frequent. 

There is a transcript of pp. 100-134 by Sir S. R. Meyrick, made in 
in the Aberystwyth University College Library. 

9. The so-called Bonedd y Saint in Myv. Arch., pp. 417-31, in 
reality an alphabetical compilation made by Lewis Morris in 1760 
in nn a number of MS. Bonedds. A copy of it, with additions in 
<i\v;illttT Mi-chain's hand, at Aberystwyth. 

10. The Achau, atrociously printed, in Cambro-British SS., pp. 
71, from Harleian MS. 4181 (early eighteenth century). 

Mxuvnth century MS. copies of Saintly Pedigrees are very numerous. 
As supplementing the foregoing must be mentioned the following : 

1. The Old-Welsh Pedigrees in Harleian MS. 3859, circa noo, 
printed in Y Cymmrodor, ix, pp. 169-83. 

These, as well as some of the other genealogies enumerated here, 
have been very carefully indexed by Mr. Anscombe in the Archiv fur 
CMscke Lexikographie for 1898, 1900 and 1903. 

2. The Cognatio de Brychan in 

(a) Cott. Vesp. A. xiv, of the early thirteenth century ; and 

(b) Cott. Dom. i, circa 1650. 

3. Progenies Keredic Regis de Keredigan in Cott. Vesp. A. xiv. 

2 (a), (b) and 3 have been very carefully reproduced by the 
Rev. A. W. Wade-Evans in y Cymmrodor, xix (1906). 

4. The Brychan catalogue and pedigrees in Jesus College (Oxford) 
MS. xx = 3, of the early fifteenth century ; printed in y Cymmrodor, 
viii, pp. 83-90. 

8 8 Introduction 

5. Bonedd Gwyr y Gogledd (the Descent of the Men of the North) 
in Peniarth MS. 45 ; printed in Skene's Four Ancient Books of Wales, 

ii, P- 454- 

6. The Pedigrees in Mostyn MS. 117, of the end of the thirteenth 
century, appended to the copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia ; 
printed in Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans' Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 63. 

To these authorities may be added Nicolas Roscarrock, fifth son of 
Richard Roscarrock in S. Endellion in Cornwall, who compiled a 
Lives of English Saints (including Welsh) between 1610 and 1625, 
and in the Welsh Saints his authority was a Welsh priest, Edward 
Powell, who placed his MS. collection at his disposal, and in these 
MSS. were pedigrees of Welsh Saints. Roscarrock's MS. is unhappily 
mutilated at the end, many pages having been torn out to cover 
jam-pots. The volume was in the Brent Eley Library, but on the 
dispersion of that collection, it was acquired for the University Library, 
Cambridge. Roscarrock studied at Exeter College, Oxford, and took 
his B.A. degree in 1568. Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, p. 229, 
tells us of " his industrious delight in matters of History and 
Antiquity." He died in 1633 or 1634, at an advanced age. 

The Genealogies of the Welsh Saints 89 


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S. AARON, Martyr 

THE earliest authority for S. Aaron is Gildas, De excidio Britannia, 
10 (ed. Hugh Williams). He says, " God, therefore, as willing 
that all men should be saved, magnified His mercy unto us, and called 
siniuTs. no less than those who regard themselves righteous. He of 
Hi-- own free gift, in the above mentioned time of persecution, as we 
conclude, 1 lest Britain should be completely enveloped in the thick 
darkness of black night, kindled for us bright lamps of holy martyrs. 
The graves where their bodies lie, and the places of their suffering, 
had thrv not, very many of them, been taken from us the citizens 
on account of our numerous crimes, through the disastrous division 
caused by the barbarians, would at the present time inspire the minds 
of those who gazed at them with a far from feeble glow of divine love, 
ak of Saint Alban of Verulam, Aaron and Julius, citizens of 
eon, and the rest of both sexes in different places, who stood 
in in with lofty nobleness of mind in Christ's battle." Some writers 
have been pleased to discredit the words of Gildas in reference to 
Aaron and Julius, but surely without reason ; as Professor Williams 
wdl says : " One finds it difficult to understand why this story must 
be doubted. There must have been a tradition to this effect at 
Caerleon in the sixth century, and in the Book of Llan Ddv we find 
evidence of the very local tradition that has been said to be wanting. 
The Index of that book mentions about eighteen place-names begin- 
ning with Merthir (modern Welsh, Merthyr), one of which is ' Merthir 
lun (lulii) et Aaron.' A merthyr means, as its Latin original mar- 
tyrium denotes, ' place of martyr or martyrs,' that is, a church built 
in memory of a martyr, and generally over his grave." Again, " We 
can hardly doubt that such a name as Merthyr, from martyrium, is 
as old as llan, or cil, or disert, if not indeed older. 

" Ut conicimus." The words imply that Gildas was not certain as to the 
exact period when the Martyrdom took place. 


IO2 Lives of the British Saints 

" This at once carries it beyond the sixth century. Now the boun- 
dary of this particular merthir 1 is : ' The head of the dyke on the 
Usk, along the dyke to the breast of the hill, along the dyke to the 
source of Nant Merthyr, that is Amir ' (pp. 225, 226, 377). Here 
we have a merthyr of Julius and Aaron in the neighbourhood of 
Caerleon." 2 The date of the martyrdom may be placed during the 
Persecution of Diocletian, 304. 

The passage in the Book of Llan Ddv alluded to by Professor Williams 
is important. In the reign of Meurig, King of Glywyssing and 
Morganwg, the contemporary of Fern vail, who died in 775 according 
to the Annales Cambria, Nud was Bishop of Llandaff, and a grant 
was made to him of all the territory of the martyrs Julius and Aaron 
" which formerly had belonged to Saint Dubricius." (Immolamus 
. . . totum territorium sanctorum martirum iulii et aaron quod prius 
fuerat sancti dubricii in priori tempore.) 3 This certainly shows that 
in the sixth century there was a Merthir Julii et Aaron at Caerleon, 
under the jurisdiction of Dubricius. It was in fact solely on the 
strength of his possession of this church that the fable grew up 
in later times 'that Dubricius had been " Archbishop " of Caerleon. 

Giraldus Cambrensis mentions two churches, with their convent 
and society of canons, at Caerleon, dedicated to Aaron and Julius. 4 
Bede paraphrases the words of Gildas, but, not understanding that 
his " urbs Legionum " was Caerleon on Usk, transferred the mar- 
tyrdom to Chester. 5 But Bede was very ill informed conce 
British matters. 

According to Bishop Godwin (1595-1601) there existed in 
recollection of the generation preceding that in which he wrote, two 
chapels called after Aaron and Julius, on the east and west sides of 
the town of Caerleon, about two miles distant from each other. Pro- 
bably S. Julian's, now a farm house, but once a mansion the resi- 
dence of Lord Herbert of Cherbury occupies the site of S. Julius's 

The reputed site of S. Aaron's chapel is near the Roman camp of 
Penrhos, between the Afon Lwyd and the Sor Brook that flows into 
the Usk above Caerleon, and here stone coffins have been found, 
showing that it was a place of Christian interment. 

Soon after the Norman Conquest there was a church in Caerleon 

1 In the text " Territorium." 
z Gildas, ed. Hugh Williams, note p. 27. 
8 Book of Llan Ddv, p. 225. 

4 I tin., ch. v. They are also mentioned by Walter Mapes, and Geoffrey of 
Monmouth. s Hist. EccL, i, 7. 

i the 

S. Aaron 103 

itself dedicated to Julius and Aaron, which was granted by Robert 
de Chandos to the Priory of Goldcliff, founded by him in IH3- 1 

Llanharan, moreover, a chapelry in Llanilid parish, in Glamor- 
ganshire, is dedicated to S. Aaron, according to the lolo MSS. ; 2 
and according to the same authority the Corau of SS. Julius and 
Aaron at Caerleon belonged to the Cor of S. Dyfrig. 3 

There is a Cae Aron (his field) near Caerleon, and a Cwm Aron 
(liis dingle) in the parish of Llanfrechfa, in the neighbourhood. 

The two saints are commemorated together on July I, according to 
\\1iytford, who says, " In englond the feest of saynt Aaron andsaynt 
lulr martyrs, y t in the passyon of saynt Albane were couerted, and 
tliis day with many other Chrystyans put to dethe." Wilson also 
in both editions of his English Martyrologie, 1608 and 1640, on the 
same day ; also Nicolas Roscarrock. 

S. AARON, Hermit, Confessor 

A SAINT, presumedly from Wales, in the first half of the sixth century 
in Armorican Domnonia, where he is venerated. He is locally 
known as Aihran ; the Latin form of the name is Aaron. He made 
a settlement a few miles north-east of Lamballe, where he is still 
! Meliorated as titular saint of the parish. To the west, in Cotes 
tlu Xonl, is a chapel dedicated to him, that may indicate his presence 
tlu-iv i<>r a while, at Pleumeur-Gautier, on the tongue of land between 
tin- KiviT Trieux and that of Tre"guier. But he would seem to have 
retired in old age to an islet near the ancient city of Aleth, at the 
ni 'ut li of the Ranee. Off this coast are several islands, the largest 
brini; (Y-sambre, on which a colony of Irish monks was settled under 
an abbot named Festivus. 4 

The islet, now occupied by the town of S. Malo, was then much 
more considerable in extent than at present. It has been reduced by 

> Dugdale, Monasticon, v, pp. 727-8 ; Tanner, Notitia Monas., 1787. Jan- 
Originum Cisterciensium, torn. i. Vindobon, 1877, p. 190. 
VSS., p. 222. According to other accounts to Julius and Aaron con- 

i., p. 1 5 1 . This is in agreement with the statement in the Book of Llan Ddv. 
encrunt ad insulam quae vocatur September, ubi sacerdos fidelis 
icrviens, Festivus nomine, cum schola plurima habitabat." Vita S. Ma- 
chnti, auct. Bili, ed. Plaine, cap ^ 

104 Lives of the British Saints 

the action of the sea. At the time when Aaron was there, a vill or 
two was situated on it ; they have been submerged. 1 

The town of Aleth was either abandoned by its ancient inhabitants 
or was occupied only by pagans. Bili, author of a Life of S. Malo, 
asserts the former, but this is inconsistent with the rest of the narra- 
tive, and is in contradiction with the statement in another Life 
which says, " Ci vitas ilia eo tempore populis et navalibus commerciis 
frequenta." 2 

According to the most trustworthy Lives of S. Malo, this latter saint, 
on leaving Britain with his companions, came to that isle where w; 
Aihran or Aaron, and there remained for a considerable time ti 
elected Bishop of Aleth ; but Bili says that it was not till later that 
he paid Aaron a visit. The former authority is best ; according to 
it, " ingressus insulam vocabulo Aaronis, ab ipso monacho nuncu- 
patam, exceptus est ab ipso officiosisime." 3 

Here Aaron lived, as says Bili, " desiring to avoid the sight am 
conversation of bad men." Possibly his mission had not been ven 
successful, and he himself may have been broken with age. He 
gladly welcomed Malo as coming from Wales, and as having the ener^ 
of youth, to enable him to overcome the obstacles that had beei 
perhaps too great for himself. Aihran died in the middle of the sixtl 

The chapel of S. Aaron at S. Malo stands on the highest point oi 
what was once the island that bore his name. It is surrounded 
lofty houses, and has been threatened with destruction. Mass is sak 
in it every year on June 22. 

There was formerly a chapel of S. Aaron at Ploemeur in Morbihan, 
in the hamlet now called Saint Deron. At S. Aaron (Cotes du Nord) 
is a statue of him. He is represented habited in a long monastic 
garment, girded with a cord, his head bare. His right hand holds a 
book, in the left is a pastoral crook. Although titular saint of the 
parish, he has been displaced to make way for S. Sebastian, and his 
pardon suppressed. There is a fine painting in the Cathedral of S. 
Malo representing the reception of Machu by S. Aaron. According 
to the Breviary of S. Malo, printed in 1537, a Missal of S. Malo, fifteenth 
century, and the Missals of 1609 and 1627, his day is June 22. 

1 " Asinam habebat, et quocunque mittebatur exiebat, maximeque ad villam 
Laioc, quam nunc mari deglutiente derelictam esse videmus, et ad illam villam 
quae vocatur Guoroc." Ibid. 

* Vita S. Maclovii, cap. 10, in Acta SS. O.S.B. saec. i, p. 219 (ed. 1733). 

* Vita S. Maclovii, cap. 15, ed. De la Borderie. 


From Statue at S. Aaron, Cotes du Nord. 

S. Achebran 105 

S. ACHEBRAN, Confessor 

IN Domesday, Lanachebran is the name of the manor of S. Kevern 
in the Lizard district of Cornwall. " Canonici Sancti Achebranni 
tenent Lan- Achebran et tenebant tempore regis Eduardi." 

Achebran is presumedly the Irish Aed Cobhran, one of the sons of 
Bochra ; and his brothers were Laidcenn and Cainrech. 1 Bochra 
was the name of the mother. Their father's name is unknown. The 
three brothers were commemorated as Saints of Achad Raithin in 
Ily MacGaille, in Waterford. But Aed Cobhran had a special com- 
memoration on January 28, as having a cell under Inis Cathy. He 
was consequently associated with S. Senan, if he belonged to the 
period. His cell was not in the island of Inis Cathy, but at 
Kiliush. on the mainland, in Clare. He is there forgotten ; there 
an two old churches in the place, but both are named after S. Senan. 
This is due to Aed Cobhran not having founded his church, but to 
his having occupied one belonging to S. Senan. 

It is probable that Achebran came to Cornwall along with S. Senan 
and the party that attended S. Breaca, and that he made his settle- 
ment in the Lizard district. Cobhran became Kevern, for the Irish 
bh is sounded like v. In later times he seems to have been forgotten 
or mistaken for S. Cieran, from whom he is wholly distinct. If we 
are not mistaken, he settled permanently in France, where his name 
was still further corrupted into Abran. 

Flodoard (d. 966), in his History of the Church of Rheims, says : 
" Delata sunt etiam tune temporibus ad ecclesiam beati Remigii 
memoria Sancti Gibriani a pago Catalaunensi, ubi peregrinatus fuisse 
tur et humatus. Advenerunt siquidem in hanc provinciam 
tun fratres ab Hibernia peregrinationis ob amor em Christi gratia : 
i scilicet, Gibrianus, Helanus, Tressanus, Germanus, Veranus, 
Abranus, Petranus, cum tribus sororibus suis Fracla, Promptia, 
Possenna, eligentes sibi super fluvium nomine Maternam, opportuna 
degencli loca." - 

This arrival took place whilst S. Remigius presided over the Church 
of Rheims (459-530), and Sigebert of Gemblours fixes the date at 
The Rheims Breviary merely says that it was during the reign 

Clovis I (481-511), so that the date given by Sigebert is approxi- 
mately right. 

Leland, quoting from the lost life of S. Breaca (I tin., iii, p. 15), says : 
Breaca venit in Cornubiam comitata multis Sanctis, inter quos 

1 Martyrology of Oengus, ed. Whitley Stokes, 1871, p. clxxiii. Caenrich = 
<'uimk'ch (?) 

2 Flodoard, Hist. Ecclesiast. Rem., lib. iv, c. 9 (ed. de Douai, 1617, p. 638). 

hi s( 


106 Lives of the British Saints 

fuerunt Sinninus abbas, qui Romae cum Patrick) fuit, Maruanus 
monachus, Germochus rex, Elwen, Crewenna, Helena." In one 
MS. Thecla is added. It is possible to recognise some of these among 
those who went to Rheims. Sinninus is Sennen, or Senan of Inis 
Cathy, who probably brought Aed Cobhran with him. Germochus 
may be the Germanus of Flodoard. Helena is probably his Helanus. 
Promptia we suspect is Crewenna, the Goidelic hard c becoming p, and 

+S. Vr&n 

S. Germ&in clu Pmel 


Flodoard's Fracla is Leland's Thecla. The party may be traced on 
or near the Ranee, rendering it probable that they landed at Aleth. 
S. Helan is recognised at S. Helan and the adjoining parish of 
Lanhelin near Dinan. Tressan is seen at Tressaint, further up the 
river, and S. Veranus is discoverable at Trevron and Evran ; also at 
S. Vran, near Merdrignac. S. Abran has a chapel at Perret ; Petran 
is commemorated at S. Pern ; and there is a chain of Germanus 
foundations in Ille-et-Vilaine. We are somewhat disposed to identify 
Aed Cobhran with the Abran who has a chapel at N. Dame de Guer- 
mene in Perret, near Gouarzec (Cotes du Nord), where he is com- 

S. Adwen 107 

lemorated on December 3. He is there represented in monastic 
ibit, girded about the waist by a cord ; his head is bare, his hood 
thrown back over his shoulders. His feet are covered by his habit, 
his right hand he carries a curved stick or pen-bras ; in his left 
id is a closed book. The statue is of the fifteenth century. There 
a parish of S. Abran or Abraham in Morbihan, but in the ancient 
liocese of S. Malo ; it was annexed to the diocese of Vannes in 1801. 
It is not necessary to accept Flodoard's statement that the party 
msisted of actual brothers and sisters after the flesh ; they probably 
rere spiritual brethren. 

In the Life of S. Ailbe we are informed that this illustrious saint, 
i his way home from Rome, founded a monastic establishment, 
which he placed the sons of Guil, previous to his reaching Dol. 1 
Germanus, one of the seven who visited Remigius, is inserted in the 
Irish Martyrologies as MacGoll, and it is possible enough that Ailbe 
did for a while associate with this party of seven on the river Ranee- 
The time would suit, as Ailbe was in Gaul at the very beginning of 
the sixth century. Moreover Aed Cobhran and his brothers were of 
the MacGaille territory. 

The day of Aed Cobhran, as already said, in the Irish Martyrologies, 
is January 28, but he is also commemorated along with his brothers 
on November 28. In that of Donegal he is mentioned as of Cill-Ruis 
or Kilrush, in the county of Clare, but he is no longer there remem- 
bered. 2 Cill-Ruis was in the diocese of Iniscathy, which seems to 
indicate, as already mentioned, that he was a disciple of S. Senan, 
who is the Cornish Sennen. He is commemorated in the Felire of 
is, and in the Martyrology of Tallagh as well. 

S. ADWEN, Virgin 

tf the Inqnisitio Nonarum she is entered as S. Athewenna. The 
parish of Advent in Cornwall is locally called S. Anne or S. Tane. 
In 1340 it is entered as Capella Sanctae Athewenna^. 3 Leland (Co//., 
* v I 53) gives Adwen as one of Brychan's children who settled in 

1 Vita S. Albei, A eta SS. Hibern. ex Codice Salmanticensi, Edinb. 1888. col. 244. 
Letters containing information relative to the Antiquities of Clare, in Pro 
gress of the Ordnance Survey in 1839, ii, p. 2. 
3 Maclean, Deanery of Trigg Minor, ii, p. 297. 

1 - 

io8 Lives of the British Saints 

North Cornwall. He derives this from a legend of S. Nectan pre- 
served at Hartland. So does William of Worcester (ed. Nasmith, 
1778), from a notice of Brychan he found at S. Michael's Mount. 

Among the daughters of Brychan known to the Welsh there is only 
one that might with any degree of probability be identified with her, 
and that is Dwynwen, and Mr. W. Copeland Borlase conjectured that 
the chapel of Advent was originally Llanddwynwen. 1 But this is 
mere conjecture. The church is annexed to Lanteglos, and owing 
to this circumstance meets with no notice in the Exeter Episcopal 

Dr. Borlase states that Advent parish church was originally dedi- 
cated to S. Tathan, as this name occurs, says he, in old deeds. Sii 
John Maclean quotes deeds in which the name is spelt S. Tawthai 
(1559), S. Adwen (1572), " Tathen alias Adventte " (1601), etc.* Bui 
the Inquisitio Nonarum is the better authority for the dedication. 
See further under S. DWYNWEN. 



NOTHING is known of this saint further than that he was one of the 
twelve sons of Helig ab Glannog, 3 whose territory, called Tyno Helig, 
was overflowed by the sea in the sixth century. The La van Sands, 
between Anglesey and Carnarvonshire, formed a portion of the terri- 
tory, which extended to the Great Orme's Head. After the loss of 
his land, Helig and his sons devoted themselves to religion. Most of 
them founded churches in various parts of Wales. They are said to 
have been members of the monastery of Bangor Iscoed in the first 
instance, but afterwards some of them went to Bardsey. No churches 
are dedicated to S. Aelgyfarch, nor is his name to be found in any 

1 The Age of the Saints, pp. 153-4, 159. Truro, 1893. ^ r - Borlase supposes 
that Adwen is a corruption of Llan-dwyn, becoming Ladwyn and then Adwen. 
Carew calls her Athawyn, Survey, p. 92. 

2 Deanery of Trigg Minor, sub nom. Advent, ii, p. 318. 

3 Myv. Arch., p. 418 ; lolo MSS., p. 124. 

(S. Aelhaiam 109 

S. AELHAIARN, or ELHAIARN, Abbot, Confessor 
THE parentage of this Aelhaiarn is unknown. He was a disciple of 
Dyfrig at Matle. 1 He appears as witness to several grants made 
to this saint, as that of Lann lunabui, 2 and that of Cum Barruc, 3 
and that of Cil Hal. 4 He also witnessed the grant of Penally to 
Dyfrig. 5 When, later, Cinuin, the king, regranted Cum Barruc to Bishop 
Elgistil, the same witnesses, both clerical and lay, are quoted, and 
the grant is apparently only a reaffirmation of the original transfer. 6 
When a grant was made to Bishop Comeregius, Aelhaiarn signed as 
Abbot of Lann Guruoe, i.e. Lann Guorboe. 7 As such he also wit- 
nrssed the grant of Lann Loudeu to Bishop lunapeius. 8 

Lann Guorboe has been supposed to be Garway, but incorrectly ; 
it was in campo Malochu. Mais mail Lochou, now represented by 
the name Mawfield for an older Malefield in Testa de Nevill and the 
Malvern Charters, was the name of Inis Ebrdil, and denoted the 
country between the Dore valley and the Wye from Moccas down to 
about Hereford, and the Worm. Guorboe = Gwrfwy in modern Welsh. 
For this note on the locality of Lann Guorboe we are indebted ta 
Mr. Egerton Phillimore. Whether he migrated to Brittany with S. 
Teilo and so many bishops, abbots, and clerics on the breaking out 
of the Yellow Plague in 547 we do not know. Teilo, we do know, 
;ved grants from King Budic of Cornouaille, and it is significant 
that adjoining Plogonnec, near Quimper, where S. Teilo receives a 
cult, is S. Alouarn, who has given his name to a castle and to a canonry. 
Alouarn, apparently, is the hermit with staff, bearing a Celtic bell, 
represented in the same window with Teilo at Plogonnec, in glass of 
the fifteenth century. On his way through Cornwall along with 
?eilo, Aelhaiarn may have founded Lanherne, but the parish church 

dedicated to the more important S. Maughan or Mawgan. 

S. AELHAIARN, Confessor 

AELHAIARN (" the Iron Eyebrow ") lived in the seventh century, and 
was a brother to SS. Llwchaiarn and Cynhaiarn. 
The pedigrees of the Welsh saints show great variations on the 

1 Book of Llan Ddv, p. 80. 

2 Ibid., p. 73. 3 Ibid., p. 74. 4 Ibid., p. 75. 

5 Ibid., p. 77. Ibid., p. 163. 7 Ibid., p. 166. 

8 Ibid., p. 164. 

i io Lives of the British Saints 

part of the copyists in the genealogy of these brothers. 1 The saint's 
own name is written Ael-, E1-, and Al-haiarn, and out of the number 
of forms his father's name assumes, Hygarfael appears to be the 
best attested. This Hygarfael was a son of Cyndrwyn, a prince of 
that part of ancient Powys which included the Vale of the Severn 
about Shrewsbury, and he is said to have been " of Llystin Wynnan 
(or Wennan) in Caereinion in Powys," probably to be identified with 
Llysin, a township in the parish of Llanerfyl, Montgomeryshire. 
The church of S. Aelhaiarn is by the same authorities said to be in 
" Cegidfa," i.e. " the hemlock-field," in Powys. The parish is called 
to-day in English, Guilsfield. It is near Welshpool. 

Three other dedications have been given to this church S. Giles 
(wrested from the parish name), All Saints (Browne Willis), and S. 
Tyssilio, the last from its having been from very early times a capella 
under the mother church of Meifod, as also from the fact that its 
festival, November 8, agreed with that of S. Tyssilio. 

After Aelhaiarn was also named the ancient parish of Llanaelhaiarn 
in Merionethshire, which has for more than 350 years been annexed 
to the parish of Gwyddelwern. Its church or chapel is now extinct, 
but one of the townships still bears the name Aelhaiarn. It is given 
as " Eccl'ia de Lanhehaearn " in the Taxatio of 1291,2 and the instru- 
ment, " Unio capellse de Llanalhaern ad vie. de Gwithelwern," dated 
1550, is preserved in the Red Book of S. Asaph. 3 

The dedication here is to be accounted for by Aelhaiarn having 
been a pupil of S. Beuno, and Beuno was for a while settled at Gwyddel- 
wern ; so also his foundation at Guilsfield is explained, as Beuno was 
near the Severn before he moved to Gwyddelwern. When the master 
quitted Powys altogether, Aelhaiarn left as well, and accompanied 
him into Lleyn. 

To Aelhaiarn is also dedicated the important church of Llanaelhaiarn, 
under the dominating height of Tre'r Ceiri in Carnarvonshire, and 
near Beuno's monastery at Clynnog. Here, and at his Well, a little 
-distance to the north, the pilgrims rested on their way to Bardsey, 
and paid their devotions. Locally the church is called Llanhaiarn, 
and is said to be dedicated to S. Elern, both corruptions. There is 
in the parish a large farm called Elernion (a name formed like Cere- 
digion and Edeyrnion), which is believed to be so named after him. 
Pennant, in his Tours, says the church is " dedicated to S. Aelhaiarn, 
or the Saint with an iron eyebrow, from a legend too absurd to relate. 
it is a fine well, once much frequented for its reputed sanctity." 4 

1 Peniavth MSS., 16 and 45 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 418, 421-2, 424-5 ; lolo MSS., 
104 ; Cambro-British Saints, p. 267. 
* P. 286. 3 Fol. 2. collations section. * Ed. 1883, ii, p. 384. 


From Fifteenth-Century Stained Glass at Plogonnec, 

1$. Aelhaiarn 1 1 1 

he legend is given by John Ray in his Itineraries. " We were 
1 a legend of one St. Byno, who lived at Clenogvaur, and was wont 
to foot it four Miles in the Night to Llaynhayrne, and there, on a stone 
in the midst of the River, to say his Prayers ; whereon they show 
you still the Prints of his Knees. His Man, out of Curiosity, followed 
him once to the Place, to see and observe what he did. The Saint 
corning from his Prayers, and espying a Man, not knowing who it 
was, prayed, that if he came with a good Intent, he might receive the 
Good he came for, and might suffer no Damage ; but if he had any 
ill Design, that some Example might be shown upon him ; whereupon 
presently there came forth wild Beasts, and tore him in pieces. After- 
wards, the Saint perceiving it was his own Servant, was very sorry, 
gathering up his Bones, and praying, he set Bone to Bone, and Limb 
to Limb, and the Man became whole again, only the part of the Bone 
under the Eyebrow was wanting ; the Saint, to supply that Defect, 
applied the Iron of his Pike-staff to the Place, and thence, that Village 
was called Llanvilhayrne. But for a punishment to his Man (after 
he had given him Llanvilhayrne} he prayed (and obtained his Prayer) 
that Clenogvaur Bell might be heard as far as Llanvilhayrne Church- 
yard, but upon stepping into the Church it was to be heard no longer ; 
this the People hereabout assert with much Confidence, upon their 
own experience, to be true. The Saint was a South Wales Man, and 
when he died, the South Wales Men contended with the Clenogvaur 
Mm for his Body, and continued the Contention till Night ; next 
ling there were two Biers and two Coffins there, and so the 
South Wales Men carried one away, and the Clenogvaur Men 
the other." l 

The story of the restoration of Aelhaiarn out of his bones, one small 
bone being missing, is an adaptation of a very ancient myth. It 
occurs in the Prose Edda of Thor on his journey to Jotunhein. 2 It 
is found elsewhere. The duplication of the body of Beuno has its 
counterpart in the triplication of that of Teilo. 

Browne Willis says, under Llanaelhaiarn, " Fanum Sancti Elhayarn 
Acolyti ut fertur Sancti Beunonis." 3 This will account, as already 
pointed out, for the juxtaposition of S. Aelhaiarn 's foundations to 
those of S. Beuno Llanaelhaiarn to Clynnog, Carngiwch, and 

1 Itineraries of John Ray, Lond., 1760, pp. 228-30. In Peniarth MS. 75 
(sixteenth century) it is said that Aelhaiarn was one of seven persons whom 
Beuno raised to life again. 

3 Thorpe, Northern Mythology, "Lond., 1851, i, p. 57. Mallet, Northern Anti- 
quities, ed. Bohn, 1847, P- 436. 

3 Survey of Bangor (1721), p. 273. 

112 Lives of the British Saints 

Pistyll ; the now extinct Llanaelhaiarn to Gwyddelwern ; and Guils- 
field to Berriew and Bettws Cedewain. 1 

S. Aelhaiarn's Well is an oblong trough of good pure water, by the 
road side, in which the sick were wont to bathe, and there are seats 
of stone ranged along the sides for the accommodation of the patients 
awaiting the " troubling of the waters," when they might step in, full 
of confidence, in expectation of a cure. 

This " troubling of the waters " is a singular phenomenon. At 
irregular intervals, and at various points in the basin, the crystal 
water suddenly wells up, full of sparkling bubbles. Then ensues a 
lull, and again a swell of water occurs in another part of the tank. 2 
The Well now supplies the village with water. It was walled round 
and roofed by the Parish Council in 1900, after an outbreak of 
diphtheria in the village. The entrance is now kept locked. S. 
Beuno's Well at Clynnog is similar to it in many respects ; this latter 
is in a ruinous condition. 

Rees gives November i as the day of S. Aelhaiarn, his authority 
apparently being Browne Willis. 3 The Calendar in Cotton Vesp. A. 
xiv, however, gives the festival of " Aelhaiarn of Cegidfa in Powys " 
as November 2, but the entry is in a later hand than the original 
MS. So also the Welsh Prymer of 1633. 

At Guilsfield, a mile and a half from the Church, is a Holy Well, 
a lovely secluded dell, where still a concourse gathers to drink tl 
water on Trinity Sunday. 


THIS is a name given by Rees 4 in his list of saints of uncertain date, 
and to whom Rhiw church in Carnarvonshire is said to be dedicated, 
with September 9 as festival. No such saint, however, occurs among 
the genealogies of the Welsh saints. Browne Willis, in his Survey of 
Bangor, 5 gives against the church " S. Eelrhyw, or Delwfyw. Sept. 9. 

1 In Cardiff Library MS. 51 is mentioned a '' Llech Alhayarn," apparently 
situated somewhere in Denbighshire (Gwenogfryn Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., 
ii, pp. 253-4). 

2 This is locally called " the laughing of the water," and it is said in the place 
that the water laughs when any one looks at it. 

3 Essay on the Welsh Saints, p. 275 ; Survey of Bangor, p. 273. 

4 Welsh Saints, p. 306. 

5 P. 274; Cambrian Register, iii, p. 224 (1818). 

Aelrhiw 113 

Fanum in clivo situm." In the latter part of the entry we have an 
explanation of the name of Rhiw Church. 

Cathrall, again, in his History of North Wales, 1 gives the church as 
dedicated to S. Aelrhyw, and adds that there is a well there called 
Ffynnon Aeliw, the waters of which were supposed to be efficacious in 
the cure of cutaneous disorders, particularly one of that description 
denominated Man Aeliw (the mark or spot of Aeliw). In the alter- 
native dedication given by Willis we have Y Ddelw Fyw, or the 
Living Image, which occurs in several Welsh Calendars of the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with festival on September 9, 
and to which there is a number of allusions in mediaeval Welsh litera- 
ture. The Living Image was a rood or crucifix, which, it was alleged, 
miraculously bled when certain Jews nailed the Image to the 
cross. 2 The church of Rhiw is evidently dedicated to Y Ddelw 
Fyw, in other words, to the Holy Rood ; and Aelrhyw and Aeliw 
have the appearance of corruptions of the name. But the 
Living Image more particularly had in mind by the Welsh was a 
rood or crucifix in Mold Church (S. Mary). It is mentioned in two 
odes, of the late fifteenth century, to Rheinallt ab Gruffydd, of Tower, 
in the parish of Mold. The one, by Hywel Cilan, in praising Rheinallt's 
valour in fighting the English, says : 

I roi sawd lorus ydyw 

Urddal i Fair a'r Ddelw Fyw. 

(To give battle he is a S. George, 

Of the Order of Mary and the Living Image.) 

The other, by Tudur Penllyn, contains these lines : 

Gwiw ddelw'r wirgrog a addolaf ; 

Y Ddelw Fyw o'r Wyddgrug a fu ddialwr, 

Ag ynte i hunan a wnaeth gyfran gwr. 

(The worthy image of the true cross will I worship ; 

The Living Image of Mold was the avenger, 

And he himself did a man's part.) 

rhyming Welsh Calendar in Cardiff MS. 13, circa 1609, comme- 
>rates the Festival of the Image thus : 

Gwyl y Ddelw Fyw a phawb a'i clyw, 

Yn enwedig pawb a i'r Wyrgrig. 

(The Feast of the Living Image, and everybody hears of it, 

Especially everybody who goes to Mold.) 

Vol. ii, p. 120 (Manchester, 1828). 

Robert Owen, A"y;;-y, p. no (Carmarthen, 1891), thought the Image " must 
e been a clumsy replica of some Italian Madonna." 
VOL. I. I 

114 Lives of the British Saints 

Dafydd ab Gwilym, in the fourteenth century, in one of his poems, 
exclaims, " Myn y Ddelw Fyw ! " " By the Living Image ! " A 

S. AFAN, Bishop, Confessor 

S. AFAN BUELLT, as he is generally called, was the son of Cedig ab 
Ceredig ab Cunedda Wledig, by S. Tegfedd or Tegwedd, the daughter 
of Tegid Foel (the Bald), lord of Penllyn, in Merionethshire. 2 
Sometimes he is said, but wrongly, to have been the son of Ceredig. 
He lived in the early part of the sixth century. The epithet Buellt 
or Buallt (hodie Builth) indicates his connection with the cantref or 
hundred of that name in Brecknockshire. According to a sixteenth 
century manuscript, 3 the hundred then comprised fifteen parishes, 
covering practically the whole expanse of the county north of the 
Eppynt. The Rural Deanery of Builth appears to be conterminous 
with it. Two of the churches within this Deanery are dedicated to 
Afan, viz. Llanafan Fawr and Llanafan Fechan (or Fach). The latter, 
which is otherwise called Llanfechan, is now subject to the former, 
One other church is dedicated to him, that of Llanafan-y-Traw 
in the Deanery of Llanbadarn Fawr, Cardiganshire. It has 
supposed that there once existed a See of Llanafan Fawr ; but it i 
very improbable. At any rate, if it ever existed, it must have been 
for a very short period. The supposition is due to an inscription, 
in a very good state of preservation, at Llanafan Fawr, which reads 
thus : HIC IACET SANCTUS AVANUS EPiscoPUS. It is deeply cut in 
capital letters of the Lombardic type, slightly ornamented, on the 
very hard top-stone of a plain oblong altar tomb in the churchyard ; 
but its date is not older than the end of the thirteenth or the 
fourteenth century. 4 

There is here nothing to show when or where Afan was Bishop. He 

1 Works, ed. 1789, p. 437. We are indebted to Mr. J. Hobson Matthews, 
Monmouth, for most of these extracts. To "Yr Wydd Gryc" in the parish list 
in Peniarth MS. 147, circa 1566, is added, " y Ddelw fyw." 

2 Peniarth MSS. 1 6, 27 and 45 (last leaves Cedig out) ; lolo MSS., pp. 102, 
no, 125 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 415, 418. Afan as a man's name is probably a loan 
from the Latin Amandus. It occurs also as a river name. 

* Peniarth MS. 147; see Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans' Report on Welsh MSS., i, 
p. 918. 

4 Westwood, Lapidarium Wallice, p. 72. 

SS. Afarwy and Afrogwy 115 

is traditionally said to have been murdered by Irish pirates by 
Danes, according to another account on the banks of the Chwefri, 
and that the tomb here marks the site of his martyrdom. In the 
neighbourhood are a brook called Xant yr Esgob, a dingle called 
("win Esgob, and a small holding called Derwen Afan (his Oak). The 
rectory is called Perth y Sant (the Saint's Bush). 

Rees says that " it is not improbable that he was the third Bishop of 
Llanbadarn ; and his churches are situated in the district which may 
be assigned to that Diocese." l 

Haddan and Stubbs were disposed to accept the existence, for a 
short time, of a See of Llanafan, " either coincident with Llanbadam 
(tin- seat of the Episcopate being transferred for the time from Llan- 
badarn to Llanafan Fawr), or taken out of it." 2 If it ever existed 
it was soon merged in that of Llanbadarn, and then both in that of 
S. David's, probably not long after 720. It is, however, far more 
probable that Afan was a bishop without other diocese than his own 

The Demetian Calendar (S.) gives S. Afan's Festival as November 16, 
but the Calendars in the lolo MSS. and the Welsh Prymers of 1618 
and 1633 gi ye tne I7th. Nicolas Roscarrock gives November 16. 
Browne Willis enters S. Afan, with festival on December 17, as patron, 
with SS. Sannan and levan or John, of Llantrisant, Anglesey. 3 He 
made a mistake in the month. 


THESE saints are given as children of Caw, lord of Cwm Cawlwyd, in 
two lists only of his children, contained in two MSS. belonging to 
Thomas Trueman. 4 The names cannot be identified with any of 
those mentioned in other lists. One name is probably a corruption of 
the other. 

1 Essay on the Welsh Saints, p. 209. 

a Councils, etc., i, p. 146. See also Basil Jones and Freeman in their History of 
David's, 1856, p. 266. 

3 Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 279. 

4 lolo MSS., p. 142. 

I 1 6 Lives of the British Saifits 


REES x gives Llantrisant, Anglesey, as dedicated to " SS. Sannan, 
Afran, and leuan." Angharad Llwyd, again, in her History of Angle- 
sey, 2 gives the church as dedicated to " SS. Afran, lefan and Sanan." 
The only Welsh saint with a name approximating Afran is Gafran, if 
we are to include him among the saints. We have here clearly a 
mistake for Afan. Browne Willis 3 enters against the church the 
following, " Fanum tribus Sanctis dicatum, viz. S. Sanan, June 13, 
S. Afan, Dec. 17, S. levan or John, Aug. 29 " ; and in Peniarth MS. 
147, circa 1566, there is a list of the parishes of Wales, in which is 
added to the parish-name Llantrisant, " Sannan and Afan and Evan." 4 

S. AIDAN of Ferns, Bishop, Confessor 

THIS saint, in the Welsh Genealogies of the Saints, is called Aidan, 
Aeddan and Aeddan Foeddawg. By this latter name he is mentioned 
in the Myvyrian alphabetical catalogue of Welsh Saints. 5 Another 
authority gives him as Aidan y Coed Aur, 6 and the same says further 
that Aidan's Bangor had "seven choirs with 2,000 members, called 
after the seven days of the week." 7 The name Aidan is a diminutive. 
Professor Rhys makes the Old Irish Oed, later Aedh, Aodh, Haodh, 
Anglicised Hugh, represent the Welsh Udd = Dominus. 8 

Aidan occurs also under the form Madoc, Mo-aid-oc ; the suffix 
oc is a diminutive equivalent to an ; and the prefix mo is an Irish 
term of endearment, of very frequent occurrence. This double form 
of name has led to confusion. S. Eltain of Kinsale is also called 
Moelteoc ; and Luan is the same as Moluoc. 

The genealogists have entered him twice, once under the form 
Aidan ab Caw, and again as Madog ab Gildas ab Caw, or rather, 
ab Aneurin ab Caw ; 9 but Gildas and Aneurin are identical. Further 
confusion has arisen through his identification with a second of the 

Welsh Saints, p. 324. z p. 279 (Ruthin, 1833). 

Survey of Bangor, p. 279. 

Dr. J. Gwenogfryn Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 912. 

Myv. Arch., pp. 420-1. 6 lolo MSS., p. 137. 

Ibid., p. 151. 8 Welsh Philology, p. 216. 

lolo MSS., pp. 83, 108, 137. 

S. Aidan 117 

same name, who was also Bishop of Ferns, but lived some thirty 
years, or a generation, later. In the Irish Martyrologies there are 
some twenty Aeds commemorated, and some twenty-three Aidans, 
and some of these were from the same part of Ireland as Aidan of 
Ft rns. It is not possible to admit that Aidan was son of Caw ; he 
must have been grandson, as his chronology makes him live a genera- 
tion later than Gildas ab Caw. 

The main authority for his life is a Vita beginning, " Fuit vir 
quulain." Colgan published this from a parchment copy obtained 
horn Kilkenny. 1 It is also given by the Bollandists from two MSS. 
in the Ada Sanctorum, Jan., t. ii, pp. 1112-1120. The same exists 
among the Cottonian MSS. in the British Museum, Vesp. A. xiv, and 
has been published by Rees in his Cambro-British Saints, pp. 232-50. 
It is also published in the Vita SS. Hibern. from the Salamanca 
t, 1888, cols. 463-488. A condensation likewise by John of 
Tynemouth in Capgrave's Nova Legenda Anglice. 

Mention is also made of him in the Life of S. David, 2 and in that of 
loc. 3 In the Book of Llan Ddv, an Aidan is spoken of, a com- 
panion to S. Dyfrig, 4 but this is certainly a different man. There 
is further mention of him in the Life of S. Molaisse.of Devennish. 5 

In the Book of Leinster he is given among the Saints who had double 
names. 6 In the Vita Scti. Davidis he is spoken of as " Maidoc qui 
ianus ab infantia ", 7 and in the Acta Sti. Edani in the Salamanca 
as " Edanus qui et Moedoc dicitur." 8 Capgrave, from John 
nemouth, says, " Sanctus iste in Vita Sti. Davidis ' Aidan ' 
vocatur, in vita vero sua, ut superius patet ' Aidus ' dicitur, et apud 
Meneviam in ecclesia Sti. Davidis appellatur ' Moedock ' quod est 
icum." 9 

The epithet Foeddawg in the Welsh Genealogies is a reduplication 
of his name. 

From the fusion of the two Aidans, both Bishops of Ferns, into one 

the Vita, great anachronisms have ensued. Aidan is represented 

a boy hostage with King Ainmire, 568-571, and as being associated 


Tl, . 

SS. Hibern.. ii, pp. 208 et seq. 

Catnbro-British Saints, pp. 106, 108-9 as " Aidus " in the same, pp. 232- 

3 Ibid., p. 48. O\ j, 

4 Book of Llan Ddv, p. 80. 

5 Sylva Gadelica, London, 1892. 

6 Book of Lismorc, Anecd. Oxon., p. 301. Aed otherwise Maidoc of Ferns. 

7 Cambro-British Saints, p. 133. 

Acta SS. Hibern., Salamanca Codex, col. 463. 

Ed. 1901, p. 22. The " Life " in Capgrave is a condensation of that be- 
ginning, " Fuit vir quidam." 

i i 8 Lives of the British Saints 

with S. Ruadhan in the cursing of Tara in 554, when an established saint 
not under thirty years of age. He is further represented as contem- 
porary with Guair Aidhne, King of Connaught, who died in 662. His 
confessor was Molua of Clonfert, who died in 591 according to the 
Annals of Tighernach, or 604 according to those of the Four Masters. 
He was intimate in his relations with Brandubh, King of Leinster, 
who died in 601, and whom he survived. 

What increases the difficulty of discrimination between the Acts of 
the first and the second of the name, both Bishops of Ferns, is that 
the second, though some thirty years younger, was for some time 
the contemporary of the elder, and probably was associated with him 
at Ferns. 

The Annals of the Four Masters put his death as occurring in 624. 
The Chronicon Scotorum gives two dates, 625 and 656, thereby dis- 
tinguishing two saints of the same name, and the Annals of Tighernach 
give also 625. He is not to be confounded with Aed Mac Bricc who 
was Bishop of Kilaire, and who died in 588. 

We will now endeavour to take the Life of S. Aidan in order, putting 
aside what obviously refers to the second of the name at Ferns, who 
was the son of Setna of the sept of the Colla Uais, and whose mother 
was Eithne, granddaughter of Amalghaid, king of Connaught. 

At an early age Aed ab Gildas was committed to S.David, at Cilmuine 
for instruction. An anecdote is told of his early submission to orde 
One day he neglected to bring indoors the book in which he had been 
studying, and rain came on. David was very angry at the prospect of 
the book being injured, and ordered Aed as punishment to prostrate 
himself on the sand of the shore, probably at Forth Mawr. Then he 
forgot all about him, till some time later, when he noticed his absence, 
and asked where the boy was. His pupils reminded him of the penance 
he had imposed on Aed, and David at once sent for him, but only just 
in time to save him from being covered by the rising tide. 1 

When the Irish settlers were expelled from the portion of Pembroke- 
shire and Carmarthenshire that lies between Milford Haven and the 
mouth of the Towy, S. David seems to have been invited to make 
religious settlements there, and he took with him his disciple Aidan, 
who was still young. According to the story, the steward of S. David 
entertained a lively dislike for Aidan, and annoyed him in many ways. 
On one occasion, when David was building, probably Llanddewi Velfrey, 
near Narberth, he despatched Aidan with a waggon and a pair of oxen 
to bring back the material he needed from beyond the Cleddeu. The 
steward furnished him out of spite with a yoke that did not fit the 

1 Cambro-British Saints, p. 236. 





S. Aidan 119 

ks of the beasts ; nevertheless, Aidan succeeded in his task, and 
his is recorded as miraculous. He did more, he discovered a ford across 
the eastern Cleddeu, namely that where now stands Llawhaden Bridge. 
Aidan here founded the church that, under the above corrupt form, 
still bears his name. The steward next bribed one of Aidan's fellow 
students to murder him while they were together in the forest felling 

David was privately informed of what was proposed, and, starting 
from his bed, ran with only one foot shod in the direction taken by the 
woodfellers, and caught them up at the river, where he sharply interro- 
gated the companion of Aidan and brought him to confess his purpose. 1 
A cross was erected on the spot, and it is possible that this may be the 
cross of an early character now standing in the east wall of Llawhaden 

While Aidan was in these parts, and Cadoc was with him, an invasion 
took place the biographer says of Saxons but it is more probable 
that it was of Irish, endeavouring to recover the lands from which they 
had been expelled, though it is possible enough that Saxon pirates may 
lm\v assisted them. Aidan and Cadoc gathered their countrymen 
together, and surrounded the enemy, who were encamped in a valley, 
rolled down stones upon them, and exterminated them to the last man. 
There is a chapel of S. Cadoc in the parish of Llawhaden. 

A story is told in the Life of S. Cadoc of a quarrel with King Arthur 
relative to rights of sanctuary, and into this story a Maidoc is intro- 
duced ; 2 but as, according to the Annales Cambrics, Arthur fell in 
537, we cannot allow that this Maidoc is our Aidan. The whole 
story is, however, probably a fabrication. 

After the death of S. Patrick, the Christianity of Ireland notably 
declined. He and the band of ardent missionaries who had worked 
with him had converted the chieftains, and the obsequious clansmen 
had submitted to baptism. The apostle had gone up and down 
through the land, sowing the seed of the Word, and establishing 
churches. Christianity had been accepted but not assimilated ; it had 
overflowed Ireland, but had not sunk into and saturated the soil. The 
first apostles, Patrick and his fellow workers, had done their utmost, 

t they had been a handful only of earnest men. Patrick had done 

wise thing in recommending many of his most hopeful disciples to go 
abroad to Gaul, to Britain, to Rome, to be more fully instructed in the 
truths of the religion of Christ, for he had not been able to establish 

at nurseries of teachers in Ireland itself. As he and his fellow 

1 Cambfo-British Saints, p. 236. 

2 Vita S. Cadoci, Cambro-British Saints, p. 48. 

i 2 o Lives of the British Saints 

workers failed in health and through age, and finally obtained their 
reward, the Christianity which had been but a varnish, cracked in all 
directions, and the underlying, unchanged paganism revealed itself 
once more, and a national apostasy was threatened. 

The evidence has been collected by Dr. Todd, in his St. Patrick, 1 
and it is unnecessary to reproduce it here. The fact, however, has 
been contested by Professor Zimmer. 2 The Catalogus Ordinum 
Sanctorum in Hybernia secundum diversa tempora, drawn up, probably, 
not later than the eighth century, was first published by Ussher, and 
has been repeatedly reprinted. It divides the Saints into three orders : 
to the first belong Patrick and his assistants, three hundred and fifty 
in number, observing but one Mass, and with one rule as to Easter, 
and this order continued to the time of Tuathal Maelgarbh (533). The 
Second Order was monastic, and celebrated different Masses derived 
from S. David, S. Cadoc and from Gildas, and this order lasted from 
the reign of Diarmid (544) to that of Aedh, son of Ainmire, who fell in 
599. Ainmire (565-71), we know, was so concerned at the decline of 
Christianity in the land that he invited over Gildas, and doubtless 
others, to revive it, and to this appeal a ready response was accorded. 
From the great monasteries of Menevia and Llancarfan poured a 
stream of zealous clergy who set themselves to recover what was lost 
and to build up on the foundations laid by Patrick and the Saints 
the First Order. Their method of procedure was somewhat differenl 
from his. Instead of being mere itinerant evangelists, they plantec 
monasteries throughout the island, to which cells were affiliated, am 
from these centres radiated the light of the Gospel, and to them were 
drawn the young of the tribes to which they attached themselves, and 
of which they became the recognized ecclesiastical heads ; and to these 
young people they taught the law of God. Many of those nurtured 
in their schools went out into secular life, bearing ever on them the 
impress of their early education, others remained in the monastery, 
and became fellow workers, and later, successors to the great abbots 
who had started the work. 

When the summons came to the Welsh and Breton monasteries, then 
Gildas started, and Aidan is numbered in the Catalogue among the 
Saints of the Second Order. 3 

1 Todd (J. H.), 5. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, Dublin, 1864, pp. 107-11. 

2 The Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland, Lond., 1902, pp. 635. 

3 Ussher gives " The two Finans, two Brendans, Jarlath of Tuam, Comgall, 
Coemgen, Ciaran, Columba, Cainech, Eoghan Mac Laisre, Lugeus, Ludeus, 
Moditeus, Cormac, Colman, Nessan, Laisrean, Barrindeus, Coeman. Ceran, 
Coman (Endeus, Aedeus, Byrchinus)." Ussher brackets the three last as not 
being in one of the two copies he had before him. In the Catalogue in the Sala- 
manca Codex, the order is, " Finian, Endeus, Colman, Congall, Aedeus, 

S. Aidan i 2 i 

Aidan was, as we have seen, the son of Gildas, and the disciple of 

>avid, and was accordingly admirably calculated for the work. But 
encounter chronological difficulties. Gildas crossed to Ireland in 

35, and if Aidan died in 625, he would then be aged sixty. If so, then 
Aidan was begotten by Gildas after he was an abbot, as he retired to 
Ruys in 520. But it is more probable that Aidan was grandson, and 
not son of Gildas. Whether Aidan had founded a monastery in Wales 
before crossing, we are not told, but it is probable that he had, and 
that it was at Llawhaden, a sweet spot, under the bold rocky height 
at that time crowned by a Caer, but afterwards by the imposing castle 
of the Bishops of S. David's. 

It is said that when Aidan departed for Ireland he took with him 
a hive of bees, as he had been informed that they were scarce in that 
island. Under this figure he is shown to us passing over, and carrying 
with him his swarm of busy honey gatherers, monks. Apparently he 
took boat at Forth Mawr, whence in the evening light the mountains 
of Wexford are visible. He arrived off the Irish coast at a critical 
moment, when the natives had seized on some strangers who had just 
landed, were plundering them, and threatened them with death. The 
arrival of Aidan, with a large number of men in the same vessel, over- 
a\\vd the wreckers, who ran away. Aidan, resolved not to let the 
matter rest thus, proceeded at once to lodge a complaint with the chief, 
whose name was Diuma. 

The chief received him with overwhelming hospitality, and persisted 
in taking him on his shoulders and carrying him. x He then generously 
gave Aidan large possessions on which to found churches and monas- 
teries. 2 

This chief seems to have been Dyma, son of Fergus or Fintan, who 
married to Cumaine, mother of Guaire, king of Connaught. By 
Dyma had become the father of S. Caimen of Iniskeltra, who died 


Aidan's principal field of labour was among the Hy Cinnselach, of 
fexford. His headquarters were, however, at Ferns. He became 

timately attached to S. Molaisse, of Devenish. When the latter 
it had a mind to visit Rome, he passed through Ferns. " Maedoc 

in, Columba, Brendan Brychinus, Cainech, Caemgen, Laysrian, Laysreus, 
;eus and Barideus." (Ussher, Britann. Eccl.Antiquitates, Dublin, 1639, ii, pp. 
13-5 : Cod. Sal., coll. 161-4.) 

" Accipiens eum in humeris suis, ad terrain de navis portavit." Yitce 
. Hib., Codex Sal., coll. 468. 

* He granted to Aidan the land of Ardladhran. The site has not been satis - 
:torily identified. 

122 Lives of the British Saints 

(Aedh) went to meet him, and give him welcome, and afterwards 
ministered to him with meat and drink, with bed and intimate con- 
versation. Soon these two high saints agreed that when either of them 
in secret craved a boon (from Heaven) the prayer of both should 
take the same direction ; also that any whom Molaisse might bless 
should be blessed of Maedoc also, and that whomsoever Molaisse 
should curse should be cursed also of Maedoc, and likewise e contrario. 
All behests whatever the one saint should ask, both were to co-operate 
to their fulfilment." 1 

Shortly after his arrival in Ireland Aidan is said to have re- 
marked : "I forgot, before leaving, to inquire of David who should 
be my confessor in this land." He resolved on making Molua of 
Clonfert his " soul-friend." 

Aidan did not confine his energies to the territory of the Hy Cinnse- 
lach. He crossed Waterford Harbour, and entered the country of the 
Nan-Desies, and founded a monastic settlement at Dessert Maimbre, 
the site of which is not surely determined. Whilst he was there, 
and was on one occasion taking his turn at grinding at the quern, a 
beggar approached and asked for flour. Aidan gave him some. Then 
the man retired, disguised himself, and, pretending to be blind, came 
and asked again for flour. This exasperated Aidan, and he cursed hi 
that a blind man should never lack among his descendants. 2 

There were many wolves about the monastery. One night they 
carried off a calf. The cow that had lost her calf was inconsolable, and 
Aidan's cook came to him to say that the poor beast lowed and was 
restless. Then Aidan blessed the head of his cook and said to him, 
" There, go and offer your head to the cow." The man did so, and 
the cow licked his head, and " loved him like a calf." 3 Aidan then 
returned among the Hy Cinnselach and founded several monasteries, 
but made Ferns his central seat, and this is supposed to have taken 
place about 570. 

One day fifty British bishops crossed over from Wales to visit the 
disciple of S. David. They arrived in Lent, and were taken into the 
guest-house, thoroughly exhausted by their journey. To them were 
brought fifty bannocks with leeks and whey for their dinner. But 
this did not please them, they demanded pork or beef. The steward 
reported the matter to Aidan. " Can this be permitted in Lent ? " he 
inquired dubiously. " Of course they shall have it," answered the 
bishop. So they were supplied with butcher's meat. 

1 Silva Gadelica, ii, p. 27. A prophecy of the coming of Maidoc is put into 
the mouth of Finn Mac Cumhal. Ibid., ii, p. 168. 

2 Cambro-British Saints, p. 239 ; Cod. Sal., col. 470. 

3 Cambro-British Saints, p. 239. 

S. Aidan 123 

Before they departed, these bishops deemed it expedient to apologise 
and explain : " You see," said they, " that bullock you killed for us 
had been suckled on milk, and ate grass only, so that its flesh was 
actually milk and vegetables in a condensed form. But we felt con- 
scientious scruples about those biscuits, for they were full of weevils." 
Aidan was too good and courteous a man to make answer to this 
quibble. 1 

Aidan is said to have visited S. Fintan Munu and found most of 
tin.- brethren there very ill. S. Fintan invited Aidan to per- 
form a miracle and cure them. According to the legend, Aidan 
did this, but on the next day they were all as bad as they had been 
before, and the legend writer explains this by saying that Fintan 
thought it more wholesome for their souls to be ill, and so begged Aidan 
to let them all once more be sick. The fact would seem to be that 
Aidan attempted a miracle and failed. 2 

Aidan is said to have been associated with S. Ruadhan of Lothra 
in the cursing of Tara and of King Diarmid, son of Fergus Cearbhall, 
in 554, but this is chronologically impossible, as Aidan was not then in 
In-hind ; the Aidan who lent his voice and presence to that unholy 
conjuration must have been Aedh Mac Bricc, who died in 588. There 
is no mention of the conjuration in the Life of S. Aidan, but that is 
not the main objection, as the scandal of the iniquitous proceeding 
would have deterred a panegyrist from inserting it. 

Aidan survived S. Ita, who died in 570, and S. Columcill, who died 
in 57^). He was summoned by his old master, David, to visit him 
before his death, and gladly went when called. We may associate him 
with Brandubh, of the Hy Cinnselach, who was king of Leinster, and 
a liberal contributor to the endowment of Ferns and other foundations 
of the Saint. 

Camuscaech, 3 son of Aedh Mac Ainmire, king of Ireland, made a 
raid into Leinster, with the object of carrying off Brandubh's wife, 
rossed the River Rye, and Brandubh, taken by surprise, was 
obliged to fly. However, he secretly surrounded the wooden house in 
which was Camuscaech and set it on fire. Camuscaech hastily dis- 
guised himself as a bard, and, climbing to the ridge piece by the smoke 
holf. managed to escape, but was pursued and caught, and his head 
nit off. 

1 Gloss on the Felire of Oengus. 

1 Vitae SS. Hib., Cod. Sal., coll. 474-5. 

3 The account of these events is given in the historical treatise, Borumha 
Laighean. See O'Hanlon, Irish Saints, i, pp. 547-8 ; and Heating's History of 
Ireland, ed. O'Connor, 1841, ii, p. 68 ; O'Donovan, Annals of the Four Masters 

124 Lives of the British Saints 

King Aedh, to avenge the death of his son, but under the pretext ot 
coming to exact the Boromha tribute from the Leinster men, crossed 
the Rye, and marched at the head of a large force against Brandubh. 
The King of Leinster called S. Aidan to his assistance, to curse his 
enemy, and the Battle of Dunbolg was fought in 598. In it the Irish 
head king was slain, and his army completely routed. Soon after this 
victory, the men of Leinster revolted against Brandubh, and fought 
the king in a battle at Camcluain, and Saran Soebhdhearc, who had 
headed the rebels, slew Brandubh in 601. After that, Saran endeav- 
oured to make his peace with S. Aidan, who cursed him that his right 
hand might rot off to the stump. Saran was frightened, and begged 
Aidan to impose on him a penance. Aidan bade him go to the tomb of 
Brandubh, whose body had been removed to Ferns, and pray there 
for forgiveness. According to the legend, a voice issued from the 
tomb, " You brute, Saran, you are forgiven." But he lost his hand all 
the same. Probably he had received a wound in the wrist in the 
battle, and this gangrened. 1 

A pretty story of S. Aidan is told. He was riding one day in his 
chariot, and the clerical charioteer, looking over his shoulder, said to 
him : " I wonder who will be bishop after you ? " Now some boys 
were about, playing at being soldiers, and the chariot was on a wa 
barred by a gate. " Who will succeed me ? " said the prelate, " wh 
the boy who has the courtesy to leave his play, and open for us." Th 
a lad, seeing that the aged bishop was going along the road that 
barred, ran forward and flung the gate open for him. Aidan asked 
name, and the boy said that he was called Cronan, and then begged 
that he might be taken into the school at Ferns. To which Aidan 
replied, " Follow me." 2 The boy was afterwards known as Mochua 
Luachra, who is identified with Dachua, bishop of Ferns, after the 
second Aidan, and died 652. The story was clearly made ex post 
facto. It was remembered that this Dachua had opened the gate to 
Aidan, and at the same time had asked to be taken as his disciple, and 
then it was fabled that Aidan had foretold his elevation. 

On another occasion Aidan noticed how clever with his fingers a lad 
named Cobban was, and he took the child's hand in his and blessed it. 
Cobban became a famous architect. He afterwards built churches for 
S. Moiling and S. Abban. 3 

1 Cod, Sal., col. 482. " O Sarane, brute, ignoscitur tibiquod fecisti." 
British Saints, pp. 246-7. 

2 Cod. Sal., col. 477. Cambro-British Saints, pp. 245-6. 

3 See on him O'Curry, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, London, 
873, iii, pp. 34-6, 39-42, 44-5- 

S. Aidan 125 

Once S. Aidan was stooping by the riverside washing his hands. 
>me men looking on discussed the question whether the Saint ever 
lost his temper. " We will soon put that to the proof," said one of 
thfin, and, giving the old man a thrust, sent him headlong into the 
water. Aidan quietly got out and made no reprimand, whereupon 
th man who had thus behaved, ashamed of himself, apologised for 
his practical joke. 1 

S. Aidan died on January 31, on which day he is commemorated in 

all the Irish Martyrologies, but he does not seem to have had any 

plate- in the Welsh Calendars. 2 John of Tynemouth, however, 

ts that in his time the feast of S. Aidan was observed at S. David's. 

The Annals of Boyle state that he died in 600, but Colgan regarded 

is the right date. This is the date given, as already observed, by 

thi- Four Masters, and in the Annals of Tigheniach. In those of Ulster 

tin- two dates are given, 625 and 656, the latter date belonging to his 

>or and namesake. 

When we come to examine into the chronology of the Life of S. 
Ai Ian, we have to lay aside the story of his having been a boy hostage 
to Ainmire (568-71). This belongs to the second Aidan. So also his 
association with Guaire Aidhne (662) is impossible. 

It is not possible to reconcile his chronology with the dates of Gildas = 
Aneurin, his reputed father. Gildas retired from the world in 520 
according to our computation, and although Celtic bishops and abbots 
did sometimes possess wives, it is not probable that Gildas had one 
after 520. But Aidan died in or about 625. We are therefore 
inclined to correct the Welsh genealogies into making Aidan grandson 
in the place of son of Aneurin-Gildas. 

idan crossed into Ireland, if summoned by Gildas, in 565, but 
mst then have been very young, and we should propose the date 
He does not come into contact with Irish princes till associated 
Aedh, son of Ainmire, between 572 and 599. He was on familiar 
is with Brandubh, king of Leinster, till the death of that king in 
He w r as intimate with S. Fintan Munu, who died in 634, and his 
mi-friend," Molua of Clonfert, died in 591. The year 625 is there- 
some where about the date of Aidan 's death, 
one point in the history of Aidan it is well to pause, before leaving 
In his Life it is asserted that King Brandubh, in a Synod of 
clergy and laity, decreed that the Archbishopric of all Leinster should 
be for ever in the See and Chair of S. Aidan, that is to say at Ferns, and 
that the Saint should be at once consecrated Archbishop. 

1 Acta SS. Hibern., Cod. Sal., col. ;S 4 . 

2 Nicolas Roscarrock gives him on this day under the name of Modoack. 

126 Lives of the British Saints 

But such a thing as a division of Ireland into metropolitan Sees did 
not exist at that time, and as Dr. Todd has pointed out, the author, if 
he wrote in Latin, or the translator, if the original were in Irish, ren- 
dered the word ard-epscop by the seemingly equivalent archiepiscopus. 
But the Irish word implies no more than that he was made a 
chief bishop in honour, and not that jurisdiction was conveyed 
with it. An ard-file is an eminent poet, an ard-anchoire an exalted 
anchorite. 1 

In Ireland Moedoc is contracted into Mogue, and in English Aedh 
is always rendered Hugh. The shrine of S. Mogue is in the 
Museum of the Royal Irish Academy and is called the Breac Moedoc. 
S. Aidan's Well is in the townland and parish of Clongeen, in Wexford 

In Pembrokeshire he is the patron, not only of Llawhaden (Llan- 
aedan) but also, as Madog, of the churches of Nolton, Haroldston West, 
and Solva S. Aidan under Whitchurch. For churches dedicated 
elsewhere to him under the name Madog see under S. Madog ab 

Ffynnon Fadog, S. Madog's Well, is on the way from S. 
David's to Porth Mawr and Ty Gwyn. It is an unfailing gush of 
cold water. The farm of Trefeithan, near S. David's, perhaps be 
his name and is Tref-Aedan. He is sometimes given 2 as patron 
Llanidan in Anglesey, with wake on September 30, but this is a mista 
In Cornwall the only church that perhaps commemorates him, alte 
into Hugh, is Quethiock, and it is remarkable that there the feast is 
observed on November 2, which in the Irish Calendars is the day of 
another Aidan who is thought to have had a church in Monaghan, but 
of whom nothing is known. At Quethiock was formerly a holy well 
in the wall of the church ; at the " restoration " of the building it was 
filled up and built over, but it is hoped will shortly be reopened. 
Under the name of Maidoc, he had a chapel at S. Issey, and Smithick, 
the old name for Falmouth, is supposed to be derived from a chapel to 
S. Mithic or Maidoc. 

In art, the Saint should be represented as a bishop carrying a hive 
of bees. 

J. W. Wolf has dealt with the mythological elements in the legendary 
life of S. Aidan in " Irische u. Schottische Heiligenleben ", in Zeitschrifl 
fur Deutsche Mythologie, Gottingen, i (1853), pp. 344-58. 

1 Todd, Life of S. Patrick, pp. 14-18. 

2 E.g., B. Willis, Bangor, 1721, p. 281. 

S. Aidan 127 

S. AIDAN of Mavurn, Bishop, Confessor 

AIDAN who was a disciple of S. Dyfrig or Dubricius * cannot possibly 
have been the Aidan or Maidoc, Bishop of Ferns, of the foregoing 
notice. He was with Dyfrig at Hentland, and afterwards was 
consecrated bishop. King Cinuin, son of Pepiau, made a donation 
to him of Mavurn in the Dore valley. 2 

When the Church ol Llandaff obtained possession of all the churches 
of Dyfrig and his disciples, it got hold of Mavurn, and when the com- 
piler of the I4th century additions to the Book of Llan Ddv drew up his 
conjectural list of the bishops of that see, he assumed that Aidan had 
been one of them, and successor to Uvelviu. 3 

This Aidan, with his name taking the form of Maidoc, may have been 
associated with Catwg in the quarrel and reconciliation with King 
Arthur recorded in the Vita S. Cadoci. Catwg had given refuge to a 
certain Ligessauc, son of Eliman, surnamed Lauhir, who had killed three 
of Arthur's men. Catwg retained him in Gwynllywg for seven years 
before Arthur discovered where he was concealed. Then Arthur was 
highly incensed, as this was exceeding the time limit allowed for sanc- 
tuary, and Catwg had to send a deputation to Arthur to settle terms 
for the man. The deputation was composed oi S. David, S. Teilo, 
S. Dochu, Cynidr and Maidoc. It proceeded to the banks of 
the Usk, and Arthur held communications with the commissioners 
by shouting across the river. At last it was promised that Catwg 
should pay to the king a blood fine of three of the best quality of ox 
for each man slain, but this was rejected, and it was decided that 
Catwg should pay one hundred cows. 

When this number had been collected and driven to the bank, 
Arthur refused to receive them, unless they were all of one quality 
of colour, the fore part red, and white behind. Catwg found it im- 
possible to comply. The story goes on to say that Arthur despatched 
Cai and Bedwyr into the mud of the Usk to meet the men of Catwg 
in the middle of the stream, as he sulkily consented finally to receive 
the cattle. According to the legend, when the cows were passed over 
into the possession of Arthur, they were transformed into bundles of 
fern. This probably means no more than that he accepted fern- 
coloured cattle. 

Then Arthur granted to Catwg the right of sanctuary for seven 

irs, seven months and seven days. 4 

1 Vita S. Dubricii in the Book of Llan Ddv, p. 80. 

2 Book of Llan Ddv, p. 162. 3 Ibid., pp. 303, 311. 
4 Cambro-British Saints, pp. 489. 

128 Lives of the British Saints 

As, according to the Annales Cambrice, Arthur died in 537, this 
incident, if it ever did occur, took place too early for Aidan, the disciple 
of David, afterwards Bishop of Ferns, to have been the Maidoc of the 

S. AILBE, Bishop, Confessor 

THE materials for the life of this remarkable man are obtained from 
a very unsatisfactory biography, more than ordinarily surcharged 
with the miraculous lenient, and containing anachronisms. Of this 
several MS. copies exist, with slight variations. It is contained in 
the Codex Kilkenniensis, but wanting one folio. Another copy is in 
the Library of Trinity College, Dublin (E 3, n). Another in the Fran- 
ciscan Convent, Dublin. Another again in the Burgundian Library, 
Brussels (2324-40, fol. 33). It is on this that the Life in the Ada 
Sanctorum of the Bollandists has been composed (the original is not 
printed), September 12, iv, pp. 26-31. But this is the Life in the 
Codex Salmanticensis, published in A eta Sanctorum Hibern., Edinburgh, 

Further material is obtained from the Life of S. Patrick, that of 
S. Cieran of Saighir, and those of S. Colman of Dromore, S. Columba 
of Tir-da-glas, S. Declan and S. Findchua. 

Among the most glaring anachronisms are these. Ailbe is made a 
convert of S. Palladius before the coming of S. Patrick, about 439, and 
is reported to have visited S. Samson at Dol in or about 550. He is 
represented as one of the prejt>atrician prelates of Ireland, and yet as 
receiving a grant from Scanlan Mor, King of Ossory, 574-604. But 
the historical impossibilities concern mainly his early life, and his 
period can be pretty accurately determined by that of the princes with 
whom he was brought into contact, and by that of his disciples, who 
belong to a generation later than himself. According to the Welsh 
genealogies Ailbe or Elfyw was a son of Dirdan, a " nobleman of Italy," 
probably of Letavia, Armorica, often confounded with Latium. His 
mother was Banhadlen, or Danadlwen, daughter of Cynyr of Caer- 
gawch. and sister of S. Non. 1 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 107, 141, 144 ; Myv. Arch., p. 418. Mab Elfyw is the name 
of a commote of Cantref Mawr in Ystrad Tywi, Carmarthenshire, but it prob- 
ably did not derive name from him. 

S. Ailbe 129 

This would make him belong to the same generation as S. David. 

Cynyr of Caerga\vch= Anna da. Gwrthefyr, 
I who fell in 457. 

Dirdan=Banhadlen Non = Sant G\ven = Sclyf S. Gistlian S. Sachvrn Hen 
I I I Bishop. I 

S. Ailbe, S. David, S. Cybi, S. Sadyrnin. 

B. of Emly, B. of Menevia, d. c. 554. 

d. c. 530. d. c, 589. 

But the Irish have a strange and improbable account of his origin. 
His father was named Olchu or Olchais, who was in the service of 
Cronan, a chieftain of Eliach, now Eliogarty, in Tipperary. His 
mother was a maidservant in the household, who loved Olchu, " not 
wisely but too well." Olchu, on finding that she was about to become 
a mother, and fearing the wrath of the chief, ran away. On the birth 
of the child, Cronan ordered the little bastard to be exposed, and it 
was cast behind a rock, where a she-wolf took pity on it and suckled it. 
Many years after, when Ailbe was a bishop, he was present one day at 
a wolf hunt, when one old grey beast fled for refuge under his gabardine. 
"Ah, my friend ! " exclaimed Ailbe. " When I was feeble and friend- 
less thou didst protect me, and now I will do the same for thee." x 

He was found by a man named Lochan, who gave him the name 
Ailbe from the rock (ail) under which he lay ; the she-wolf, however, 
whined and was sore troubled to lose her nursling ; but " Go in peace," 
said Lochan to the beast, " I shall keep the boy." 

A few years later Lochan gave the child to be fostered by some 
British who had settled in Eligoarty, perhaps at Ballybrit, which was 
a part of the territory of Eile O 'Carroll in Munster. 2 Lochan was 
son of Laidhir, one of the Aradha, a Leinster tribe settled near Lough 
Derg, and his mother was a kinswoman of Olchu, the child's father. 

Whilst Ailbe was with the Britons, his opening mind received ideas, 
and he became thoughtful ; he loved to look on the spangled heavens 
and to question the origin of the starry host. " Who can have formed 
these lights ? " he inquired. " Who can have set them in their places, 
and ordered the sun and moon to run their courses ? O ! that I might 
know Him ! " 

A Christian priest overheard him thus speaking, and took and 
baptised him, after having given him suitable instruction. 3 It is 

1 Vita in Cod. Sal., col. 235, 

8 Shearman, Loca Patriciana, Dublin, 1882, p. 466. 

3 " Cum ergo hanc prudentem orationem sanctus puer Albeus orasset, Palla- 
dius de propinquo audiens eum, salutavit ilium, et secundum sui cordis deside- 

VO1. I K 

130 Lives of the British Saints 

possible that the Irish story may have been invented to explain his 
name, as Ailbe might be supposed to derive from ail, a rock, and beo, 
living. A very doubtful etymology, but sufficient for the starting of a 

It will be seen from the Irish story, the childhood of Ailbe is said 
to have been passed among Britons. There can be little doubt that 
a good many from Wales did pass over into South Ireland, and especi- 
ally members of the Brychan family or clan, indeed if any reliance can 
be placed on the Tract on the Mothers of the Saints ten of the reputed 
sons of Brychan and two of the daughters founded churches and 
received a cult there. 1 

Moreover, two of the sisters of S. David, daughters of Sant and 
S. Non, were honoured there, Mor as the mother of S. Eltin of Kinsale, 
and Magna, mother of Setna. 2 

That intermarriages between the Irish and the British were by no 
means rare may be judged by the story of S. Lomman. Patrick 
landed at the mouth of the Boyne, and proceeded up the country, 
leaving his nephew Lomman to take care of the boat. After awaiting 
the return of his uncle eighty days, Lomman ascended the river to 
Ath-Trim and was taken into the house of Fedlimid, son of Laogaire, 
King of Ireland, who received him hospitably, because his wife was a 
British woman, as had been also his mother. 3 It is, accordingly, by 
means necessary to regard the Irish story and the Welsh account 
referring to different persons. The only thing to be rejected is tl 
story of the illegitimate origin of Ailbe, and his being found under 

It would seem that the British with whom Ailbe was were not very 
perfect Christians, for they took no trouble to instruct him in rudi- 
mentary truths, and it was but by chance that a priest took him in 
hand. After a while the British settlers resolved on returning to their 
native land, and intended leaving Ailbe behind ; but, finally, moved 
by his entreaties, they consented to take him to Britain with them. 

How long he remained in Britain we are not told, nor where he was, 
but he is known in Wales as Ailfyw or Elfyw, who founded a church, 
now a ruin, called S. Elvis, in Welsh Llanailfyw, or -elfyw, near S. 

rium, docuit eum in hiis omnibus etbaptizavit ilium." VitaSS.Hib.,co\. 237. The 
copy quoted by Ussher is not quite the same : " Quidam Christianus sacerdos 
missus a sede apostolica in Hiberniam insulam multis annis ante Patricium ut 
fid em Christi ibi seminaret," etc., Ussher, ii, p. 781. 

1 Loca Patriciana, Geneal. Tab. vii. 

* Mor and Magna may be the same, as Magna is said to have been the mother 
of Maelteoc, perhaps the same as Eltin. 

8 Todd, S. Patrick, pp. 257-62, from the Book of Armagh. 

S. Ailbe 131 

David's, consequently near where lived his aunt, S. Non. This founda- 

n cannot, however, have taken place till much later. 

Before long Ailbe felt a desire to prosecute his studies abroad, and 
;o visit Rome. His adventures on the continent form a tissue of fable 
and absurdity, and it is doubtful whether any historic truth underlies 
this part of the story, which was thrust into his " Life " for a set 
purpose, as we shall presently see. 

According to the legend he studied the Scriptures under a Bishop 
Hilary at Rome. 1 The Bollandists suppose that this was Pope 
Hilary (461-8). But Bishop Hilary is not represented in the story 
as pope, for Clement is spoken of as being the then ruling pontiff, and 
there was no such Bishop of Rome after Clemens Romanus who died 
circa 100 and Clement II (1046-7). According to the story, Ailbe 
sought consecration as bishop from Clement, but the Pope refused 
to put his hand between heaven and so sacred and gifted an individual 
as Ailbe, who was accordingly consecrated by angels. All that can 
be gathered from this is that he did not receive episcopal consecration 
from the Roman Church but in some monastic establishment. The 
story was, however, invented for a purpose. 

In the eleventh or twelfth century, the kings of Munster and Con- 
naught were desirous of having archbishops in the south of Ireland, 
that their bishops might not be subject to Armagh, the archbishop of 
which was generally a clansman of the Northern O 'Neils. They accord- 
ingly set up an agitation among the clergy of the south, to claim to 
have archbishops of their own. In order to support this claim, the 
stury was fabricated that the south of Ireland had been evangelised at 
least thirty years before the arrival of S. Patrick, and that by the 
instrumentality of bishops consecrated at Rome. 2 For this purpose 
also the lives of the four bishops, who were supposed to have preceded 
Patrick, viz. Ailbe, Ciaran, Ibar, and Declan were interpolated, with 
result that havoc was made of their chronology. The inter- 
ator of the Acts of S. Ailbe thought he would do better for his 

ro than have him obtain commission from the Pope ; he made him 
receive that direct from heaven. On his way back to Ireland from 
Rome, Ailbe founded a religious colony, where not stated, and preached 
to the Gentiles and converted many. He did more ; he struck a rock, 
and thence issued four rivers which watered the whole province. In 

1 " Albeus Romam perrexit ibique apud Hylarium episcopum divinam didiscit 
scripturam " ( Vita SS. Hib., col. 240). According to the legend he meets with lions 
in the woods as he is on his way to Rome ; and Bishop Hilary set Ailbe to be his 
swim-herd for three years. 

a Todd, S. Patrick, pp. 220-1. 


h r 

132 Lives of the British Saints 

the monastery there founded he left the sons of Guill. Dr. Todd 
supposes that it was to Gauls that Ailbe preached, and that he filled 
his religious houses with their sons. But the meaning does not seem 
to be this. Immediately after making this foundation he went, says 
the author of the Life, to Dol and visited S. Samson ; and his monastery 
was near where was a great river. There is a gross anachronism in 
making Ailbe visit S. Samson at Dol, for that Saint was not there till 
about 546. x But the writer seems to have had an idea of whereabouts 
his hero did spend some time. The sons of Guill (Meic Guill) 2 were 
probably German, Gibrian, Tressan, Helan, Abran, and others who 
visited S. Remigius at Rheims, about 509. 3 We are disposed to think 
that the visit of Ailbe to the Continent did not take place as early as 
represented in the Life, but rather at this period. 

As these Saints have left their traces along the Ranee and the upper 
waters of the Vilaine, we may suppose that Ailbe's settlement was in 
these parts. We have evidence of a colony of Irish saints in these 
parts in the fact of churches there with Irish dedications. Next we 
have Ailbe in Menevia. Entering a church, he found the priest unable 
to proceed with the Sacrifice, a sudden dumbness had fallen on him. 
Ailbe pointed out the cause. A woman in the congregation bore in 
her womb one who was to become a great bishop, in fact, S. David 
and it was unbecoming that a priest should celebrate in the presem 
of a bishop. 4 

The same story is told in the Life of S. David by Rhygyfarch, am 
the priest there is said to have been Gildas, 5 as also in the Life 
Gildas by Caradoc of Llancarfan. 6 As Patrick is said to have pro- 
phesied the birth of S. David thirty years previously, when on his way 
to his great mission in Ireland, we see at once an anachronism in 
making Ailbe a pre-Patrician Apostle of Ireland. 

Ailbe remained in Menevia till David was born, his cousin if we 
accept the Welsh genealogies, and it was he who baptised and fostered 
him. 7 He now returned to Ireland, and, instead of landing in Water- 

1 " Deinde venit Albeus ad civitatem Dolomoris (Dol-mor) in extremis 
finibus Lethe " (Letavia=Llydaw). Vita SS. Hib., col. 244. 

2 O'Gorman, Martyr. July 30. 

3 See above under S. Achebran. 

4 " Ideo non potes offere quia hec mulier habet in utero episcopum ; hie cst 
David Cilli Muni. Sacerdos enim coram episcopo non debet, nisi illo jubente, 
celebrare." Vita SS. Hib., col. 245. 

5 Lives of Cambro-British Saints, p. 120. 

6 Ed. Prof. Hugh Williams for the Cymmrodorion Society, p. 400. 

7 " Pater filium suum ipsum David obtulit sancto Albeo in eternam." Vita 
SS. Hib., col. 245. In the Vita S. David he is called Heluus. 

S. Ailbe 133 

d, as would seem most convenient ior one shipping from Menevia, 
left his boat in the north among the Dal-Riadans, where he placed 

,e of his disciples, Colman, at Kil-roiad, now probably Kil-root in 
Antrim. The Dal-Riadan King, Fintan Finn, had recently been engaged 
in war against the men of Connaught, who had captured his castle and 
three sons. On the arrival of Ailbe in his land the King at once sought 
him and entreated him to accompany his host to battle and show his 
power by cursing the enemy, after the usual Druidic method. Ailbe 
consented, and success attended the King, who nearly exterminated 
the men of Connaught, 1 and recovered his wife and sons. 

Ailbe now visited S. Brigid at Kildare (d. 525), and was well received 
by IUT. Thence he went south to Minister, where he sought Aengus 
Mac Nadfraich, the king, at Cashel. Here it was that he is reported 
to have met S. Patrick, and that the altercation took place between 
Patrick on one side and SS. Ibar, Ailbe and Ciaran on the other, who 
\\riv unwilling to recognise his supremacy over all Ireland. In the 
end some agreement was come to, and it was settled that Ailbe should 
be bishop over Munster, with his seat at Imlach Jubhair or Emly. 
Archbishop Ussher supposes that this meeting took place in 449, but 
it is more than doubtful if it ever took place. The whole story of the 
controversy and the settlement seems to have been an invention 
foisted into the Life, in connexion with the claims made by the bishops 
of southern Ireland to obtain archiepiscopal jurisdiction for Cashel, in 
opposition to Armagh. 2 

Ailbe appears to have enjoyed the favour of Aengus Mac Nadfraich 
to such an extent, that when Endeus desired to settle in Aran, he 
sought Ailbe's intercession with the King to grant the island to him. 
Aengus was, however, loath to make the grant till he had seen the 
island ; but when he had done so, and perceived what a bare inhospit- 
able rock it was, he consented, and made over Aran to Endeus. As 
Aengus fell in the battle of Ochla in 489, this must have occurred some- 
about 480. The intercession of Ailbe is the more noticeable, 
use Enda was brother-in-law to Aengus, whose first wife, 
jrca, was Ailbe's sister. Enda died very aged about 540. Another 
who sought a site for a monastery from Ailbe was Sincheall, son of 
Cennfionnan, of a renowned Leinster family. Ailbe had formed a 
settlement at Cluain-Damh on the banks of the Liffey, and this he 
abandoned to Sincheall, who however later moved to Cill-achadh- 
droma-fota, now Killeigh in King's County. Sincheall died in 548, 
according to Duald Mac Firbis, the Annals of the Four Masters, and 

" Gentes Connactorum delevit." Cod. Sal., col. 247. 
2 Haddan and Stubbs, ii, p. 290. 

134 Lives of the British Saints 

those of Ulster, so that here again we have a means of fixing approxi- 
mately the period at which Ailbe lived. 

Ciannan, bishop of Duleek, is named as a disciple of Ailbe, and he, 
according to the Ulster Annals, those of Inisfallen, and those of the 
Four Masters, died in 489. Colgan however doubts if his death can 
have taken place at so early a date. 1 

Other disciples were S. Gorman of Dromore and S. Nessan of 
Mungret. The date of Colman's death is not known, but from his 
Acts it is apparent that he was contemporary with Diarmid Cearbhal, 
king of Ireland, who died in 538. Nessan died in 551, according to 
the Annals of the Four Masters, but in 561 according to those of Clon- 

Ailbe baptised that extraordinary Saint, Findchua of Bri-gobann, 
and received as fee for so doing seven golden pennies, 2 and this took 
place while Eochaid was king of Connaught, and Aengus Mac Nad- 
fraich was king of Munster, an anachronism, as Eochaid was kii 
about 550, sixty years after the death of Aengus. 

On one occasion Ailbe visited a religious community of women 
Accadh-Ceroth, and found them in sore trouble. They had 
given a boy to foster named Cummine, son of Echelach. But he 
not do justice to his bringing up. He had associated with himsel 
some wild bloods, and had taken a vow on him called dibherc, 3 whic 
would appear to have been like that of the Thugs, to murder right ai 
left. 4 At the instigation of the pious virgins, Ailbe sought the youi 
man out, and induced him to abandon the life to which he had vow( 

Another disciple of Ailbe was Aengus Maccridh of Mochta, who 
lived through the Yellow Plague of 547-50. 

He was consulted by S. Seethe 5 of Ardskeagh, in the county of 
Cork. The story was told that she was short of oxen for ploughing, 
whereupon Ailbe sent her a pair of stags, and these served her for 
many years. At last, wearied with bearing the yoke, they went of 
their own accord to Emly to beg the Saint to release them. A more 
probable story is one that she begged of him a copyist to transcribe 
for her the Four Gospels, and with this request he cheerfully com- 

1 Trias Thaum., p. 217. 

2 Book of Lismore, Oxford, 1890, p. 232. 

3 Dibhirceach, diligent, violent. 

4 " Votum pessimum vovit, scilicet dibherc . . . exivit Cummine cum suis 
sociis, et jugulaverunt homines." Cod. Sal., col. 251. 

5 In the Vitae SS. Hib., Cod. Sal., her name is given as Squiatha. She is 
commemorated on January i. 

S. Ailbe 135 

led. He had also the visitation of another house of pious women ; 

le names of two of these, Bithe and Barrach, are given. 

Ailbe was dissatisfied with the liturgy in use, and sent two disci- 
ples, one, Lugaid, was probably the son of Aengus Mac Nadfraich, to 
Rome to obtain a better copy. He also drew up a monastic Rule. 
He frequently visited Ossory, and received a grant of lands from 
Scanlan Mor, its king, who died in 604, but is held to have begun 
his reign in 574. If this be true, it throws the date of Ailbe very late 
in the sixth century, and this is for other reasons impossible to allow. 
We are informed that, weary with the duties of his office, Ailbe medi- 
tate 1 flight to the Isle of Thule. This is Iceland, and it is certain that 
Irish hermits did occupy the Westmann Islands off the south coast 
before the arrival of the Norse colonists in 870, as Irish bells and other 
ecclesiastical relics were discovered there by the new settlers. x When, 
however, Aengus Mac Nadfraich heard of Ailbe's intention, he gave 
orders that all the harbours should be watched to prevent the de- 
parture of the bishop. 

The seat of Ailbe's bishopric and principal monastery was Emly, 
beside a lake that at one time covered two hundred acres, but has now 
been drained away, and the bottom turned into pasture. The land 
around is fertile, and the place is in the county Tipperary, near the 
River Glason. Till Cashel rose into importance it was of some con- 
sideration. Now it has sunk to a village. The A eta Sancti Ailbei 
end : " No one could well relate the humility and the meekness of 
S. Ailbe, his charity and pitifulness, his patience and long-suffering, 
his fastings and abstinence, his assiduous prayer and nightly vigils. 
He fulfilled all the commandments of Christ. On account of these 
good works S. Ailbe passed away to join in choirs of the angels singing 
their sweet songs, even to Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be honour 
and glory through the ages. Amen." 2 

The Annals of Ulster and Inisfallen give 526 (527) as the date of 
Ibe's death, but the former repeats the entry under the years 533 
541. The latter is the date given by the Four Masters. The 
Chronicon Scottorum has the Rest of Ailbe of Imlech Ibhair at the date 
531. The date 541 is that of the death of another Ailbe, of Sencua. 
S. Declan, the Apostle of the Nan-Decies, is represented as an inti- 
ite friend of SS. Ailbe and Ibar. Yet Declan must have been junior, 
made a close compact of friendship with S. David, who had been 
baptised by Ailbe. Declan was half-brother to Colman and Eochaid, 

1 Landnama-bok in Islendinga-Sogur, Copenhagen, 1842, i, pp. 23-4. 

2 Vitae SS. Hib., Cod. Sal., col. 260. 

136 Lives of the British Saints 

who were sons of his mother by Aengus Mac Nadfraich. 1 Conse- 
quently there are many indications pointing to the apostolic labours 
of Ailbe having taken place during the close of the fifth century and 
the beginning of the sixth ; and it is significant that there is in his 
Life no mention of his having had any dealings with succeeding kings 
of Munster, though this may be in part accounted for by the humili- 
ation of Munster after the battle of Killosnad, or Kellistown, in 489. 
When the Irish Annals are so uncertain as to the actual date of Ailbe's 
death, it is in vain to attempt to give it with any precision. In the 
Felire of Oengus, Ailbe is commemorated on September 12. On th< 
same day in the Martyrology of Tallagh, and the Martyrology of Dot 
gal; and on that day O'Gorman enters: "To the starry heavens, 
whither we shall go, (belongs) Ailbe of Imlech Ibair." 

Roscarrock in his Calendar gives Ailbe on September 12. 

In the second edition of Wilson's English Martyrology on Februai 
27 is a " S. Eloius, confessor and bishop of Menevia, in Pembroke 
Wales." Wilson, however, was very arbitrary in his attribution of da] 
Whytford is more correct ; in his Martiloge (1526) he has on Septei 
ber 12, among the Additions, " In yrelond ye feest of saynt Abbey 
bysshop and confessor of synguler prfectyon and many myracles." 
Among the " Sayings of the Wise," printed in the lolo MSS., occurs 
the following : 

Hast thou heard the saying of Elfyw, 
A very wise man without his equal ? 
"Let every sort go to where it belongs." 2 
(Eled rhyw ar barth pa yw.) 

A metrical Rule of S. Ailbe instructing Eoghain, son of Saran, 
Cluain-Caolain, is in the Royal Irish Academy Library, Dublin, MS. 23, 
N. II, p. 186. Ailbe is invoked in the Stowe Missal, published by 
Warren. 3 


S. ALAN, Confessor 

ALAN FYRGAN, son of Emyr Llydaw, was obliged, with his father, to 
fly Armorica. The portion of Brittany from which this family came 

1 Eochaid succeeded his father and died 523. Annals of the Four Masters. 

2 lolo MSS., p. 258. There is an old Welsh tune called "Cor Elfyw." 

3 The Liturgy of the Celtic Church, Oxford, 1881, pp. 238, 240. 

S. Alan 137 

>, as we learn from the Life of S. Samson, Broweroc, or the County of 
Cannes, which was occupied by the British from an early period. For 
>me reason unknown to us, but probably a family quarrel, Emyr 
.lydaw and all his sons fled to Wales. Alan, it has been supposed, 
itered the College of S. Illtyd. He had three sons, Lleuddad, Llonio 
Lawhir and Llyfab, who are also said to have been members of Illtyd's 
College. Rees 1 seems to have been the first to incorporate him among 
the Welsh Saints, as his name never occurs so much as once in any of 
the earlier saintly genealogies, nor, so far as we have noticed, in any 
of the later ones. He only occurs therein in the pedigree given his 
three sons. His epithet Fyrgan appears under a variety of corrupt 
forms in the late copies. 

In the only notice that occurs of him in Welsh literature he 
assumes a totally different role from that of a monk. In the 
" Triads of Arthur and his Warriors " we are told that one of the 
" Three Disloyal Hosts (Aniweir Teulu) 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, and there he was 
slain " 2 (in 537). 

An Alan is venerated in the diocese of Quimper as having been 
bishop there, but he appears in no genuine list of the Bishops. An 
Allorus appears as third bishop of Quimper in the list in the Quimper 
Cartulary ; Corentine was the first, then came Goennoc, and then S. 
Allorus. 3 

No Allan occurs in this catalogue, and S. Allan of Quimper is doubt- 
less this Allor. Corentine signed the decrees of the Council of Angers 
in 453, so that the date of Allor would be about 500. 
The legend of S. Alan is appropriated from that of S. Elan de Lavaur, 
Toulouse, which is itself a fraudulent composition. The Church 
Lavaur possessed the relics of a petty local Saint, named Elan, of 
/horn no record remained, and some one connected with the church 
liberately adapted and altered the genuine Life of S. Amandus of 
;tricht to suit the Gascon saint ; he did more, he manipulated, as 
i, certain records of donations to the church of Maestricht, to serve 
le purpose of the clergy of Lavaur, to enable them to lay claim to 
ic estates in their own neighbourhood, coveted by them. This 
life was then further appropriated by the Church of Quimper for 
Saint, Alain, of whom nothing was known. 

1 Essay on the Welsh Saints, p. 221. 

2 For the Triads see Skene, Four Ancient Books of Wales, ii, pp. 456-64, where 
ley are printed from Peniarth MS. 45, of the late thirteenth century. 

3 Bulletin de la Commission diocesain de Quimper, 1901, p. 33. 

138 Lives of the British Saints 

Another Alain is venerated at Corlay (Cotes du Nord) ; he is regarded 
as having been a priest, but nothing is known of him. His Feast is 
there observed on December 27. (Abbe Chastelain quoted by Tresvaux 
in his edition of Lobineau, Vie des Saints de Bretagne, Paris, 1836, p. 

At Corlay is the Holy Well of the Saint, as also his statue of the 
fourteenth century, representing him in sacerdotal vestments on his 
knees, a book under his left arm, and his hands joined in prayer. 
Corlay was formerly in the diocese of Quimper, but is now in that of 
S. Brieuc. 

S. ALBAN, Martyr 

THE earliest authority for the protomartyr of Britain is Gildas, who 
says, " Alban of Verulam . . . through love hid a confessor when pursued 
by his persecutors, and on the point of being seized, imitating in this 
Christ laying down his life for the sheep. He first concealed him in 
his house, and afterwards exchanged garments with him, willingly 
exposed himself to the danger of being pursued in the clothes of the 
brother mentioned. Being in this way well pleasing to God, during the 
time between his holy confession and cruel death, in the presence of 
the impious men, who carried the Roman standard with hateful 
haughtiness, he was wonderfully adorned with miraculous signs, so 
that by fervent prayer he opened an unknown way through the bed 
of the noble river Thames, similar to that dry little-trodden way of 
the Israelites, when the Ark of the Covenant stood long on the gravel 
in the middle of Jordan ; accompanied by a thousand men, he walked 
through with dry foot, the rushing waters on either side hanging like 
abrupt precipices, and converted first his executioner, as he saw such 
wonders, from a wolf into a lamb, and caused him together with himself 
to thirst more deeply for the triumphant palm of martyrdom, and more 
bravely to seize it." l 

The next authority is Bede. Bede says, speaking of the persecution 
under Diocletian, " At that time suffered S. Alban, of whom the priest 
Fortunatus (ctrc. 580) in the praise of Virgins, where he makes mention 
of the blessed martyrs that came to the Lord from all parts of the 
world, says : 

' In fruitful Britain's Isle was holy Alban born.' * 

1 Gildas, ed. Hugh Williams, cc. 10, n. 

z " Egregium Albanum foecunda Britannia profert." Venant. Fortunat., 
Poem. VIII, iv, 155. 

S. Alban 139 

" This Alban, being yet a pagan, at the time when the cruelties of 
wicked princes (Diocletian and Maximianus) were raging against the 
Christians, gave shelter in his house to a certain cleric, flying from the 
persecutors. He observed this man to be engaged in constant prayer 
and vigil night and day; when suddenly, the Divine grace illumining 
him, he began to imitate the example set before him of faith and piety, 
and being little by little instructed by this man's holy admonition, he 
rejected the darkness of idolatry, and became a Christian in all 
sincerity of heart. 

" The aforesaid cleric had been for some days entertained by him, 
when it came to the ears of the wicked prince, that this holy confessor 
of Jesus Christ, whose time of martyrdom had not yet come, was 
concealed in the house of Alban. Thereupon he sent some soldiers 
to institute a strict search for him. When they arrived at the martyr's 
house, S. Alban immediately presented himself before them, instead of 
his guest and master, in the habit or mantle which he wore, and was 
led bound before the magistrate. It happened that this latter, at the 
time, was standing at the altar and was engaged in offering sacrifice to 
devils. When he saw Alban, vastly incensed at his having thus 
voluntarily put himself in the hands of the soldiers, to shelter his guest, 
he commanded him to be dragged up to the images of the demons, 
before which he stood, saying, ' Because you have chosen to conceal a 
man who is a rebel and sacrilegious, in place of giving him up to the 
penalty that is his due, you shall undergo the penalty allotted to him, 
if you abandon the worship of our religion.' Alban, who had declared 
himself a Christian to the persecutors, was not at all daunted at the 
threat, but putting on the armour of the spiritual warfare, he openly 
that he would not obey the command. Then said the magis- 

te, ' Of what family and race are you ? ' ' How can it concern you 
of what stock I come ? ' answered Alban. ' If you desire to hear the 
truth of my religion, be it known to you that I am now a Christian 
under Christian obligations. I am called Alban by my parents/ he 
replied ; ' and I worship the true and living God, who created all 
things.' \ 

" The magistrate hearing these words, was inflamed with anger and 
said, ' If you will enjoy the happiness of eternal life, do not delay to 
offer sacrifice to the great gods.' Alban replied, ' These sacrifices 
which you offer to demons can neither profit those to whom offered, 
nor avail to obtain the wishes and desires of those that offer them. On 
the contrary, whosoever shall do sacrifice to these images, will have 
everlasting pain for his recompence.' 

" On hearing this, the judge ordered the holy confessor to be scourged 

threat, t 
trate, '< 

140 Lives of the British Saints 

by the executioners, trusting that he might thereby break his con- 
stancy ; when words proved unavailing, he being most unjustly tortured 
bore the same patiently, nay rather joyfully, for the Lord's sake. 
When the judge perceived that he was not to be overcome by tortures, 
or withdrawn from the exercise of the Christian religion, he ordered 
his execution. On being led forth, he came to a river which, with a 
most rapid course, ran between the wall of the town and the arena 
where he was to be executed. There he beheld a multitude of people 
of both sexes, and of many ages and conditions, doubtless assembled 
to attend the blessed confessor and martyr, and these had so occupied 
the bridge over the river, that he could hardly pass over that evening. 
In a word, nearly all the town had poured forth, leaving the magistrate 
unattended in the city. S. Alban, urged by his desire after a speedy 
martyrdom, approached the stream, and, raising his eyes to heaven, 
the channel was immediately dried up, and he saw that the water was 
gone and made way for him to pass. Amongst others the executioner 
saw this, and moved by divine inspiration, hasted to meet him at the 
place of execution, and, casting down his sword, fell at his feet, praying 
that he might rather die with the martyr, or, if possible, in his room. 
Whilst thus, from a persecutor he was changed into a companion in 
the Faith, and the other executioners hesitated to take up the sword 
that was lying on the ground, the reverend confessor, attended by the 
multitude, ascended a hill, about five hundred paces off, which was 
adorned with .all sorts of flowers. The sides of this hill were not 
perpendicular, but sloped gently into the beautiful plain, a worthy 
place to be the scene of a martyr's sufferings. On the top of the hill 
S, Alban prayed that God would give him water, and immediately a 
living spring broke out before his feet. . . . The river having performed 
its holy function, resumed its natural course. Here the head of our most 
courageous martyr was struck off, and here he received the crown of 
life, which God hath promised to them that' love Him. But he who 
dealt the wicked stroke was not permitted to rejoice over the deceased, 
for his eyes fell on the ground together with the martyr's head. 

" At the same time the soldier was also beheaded who had refused 
to give the stroke to the holy confessor. Of whom it was apparent, 
that although he was not regenerated by baptism, yet was he cleansed 
by the baptism of his own blood, and rendered worthy to enter the 
Kingdom of Heaven. Then the judge, astonished at the novelty of so 
many miracles, ordered the persecution to cease. The blessed Alban 
suffered death on the twenty-second day of June, near the city of 
Verulam, which is now by the English nation called Verlamacestir, or 
Varlingacestir, where afterwards, when peaceable Christian times were 

F i oin the Altar Screen at S. Allans Catiiedral. 

S. Alba?i 14.1 

tored, a church of wonderful workmanship and suitable to his martyi - 

m, was erected." * 

The Abbey of S. Alban's, erected on the scene of the martyrdom, was 
nd -d by Offa in 793. 

When we look at Bede's narrative, we can hardly doubt that he had 
e early document which he employed and adorned with rhetorical 
ourish. There are in it some obscure passages, apparently not due to 
him, but which he transcribed without himself understanding them, 
and therefore copied literally. 

The miraculous element is easily eliminated. In the incident of 
the drying up of the stream, all that is needed is to remove the word 
"immediately" in the direct narrative, which follows Bede's rhetorical 
amplification. The stooping of S. Alban to slake his thirst at a little 
spring sufficed as basis for the fable of his having miraculously called 
it forth ; and the absurdity of the executioner's eyes falling out when 
Alban's head touched the ground is due to a statement in the original 
that the man who dealt the blow was blind to the light of faith which 
had illumined the eyes of him who had been commissioned to execute 

Much has been made of the blunder of Gildas relative to the Thames 
as the river that divided before Alban when he passed to his death. 
Th'- "river" actually was the little stream, the Ver, which runs 
between the present Abbey Church and the site of old Verulam. The 
Ver is nowhere unfordable, and at midsummer is the- merest dribble. 
Possibly enough, the summer when Alban suffered was unusually 
rainless, and the stream may have been quite dry. Gildas had never 
been in that part of Britain, overrun by, and in the possession of, the 
ons, and it is not surprising that he should have blundered about 
name and character of the river. Bede knew more about the 
raphy of England than did Gildas ; he therefore does not give the 
e Thames to the river, and excinds the extravagancy about the 

ter standing up as a wall whilst the martyr passed over, if such a 
statement occurred in the original Acts from which he drew his account. 
Gildas, also, had these Acts under his eye, and the addition of the 
standing up of a wall of water is almost certainly due to him. 

The Acts certainly existed when Gildas wrote at the close of the 

Slightly condensed from Bede, H. E., i, 7. The Bishop of Bristol (Browne) 
When you go to S. Albans, you see the local truth of the traditional 
lils. Standing on the narrow bridge across the little stream, you will realize 
blocking of the bridge by the crowd of spectators nearly 1,600 years ago ; 
you can see Alban in his eagerness to win his martyr's crown, pushing his 
ty through the shallow water, rather than be delayed by the crowd on the 
Ige." The Church in these Islands before Augustine, S.P.C.K., 1897, P- 57- 

142 Lives of the British Saints 

sixth century. But whether in their original form, as drawn up soon 
after the martyrdom, if so drawn up, we cannot say, for we cannot be 
quite certain how many of the statements of Gildas are due to his 
rhetorical style. The Acts used by Bede were certainly late, for 
they were already loaded with fable. 

We come now to the notice in the Life of S. Germanus of Auxerre, 
describing the visit made in 429 by Germanus and Lupus to Britain. 
This is to the effect : " The priests sought the blessed martyr Albanus 
in order to render thanks by his mediation to God ; when Germanus, 
having with him relics of all the apostles and of different martyrs, 
offered prayer and commanded the grave to be opened in order to 
place there the precious gifts." l 

Now if this passage had stood in the original Life of Germanus by 
Constantius, it would have been an important testimony. But it did 
not stand there, it is an interpolation of the first half of the ninth 
century ; it is not found in any of the copies of the unadulterated Life, 
by Constantius. 2 

Gildas is the authority for Alban having suffered in the persecution 
of Diocletian, and Bede follows him in this. 

It has been objected that Eusebius and Lactantius assert that 
Constantius, the father of Constantine, and to whose share in the 
Empire Britain fell, took no part in the persecution. 3 

But, says Professor Hugh Williams, 4 " In his anxiety to exonerate 
the father of onstantine the Great, Eusebius may be regarded 
having gone too far when he said that he destroyed none of the chur< 
buildings. Lactantius expressly states that the churches, as me 
walls which could be restored, were pulled down by him, but that he 
kept intact and safe the true temple of God, that is, the human body. 
It must be remembered that Constantius was only Caesar in the ' parts 
beyond the Alps/ and that he did not visit Britain until A.D. 306, the 
year of his death at York. The Caesar's power was limited, which 
would render the name of Maximian, as a rabid persecutor, especially 
after the fourth Edict of 304, the more potent name with many govern- 
ors and magistrates. Constantius was bound to conform to the 
policy of the Augusti in carrying out edicts which bore his own name 

1 Vita Germani Autis., iii, 25. 

2 Levison (W.), Bischof Germanus v. Auxerre, in Neue Archiv d. Gesellscha/t 
/. dltere deutsche Geschichtskunde, B. xxix, 1903 ; BibL de l'cole des Charles, 
t. xliii, 1882, p. 556 ; Narbey, f.tude critique sur la vie de S. Germain d' Auxerre, 
Paris, 1884; Baring-Gould, " Life of Germanus," by Constantius, in Y Cymm- 
rodor, Lond., 1904. 

3 Eus., H. .,viii, 13; Vita Const., i, 13 ; ~La.ct.,De MortePers., xv. 

4 Note in his ed. of Gildas, p. 26. 



: re 

S. Alban 143 

as well as theirs. When, therefore, it is known that many martyrdoms 
did take place in Spain, though that country belonged to Ccnstantius, 
it is not unreasonable to suppose that Britain had witness of the same 
sufferings, especially before 306, when he himself arrived in the island." 
There is a circumstantiality about Bede's account which shows that 
he had material on which to build up his florid narrative. 

The A nglo-Saxon Chronicle gives 286 as the date of the year in which 
S. Alban suffered, but Bede is more likely to be right in placing it in 
the persecution of Diocletian. He is followed by Henry of Hunting- 
don, Matthew of Westminster, the latter adding flourishes of his own. 
In addition, we have the Ada Sanctorum Albani et Amphibali, by 
William, a monk of S. Alban's, dedicated to Simon, who was Abbot of 
that Monastery from 1167 to 1188, but apparently written before 
Simon was promoted to the Abbacy. William states that his book 
was merely a translation from an English Life of the Saint. 1 

He says that the author concealed his name through fear of the 
enemy, but wrote what he had seen or heard from others. However, 
on examination, this Pdssio S. Albani proves to be entirely founded 
on that of Bede, amplified by a long account of the conversion of S. 
Alban through the instrumentality of Amphibalus, a priest whom he 
had protected from the persecutors, and had concealed in his house. 

Then follows a detailed account of Alban's conduct before the judge, 
and of his imprisonment and death, as well as of the escape of Amphi- 

This is followed by two chapters on the conversion and martyrdom 
of many of the inhabitants of Verulam, who had fled with Amphibalus 
to Wales, where he preached the Gospel to the Welsh and Picts. Finally 
have the capture and martyrdom of Amphibalus, followed by the 
lal chastisement of his persecutors. 2 This took place at Verulam, 
which place Amphibalus had been reconducted from Wales. 
The author concludes, " Ne vero posteri super meo nomine reddantur 
inino soliciti, sciant quia si voluerint verum mihi ponere nomen, 
miserum, me peccatorem ultimum nominabunt. Romam autem 
>ficiscor ut illic gentilitatis errore deposito, et lavacro regenerationis 
jpto, veniam merear assequi delictorum. Libellum quoque istum 
;ram examini Romanorum, ut si qua in eo secus quam debuit forte 
)latum fuerit, hoc per eos dignetur in melius commutare." 

" Cum liber Anglico sermone conscriptus passionem martyris Albani con- 
jns, ad vestram notitiam pcrvenisset, ut cum verbis latinis exprimerem 

a " Distorquentur labia, varia deformitas vultus apprehendidit, obrigescunt 
ligiti, nervi officiis non funguntur ; ardent linguae," etc. 

144 Lives of the British Saints 

This is sufficient to reveal the whole as an impudent forgery. William, 
the compiler, actually the fabricator of the Passio, pretends that he 
added nothing to the original except the name of Amphibalus, which 
he took from Geoffrey of Monmouth (lib. v, cap. 5). This supposed 
original book which William used was, as we have seen, in the English 
language. But in Matthew Paris' Life of Abbot Eadmer the story 
is told of a very ancient book in the British tongue having been dis- 
covered in a recess of a wall, and of how it was interpreted by ont 
Unwona, an aged monk ; and it proved to be a Passion of S. Alban. 

The fact would seem to be that the monks of S. Alban 's were dis- 
satisfied with the brief story of the death of their Saint, as given b) 
Bede, and set one of their number to compose a fuller story, and, t( 
give credence to it, pretended to have found an ancient book of the 
Martyrdom composed by an eyewitness, whilst still a pagan. 

William had not the wit to make this author write in British, but 
makes him a Saxon. Matthew Paris knew better. The outline of 
story is as in Bede, all the rest is mere invention. 

A condensation, of William of S. Alban's work is in Capgrave's 
Nova Legenda Anglia, under the heads of " Alban " and " Amphi- 
balus." There is a Saxon Passio S. Albanis and a Saxon Vita S. 
Albani, but both are derived from Bede. William of S. Alban's 
Passion is printed in the Ada SS. Boll., Jun. iv, pp. 149-59. Then 
are other MS. Lives or Passions of S. Alban ; Radulph of Dunstable 
composed a Latin Metrical Life of SS. Alban and Amphibalus. H* 
wrote it at the request of the aforesaid William, who, however, di( 
before its completion. 1 Matthew Paris (1236-53) also wrote a Vita 
Sti. Albani. 

None of the Lives are of any historical value. The sole authorities 
of any worth are Gildas and Bede. But they are instructive for all 
that. They show the manner in which Lives were amplified, miracles 
fabricated, and martyrdoms multiplied by late redactors. Thus, 
although there is no evidence that others suffered with Alban save the 
executioner, 2 William of S. Albans makes those sent after Amphibalus 
slaughter a thousand in Wales, without respect to age or sex. " Ira 
commoti, sine respectu aetatis, sanguinis aut reverentiae, vicini vicinos 

1 Wright, Biographia Britannica Liter aria, Anglo-Norman Period, 1846, 
pp. 212-5. 

2 Gildas does however add : " Ceteri vero sic diversis cruciatibus torti sunt 
et inaudita membrorum discerptione lacerati, ut absque cunctamine gloriosi in 
egregiis Jerusalem veluti portis martyrii sui trophaea defigerent. Nam qui 
superfuerant silvis ac desertis abditisque speluncis se occultavere. " But this 
does not necessarily apply to Britain but to the persecution throughout the 

S. Alban 145 

et amicos neci tradunt ; et atrociter in ore gladii mille viros pro Christo 

The Legend by John of Tynemouth, taken into Capgrave's Nova 
Legenda, is derived partly from Bede, and partly from the Life by 
William of S. Albans. 

In a so-called Martyrology of S. Jerome, in a Berne Codex of about 
770, " S. Albinus Martyr " is commemorated on June 22, " along with 
others, 889 in number." Here we see how a story expands and 
adopts extravagant details. Bede expressly says that after the death 
of Alban the persecution ceased in Britain. He represents the magis- 
trate as deterred by the miracles that had taken place ; actually what 
induced him to stop was probably that he saw that the use of force 
advanced instead of serving to hinder the cause of Christianity. 

Almost all English Calendars have S. Alban on June 22, and he 
occurs in some of the Welsh Calendars on the same day. He is entered 
in the Vannes Missals of 1530 and 1535 ; and in the Vannes Breviary 
of 1589 ; and in the S. Malo Breviary of 1537. 

Whytford in his Martiloge says, on June 22, " In brytayne ye feest 
of saint Albane a martyr that in the tyme of ye emperour Dioclecian 
after many turmets suffred at verolame deth, heded by the sworde and 
with hym was a soudyour put to deth because he refused to do ye 

< cucyon upon hym." And O 'Gorman has inserted him on the 
same day in his Irish Martyrology. In the Reformed Anglican Calen- 
dar on June 17.* 

^ The Abbey of S. Alban 's, as already said, was founded by Offa, the 
king of the Mercians, in 793. William of Malmesbury says : " The 
relics of S. Alban, at the time obscurely buried, he ordered to be rever- 
ently taken up and placed in a shrine, decorated to the fullest extent 
)yal munificence with gold and jewels. A Church of most beau- 
workmanship was then erected and a company of monks assem- 

In Monmouthshire, the church of Christ Church on the height above 
Caerleon, on the left bank of the Usk, was formerly dedicated to S. 
Alban. The high ground above the junction of the Afon Lwyd is 
still called Mount S. Alban. 

Devonshire, Beaworthy Church is dedicated to him. 
o church bears his name in Cornwall. He is patron of Tattenhall 
near Chester ; of a church also in Worcester ; of S. Alban's, Wood 

1 In the Preces Privates, 1564, the Book of Common Prayer, 1564, 1573, and 
1617 on June 17, but in the latter also on July 29. See Lord Aldenham's paper 
on S. Alban in the Transactions of S. Paul's Ecclesiological Soc., iv, p. 32. 

1 Chron. Reg. Anglia, i, 4. 

VOL. I. T, 

14.6 Lives of the British Saints 

Street, London, founded in the tenth century ; Earsdon in Northumber- 
land as under Tynemouth, a priory of S. Alban's Abbey ; Wymondham 
in Norfolk, as well a priory of S. Alban's ; Worksop Priory in Notting- 
hamshire, and Wickersley in Yorkshire ; Withernwick in east Yorkshire ; 
Frant in Kent, and perhaps originally Almondbury in Yorkshire. 
Camden so thinks. In Brittany he is supposed to be patron of several 
parishes and chapels. This is, however, due to a mistake : he has been 
confounded with and has superseded S. Albinus, who was a native 
of the Diocese of Vannes, and became bishop of Angers, and died 
circ. 550. 

S. ALLECCUS, or GALLGO, Confessor 

ACCORDING to the Life of Gildas by the monk of Ruys, Alleccus, or 
Allectus, was a brother of that saint. He says : " Mailocus, 
Alleccus and Egreas, with their saintly sister (Peteova), after con- 
temning all the wealth and luxuries of the world, strove with the 
whole bent of their soul to reach the celestial country, and devoted 
their lives to fastings and prayers. At last they were called to God, 
and received the reward of their labours. They were buried in the 
oratories which they had built, and are preserved there, famous am 
illustrious for their constant miracles, and destined to rise again ii 
glory." * 

Alleccus, or Allectus, there can be hardly a doubt is the Gallgo, 
Gallgof ab Caw, of the Welsh pedigrees, 2 to whom Llanallgo, a chaj 
subject to his brother's church, Llaneugrad, in Anglesey, is dedicated. 

Gallgo was for a while a saint at Llantwit and Llancarfan. 3 He 
appears to be the Calcas ab Caw who is mentioned in the Tale oi 
Culhwch and Olwen as having been in the service of King Arthur. 
Probably, owing to the insults dashed in the face of Maelgwn Gwynedd 
by Gildas, his brother, Alleccus may have been forced to leave Anglesey, 
and then perhaps retired to Ireland for a time. Colgan conjectured 
that he is the saint named Oilleoc in the Irish Martyrologies, but 
hesitated between him and Elloc, one of the reputed sons of Brychan. 5 

1 Gildas, ed. Hugh Williams, p. 327. 

2 lolo MSS., pp. 101, 109, 116, 137, 142-3 ; Myv. Arch., p. 425. 

3 lolo MSS., pp. 101, 1 1 6. 

4 Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 107 ; eel. Guest, 1877, P- 22 4- 

5 Ada SS. Hibern., Jan. 29, p. 188. The situation of Cluan Etchen, of which 
Oilleoc was saint, has not been determined. 


From Statue at Scaer. 

S. Allen 147 

It is possible that Alleccus may have been with Gildas at an early 
period in Ireland, till the latter was recalled by the murder of his 
brother Huail. 

The day of S. Gallgo, or Alleccus, is given as November 27 in most 
of the Welsh Calendars from the fifteenth century ; also by Nicolas 
Roscarrock. Oilleoc, or Oileac, of Cluan Etchen, is venerated in the 
Irish Calendars on July 24. 

The Wake at Llanallgo was, however, held on the first Sunday in 
May. 1 Near the church is Ffynnon Allgo, his holy well. Its waters, 
which are strongly impregnated with sulphate of lime, were formerly 
held in high veneration for the cures ascribed to them, and are still, we 
Klicve, regarded as highly beneficial in some chronic diseases. Ad- 
joining the west end of the church is Capel y Ffynnon, the Well Chapel, 
a small edifice anciently appropriated to the use of the votaries of 
the patron of the spring. 2 

S. ALLEN, Confessor 

S.ALLEN is the nameof a parish in Cornwall in theDeaneryof Pyder. 
The name is given in the Exeter Episcopal Registers as Allun or Alun. 
In that of Bishop Bronescombe, 1261, the church is Ecclesia S t! . Alluni; 
in that of 1274 Ecclesia de S tl> . Aluno ; so also in 1274, 1284 ; in that 
of B. Bytton, 1302 ; in the Taxation of Pope Nicolas, 1288-91 ; 
in the register of B. Stapeldon, 1314 ; and in those of B. Grandisson, 
1349, and B. Brantyngham, 1376, 1383, 1384, 1392. 

Leland (I tin., ii, 77 ; iii, 2) gives the forms Aleine, Alaine and Alein. 
It is not possible, with any approach to confidence, to determine who 
the Saint was who is patron of the parish. He can hardly be Alan, 
son of Emyr Llyclaw. 

The Feast at S.Allen is on February 22; but also on the Fifth Sunday 
after Easter. Whether he be the Elwyn, one of the Irish immigrants 
came over with Breaca, may be doubted. See under S. ELWYX. 




1 Nicolas Owen, Hist. Anglesey, 1775, p. 57; Ang. Llwyd, Hist. Anglesey, 
1833, p. 21-,. 

- Ang. Llwyd, op. cit., p. 215. 

148 Lives of the British Saints 

S. AMBROSIUS, Abbot, Confessor 

THE Church of Amesbury claimed to have been founded by one Am- 
brosius, but whether this were an abbot, or whether he were Aurelius 
Ambrosius who headed the revolt against Gwrtheyrn ; whether this 
latter, after having led the Britons to battle against the Saxons, in his 
old age became a monk and founded a religious house over which he 
ruled as abbot at Amesbury, is all uncertain, and never will be cleared 
up ; but the latter supposition is not improbable. Aurelius Ambrosius, 
or Ambrosius Aurelianus, is the only one of his countrymen against 
whom the venomous Gildas does not inveigh. " After a certain 
length of time the cruel robbers returned to their home " he is speak- 
ing of the Saxons. " A remnant, to whom wretched citizens flock from 
different places on every side, as eagerly as a hive of bees when a storm 
is threatening, praying at the same time unto Him with their whole 
heart, and, as is said, ' Burdening the air with unnumbered prayers/ 
that they should not be utterly destroyed, take up arms and challenge 
their victors to battle under Ambrosius Aurelianus. He was a man of 
unassuming character, who alone of the Roman race chanced to 
survive in the shock of such a storm (as his parents, people undoubtedly 
clad in the purple, had been killed in it), whose offspring in our days 
have greatly degenerated from their ancestral nobleness. To these 
men, by the Lord's favour, there came victory." 1 

In the Welsh Pedigrees, Ambrosius is Emrys Wledig, or as Nennius 
calls him, Embreis Guletic. 

Nennius tells the marvellous tale of Vortigern being unable to lay 
the foundations of his castle in Gwynedd, and sending to find a boy 
whose father was unknown in order to sprinkle his blood on the found- 
ations to make them firm. Messengers were sent throughout the Isle 
of Britain in the quest, and they came to a place in Glywyssing where 
they heard boys playing at ball, and a dispute having arisen among 
them, one sneered at the other, " O boy without a father, thou hast 
no good at all." The messengers asked, " Whose son is the lad to 
whom this is said ? " Those who were playing ball replied : " We 
know not. His mother is here." The mother of the boy of whom this 
was spoken said : " I know not that he has a father, nor do I know how 
he happened to be conceived in my womb." 

Then the messengers took the lad to the king, who would have 
sacrificed him, according to the counsel of his Druids, but he escaped 
by telling Vortigern that the reason why his foundations gave way was 

1 Gildas, De Excidio Brit., ed. H. Williams, p. 61. 

S. Ambrosius 149 

that they were laid in a morass wherein were red and white dragons 
or maggots in deadly contest. 

Then the boy said, "Ambrosius is my name . . . my father was a Roman 
consul, and this shall be my fortress." Then Vortigern left the castle 
to Ambrosius, and also the government of all the east of Britain, and 
went with his Druids to the land of Gwynnwesi, in the north, and 
built a fortress there, which city is named Caer Gwrtheyrn. 1 

The fable is foisted in clumsily, and is incoherent. The boy's father 
is known. Ambrosius knows it, his mother does not. All we can 
make out of it is that Vortigern seems to have thrown himself on the 
still strong Pagan element among the Britons, and to have sought the 
death of Ambrosius, who headed the Romano-British party, and that 
he was defeated. 

The Caer of Ambrosius is near Beddgelert, and is called Dinas 
Emrys, on a height, and contains foundations of a number of cytiau. 

Attn tin- xpulsion of Gwrtheyrn from the position of Pendragon or 
duet. Ambrosius assumed it, and obtained considerable success against 
the Saxons and Jutes. 

The Welsh accounts make Ambrosius son of Cystennin, whom they 
derive from ("yuan Meiriadog, 2 brother of Elen, wife of Maximus ; and 
they make Cystennin Gorneu the brother of Aldor, or Audroen, father 
of Emyr Llydaw, the ancestor of a noble army of Saints who drifted 
a Unit between Armorica and South Wales. They make, moreover, 
Kinrys, or Ambrosius, brother of Uthyr Bendragon, the father of 

Much ( on fusion has arisen among the Constantines. The name 
M'ems to have been greatly affected by the Britons or Romanised 
Britons. There \vas a Constantine who was a common soldier in the 
Roman army stationed in Britain, who assumed the purple in 407, and 
was put to death in 409 ; consequently it is not possible that this can 
have been the Constantine, father of Ambrosius and of Uthyr. If there 
be .my reliance to be placed on the Welsh pedigrees, much disturbed 
and vitiated by Geoffrey of Monmouth's fabulous narrative then the 
lather <>t Ambrosius Aurelianus was Cystennin Llydaw, or Bendigaid, 
a petty prince of Armorica. 4 

1 Irish Xennius, ch. xix ; Latin Xcnnius, cc. xl-xlii. 

1 Geoffrey's Brut, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 126; the thirteenth century 
Mostvn MS., 117 (Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 63). 

3 (Geoffrey's Brut, ibid., p. 126; Triads in Red Book of Hergest inMabinogion, 
ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 298. 

4 The Welsh pedigrees attribute to Maximus and Helen a son named Con- 
stantine. Perhaps this was the Tyrannus. 

150 Lives of the British Saints 

Professor Hugh Williams sums up all that we can obtain from Gildas 
concerning Ambrosius Aurelianus. (i) He was a Roman, a member 
of one of the few old aristocratic families then remaining in Britain. 
(2) His ancestors had worn the Imperial purple ; he may have been a 
descendant of some tyrannus who had assumed the title of Augustus 
in Britain. (3) He was a vir modestus, which implies kindness of 
disposition with unassuming manners ; the mention of this quality 
goes far to prove that the information had come to Gildas from some 
one personally acquainted with the victorious leader. (4) His 
descendants, grandchildren probably, were intimately known to 
Gildas. 1 

Bede 2 merely reproduces what was said by Gildas. There is no 
mention in the pedigrees of Ambrosius having been married and having 
a family, and it would be in accordance with the character of the man 
as sketched by Gildas, that in his old age he should become a monk. 
If so, then he may perhaps be regarded as the traditional founder of 
Amesbury. Camden, in his Britannia, so regards him, and as having 
died at Amesbury. 3 

Dr. Guest conjectured that Ambrosius was the father of Owain 
Finddu, who is usually given as a son of Maxen, and he tries to identify 
him with the Natan-leod of the Chronicle, who was killed in 508, but 
the attempt is not successful. 

The monastery, according to Camden, contained three hundred 
monks, and was destroyed by " nescio quis barbarus Gormundus." 
This Gormund was Gorman, son of Cormac Mac Diarmid, king of 
the Hy Bairche, who in the middle of the sixth century destroyed 
Llanbadarn Fawr and other churches, and did much havoc in Britain. 
Geoffrey of Monmouth converted him into a king of Africa. 

Nicolas Roscarrock enters him as " S. Ambrias, Abbot, Confessor, 
founder of Amesbury, which was destroyed by Gormund ; there were 
three hundred monks in the monastery." He does not give the 
day on which the founder of Amesbury was culted. 

1 De Excid. Brit., p. 60. 

2 Hist. EccL, i, c. 16. 

3 " Ambresbury, i.e. Ambrosii vicus . . . ubi antiques quosdam Reges 
sitos esse historia Britannica docet, et Eulogium ibi trecentorum monachorum 
ccenobium fuisse refert, quod nescio quis barbarus Gurmundus diripuit . . . 
Ambrosius Aurelianus qui nomen fecit, Romano imperio jam prope confecto, 
purpuram, ut P. Diaconus testatur, in Britannia induit, patriae labenti suppetias 
tulit, . . . et tandem collatis in hac planitie signis, animam patrioe reddidit." 
Britannia, 1594, p. 186. 

S. Amphibalus 151 

S. AMBRUSCA, Virgin 

IN Crantock village, Cornwall, according to Dr. Oliver's Monasticon 
(P- 438). a chapel dedicated to S. Ambrusca formerly stood in the 
churchyard ; and an ancient covered well, dedicated to the Saint, 
existed near the village. The well has been destroyed, and a modern 
villa called S. Ambrose occupies the site ; the water still rises, and is 
led by a pipe to supply a drinking fountain beside the road. Old people 
remember the Holy Well in its original position. On the further side 
of the road is a boggy meadow in the midst of which is the site of the 

Wh.) was S. Ambrusca ? Whether Dr. Oliver has given the name 

correctly, which is by no means certain, as he was not always accurate, 

unable to say. She may have formed one of the company of 

S. Carantoc. Her name does not occur in any Welsh or Irish or 

Breton Calendars. The root of the name is ambhr, strong. 

S. AMO, see S. ANNO 

S. AMPHIBALUS, Confessor 

THE authority for the Life of S. Amphibalus is the account of the 
vr.lom of S. Alban (which see). But Capgrave in his Nova Legenda 
a separate account of him, extracted from the Vita S. 
i printed in the Ada SS. Boll., Jun. v, p. 131. 
The story has been already given under the heading of S. Alban. 
is, in De Excidio Brit. (c. xi), 1 relates that Alban of Verulam, 
having given hospitality to a confessor of Christ flying the pursuit of 
-Idiery. was so touched by the grace of God, that he presented 
himself before the persecutors in the sacerdotal vestment of the 
confessor, and suffered martyrdom in his room. 

The story in Bede (Hist. Eccl., I, vii) is not an amplification of 
the words of Gildas, but taken from original Ada. The vestment 
in Gildas is vestes, in Bede caracalla. Till Geoffrey of Monmouth 

1 Ed. Hugh Williams, for the Cymmrodorion Society. 

152 Lives of the British Saints 

wrote his fabulous history, the name of the confessor was unknown, 
and this writer conferred on him the name of Amphibalus. 1 

William of S. Albans, in his Life of SS. Alban and Amphibalus, 
written between 1166 and 1188, pretends that he made use of a Saxon 
Life of the two saints, but acknowledges that he was indebted to 
Geoffrey for the name of Amphibalus. 

Amphibalus is, however, the name of a vestment or chasuble, and 
it has been conjectured that Geoffrey called the Confessor after the 
habit which he surrendered to Alban. But M. J. Loth 2 has pointed 
out another and more probable origin. " It seems to be certain," 
says he, " that the passage which so lightly led him into error is found 
in the Epistle of Gildas. In that, one reads almost at the beginning, 
in the Imprecatio against Constantine, king of Damnonia, that, among 
other crimes committed by him, he had done this ; ' in duarum veneran- 
dis matrum sinibus, ecclesiae, carnalisque, sub sancti abbatis amphi- 
balo, latera regiorum tenerrima puerorum vel praecordia crudeliter 
duum . . . inter ipsa sacrosancta altaria nefando ense hastaque pro 
dentibus laceravit.' " 

Geoffrey had read the passage above, and the conjecture is changed 
to certainty when one looks at lib. ix, cap. iv, of his History. There 
we read : " Et (Constantinus) pnedictos filios Modredi cepit : et 
alterum juvenem Gwintoniae in ecclesiam sancti Amphibali fugientem 
ante altare Trucidavit ; alterum vero Londoniis in quarumdam fratrum 
ccenobio absconditum, atque tandem juxta altare inventum crudeli 
morte afficit." 

What Gildas wrote was that Constantine had killed the royal youths 
under the garb of a holy abbot. Then Geoffrey, mistaking one letter, 
reading in fact " sancti abbatis Amphibali," for " sancti abbatis 
amphibalo," converted Amphibalus into a personal name. 

Matthew of Westminster (1377) says that " Amphibalus hastened 
into Wales, to become a martyr there," but his testimony is of no 
value, and Amphibalus is wholly unknown in Wales. 

The day of S. Amphibalus is that of his Translation, June 25. In 
1178, a certain Robert Mercer, of Redburn, pretended that he had 
seen S. Alban in a vision, who pointed out to him the spot where Amphi- 
balus and his companions lay, and told him that the time had come 
when they should be treated with due honour. 

Accordingly a search was made at the spot indicated and the bodies 
of Amphibalus and nine companions were discovered and translated 
with great devotion by the Abbot Simon to the church of the monastery. 

1 Hist. Brit., cap. v, 5. 

2 J. Loth, Saint Amphibalus, in Revue Celtique, vol. xi (1890), p. 348. 

S. Amwn Ddu 153 

Tlu-re can be no doubt entertained that the whole was a fraud. Per- 
Mnver came on an old cemetery at Verulam and invented the 
divam to rx plain the discovery. 

The story of the transaction is told by Matthew of Paris and Roger 
Hoveden, and in the Gesta Abb. S. Albani. It is an unpleasant revela- 
tion of roguery. It followed soon after the invention of the Eleven 
Thousand Virgins at Cologne and was stimulated by it. In 1155, 
Gerlach, abbot of Deutz, was excavating an old burial ground, and 
for eight years went on manufacturing forged tombstones for "Virgins " 
e bones he found, and to help out the fraud an hysterical nun, 
heth of Schonau, was induced to announce revelations concerning 
these remains of the dead. She died in 1165, and a greater rogue, the 
Bed H.nnann Joseph, continued the revelations. 

j\\\Z up of relics on a large scale created much excitement, 
and the Abbot Simon of S. Albans, by the assistance of Mercer, got 

: " Invention " of his own. 

- Amphibalus occurs on June 25 in the Additions of the Canterbury 
,/c-// .U>. 155), and in the S. Alban's Calendar of the 
nth century MS. Reg. 2, B. vi). He is in the Martiloge of 
\\livtfonl, and in tlu- MS. Calendar of Nicolas Roscarrock. 

S. AMWN DDU, Confessor 

AMWN the Black was a son of Emyr Llydaw, son of Aldor. 1 Amwn 
quitted the district about Vannes, 2 which had for some time been 
colonised by immigrants from Britain. Already in 461 the Britons 
-ettled about the mouth of the Loire. In that year a British 
bishop. Mansuetus, attended the Council of Tours. 3 

His see is not mentioned, but he probably came thence, where we 
find Britons in considerable numbers not much later. In 470 the British 
)lonists under their King Riothimus came to the assistance of the 

1 In the earlier genealogies of the Welsh Saints, e.g., those in the thirteenth 

ntury, Pcniarth MSS. 16 and 45, and Hafod MS. 16 (c. 1400), his name 

hvays occurs as Annun Ddu, the Welsh assimilation of Antonius. There was an 

Annun ab Ceredig, uncle to S. David (Cambro-British Saints, p. 275). Amwn 

probably = Ammonius. 

raweg, for Broweroc, see note 3, p. 155. 
3 Labbe, Sacrosancta Concilia, torn, iv, p. 1053. 

- - - v^^ 

154 Lives of the British Saints 

Emperor Anthemius, and after ascending the Loire in their vessels, 
were attacked by Euric at Bourg-en-Deols, near Chateauroux, and 
utterly defeated. 1 

Sidonius Apollinaris also represents the Britons as settled about 
the mouths of the Loire. 2 

Now if British settlers were able to send a large army against the 
Visigoths in or about 470, we may well allow them some fifty years to 
have been settled in a portion of lower Brittany. Others arrived later 
in greater numbers, flying from the swords of the Saxons, but the 
colonisation of Armorica by the Britons had begun earlier. 

We know nothing of the causes which drove Emyr Llydaw out of 
Armorica ; he fled to Wales, where his sons married daughters of Meurig, 
king of Morgan wg, or Glamorgan. We may place the period when 
Emyr fled with his family in the latter part of the fifth century. 

Samson, bishop of Dol, died 567-70, and was probably born about 
490-500. He was son to Amwn the Black, and is represented as the 
child of his old age. 

Amwn married Anna, daughter of Meurig, and he is said to have 
enjoyed the friendship of S. Dyfrig as well as of S. Illtyd. Amwn 
was not disposed at first to suffer his son Samson to become a re- 
ligious, but the inclination of the lad was so decided in this direction 
that he had to yield, and being away from his own possessions, the 
ecclesiastical life was that which offered most promise to a young man. 

Samson became a member of the congregation of S. Illtyd at Llan- 
twit Major, and of S. Dyfrig at Ynys Byr. Whilst there he heard that 
his father was seriously ill, and desired his son to visit him. Samson, 
through a perverted idea that he had broken with all family ties, at 
first resolved to disregard the summons, but was reprimanded by Pirus, 
or Piro, the abbot, and reluctantly consented to go. 

On his arrival he found the sick man with his relatives crowded 
round his bed ; 3 Samson turned them all out, with the exception of his 
mother Anna, and the deacon he had brought with him. He then 
urged his father to make confession of his misdeeds. Whereupon 
Amwn, in the presence of these three, 4 revealed a mortal sin he had 
committed, and which he had kept secret from his wife and from others. 

Then yielding to the solicitations of Anna, he vowed to dedicate the 
rest of his days to God, and to have his head shaved. Anna, with the 

1 Jornandes, De rebus Geticis, c. 45. 2 Epist., i, 7. 

" Invenerunt Ammonem, Sancti Samsonis pattern, a suis vicinis circum- 
datum in lecto aegrotantem." Vita i ma , in Acta SS. Boll., Jul., t. vi, p. 580. 

4 " Praesentibus illis tribus supradictis quod in se celaverat publicavit in 
medium." Ibid. 

S. Amwn Ddu 155 

impetuosity of a woman, and without consideration of consequences, 
said : " Do not let us be alone, let us dedicate at the same time all our 
children and our estate to God." 

Thereupon she presented to Samson his five brothers and a young 
sister. Samson accepted them all except the girl. " She," said he, 
" will hanker after worldly pleasures, and I reject her. However, as 
she i- a human being, rear her up.'' 1 

At the same time Samson's uncle and aunt, Umbrafel and Derveila, 
embraced the religious life, together with their three sons. He then 
took his uncle and father with him to Ynys Byr, that he might supervise 
their religious training. 

When some Irish monks came to the monastery on their way back 
from Rome, Samson was induced to go with them to Ireland, but he 
did not remain there long. He, however, founded a monastery there. 
When he returned t<> Wales he found that his father and uncle had made 
progress, but Umbrafel was the most hopeful of the two. He 
accordingly sent him to Ireland to be abbot over his monastery, but 
took his father with him into retreat in a wild district near the Severn. 
( >n leaving this retreat with the ultimate intention of settling in 
Armorica, Samson crossed the sea, probably to Padstow Harbour, and 
proceeding south-east formed an important settlement at Southill. 
He had his father still with him. 

When he considered the political conditions in Armorica ripe for 

i-ing a revolt against the regent Conmore, in 547 or thereabouts, 

Samson crossed over. Amwn must at this time have been still with 

him, for we are told that Samson left him in charge of his monastery, 2 

which we locate at Southill. 

hear nothing further of Amwn, save that he was buried at 
Llantwit Major, where he w r as, for a while, a member of S. Illtyd's 
"choir." 3 

Probably he had found the government of a monastery beyond his 
- , at an advanced age ; and he left Southill to sink into a simple 
)nk again ; he is, however, said to have had a " choir " of his own as 
/ell. a cell of S. Illtyd's, but this may refer to the establishment at 
Southill. 4 

I-ta pusilla quam vos videtis et habetis ad mundanas voluptates data 
t ; tumen nutrite cam, quia homo est." Vita i" 14 , in Ada 55. Boll., Jul., 
vi. p. 580. 

" Monasterii illius perfecte construct! suo patri praesulatum praecipit," etc. 
id., p. 585- 

3 I oh MSS., pp. 107, 132, 141. He is spoken of as having been " King of 
wee," probably Broweroc, the British settlement about Vannes. 

4 I oh MSS., P ". 151. 

156 Lives of the British Saints 

In Brittany, near Vannes, precisely in the district of Broweroc 
whence Amwn possibly came, at Plescop (Plou-escop), a certain Amon, 
receives a cult. The story there told is that Amon arrived at Plescop 
from foreign parts and solicited shelter and food. As he was refused 
even milk, he cursed the place, that thenceforth the cows should yield 
none. Next morning he was found dead in some bushes. A chapel 
was erected over his grave, and his relics were translated in 1456. l 

According to Garaby, 2 his day is April 30, but at Plescop, the 
Pardon de S. Amon is on the last Sunday in October. In the chapel, 
which is only just outside the village, is a statue of the Saint, of the 
eighteenth century, and he is represented as a warrior. An oak 
carved bust of him is also preserved there, that contains the upper 
portion of his skull, which is dolichocephalous, and perfectly black. 
This was formerly carried in procession on the day of the Pardon, on a 
bier, but at the Revolution the papers authenticating the relic were 
lost or destroyed ; consequently it is no more carried nor exposed to 
the veneration of the people, although there can be no moral doubt as 
to it being the genuine relic translated in 1456. The bust is much in 
character like the statue, and both were probably carved by the same 

As no authentic life or legend of S. Amon exists, the period at which 
he lived and died is open to conjecture. Garaby supposes he was a 
returned Crusader. But this was the merest guess. The peasants of 
Plescop know nothing relative to the period when Amon came among 
them. Ogee says: " In 1456, the inhabitants of this parish found the 
body of Saint Humon, a Breton knight, hidden among the bushes. 
It was elevated with great solemnity and a chapel was built on the 
spot in his honour." 3 But there is nothing known of such a knight, 
and Ogee seems to have mistaken the translation of the body and the 
erection of the chapel for the date of the death of Amon. It is just pos- 
sible that Amwn Ddu may have left his charge of Samson's monastery in 
Cornwall to return to his native land. And this conjecture receives 
some confirmation from the fact that he has received no cult in Corn- 
wall. He came apparently from Broweroc, the neighbourhood of 
Vannes, and it is probable, if he returned to Brittany, that he would 
seek that part whence he had been driven when young. If so, then 
it is conceivable also that the people, having known him only as a 
warrior, and not as a monk, when he died among them, represented 
him as a man of war. 

1 Le Mene, Hist, des Paroisses de Vannes, 1894, torn, ii, p. 101. 

2 Vies des Bienheuveux et des Saints de Bretagne, S. Brieuc, 1839, p. 106. 

* Ogee, Diet, historique et geographique de Bretagne, ed. Rennes, 1843, ii, p. 292. 


S. Anef 157 

As to the story of the stranger having been refused milk, and cursing 
^escop, that is a mere piece of popular invention to account for the 
fact that the pasturage of the parish is unsuitable for milch kine. 
From the popular tradition nothing further can be concluded than that 
a certain man named Amon came from foreign parts and died there 
almost immediately after his arrival, and that at an uncertain date. 

S. ANDRAS, Confessor 

HE lived in the fifth century, and was the son of S. Rhain Dremrudd 
ab Brychan Brycheiniog. 1 

Llanandras, in the Diocese of Llandaff, is said to be dedicated to 
him. This, to-day, is the parish church of S. Andrew Major, in the 
Deanery of Penarth. Llanandras is also the Welsh name for Presteigne, 
in the County of Radnor and Diocese of Hereford, the parish church 
<f which is now regarded as dedicated to the Apostle. Prob- 
ably both are dedicated to the Apostle, whose name in Welsh takes 
the form Andreas. 

S. ANEF, or ANE, Hermit 

HE was one of the sons of Caw, lord of Cwm Cawlwyd, in the North, 
who, not being able to withstand the constant incursions of theGwyddyl 
Ffichti, was obliged to leave his territory, and come with his numerous 
family, most of whom embraced the religious life, to Anglesey, where 
settled on lands given them by Cadwallon Lawhir and Maelgwn 
wynedd. This was about the beginning of the sixth century. He is 
said to have been a hermit in Anglesey, and to him is dedicated the 
apel of Coedana (Coed-aneu, or -ane) in that county, now subject to- 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 121, 140. 


158 Lives of the British Saints 

Llangwyllog. 1 Sometimes it is said to be dedicated to S. Blenwyd, 
or Blenwydd, another son of Caw. 2 

If he be the same as Angawd, son of Caw, he was at one time in the 
service of Arthur, according to the tale of Culhwch and Olwen. 3 

The Angar of the " Sayings of the Wise " may also possibly mean 
the same person : 

Hast thou heard the saying of Angar, 
Son of Caw, the celebrated warrior ? 
" The heart will break with grief." 4 
(Bid tonn calon gan alar.) 

Another brother, S. Ceidio, is patron of Rhodygeidio (Rhodwydd 
Geidio), under Llanerchymedd, in the same neighbourhood. 

S. Ane's Festival does not occur in any of the Welsh Calendars, but 
Miss Angharad Llwyd, in her History of Anglesey, gives it as January 

S. ANEURIN, Abbot, Confessor 

ANEURIN, the son of Caw, was one of a large family. The numbers 
vary in the several genealogies, the lowest being ten and the highest 
twenty-one. There are in the lolo MSS. 6 eight lists of the sons of 
Caw. Aneurin's name does not occur in all of them, but there are 
reasons for identifying it with another name included, that of Gildas. 
In these lists, when Aneurin occurs Gildas does not, except in one 
instance, 7 where we have both names. The epithet " y Coed Aur " 
(of the Golden Wood) is sometimes added after both Aneurin and 
Gildas. We are expressly told 8 that Euryn y Coed Aur was another 
name for Gildas, who was also called Gildas the Saint and Gildas the 
Prophet ; and we also find Euryn and Aneurin identified. 9 So the 

Myv. Arch., pp. 417, 420-1. lolo MSS., pp. 107, 137. 

Browne Willis, Bangor, p. 282. Lewis Morris, Celtic Remains, p. 39. Lewis, 
Topographical Dictionary of Wales, s.v. Coedanna. 

Mabinogion, ed. Rhys and Evans, p. 107. 4 lolo MSS., p. 256. 

P. 194 (1833). 

Pp. 109, 116, 136, 142-3. 7 P. 143. 

8 Ibid., pp. 117, 137. There was also an Euryn y Coed Helig, one of the 
twelve sons of Helig ab Glannog, ibid., p. 124. 

9 Ibid., p. 1 1 8. 



S. Aneuriti 159 

ity of Aneurin with Gildas may be taken as established. 1 Prob- 
ably, as has been suggested, Gildas was his "ecclesiastical appellation " 
hen he became a " saint," that is, a monk, the name being regarded 
an English rendering of his earlier name Euryn or Aneurin. 2 Gildas 
has certainly not the appearance of a Welsh name. Neither Gildas 
nor Aneurin is included in the Genealogies of the Saints printed in the 
.!/ vryr/tf ;/ A rchaiology. 

Some Welsh writers have identified Aneurin-Gildas with Aneurin 
" the Chief of Bards " (Mechdeyrn Beirdd) and author of those very 
obscure poems the Gododin and the three Gorchans (also Gododinian), 
which bear his name, and are to be found in the thirteenth century MS., 
iheBook of Aneurin, now in the Cardiff Free Library. Stephens, in 
his posthumous edition of the Gododin, while rejecting the identification 
<if the two Aneurins, tries to make out, 3 but unsuccessfully we believe, 
that the bard was the son of Gildas. This he thought would " remove 
all the chronological difficulties which beset the authorship of the 

There is nothing really known about Aneurin the Bard beyond 
what may be gleaned from his own writings, which is very little. We 
arc not given the slightest clue there as to his parentage ; and the 
is do not appear to contain any reference whatever to either Caw 
<>r his sons. Caw was lord of Cwm Cawlwyd, which seems to have 
modern Renfrewshire. He was driven out of his territory by the 
\wdclyl Ffichti, or Pictish Goidels, and he and his family found an 
asylum in Wales. Some of them remained with their father in North 
Wales, where they were given lands at Twr Celyn in Anglesey by Mael- 
izwn Gwynedd, whilst the rest made for South Wales, where we are 
told they were granted lands by King Arthur, and became saints in 
various Bangors there. Aneurin became a saint of Catwg's 
ngor at Llancarfan, with which, as we learn from his Lives, Gildas 
as connected. 

We know that Gildas died in 570, having been born probably in 
76, or, as some suppose it, 493. Maelgwn Gwynedd, who is generally 
ipposed to have died in 547, was venomously attacked by him circa 
The chronological position of Aneurin-Gildas in the Genealogies 
xes him as belonging to this same period, which is too early for 



1 lolo Morgan wg, in a note in the lolo A/55., p. 270, identified them. On 
83, 118, 254, S. Cenydd, the son of Gildas, is said to be the son of Aneurin. 

* En fin (from aur, gold), meaning " golden " ; and the An- of Aneurin would 

be an intensive (equivalent to en-}, and not, as more commonly, a negative 
prefix. Gildas is to be referred to gild, derived from gold. 

* P. 9. Edited for the Hon. Society of Cymmrodorion by Prof. Powel, 1888. 

160 Lives of the British Saints 

identification with Aneurin the Bard. The Gododin describes the 
Battle of Catraeth, which Stephens takes to have been that of Aege- 
sanstane or Daegstan, which took place in 600 or 603. 1 Skene, how- 
ever, would divide the poem into two, the first part alone relating to 
the battle of Catraeth, which he identifies with the " bellum Mia- 
thorum " of Adamnan, and gives 586-603 as its date. The second 
part contains an allusion to the death of Dyfnwal Frych or Domnall 
Brecc, king of the Dalriadic Scots, who was slain at the Battle of 
Strathcarron in 642, and which the bard witnessed. He regards this 
second part as a continuation of the original Gododin by a pseudo- 
Aneurin. 2 Out of the 363 " golden-torqued warriors " that fought 
at Catraeth only three escaped with their lives, says the author, besides 

The Welsh Triads state that Aneurin the Bard was treacherously 
killed by Eiddyn ab Einygan, who dealt him on the head one of " the 
three atrocious axe-strokes of the Isle of Britain " ; 3 whereas Aneurin- 
Gildas died in his bed at Ruys in Brittany. 

We therefore conclude that Aneurin ab Caw and Gildas ab Caw are 
one and the same person ; but that Aneurin the Bard, of whose pedi- 
gree the Welsh know nothing, lived considerably later. 

There are no churches dedicated to him under the name Aneurin. 

See further under S. GILDAS. 

S. ANNA, or ANNE, Widow, Abbess 

THERE are four Annas mentioned in the Welsh pedigrees: (i) Anna, 
daughter of Uthyr Bendragon. (2) Anna, daughter of Meurig ab 
Tewdrig. (3) Anna, daughter of Vortimer the Blessed. (4) Anna, 
daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog. 4 

Some authorities make Anna, daughter of Uthyr Bendragon, to have 
been the mother of Cynyr of Caer Gawch, and afterwards wife of Amwn 
Ddu, and mother of S. Samson. Another makes her wife first to Amwn 
and then to Cynyr. 5 

Gododin, p. 42. 

Four Ancient Books of Wales, ii, pp. 359-70. 
Ibid., ii, p. 463 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 390, 405. 
lolo MSS., p. 140. This Anna must be a scribe's blunder. 
Myv. Arch., p. 423 ; lolo MSS., pp. 107, 141. She is also, on the same page, 
said to have been the mother of S. David. 


S. Anna 161 

Another, again, 1 makes Anna, daughter of Meurig ab Tewdrig, the 
wife of Aimvn, and the same says that the wife of Cynyr was Anna, 
daughter of Gwrthefyr Fendigaid, or Vortimer. 2 

The Life of S. Samson says only that Anna, the wife of Amwn, was 
" of the province of Dementia (a/. Deventia) which adjoins that of 
Demetia." The Vita 2 da (of S. Samson) says " de Vcenetia provincia," 
and the Vita 3' fl gives this name as " Methiana." 

It is clear that there has been confusion between three Annas, and 
that Cynyr's father married Anna, daughter of Uthyr, and that Cynyr 
married another Anna, daughter of Vortimer. Whereas Amwn 
married a different Anna, the daughter of Meurig, and some of her 
Bisters were the wives of the brothers of Amwn. 
\Yhat we know of the second Anne is derived from the lives of S. 
and our best authority is the First Life, written in the seventh 
century, published by Mabillon (Ada 55. Ord. 5. Benedicti., Scec., i, 
nd by the Bollandists (July 6). Afrellawasa younger sister, 
and was married to Umbrafel, brother of Amwn the Black. She was 
the mother of three sons, born before Anne had any child. Amwn and 
his wife were in sore trouble at being without offspring. But one day, 
when in church, they heard a discourse upon the merits and powers of a 
in scholar (librarius) in the North, to whom great numbers re- 
d. So Amwn and his wife started to consult him, with presents 
in their hands, just as now Hindoos might journey to some famous 
fakir. After a toilsome bit of travel they reached the place where the 
\ ned man was, and found him in the midst of a throng of sup- 
pliants, some deriving healing, some requiring discovery of objects 
that had been lost, some benedictions on a new undertaking, some a 
rcible curse pronounced against an enemy. They told the great man 
hat they desired to have a son, whereupon the " Librarius " advised 
Amwn to make a rod of silver as tall as his wife, and give it as alms for 
is soul and for that of Anna. Amwn promptly declared that he would 
ive three such rods. The medicine man then bade them retire into 
hospitium." These rods of metal of a man's height meet us 
,u r ain in the legend of S. Brioc ; and should apparently be brought into 
connection with the stones, each set up pro anima sua, which are 
found in Celtic countries. 

In course of time Anne bore a son, and he was named Samson, 
rom his birth, Anne urged her husband to dedicate him to the Lord 
at least so says the " Life " but this seems to be an adaptation of 
the story of Hannah and the child Samuel. Amwn was unwilling to 

1 lolo MSS., p. 132. a Ibid., p. 129. 

VOL. I. M 

1 6 2 Lives of the British Saints 

consent. Having got a son, he resolved on keeping him, but his 
reluctance was overcome when other children followed. 

That Samson was a child of their old age is improbable ; the statement 
is an importation from the history of the birth of the Biblical Samson. 
For his education, Samson was entrusted to S. Illtyd, and he remained 
at college till Amwn was very ill, and sent for his son. 

Amwn recovered, and at the instigation of Samson both he and his 
brother Umbrafel were tonsured ; and their respective wives, Anna 
and Afrella, received consecration as widows. Samson then dismissed 
the two latter into different parts to found monasteries and to build 

His mother was especially fervent in accepting his commission. She 
is reported to have answered: "Not. only do I desire, and lovingly 
embrace the charge laid on me, but I require of Almighty God, to Whom 
you have dedicated me, that you shall consecrate the monasteries and 
churches you bid me construct." 

To this Samson cheerfully consented. As to his father and uncle, 
he found them a little rough and intractable, therefore he took them 
away with him, so as to superintend their training. 

Samson next determined on seeking " a vast desert " near the 
Severn. There he remained awhile, till he was consecrated bishop, 
when he resolved on quitting Wales. He took his course round the 
Bristol Channel, 1 visiting his mother and aunt on the way and dedi- 
cating their churches. That of S. Anne was probably Oxenhall, on a 
confluent of the Severn. It is now in Gloucestershire. We know 
nothing further about Anne, whether she ended her days in her native 
land, or followed her son into Cornwall, and further into Brittany. 
Nor have we any means of determining the day of commemoration of 
S. Anne. 

The cult of Anne, reputed mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, came 
into fashion at the beginning of the fifteenth century. It was almost 
unknown till the fifteenth century, when she was brought into pro- 
minence by the mooting of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. 
The name Anne is taken from an Apocryphal Gospel, the Protevan- 
gelium of S. James, of no authority whatever. The earliest known 
representation of S. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin, in Northern 
Europe, is on a seal of 1351 belonging to a convent in Westphalia. 2 

1 " Citra Sabrinum mare," Vita \* M ; "circa Habrinum mare," Vita 2<to. 

2 Vincens (Ch.), De I' icono graphic de S. Anne, Paris, Chaix, 1892. Schmitz, 
" Die Anna-Bilder," in der Katholik, tome vii (1893). Schaumkell (E.), Der 
Cult der H. Anna, Freiburg-im-Baden, Mohr, 1893 ; Acta SS., Jul., tome vii, 
PP. 233-9. 

S. Anna 163 

The cult of this S. Anne was at first confined to the east. The first 
mention of her outside of Syria and Jerusalem is at Constantinople, 
where, according to Procopius, 1 in the middle of the sixth century, 
Justinian erected a church in her honour. This was restored by 
Justinian II a century and a half later. 2 

The earliest trace of her cult in Rome is in a fresco in the Capella 
Palatina, supposed by Mr. G. J. Turner to have been placed there by 
l'<.pe Cun-tuntine, a Syrian by birth, after a visit made to Constanti- 
n .pit- in ; 

V tin- close of the ninth century appeared an Encomium on SS. 
Joachim and Anna, from the pen of Cosmas Vestitor. George of 

:nedia spoke her praises, so did Peter of Argos. 

The first occurrence of S. Anne in a liturgical document is in a tenth 

MY Sacramentary, " undoubtedly of Roman origin, and was 

al>ly written for some Greek monks in Rome ; in its Holy Saturday 

litany the first two names after the confessors are S. Anne and S. Eliza- 

! , \vho have precedence even before all the Roman virgin martyrs." 4 

Hut tlu- veneration of S. Anne, thus introduced, was confined to 

Koine. In or about 800, however, her body was supposed to have 

: discovered in a cave at Apt, and the elevation took place in the 

presence of Charlemagne. 

trace of any cult can be found in England till the marriage of our 

Rirhard II with Anne of Bohemia, when the name spread, and by a 

: ipt of Pope Urban VI, dated June 21, 1381, the veneration of the 

MothT of Our Lady was ordered to be introduced; the command 

forwarded by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the bishops under 

metropolitan jurisdiction. 5 S. Anne is, however, found inserted 

in the Exeter Martvrology of 1337, drawn up by Bishop Grandisson, 

the friend of John XXII. Whilst staying with the Pope at Avignon, 

lie had doubtless heard of the devotion to her relics at Apt, near by. 

<r i;,Si S. Anne became a popular saint, and churches having 

':<T dedications were rededicated to her in the fifteenth century. 

And thenceforth her name appears in Calendars, previously it was 

-piouously absent from them. 
Among hymns in honour of S. Anne none date from an earlier period 

1 DC (Fdificiis Justiniani, i, 3; iii. 185 ; in the Corpus Scriptontm Histonce 

.iiitiiKr. Bonn, 1838. 

Bamlurius. Impcrinm Occidental, ii, 656-7; Du Cange, ' Constant! nopolis 
istiana, lib. IV. vii, 4, p. 143. 

" Ha- Introduction of the Cultus of S. Anne into the West," in The English 
' Review, xviii (1903), pp. 109-11. 

4 Ibid., p. in. 

5 B. Brantyngham's Register, ed. Hingi-ston-Randolph, 1901, p. 

164 Lives of the British Saints 

than the thirteenth or fourteenth century. In France there was a 
Brotherhood of S. Anne in the thirteenth century. 

Nevertheless there was no great extension of the cult till the period 
just before the Reformation. Trithemius in his work, De Laudibus 
S. Anna, which appeared in 1494, speaks of her memory as diu 
neglecta. Valerius Anselm, in his Chronicle, under the year 1508 says 
that till about that date Anne was little thought about ; and Tri- 
themius speaks of the cult as quasi novum. Luther in his violent 
fashion exclaimed, " How old is this idol, S. Anne ? Where was she 
till some ten, twelve, forty years ago ? " and again, " We Germans 
have been always inventing new saints and helpers in need, as is the 
case of SS. Anne and Joachim, novelties not over thirty years old." * 

The day of S. Anne, mother of the B.V.M., is July 26. 

At Whitstone in Cornwall, where there is not only a church, but also 
a Holy Well of S. Anne, the parish feast is on Easter Day. The way ii 
which S. Anne in Brittany has stepped into the place of one of the 
Bonse Deae, tutelary earth goddesses, and themselves representing the 
Celtic or pre-Celtic Ane, mother of the gods, 2 may be judged from the 
illustrations we give. The first represents a statue of a Bona Dea of 
the Gallo-Romano period found at Rennes ; the second is an im; 
above the Porte S. Malo at Dinan, representing S. Anne, bearing or 
one arm the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the other Christ. 

The genealogies of Coel Godebog, 3 of Rhodri the Great, 4 king oi 
all Wales, consequently of all the royal families of Gwynedd, Po^ 
and Dyfed, also of S. Beuno, 5 S. David, 6 and S. Catwg, 7 are trace( 

1 Schaumkell, Der Cult d. H. Anna, 1893. 

2 Cormac (b. 831, d. 903), "Ana is mater deorum hibernensium, well she 
used to nourish the gods, from whose name is said anae, i.e. abundance, and 
from whose name are called the Two Paps of Ana, west of Luchair (County Kerry) , 
also Bu-anann, nurse of the heroes ... as Ann was mother of the gods, so Bu- 
anann was mother of the Fiann." W. Stokes, Three Irish Glossaries, London, 
1862, pp. xxxiii, 2, 5. 

3 Harl.MS. 3859. A genealogy drawn up in the tenth century, but the MS. 
of late eleventh or early twelfth century. 

4 Ibid. The genealogy is traced up to Aballac, the son of Amalech, "qi 
fuit Beli Magni filius et Anna mater ejus quam dicunt esse consobrina Mariae 
Virginis Matris D'ni n'ri Ih'u Xp'i." Y Cymmrodor, ix, p. 170. 

6 Cambro-British Saints, p. 21. Traced to " Belinus the son of Anna, who 
was cousin to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ." 

6 Ibid., pp. 102, 144. Traced to a " son of the sister of Mary." 

7 Jesus Coll., Oxford, MS. 20, early fifteenth century. S. Catwg's pedigree 
is traced back to Caswallon " the son of Beli the Great, the son of Anna. This 
Anna was a daughter of a Roman Emperor, and said by the men of Egypt to 
have been first cousin to the Virgin Mary." In the Cognatio of Brychan Bry- 
cheiniog, his mother's ancestry is traced up to a certain "Annhun rex Gre- 
corum " (Cambro-British Saints, p. 273). In the above noted Jesus Coll. MS. 20, 
he appears as "Annwn du vrenhin groec." (Y Cymmrodor, viii, p. 83.) 


S. Anno 165 

back to Anna, sister or cousin of the Blessed Virgin. This is none 
other than the Great Earth Mother ; in the same way the Anglo-Saxon 
kings derived their ancestry from Wuotan, and the Norse kings from 
Odin, and the kings of Rome from Mars. 

The great expansion given to the cult of S. Anne in Brittany is due 
to a misconception and to a religious speculation. In 1625, whilst 
ploughing a field at Keranna, in the parish of Plunevet, in Morbihan, 
a farmer named Yves Nicolayic turned up out of the ground a statue, 
probably a Bona Dea of the pagan Armoricans, numbers of which 
have been found of late years, and, knowing nothing of the pre-Christian 
religion of the early Armoricans, he rushed to the conclusion that it 
represented S. Anne. 

The Carmelites, who had been zealous advocates of the cult of the 

ier of Our Lady, saw their opportunity and promptly seized on the 

occasion. In 1637 they had constructed a chapel for the image, and had 

organised pilgrimages to it, which met with great success. The image 

dr>troyed at the Revolution, but the pilgrimages continue, and 

;inc is esteemed the patroness of the Bretons. 

The name of S. Anne occurs, as already said, in no early calendars. 
It obtained admission in the fourteenth or fifteenth century, the day 
being July 26 ; this was ordered to be observed by Gregory XIII in 
1584. As already mentioned, Oxenhall, on a stream flowing into the 
Severn, in Gloucestershire, is dedicated to S. Anne, and is the only 
rlnnvli hearing that dedication that can by any probability be supposed 
n foundation of the mother of S. Samson. 

Siston, near Bristol, is also dedicated to S. Anne. 

S. ANNO, or AMO 

THIS Saint's name occurs only in the alphabetical catalogue of the 
Welsh Saints in the Myvyrian Arcluriology. 1 It is there given as 
Amo, but whether a male or female Saint we are not told. Two 
ches are mentioned as being dedicated to the Saint. One is Llan- 
amo in Radnorshire, which is to-day usually called Llananno. It is 
subject to Llanbadarn Fynydd, and is sometimes said to be dedicated 
to an imaginary S. Wonno. The other church mentioned is " Rhosyr 

Mon," that is, Newborough, in Anglesey, called Llanamo in a MS. 

1 P. 418. 


1 66 Lives of the British Saints 

belonging to Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt ; but it is added " Llannano 
is the name in the neighbourhood." The Saint is classed by Re~ 
among those of uncertain date. 1 The Festival of S. Anno, May 20, 
entered in the calendars in the lolo MSS. and Peniarth MS. 187, 
and in some calendars of the eighteenth century. 

S. ANNUN, or ANHUN, Virgin 

ANXUN, or Anhun, lived in the fifth century, and was the handmaid 
(llawforwyn) of S. Madrun, daughter of Gwrthefyr Fendigaid, or 
Vortimer, and wife of Ynyr Gwent. 2 In the lolo MSS. her name is 
misspelt Annan. 3 

In con junction with her mistress she is said 4 to have founded the 
church of Trawsfynydd, in Merionethshire. The following is the legend 
told about its foundation. Madrun, accompanied by her maid Anhun, 
was making a pilgrimage to Bardsey, and reaching the place now called 
Trawsfynydd at dusk, very tired, rested themselves for the night 
under shelter of a thicket. In their sleep they both dreamt that they 
heard a voice calling to them, " Adeiledwch Eglwys yma " (Build 
here a church). In the morning when they awoke, the one told her 
dream to the other, and they were greatly astonished to find that they 
had both dreamt the same dream. They, thereupon, in obedience to 
the supernatural command, built the church, which was afterwards 
dedicated in their honour. 5 

Browne Willis, 6 however, gives the church of Trawsfynydd as dedi- 
cated to S. Madrun alone, with festival on June 9. 

Annun, or Anhun, was also a man's name. The name is derived from 
Antonius or Antonia. 

1 Welsh Saints, p. 306. 

2 Hafod MS. 16, Peniarth MS. 76 (sixteenth century), Myv. Arch., pp. 418, 
428. 3 p. I45- 

4 Rees, Welsh Saints, p. 164. 

' Enwogion Cymru, p. 25 (Liverpool, 1870). 

e Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 277. 

S. Arddun Benasgell 167 


S. ARANWEN, Matron 

\KAXWKN was one of the numerous daughters of Brychan Brych- 
t -in log. 1 Rees 2 thinks that she was probably a granddaughter of his. 
Shf \va> tl it- wife of lorwerth Hirflawdd, son of Tegonwy abTeon, of the 
lint- <it IUli Muwr, Kingof Britain. 3 lorwerth is, in the Vespasian Cogna- 
tion, said to have been "King of Powys, thence called lorwerthion." 
5, Aranwcn is said to have been mother of Caenog Mawr, 4 from whom 
ipposed to be derived the parish name Clocaenog, and Caenog and 
Esgyn Gaenog in Gwyddelwern, in the county of Denbigh ; but this 
.-it correct. Caenog was her brother-in-law. 5 There are no 
(Indicated to her. nor does her name appear in the Calendars. 


. ARDDUN, who usually bears the epithet Penasgell, that is, " Wing- 
led." lived in the sixth century, and was a daughter of S. Pabo 
Iain (or rather, Prydyn, " Pictland"), a king in the North, 
on losing his territory in wars with the Gwyddyl Ffichti, or 
< " *ddic Picts, retired to Wales, where he was well received by Cyngen 
idfll Deyrnllwg, Prince of Powys, from whom, as well as from his 
son Hrodiwfl Ysgythrog.he received grants of land. Arddun had as 
!>mtlu'rs SS. Dunawd and Sawyl Benisel. She married Brochwel 
lnog, Prince of Powys, to whom she bore, among other children, 
^ilio. She is included in late catalogues only of the Welsh Saints, 6 

1 Cognatio in Cott. Vesp. A. xiv, and Cott. Dom. i ; Jesus Coll. MS. 20 ; lolo 
in, 121, 140; Myv. Arch., pp. 417, 419. i n the Domitian Cogn. 
tered as " Arganwen apud Powis," and in the Jesus MS. as " Wrgrgen 
gwreic loroerth hirblant." 
* Welsh Saints, p. 146. 
3 Pedigrees in Mostyn MS. 117 (thirteenth century) 

yv Arch., p. 417. * Mostyn MS., already referred to. 

lolo MSS., pp. 109. 126; Myv. Arch., pp. 417, 43I . 

i 6 8 Lives of the British Saints 

but no churches are attached to her name, though the Cambrian Bio- 
graphy 1 says " some Welsh churches are dedicated to her." Dolard- 
dun, an old manor house in the parish of Castle Caereinion, Mont- 
gomeryshire, is believed to be called after her. 2 There was another 
Arddun, the wife of Cadgor ab Gors(lwyn, and also a Ceindrych 
" Benasgell." But, indeed, other women in all ages have a claim 
to be called wingheaded or flighty. 

S. ARIANELL, Virgin 

ARIANELL, or Arganhell, was a daughter of Guidgentivai, a man of 
royal family, probably in Gwent ; she was possessed by an evil spirit, 
in other words, was deranged. She had to be kept in bonds to be 
preserved from throwing herself into the river or into the fire, and from 
biting and tearing her clothes and all about her. 

The father appealed to S. Dubricius, who cast forth the evil spirit 
and restored the girl to soundness in the presence of her father and 
relatives. When thus recovered, she devoted herself to religion under 
the supervision of the saint, and remained a virgin consecrated to God 
until her death. 3 

There was a stream of the name that had its rise in S. Maughan's 
parish, Monmouthshire, and is mentioned in the Book of Llan Ddv as 
forming the bounds on one side of the territory of Lann Tipallai, which 
the editors of the Book of Llan Ddv suppose to be the Parsonage Farm, 
west of S. Maughan. 4 But the grant made was to Dubricius by Britcon 
Hail, 5 and no mention is made in it of the damsel Arganhell, so 
that we cannot be sure that this was the site of the place of monastic 
retreat of the saintly maiden. The stream Arganhell is apparently 
that which rises near Newcastle (Castell Meirch) and runs nearly 
due west to -east, keeping north of S. Maughan's Church, and empties 
into the Monnow. It has lost its ancient name. The other brook 
that flows into the Trothy passing through HendrePark retains its 
name, Bawddwr. 

1 P. II (1803). 2 Myv. Arch., p. 417. 

3 " Quae in tantum vexabatur quod vix funibus cum ligatis manibus poterat 
retineri quin mergeretur flumine quin comburetur igne, quin consumeret omnia 
sibi adherentia dentibus." Book of Llan Ddv, pp. 82-3. 

4 Ibid., pp. 75, 372; cf. p. 173. 6 Ibid., p. 171. 

S. Arthen 



S. ARILDA, Virgin, Martyr 

THIS Saint is noticed in a Martyrology in the British Museum, A.D. 
4 MS. Reg. A. xiii, as honoured at Gloucester Abbey. In 
t m old i>:>em on this Abbey, printed at the end of Hearne's edition of 
: t of Gloucester's Chronicle, are these lines : 

Thes wonderfull workes wrought by power divine, 
Be not hid, nor palliat, but flourish daylie 
\Yitness hereof is Arilde that blessed Virgin 
Which martyrized at Kinton nigh Thornebury, 
Hither was translated, and in this monastery 
Comprised, and did miracles many one, 
As whosoe list to looke may find in hir Legion. 

Unhappily her " Legion " is lost. 

Tin.- place of her martyrdom was Kington by Thornbury in Glouces- 
ire. Both the period to which she belonged and the stock, 
\\hcther English or British, are unknown. 

\Yhvttorcl gives as her day, July 20. " In englonde at glocester 
feest of saynt Aryld a virgyn and martyr." 

S. ARTHEN, Confessor 

S. AKTHEN, or Arthan, was one of the sons of Brychan Brycheiniog, 
cl his name in the Cognatio and most lists occurs as the fourth son. 1 
the Domitian Cognalio he is entered, " Arthen qui erat pater Kynon 
n Manan." There was a church once dedicated to him in 
\vynlly\vg, but " was destroyed by the Pagan English," and he 
as buried in " Manaw." 2 This church was no doubt the extinct 
lamirtlu'n, near Marshfield, Monmouthshire. Rhiw Arthen, near 
bi-rystwyth, is supposed to have been called after him, but with 
eater probability after Arthen (or Arthgen), " King of Ceredigion," 
who died in 80 7. 3 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 108, in, 119, 140 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 417, 419. 
* See the same references. Nicolas Roscarrock says that he was a saint in 
of Man ; this was due to his supposing that Manaw stood for that island, 
but there was a Manaw Gododin in North Britain. 
1 Annalcs Cambria, p. n. 

170 Lives of the British Saints 

Possibly his name is perpetuated in the Brecknockshire hill-name 
Cefn Arthen, within his father's territory. As to his name, the vocable 
arthcm (common gender) means a bear's whelp, arthen being the 
feminine form of the same. His name under the form Arthan occurs 
in one list only. 

S. ARTHFODDW, Confessor 

ARTHBODU, hodie Arthfoddw, was one of the disciples of S. Dyfrig at 
Hentland, and may be also at Mochros, orMoccas, in Herefordshire. 1 
He was the founder of Lann Arthbodu, in Gower, possibly the Pen- 
nard (S. Mary) of to-day. 2 It was merely a cell. There was an 
Artbodgu, the son of Bodgu, who in the old Welsh genealogies 
of Harleian MS. 3859 is given as fifth in descent from Cunedda 
Wledig. 3 <~ U+ C^ 

S. ARTHMAEL, or ARTHFAEL, Abbot, Confessor 

ON the Cross at Llantwit is the inscription testifying that Samson the 
Abbot made the cross for his own soul and for those of luthael 
the king and Artmail or Arthmael. It has been supposed that 
the cross is of later date than the sixth century, and that it was not 
erected by S. Samson to the memory of King luthael and his 
companion Arthmael, but at a time posterior, and that the luthael and 
Arthmael thereon named belonged to this later date, and to the 
house of Morganwg ; moreover the style of decoration supports this 
view. The coincidence of names at two periods is remarkable, for 
S. Samson's great work was the restoration of the princely line in 
Domnonia, the placing of luthael on the throne in 555, and Arthmael 
was his great helper in the work. 

The authorities for the Life of S. Arthmael are these : The Lections in 
the Breviary of Rennes, fifteenth cent., that of Leon, 1516, the Breviary 
of S. Malo, 1537, and that of Vannes, 1589. The original in the 

1 Book of Llan Ddv, p. 80. 

2 Ibid., p. 144 ; Col. Morgan, Antiquarian Survey of East Gower, 1899, p. 202. 

3 Y Cymmrodor, ix, p. 181. 

S. Arthmael 171 

Breviary of Leon, 1516, exists in a copy made by Benedictines of the 
seventeenth or eighteenth cent., printed by Roparz, Notice sur Ploermel, 
P. 163. That from the Breviary of S. Malo, printed at Paris, 1489, 
is in the Ada Sanctorum, Aug., t. iii, pp. 298-9. Albert le Grand 
s the Life from the Breviaries of Leon and Folgoet the latter no 
longer exists also from the Legendarium of Plouarzel, which has also 
;>peared. Albert le Grand is usually very reliable in what he 
.icts from documents no longer accessible, though reckless in 
attribution of dates. The earliest text we have is that of the Rennes 
. lary, and this is later than the twelfth century, but is probably 
I on an earlier life. 

Arthmael was born in Morganwg, in the cantref of Penychen. We 

not told the names of his parents, but this we obtain from the 

~h genealogies. From one in the lolo MSS., p. 133, we learn that 

,iel, Dwyfael, and Arthfael were sons of Hywel, son of Emyr 

I.lyilaw. cousins of S. Cadfan ; they were members of S. Illtyd's " choir," 

afterwards were with S. Cadfan in Bardsey. Arthmael was 

Mingly first cousin of S. Samson, S. Padarn, S. Maglorius, S. Malo, 

and brother probably of S. Tudwal of Treguier, and perhaps also of 


According to the Life in the Breviaries, he was educated in a monas- 
under a certain abbot Caroncinalis, more properly Carentmael, but 
dnl not become a monk. He lived as a secular priest, till one day enter- 
tlu' church he heard the deacon read the gospel : " Whosoever he 
vou that forsaketh not all that he hath cannot be My disciple." 
'his seemed to him to be spoken to himself. He therefore resolved on 
I'mndoning his own land, his parents, and his property. He went to 
irontmael and told him his purpose. The abbot agreed to depart also, 
id a large body of colonists left South Wales together with Caroncinalis 
id Arthmael. They landed in the mouth of the Aber Benoit in Finis- 
'. the principality of Leon, and went inland till they formed a 
tt lenient where is now Plouarzel. 

< arentmael is said to have been a near kinsman of Paul of Leon, 
it he has left no impression in the district where he settled, and 
he is not numbered among the Breton Saints. 

Arthmael remained at Plouarzel some years till the death of Jonas, 
king of Domnonia, in or about 540, when Conmore married the widow, 
and obliged Judual, or luthael, the prince, to fly for his life to the court 
of Childebert. ArthmaeJ, like Leonore and other Saints of Armorica, 
got on bad terms with the regent Conmore, and he was obliged to 
l-a\v and go to Paris, where he did his utmost to induce Childebert to 
lisplace Conmore and restore Judual. His efforts were unavailing, 

172 Lives of the British Saints 

till the arrival of Samson, whose energy and persistence in the same 
cause broke down finally the King's opposition, and they were suffered 
to return to Brittany, and organise an insurrection on behalf of Judual. 

This succeeded, and Conmore was killed in battle in 555. Judual 
rewarded Arthmael for his services by giving him land on the Seiche, 
now in Hie et Vilaine, where is the village of S. Armel. Here he 
established a monastery. A dragon infested the neighbourhood ; he 
went to it, put his stole about its neck, and conducted it to the river. 
He bade the monster precipitate itself into the stream, and was at once 
obeyed. This is a symbolic way of saying that he subdued Conmore, 
the old dragon of Domnonia. 

Passing one day by the valley of Loutehel, the people complained 
to him that they lacked good water, and with his staff he miraculously 
produced a spring. He would seem to have established another 
monastery at Ploermel, near the pretty lake called 1'Etang du Due, in 
a well-wooded rolling country. Whether he died and was buried there 
or in his territory near the Seiche, and where is his tomb in the church, 
is uncertain. How long this was after the restoration of Judual we do 
not know, but it was somewhere about 570. 

He was formerly patron of Ergue- Armel, near Quimper, but has 
been supplanted by S. Allorius. There is a fountain of the Saint at 
Loutehel, and another prettily situated near the road to Vannes at 
Ploermel. At this latter place is a window of stained glass of the 
sixteenth century, representing the story of the Saint in eight compart- 
ments : i. S. Arthmael bidding farewell to his parents. 2. S. Arth- 
mael healing a leper. 3. The messenger of Childebert summons 
Arthmael to court. 4. Arthmael performing a miraculous cure. 5 
Arthmael and his companions bid farewell to King Childebert. 6. S. 
Arthmael with his stole round the dragon. 7. S. Arthmael precipita- 
ting the dragon into the river. 8. The death of the Saint. 1 Arthmael 
became one of the most popular Saints of Brittany. 

In addition to the parish churches of Plouarzel, Ploermel and S. Armel 
Loutehel, and Ergue- Armel, those of Languedias and Langoet were 
dedicated to him, and he had chapels at Bruz, at Fougeray, Lantic, 
Radenac, S. Jouan de ITsle, S. Glen, Sarzeau, and Dinan. His day is 
most generally regarded as August 16, Missal of Vannes, 1530 ; Breviary 
of Vannes, 1589 ; MS. Calendar of S. Meen, fifteenth century ; Breviary 
of Dol, 1519 ; Proper of Vannes, 1660 ; and the MS. Breviary of 
S. Melanius, Rennes, 1526, Albert le Grand, and Dom Lobineau. 

On the other hand August 14 is his day in the Breviary of S. Malo, 

1 Roparz (S.), La Legende de S. Armel, S. Brieuc. The window is engraved in 
La Legend? de S. Armel, S. Brieuc, 18155, c - xii > P- 133- 

S. Arthneu 173 

1537' ancl m tnat f Leon, 1516 ; August 15, a Missal of S. Malo, 
fifteenth century; August 17, the Quimper Breviary of 1835; July 
27, the Vannes Breviary of 1757. 

The name Arthmael has become in Breton Arzel and Armel and 
Ermel. He does not seem to have received any cult m Wales, but in 
Cornwall Arthmael had a chapel, and was represented on the screen 
( I 53 1 )- h a d an altar, and was commemorated annually at Stratton. 1 
S. Arthmael is represented in stained glass of the end of the fifteenth 
ginning of the sixteenth century in the church of S. Sauveur, 
Dinan, habited as an ecclesiastic with an amice over his shoulder and 
a cap on his head, and with a green dragon at his feet, bound by his 
At Ploermel, in like manner in brown habit ; but at Languedias 
statue of the seventeenth century that represents him as an 
abbot, trampling on a dragon, which he holds bound with his stole. 
Arthmael is invoked for the healing of rheumatism and gout. 
\ "II would seem to have brought with him from Brittany a 
ition for this saint. There is a fine statuette of him in Henry 
VII '- Chapel, Westminster, where he is represented as trampling on 
ragon. and mailed, with gauntlets on his hands. This is a 
;ice to his designation as " Miles fortissimus " in the legend as 
in the Breviary of Leon, 1516, and in the Rennes Prose of 1492, 
in which he is invoked as " armigere " against the enemies of our 
salvation. On Cardinal More ton's monument in the crypt of Canter- 
burv Cathedral he is also represented, but the figure there has been 
usly mutilated, head and hands have gone. 
Ermyn's Hotel, Westminster, stands on S. Ermyn's Hill. This 
t mentioned in 1496 as S. Armille's, and later on the name is 
ioun.l as Armell, Armen, Ermyne and Armet. There was a chapel 
in the seventeenth century, which is now represented by the 
modern parish church of Christchurch, Westminster. 
For the Bibliography of S. Arthmael, see F. Duine, Saints de la 
, iii, S. Armel, Paris, Le Dault, 1905. 

S. ARTHNEU, or ARTHNE, Confessor 

'HIS Saint's name is inserted in the alphabetical catalogue of tl o 
Welsh Saints in the Myvyrian Archaiology only, 2 but without any 
genealogical particulars. Llanarthney, in the Vale of Towy, Carmar- 

1 ("roukling, The Blanchminster Charity, Lond., 1898. In this it is said that 
:?neday, or Feast of the Saint, was observed at Stratton, but the day is not 

P. 418. 

174 Lives of the British Saints 

thenshire, was probably dedicated to him originally. 1 Rees and 
others give it as dedicated now to S. David. There once existed a 
Capel Dewi in the parish. In the twelfth century Book of Llan Lav 
the parish name is written Lann hardneu. 2 

S. ARYAN, Confessor 

THERE is a church in Monmouthshire bearing this title. In the four- 
teenth century procurations added to the Book of Llan Davit is called 
Ecclesia de Sancto Aruyno. 3 But in 955, this church seems to be that 
spoken of as Ecclesia Sanctorum Jarmen et Febric, 4 to which fled a 
deacon for sanctuary when he had basely murdered a man who was 
binding up his wounded thumb. The circumstances were these. The 
deacon accosted a reaper in a field, and they came to words, when the 
reaper struck at the deacon with his hook and sliced off one of his 
fingers. The deacon begged the man to bind up the wound, and whilst 
the latter was so engaged, he stabbed him to the heart with a knife, and 
then ran to the church for refuge. The relatives of the murdered man 
broke into the church and killed the deacon before the altar. Bishop 
Pater was furious. He summoned a Council, and threatened the King 
with excommunication, unless the culprits were delivered up. King 
Nogui surrendered the six men, and the bishop confined them in prison 
at Llandaff, fast chained for six months, and then only released them 
on condition that they paid a heavy fine in money, and surrendered all 
their possessions to the church. 5 As these lay near S. Arvan's, there 
can exist no doubt that this was the church called that of SS. Jarmen 
jand Febric. Surely this was one of the most iniquitous judgments 
.ever delivered. 

S. ARWYSTL, Confessor 

THE various late genealogies of the Welsh Saints mention three 
Saints of the name of Arwystl, or Arwystli. 

i. Arwystl, or Arwystli Hen ("the Aged"). He is said to have been a 
man from Italy, who came with Bran ab Llyr Llediaith as his confessor 

1 Welsh Saints, p. 329. 2 P. 279, ed. Evans and Rhys. 

3 Book of Llan Ddv, p. 322. 4 Ibid., 219. 

Sinodo judicante diffinitum est ut unusquisque eorumsuum agrum, suam- 
que substantiam insuper et pretium animae suae hoc septem libras ar^cnti 
redderet ecclesiae quam maculaverat." Ibid., p. 220. 

S. Arwystl 175 

(pcriglawr] to the Isle of Britain, to teach the Faith in Christ. 1 Two 
others are said to have accompanied him, Hid and Cyndaf. 2 Arwystl, 
>r Arwystli, is, by many writers now out of date, identified with Aristo- 
bulus, mentioned by S. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, xvi, 10, who, 
in the Greek Menologies, is said to have been ordained bishop by S. Paul 
and sent by him to Britain. 3 But the story has no foundation what- 
, \vr, and the name Arwystl, or Arwystli, cannot possibly be squared 
with Aristobulus. In Mediaeval Welsh it appears as Arguistil, and 
occurs frequently in that form in the Book of Llan Ddv* Arwystl, 
which occurs also as a common Welsh vocable, means a pledge or 

Arwystl, a son of Cunedda Wledig, who in the filth cen- 
tury came from the North with his sons and settled in Wales. 
He is included among the Welsh Saints only once, in a passage 
in the lolo MSS., 5 where it is stated that he " won a district, 
whicli was given him, and he called it after his own name, Arwystli ; 
and he himself is there called Arwystl of Arwystli." The district- 
name is preserved in that of a Rural Deanery in Montgomeryshire. No 
( IHIK lu-s are mentioned as having been dedicated to him ; in fact, 
there is no authority for including him among the Welsh Saints. 

Cunedda list in the document referred to is an unwarranted 

3. Arwystl, or Arwystli Gloff (" the Lame "), whose name is given as 
that of one of the ten sons of Seithenin ab Seithin, " King of Gwyddno's 
Plain, whose land was submerged by the sea ; and they became Saints 
in Bangor Fawr in Maelor, on the banks of the Dee." 6 Arwystl after- 
wards became an inmate of Bardsey Bangor. He married Tywanwedd, 
or Tywynwedd, daughter of Amlawdd Wledig, and by her had seven 
liildren, who were at first saints in Bangor on Dee, and, after its 
ruction, in the Bardsey Bangor. 

Kie country called Gwyddno's Plain is better known as Cantre'r 
elod, or the Bottom Hundred, and is said to form the Cardigan 
of to-day. The story of its submersion is told in its oldest form 
le Black Book of Carmarthen. 7 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 108, 135. 2 Ibid., pp. 100, 115, 135. 

Hadclan and Stubbs, Councils, etc., i, p. 24. 

Seethe ; idexto the edition by Evans and Rhys ; cf. VitaS. Cadoci, Cambro- 

ish Sain's, p. 83. 

lolo MSS., p. 122. Nicolas Roscarrock, from a MS. of E. Powell, priest, 
CUTS. " s. Arwistle, lord of Arwistly, second son of Cunedag, who had eleven or 
t \\.-l\r brothers and one sister, most whereof were patrons in Wales." 

* lolo MSS., pp. 108, 141-2, 145. On p. 124 he is wrongly said to have been 
son of Owain Danwyn. 

Skcne, Four Ancient Books of Wales, ii, p. 59. 

i 7 6 Lives of the British Saints 

In the older genealogies, however, Arwystl is never included as a 
saint, but merely as the father of saints, such as Deifer of Bodfari, 
Teyrnog of Llandyrnog, etc. ; and his name is in them spelt Hawystyl 
and Awystyl Gloff . So his title to saintship cannot stand. 

4. There is one Arwystl, however, who is entitled to saintship 
Arguistil or Arwystl, the disciple of S. Dubricius at Hentland and 
Moccas, and who was consecrated by him bishop. 

He obtained a grant of LannCoitfrom I don, son of Ynyr Gwent, 1 
and there is good reason to suppose that this is Lancaut on the Glouces- 
tershire side of the Wye, occupying a peninsula almost completely 
surrounded by the river. In the time of Idon it was doubtless included 
in the kingdom of Gwent Iscoed. No details are given in the Book of 
Llan Ddv as to its locality. It must have been devastated by the 
Saxons, and then, perhaps, the Church of Llandaff laid claim to another 
Llangoed on the strength of the name. 

Arwystl became associated with S. Teilo ; perhaps, when the Yellow 
Plague broke out, he was one of those who accompanied him to 
Brittany, for we find there a S. Argoestle, in the Diocese of Vannes, 
named in a deed of 1280, patron of a church ; the name has now been 
softened to S. Allouestre. 2 The foundation is not far from the Gildasian 
monastery of the name. 

As nothing was known of the Argoestle from which the parish took 
its name, S. Arnulf, bishop of Metz, has been substituted for him as 
patron. The foundation was made near the old Roman road from 
Corseul to Vannes. 

Probably in 556 Arwystl returned to Wales with S. Teilo, and as 
his church was deserted, the territory depopulated by the plague, he 
seems to have attached himself to Llandaff, for he witnessed several of 
the grants made to S. Teilo. In later times, when the fable had been 
given currency that Dubricius had been the first bishop of Llandaff, 
and when Llandaff laid claims to all the possessions of Dubricius and 
his disciples, then Arwystl was worked into the series of bishops of 
Llandaff. 3 He does not seem to have survived S. Teilo, as his name 
does not occur as a witness during the rule of S. Oudoceus. 

The whole matter of the interpolation of the list of bishops, and of 
the absorption of the Dubricius churches by Llandaff, shall be dealt 
with fully when we come to the Life of Dubricius. 

1 Book of Llan Ddv, p. 166. 

2 Le Mene, Paroisses de Vannes, Vannes, 1894, ^> P- 344- 

3 Book of Llan Ddv, pp. 303, 311. 

S. Asaph 


S. ASAPH, Bishop, Confessor 

>. ASAPH lived during the latter part of the sixth and the beginning 
seventh century. Like SS. David, Deiniol, Samson, and a few 
others of the Welsh Saints, he bore a Biblical name, which assumed 
in Welsh the forms Assaf or Asaf and Assa or Asa. 1 The genealogies 
of the Welsh Saints invariably give his father's name as Sawyl (occa- 
sionally, Sawel) Benuchel, the son of Pabo Post Prydyn, 2 but in the 
\vry early genealogies in Harleian MS. 3859 (compiled apparently in 
tlu- latter part of the tenth century) he appears as " Samuil pennissel 
map Pappo post priten," 3 with the epithet " Penisel " (of the low head) 
for " Penuchel " (of the high head). The later genealogists confounded 
him with the Glamorganshire chieftain (dux), Sawyl Benuchel, described 
in a Triad as one of " the three overbearing ones of the Isle of Brit- 
tany," 4 and who with his men took upon him to annoy S. Cadoc and 
his clerics. 5 They were punished by being all swallowed up by the 
earth, and he could not therefore have been the Sawyl who became 
a saint or monk of Bangor on Dee. 

The following brief genealogical table will be of service : 

S. Pabo Post 


= Gwenasedd 
da. Rhiain 




S. Dunawd 

Dwywai da. 
Gwallog ab 

S. Cerwydd. 

Sawyl BeniseU 

niol, S. Cynwyl. 

. G 

S. Gwarthan. 

Guitcun. S. Asaph. 

Catguallaun Liu. 

S. Asaph's grandfather, Pabo, " the Pillar of Prydyn " (Pictland), 
hailed from the North. Having been worsted by the Gwyddyl Ffichti, 
or Pictish Goidels, he retired into Wales, where he was welcomed by 
Cyngen, king of Powys, who gave him land. He was the father of 
Dunawd, Cerwydd, Sawyl, and Arddun, and from being a king 

1 It was locally pronounced Hassa in the eighteenth century. Willis, Survey 

f^h, 1720, p. 127. Aseph occurs in Welsh pedigrees. 
- Peniarth MSS. 12, 16 and 45 ; Hafod MS. 16 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 417-8; 
i/o MSS., pp. 1 02, 125, 128 ; Cambro-British Saints, p. 266. 
:1 V c \ mmrodor, ix, p. 179. In Peniarth MS. 74 (sixteenth century) he is 
lk-d " Sawl Ben Isel." 
1 M : . Arch., p. 389. 
5 Vita S. Cadoci in Cambro-British Saints, pp. 42-3, where his name occurs 

" Sauuil pennuchel." Another Sawyl Benuchel is mentioned in Geoffrey's 

it. rd. Rhys and Evans, p. 82. 

VOL. I. N 

I 7 8 Lives of the British Saints 

became a religious at his son's (Dunawd) Bangor on the Dee, of which 
Sawyl was also a member. 

S. Asaph's mother was Gwenassedd, or Gwenaseth. 1 The older and 
later pedigrees differ entirely as regards the name of her father. From 
the older genealogies, e.g., in Peniarth MSS. 16 and 45 (thirteenth 
century) and Hafod MS. 16 (c. 1400), we learn that she was the daugh- 
ter of Rhiein (Rhiein Ha el or Rhein) of Rhieinwc ; that is, Rhiain 
{Rhain) or Rhiain Hael of Rhieinwg. The district name means " the 
land of Rhiain " (cf. Morganwg), which shows that he was a person of 
sufficient importance to bestow his name upon a district. Rhieinwg 
or Rheinwg was an ancient name of Dyfed, but it took the name from 
a person who, we know, lived at an earlier period than Gwenassedd's 
lather ; so that here we are confronted with a distinct district, wherever 
it may have been situated. 

This puzzled the later genealogists, and they not only converted 
Rhiain or Rhain into Rhun, but went a step further by identifying this 
Rhun with Rhufawn, son of Cunedda Wledig, who has given name to 
the cantref of Rhufoniog, in Denbighshire, situated on the western side 
of the Elwy of the (ancient) parish of S. Asaph. He is thus noticed 
in the lolo MSS. 2 : 

" Rhufawn, the son of Cunedda Wledig, received the cantref which 
was called after him Rhufoniog ; and he is called Rhufawn of Rhu- 
foniog, and also Rhun Hael of Rhufoniog, because he was the most 
generous man in Wales in his times." 

S. Asaph's nephew, Cadwallon Llyw (or Lliw), may possibly be 
identical with the Cathwallanus of Jocelin's Life of S. Kentigern, 
c. 23, who granted that saint land to found his monastery at 

Jocelin says S. Asaph was " distinguished by birth," and it may be 
observed that he was a nephew of S. Dunawd, founder of Bangor on Dee, 
and a cousin of S. Deiniol, founder and first Bishop of Bangor. He was 
very probably a native of the cantref of Tegeingl in Northern Flintshire 
{represented by the old Deanery of the name, now divided into those 
of S. Asaph and Holywell, with part in that of Mold), for there his 
memory chiefly lingers in the topography. When quite a boy he was 
placed as a disciple under S. Kentigern or Cyndeyrn, the exiled bishop 
of the Britons ol Strathclyde, at his college on the Elwy, founded 
about 560, which had become so famous that " the number of 
those who enlisted in the army of God amounted to 965, who professed 
in act and manner the monastic rule according to the institution of the 
holy man." " Nobles and men of the middle class brought their chil- 

1 In one notice (lolo MSS., p. 125) she is made to be his grandmother, wife 
of Pabo. * P. 122. 

S. Asaph 179 

dren to the Saint to be brought up in the nurture of the Lord." l Here 
he soon became distinguished as the ablest and most popular member. 
There was a Vita Sancti Asaph in the Red Book of 5. Asaph, the 
original of which has long been lost. There is an imperfect transcript of 
the MS., of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in the Episcopal 
Library at S. Asaph, but unfortunately the so-called Life is merely a 
fragment, and what now remains is practically a Life of S. Cyndeyrn. 2 
\Vh;it is told us therein about S. Asaph is very little, and is to be found 
in the involved prologue. The author says : " I have sought, with 
diligent love, the Life of the most glorious Confessor and Pontiff, Asaph, 
our Patron, in various places, in monasteries, cathedrals, and Baptismal 
Churches." He then proceeds to summarise what had been told at 
length in the Life of the Blessed Kentigern about the foundation of 
the See, and supplements it with a little about S. Asaph's election and 
consecration, " the sweetness of his conversation, the symmetry, 

:r, and elegance of his body, the virtues and sanctity of his heart, 
and the manifestation of his miracles." 

There is no clue as to who the hagiographer was, but he was very 
probably one of the cathedral clergy, who lived between the beginning 
<>t tiio twelfth and the beginning of the fourteenth century, and com- 
pilnl the Life (" hoc opusculum," as he describes it), in popular form, 
from various written sources, to demonstrate the sanctity of the two 
Saints, and edify the faithful. It would thus supply the Legenda for 

lint's Day. Possibly it was also intended to support the change 
from Llanelwy or Elvensis to S. Asaph. According to the prologue 
it wa^ compiled, in addition to the various documents in Welsh, out 
of an extant Life in Latin (ex uno libro Latino), which was in all 
probability the "little book of his Life " referred to and quoted from 

celin. The latter, now lost, may have been based upon a Life 
written probably by a disciple of S. Asaph himself. 

Most of what is known about S. Asaph is to be gleaned from the 

of S. Kentigern, especially that by Jocelin, a monk of Furness, 
written about 1180. We are there told that among the brotherhood 

. Ancient Lives of Scottish Saints, translated, p. 232 (Paisley, 1895). 
- Mil- l.ihcr Rubcr Assavcnsis, generally called in Welsh " Coch Asaph," is 
said to have been originally compiled during the episcopate of Dafycld ab Bleddyn, 
as consecrated in 1314 (Willis, S. Asaph, p. 51). See Archceologia Cam- 
cnsis for 1868 for its contents. The Vita covers pp. 42-6. Soon following 
ie prologue " two great leaves " are said to be wanting in the original, and it 
as also imperfect at the end. There is another transcript of the MS. made in 
1602. in the Peniarth Collection (MS. 231), of which considerable use was made 
by Hacldan and Stubbs in their Councils, etc., vol. i. Gwallter Mechain (d. 1849) 
saw the original MS. (imperfect, beginning at p. 53) in the possession of a 
Merionethshire person. 

i 8 o Lives of the British Saints 

at Llaneiwy was "one Asaph by name, distinguished by birth and 
presence, shining in virtues and miracles from the flower of his earliest 
youth. He sought to follow the life and teaching of his master, as may 
be learnt more fully by reading a little .book of his Life, from which 
I have thought fit to insert in this work one miracle, because the 
perfection of the disciple is the glory of the master. For on one occa- 
sion, in the time of winter, when the frost had contracted .and con- 
gealed everything, S. Kentigern, having according to his custom recited 
the Psalter naked in the coldest water, and having after putting on his 
clothes gone out in public, he began to be greatly oppressed by the 
intensity of the cold, and in a measure to become entirely rigid. . . . 
The holy father therefore ordered the boy Asaph to bring fire to him, 
at which he might warm himself. The Lord's child ran to the oven 
and begged that coals might be given him. And when he had nothing 
in which to carry the burning coals, the servant said to him either in 
joke or seriously : ' If thou wish to take the coals, spread out thy 
dress, for 1 have nothing at hand in which thou mayest carry them.' 
The holy boy, fervent in faith, and trusting in the sanctity of the 
master, without hesitating, having gathered up his dress, held it out, 
and received into his lap the live coals, and carrying them to the old 
man cast them forth in his sight from his bosom, without any sign of 
burning or corruption being apparent on his dress. 1 The greatest 
astonishment, therefore, took hold upon all who were present because 
the fire carried in the dress had not in the least burnt combustible 
material. A friendly dispute arose between the father and his holy 
disciple concerning this sign, for the one seemed to maintain his ground 
by assertions to which the other as justly objected. The bishop 
ascribed the working of the sign to the innocence and obedience of the 
holy boy ; the boy asserted that it was done on account of the merits and 
sanctity of the bishop, obeying whose command and trusting in whose 
holiness he had ventured to attempt it. ... S. Kentigern, therefore, 
who up to this time had held the venerable boy Asaph dear and beloved, 
from that day henceforward regarded him as the dearest and best loved 
of all, and as soon as he conveniently could, raised him to holy orders." 2 
When, as the result of the great Battle of Arderydd in 573, Rhydderch 
Hael established himself as the first monarch of the Kingdom of 
Cumbria, he recalled S. Cyndeyrn to resume his ecclesiastical primacy 

1 This was not an uncommon miracle among the Welsh Saints ; cf. the case 
of S. Caffo in the Vita S. Kebii, and that of S. Cadoc in the Vita S. Tathei, 
Catnbro-British Saints, pp. 186, 261. 

2 Metcalfe, ut supra, pp. 234-5. The little known to the Bollandists o! 
S. Asaph is to be found in Acta Sanctorum, Maii, i, p. 82. 

S. Asaph 181 

over that region as Bishop of Glasgow, which he held until his death 
iji (.12. Before leaving Llanelwy he solemnly addressed the brother- 
hood, and, "with the unanimous consent of all, appointed S. Asaph 
, tfovcniment of tlu- monastery, and by petition of the people, 
and by the canonical election of the clergy, successor of his bishopric. 
When the sermon was ended he enthroned S. Asaph in the 

< athrdral seat, and again blessing and bidding them all farewell, he 
unit forth by the North door of the church, because he was going 
forth to combat the northern enemy. When he had gone out that 

was closed, and all who saw or heard of his going out or departure 

iled his absence with great lamentations. Hence the custom 

UP in that church that that door should not be opened except 

,i year, on the festival of S. Asaph, that is, on the Kalends of May, 

\vo reasons. First, in deference to the sanctity of him who had 

forth ; secondly, because thereby was indicated the great grief 

of those who had bewailed his departure. Therefore, on the day of 
,ij.h that door is opened, because when he succeeded the blessed 

Kent ii;nn in the government their mourning was turned into joy. 

I ; n>m that monastery a great part of the brethren, to the number of 
: niK in no wise able or willing, so long as he lived, to live without 

him. went with him. Only 300 remained with S. Asaph." : 
S. ("vndeyrn mu>t be regarded as the first Bishop of Llanelwy, as 

well as the founder of the religious establishment there. Jocelin says 

that " in the church of the monastery he established the Cathedral 

< hair of his bishopric, the diocese of which was the greater part of the 

in country, which by his preaching he won for the Lord." 2 A 

document, some centuries later, printed in the lolo MSS., differs in 

that it makes S. Asaph "the first Bishop in Bangor Assaf." 3 S. 

< "vndeyrn's name has never been associated with the nomenclature of 

either cathedral or diocese, which were originally known, and still are 

b\ Welsh-speaking people, as Llanelwy, " the Church on the Elwy " 

mdaff). 4 The English name S. Asaph (never S. Asaph's) is not 

i to have occurred earlier than the beginning of the twelfth 

century, since which time both names have coexisted. In mediaeval 

documents the bishops of the Diocese are variously styled Episcopi 

lie, id sitfn, pp. 246-7. 

: cf. also the Red Book Vita, p. 45. " Monasterium Sedem 
Cathedralem constituit." 

:l P. u.s. Another, p. 102, says that " his Church is Bangor Asaf." 

In raiK-ni provincia [Tegenia] est Cathedralis ecclesia a nostratibus Lan 
Hgnensis, ab Anglis Assaphensis dicta, inter Cluydam & Elguim fluvios fabri- 
-ata." Humphrey Lhuyd, Commentation Biitannicce Descriptions Fragmen- 
tm, f. 55b (Cologne, 1572). 

I 8 2 Lives of the British Saints 

Elguenses, Eluenses, Lanelvenses, Assaphenses, and Assavenses. S. 
Asaph's fame in time far eclipsed at Llanelwy that of his great master 
Cyndeyrn. The latter was a stranger, and his residence there was but 
short, circa 560-73. The great veneration in which S. Asaph's 
memory came to be held may be well accounted for by his connection 
with the immediate district, his eminent virtues and piety, and, 
possibly, munificent benefactions by his family to Llanelwy ; but what 
must have contributed more than anything else was the fact that the 
cathedral church was the depository of his ashes. That his body in the 
thirteenth century lay there is certain, for in a letter of Edward 
the First, dated probably from Rhuddlan in 1281, proposing the 
translation of the Cathedral Church to Rhuddlan, where it would be 
more secure and better protected, it is said, " sed tanquam ilia quae in 
nullius bonis sunt, praedonum incursibus et latronum insidiis, una 
cum corpore sancti Assaphi gloriosissimi confessoris, subjacent peri- 
culis infmitis." 1 Whether the monastery was elevated or not 
to a Cathedral Church, and the See founded, in S. Cyndeyrn's or S. 
Asaph's time, the latter's name alone has become associated with the 
diocese, the limits of which, at some unknown date, were made conter- 
minous with the principality of Powys. S. Asaph is supposed to have 
been succeeded by S. Tyssilio, but there is no really authentic record 
of the See until 1143, when Gilbert was consecrated bishop by Theo- 
bald of Canterbury. 

The topography of Tegeingl, S. Asaph's probable native canfref, 
presents several places bearing his name. Besides the city name there 
are Llanasa (his Church) ; Pantasa (his Hollow or Glen), in the parish 
of Whitford adjoining, but now in the ecclesiastical parish of Gorsedd ; 
and Ffynnon Asa (his Holy Well), in the parish of Cwm. His name 
is coupled with S. Cyndeyrn's in the dedication of the parish church of 
S. Asaph, which, like most of the Vale of Clwyd churches, consists 
of two equal and parallel aisles, known as " Eglwys Gyndeyrn " 
(north) and " Eglwys Asa " (south), respectively. 2 Llanasa also has 
parallel aisles, which are said to be similarly dedicated. 3 There 
appears to be some uncertainty as regards the dedication of the Cathe- 
dral Church, whether to the two Saints conjointly, or to S. Asaph 
alone. Browne Willis gives it as dedicated to S. Asaph alone, with 
Patronal Festival May I. 4 All the evidence goes to show that S. 

1 Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, etc., i, p. 530 ; Willis, S. Asaph, p. 156. 

2 Willis, 5. Asaph, pp. 20, 126. 

3 Thomas, History of the Diocese of S. Asaph, ist ed., p. 293. Willis, how- 
ever, in his Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 357, gives the church as dedicated to 
S. Asaph alone. So Rees, Welsh Saints, p. 335. 4 Ibid., p. 357. 

S. Asaph 183 

Asaph was regarded as the Patron of the Diocese consequently of its 
Cathedral Church. In his fragmentary Life he is styled, " Glorios- 
i^imus Confessor et Pontifex Asaph Patronus noster." Bishop 
I.I vuvlvn ab Madog of S. Asaph, in his will, dated 1373, says, " Imprimis, 
confisus nu-ritis & precibus Sanctissimi Asaph Episcopi & Confessoris, 
unique mei, lego animam meam Deo," etc. ; l and Bishop Bache 
in his will, dated 1394, commits his soul " Deo & Beato Asapho 

. ssori glorioso & omnibus Sanctis." 2 

There is a modern church dedicated to S. Asaph in Birmingham, 
tin- parish of which was formed in 1868. 

Thnv is a cottage near the village of Rhuallt, in the parish of Tre- 
hion, adjoining that of S. Asaph, which bears the name of Onen 
Asa (S. Asaph's Ash-tree). Within comparatively recent years there 
was a \\vll-known spot in the High Street at S. Asaph where " the 
schoolboys used to shew a mark on a black stone, in a pavement of the 
about the middle of the hill betwixt the two churches, which 
tli. \ said W9S the print of S. Asaph's horse-shoe, when he jumpt with 
him from Onnan-Hassa, which is about two miles off." 3 A similar 
legend appears to have been associated with two other Welsh Saints, 
\: ini.m Fivnhinand Cynllo, forOl Troed March Engan, at Llanengan, 
a ml (>1 Traed March Cynllo, at Llangoedmore, are represented to be 
their horses' hoof-prints. So with Carreg Cam March Arthur (the 
\\ith the impress of the hoof of Arthur's steed), under Moel 
I'amina. 4 With the name Onen Asa may be compared that of 
tin; place-name, still in use, Daniel's (or Deiniol's) Ash, in the parish 
nt Hawarden. Both may have been preaching stations. 

MIIOII Asa is a natural spring remarkable for the great volume 
;t throws up from the limestone rock, and for its extreme 
oldnos. It is considered the second largest well in Wales, next to 
S. \\ iiK'i'iv.l's. and is said to yield no less than seven tons of water per 
minute. The stream, some forty yards from the spring head, turns a 
large mill-wheel, and forms a fine waterfall at Dyserth, about a mile 
and a half from the well. Dr. Johnson, when he paid a visit to the 
waterfall, says that the well was " covered with a building," 5 which 
lias now disappeared ; and Pennant describes it as being in his day 
" inclosed with stone, in a polygonal form." 6 Its water was considered 

1 Willis, S. Asaph, p. 241. 

Ibid., p. 212. S. Asaph is the only .Welsh Cathedral that escaped Norman 
iv-ilrclu\ition. The Cross Keys, now the arms of the See, and suggestive of a 
IVtriiu' (Indication, are a modern blunder for a key and crozier in saltire. 

Ibid., pp. 134-5. * Edward Pugh, Cambria Depicta, p. 11 (London, 1816). 

5 /)!! v ,>/ a Journey into Xorth Wales in the year 1774, p. 77 (London, 1816). 

Touts in Wales, ii, p. 113, ed. 1883. 

184 Lives of the British Saints 

to be beneficial in rheumatic and nervous complaints, and people 
used to bathe in it. In a field belonging to Llechryd, in the parish of 
Llannefydd, is another well called Ffynnon Asa. It forms the source 
of the brook Afon Asa, which runs into the Meirchion, a tributary of 
the Elwy. The field, as " Kae ffynnon Assaphe," is mentioned in an 
indenture dated February 16, 1656. S. Asaph has another Holy Well, 
in the Vale of Conway. In a will dated 1648 mention is made of a 
meadow called " Gweirglodd Ffynnon Asaph," in Erethlyn, in the 
parish of Eglwys Fach, Denbighshire. 1 

The year of S. Asaph's death is generally given as 596, 2 but this is 
manifestly too early. He died on May i, which occurs as his Festival in 
but very few of the Welsh Calendars the lolo MSS. one (from a MS. 
written circa 1500), that in the Welsh Prymer of 1633, and the one pre- 
fixed to Allwydd Paradwys (1670) ; also by Nicolas Roscarrock. 3 In the 
Martyr ology of Aberdeen his Festival is observed on the same day : 
" KT Maii. In Vallia Sancti Aseph discipuli Sancti Kentigerni de quo 
ecclesia cathedralis in eadem prouincia cujus pacientia et vite sanctitudo 
illius regionis incolis viuendi normam egregiam et fidei constantiam 
admonuit." 4 To this it may be added that " the only trace of his 
cultus in Scotland is in the parish of Strath, in the Isle of Skye, in 
which there is a chapel called Asheg. . . . There is no doubt that 
it was primarily dedicated to S. Asaph. . . . Among the excellent 
springs with which this parish abounds one is considered superior tx 
all, and is called Tobar Asheg, or S. Asaph's Well." 5 

A fair, long since discontinued, was held at S. Asaph on his Festival. 
The confirmation of the fair to be held on the vigil, day, and morro^ 
of the Festival of SS. Philip and James was obtained by Bishop 
Dafydd ab Bleddyn in 1321. 6 It was a source of revenue to the Dei 
and Chapter, who received the tolls of the same. Willis adds that the 
regard had to the day in his time " appeared from appointments oi 
payments of money, and other orders relating to usages and custoi 
in this Church (the Cathedral), which commenced on this Festival." 7 

1 Arch. Camb., 1887, p. 158. 

2 E.g., Pennant, supra, ii, p. 128 ; Willis, 5. Asaph, p. 35. 

3 The ist May as his Day is in Wilson's Martyrologie, ist ed. 1608, and 21 
1640. Curiously, not in WTiytford. But he is in the modern Roman Martyrology, 
and Pope Pius IX, by a Rescript, ordered the Sunday following May i to be 
observed as a double of the Second Class. 

4 Forbes, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, p. 130. For his Proper see Dr, 
Stevenson, The Legends and Commemorative Celebrations of S. Kentigern, his 
Friends and Disciples, from the Aberdeen Breviary and the Arbuthnot Missal, 
Edinb., 1874, pp. 24-5. 

5 Forbes, op. cit., p. 271. 

6 Willis, 5. Asaph, pp. 51, 184. 7 Survey of Bangor, p. 339. 


From Fifteenth-Century Glass in Chancel Window, 
Llandyrnog Church, Denbighshire. 

S. Aude 185 

I Despite S. Asaph's eminence as a Welsh Saint, mediaeval Welsh 
erature has but little to say about him. Not so much as one poem 
appears to have been written in his honour. lolo Goch, Owen 
Glyndwr's laureate, mentions him as " Assa Iwyd " (the Blessed), 
and invokes his protection for himself. L Lewis Glyn Cothi, a fifteenth 
century Carmarthenshire bard, also invokes his protection for Caio, 
his natale solitm. In another passage he exclaims, " Myn bagl Assa ! " 
(" By S. Asaph's bacillus or pastoral staff ! ") ; and in another he 
uses the expression " pryd Asa," by 'which the Saint's traditional 
handsomeness is implied. 2 

He is credited with having written " Ordinationes Ecdesice suce, and 
the Life of his master Kentigerne." 3 He very probably did write the 
Life of his master, but it has not come down to us in its original form. 
It may have formed the basis of the Lives by the anonymous monk 
and Jocelin in the twelfth century. The following saying is attributed 
to him, and " would bee often in his mouth "- 

Quicunque verbo Dei adversantur, 
Saluti hominum invident. 4 

He is represented in fifteenth century glass in Llandyrnog church, in 
the Vale of Clwyd. 

S. AUDE, 5 Virgin, Martyr 

THE identification of this virgin Saint presents peculiar difficulties. 
Apparently the Aude or Haude venerated in Leon is the same as the 
twara of the Sherborne Calendar. The name Jutwara or Aud- 
a, is Aed-wyry, or Aed the Virgin, but at Sherborne the Welsh 
e went through modification to suit English mouths. 
The legend of S. Aude in the L6on and Folgoet Breviaries is the 
same with certain small differences as that by John of Tynemouth in 
pgrave's Nova Legenda Angliae, of Jutwara. 

1 Gweithiau lolo Goch, ed. Ashton, pp. 355, 533 (Oswestry, 1896). 

2 Gwaith Lewis Glyn Cothi, pp. 311, 371, 533 (Oxford, 1837). "Bagl Asaf " 
also occurs in a eulogy of Bp. Wm. Hughes (1573-1601) by Wm. Lleyn. 

3 Bp. Godwin, Catalogue of Bishops of England, London, 1615, p. 544. 

" Bale out of Capgraue " (Ibid., ad loc.). The apothegm is quoted by Bp. 
Richard Davies at the end of his Epistle to the Welsh, prefixed to the Welsh New 

(tanu-nt of 1567. It has been put into Welsh thus by some one 
Y neb a ludd ddysgu crefydd, 
Trwy genfigen etyl rybudd. 
The name is from the Welsh Aidd, zeal, warmth, ardour, cognate to the 
h aed, ead, and the Gaelic cud. 

I 8 6 Lives of the British Saints 

Porpius Aurelianus. 

S. Paulus Aurelianus, 
B. of Leon, d. c. 560. 

S. Sativola, 
V.M. at 

S. Wulvella, 
V. Abbess in 

S. Aod or da 

J utwara 

S. Joavan, Ab. Batz, 
B. Leon, d. 554. 

It will be advisable to tell the story as given by the latter, noting 
the differences, and then to point out some curious coincidences which 
link it on to that of Paulus Aurelianus, or Paul of Leon. Jutwara, 
born of noble parents, lost her mother, and her father married again. 
She had a brother named Bana and three sisters, Eadwara, Wilgitha, 
and Sativola. All these sisters were Saints. 

Jutwara grew pale as wax, and her step-mother asked her the cause. 
She replied that she was suffering from pains in her chest. The step- 
mother advised the application of a cream-cheese ; and then told Bana 
a scandalous story affecting his sister ; " atque in argumentum fidei 
interulam puellae a pectore ejus extrahere suadit : dicens earn pro- 
fluente de mamillis lacte madidam fore." 

The young man rushed to find his sister, and meeting her as she 
was returning from church, charged her with incontinence. She was 
staggered at this accusation. " Interulam ejus, ut doctus fuerat, 
extraxit : quam madidam inveniens " in a blind fury, he drew his 
sword and cut off her head. Not only did a fountain spring up on the 
spot, but a great oak grew there as well. After many years the tree 
was overthrown by a gale, and fell against a house that was near, so 
that the branches interfered with exit and entry. The owner of the 
house and his boy set to work to hack the boughs away, when the 
stump, relieved of the burden, righted itself, and carried up the lad who 
was clinging to a branch uncut off. 

According to the Leon version of the story, of which however we 
have only Albert le Grand's arrangement, the name of the father was 
Galonus, presumably a settler from Britain, living at Tremaouezan, 
near Landerneau, in Leon. He had a son Gurguy, and a daughter Aude. 
Gurguy went to the court of Childebert ; and on his return found that 
his father had married again, a lady of good family whom he had met 
in Britain. The step-mother poisoned his mind against his sister, told 
him she had been incontinent, and he rushed to find her, at a well 
washing clothes. He cut off her head, and found her bosom stuffed 
out with milk-curds, which she had purposed giving to the poor. She 
took up her head, walked to the hall, put on her head again, reproached 
her brother, and forthwith died. 



S. Ancle 187 

'11 ic story goes on to relate that Gurguy repented and went off to 
. Paul at Leon and was bidden by him retire as a penance into a forest 
IK ,u Landerneau, and there fast and pray for forty days. The penance 
accomplished, Gurguy returned to S. Paul, who admitted him as a 
monk into his monastery, and finally sent him to be superior to a cell 
IK- had established at Gerber, afterwards called Le Relecq, and changed 
hfe name to Tanguy. 

:i follows a legend of the bringing of the head of S. Matthew to 

Hi it tuny, and the founding by Tanguy and S. Paul of a monastery on 

a headland, the extreme western point of Finistere. This is a gross 

:ronism, as the relics of S. Matthew were not brought to Brittany 

till 830. 1 This episode may accordingly be dismissed. 

What is true is that S. Paul founded the monastery of Gerber, after 

tailed Le Relecq, about 560 on the spot where the final battle 

utfht between Judual and Conmore, usurper of Domnonia, in 555, 

in which Conmore was slain. It acquired its name Le Relecq, or abbatia 

dereliquiis, from the number of bones found about on the battlefield, 

N being the Breton for bones of all sorts, not necessarily of Saints. 2 

ul i^ave Tanguy a dozen monks as his companions. The new 

name imposed on him is derived from Tan, fire, as that of Aude is from 


Now if we look at the Life of S. Paul of Leon, an early document, we 

find that he had as his father one Porphius, 3 and that he came from 

lVmi-( >hen, i.e. Cowbridge, in Glamorgan, and that he had three holy 

the name of one of these was Sicofolla, and he had brothers 

Xotalius and Potolius. 4 

"lla is, we may suspect, the Sativola of the Exeter Calendars, 
>j>ularly called Sidwell. If this be so, then we obtain the names of 
mi's other sisters. It is true, the author of his Life says there were 
ily three that were saints, whereas in the Life of S. Jutwara there 
re tour named. The curious coincidence is that Tanguy in Leon is 

.ted as in close relationship with S. Paul. 
Ka.lwara and Jutwara may be only two forms of the same name 
1-wyry. The sister called, in the Life of S. Jutwara, Wilgitha, is 
>wn in Cornwall and Devon as Wulvella, and she is the reputed 
mdress of Gulval. 

"Chronicon Britannicum," in Dom Morice, Preuves, i, p. 3. 

11 (Abbe), Le livre d'or des Eglises de Bretagne, Nos. 19-20, Les 
1>. 9- 

3 In Achau'r Saint (Cambro -British Saints, p. 270) the name is Pawlpolius, 
inti-d by Rees Pawlpolins. 
Vita, ed. Dom Plaine in Analecta Boll., 1882. 

Lives of the British Saints 

It is possible that Lanteglos by Camelford may have been dedicated 
originally to Jutwara, as Laneast, hard by, is to the sisters Wulvella 
and Sidwell. The church is now supposed to be dedicated to S. 
Julitta. There is a Holy Well, in fair preservation, with remains of a 
chapel at Jut wells, which may be a contraction for Jutwara's or Aod's 
well. The day of the Translation of the body of S. Jutwara from 
Halinstoke to Sherborne Abbey was observed on July 13. Where was 
-)-Halinstoke ? Can it have been Helstone or Helsbury, the former in 
Lanteglos, the latter the stone camp dominating it ? Nicolas 
Roscarrock says that holding her head in her hands, she turned to 
look back on the hill where she had been martyred. 

July 13 was given in the Sherborne Calendar and by Whytford. 
What seems confirmatory of the dedication is that at Camelford in 
Lanteglos parish, a fair is held on July 17 and 18, i.e. within the week 
or octave of the feast of the Translation of S. Jutwara. 

The day of her martyrdom according to Nicolas Roscarrock was 
January 6, but he also gives the day of her translation, July 13. 

The sequence for S. Jutwara's day is in the Sherborne Missal, 
liturgical notes on which have been issued by Dr. Wickham Legg, for 
the S. Paul's Ecclesiological Society, 1896. It recites the incidents 
of her legend. It concludes with the invocation : " Virgo sidus 
puellaris medicina salutaris, salva reos ab amaris, sub mortis nubecula." 
In the Breviary of Leon, 1705, the feast of S. Aude is marked on 
November 28, as a semi-double. Statues of SS. Tanguy and Aude are in 
the chapel near the ruins of the abbey of S. Matthieu, also in the church 
of Kernilis. A statue of S. Aude of the sixteenth century, perhaps 
earlier, is at Guizeny. It is probably she who is represented with a 
scimitar, her sister S. Sidwell is on the next panel but one, at Ashton, 
Devon, on the screen, certainly at Hennock beside S. Sidwell with her 
head in her hands. 

In art she might well be represented holding a cream-cheese, or a 
sword, with an oak tree at her side, if the identification with Jutwara 
be admitted. In Allwydd neu Agoriad Paradwys, 1670, S. Juthwar 
V.M. is inscribed on December 23, but this is borrowed from Wilson's 
English Martyr ologie, 1608, and he puts an asterisk to the insertion to 
show that he had no authority for it. The insertion there was purely 

S. Aude, Virgin, is entered inWhytford's Martiloge,on NovemberiS, 
a slip apparently for November 28. 

From Statue at Guiztny. 

S. Austell 189 

S. AUGULUS, Bishop, Martyr 

AUGULUS, Bishop of London and Martyr, is in the Roman Martyro- 
logy, that of Usuardus, those also of Rhabanus Maurus, Wandelbert of 
I'rum, Ado of Vienne, the thirteenth century Martyrology of Christ- 
church, Canterbury, Arundel MS.. No. 60, also a martyrology written 
between 1220 and 1224, MS. Reg. 2, A. xiii, etc. 1 

Nothing whatever is, however, known of him. The day is February 
- \Vhytford in his Martiloge gives on that day, " In brytayne at 
aii.uust the feest of saynt Agge a martyr and abysshop" ; also Nicolas 

S. AUSTELL, Monk, Confessor 

i: LI. was a disciple of Mevan or Mewan, and accompanied him 

and S. Samson from South Wales. When Samson made a foundation 

at (iolant near Fowey, previous to crossing into Armorica, Austell 

must have been there as well, for he planted his llan where stands now 

tin- beautiful church that bears his name, and hard by that of his 

master. On the tower he is represented as a hermit or pilgrim with 

aff and beads, on the right hand of the Saviour, and on the left is 

nson habited as Archbishop of Dol, in pall with archiepiscopal 


Austell followed Mewan and Samson to Brittany. Mewan was sent 
Samson with a message acrpss the forest of Bracilien to Vannes, 
d on the way Mewan made friends with a settler from Britain, who 
rsuaded him to found a llan near his place, and promised him all 
territory on his death. This was the origin of the famous abbey of 
If fen. 

\Vlu-n Mi-wan was dying Austell stood by with streaming eyes, the 
abbot bade him cease weeping, and not be discouraged, as he 
uld follow him in seven days. Accordingly, seven days after, 
ustt'll was found dead in his bed. 

The brethren knowing the friendship of long standing that existed 
between the two, resolved to lay Austell by his abbot. 
( >n opening the stone coffin, they found that the dead man, whom 
had laid on his back with folded hands over his breast, had moved 
one side so as to allow space for his faithful companion. S. Austell's 

1 lladi'.an and Stubbs, Councils, etc., i, Appendix B., p. 27, et scq. 

i go Lives of the British Saints 

day is June 28. " Septimo die, quod est quarto kalendas Julii in 
pace obdormiens requievit" 1 

Tresveaux in his additions to Lobineau gives the fifteenth century 
Calendar of S. Meen, and this has the commemoration as on the Vth 
calends, or June 27.2 

Gaultier du Mottay quoting the same authority gives June 2g. 3 
Clearly both have misread the original. 

S. Austell (Austolus) does not seem to have founded any churches 
in Brittany ; he was content to be eclipsed by the greater luminary, 
S. Mevan. But in Cornwall he has a church of great beauty. 

According to Sir Harris Nicolas, the Feast of S. Austell was formerly 
kept on Trinity Sunday, but Nicolas Roscarrock, a better authority 
because he wrote in or about 1610, and was a Cornish man, says that 
the Feast was kept on Thursday in Whitsun Week. There is no 
separate Life of this Saint ; all we know of him is from the Life of 
S. Mevan or Mewan. This has been published by Dom Plaine. It is 
subsequent to the tenth century, and is contained in the Analecta 
Bollandiana, tome in" (1884), and is from a MS. that belonged to 
the Abbey of S. Meen, but is now in the Bibliotheque Nationale 
at Paris. 

The death of S. Austell took place about 627. 

Nicolas Roscarrock from local tradition says that " S. Austell and 
S. Meven were great friends, whose parishes joyne." 

S. AVIA, see S. EWE 


BACH AB CARWED or Carwyd was the founder of Eglwys Fach, 
" if the story be true," as the compiler of the alphabetical catalogue in 
the Myvyrian Archaiology adds, 4 the more obvious signification of the 
name being the " small church." The parish is situated partly in 
Denbighshire and partly in Carnarvonshire, and the church is now given 
as dedicated to S. Martin. Bach's name does not occur in any of 
the lolo MSS. lists. Rees 5 places him in the second half of the seventh 

1 Vita Sti. Mevenni, ed. Plaine, p. 16. 

2 Vies des Saints de Bretagne (ed. 1836), tome i, p. xxviii. 

3 " Essai d'Iconographie Bretonne," in Bulletin de la Societe Polym. des Cotes 
du Nord, tome iii, 1857-6. Calendar, p. 353 ; also p. 127. 

4 P. 419. 5 Welsh Saints, p. 306. 

Statue on West Front of Tower, S. Austcll. 

S. Bach i 9 i 

century. He is supposed to have been a Northern chieftain and 
warrior, who, retiring into North Wales, fixed upon this sequestered 
spot, and dedicated the close of his life to religion. According to the 
local tradition the present tower of the church formed his dwelling or 

Edward Lhuyd in his Itinerary of Wales (1698-9) says that Bach 
killed a certain wild beast which was the cause of much annoy- 
ance to the inhabitants on the banks of the Carrog near the church. 
The beast was a kind of wild boar, and they called it Carrog. A little 
aiti-r the slaughter Bach happened to kick the monster's head, but 
through contact with one of its tusks bruised his foot, and died of the 
wound (cf. the case of Diarmait in the Irish legend). Another version 
represents this monstrous boar, which played the part of a mediaeval 
>n, as having been killed by the united action of the inhabitants. 
Tin -re is yet another tradition, which attributes its slaughter to S. Beuno, 
who paid Eglwys Fach a special visit for the purpose. According to 
this, Carrog somewhat resembled a flying serpent , which made its appear- 
in the daytime, kidnapping and eating children. S. Beuno, from 
1 mrch tower, directed an arrow to the tender spot on its throat 
the only vulnerable part on its body and this took fatal effect. There 
is a tumulus, called Bedd Carrog, at Eglwys Fach, which tradition 
points out as the monster's grave. 1 

The word carrog means a brook or torrent, and is the name of 
>me half a dozen streams in Wales. A good number of the Welsh 
river names bear a " swine " signification, or are in some way or another 
associated by legend with swine. 

In the Taxatio of 1291 the church is called " Eglewys Ewach," and 
in the Valor of 1535 the living occurs as " Rectoria de Vach." These, 
-11 as later forms, show that the name is really Eglwys y Fach, 
meaning " the church in the nook or angle," which accurately describes 
its situation in the Conway Valley. If dedicated to a S. Bach, who 
founded it in the seventh century, its name most probably would have 
Uanfach. There is another Eglwys Fach, in Cardiganshire, which 
licated to S. Michael the Archangel. 


1 Lewis Morris, Celtic Remains, pp. 25-26 ; Silvan Evans, Welsh Dictionary.. 
( arrog ; \Villiams, Eminent Welshmen, s.v. Bach ', Bye-Gones for 1896 : 
Willis, Survey of S. Asaph, ed. Edwards, i, p. 284. 

192 Lives of the British Saints 


THERE were two Welsh Saints named Baglan. One was Baglan the 
son of Dingad ab Nudd Hael by Tenoi, the daughter of Lleuddun 
Luyddog of Dinas Eiddyn, i.e. Edinburgh. 1 He was a brother to 
SS. Lleuddad, Eleri, Tegwy, and Tyfriog. They were all saints at 
one time of Llancarfan, and afterwards went with S. Dyfrig to Bardsey. 
Rees places him in the second half of the sixth century. 2 He founded 
Llanfaglan, near Carnarvon, which is now under Llanwnda. He is 
connected in the genealogies with Coed Alun. Llanfaglan is situated 
in Maenor Alun on the Menai Straits, near their southern extremity. 
The church has been wrongly supposed by some, from its name, to be 
dedicated to the Magdalene. Baglan Church in Glamorganshire, is 
sometimes 3 said to have been founded by him, but wrongly we think. 

There is a Welsh proverb now generally quoted in the following 
form, " Ffordd Llanfaglan yr eir i'r nef," " The way of Llanfaglan one 
goes to heaven." In the Red Book of Hergest collection of proverbs 
(apparently its earliest known occurrence) it is written, " Ffordd 
ylanfaglan yd eir y nef." The English equivalent would seem to 
be " None go to heaven on a feather bed." Llanfaglan Church 
is picturesquely situated, surrounded by trees, in the centre of a 
large field washed by the Menai Straits, and there never appears to 
have been any public roadway towards it. It is now practically 
abandoned, a new church, more conveniently situated, having been 
built to replace it. 

Baglan is mentioned in the Life of his brother S. Llawddog or 
Lleuddad (Llanstephan MS. 34), to whom he attached himself, and 
together served God. From it we gather that he was Dingad's 
eldest son. 


THIS saint's father was a prince of Llydaw, or Armorica, of which 
country he was also a native, and for this reason was called Baglan 
Llydaw. He was a brother to SS. Tanwg, Twrog, Tegai, Trillo, 
Fflewin, Gredifael, and Llechid, and all or nearly all of them accom- 
panied S. Cadfan to Bardsey. 4 Rees places him in the first half of the 
sixth century. 5 He founded Baglan Church in Glamorganshire, which 

1 Peniarth MSS. 16 and 45 ; Hafod MS. 16 ; Myv. Arch., pp. 418, 427 ; lolo 
MSS., pp. 103, 113, 139. 

2 Welsh Saints, p. 275. 3 e.g., lolo MSS., p. 103. 

4 Myv. Arch., p. 418 ; lolo MSS., pp. 112, 133, 139. 

5 Welsh Saints, p. 223. 

S. Bag/an 193 

also, but wrongly, been attributed to S. Baglan ab Dingad. Near 
tin- church there is a well " famous for curing rickety children ; 
but, according to the vulgar opinion, only on the three first Thursdays 
in May." l 

Edward Lhuyd, in his Reliquice, has the following note on Baglan 

Church : " Its name from St. Baglan, which tradition says was a disciple 

<t St. Illtud, and one time carried fire in the skirt of his garment from 

.ittwg without singeing it. Illtud seeing, took it for a miracle, 

and jjavi- him a staff with a head of brass (which was preserved a 

! relirk till of late years, which had a wonderful effect upon the 

sick), and said it should guide him to a place where he should find a 

bearing three sorts of fruit, there he should build a church for 

himself. In a short time he came to the place where the church now 

:,d found a tree with a litter of pigs at the root, a hive of bees in 

tin body, and a crow's nest in the top ; but not liking the situation, it 

being on a proclivity, intended to build it at some distance in a level 

plain, but what was built by day fell in the night, and was at last 

1 to take the hilly place where it now is." The present church 

level ground a little below the spot where the old church is 

M mated. He adds, " Under the North part of Mynydd y Ddinas is 

ing, formerly much resorted to by rickety children, and especially 

n tlmr Thursdays in May, Ascension Day to be one of them without 


There is a small brook in the parish called Nant Baglan. 
A place called Carn Baglan, situated somewhere in the neigh- 
bourhood of Tenby, is mentioned in the Book of Llan Ddv* 
In the Celtic Litany of the tenth century, now in the Library of the 
and Chapter of Salisbury, and published by Mr. Warren, 3 occurs 
the name of Bachla, who is invoked. He appears also in the Celtic 
Litany of the same period, published by Mabillon from a Rheims MS. 4 
M. J. Loth supposes him to have been a disciple of S. Winwaloe 
at Landevenec, and that he is honoured as Balag at Penflour near 
Chateaulin. " Bachla," says he, " has given Bala, as Machlow, Malo, 
is Machteth, ' a servant maid,' becomes matez, as Mochdreb has 
become Motreff, near Carhaix." 5 

There is a Ploubalay in Cotes du Nord near Matignon. Of Balay 
thing is known. But in the Cartulary of Landevenec, Bachla is not 

Carlisle, Topographical Dictionary of Wales, 1811, s.r. Baglan. 2 P. 126. 

Celtique, 1888. p. 88. * Vetera Analecta, ed. 1723, it p. 669. 

Kente Celtique, 1890, p. 138. 
Vol. .. 

i 94 Lives of the British Saints 

the form of name given to the pupil of S. Winwalos but Biabil. 1 He- 
lived an eremitical life, and as many miracles attested his merits, he 
was regarded as a saint. 

Bachla cannot be identified with Biabil, he is more probably the 
Baglan ab Ithel Hael, who, having come from Armorica, may have 
returned to it. 


S. BANHADLEN was the daughter of Cynyr of Caer Gawch, 2 by, accord- 
ing to Rees, 3 Mechell, daughter of Brychan, his first wife. This state- 
ment is made apparently on the authority of Owen Pughe's Cambrian 
Biography ; 4 but it is quite wrong. In the Vespasian Cognatio we 
have this entry, " Marchel filia Brachan uxor Gurind barmbtruch de 
Merionyth." From this we learn that Marchell (not Mechell) was the 
wife of Gwrin Farfdrwch, of Meirionydd, a descendant of Cunedda 
Wledig, 5 and a totally different person from Cynyr of Caer Gawch. 

Banhadlen became the wife of Dirdan, " a nobleman of Italy," 
also reckoned among the Saints, 6 and was the mother of S. Ailbe. Her 
name is sometimes wrongly given as Danadlwen. No churches are 
dedicated to her, nor is her Festival known. As a common noun 
banhadlen means the broom. 

S. BAR, see S. FINBAR 

S. BARRUC, Monk, Confessor 

CRESSY in his Church History of Brittany, Rouen, 1668, says, " Baruck r 
a Hermit, whose memory is celebrated in the Province of the Silures and 
Region of Glamorgan. He lyes buried in the Isle of Barry, which took 
its name from him," and he adds, " In our Martyrologe this Holy 
Hermit Baruck is said to have sprung from the Noble Blood of the 
Brittains, and entering into a solitary strict course of life, he at this 
time (A.D. 700) attained to a life immortal!.' ' 

Cressy's dates are set down, like those of Albert le Grand, very 

1 Cart, de Landevenec, Rennes, 1888, p. 159. " Fuerunt duo ex discipulis 
sancti Uningualoei in pago Enfou in ploe Ermeliac, nomina eorumsanctus Bia- 
bilius et sanctus Martinus, jussu abbatis sui degentes vitam heremicam, et in 
finein Claris miraculis sancti effecti." 

2 Tolb MSS., pp. 107, 146. 

3 Welsh Saints, p. 162, cf. p. 147. 4 P. 241. 
5 See also the O. Welsh genealogies in Harl. MS. 3859. 

8 lolo MSS., p. 314. 

S. Bar rue i g 5 

arbitrarily. Bairn. i> tin -monk o! that name who was a disciple of 

t\vtf. ami \vlin is nu-iitioned in the Vitu S. Cadoci. 1 
" It happened that the blessed Cadoc on a certain day sailed with 
two ot In- <li-ciple-, namely Harruc and (iiialehes, from the island ot 
;,!. which is now called Holme, to another island named Barry. 
When, therefore, he prosperously landed in the harbour, he asked his 
-aid .li-nple- for his Enchiridion, that is to say, his manual book ; and 
they < onle-si .1 that they had lost it through forget fulness, in the afore- 
suid inland. On hearing this, he at once commanded them to go 
aboard a ship, and row back to recover the codex, and blazing with 
fury broke into the following invective, saying, ' Go, and never 
nn ! Then the disciples, making no delay, at the command ol 
then master quickly entered the boat, and rowed out to the afore- 
mentioned i>land. When, having recovered the volume, they were on 
ther k about midnmrse. and were seen in midsea by the man 

-I MI tint; on top ot a hill in Harry, the boat unexpectedly upset, 
and they were drowned. 

body of Barme bein cast by the tide on the shore of Barry, 

\\.i- there found, and was buried in that island, which bears his name 

t" ti lay. Hut the body of the other, that is to say, Gualehes, 

t by the sea to the Isle of Echni and was there buried." The 

:>1,1 j- not to the credit of Catwg, but his curse is an after 

invention. Naturally he wanted his book back, and would not ill-wish 

the men who were to recover it for him ; but the writer of the Life, to 

enhance tin- - n-dit of his hero, as he thought, made him predoom the 

.hath, that the accident might seem to be a fulfilment 

ot hi- word. 

: i.ind is an islet about a mile and a half in circumference, 

-itu.ited in a hay. and separated from the mainland by a narrow 

isthmus, which at low water is dry. It is treated as being in the parish of 

posite, which is said to have taken its name from it. Barry, 

a t iny village, is now celebrated for its extensive docks. 

In Norman times William de Barri founded the Castle of Barry on the 

island, and from him was descended Giraldus de Barri, better known as 

(iiraldus Camhrensk Leland, writing of the island, says, "Ther is 

in the midle of it a fair litle Chapel of S. Barrok, wher much Pilgrimage 

usid. 1 There are no traces of it now to be seen. The hermit 

been buried in it. Towards the south of the island, at 

1 Cambro-British Saints, pp. 63-4. 

" Hnjuscemodi invectionem in cos cum furore inurens, inquit : Itc nunquam 
ivditurus." Vita S. Cadoci, Cambro-British Saints, p. 63. 
3 I tin., iv, f. 62. 

1 9 6 Lives of the British Saints 

a spot called Nell's Point, is the saint's holy well, once much resorted to. 
Great numbers of women visited it on Ascension Day, and having 
washed their eyes with its water, each would drop a pin into it. As 
many as a pintful were once found on cleaning the well out. 

In the Vita S. Cadoci (written in the early thirteenth century), 
already quoted, the island is said to have been so called from 
S. Barruc. Its name occurs there as Barren. 1 

The lolo MSS. credit S. Barrwg with having founded Barri and 
Penmark, 2 in Glamorganshire. The parish church of Barry is now 
dedicated to S. Nicholas, and Penmark to S. Mary. Rees 3 adds 
Bedwas, in Monmouthshire, but see the next notice. There is a 
Ffynnon Farrwg near the church there. 

Cum Barruc = Cenubia, in the Valley Dore, Herefordshire, is 
mentioned several times in the Book of Llan Ddv. It was probably 
identical with Lann Cerniu. 

His Festival in the Calendar in Cotton MS. Vesp. A. xiv, is on Sep- 
tember 27 ; on which day he is also given by Wilson in both editions 
of his Mariyrologie, 1608 and 1640, also by Nicolas Roscarrock, but 
in the Calendar prefixed to Allwydd Paradwys, 1670, November 29. 
Browne Willis gives September 26. 

The Irish abbot Barri, mentioned in the Life of S. David as having 
ridden S. David's favourite horse across the sea from Pembrokeshire 
to Ireland, is Finbar. They have been wrongly identified by some 

S. BEDWAS, Confessor 

BEDWAS was one of the twelve sons of Helig ab Glannog, of Tyno 
Helig, whose lands the sea overwhelmed. The Lavan Sands of to-day 
form a portion of the territory, on losing which Helig and his sons 
devoted themselves to religion and became saints, or monks, in Bangor 
on Dee. Some of them afterwards went to Bardsey. 4 Rees 5 classes 
him with the saints of the middle of the seventh century. He 
may, if he ever existed, have been the original founder of Bedwas, 
in Monmouthshire. Browne Willis, Coxe, Rees and others ascribe it to 
S. Barrwg, and the lolo MSS. to S. Tewdrig. 6 

In the Book of Llan Ddv 7 a brook called Betguos or Betgues is men- 
tioned as forming the boundary of, apparently, Llangoven, Monmouth- 
shire, on the further side of the county. Betgues would yield later 
Bedwes, which also occurs for Bedwas. 

1 Pp. 45, 63-4 ; Barren in MS., and not Barreu. 

P. 220. 3 Welsh Saints, p. 342. 

* lolo MSS., p. 124. 5 Welsh Saints, p. 302. P. 148. ' P. jo;. 

S. Be/ems 197 

S. BEDWINI or BEDWIN, Bishop, Confessor 

H.\v this bishop ( aim- to be reckoned among the Welsh Saints it is 
ult to say. Hi- name does not occur in any of the usual genealo- 
nor does he appear to have been connected in any special manner 
\\ itli Wales. In the references t he-re are to him in Welsh literature he 
i- 1 with Kin^ Arthur, and generally with Cornwall. "The 

U ..f. Aithui -amlhis Men "state that t here were Three Throne-tribes 
eol Britain. Tin- one at Celliwig, now Callington, in Cornwall, 
had Arthur as supreme kin.u. Bishop Bedwini as chief bishop, and 
hfras as chief elder. Another Triad makes Celliwig one 
of the three archbishoprics ot Britain.- o\ vr which Bedwini presided as 
bishop. Hi> name occurs again in two of the Mabinogion tales 
in that ot ( ulhwch and Olwen (as Bedwini). where he is mentioned as 
the one " who bK-ssed Arthur's meat and drink," and in the Dream Of 
Rhonabwy (as Bedwim. :t In these tales Arthur figures as the Cham- 
pion ot Britain, and the persons among whom the bishop appears are 

mythological as could well be. 
On. '..I the >l Sa\m^,t the Wise " is attributed to this Saint thus : 

H.i^t th. ni tin- saving of Bechvini, 
Who \\,i> a bishop. jjcHxl and K'ravc ? 

i thy \\unl ln-forr uttering it." * 
(Khagrcithi.i 'th ,m cyn noi ddodi.) 

as a Badwin, Badwini, or Bedwin, first Bishop (673-^0) of 
the East An-han M of Klmham, now included in that of Norwich, 5 
hut troin Norwich to Callington is a far cry. 

flien- are no churches dedicated to this saint, nor is his festival 

S. BELERUS. Confessor 

41 \\v read: "The religious foundation of 

th.- Kmpnor Tewdws (Theodosius) and ("vstennin of Llydaw was 
i Illtv.l. when- Belerus. a man from Rome, was superintendent, 
and Padrig, the son oi Mat won, principal, before he was carried away 
caj)tivc by the Irish." The college mentioned is that of Caerworgorn, 
which was also called Cor Tewdws. 

nly Theodosius who was in Britain was he who was sent thither 
Valentinian. then at Amiens, against the Picts and Scots. 

Skl ' ; it-nt liks. -.]>.4V,; M\ ,-. Arch., p. 407. 

< Rhys ami Hvun-v M.ihinogion. pp. 112, 148. 
triplet occur-, in a slightly different form in Myv. 

Jit. Early English Chinch ///</,.v ,;nl ,!.. p. age : Ha.l.iau ami Stubbs, 
Council^, ni. p. 

i g 8 Lives of the British Saints 

He was beheaded in Africa in 370. His son Theodosius the Great 
was Emperor along with Gratian, 379, sole Emperor, 392, and died 
395. His grandson Theodosius II was Emperor of the West, 423-425. 
The last of these is probably meant, and Cystennin is Constantine, who 
was proclaimed in Britain 433, and who reigned till 443. The found- 
ation of Caer Worgorn accordingly took place between 423 and 443. 

The foundation of a college in Britain is by no means as improbable 
as appears at first sight. One of the first cares of Agricola after he had 
pacified Britain was to establish schools for the education of the young 
sons of the chiefs in the liberal arts. " He affected," says Tacitus, 
" to prefer the national spirit of the Britons to the acquired talents of 
the Gauls ; so that their people, who refused at first to speak the 
language of the Romans, soon became eager to acquire their 
eloquence." * There was an university at Autun in Gaul as early 
as the reign of Tiberius ; later there were others at Rheims, 
Toulouse and Treves. Gaul produced from its schools the great 
rhetoricians Votienus Montanus at Narbonne, Domitius Afer at 
Nimes, Julius Africanus at Saintes. 

In 425 Theodosius II founded the university of Constantinople with 
thirty professors, three rhetors, ten Latin grammarians, five Greek 
rhetors and ten Greek grammarians, a philosopher and two legal 
professors (Cod. Theodos., xiv, 9, 3 ; xv, i, 53). The law was signed 
by Valentinian III as well as by Theodosius. Whether the same was 
done in the West we do not know. This was the final act in the 
regulation and organization of public education in the Empire. 2 

With the schools so extensively developed in Gaul, it is inconceivable 
that they should not also have been established and encouraged 
in Britain. And that Theodosius and Valerian should have done 
something towards this is conceivable enough. 

A good deal of discredit has been cast on the lolo MSS., perhaps 
undeservedly. lolo Morganwg was a stonemason, and most assuredly 
knew nothing of the imperial system of education in the colonies. He 
cannot have imagined the statement above quoted. The MSS. he 
copied were in most cases late, but he was a faithful transcriber on the 

We are disposed to accept the tradition that Caer Worgorn was a 
school not founded but favoured by the Emperors Theodosius and 
Valentinian, and encouraged by the tyrant Constantine. 

Belerus, " a man from Rome," has been thought to have been 
Palladius ; but this is phonetically impossible. But as Palladius was 

1 Agricola, 21. 

2 Boissier, La Fin du Paganism, Paris, 1891, i, pp. 172-231. 

.S'. Belerus 199 

ither born in Britain, or brought into close relation with it, we may 
here give an account of him. 

A Palladium was " magister officiorum " at the time of Julian's entry 
into Constantinople, after the death of his cousin and predecessor 
' "Jisiantmv. ;0i. One of Julian's first measures was to send a com- 
mission to ( alcedon, to try a number of persons implicated in the 
nt civil war. Among these was Palladius, and the judges banished 
liim \<> Britain. on the suspicion of his having prejudiced Constantius 
ins1 Julian's half brother, Gallus, and thus having been the occasion 
ol tin- death ot this young prince. 1 Julian perished in 363, when prob- 
ably Palladius was recalled but it is possible that he may have married 
and settled in Britain, and that there was born Palladius, who was to be 
tin- t:iM mi innary sent to Ireland. We cannot, of course, offer more 
than the conjecture that this latter Palladius was the son of the Master 
<! the Offices, banished to Britain, but it would seem not improbable, 
and would explain his lively interest in British affairs. 2 

At what tune he went to Rome we know not, but we find him urging 
-tine to send Germanus and Lupus to Britain, to encounter 
the Pelagians. Thi> was in 429.' But if he be the Belerus of Welsh tra- 
dition. he mu>t have been before this appointed head of Caer Worgorn, 
Mij)jH)xin- Midi a college to have existed before 423. His abandonment 
"t this monastic college was perhaps due to the Irish marauders who 
attacked and destroyed it. 

The next notice we have of Palladius is of his mission to Ireland. 
Prosper <>t Aquitaine in his Chronicle, under 431, says : " Palladius 
d by Pope Celestine, and sent by him to the Scots who 
ve<l in (bust, as their first Bishop." 

1 hat there were some scattered believers in Ireland at this time is 
than probable. Indeed it would be strange if it had not been so, 
vas the intercourse between Ireland and Britain and the 

lll( \nnn!>h. written before 700, says : " Verily indeed was 

;////,*. lib. ii. cap . ;. /oMinus. Hist., lib. ii, cap. ;;. 
onnexion is luggested bv Slu-arman, Loca Patriciana, p. 403. "~Arch- 
her quotes an ancient authority to the effect that Palladius was a 


l.< P.-hi-Mims Srvt-riani episcopi Pelagian! filius ecclesias Britannia? 

manual. one corrumpit. Sed ad actionem Palladii diaconi papa 

^tmiix (MTinanum \uti.sidon-nsem episcopum vice sua mittit et deturbatis 

teanoi a,l catholicum fidem dirigit." In the Book of Armagh, 

Una converted into Archdeacon of Ccclestine. For this there is no 

-Mu.rchu lurthrr saya that " Palladius was sent ad hanc insulam 

Mam, which a a garbling of tlu- words of ProsTxr, who savsthat Palla- 

Inis wai M-nt tn tbOM in Ir.-lan.l " L.-lirvm- in Chrwt " 

2OO Lives of the British Saints 

Palladius the Archdeacon of Celestine Pope, Bishop of the city of Rome, 
who then held the Apostolic See, the forty-fifth in succession from S. 
Peter the Apostle. This Palladius was ordained and sent to convert 
this island, lying under wintry cold. But God hindered him, for no 
one can receive anything from earth unless it were given him from 
heaven ; for neither did those fierce and savage men receive his doctrine 
readily, nor did he himself wish to spend time in a land not his own ; 
but he returned to him who sent him. On his return hence, however, 
after his first passage of the sea, having begun his land journey, he 
died in the territories of the Britons." 

The Second Life of S. Patrick in Colgan's Trias Thaumaturga gives 
some additional details. 

" The most blessed Pope Celestine ordained bishop an archdeacon 
of the Roman Church named Palladius, and sent him to the island of 
Hibernia, after having committed to him the relics of the blessed 
Peter and Paul and other Saints, and having also given him the volumes 
of the Old and New Testaments. Palladius, entering the land of the 
Scots, arrived at the territory of the men of Leinster, where Nathi mac 
Garchon was the chief, who opposed him. Others, however, whom 
the Divine mercy had disposed towards the worship of God, having 
been baptized in the name of the Sacred Trinity, the blessed Palladius 
built three churches in the same district, one of which he called Collfine, 
in which, even to the present day, he left his books which he had 
received from Celestine, and the box of relics of the blessed Peter and 
Paul and other saints, and the tablets on which he used to write, which 
in Scottish are called from his name Pall-ere or Pallao-ere, that is the 
Burden of Palladius, and are held in veneration. 

"Another, to wit, Tech-na-Roman (the House of the Romans) ; and 
the third Domnach Ardech, or Aracha, in which are (buried) the holy 
men of the family of Palladius, Silvester and Salonius, who are 
honoured there. After a short time Palladius died in the plains of 
Girgin, in a place called Fordun, but others say that he was crowned 
with martyrdom there." 

The Fourth Life, after giving much the same account up to the burial 
of Silvester and Salonius, adds : " But Palladius seeing that he could 
not do much good there, wishing to return to Rome, migrated to the 
Lord in the region of the Picts. Others, however, say that he was 
crowned with martyrdom in Hibernia." 

Fuller particulars as to his departure are given in the Scholia to the 
hymn attributed to S. Fiacc of Stetty, but which is considerably later. 

" He (Palladius) founded some churches, viz., Teach-na-Roman, 
Killfme, and others. Nevertheless he was not well received bv the 

S. Be/erus 201 

people, but was forced to go round the coast of Ireland towards the 
north, until, driv.-n l.y a great tempest, he reached the extreme part of 
Mohaidh toward- the south, where he founded the church of Fordun. 
I'ledi jx ln> name there." 

In tin- Irish original version it is said that he reached Cen Airthir, 
and Dr. Todd SOggCSts that this is Kinnaird Head, on the north-east 

<>t Aberdeen-lmv. 

The Scottish versions are entirely untrustworthy, they do not date 
Lack rail H r than the fourteenth century. 

Dr. Todd lias shown pretty conclusively that, in the later lives of 
S, I '.i trick, a fusion has taken place between the acts of the great 
apostle and a lo>t Lite of Palladius. 

In tlu- .uenuiiu- early records of S. Patrick, as in his own Confession, 

there is no mention of his having been a disciple of S. Germanus, nor 

ot his .ommission by Pope Celestine, all this belongs to the earlier 

'ie Palladia, who. as we learn from Tirechan, 1 was also named 

I'atririus. at the time a common name. 2 

Proie .,r Zimmer 3 has suggested that Palladius is but the Latin 

ot the name Sucat attributed to S. Patrick. Muirchu mac 

Ma< htheni. who wrote shortly before 698, says : " Patricius, who was 

liet.ot British nationality, was born in the British Isles." 4 

JrMi hymn ot S. Fiacc, states that Patrick when a child was 

nam< and in a gloss on the passage there is the note that the 

num. tixh. ; ,nd meant dens belli vel fortis belli, because su in 

rtis, and cut = helium.* 

" Tim- says /immer, " Palladius is a Roman rendering of the 

.-til us. . . . Sucat either changed his name himself on his 

journey to Italy, or, what is more in accord with his scanty education, 

IK made ti lends select for him a Roman equivalent for the British 

Professor Zimmer identifies Palladius with the Patrick of the 

Conit-xjMiiN and" Letter to Coroticus," which we consider a position 

wholly untenable/ 1 \\V would rather suggest that in Britain Patri- 

1 "Palladius -pi-co|.u- j>riino mittitur, qui Patricius alio nomine appella- 

1 Gibbon s.iys, " 'I'll.- in. -an. -t Mibjccts of the Roman Empire " (at the close 
of the fifth century) " assumed the illustrious name of Patricius, which by the 
;Mon of Ireland has been communicated to a whole nation." Decline 
and Fall, viii, p. 300. c-d. Milman and Smith. 

3 The Celtic Church in ttritain and Ireland, tr. A. Meyer London, 1902, pp. 

4 Tripartite Life, < ii. p. 494. & Ibid., ii, p. 412. 

8 Dr. Zimmer's Thesis has met with a crushing rejoinder from the pen of 
)fessot Hugh \Yilliams, Zeitschrift fur Celtische Philologie, iv (1903). 

2 o 2 Lives of the British Saints 

cius bore both names, his Latin and his vernacular name, and that 
later in life, and when he left Britain, he ceased to be known by the 
name of Sucat. 

Let us endeavour, following Dr. Todd, to reconstruct the history of 
S. Palladius. 

Prosper of Aquitaine in his Chronicle, under 429, says that " Agricola 
son of Severianus, a Pelagian bishop, corrupted the churches of 
Britannia by insinuation of his doctrine ; but by the instrumentality of 
the deacon Palladius (ad actionem Palladii diaconi), Pope Celestinus 
sends Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, in his own stead (vice sua) to 
displace the heretics and direct the Britons to the Catholic Faith." 
And in the year next but one following, i.e., 431, " Palladius was 
consecrated by Pope Celestinus, and sent to the Scots believing in 
Christ, as their first bishop." 

Commenting on the first passage, it deserves remark that Palladius 
is not called a deacon of the Roman Church, and we should infer that 
he was the deacon of Germanus. What is probable is, that Germanus, 
having been chosen by the bishops of Gaul to go to Britain, sent his 
deacon to announce this to Celestine, and to ask his blessing on the 

The expedition of Germanus and Lupus to Britain lasted only one 
year, and they returned to Gaul. 

In the third year, 431, Celestine ordained Palladius bishop to those 
of the Scots, i.e. Irish, who already believed in Christ. Palladius then 
went, as we may presume, to Wales and crossed over from Porth Mawr 
to the Hy Garchon territory in Wicklow, where he founded three 
churches, but being much opposed by Nathi mac Garchon, the chief, 
he was obliged to leave. Nathi was of the Dalmessincorb family. 

" It is possible," says Professor Bury, " that we may seek the site 
of a little house for praying, built by him or his disciples, on a high 
wooded hill that rises sheer enough on the left bank of the River Avoca, 
close to a long slanting hollow, down which, over grass and bushes, the 
eye catches the glimmer of the stream winding in the vale below, and 
rises beyond to the higher hills which bound the horizon. Here may 
have been the ' House of the Romans,' Tech na Roman ; and Tigrency, 
the shape in which this name is concealed, may be a memorial of the 
first missioners of Rome. But further west, beyond the hills, we can 
determine with less uncertainty another place which tradition associates 
with the activity of Palladius, in the neighbourhood of one of the royal 
seats of the lords of Leinster. From the high rath of Dunlavin those 
kings had a wide survey of their realm. . . . More than a league 
eastward from this fortress Palladius is said to have founded a church 

S. Belerus 203 

which is known as the ' domnach ' of the High field, Domnach Airte, 
m ;i hilly region which is strewn with the remnants of ancient genera- 
tions. The original church of this place has long since vanished, and 
its precise site cannot be guessed with certainty, but it gave a perma- 
nent name to the place. At Donard we feel with some assurance that 
:! at one of the earliest homes of the Christian faith in Ireland, 
not tin earliest that existed, but the earliest to which we can give a 

"There was a third church, seemingly the most important which 
Palladium is said to have iminded, Cell Fine, ' the Church of the Tribes/ 
in which hi> tablets and certain books and relics which he had brought 
irom Rome were preserved. Here, and perhaps only here, in the 
plan-, unknown to us, where his relics lay, was preserved the memory 
dladius. a mere name. Whatever his qualities may have been 
he was too short a time in Ireland to have produced a permanent 
impression." ' 

Mrpartm- irom tin south of Ireland by boat, Palladius proceeded 

north with the intent to visit I'lstei , but, according to one account, 

Irivi n by a ^torm to the coasts of Alba and died there. But, as 

Professor Bury has pointed out, it is more probable that Palladius did 

the Pi.-ts iii Palaradi.i. and that it was there that he died; not, 

indeed, that tie was there martyred, but that he fell sick and died a 

natural death. 

When the later compilers ot the Life of S. Patrick fused but very 

clumsily the two Patricks into one, they reproduced the story of the 

in- into Wicklou and the ill reception met with there, and the 

Mibsequent boating north to Ulster; but Patrick was made to land 

th-re. where -as they fabled that Palladius had been driven east to Alba. 

On the death of Palladius, his companions, Augustine and Benedict 
returned to their homo, and brought the news of the event to Ebronia 
a- J-.boi ia, where S. Patrick heard of the failure of the mission. There 
difficulty in locating this place, all that we can say with confidence 
about it is that it was in Gaul. Palladius is commemorated on July 6 
in the Arbuthnot and Aberdeen Calendars. He is unnoticed in 
the Irish Ma it vrologies. It must be clearly understood that the 
identification of Palladius and Belerus is most uncertain, and is not a 
little tanta<ti'\ 

1 Bury, Life of 5. Patrick, I.on.!.. 1.^,5, pp. 56-7. 

204 Lives of the British Saints 

S. BELYAU, Virgin 

As Mr. Egerton Phillimore has shown, 1 the Breconshire Church 
Llanvillo, in Welsh Llanfilo, clearly took its name from and is really 
dedicated to Belyau, who was, according to the Cognalio of Cott. Vesp. 
A. xiv, one of the daughters of Brychan Brycheiniog. The church is 
usually given as dedicated to S. Milburgh, but this is a mere guess. 
It is called in ancient charters Lanbilio and Lanbiliou. Belyau was 
one of Brychan's unmarried daughters. 

S. BEON or BENIGNUS, Confessor 

AT Glastonbury in 1091 was elevated and translated the body of a 
hermit named Beon, who had been buried in the cell he had inhabited 
in the Isle of Feringmere in the Marshes. 

As the Glastonbury monks desired to make the most of their place 
and of the relics they possessed, besides pretending to have there the 
tomb of King Arthur, they claimed to have also the bodies of 
S. Patrick, S. David, and Gildas, and they converted the Irish settler 
Beon into Benignus, archbishop of Armagh and successor to S. Patrick. 

On the occasion of the Translation they had an epitaph inscribed 
on his tomb, which they pretended had covered him in Feringmere. 

William of Malmesbury, who informs us of this in his book on the 
Antiquities of Glastonbury, says : " In the year 460 Saint Benignus 
came to Glastonbury. He was disciple of S. Patrick, and his third 
successor in the episcopate, as is recorded in their Acts. Benignus, by 
the counsel of an Angel, leaving his country and pontificate and aban- 
doning his dignity, having undertaken a voluntary pilgrimage arrived 
at Glastonbury, God being his guide ; and there he encountered S. 
Patrick. Of how great favour he was in with God is manifested by 
many tokens. This is testified at Feringmere, where a spring rose at 
his prayers, and a great flourishing tree grew out of his dry staff. Here, 
finally, after great anguish he came to a blessed end, in the said island, 
and there rested till the days of William Rufus, when he was translated 
to Glastonbury." 

The Life of S. Beon or Benignus was written by William of Malmes- 
bury, and this formed the substance of a Life by John of Tynemouth, 

1 See his note in Owen, Pembrokeshire, iii, p. 325. 

S. Beon 205 

printed in Capgrave's Nova Legenda Anglice. According to this, 
Benignus, after having spent many years in Ireland as a bishop, at 
t he summons of an angel departed on pilgrimage, and came to Glaston- 
bury where he found S. Patrick, 1 who said to him : " Go, my brother, 
content with your staff, and wheresoever it begins to bud, leaf and 
bloom, there abide, it is ordained for your resting place." 

Thru Brnignus, attended by a boy, Pincius,\vent through the marsh 
and willow tangled waste, till they came to an islet or toft in the marsh 
< ailed Ferramere, and there his rod rooted itself and put forth leaves. 
At tli;it time " the river which now flows by it," took another course, 
and Benignus had to send his boy Pinch some distance for water. 

One day Pinch was bringing a pitcherful ; the weather was hot, and 

he lay down half-way and fell asleep. Whilst he snored a mischievous 

trllnw stole the pitcher. Pinch awoke, and when he found the vessel 

. set up a howl, and presently, laughing, the practical joker showed 

nd restored it. Pinch took the pitcher to his master and told 

him that the Devil had played him a trick, but had surrendered the 

vessel when he cried out to the God of Benignus. 

The hermit, compassionating the labour imposed on Pinch, thrust 

^taff into the soil and elicited a copious spring. Benignus was 

wont at nielli to walk along a causeway he had constructed to Glaston- 

bury to pray there in the church of S. Mary. One night he found his 

passage obstructed by a monstrous form. He addressed it in these 

' You bloody beast ! 2 what are you doing here ? " The 

lemon replied : " I have been awaiting you, you toothless old man, 

hoping to deceive you." Thereupon Benignus went at him manfully, 

ht him by the scruff of the neck, belaboured him with his staff, and 

flung him into a well probably a mere hard by, where he sank and 

never again seen, and this well or mere was held to be bottomless. 

There can be little doubt that this was a practical joke played on the 

old fellow and it turned out badly for the performer. When he felt 

'hat his time was come, Benignus summoned his disciples to him and 

announced to them that his hour was at hand ; then raising his eyes 

to heaven, he expired in their arms on November 3. 

In the year 1091, his body was translated to Glastonbury, where 
persons troubled with intestinal worms, threw them up in the 
of the congregation. 3 

" Glastoniam vrnu-Ms, sanctum Patricium invenit," Vit. apud Capgrave ; 
" Glastoniam Deo duce pcrvenit ; ubi et sanctum Patricium invenit," Gulielm. 


" Cruenta bestia 

" Plurimi etiam colubros et diversa dolorum genera visceribus habentes, 
palam, vidente populo, evomuerunt." 

206 Lives of the British Saints 

One of the brethren at Glastonbury, who was ill of a fever, \vas 
sceptical, and when advised to invoke the newly translated saint, 
replied : " It can do no harm, if it does me no good." l 

In the night Benignus visited him, in a paroxysm of wrath at his 
slighting expression, and soundly boxed his ears. 2 At the same time 
he informed the sceptic that one of the brethren had stolen one of his 
(the Saint's) teeth, and that he would serve him worse unless it were 
restored. This threat when reported produced the required effect. 

As the name given to the anchorite on his tomb was Beon, it is clear 
that the man was not Benignus, the Irish form of which is Benen. 
Beoan or Beon is a common name in Irish Calendars, saints so named 
occur on February i, August 8, October 26 and 28, and Beogaison 
July 27, and this name is quite distinct from Benen or Benignus. 

That this peppery hermit was an Irishman is probable enough, that 
he was identical with S. Benignus of Armagh, cannot be allowed. 

Benignus is commemorated on November 9, this testy old saint on 
November 3. 

The Syon College MS. Martyrology (Add. MS. 22,285) has, on June 
27 : " Apud glasconiam translacio sancti benigni confessoris." Whytfdrd 
misread the name and entered in his Martiloge : . " At Glassenbury 
the translacyon of sayt Bemonus a Confessor." But in his additions 
for the same day : " The feest also of Saynt Benygne a confessor." 



THIS saint's name is entered in the Myvyrian alphabetical Bonedd,* 
compiled by Lewis Morris in 1760, but occurs in no other list. He is 
there given as the patron of Llanferres, Denbighshire, a name variously 
spelt, Lanverreys in the Taxatio of 1291, and Llanferrys and Llanferreis 
in two late sixteenth century parish lists. 4 The patron of the church 
is generally said to be S. Britius or Brice, 5 the disciple of S. Martin of 

" Re enim vera sicut michi prodesse non valet, ita nee michi nocere potest" 

2 " Alapam ingentem in faciem ejus dedit." 

3 Myv. Arch., p. 419. 

4 Dr. Gwenogfryn Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., i, p. 914, 

6 E.g., Browne Willis, Bangor, 1721, p. 364 ; Bp. Maddox's Book Z (1736^43) 
in the Episcopal Library at S. Asaph ; Pennant, Tours in Wales, ed. 1883, ii. 
p. 28 ; Lewis Morris, Celtic Remains, p. 3? 

S. Berwyn 207 

ours, who afterwards became his successor in the bishopric, and 
whose festival is November 13. Such is undoubtedly the case. In 
soni.- laic >ixteenth century marginal notes to the Calendar in a copy 
ol tin- Preces Privatae of 1573, the wakes of Llanferres are entered 
-t November 13 ; and in the early part of last century they \\viv 
li.-M on the Sunday next before November 22. 1 

YYS Hivwis, in Glamorganshire, is by some believed to be called 
5. Brice, but by others after the De Braose family, which 
appears to be the more probable. In the Taxatio of 1254 (Norwich) 
it occurs as Egelespriwes. and in that of 1291 as Eglis prewis. 

S. BERWYN, Martyr 

, otherwise Gerwyn, is reckoned by the Welsh genealogist- 
unions the sons of Brychan, and he is said to have settled in Cornwall, 
when- a church is dedicated to him, and to have been slain in the 
I>lr oi <iiT\vyn ; but he is also spoken of as son of Brynach Wyddel or 
tin.- Irishman. l>v forth one of the daughters of Brychan, and therefore 
son of the King of Brecon. 2 In the late Welsh genealogies 
his name always occurs as Gerwyn, 3 the result of misreading the 
initial letter of his name. Nicolas Roscarrock in his MS. Lives oi the 
s calls him Breuer or Berwine, and says that his foundation was 
is now called S. Breward or Simonsward, and that he was 
litionally held to have been the brother of S. Endelienta 

> far accords with the Welsh Pedigrees that Mwynen, who is 
linver or Menefreda, was daughter of Brynach. Roscarrock further 
that folk at Simonsward reported that the tradition of their 
>rs was that he was slain there, and he adds, " There was a 
growing in our memorie in the place of his martyrdom which was 
much regarded and reverenced and thought to have contynued 

since his death." 
5. Breward Feast is on February 2 ; Old Style this would be January 

V 'iii-ylicdydd, x, p. 335 (1833). Bp- Maddox, ut supra, gives Nov. 13. 
As son of Brychan in both versions of the Cognatio, " Berwin in Cornwallia " 
i " Berwyn apud Cornubiam ' ' ; and as son of Brynach in lolo MSS. , pp. 121. 141. 
3 lolo MSS., pp. in, 119, 140; Myv. Arch., pp. 419, 425. 

2 o 8 Lives of the British Saints 

20. The parish of S. Breward had its church dedicated by Bishop 
Briwere or Brewere of Exeter (1223-1224). Oliver in his Monasticon l 
states that the church " Ecclesia Sancti Breweredi de Hamathethi " 
was granted to Tywardreath Priory in the time of Andrew the Prior. 
Unfortunately this document is undated, but it must have been before 
1154, when Osbert was prior, who appears to have succeeded Andrew 
immediately. A charter of William Peverel of the twelfth century 
also calls the church that of S. Brewaredus. 2 

S. BEULAN, Confessor 

A CHURCH in Anglesey is called Llanbeulan, and is generally sup- 
posed to be a foundation of Peulan, son of Paul Hen. 3 

On the other hand Mommsen, in his Introduction to Nennius, says 
that it undoubtedly takes its name from Beulan, 4 a priest, at whose 
command Nennius compiled his history for the use of his son Samuel. 
But as Nennius made his compilation about 796, or perhaps 800, we 
can hardly suppose that this Beulan gave his name to a church, as the 
age of the saintly founders was over. 

We shall therefore refer to Peulan for the church of Llanbeulan. 

S. BEUNO, Abbot, Confessor 

THE authority for the history of S. Beuno is a short life in Welsh. 
A copy of it occurs in Llyvyr Agkyr Llandewivrevi, a MS. written in 
1346 at Llanddewi Brefi, in Cardiganshire, now in Jesus College Library, 
Oxford. The MS. was published by Professors Morris Jones and 
Rhys in 1894, and forms one of the works included in the Anecdota 
Oxoniensia series, issued by the Clarendon Press ; it is found pp. 119- 
127. The Life is also printed in the Cambro-British Saints, pp. 13-21, 
but less accurately. 

1 Oliver, Monasticon Exon., p. 34. 2 Ibid., p. 42. 

3 Peulan was a disciple of S. Cybi, and came with him to Anglesey. 

4 .Von. Germ. Hist. Chron. Minora, iii, p. 137. 

S. Beuno 


pies of the Life are to be found in Llanstephan MSS. 4 and 
2~ (circa 1400), Peniarth MS. 15 (fifteenth century), and a number of 
MSS. of the sixteenth century and later. 

A translation of the Life was printed at the end of the Life and 
Miracles of S. Wenefrede, edited by Bp. Fleetwood, 2nd edition, 1713. 
In the MS. in Llyvyr Agkyr Llandewivrevi the Life is described as 
being " u portion of the Life of Beuno and his miracles." It is 
-trnn^ly national and anti-Saxon in tone. S. Beuno also figures 
in the Vita S. \\ inefredce. 

Th< Cywydd i Feuno Abad by Rhys Goch Eryri (flor. 

fourteenth century) which has been printed in Y Brython, 1860, pp. 

451 -'. Another Cywydd to " S. Beuno of Clynnog," by Sir John 

(flor. fifteenth century), has been printed in Y Geninen, 1900, 

p. 143. There is yet another Cywydd to him by Sion Ceri (flor. 

nth century) in Jesus College MS. I7 = CI. These poems add 

hut little to what is contained in the Life. In Latin documents 

Mine is usually given as Beurionus. 

Cynfarch Gul=Xyfain da. Brychan. 
LleiuUlun Luyddog (Leudonus of Leudonia) 
Anna da. Uthyr Bendragon . 

ab I 'ru-ii 

B. Gla 

d. 612 

i Di-nw. 


Medrod = 
<! 537- 


Two p 

c- S3 

da. Caw 


red by 

Peril cren = 

= Bugi. Tenoi = 

= Dingad ab Nudd 

Tyfriog. | Eleri 
Lleuddad. Baglan. 



r~ n 

S. Beuno, Wenlo(?)=Tevyth or 
d. c. 635. 1 

S. Winefred. 

According to the pedigree of the saint given at the conclusion of the 
Life lie was son of Bugi, son of Gwynllyw, son of Tegid, son of Cadell 
1 >eyrnll\vtf. His father's name also occurs in the genealogies as Bengi 
i ml Hywgi. 1 

The pedigree i^iven in the Vita S.Cadocidoes not agree with this. 

Bengi and Bugi are found in the earliest, Hywgi in the later MSS. Byuci 
a name in the Book of Llan Ddv, p. 279, which would appear later as 

VOL. I. p 

2 i o Lives of the British Saints 

Cadoc or Catwg is made son of Gwynllyw, son of Glywys, son of Solor, 
son of Nor, son of Owain, son of Maximian (Maximus); 1 and accord- 
ing to the Life of S. Gwynllyw, this saint was son and successor to 
Glywys. The older genealogies give Gwynllyw ab Glywys ab Tegid ab 
Cadell. 2 Anyhow, Beuno was closely related to Catwg, and also to 

It seems clear that the royal family of Gwent issued from that of 
Powys, and this will explain the fact stated in the Life of Beuno 
- that Bugi lived in Powysland by the Severn. His wife was named 
Beren, and she was the daughter of Llawdden. 3 Their place of resi- 
dence was Banhenig, near the river, the identity of which has not 
been fully established. 4 

In their old age they had a son, whom they named Beuno, and sent 
him to Caerwent to be educated by Tangusius, who had probably suc- 
ceeded Tathan as master of the college founded by Ynyr Gwent. 
Here he " obtained a knowledge of all the Holy Scriptures ; after- 
wards he learned the service of the Church and its rules, and took 
orders, and became a priest." 

Ynyr Gwent is represented as resigning his royal position and 
becoming, in his old age, a disciple of Beuno, to whom he granted lands 
in Ewyas. This is Llanfeuno, a chapelry now under Clodock, near 

Whilst here, Beuno heard that his father was ill, and committing the 
charge of his foundation in Ewyas to three of his disciples, he departed 
for Powys. " And his father, after receiving the communion, making 
his confession, and rendering his end perfect, departed this life." 

Beuno now made a foundation in the township of his father, and set 
an acorn by the side of his grave, that grew in time to be a mighty oak, 
of which one branch curved down to the ground, and then rose again, 
" and there was a part of this branch in the soil, as at present ; and if 
an Englishman should pass between this branch and the trunk of the 

1 Cambro-British Saints, p. 81. 

2 Peniarth MS. 16 (early thirteenth century) ; Peniarth MS. 12 (early four- 
teenth century) ; HafodMS. 16 (circa 1400) ; cf. Jesus Coll. MS. 20 (early fifteenth 

3 She was otherwise called Peren (Peniarth MS. 12 ; Hafod MS. 16 ; 
Cambro-British Saints, p. 267) ; and Perferen (Pen. MSS. 16 and 27 ; Myv. 
Arch., p. 41 8). Llawdden is Lleuddun Luyddog of Dinas Eiddyn (Edinburgh), the 
eponymus of Lothian. Her sister Tenoi is given as wife of Dingad ab Nudd Hael, 
and a mother of saints. But there is a chronological impossibility involved. 

4 Trelystan, near Welshpool, has been suggested. Near Trelystan Chapel 
are Badnage (formerly Badnich) Wood and Cottage, and within the chapelry a 
dingle called Cwm yr Henog. It was much more probably Llanymynch, where 
there is a S. Bennion's Well, and, in the neighbourhood, the township of 

S. Beuno 211 

he would immediately die ; but should a Welshman go, he would 
in no way suffer." 

Thence Beuno went to visit Mawn, " son of Brochwel " l Ysgythrog, 
king of Powys. The relationship is wrong. Mawn or Mawan was 
brother, and not son of Brochwel. Mawn granted him Aberrhiw, now 
Berriew . in Montgomeryshire, near Welshpool, where an upright stone 
remains, called Maen Beuno, marking the spot where Beuno is supposed 
to haw preached to and instructed the people. It stands in the level 
land bet WITH the junction of the Luggy and the Severn, and the 
khiw and tin- same river, a little off the high road from Welshpool to 

(hie day, when Beuno was walking by the Severn, "he heard 

a vokv nn the other side of the river, inciting dogs to hunt a hare, 

and the voice was that of an Englishman, who shouted ' Kergia ! 

- which in that language incited the hounds. And when 

' h-anl the voice of the Englishman, he at once returned, 

and coming to his disciples, said to them, ' My sons, put on your gar- 

im-nts and your shoes, and let us leave this place, for the nation of the 

man with the strange language, whose cry I heard beyond the river 

nr.uini; <>n Ins hounds, will invade this place, and it will be theirs, and 

they will hold it as their possession.' " 

Then h- commended his foundation at Berriew to a disciple named 
Khithwlint, and departed to Meifod, where he remained with Tyssilio 
forty days and as many nights, and where he is said to have founded 
a church on land granted him by Cynan, son of Brochwel. However, 
lid not remain there. Two such shining lights as himself and 
Tyssilio could hardly abide together, and Cynan gave him lands at 
(iw vddelwern, near Corwen, in Merionethshire. The name shows 
that at one time the Irish were in occupation here, and, indeed, the 
-tron^ stone camp of Caer Drewyn, that commands Corwen and the 
valley in which is Beuno's church, with its ruined cytiau, looks very 
much as if it were of Irish construction. 

But the " Life " gives another explanation of the name. It says 
that (Iwyddelwern was so called because that there Beuno raised an 
Irishman to lite. He was probably Llorcan Wyddel, mentioned as 

i ^ix persons said to have been so raised by him. 
He did not long remain on this spot, for he quarrelled with the 
1 in -i)l lews " of Cynan, who were hunting in the neighbourhood. 

1 " Vawn vab Brochwel." 

1 Probably " Charge ! " The story brings the English west of Offa's Dyks 
at the end of the sixth century. 

212 Lives of the British Saints 

Actually they were grandsons of Cynan, sons of Selyf. 1 Coming to 
Gwyddelwern, they imperiously demanded food for themselves and 
their party. They induced Beuno to kill a young ox for their refection, 
but the meat did not cook in the pot to their liking, and the youths 
swore that this was due to Beuno, who was sulky at their quartering 
themselves upon him, and had bewitched the food. When Beuno 
heard this he was very wroth, and cursed the young men. " What 
your grandfather gave to God free, do you demand of it tribute and 
service ? May your kin never possess the land, and may you be 
destroyed out of this kingdom and be likewise deprived of your eternal 
inheritance ! " 

Verily, it was a risky thing to interfere with these old Celtic saints, 
who wielded the keys of the kingdom of Heaven in a very arbitrary 

The real facts seem to have been that the young men claimed food 
and shelter as a right, such as they could demand of any lay house- 
holder in the tribe ; but this was precisely a claim from which the 
ecclesiastics considered themselves to be exempt. 2 

The sons of Selyf were Mael Myngan, and Dona, and the latter 
became a saint, but whether he was one of those, who, on this occasion 
incensed Beuno, and was cursed by him, we cannot say. Beuno's 
temper was so ruffled by this encounter that he left the place and went 
to the banks of the Dee, " to seek a place where to pray to God, but 
did not obtain one," no doubt because the young princes had instigated 
their father or grandfather to refuse to give him more land. 

Then he went to Temic, 3 the son of Eliud ; and this Temic gave to 
Beuno for ever and firmly a township, and Beuno built a church 
there, and consecrated it to God. He had in fact shaken the dust of 
Powys from off his feet. He was now in Flintshire, in the kingdom 
of Gwynedd. There are but slight traces of him in Flint, but he is 
there associated with S. Winefred at Holywell. 

We will not dwell on the story here, it may have been forced into the 
Life of Beuno from that of Winefred. He is, however, said to have 
been her uncle ; her mother, whose name is given as Wenlo, being his 
sister. That such a person as Winefred existed, we have good reason 
to believe ; but that the story of her adventure at Holywell, her head 
cut off and replaced, and growing on to the shoulders as before, is mere 

1 The nyeint, " nephews," of the Welsh text is clearly a mistranslation of the 
tiepotes of a Latin original. 

2 Seebohm, Tribal System in Wales, pp. 174-5. 

3 In the Latin Lives of S. Winefred the chieftain is named Teuyth, and Theuith. 
In her Welsh Life, Tybyt. 

S. Beuno 213 

fable, as also the miraculous origin of the spring, must be admitted by 
every rational man. 

( >n tin- death of Cadfan, king of Gwynedd, Beuno entered into 
communication with his son Cadwallon. 

We aiv now on historic ground. Cadfan had been elected king of 
all Britain, in a congress at Chester, and died about 616, being suc- 
!cd by Cadwallon. His inscribed tombstone is in Anglesey, at 
Uangadwaladr. Cadwallon and Edwin, king of Northumbria, were 
contemporaries, had been friends, but became rivals, and Edwin was 
killed in battle in 633 fighting against Cadwallon. Cadwallon himself 
was killed in 634 near Hexham. 1 Beuno visited the king, and made 
him a present of a gold sceptre that had been given to him by Cynan 
son of Brochwel, and in return Cadwallon assigned to Beuno a patch 
<t land at (iwredog in Arfon. The saint went thither, and erected 
a church, and began to throw up a bank to enclose his sanctuary. As 
he was thus engaged, a woman came to look on, carrying a babe in her 
amis, and a^ked Beuno to bless it. " Presently," replied he, " when 
this job is out of hand." 

Whilst he and his monks were engaged on the bank, the child cried 
lustily and disturbed him. " Ha ! woman," said Beuno, " why is the 
babe squealing so ? " " He has good reason to cry," replied the 
mother," for you are enclosing land and appropriating it that belonged 
to his tat her, and is properly his." 

When Beuno heard this, hi- shouted to his monks, "Take your hands 
from tin- work ; and whilst I baptize the child, make ready my chariot. 
We will -o to the kintf with this woman and babe." 
So they set out for Caersaint (Carnarvon) where Cadwallon then 
ami Beuno said to the king, " Why didst thou give me the land 
when it wa< not thine to give, but belonged to this child ? Give me 
other land, or else return to me the gold sceptre worth sixty cows that 
I presented to the, 
" I will give you nothing else," replied the king ; " and as to the 

're. I have alreadv given it away." 

Then Beuno, in great wrath, cursed Cadwallon, "I pray to God that 
thou niayest not long possess the land." 

So he departed, and when he had crossed the river Saint, he seated 
himself on a stone, still foaming with rage and disappointment, when 
a cousin of CadwaJlon came after him, whose name was Gwyddaint, 
and " for his own soul, and that of Cadwallon," offered him his 

Bede. Hist. Eccl., iii, cc. i 2. 

214 Lives of the British Saints 

own township at Clynnog, " without tribute or service, or any one 
having any claim on it." l 

This Beuno gladly accepted, and thenceforth Clynnog became his 
principal residence ; but that he had grants made him as well in Angle- 
sey would appear from his having foundations there, at Trefdraeth 
and Aberffraw, though they can have been only small. 

Clynnog is beautifully situated on the north coast of Lleyn, under 
the mountains of Bwlch Mawr and Gyrn Ddu, and when Beuno 
settled there it was probably dense with rude stone monuments. Two 
cromlechs remain, one, the most important, between the village and 
the sea. 

Now it happened that there was a skilful carpenter who lived at 
Aberffraw, a young and handsome man, who was invited to Caerwent, 
to build a palace there. 

Whilst he was engaged on this work at Caerwent, he was seen and 
loved by Tigiwg, or Tegiwg, daughter of Ynyr the king, and sister of 
Iddon, his successor, and she eloped with him, or " was given in 
marriage to the young man, lest she should have him in some other 

But the carpenter was not particularly amorous, and was a little 
ashamed of his having to bring a princess to his native hovel, and on 
the way back to Anglesey according to the legend he murdered 
her ; probably all he actually did was to desert her, when she was 
asleep. She was found by Beuno's shepherds, who reported the 
matter to their master, and the saint (after having resuscitated her) 
induced her to embrace the religious life, and live near him. 2 

After a while rumour of what had taken place reached Caerwent, and 
Iddon, her brother, came in quest of her, and arrived at Clynnog, saw 
Beuno, and asked to have his sister restored to him. Tegiwg, however, 
declined to return. She had made a great fool of herself, was sore over 
her desertion by the young carpenter, and shrank from the jests to 
which she would be subjected among her own people. Iddon was prob- 
ably content that so it should be, and pressed her no further, but 

1 The donation of Clynnog is to be found in a confirmatory charter of Ed- 
ward I in Harleian MSS. 696 and 4776, printed in the Record of Carnarvon, 
p. 257 (Rolls Series, 1838). It was given" sinecensu Regali, et sine consule, sine 
proprietate alicui, quamdiu fuerit lapis in terra." The stone, over which the gift 
was ratified, formerly stood at Bryn Seiont, Carnarvon, but is now at Bodwyn. 
It bears an incised cross. For a cut and description of it, see " Relics of S. 
Beuno," by John H. Pollen, S.J., in The Month for February, 1894. Tm "s 
instance of immunity from tribal exactions is cited in Seebohm, Ibid., pp. 172-4, 

2 Ffynnon Digiwg at Penarth in Clynnog is still known, but the name is 
locally pronounced Digwy. See under 5. Tegiwg. 

S. Beimo 2 i 5 

a-ked IVuno to accompany him to Aberffraw to support his demand 
for the restoration of the " horses and gold and silver," which the 
carpenter had carried off along with his sister. 

r.'-uno agreed to this, and they went together to the court of Cad- 
wall on at Aberffraw, but no sooner did Iddon set eyes on the gay young 
- nter, than he drew his sword on him and would have killed him, 
Imt for the interference of those who stood by. The story goes that 
1 1 Mon cut off the carpenter's head, but that Beuno replaced it, and he 
none the worse. But this is an embellishment. Cadwallon 
d -marred to the restoration of the goods, but Beuno insisted, and the 
king, afraid of incurring another curse, and perhaps seeing that the 
asonable, gave way. He did more, he " gave to Beuno 
the palace in which is Aelwyd Feuno " (his hearth). 1 Beuno returned 
to ("Ivmio". well content, and remained there the rest of his days. 

1 And as the lifetime of Beuno was ending, and his last day drew 
muli, on the seventh day after Easter, he saw heaven open, and the 
U dtscrndiiitf and ascending again. And Beuno said, ' I see the 
Trinity, and Peter, and Paul, and David the innocent, 2 and Daniel, 
and the saint-, and the prophets, and the Apostles and the Martyrs 
appear. And 1 set- seven angels standing before the throne of the 
most In-h Father, and all the fathers of heaven singing their songs, and 
-avinu. HlexM-d is he whom thou hast chosen, and taken, and who 
does for ever dwell \\ith Thee.' " 

He was buried at Clynnog, where his shrine and fountain were in 
repute lor many centuries. 

The /.'/o MSS. state that Beuno, in his earlier days, was a saint or 
monk of the Bangor of Catwg, his uncle, and that he afterwards be- 
came /Y;/ rhtiit/i (iu'VHCitii* which implies that he exercised some sort of 
1- al supremacy there, but it merely means that he was Abbot 
oi Clynnoij. which was " great in learning and science " indeed, " the 
most celebrated of all the Bangors of Gwynedd for knowledge and for 
The foundation is variously called Bangor Clynnog and 
or Beuno in Clynnog Fawr in Arfon. 5 Leland described it as 

1 I'. !-'- of the Anecdota Oxoniensia text. The Cambro-British Saints text 

-<>) corrupt, as generally. 

The C,iibro-British Saints text reads here Diudevirion, a meaningless 
bungle. The Anec. Oxon. text has duid wirion. The first word is a scribe's 
error for <Jauid. 

3 P- 4 Ibid., pp. 113, 130. 

beautiful old tradition about a devout monk of Bangor. Beuno, 

who slept for hundreds of years without waking in a wooded dingle hard by 

cafed Lhwn v X, f. .*. Heaven's Grove (Y Brython, 1860, p. no; Cymru Fu', 

variation of " Yr Hen \Vr o'r Coed " (the Old Man 'from the 

2 1 6 Lives of the British Saints 

being, in his day, " the fayrest Chirch yn al Cairarvonshire, as better 
then Bangor . . . almost as bigge as S. Davides, but it is of a new 
Worke. The old Chirch wher S. Bennow liyth is hard by the new." 1 
Pennant pronounced it " the most magnificent structure of its kind in 
North Wales." * 

Capel Beuno, or as it is still popularly called, Eglwys y Bedd, the 
Church of the Grave or Shrine, is built on the south-west side of the 
church. It was here that S. Beuno was buried. There is nothing of 
the shrine now remaining, but a plain altar-tomb stood there, a little 
to the east of the chapel, in the latter part of the eighteenth century. 5 
Its destruction is said to have been the result of a search for the saint's 
relics. The chapel is connected with the church by a narrow, dark 
cloister or passage of about five yards long. It is said that the glass in 
the large east window of the chapel formerly delineated the legends of 
SS. Beuno and Winefred. Another account, however, written in the 
beginning of the eighteenth century, says that it contained a figure 
of S. Beuno, but that his " miracles and history," as well as S. Wine- 
fred 's, were to be seen in some fragments of glass in the windows of 
the church. 4 There was a belief that scrapings off the pillars in the 
chapel, dissolved in water, were good for sore eyes. 

Ffynnon Feuno, his holy well, is about 200 yards from the church, 
on the roadside, and is enclosed by high walls. Round the well are 
seats, and there are steps to go down into it. In the well were formerly 
dipped rickety and epileptic children, as well impotent folk generally, 
after which they were carried into the chapel and put to lie over night 
on rushes on the tombstone. If they slept it was believed their cure 
would be certain. Pennant saw on the stone " a feather bed, on which 
a poor paralytic from Merionethshire had lain the whole night," after 
having previously undergone ablution in the well. 5 

Wood) legend, the Welsh counterpart of the Seven Sleepers, etc. There is 
another legend connected with this grove. It is said that when the Bangor was 
being built a certain bird, to which the people to-day give the name of Y Durtur 
(by which is usually meant the turtle-dove), sang there with such sweetness that 
the workmen became spell-bound, and could not proceed with their work. In 
answer to Beuno's prayer the bird was removed, and was never heard there 
again. " The men of Clynnog had a tradition that S. Beuno caused the 
materials that were used in building the church to be landed on the shore just 
below it " (Browne Willis, Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 304). 

1 Itin., v, ff. 49, 13. 

2 Tours, ed. 1883, ii, p. 384. 

3 Gough speaks of it as being "whitened over" (Sepulchral Monuments, 
ed. 1796, ii, pt. i, p. cxcii). For its destruction see the Gentleman's Magazine 
for November, 1793. 

4 Browne Willis, Bangor, p. 299. 

5 Tours, ed. 1883, ii, p. 385. 


From Window at Penmorfa, Carnarvon. 


S. Beuno 2 i 7 

Gored Beuno (his fish weir) is near the creek called Forth Clynnog. 
At fl)b tide there are heaps of large stones still visible. 
Li-land, in his Collectanea, 1 gives an account from the pen of John 
rs, Esq., Garter, of a custom that still prevailed at Clynnog in 

" I went to the Place where it was reported that Bullocks were 
offered, that I might be an Eyewitnesse of the same. And upon Mon- 
daye in Whitsonne Week there was a yonge Man that was carried 
thither the Night befor, with whome I had conference concerning 
the Maner of the Offerings of Bullocks unto Saints, and the yonge man 
touled me after the same Sort as I had hard of many before ; then dyd 
I aske him whether was ther any to be offered that Daye ? He 
ered that ther was One which he had brought to be offered : I de- 
manded of him where it was ? he answered that it was in a close hard 
And he called his Hoste to goe with him to see the Bullocke, and 
as they went, I followed them into the Close, and the yonge Man drove 
ilullocke before him (beinge about a yere oulde). . . . And as 
the Bullocke dyd enter throughe a little Porche into the Church-yarde, 
>nge Man spake aloude, The Halfe to God and to Beino. Then dyd 
I aske his Hoste, Why he said the Halfe and not the Whole ? His 
Hte answered. He oweth me the other Halfe. This was in the 
Ririslu- <>f Clynnog in the yere of our Lord 1589. . . . Ther be many 
other things in the Countrye that are verye grosse and superstitious; 
A- that the People are of Opinion, that Beyno his Cattell will prosper 
marvellous well ; which maketh the People more desyrous to buye 
them. Also, it is a common Report amongest them, that ther be 
some Bullocks which have had Beyno his Marke upon their Eares as 
soone as they are calved." 

The custom fell into disuse only in the nineteenth century. Till a 
little over a hundred years ago it was usual to make offerings of calves 
and lambs which happened to be born with a slit in the ear, popularly 
railed Xdcl Beuno, or Beuno's Mark. The "sacred beasts" were 
brought to church on Trinity Sunday, and delivered to the church- 
wardens, who sold them, and put the proceeds into Cyff Beuno,' or 
Beuno's chest. Ear-marked calves are still highly regarded by the 
fanners of Clynnog. 2 We are told that "multitudes of persons fre- 
quently resorted in procession, especially on Trinity Sunday," to 
make their oblations to the Saint, which were so great that the custom of 

1 ii, p. 648 ; P.R.O., State Papers, Dom. Eliz., vol. ccxxiv, n. 74. 

" Llyiiad Beuno," B.'s Lick, is the name popularly given by the farmers 
of the locality to the mark seen on the backs of cows when they are in good 

2 I 8 Lives of the British Saints 

levying a church rate or mize had never been introduced here. l Into 
the cyff went also the offerings of persons who came from distant parts 
of the country, even down to the beginning of last century, to propitiate 
the saint on behalf of their cattle when afflicted with some disorder. 2 
When the chest was opened in December, 1688, it contained 15 8s. 3^., 
of which the sum of 10 55. was in groats. The money was applied in 
relief of the poor and the reparation of the church. 

The old chest, half-rotten, scooped out of a solid oak trunk, is still 
in the church, and has the usual three locks and an aperture to put in 
coins. 3 " Cystal i chwi geisio tori Cyff Beuno" ("You may as 
well try to break into Beuno's chest ") used to be a common saying 
formerly at Clynnog when any one attempted to do something very 

Dr. John Davies says that there was formerly a Book of S. Beuno, 
called Tiboeth, " with a dark stone upon it, in the church of Clynnog in 
Arfon. This book Twrog wrote in the time of King Cadfan, and it 
was saved when the church was burnt." It was seen in 1594.* S. 
Twrog was, ut fertur, S. Beuno's amanuensis ; 5 and S. Aelhaiarn, as 
we have seen, was his acolyte. 

The following churches are dedicated to S. Beuno : Aberffraw and 
Trefdraeth, in Anglesey ; Clynnog, Penmorfa, Bottwnog (under 
Mellteyrn ; land given by Cadell, son of Rhodri Mawr), Cargiwch (land 
given by Merfyn Frych), and Pistyll (land given by Rhodri Mawr) 
the two last under Edeyrn in Carnarvonshire ; 6 Llanycil (mother 
church of Bala) and Gwyddelwern, in Merionethshire ; Berne w and 
Bettws Cedewain (originally, no doubt, a capella under Berriew), in 
Montgomeryshire ; and Llanfeuno (under Clodock) in Herefordshire. 

The ruins of an old chapel, called Capel Beuno, were visible not long 
since near the house of Tre'r Dryw (now demolished), in the parish 
of Llanidan, Anglesey, and at the house was religiously preserved an 

1 Willis, Bangor, p. 303. 

2 An instance of a groat being offered for " private sins " is given by Evans, 
Beatifies of England and Wales, xvii, pt. i, p. 373. 

3 It is well illustrated in Arch. Camb. for 1868 and 1900. 

4 See his Welsh-Latin Dictionary, 1632, s.v. Tiboeth ; cf. Arch. Camb., 1848, 
p. 253. Tiboeth, or rather Diboeth (" not hot, without heat "), is explained by 
the Greek &KCIVITTOS. The book is mentioned in the confirmatory charter 
already referred to. We are given to understand that lolo Morganwg saw it 
and made a transcript of it. It was probably the volume mentioned by certain 
witnesses at Carnarvon in 1537 as " Graphus Sancti Beunoi " (Y Cymmrodor, 
xix, p. 77). 

5 Willis, Bangor, p. 273. 

6 Willis, Bangor, p. 275, gives also Denio or Deneio (at Pwllheli) " quasi 
Ty Fenno, Domus Beunonis." The land was given to S. Beuno by Rhodri Mawr. 

ancient portable bell, popularly called Cloch Felen Beuno (his Yellow 
Bell), which came from the ruins of the chapel. It was described as a 
copper bell, of unusual shape, and was last seen in the eighteenth 
o-ntury. There is still in Gwredog, in the parish of Llanwnda, below 
Carnarvon Cadwallon's gift to S. Beuno a Ffynnon Feuno, 
vituated on Krw Ystyffylau. In the same neighbourhood is Afon 
Beuno, on the banks of which there is a modern mansion called Glan 
Beuno. There is a Ffynnon Feuno at Penmorfa, and another at 
Alu-rffraw. There was a chapel (now extinct) called Capel Beuno, in 
the township of Gwespyr, in the parish of Llanasa, Flintshire, and the 
village of (iwespyr has hence been sometimes called Trefeuno. It 
seems probable that Whitford Church, now dedicated to S. Mary, was 
at tirst dedicated to S. Beuno. It was evidently the mother church 
of Holywell, and the Valor of 1535 records the annual payment by the 

t latter of two shillings to S. Beuno, which may have been the formal 
acknowledgment of such connection. 1 A piece of land at Holywell 
>till goes by the name of Gerddi Beuno (his gardens) ; and his stone is 
>ho\vn in the Well there. Ffynnon Feuno in Tremeirchion parish, 
below the well-known Bone Caves, is formed of a strong spring rising 
out of the limestone formation, and is enclosed in an oblong bath. It 
once in great repute as a healing well. The Jesuit College of S. 
Bruno is situated in the same parish. Near Gwyddelwern Church are 
< iwi-rn Feuno (a swampy or alder-grown piece of land) and Ffynnon 
Ft nno, whence water for baptism was brought ; and in a Survey of the 
Lordship of Ruthin (1737) mention is made of "abig stonecalled Carreg 
Beuno," apparently one of the mere-stones of the parish. A Ffynnon 
Feuno, once famous, is to be found near the church of Bettws Gwerfyl 

h. There are at Llanycil Ffynnon Feuno and Acer Feuno. 
Beuno is sometimes given the epithet Casulsych, i.e. Casula sicca, 
'of the Dry Cloak "; 2 and there is a creek near Clynnog Church 
called Forth y Casul. 3 The origin of both will be found in the Life of 
S. Winefred.* When Beuno was leaving Holywell, Winefred, out of 
gratitude to him for having raised her to life, promised to send him 
yearly, on the vigil of S. John Baptist (elsewhere, May i) a cloak 
(casula) of her own handiwork, which, "wheresoever he might be 
clothed therewith, it would neither get wet with rain nor would its nap 

1 Thomas, History of the Dio. of S. Asaph, ist ed., pp. 466-7, 488. 

- /;< inio Gasulsych occurs e.g. intheBoncddy Saint in Peniarth MS. 12 (early 
iruenth century), the Calendar in Peniarth MS. 186 (fifteenth century), and 

-eland, I tin., iv, append, p. 109. 

3 L. Morris, Celtic Remains, p. 360 ; Y Gwyliedydd, xiii, p. 339 (1836). 

* Cambro-British Saints, pp. 199-202. 

2 2 o Lives of the British Saints 

be moved by the wind," from which circumstance it was called Sicctis, 
He directed her to send it in the following manner. " There is a stone 
in the middle of the stream of the river, on which I have been accus- 
tomed to meditate my prayers, place thereon the cloak at the appointed 
time, and if it will come to me, it will come." The stone bore it " dry 
internally and externally " all the way over the sea, along the North 
Wales coast, into the creek at Clynnog. 1 A similar story occurs in the 
Life of S. Senan. 

All trees growing on land belonging to S. Beuno were deemed sacred, 
and no one dared to cut any of them down lest the Saint should kill 
them or do them some grievous harm. 

There is a curious legend current in Carnarvonshire about S. Beuno 
and the curlew. " When S. Beuno lived at Clynnog, he used to go 
regularly to preach at Llanddwyn on the opposite side of the water, 
which he always crossed on foot. But one Sunday he accidentally 
dropped his book of sermons into the water, and when he had failed 
to recover it a gylfin-hir, or curlew, came by, picked it up, and placed 
it on a stone out of the reach of the tide. The saint prayed for the 
protection and favour of the Creator for the gylfin-hir ; it was granted, 
and so nobody ever knows where that bird makes its nest." 2 

Yet another legend. In the upper end of Clynnog parish, in the 
direction of Penmorfa, there is a tenement called Ynys yr Arch (the 
tenement of the coffin) , which tradition says received its name from 
the following circumstance. When the saint's dead body was being 
conveyed to its burial, the funeral procession halted at this place, and 
a warm discussion arose as to where his mortal remains should be 
buried. Three places coveted the honour Clynnog, Kevin, and 
Bardsey. In the midst of the unseemly altercation, the whole company 
fell asleep. When they awoke they saw three coffins, each exactly 
similar in every respect. The contending parties were thus satisfied ; 
but the legend assures us that Clynnog secured the right coffin. 3 

A saying of Beuno's is preserved in the anonymous " Epigrams of 
the Hearing " 4 : 

Hast thou heard what Beuno sang ? 
" Sing thy Pater noster and Credo ; 
From death flight will not avail." 

In the "Sayings of the Wise " 5 it is given somewhat differently : 

1 The Life reads " porta Sachlen," for which should probably be read " porta 
Sychlen." 2 Rhys, Celtic Folklore, p. 219. 

3 Y Gwladgarwr, vi, pp. 44-5 (1838) ; Arch. Camb., 1849, p. 125. We are 
indebted to Eben Fardd's Cyff Beuno (Tremadoc, 1863) for much information 
about Clynnog, the Church, and local traditions. 

4 Myv. Arch., p. 129. & lolo MSS., p. 256. 

From the Open-air Pulpit of the Abbey, Shrewsbury. 

S. Bigail 221 

Hast thou heard the saying of Beuno 
To all who resort to him ? 
" From death flight will not avail." 
(Rhag Angeu ni thyccia ffo.) 

old tradition, which was intended to exalt him as one of the 
greatest of the saints, affirmed that during his lifetime he had raised 
six persons to life, and that he would some day raise a seventh. It is 
referred to by some of the mediaeval bards. 1 

In all the Welsh Calendars his Festival is given on April 21. He 
arbitrarily inserted by Wilson in his Martyrologie, 1608, on 
January 14. Roscarrock gives April 21. 

Pope Pius IX appointed April 21 as the day for his commemoration 
in favour of the Jesuit College of S. Beuno near S. Asaph. Beuno died 
on Low Sunday, falling, we may suppose, that year on April 21. There is 
no mention in his Life of any transactions with the successor of Cad- 
\\iillon, who fell in 634. Low Sunday fell on April 21 in 642, 653, and 
659. Probably the first of these is the date of Beuno's death, to allow 
of his association with Ynyr Gwent, who was married to Madrun, 
daughter of Vortimer, who fell in 457. Ynyr was an aged man when 
he placed himself in the college of Beuno, but the latter cannot then 
have been quite young. He was in favour with Cynan Garwyn, son 
of Brochwel Ysgythrog. According to the Breton life of S. Tyssilio 
there was a brief reign of two years after the death of Brochwel, and 
after that apparently Cynan succeeded. Tyssilio was about the age 
of Beuno we may suppose, and the former died about 650. 

Beuno is represented on the open-air fourteenth century stone pulpit 
of the Abbey of Shrewsbury as an abbot with shaven head, but a ring 
of hair about it, with an abbatical staff in one hand, and a hare's head 
in the other. In stained glass at Penmorfa Church, near Tremadoc, he 
is mitred. 

S. BIGAIL, or BIGEL, Confessor 

E name is sometimes written Bugail, which in ordinary Welsh 
s a herdsman or shepherd. Nothing is known of this saint, and 
his name does not occur in any of the genealogies ; but he is gener- 
ally identified with S. Vigil ius we presume the early fifth century 
martyr-bishop of Trent (Austria), whose festival is June 26. The 
identification, however, is highly improbable, for the Latin vigilia, 

1 Their names are given in Peniarth MS. 75 (Evans, Report, i, p. 498), and 
a poem by Dafydd Nanmor (fourteenth century) in Cefn Coch MSS., p. 268. 

222 Lives of the British Saints 

treated in Welsh as a doublet, has yielded in the old Welsh period the 
form gwyl, and in the mediaeval period mywyl. He is the patron 
of Llanfigel in Anglesey, which is under Llanfachraeth. The church 
is now in ruins. Maen Bigel is the name given to a rock standing in 
the sea in Holyhead Bay, and also to another in the Sound of Bardsey. 
The West Mouse, a little island off the north-west coast of Anglesey, is 
called in Welsh, Ynys Bigel. 1 Browne Willis 2 gives the patron of 
Llanfigel as S. Vigilius, with festival November i. There was formerly 
a church, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Merthyr Mawr in 
Glamorganshire, which is called in the Book of Llan Ddv 3 Merthir 
Buceil. The Pembrokeshire parish-name Begelly seems to be a deri- 
vative from the name. 

S. BLEIDDIAN, or LUPUS, Bishop, Confessor 

STRICTLY speaking, the name Lupus should appear in Welsh as 
Blaidd. Bleiddian or Bleiddan means a young wolf, and is equivalent to 
Bleiddyn, which is common as a personal name. All that the Welsh 
authorities have to say about Bleiddian is to be found in the lolo MSS. 
He is mentioned as a " saint and bishop, who came to this Island with 
S. Garmon in the time of Cystennin Fendigaid (or Llydaw) to renew 
Faith and Baptism." 4 One entry states that the " Cholirs " of 
Llancarfan and S. Illtyd were founded by SS. Garmon and Beiddan, 
whilst another states that S. Garmon " founded a choir near Caer- 
worgorn (Llantwit Major), where he placed Illtyd principal and S. 
Bleiddan chief bishop." 5 

But it must be remembered that the hagiological documents printed 
in the lolo MSS. are late, being the compilations of Glamorgan 
antiquaries of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and they have 
been " edited " by lolo Morgan wg, but to what extent it is now impos- 
sible to say, as the originals from which he made his transcripts have 
practically all disappeared. Statements they contain must therefore 
be accepted with caution. 

It is more than doubtful that S. Lupus of Troyes ever was in 
Glamorgan, and it is probable that the Bleiddian commemorated 
was an entirely different saint, a member of the Society of S. Illtyd^ 
and lived considerably later than did Lupus of Troyes. 

1 Myv. Arch., p. 419 ; Lewis Morris, Celtic Remains, pp. 37, 435. 

2 Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 279. 3 See the Index. 

4 P. 132. On p. 107 it is said that they came hither in the time of Gwrtheyrn 
Gwrtheneu (Vortigern). 5 Pp. 130-2. 

SS. Boda and Bodfan 22$ 

Two churches in Glamorganshire are dedicated to him, viz., Llan- 
flriddian Fawr (Llanblethian), but now generally to S. John Baptist, 
and Llanfleiddian Fach known as S. Lythan's. The latter, in the 
Book of Llan Ddv, is called Ecclesia Elidon, and Hen Lotre Elidon 
and Luin Elidon occur therein also as place-names. 1 In the Taxatio 
<>l uiji it is uivni as Eccl'ia de S'co Lychano (for Lythano). 2 These 
fonns. however, point to a distinct saint. 

One of the Triads in the third or latest series mentions " Hyfaidd 
Hir, tlu- son of S. Bleiddan in Glamorgan"; 3 ' but the glosser's pen 
is \vry visible, for the reading in the two earlier series is " Bleiddig in 

nth Wales." 

One of " the Sayings of the Wise " stanzas runs 

Hast thou heard the saying of S. Bleiddan 
Of the land of Glamorgan ? 
" To possess reason is to possess everything." 
(Meddu P\vyll nu-ddu'r cyfan.) 

His Festival is not given in any of the earlier Welsh Calendars. 
For S. Lupus of Troyes, see under S. LUPUS. 


THIS saint's name occurs in two lists of Caw's children, apparently 
as that of a son, given in the lolo MSS., * and there only. He is 
credited by some 7 with being the patron of Coedana, in Anglesey, but 
ee under S. ANEF. Nothing seems to be known of him. 

SS. BODA and BODFAN, Confessors 

see ui 

IT is difficult to make out whether these names represent one or two 
, as the copyists appear to have got confused. The older lists 
only Boda or Bodo. 8 The two names occur among the sons of 
Helig ab Glannog. 9 On the inundation of Tyno Helig, his territory, his 
ve sons became saints, in the first instance, of the Bangor on Dee, 


See Index to the book. * P. 279. 

My;: Arch., p. 403. 4 Ibid., pp. 393, 399. 

lolo MSS., p. 256. 
P. I4J. 

Browne Willis, Bangor, p. 282 ; Lewis Morris, Celtic Remains, p. 39. 
E.g., Peniarth MS. 16 (early thirteenth century) ; Hafod MS. 16 (c. 1400) ; 
bro-Briiish Saints, p. 268, where the name occurs as Bodo. 
Myv. Arch., pp. 418-9, 426, 429 ; lolo MSS., pp. 106, 124 ; Cambro -British 
nts, p. 268. 

224 Lives of the British Saints 

and after its destruction, some of them Bodfan among them took 
refuge in the Bardsey Bangor. They were contemporaries of Rhun ab 
Maelgwn Gwynedd. 1 Bodfan is the patron of Aber Gwyngregyn, in 
Carnarvonshire, now generally called Aber, which parish immediately 
adjoins the Lavan Sands. Leland calls it " the paroche of Aber 
otherwise Llan Boduan." 2 In Sir John Wynn of Gwydir's Ancient 
Survey of Penmaen Mawr," written in the time of Charles I, we are 
told that Helig had two sons, " Beda and Gwynn, who were both 
sainctes in Dwygyfylchi, and doe lye buried att the end of the Churche 
in a litle Chappell annexed to the west end of the Churche." 3 The 
Welsh Prymer of 1618 and Browne Willis 4 give Bodfan's Festival as 
January 2, and this date occurs also in many Welsh almanacks of the 
eighteenth century. Rees 5 gives June 2, probably a misprint for 
January 2. A Boduan occurs as a witness to a grant to S. Cadoc. 6 
A Bodian is invoked in the tenth century Litany of S. Vougay. He 
is thought to have given his name to S. Bedan, a parish in the ancient 
diocese of S. Brieuc. 



BRAN FENDIGAID (the Blessed), the son of LlyrLlediaith, was a purely 
mythological personage, without the slightest claim to be reckoned 
a Welsh saint ; but inasmuch as he has been so regarded we must deal 
with him. First of all we will give briefly what Welsh tradition has 
to say of him. 

" Bran ab Llyr was a valiant King. After the death of his brothers, 
childless, he went to reside in Cornwall, leaving Essyllwg (Siluria) to 
his second son, Caradog. He effected much good in repelling his 
-enemies, and was victorious over the Romans. He permitted the 
Armoricans to remain in Cornwall on condition that they assisted him 
against the Romans, which they did most manfully. This Bran 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 1 06, 124. 2 Itin., v, fo. 48b. 

3 Reprint, Llanfairfechan, 1906, pp. 18, 19. 

4 Survey of Bangor, p. 273. 5 Welsh Saints, p. 302. 
* Cambro-British Saints, p. 91. 

S. Bran Fcndigan/ 22$ 

became Emperor of Britain." l He " was the biggest man that ever 
>een. He was the kindest and most liberal in his gifts, and the 
most heroic in war and distress. He drove the Goidels out of his 
country, where they had remained from the time of Gwrgan Farfdrwch, 
and In- made a fortress (caer) on the banks of the River Loughor, which 
.led Dimnorfael, after his most beloved daughter, who died there. 
H, ^ibscqm'iitly erected a church there called Llanmorfael, but now 
11 Llychwr." 2 Two Triads in the Third Series speak of him as 
one of tin- three " consolidating " and " blessing-conferring " sovereigns 
of t he Isle of Britain ; another says that his stock or clan was one of the 
tlnve saintly clans of -Britain (ousting Caw from the genuine Triad) ; 
and another, that he " was the first who brought the Faith in Christ 
to the nation of the Welsh from Rome, where he had been seven years 
as hostage i * his son Caradog, whom the Romans had taken prisoner." 3 
He was " the first of the Welsh nation that was converted to the Faith 
in riirist," as well as the first to bring that Faith hither, " on which 
latter account he was called Bran the Blessed " ; and with him came 
Hid and ("yndaf, " men of Israel," and Arwystli Hen, " a man of Italy." 
Llandaff was " his church," that is, he was its founder and patron. 
Of his stock or clan were SS. Eigen (daughter of Caradog), Lleurwg, 
Ffagan, Dyfan, Medwy, Elfan, Tudwal, and others. 4 
Among " the stanzas of the Achievements " occurs the following 

The achievement of Bran, the son of Llyr Llediaith, 

Against the evil of perishing in the desert, 

Was the planting of the Faith in Christ by a holy law. 5 

And one of " the Sayings of the Wise " runs 

Hast thou heard the saying of Brln 
The Blessed to the renowned ? 
" There Is none good save God alone." * 
(Nid da ond Duw ei hunan.) 

farmhouse in Glamorgan, called Tre Fran, is pointed out as 
laving been the place where he resided, not far from which is 
ilid founded by " the man of Israel." Bryn Caradog is also in 
he neighbourhood. 

The whole story is one of the " fond things of vain imagining," 
without the slightest foundation in fact, and is a late forgery committed 
by somebody ignorant of Tacitus and Dion Cassius. Neither of these 
writers knew anything of the mythical Bran, whose equally mythical 

1 lolo A/SS., p. 8. *Ibid., p. 38. 

;l Myv. Arch., pp. 402, 404. 

4 lolo MSS., pp. loo, 115, 135, 147. * Ibid., p. 263 

6 Ibid., p. 256. 

VOL. I. o 

226 Lives of the British Saints 

son, Caradog, has been assumed to be the Caractacus, or rather Cara- 
tacus (Caradog), the famous leader of the Silures and Ordo vices against 
the Romans, who was taken captive to Rome by Ostorius Scapula in 
51. Dion Cassius l tells us that Caratacus was a son of Cunobelinus 
(Cynfelyn), who had died before the war with the Romans had begun, 
and whose two sons, Caratacus and Togodumnus, had succeeded him 
on the throne. Tacitus, 2 whilst particularizing the wife, daughter, 
and brothers of Caratacus, makes no reference whatever to his father, 
whom he could not have passed over had he been present. 

The Third Series of the Triads, which is hardly earlier than the 
sixteenth century, and the Glamorgan hagiological documents (of no 
earlier date), printed in the lolo MSS., are responsible for Bran's saint- 
ship and the figment of the evangelising of Britain through him and his 
family, as the result of Caradog's captivity at Rome. Lewis Morris, 
who, in 1760, compiled the alphabetical catalogue of the Welsh Saints 
intheMyvyrianArchaiology, from a large collection of saintly pedigrees, 
evidently knew nothing of him as a saint, for he is not mentioned 
therein at all. 

The true Bran, however, is to be met with, figuring largely, in the 
Mabinogi of Branwen. He is there 3 called Bendigeidfran, " the Blessed 
Bran " ; but he could not by any possibility be styled " Blessed " in the 
ordinary hagiological sense. He is clearly one of the old gods of the 
Celtic pantheon, and the epithet must be regarded as a survival there- 
from. He was so big that " no house could ever contain " him, and " he 
was never known to be within a house." " There was no ship that 
could contain him in it," and so he wades across the sea from Wales to 
Ireland. He is wounded there with a poisoned dart, and he orders his 
followers to cut off his head and bear it as far as the White Mount, i.e. 
the Tower Hill, in London, and bury it there with the face towards 
Prance, as a charm against foreign invasion, but it was disinterred by 
King Arthur. 

The Mabinogi gives him a son, Caradog, and this, coupled with the 
epithet " Blessed," led to the invention of the story that he was 
father of the historical Caradog, and " the first that brought the 
Faith in Christ to the nation of the Welsh." 

Professor Rhys regards him as one of the dark divinities, the counter- 
part of the Gaulish Cernunnos and the Roman Janus. 4 His father, 

1 Lib. Ix, cc. 20, 21. 2 Annales, lib. xii, cc. 35, 36. 

3 So also in the Mabinogi of Manawyddan and the Red Book Triads. 

4 Arthurian Legend, p. 346; Hibbert Lectures, pp. 93-7. Elton, in his 
Origins, pp. 2912, treats him as a war-god. 

S. Branwalader 22 7 

Llyr, ami his brother. Mana\\ yddan. and sister, Branwen, are all 
mythological characters. 

The Bran story, with all its details, has been described* as forming 
" what is perhaps (next to Geoffrey of Monmouth's performances) the 
most impudent forgery in Welsh literature." x 

S. BRANWALADER, Abbot, Confessor 

BRANWAI ADKK is invoked in the tenth century Litany of S. Vougay 

in that from Rlu-ims, published by Mabillon, and in the Exeter Litany 

of the same period in the Salisbury Library, published by Warren. 2 

M. I ctli, in an article on these Celtic Litanies says : " Brangualatre, 

This Saint seems to be the same as S. Brelade in Jersey, 

and S. Broladre in the ancient diocese of Dol. He has given his name 

. .r-I>ivvrhiiiv in Leon ; in the sixteenth century Loc-Brevalayz, 

which U-ads to an early Breton form Brewalatre, and probably Bren- 

walativ or Branwalatre." 3 

Loc-Brevelaire is stated by M. Pol de Courcy to have been described 
in medieval documents as Monasterium Sti. Brendani, but no refer- 
s are given. 4 

Both Albert le Grand 5 and Lobineau identify the two. The Breviary 
of S. Malo of 1768 does so as well. 

Against tin- identification is the fact that the names apparently have 
little in common, but this shall be considered presently. In 935 
Athelstan translated the body, or relics, of S. Branwalader, together 
with the ami and pastoral staff of S. Samson, to Milton in Dorsetshire. 
The day of commemoration of this Translation was January 19. 

William of Worcester mentions Branwalader under the name of 

I '> ran \vakm. He says that the body then reposed " at Branston, eight 

- from Axminster, and four miles from the South Sea." William 

of Worcester's writing is peculiarly crabbed. The original MS. is in 

1 Mr. EtfLTtoii Plnllimore in Y Cymmrodor, xi, p. 126. 

1 Litany of S. Vougay. see Albert le Grand, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, ne\v 
ed. Quimper, 1901, pp. 224-227. Rheims Litany, Mabillon, Vetera Analecta, 
.iris. 1723. ii, p. 667. Exeter Litany, Warren, Revue Celtique, 1888, p. 88, 
et seq. 

8 Revue Celtique, 1890, p. 139. 
4 Cartulaire de Redon, 1863, p. 579. 
" S. Brandan. que nos Bretons appellant Sant Brevalazr," Le Grand, ed. cit., 

r- 5 i i- 

228 Lives of the British Saints 

Corpus Christi College Library, Cambridge, and Nasmith printed it 
fairly accurately in 1778. l 

Branston is Branscombe, and it is a quarter of a mile, and not four 
miles from the sea. 

Leland calls the Saint, Brampalator, and speaks of a chapel of 
S. Breword near the shore at Seaton, between Axminster and Brans- 
combe. 2 

There can be little doubt that Breword is the same as Branwalader, 
and the chapel may have marked a resting-place of the relics, when 
being translated. 

The name Brennain, which has become Brendan, means a shower. 
This adhered to the Saint in Ireland, and in those parts of Armorica 
where there was a considerable Irish settlement. But the Britons 
would seem to have changed the Bren into Bran, a raven, and to have 
tacked on to it the epithet Gwalader. Gwaladr, in Welsh, is a leader 
or ruler. It was by no means unusual for saints to have two names. 
Brendan was not the Saint's baptismal name, which was Mobi. 

S. Cadoc's original name was Cathmail, that of S. Meven was Conaid ; 
Kenan was known as Coledoc, one Fintan was also called Munna, 
a second Berach ; Cronan was also known as Mochua, Carthach as 
Mochuda, Darerca is likewise known as Monenna. Kentigern is one 
with Munghu, and the great teacher of saints at Ty Gwyn is known as 
Ninnidh or Maucan. Celtic personal names consist of a substantive 
to which an adjective or a qualifying substantive is annexed. Brang- 
walader means the Raven Lord. Gwlad in Modern Welsh means 
" country " ; in Old Welsh it signified " power, authority," from a root 
" vald," whence also English " w r ield," German " walten," etc. Gwaladr 
is " one possessed of power," " a ruler." We have the same in com- 
position in Cadwaladr. 

Branwalader appears in Breton and British Litanies only. In the ' 
Irish Martyrologies such a name does not occur, but Brendan or rather 

In Brittany S. Branwalader receives local commemoration on the 
day of S. Brendan, May 16. MS. Missal of S. Malo, fifteenth century ; 
Breviary of S. Malo, 1537 ; Breviary of Dol, 1769, on July 5 ; 
Breviary of Leon, 1516 ; Garaby also May 16, as Brendan or Broladre. 
He is the S. Brelade of Jersey, and the S. Broladre of Ille-et-Vilaine. 
Hampson's Cal. Jan. 19, so also the Cals. of Winchester and 

1 The passage is not distinctly written and turned in by the original binder 
after the letter n. 

2 Leland, Coll., iv, 82 ; I tin., iii, 58. 

S. Breaca 229 

S. BREACA, Virgin, Abbess 

LELAND (Itin., iii, p. 15), quoting from a Life of this saint in use in 
Breage Church, Cornwall, says that she was one of the company of 
Irish Saints that arrived under the conduct of S. Sinninus the abbot, 
of S. Senan of Inis Cathy. She was born in " the parts of Leinster 
and Ulster," and was associated with S. Brigid in the foundation of a 
community in these parts. 

The whole passage runs as follows, a summary of what he found in 
the now lost Vita Sanctac Breacae. 

tncii, ut legitur in vita Sti. \Vynu-ri. Sta. Breaca nata in 

partibus l.a^omar rt Ultoniac. Campus Brracar in Hibcrnia in quo Brigida 
oratorimn omstruxit. rt pit-a Monastcrium, in quo fuit Sta. Breaca. 

Br< . ;i Cornubiam comitata multis Sanctis, inter quos fuerunt Sin- 

ninus Abba>. ijui Komar cum Patrick) fuit ; Maruanus monachus, Germochus 

senna, Helena. 
Breaca appulit sub Rivvrr cum suis, quorum partem occidit Tewder. 

Mit ad IVncair. 
Brcai ,i vnit ail Tri-ne\vith. 

Breaca ar-lnuaN it t-ccl. in Trciu-\vith rt Talnu-nc-th, ut legitur in vita Sti. 

Now who was this Breaca ? Breaca is but a Latin form of Brig, or 
jj, as the name is pronounced alike in Cornwall and in Ireland. 
There were several female saints of this name. 

Brit; was Virgin Abbess of Killbrig, and was a pupil of S. Brigid. 
Some doubt exists as to her father's name, w r hether it were Cairpre or 
rinluc Tin- glossator on the Martyrology of Oengus says the former. 

In the Book of Leinster she is said to have been the daughter of 
Fergus. But Brig, daughter of Fergus, was sister of Brennan, father of 
S. Bot'thin. Another brother was S. Brendan of Clonfert. Although 
( aik-d his sister, she may have been a half-sister, and this would account 
for her being called in one place the daughter of Fergus, and he being 
:>ol as a son of Finlug. 

S, Brigid founded Kildare in 480 and died in 525. S. Brendan was 
niiu t\ -six when he died in 577, consequently he was born in 481. If 
Brig was a half-sister, by a second marriage, she may have been younger 
by some years. Brendan paid his sister a visit before his death, and 
gave lu -r a parting kiss. She was accordingly not at this time in 

This thn.\\s Brig, sister of Brendan, too late. 

According to her Life, as summarized by Leland, Breaca came to 
Cornwall with Senan. He died in 554. He travelled much in his early 
days. Now Senan was in close communication with a holy virgin of 
the name of Brig or Brigid, daughter of Cu Cathrach, of the Hy Machtail 

230 Lives of the British Saints 

sept, who had her church at Cluain Infide, on the banks of the Shannon. 
The story is told of her that she had a chasuble she desired to present to 
Senan, but having no messenger she made a little basket of holly twigs, 
put moss in it, and then packed into it the chasuble as .well as a letter 
entreating him to come and communicate her. Then she cast the little 
hamper into the river, and said to the stream, " Bear that with thee 
to Iniscathy." Actually the basket was washed up on the bank of the 
islet, and was taken to Senan, who at once took measures to comply 
with her request. As she was short of salt as well, he sent her that 
likewise. According to the form in which the legend reaches us, he 
committed two bars of salt and the Blessed Sacrament to the Shannon 
to carry it back, in the same basket. It is not difficult to see that this 
is a miraculous gloss on a very simple incident. Brig sent down a 
messenger in a coracle of plaited holly twigs, to make the request 
known to the Abbot, and to offer him her present, and by the same 
vehicle he sent to her what she desired. l 

Another with whom Brig came to Cornwall was Finbar, or Baricius 
as he is also called. Finbar's death is usually put far too late, he was 
a friend of S. Senan, and we are inclined to hold that he did not die 
later than 560. Now Finbar is expressly stated to have had a congre- 
gation of holy women over whom presided a Her and a Brigid. 2 

Her we take to be Hy or la who came to Cornwall, and Brigid may be 
the same Brigid who was at one time under the direction of S. Senan. 
In the Life of S. Monynna we read of one of the sisters whose name was 
Brig, who was greatly trusted by her. 3 

One evening after she had been sent to the dormitory, she rose and 
approached the cell of her superior, when she saw two swans flying over 
it, and came to the conclusion that they were angels who had visited 
Monynna. 4 In punishment for inquisitiveness she was struck blind. 

The name Brig, Brignat, or Briget, all forms of the same name, was 
so common in Ireland, and there are so many saints so called, that with 
the limited information we possess, it is not possible to fix, with anything 
approaching to certainty, which of them was she who came over to 

All the particulars we learn from Leland are that she was at one 

1 Book of Lismore, Anecd. Oxon., pp. 218-9. 

2 O'Hanlon, Lives of the Irish Saints, ix, p. 561. We have been unable to find 
the authority. The list of disciples is not in the Life in the Kilkenny Book, of 
which we have obtained a transcript. 

3 " Inter alias Dei famulas quaedam virgo, nomine Brignat, cum sancta 
virgine cohabitasse traditur." Vitae SS. Hib., Cod. Sal., col. 179. 

4 fbid., col. 179. See further under Brigid of Cilmuine. 

S. Breaca 231 

turn- in the community of S. Brigid at Kildare and that she was a 
native of that district. 

Keating, in his History of Ireland, says, " The religious women that 

known by the name of Bridget were fourteen, and were as follows : 

I'.i idget, daughter of Dioma ; Bridget, daughter of Maianaig ; Bridget, 

Momhain ; Bridget, daughter of Eana ; Bridget, daughter 

of Colla ; Bridget, daughter of Eathair Ard ; Bridget, of Inis Bride ; 

Bridget, the daughter of Diamair ; Bridget, the daughter of Seann- 

botha; Bridget, daughter of Fiadnait ; Bridget, daughter of Hugh 

(Aed) ; Bridget, daughter of Luinge ; Bridget, daughter of Fiochmaine ; 

Bridget, daughter of Flainge." 1 

But this by no means exhausts them. There was a Brigid, daughter 

.m^ill, " mother of the daughters of Christ in the province of 

T When S. Brigid of Kildare visited her, the latter washed 

the holy mother's feet, and a nun who suffered from gout was cured by 


Tlu- Book of Leinster gives these Brigs as disciples of S. Brigid : 

laughter of Fergus, at Cill-Brig, and this was near Kildare. 

Anoth. i was the daughter of Amalgaid, in Achad Eda, this is Huach- 

i in Kildare. Colgan adds others, Brig, daughter of Doma 

(February 71. a daughter of Mainach, another of Manan (June 24), 

a nut her of Enda, another of Colla, Brigid of Inis Brig, another of 

Fithmuine ; the daughter of Murdach, and of Rathbrig near Curah of 

KiMaiv ; and the daughter of Eochaid and of Magluinge. 

Consequently the statement made by Leland that Breaca was a 
disciple of S. Brigid does not help us much. 

H< r companions, he tells us, were Senan, Maruan (Mo-Ruan) Germoc 
the Kins. Klwen, Crewenna, and Helena. There were more, and among 
these Achebran, Tressan, and Gibrian, and as we have already seen 
(under S. ACHEBRAN) we can pretty well fix the date when seven of the 

nn arrived at Rheims, i.e. 509. 

This would give the close of the fifth century, or the very beginning 
of the sixth, as the date of their arrival in Cornwall, approximately 
500. If this be the date, it excludes the half-sister of S. Brendan, who 
survived him. 

When the party came over to Cornwall, and arrived in Hayle Bay, 
Tcwdrig resisted their landing. They however made their way to 
krwier, where he had a castle, to ask permission to settle. Reyvier is 
on a creek just west of Phillack Church, " now as some think drowned 
with sand," says Leland. 3 

1 Keating, Hist. Ireland, tr. O'Connor, Dublin, 1841 ; ii, p. 66. 

2 Colgan, Trias Thanmat., p. 530. 3 Itin., iii, p. 18. 

232 Lives of the British Saints 

Tewdrig killed some of the party, and Breaca fled to Pencaer, a forti- 
fication on Tregonning Hill, that may still be seen. Thence she went 
to Trenewith now Chenoweth, and thence toTalmeneth (the mountain's 
end) where the site of her chapel is still shown. She founded oratories in 
all these places. That at Pencaer can no longer be traced. 

What militates against identifying Breaca with the Brig who was 
sent by Monynna to acquire a rule in Britain, is that this latter is said 
to have lost her sight. 1 

Breage is the mother church of Cury, Germoe, and Gunwalloe. Cury 
and Gunwalloe were cut out of this extensive parish at a later period, 
but still render a pecuniary acknowledgment to the mother church. 
Penbro was the ancient name of Breage Church town. The castle 
occupied by Breaca in Pencaer was afterwards known as Caer Conan, 
according to Leland. William of Worcester says : " Sancta Breaca 
(Nasmith prints incorrectly Branca) Virgo, dies agitur die primo 
die (sic) . . . jacet in ecclesia predictae sanctae, per III miliaria Montis 
Michaelis." William of Worcester began the name of the month, and 
then cancelled it. 

The old feast day of S. Breaca is said to have been June 4, but now 
it is held on the third Monday in June, i.e. the nearest to the Feast, O.S. 
There is also a feast at Breage on December 26. 

In the Irish Calendars, Brig, sister of Brendan, and abbess of Anna- 
down is commemorated on January 7. Brig, daughter of Dioma, on 
February 7, but also on March 9, and May 21. Another of Moin 
Miolaine on the same day. Brigid of Cluain, in Derry, on August 13. 
Brigid of Cluainfidhe, who was Senan's disciple, on September 30. 
This is the most probable Brigid or Brig to be identified with Breaca, 
who is said to have come to Cornwall with S. Senan. Another Brigid 
of Cil Muine, or S. David's, Pembrokeshire, was commemorated in 
the Irish Calendars on November 12. This is probably the pupil of 
S. Monynna sent over there to obtain a Rule of Life. 

S. BRENDA, Confessor 

S. BRENDAF or Brenda was one of the twelve sons of Helig ab Glan- 
nog, whose territory was inundated by the sea, whereupon they became 
saints or monks in the Bangor in Maelor (on the Dee). After the de- 

1 Vite SS. Hib., Cod. Sal., col. 187. 

S. Brendan 233 

struction of the latter some of them, including Brenda, became saints in 

..n-orin Bardsey. 1 

The couplet in the Stanzas of the Months by the pseudo-Aneunn, 
which runs 

Truly saith S. Brenda (al.. Breda), 

| i< not left resorted to than good," J 

is more probably to be attributed to the great S. Brendan, abbot of 

S. BRENDAN, Abbot, Confessor 

S. BRENDAN of Clonfert was the son of Finlug and Cara, and his 

KiptiMiial name was Mobi. 

Mobhi his name at first, 
(Given) by (his) parents fair his face ; 
A youth hostful, inquisitive, slim, 
He was a help to the men. of Erin. 3 

Owing, however, to a silvery light, the Aurora Borealis, that was 
seen when he was born, he was commonly called Broen-finn, the White 
Rain. Broenan, the diminutive, would mean a shower. 

He was born in the Fenit, a township of Kerry, six miles west of 

Tralee, on the northern shore of its harbour, consisting of a promontory 

ilk.l Fenit Without, and an adjoining peninsula, called Fenit Within. 

It was formerly a district of some renown, and was the resort and 

mi; place of the Fianna, or Fian Militia of Ireland, who have left 

abundant traces there of their hearths and kitchen middens. The 

coast is wild and rugged, beaten by the Atlantic, and it was here, in his 

early youth, that Brendan imbibed that love of the ocean which seems 

to have held him till too old for more voyaging and venturing on the 

perils of the deep. 4 

On the night that Brendan was born, Bishop Ere was in the neigh- 
bourhood, probably at Kilvicadeaghadh, and looking over the district 
if the Fenit and the waters of what was afterwards called S. Brendan's 
Bay, he watched the silvery shooting rays of the Aurora, with wonder 
and admiration. When, afterwards, he was summoned to baptize the 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 106, 124; My:-. A>ch., p. 419. 

Arch., pp. 21, 419. 

" Life " in tlv " Book of Lismore." Anecd>t. O\onicn., p. 248. 
4 O'Donoghue (D.), 5. Brendan the Voyager, Dublin, 1893, p. 41. Finlug was 
one of the race of Ciarr, whose descendants, the Ciarraighe, gave their name to 
Kerry. Ogygia, p. 276. 

234 Lives of the British Saints 

child of Finlug on the Fenit, he accepted this magnetic display as a 
happy omen of the child's future celebrity. 

The place of the baptism of Brendan was, apparently, Tubber-na- 
molt, in the parish of Ardfert, a spring to which probably in Pagan 
times great veneration had been paid, and Ere, following the example 
of S. Patrick, unable to eradicate the superstitious devotion to wells, 
sought to consecrate them, by converting them into baptisteries. As 
a fee for performing the Sacrament of Regeneration, Ere received from 
Finlug three wethers, which have given their name to the well. Ere 
begged that the child, when a year old and weaned, might be given 
to be fostered to S. Itha, who at that time had a house at Tubrid Beg, 
five miles from Tralee. 

Brendan is often called Mac-hua-Alta, as his great grandfather was 
Alta, from whom came the Altraighe, and as it was necessary to dis- 
tinguish him from his contemporary, Brendan of Birr, who was son of 
Neman. 1 

Brendan remained with Itha for five years, i.e. till 488, for he was 
born in 483. Throughout his life, Brendan continued devoted to her, 
and consulted her in all his difficulties. 

Angels in the shape of white virgins 
Were fostering Brenain, 

From one hand to another (he was passed) 
Without disgrace to the babe. 2 

His sister was Brig, and to her he was warmly attached. 

When Brendan was six years old, Bishop Ere took him about with 
him on his missionary rounds, in his car. Ere had descended from his 
vehicle one day at O'Brenna, in the barony of Trughanacme, 3 and 
b2gan his sermon to the assembled people, leaving the boy in the 
chariot. Now it chanced that a little girl, " gentle, modest, and 
flaxen-haired, of a princely family, drew nigh to the carriage close to 
him," and wishing to have a game, attempted to scramble up the 
wheel, to reach him. Brendan, however, who had the reins in his 
hand, lashed her with them, and drove her off. 

This little by-play distracted the attention of the audience, and Ere 
seeing the eyes of the people directed elsewhere, turned sharply round, 
and saw what was going on in the rear. He was mightily offended, 
gave Brendan a scolding, and consigned him to the black hole for the 
night. The boy spent his time in shouting psalms, and Ere, mollified, 

1 He is so called in the Life of S. Columba by Adamnan, ed. Reeves, pp. 55, 
220 ; by Tighernach, 559 ; Chron. Scot., 554 ; Vita Tripart. S. Pair., p. 208, etc. 

Book of Lismore," A nee. Oxon., p. 249. 
3 O'Donoghue, op. cit., p. 59. 

S. Brendan 235 

soon let him out. The pit or cave, Uaimh Brenainn, pointed out by 
tradition as the place of his confinement, was a few years ago destroyed 
l>v quanymen. 1 

Alter some years spent with Ere learning " the Canonical Scriptures 

e ( >M and the N.-\v Testaments," Brendan asked leave to depart so 

that he might make a compilation of the Monastic Rules observed by 

al great Abbots in Ireland. Itha, whom he consulted, very 

prudently re< ommended him not to visit the religious houses of women, 

under the plea of inquiring into their regulations, as he was a young 

ind this might be productive of scandal. 2 

On leaving Ere, Brendan fell in with one Colman MacLenin, with 

whom he made friends, and whom he induced to abandon the military 

1 embrace that of religion. Colman founded the church 

'vne, and died in 604 ; 3 the date of the death, however, is either 

\\ i -i >ng, or else the Colman Brendan converted was another of the same 


After that. Brendan entered Connaught and attached himself to 

i lath, who at the time had a school at Clonfois, not far from 

Kilbannon. "And Brendan learned from him all the rules of the 

xunts of Erin." For some unexplained reason Brendan persuaded 

Jarlath tosliift his quarters to where is now Tuam. It was the property 

of Eoghain Beal MacDuach (502-538), son of Duach Teangumbha, 

of Connaught, who was induced to part with it, when Jarlath under- 

tnok as "full price " that MacDuach should receive in exchange 

H< ,iven and abundance without stint, and an eternal place in my 
corner of Heaven." 

Brendan and Jarlath between them composed a hymn on Tuam, in 
which they promised that no one buried in its churchyard should go 
to hell. 1 

Brendan now left Jarlath, and proceeded to the plain of Ai, in the 
present County of Roscommon, to which part of his own clan had 
migrated a little before, under the patronage of S. Caoilin, who had 
great influence with King Aeclh MacEochaidh, and who induced him to 
.urant her this tract for the settlement in it of the overflow of her 
clansmen from Kerry. In the Latin Life in the Salamanca Codex 5 

1 O'Donoghue, p. 59. * " Book of Lismore," Anec. Oxon., p. 251. 

>ry relative to the conversion of S. Colman is in the Book of Munster, 

but it contains an anachronism, it represents S. Ailbe as already dead. Now 

Ailbe died in 527 or 533, and either the conversion is put down in the Life of 

S. Brendan too early by some ten or twenty years, or the story is fable. 

4 Given in Notes on the "Life" of S. Brendan, in the Irish Ecclesiastical 

vol. viii (N< \\ Series, iSji-j), and in O'Donoghue, pp. 21-2. 
6 Vita 2da, Corf. So/., col. 763. There is a chronological difficulty here. Aedh 

236 Lives of the British Saints 

we are told that the king offered some of the land to Brendan, but he 
declined it. 

It was here that Brendan completed his compilation of Monastic 
Rules. According to the legendary account in the Lives he received 
it from an angel, but the context plainly indicates that he drew it up 
from Jarlath and other noted abbots in Connaught. 

This completed, he returned to Ere and was ordained priest by him. 
" Thenceforth the love of God grew exceedingly in his heart, and he 
desired to leave his country and land, and parents and family, and he 
earnestly besought the Lord to grant him some place, secret, retired, 
secure, delightful, and far apart from men." l 

However, he first founded sundry monasteries in his own district 
and among his own kinsfolk. 2 

One of these was at the foot of Brandon Hill, on the west, and there 
for seven years he had under his training S. Finan Cam, probably a 
relative. At the end of this time some disagreement ensued between 
them, which is disguised by the biographer, who says that Brendan 
said to him, " Brother Finan, it is not fitting that we should be any 
longer in one place, but that we should keep our communities apart. 
If you choose to remain here, do so, in God's name, and I will go." 
" No, father," answered Finan, " I am the younger and I will no longer 
trespass on you. I will depart." And he left for Slieve-Bloom, and 
founded Kinnulty in King's County. There was clearly a hot quarrel 
and a final rupture. 3 

Brandon Hill is 3,127 feet high, and to the summit Brendan often 
retired. " All the bold hills from Aran to Kenmare, that go out to 
meet the waves, are visible from its summit. The rocky islets of the 
Skelligs and the Moherees are the sentinels that guard its base. Inland 
the spectator can cast his gaze over half the south of Ireland moun- 
tain and valley, lake and stream, plain and town, stretching far away 
to the east and south. But the eye ever turns seaward to the grand 
panorama presented by the ultimate ocean. No such view can be had 
elsewhere in the British Islands ; and Brendan, whilst dwelling on the 
mountain summit, saw it in all its varying moods at early morning 
when the glory of the sun was first diffused over its wide reaches ; at 

Mac Eochaidh is thought to have reigned 544-555. He was the third king of 
Connaught after Eoghain Beal, mentioned above. The dates are not however 
sure, other authorities give 551-577. 

1 Life in Book of Lismore, p. 252. 

2 " Deinde cellas et monasteria fundavit in sua propria region e, sed non 
plura." Life in so-called Book of Kilkenny. 

3 Vita ex Cod. Inisensi in Franciscan Convent, Dublin. 

S. Brendan 237 

midnight, when the stars swept round the pole ; at even, above all, 

at even when the setting sun went home to the caverns beneath the 

sea, and the line of light along the glowing west seemed a road of living 
gold to the Fortunate Islands where the sorrows of earth never enter, 
and peace and beauty for ever dwell. . . To this day the existence of 
!. an enchanted land of joy and beauty, which is seen sometimes 
on the blue rim of the ocean, is very confidently believed in by the 

: men on our western coasts." l 

The monastery of Brendan at its foot was Shankeel (Sean-cill), " the 

Old Church." where there are to this day remains of cloghans, ancient 

live cells. To the summit of the mountain ascends Casan na 

Ji. tin- " Pathway of the Saints," a causeway carried over bog 

and hill from Kilmelchedor Church, a distance of seven miles. There 

mis of a church on the summit. 

At this period the Saint sought to found a monastery near Tralee, 
but. according to popular tradition, a bird carried off the line with 
which he was measuring the foundations, and conveyed it to where is 
now Anllert. ;md where, accepting the omen, Brendan established a 
settlement. - 

The imagination of Brendan was fired by the sight of the vast ocean 
to the west, and of the sun setting beyond it. Probably for some years 
the- desire to explore that mysterious waste of water had possessed 
him. Several causes led to its finally resolving itself into action. 

ing to the Navigatio, he met an abbot of the name of Barinth, 

a grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Barinth told him a long 

story to this effect. A pupil of his, Mernoc, had deserted his monastery, 

and had settled in a rocky islet. After a while, Barinth, hearing that 

:ioc was gathering disciples about him, visited him and found him 

and his community living on roots and nuts and apples in a very wild 

inhospitable spot. But Mernoc had an idea, and persuaded his old 

master to accompany him on a voyage to the setting sun in quest of 

; and of Promise. Barinth and the rest started in a boat, but were 

a while enveloped in a sea fog. Finally they reached a fertile 

land, and travelled through it for fifteen days till they arrived on the 

banks of a wide river. They then turned back, remounted their boat, 

and in course of time made the islet from which they had started. 3 

ily (J. B.), Insula Sanctorum, Dublin, 1896, p. 214. 
* O'Hanlon (J. Canon), Lives of the Irish Saints, vol. v, p. 443. 

jvigatio, ed. Moran. In an article in the Revue Celtique, xxii, p. 339, 

\ C. L. Brown attempts to identify Barinth with the Celtic sea-god Mannan 

!.vr. Geoffrey of Monmouth introduces him as piloting King Arthur to 

.>rtunatr Isles. Geoffrey adopted Barinth from the popular Navigatio 


2 3 H Lives of the British Saints 

If Brendan had felt hitherto any hesitation about undertaking the 
voyage of exploration, this was removed by a singularly untoward 

Brendan had gone to an islet in a boat, and on landing left a boy in 
charge of it. Presently when the tide turned, and the wind freshened, 
the lad's brother, who accompanied Brendan, told his master that the 
little fellow was not man enough to hold the boat. Brendan testily 
rebuked him and wished him bad luck for so saying, but when his 
disciple persisted, sent him back. The young man found his brother 
vainly struggling with the boat ; and hastening to his assistance, was 
himself swept away by a wave and was drowned. Brendan's conscience 
reproached him for his conduct in the matter, which he must have 
frankly acknowledged, for there was no one now alive to give evidence 
of the bad words he had used. Moreover, the drowning of the young 
man was likely to entail unpleasant consequences on himself, as the 
kindred would be certain to take the matter up, and demand heavy 

Brendan, in this difficulty, visited his foster-mother Itha ; and she 
counselled him to quit Ireland and remain abroad till the resentment 
caused by this lamentable affair had abated. 1 

Brendan now took with him fourteen of his monks and crossed to 
Aran Mor to discuss the matter with S. Enda. After a brief tarry there 
of three days only, he returned to Ardfert, or to the Abbey under Bran- 
don Hill, and set to work to construct his boats. Of these there were to 
be three, each to contain twenty men. The vessels were very light, of 
osier twigs woven together, and covered with tanned hides. Brendan 
took with him, further, provisions for forty days, and fresh skins ; also 
butter wherewith to grease them. 2 Each coracle had three sails of 
hide and three banks of oars. 

Then they started with a favourable wind, on or about March 22, 
which is the day entered in the Irish Martyrologies as the " Egressio 
familiae Sti. Brendani." 3 

The three boats made for the point where the summer sun sets. The 

1 Vita, ed. Moran, p. 12. 

2 Sanctus Brendanus et qui cum eo erant, acceptis ferramentis, fecerunt 
naviculam costatam et columnatam ex vimine, sicut mos est in illis partibus, 
et cooperuerunt earn coriis bovinis ac rubricates in cortice roborina, linieruntque 
foris omnes juncturas navis . . . Butirium ad pelles preparandas assumpserunt 
ad cooperimentum navis." Navigatio, ed. Moran, p. 90. There is some differ- 
ence as to the number who accompanied Brendan. In the Life in the Book of 
Lismore we are told there were twenty in each boat, i.e., sixty in all. In the 
Metrical Life the number is raised to thirty in each. Oengus in his Litanies 
says, " Sexaginta comitati sunt S. Brendanum. 

3 Mart, of Oengus ; Mart, of Tallagh. 

S. Brendan 239 

wind lasted for twelve days ; after which they rowed, till 
they were exhausted. Presently a wind again sprang up, and they 
arried along by it without knowing in which direction they were 

drifting. 1 

Before proceeding further, it will be well to draw attention to the 
, 1 ist iiu-t i >n that exists between the Ada Sti. Brendani and the Navigatio 
Sti. Hrcmiani, two very different documents. 

Tlu- best Life is that in the so-called Kilkenny Book, in Marsh's 
Library, Dublin, and this has been printed by the Rev. P. F. Moran, 
bishop ot Ossory. and afterwards Cardinal. 2 There is an Irish Life 
in the Book of Lisuwrc, published in Anecdota Oxoniensia (1890). A 
,1 Latin .IcAr is in the Codex Salamanticensis, cols. 113-154, but 
this is actually a Navigatio. A second Vita in the same Codex is in 
cols. 758-77 J. and this is a Life, as is also that in the Book of Lismore. 
The Lite in the Kilkenny Book and the second Vita in the Sala- 
are free from the marvels contained in the Navigatio, 
with the sole exception of one story of Brendan and the bull-seals, about 
ii later on. They merely say that he visited many islands that 
uninhabited, and that after five years' absence he returned. 3 
There is also a Vita Metrica Sti. Brendani in the Cotton MSS. in the 
British Museum, published by Moran, but it relates mainly the adven- 
tures of the voyage. 

The Na;-. - first printed by Jubinal in 1836 from a MS. in the 

National Library, Paris ; but many others exist, indeed there is hardly 
a great public library in Europe that does not contain MS. copies ol 
it. In the National Library at Paris there are no less than eleven. 
Tin - an attempt at a Christian Imram. Among the 

ancient Irish there existed a whole class of tales of marvellous voyages. 
The I mi am. t \\ne such navigations as were voluntarily undertaken, 
the Longasa such as were made on compulsion. The Book of Leinster 
mentions as many as seven of these. Of these five still exist. Finding 
how popular this class of story was, some Christian writer composed 
an Imram that might be edifying the Navigatio Brendani. 

The Navigatio is a veritable Sinbad-the-Sailor romance, but it is 
:1 probability an embroidery of fancy over some threads of fact. 
What these threads are, we will make an attempt to discover. 

Aa \ve have already seen, Brendan started in a X.E. direction. After 
having lost his direction, and being carried by the wind, he knew not 

Sti. Brendani, ed. P. Moran, Dublin, 1872. 
- If, id. 

" Mu has in mari nactus est insulas, homines vero nullos. Quinquennio 
equora pcrlustravit." Acta in Cod. Sal., coll. 764-5. 

240 Lives of the British Saints 

whither, at the end of forty days he sighted land, lying due north, 
very rocky and lofty. On nearing it, he and his fellow travellers saw 
only precipitous cliffs with streams spilling over them into the sea. 1 
Nor was there any harbour visible. They coasted along for three 
days, and on the third discovered a port into which they thrust their 
vessels. Brendan blessed the harbour. 

The description accords remarkably with the appearance of the 
south-west coast of Iceland. The little group of the Westmann 
Islands lies off it, and the inhabitants dare not venture to the mainland, 
unless a stream that issues from a glacier and shoots over a bluff, falls 
in an unbroken silver thread to the sea. Brendan coasted along the 
black cliffs till he reached the great Faxa Fjord, and put into one of 
the little harbours there. On landing, one of the brothers died of 
exhaustion and privations, and was buried. 

Although we are not told so, the voyagers probably wintered there, 
for we next hear of them taking to their boats again and landing on 
another island to celebrate Easter. 

That Irish monks did inhabit Iceland before it was colonized by the 
Northmen we know from independent testimony. The Landnama 
Bok informs us that Irish bells, books, and other relics were found 
there ; and the Islendinga Bok says that Irish clerics were there when 
the colonists arrived in 870, and only then departed. 2 

Before Easter the voyagers landed on an island, on which they found 
sheep. 3 Having killed one, and furnished the boats with meat and 
water, they committed themselves once more to the sea, and next 
landed on an island so swarming with seafowl that they called it the 
Paradise of Birds, Foula, Shetland Isles. Here they celebrated 

One of the most extraordinary and impossible stories in the narrative 
is that of their disembarking on an island " where there was no grass, 
very little wood, and no sand." On this the brethren landed, and 
lighted a fire, when the island began to move, and proved to be a 
monstrous whale. It has been suggested by Mr. O'Donoghue that 
where the party landed was the island of Illaumaniel, in the Magharee 

1 " Apparuit eis quedam insula ex parte septentrional!, valde saxosa et 
alta . . . Cum appropinquassent ad litus, viderunt ripam altissimam sicut murum, 
et diversos rivulos descendentes de summitate insule, fluentes in mare." Navig., 
ed. Moran, p. 92. 

2 Islendinga Sdgur, Copenh., 1843, i, pp. 23-4 ; also p. 266. Islendinga 
Bok, ibid., p. 4. 

3 Possibly the Faroe Isles, the name Faereyar means Sheep Isles. Here 
also Irish hermits had settled. See Maurer, Die Bekehrung des Norwegischen 
Stcmmes, Munich, 1855, i, pp. 44-5. 

S. Brendan 241 

croup of islands, off the coast of G'alway. The name signifies Whale 
I si.-, ami it is peculiarly shaped, like one of these leviathans of the 
dvp. It has in it, moreover, a blow hole, into which the Atlantic 
8 thunder and whence send forth a spout of foam into the air much 
like the spouting of a whale. 

I f all Brendan desired was to keep clear of the mainland, and pursuit, 

of the death of his pupil, it would quite satisfy his 

purpose to spend Kaster on Whale Isle, and the fancy of the romancers 

bl over the name. 1 He spent Christmas on an island with S. 

. \ilbe, who is described as being at the time very aged and with his hair 

quite white. Ailbe died in 527 or 531. 

nt a Life of S. Ailbe, but it says nothing of a retreat to 
a dist I, but that he should spend his retreat in one just off the 

w.uld l>e in accordance with the custom of the Celtic Saints. 
And what is curious is, that just about this time, possibly fired by 
lu- had heard from Brendan of Iceland, he purposed to retire 
n.l would have done so had not Aengus MacNadfraich, 
king of Munstrr, intervene* I.- 
Brendan remained with Ailbe till the Octave of the Epiphany, and 
then to..k in, and allowed the currents to carry him where they 

would. " sinriiavii^io, sine velo," till the beginning of Lent. Then they 
took ; - supply of food and water, and sailed or rowed again, 

but had to land on account of rough weather, and spend three months 
n an island, living on a whale that had been cast ashore. The second 

to the feast of the Purification was spent with S. Ailbe. 
It \ re expressly told, in the third year of Brendan's exile 

that lir visited (iildas at Ruys. 3 

()n thr supposition that there is a substratum of fact under the 

intolerable amount of fable in the Navigatio, we may place here the 

incident, the arrival of Brendan and his party on an island where 

i lar^e monastic establishment. 4 The island was fairly level and 

not rocky. It was entirely treeless. Here they found an abbey and a 

li. in which three choirs sang the divine service alternately. The 

nler of recitation of the psalms is somewhat minutely described. 

At Sext, Psalm Ixvii. Deus misereatur, Psalm Ixx, Deus in 
adjutorium. and Psalm cxvi, io, Credidi propter, with its proper 

1 S. Brendan the Voyager, p. 94. 

- Vita Sti. AlU-i, in Cod. Sal., col. 257. The island is there called Dele, i.e. 

" Post tres annos in ilia peregrinacione Sanctus Brendanus ad ilium locum 
:ut." Vita, i-d. Moran, p. 13. 
iyati'i, e<l. Moran, p. 114. 

. R 

Lives of the British Saints 

At Nones, Psalm cxxx, De profundis, Psalm cxxxiii, Ecce quam 
bonum, and Psalm cxlvii, 12, Lauda Jerusalem. 

At Vespers, Psalm Ixv, Te decet hymnus, Psalm ciii, Benedic, 
anima mea, and Psalm cxiii, Laudate pueri. 

Then seated, they chanted the Gradual Psalms cxx-cxxxiv. This 
was sung as darkness closed in. 

Then for Prime, Psalm cxlviii, Laudate Dominum, and the two 
that follow, and these were followed by the twelve psalms to succeed 
" in the order of the psalter as far as Dixit insipiens," Psalm xiv. 

At dawn for Mattins, Psalm li, Miserere mei, Deus, Psalm xc, 
Do mine refugium, and Psalm Ixiii, Deus, Deus meus. 

At Terce, Psalm xlvii, Omnes gentes, plaudite, Psalm liv, Deus, in 
Nomine, and Psalm cxvi, Dilexi, quoniam, followed by Alleluia. Then 
they offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Immaculate Lamb, and all 
received the Holy Communion with the words, " This Sacred Body 
of the Lord, and the Blood of our Saviour, receive unto Life ever- 
lasting." i 

On leaving the island, the travellers were given a basket full of 
purple fruit (scalthi), probably grapes or whortleberries 2 of a remark- 
able size, which grew on the island, where moreover were white flowers 
and marigolds. 

The island may have been Belle lie, formerly called Guedel, where 
there is a Bangor, and where the monastic colony was swept away by 
the Northmen at the close of the ninth century, when all the inhabitants 
of the island were massacred or migrated to the mainland. Bangor 
was never rebuilt. 3 

The Navigatio does not mention the visit to Ruys. It was in winter 
when Brendan arrived, 4 and we can hardly suppose him engaged in 

1 " Hoc sacrum corpus Domini et Salvatoris nostri sanguinem sumite vobis 
in vitam eternam." The formula in the Book of Deer is, " Corpus cum sanguine 
Domini nostri J. C. sanitas sit tibi in vitam perpetuam et salutem." In the 
Book of Mulling, " Corpus et sanguis Domini nostri J. C. filii Dei vivi conservat 
animam tuam in vitam perpetuam." In the Irish 5. Gall Missal, " Hoc sacrum 
corpus Domini et Salvatoris sanguinem, alleluia, sumite vobis in vitam." In 
the Bangor Antiphonary, " Hoc sacrum corpus Domini et Salvatoris sanguinem 
sumite vobis in vitam perennam. Alleluia." This is almost word for word 
the form employed in the isle visited by S. Brendan. The form in the Stowe 
Missal is, " Hoc sacrum corpus Domini Salvatoris sanguinem, alleluia, sumite 
vobis in vitam eternam. Alleluia," which is nearer still. Warren (F. E.), 
Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church, Oxford, 1881. 

2 " Sgeallag " is used of kernels and berries. 

3 Le Mene, Paroisses de Vanrtes, Vannes, 1891, sub nom. Le Palais, and Ban- 
gor. " Bellam habebat insulam, nomine britannico Guedel appellatam, quam 
olim Normannorum rabies devastaverat et ejus colonos inde exulaverat." Car- 
tulary of Quimperle (1029), Paris, 1896, p. 94. 

4 " Tune yems erat." Vit., ed. Moran, p. 13. 

S. Brendan 243 

lengthy voyage during the storms of that season, or during the equinoc- 
tial gales, on that dangerous coast. He must have arrived at Ruys 
from some island near, such as is Belle He. Ruys is situated on the 
spit of land that, along with the other peninsula of Locmariaquer 
todote tin Morbihan. The side towards the Atlantic is precipitous, 
hut that towards the inland sea shelves gently down into shallow water. 
Mivndan must have passed through the channel with the sweep of the 
rising tide, between the points of Arzon and that of Locmariaquer, 
when he found himself in still water in a broad inland sea studded with 
s.m<ly islets, on one of which, Gavr Inis, rose the great mound that 
encloses the marvellous sculptured sepulchral chamber which is one of 
tlu- wonders of the district. The sloping shore of the Sarzeau arm of 
lainl was well timbered. 

\Vlim the party landed, the weather was inclement ; snow was 

falling am! the land was white with the flakes ; moreover, the hour was 

late. 1 Nothing doubting of a hospitable reception, they made their 

way up thr rising ground over a bleak moor, to the monastery of Ruys, 

: which presided the learned but churlish Gildas. 

It was surrounded by a high bank and palisade, and they found the 

shut and barred. Brendan and his party stood without and 

knocked, hut the porter refused to open. Probably it was against rule 

i in it strangers after sunset, and Gildas was not the man to set aside 

ulation because bidden to do so by the principles of Christian 

charity. If we may trust the account in the Life in the Salamanca 

, the poor shivering monks were constrained to pass the night 

in the snow outside. 

Mut in the morning, cold, and hungry and angry, Brendan would 
endure- this treatment no longer, and he ordered Talmach, a lusty 
vouiij,' disciple, to burst open the gate, and this he did with a hearty good 
will. Talmach had been a pupil of Mancen at Ty Gwyn, where he had 
seduced Drustic, a female fellow pupil. It was possibly in conse- 
quence of this escapade that he had to leave, and attach himself to 

Marianus O'Gorman styles him "a humble and devoted virgin 
saint, " which shows that the martyrologist was either imperfectly 
acquainted with Talmach's history, or else that he employed his 
epithets with lavish charity. 

Then Brendan went on with his party to the church, and found that 
locked as well, and here again he forced the doors. As he desired to 

1 " Minxit ilia nocte ingruenter," Cod. Sal., col. 768. " Nix tune pluit 
OOOpenOM terram," Ada, ed. Moran, p. 13. 

244 Lives of the British Saints 

say Mass, he called for a liturgy, and was given one used by Gildas 
himself, written in Greek characters ; however, Brendan had been well 
instructed by S. Jarlath and he read from it with ease. 1 

Gildas consented to receive Communion from his hands. But the 
relations between the two Saints were strained, and Brendan would 
not remain with Gildas more than three nights and days. During 
that time the brethren amused themselves with a wolf-hunt. 

The Life of S. Brendan in the so-called Kilkenny Book says that the 
two Saints parted on good terms, and that Gildas even asked Brendan 
to remain there and become superior of the monastery. This is 
very doubtful ; if there be truth in it, it is that Gildas was desirous of 
returning to Britain, and asked Brendan to take his place while he was 
away. He would make use of him for his own convenience, but could 
not be gracious to him. 

From Ruys Brendan crossed the still lake-like sea of the Morbihan, 

With all its fairy crowds 
Of islands that together lie 
As quietly as spots of sky 
Among the evening clouds. 

Perhaps the three coracles were directed up the creek of the Auray 
river, carried forward by the flush of the rising tide that swelled over 
the mud flats, without a ripple, and were given direction by a few 
strokes of the oars. A beautiful river, even in winter. The steep 
densely wooded hills descended to the glassy flood, russet with the 
oak leaves still clothing the trees in every fold where sheltered from 
the blast of the ocean. Here the banks contracted, and then drew 
back allowing the water to extend to lake-like stretches ; creeks ran 
on both sides far inland, making it difficult for those drifting inwards 
to know which was the main river and which the mouth of an affluent. 
To the left, where the high ground sank to heathery low tracts with 
lagoon and marsh, could be seen long rows of giant stones set upright, 
stalking over the waste, like an army of marching men petrified, the 
relics of a vast necropolis of the primeval inhabitants, monuments 
even then in the sixth century uncomprehended and invested with 
mystery. As the three coracles glided on, the mouth was passed of a 
stream up which the tide was rolling, forming between it and the 
Auray River a long peninsula on whose top, perhaps at that very 

1 " Et habebat S. Gylldas missalem librum scriptum Graecis litteris, et 
positus est ille liber super Altare. Et custos templi ex jussione Sti. Gildae 
dixit Sto. Brendano : Vir Dei, praecepit tibi sanctus senex noster ut offeras 
corpus Xti ; ecce altare hie est (et) librum Graecis litteris scriptum, et canta 
in eo sicut abbas noster . . . et cepit missam cantare." Ibid., pp. 13-14. 

S. Brendan 245 

time, was dwelling a female anchorite, Ave or Eve, who had come from 
I'.ntain, bringing with her, after the manner of the Celtic Saints, her 
Irrh, the stone on which she would lie for the death agony, and on 
whirh to be laid to her last rest. Did she look down on the floating 
monks from the sister isle, and call to them in salutation, wishing them 
God-Speed? \\V cannot tell. And then rock and forest intermingled 
on both sides ; the river contracted, and still they slid upwards under 
the heights, where one day would rise the town of Auray about a 
ehurrh granted to the successors of Gildas, and where his story all 
but his insolent treatment of Brendan would fill the windows in painted 
picture. A little further up and the coracles grounded, and the tide 
t no further avail. Then carrying the light wicker-work boats, 
inly crew went uj> the river, dwindled now to an insignificant 
' and possibly made a protracted lodgment at Brandivy, 1 
. from the name, we may suspect that Brendan formed a settle- 
ment, but where his connection with it was forgotten when a later Saxon 
Saint Ywy planted himself on the same site, two centuries after. 
his was Plouvigner, the Plou of Fingar, an Irishman of royal 
descent. Guaire the White, Brendan would have called him, perhaps 
the son of Ailill Molt, king of Connaught, or of Ailill of the Hy Bairrche, 
it is not possible to say which. Fingar was not there then, he was 
probably by this time dead, murdered in Cornwall, but his Irish colony 
was in possession of the land, and held a very extensive tract, separated 
from Brand ivy by the stream of the Loc. 

lay at this pleasant spot, where there was plenty of firewood 
and where was shelter from the winter storms, we may imagine Brendan 
and his party, when the buds began to swell, and the primroses and the 
ood anemones opened to tell that spring was come to have shoul- 
' heir coracles and to have made their way across the high ground 
1' -t hed with the forest of Camors and past the fortress of Conmore, who 
tonsil regent of Domnonia had lands in the Vannes district, to the 
iver Blavet, where again the boats were floated, and the travellers 
proceeded on their way. with intent to cross the watershed into 

\Vhen they had traversed the ridge to Mur, they possibly diverged to 
the ri-ht to visit another Irish settlement, a monastery, now no longer 
ex ist in-, but under the name of S. Caradoc it recalls a foundation by 
faithagh the pupil of and successor to S. Ciaran of Saighir. He 

u . I'aroisses de Vannes, i, p. 94, supposes the name Brandivy to be 
tved from Bre-Ivy. the Hill of S. Yivy ; but it is not probable that Bran 
rould be introduced as a corruption. Brevy would be the natural form the 
name .vould take from the derivation proposed. 

&s*^^^ ^ ^^ LL o : 

246 Lives of the British Saints 

himself may not have been there, but his spiritual sons were, and 
would surely not have shut their gates against their brethren from the 
Emerald Isle. 

Brendan now formed a settlement at the spot that still bears his 
name and remembers him as patron, near Quintin. He may have left 
a few of his monks there, and then he pushed on eastward to the Ranee, 
descended it, and established himself at Aleth. 

For what has been described with some detail, it must be clearly 
understood that we have no textual authority. We know only that he 
did cross from Ruys to the Ranee, but the indications of his presence 
at Brandivy and at S. Brandan by Quintin, perhaps justify what has 
been said. Near Aleth, now S. Servan, opposite S. Malo, Brendan 
founded an important monastery. 1 

Brendan's monastery was not on the mainland, but in the island 
of Cesambre over against Aleth. Here to this day Brendan receives 
a cult, and has a chapel somewhat resembling a coast-guards' watch- 
house, the vault encrusted with shells. Formerly girls went there from 
the mainland to invoke S. Brendan to obtain husbands, praying, 
" Bienheureux S. Brendan, baillez-nous un homme, on vous donnera 
un cierge, tant plus tot, tant plus gros." As the isle has recently 
received fresh fortifications, no one is now suffered to disembark on 
it, and to the custom, accordingly, a stop has been put. When, some 
thirty years after the foundation had been made by Brendan, S. Machu, 
or Malo, disembarked on Cesambre, he found the monastery flourishing 
under the direction of an abbot, Festivus. 

Aleth was a town mainly occupied by indigenous pagans, and Bren- 
dan trusted that his monastery would form a nucleus for the evange- 
lization of the place and neighbourhood. Aleth had been a Roman 
station, in which resided an officer, a military prefect, with a detachment 
of soldiers. But now it was other, it was open and undefended, and 
about this period was sacked and burnt by marauding Saxon pirates. 2 
Probably partly for security, and partly because it was better suited 
to the discipline of a monastery, Brendan preferred placing his monks 
on an island, rather than on the mainland. 

That he extended his activities eastward appears from his name, 
under the form given it by the Britons, Branwalader, attaching to a 
parish church on the rising ground that forms the limit of the great 

1 " In alia regione in Britannia monasterium nomine Ailech, sanctus Bren- 
danus fundavit," Vita, ed. Moran, p. 15. " In Britanniam remeavit ac duo 
monasteria, unum in insula Ailech . . . fundavit," Acta in Cod. Sal., col. 768. 
In this latter life the author supposes Ailech to be in Britain. 

2 De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretagne, 1896, tome i, p. 132. 



at Trtgrom. 

S. Brendan 247 

marsh of Dol. It is now called S. Broladre. That one of the islands 
visited by him, which figures in so fantastic a form in the Navigatio, 
was Jersey, is rendered probable by his name being attached there to 
the Bay of S. Brelade. 

It may be well here to consider briefly the supposed relations that 
existed between S. Machu (Malo) and Brendan, but they shall be 
examined more fully when we come to the life of the former. 

According to the Life of S. Machu, he was confided in infancy by his 
parents to S. Brendan, who was then abbot of Llancarfan. 1 

The names of the successors of S. Cadoc, who was the founder, are 
known, although their order is not quite certain, 2 and there is no 
mention of Brendan among them, nor is any mention of Llancarfan 
to be found in the Lives of S. Brendan. That Machu was with Brendan 
at one time is conceivable ; but he w r as too young at the time of 
Bivndan's voyages to have been with him then. The authors of the 
Lives of Machu knew of the connection of Brendan with Aleth, which 
became the seat of Machu's bishopric, and they concluded that their 
hero had shared with the former his adventures on the deep. 

The commemoration of Brendan as intimately associated with Aleth 
has never failed there. He is entered in the S. Malo Breviaries and 
Missals as a saint deserving local cult. 

From Aleth Brendan went west, and founded a second important 
monastery. 3 The district about Plouaret is probably meant, in 
Cotes du Xord, but on the confines of Finistere. Here are Lanbellec 
(the Llan of the Priest) and Tregrom, of both of which he is patron, 
as also of the chapel of Trogoff. What the Bledua of the Life may be, 
is now hard to discover. 

The district about Plouaret is peculiarly pleasant and fertile, and 

is well watered. Lanbellec is an extensive parish. The church 
unhappily been rebuilt, and every feature of interest swept away. 

is other with Tregrom, that lies at the junction of a little stream 
with the Leguier in a lovely situation. The church has been judiciously 
restored, and possesses an interesting statue of S. Brendan of the 

Eeenth century, above the porch entrance. 
Vita Sti. Machuti. a net. Bili. 
\ccording to the charters of Llancarfan, appended to the Life of S. Cadoc, 
were Cadoc, Elli, Paul, Jacob, Cyngen, Sulien and Danog. 
' In loco alio in Brittania in regione Heth ecclesiam et villam circa earn 
issignavit, et ibi magnas virtutes pater Brendanus fecit," Vita, ed. Moran, p. 16. 
The Second Life in the Salamanca Codex says, " Alterum (monasterium) in 
terra Ethica in loco nomine Bledua fundavit," col. 769. Terra Ethica is Plouaret 

24 & Lives of the British Saints 

At the end of five years 1 Brendan returned to Ireland ; and on his 
way occurred the curious incident of the contending seals, to which has 
been given an extravagant character in the narrative that it really 
does not deserve. The story is told in his " Life," and also twice in the 
Liber Hymnorum, in the preface to the hymn " Brigid be bithmaith," 
and as a note to that of " Ni car Brigid." There must be some founda- 
tion for it. The story in brief is this. Whilst Brendan and his part 
were at sea they saw two monsters engaged in conflict, when one 
them, being pursued by the other to imminent destruction, invoked 
first S. Patrick and then S. Brendan to defend it, but in vain, and at 
last commended itself to the protection of S. Brigid, when the monster 
that was about to destroy it, at once desisted from the pursuit, and its 
intended victim escaped unharmed. We may suppose the monsters 
were bull-seals, but the " Life " in the Book of Lismore says one was a 
sea cat and the other a whale, and says nothing of the pursued bea 
invoking the saints. What actually occurred was apparently t 
The monks from their boat witnessed a battle between bull-seals, 
as one seemed to be getting the worst of it and was pursued by i 
antagonist, those in the first boat invoked S. Patrick to its aid. Sti 
it got the worst. Then those in the second boat called on Brendan to 
lend his merits to help the pursued beast out of its difficulties ; but it 
was only when Brigid had been called on by those in the third boat, 
that the victorious seal abandoned the pursuit. It was an easy matter 
out of such material to evolve an extravagant fable. 

Directly that Brendan arrived in Ireland he visited S. Brigid at 
Kildare, and in all simplicity told her the story. He really supposed 
that her merits had prevailed over those of Patrick and himself to 
assist the bull-seal. 

" As for me," said he, " since the day I was born not one passes but 
my mind turns to God, every seven strides that I make." " But I," 
said Brigid, ' ' cannot remember that mine has ever been diverted from 

Brigid died in 525, on February I, so that the return of Brendan to 
Ireland cannot have taken place later than the autumn of 524, when 
he was aged forty-one. 2 

After leaving Brigid, Brendan went on to visit his foster-mother Itha 
at Killedy, where she was now established. She strongly advised him 
to depart once more. There were reasons, which we shall notice 

1 Irish Life, Book of Lismore, p. 253 : " Quinquennio equora perlustravit." 
Vita 2da, Cod. Sal., coll. 764-5. 

2 The date can be pretty accurately determined. See further on under the 
heading of S. Brigid. 

S. Brendan 249 

that made it inadvisable for him to remain in that part of 
Minister. Itha did not wholly approve of his construction of boats, 
and advised him to abandon wicker work, and make a vessel out of 
rib- and boards. 1 It was not safe for him to remain in Munster, and 
he did not venture on constructing his vessel there, but went for the 
purpose to Connaught, with sixty disciples. According to the Irish 
I.itr, he visited Enda and stayed a month with him in Aran. 2 In 
Connaught Brendan set to work building a ship on the plan suggested 
by Itha. That accomplished, he started once more, and we may 
pretty confidently assert that the two years he remained away were 
spent in Brittany. 

To this period belongs apparently the incident recorded in the 

Xiivi^tifio of the visit to the hermit Paul. Having made for the 

rican coast, but with no intention of renewing his acquaintance 

with and trusting to the hospitality of Gildas, he arrived off the coast 

ot Leon. " Brendan made sail for some time towards the south. On 

the third day a small island appeared at a distance, towards which the 

brethren plied their oars. ' Do not, brothers,' said he, ' exhaust 

your strength. Seven years will have passed next Easter, since we 

left our country.' " 3 The three days must have been since they left 

the Devon coast ; that Brendan was there is shewn by the fact of 

tlu- parish of Branscombe having him as its ancient patron and the 

presumed founder of its llan. But seven years is inaccurate; by 

the following Easter it would be six and not seven years. 

" On approaching the shore, they could find no place to land, so 

was the coast, the island was small and circular, about a furlong 

in circumference, and on its summit was no soil, as the rock was quite 

bar--. When they sailed round it, they found a small creek, which 

ly admitted the prow of their vessel, and from which the ascent 

was difficult." 4 

( )n this island they found a very aged hermit, whose name was Paul ; 
he was covered from head to foot with hair, which was as white as 

Allowing for a considerable amount of exaggeration, we may deter- 
mine the locality, and the hermit whom he there found. The island 
was Batz. off the north coast of Leon. It is not indeed round, but it is 
quite true that there is no landing-place on the face towards the ocean, 
the harbour is on that which faces Roscoff, on the mainland. 

1 In " Book of Lismore," Atiecd. Oxon., p. 257. 
- Xai'igatio, ed. Moran, p. 125. 

3 Ibid. Precisely the same in the Acta in the Codex 3al., col. 147. 
Ibid., p. 12;. 

250 Lives of the British Saints 

In Batz resided Paul of Leon, to which he retired when he had 
reached a very advanced age. " Sanctus Paulus . . . migravit ad 
Battham, propriae habitationis insulam, ubi . . . multa aetatis decre- 
pitae tempora impendisse refertur, ita ut prae nimia senectute, 
consumptis jam carnibus, cutis solummodo atque ossa ejus divini 
amoris arefacta remanisse videbantur." 1 

If this visit took place in the year 525 or 526 it is too early for Pai 
to have been in this emaciated and aged condition, for he was or 
consecrated bishop in or about 529, and he did not surrender 
charge and retire to solitude* that he intended to be permanent till 55- 
What is probable is that Paul was at the time in the isle of Batz, 
which he frequently retreated, and that the writer of the Navigati 
represents him as being then in the condition of extreme emaciation 
to which he was reduced some thirty years later. What confirms the 
opinion that Brendan did make the acquaintance of Paul of Leon is 
that he made a foundation or two in what became the diocese of Paul. 
These are Kerlouan and Loc Brevelaire ; and one can well understand 
that a friendship having grown up between Paul and Brendan, the 
abbot asked the latter to found a centre for missionary work further 
west, beyond the great shallow bay of the Greve de Goulven. There 
would be another inducement to take Brendan to where is now 
Kerlouan. Hard by was a settlement of S. Senan, his bosom 
friend ; indeed, later on Brendan made Senan his amchara or confessor 
and director. 

At what time Senan was in Brittany we do not know, but it was 
probably before Brendan arrived there. He may have been at 
Guisenny at the time, or there may have been only a handful of his 
spiritual sons there. At any rate it must have been a delight to 
Brendan to meet brother Irishmen in this distant land, and talk with 
them in his own loved tongue. 

At this part of the coast there are not bold bluffs, the land shelves 
into the sea, and there are vast stretches of sand. But out of the 
low land at Kerlouan shoots up a hunch of rock now surmounted by a 
signal station, once crowned by the Caer which has given its name to 
the parish. The old church has not been swept away ; a modern 
structure, vulgar and pretentious, has been erected near by, but the 
old church is left, not unmutilated, however, for it has had its side 
aisles pulled down and walled up. A statue of S. Brendan there 
represents him as an abbot, with a crosier in one hand, mitred, and 
with a book in the other. 

Of greater interest is Loc Brevelaire, by its name indicating it as a 

1 Vita Sti. Pauli Leonensis, ed. Plaine, Analecta Bollandiana, 1882, cap. xx. 

From Statue at Loc-Brevclairc. 

S. Brendan 251 

locus ju'iiitentiae, or cell to which the Saint retired in Lent, and when- 
lit- desired to be alone with God. It is a tiny village, composed of 
\v cottages about the church, in a dip of a range of hills formed of 
a conglomerate of granite refuse, on the left bank of the Abervrach, 
there but an insignificant stream trickling through swampy meadows 
t lidt flicker with yellow flags. It stands opposite to the wooded 
height of Lescoet (the Court in the Wood) once probably a Us of the 
chieftain of Lon. The church contains rude circular arches resting 
on drums of pillars of the eleventh century, but it was much altered in 
the seventeenth century, and again tinkered up in 1771. There is a 
Holy Well of the Saint in the churchyard wall, surmounted by his 
statue. He is also represented on the granite Calvary, and there is an 
interesting statue of him by the Altar in the church. He is figured 
as an abbot in chasuble, mitred, holding a crosier, and trampling on 
a monster, whilst a spotted dog is scrambling up his side seeking 
apparently to lick his hand. 

M. Pol de Courcy, in his MS. Pouille de Leon, says that Loc Brevelaire 
was described in mediaeval times as Monasterium Sti. Brendani, but he 
gives neither reference nor date. There is neither minihi, moustier, 
nor Ian among the place names in the parish. The only chapel bearing 
the title of S. Brendan in the Department of Morbihan is one on the side 
of the Montagnes Noires at Langonnet near Gourin. 1 

The founding of monastic colonies in Leon was probably the 
work of the two final years of exile from Erin, and these ended, he 
returned to Ireland, but there is no notice of his having gone back to 

The second exile from Ireland had not been due solely to the resent- 
ment of the relatives of the drowned youth. There is evidence of an- 
other cause rendering his absence advisable. For some reason unknown 
there had been much commotion in Kerry, repeated intestine broils, 
in which members of the same great sept had been fighting each other ; 
this had resulted in one portion being dispossessed of their land. We 
do not know the exact date of the settlement of these refugees in Con- 
naught, but it was in the reign of Aedh, son of Eochaidh Tirmcharma, 
who was king of Connaught (544-555), that it was completed. 

Cairbre MacConuire had been expelled with all his people from Kerry. 
He took refuge with Aedh, who, struck with the beauty of Cairbre's 
daughter, married her. Some time after this she persuaded her 
husband to grant to the dispossessed members of her father's clan a 
portion of the wide and beautiful plains of Roscommon and Mayo. 
He consented, and the Ciarraidhe came in such numbers as to excite 
1 Le Mene, Paroisses de Vannes, i, p. 404. 

2^2 Lives of the British Saints 

the resentment of the men of Connaught, and to displease Aedh. The 
migration continued for many years, so that three extensive colonies 
of the Ciarraidhe were settled in Roscommon and Mayo, and these all 
belonged to one of the principal branches of the Ciarraidhe, to which 
the sept of Altraighe, S. Brendan's own sept, gave chieftains. 1 

It is probable that the broils in Kerry had been so fierce, and the 
condition to which the Altraighe had been reduced was so depressed, 
that Brendan deemed it expedient to keep out of the way . 

Some of the exiles were near relations of S. Brendan, and one, Fintan, 
who is said to have been a Kerry prince, and nephew of the Saint, had 
fled to North Connaught, where, however, he got into a scrape. Being 
a good-looking fellow, he attracted the notice of the King's daughter, 
and they eloped together and placed themselves under the protection 
of S. Brendan, and whilst with him, their son, S. Fursey, was born. 2 

Whether the whole rush of the Ciarraidhe had as yet overswept 
Roscommon and Mayo, or whether, as is probable, only some of the 
refugees had settled there, Brendan deemed it advisable to make his 
headquarters among them, and to abandon troubled Kerry. He was 
accompanied by his brother, Faitleach, and by Bishop Maighniu, a 
near relation. 

The first monastery he founded in Connaught was probably Cluan- 
tuasceart, in Roscommon, among the exiled Ciarraidhe, but he soon 
left it, placing it under the management of his brother, Faitleach, and 
proceeding west reached Lough Carrib, and crossing over to Inchquin 
resolved on settling in that island. According to the legend, this was 
royal property, and on the islet, King Aedh kept his horses, and these 
Brendan employed to draw material for his monastery. When Aedh 
heard of this he was very angry, and was only with difficulty pacified ; 
then he made over the island to Brendan for ever. Brendan, however, 
was not satisfied with this, he founded a monastic settlement also on 
the island of Inis-da-dromand, where the Fergus river unites with the 
Shannon. But quarrels ensued among the monks there which ended 
in one of them being cut over the head, treacherously, whilst he was 
asleep, by a brother monk. The wounded man fled to Inchquin, told 
his story to Brendan, and died there of the wound. One day a serf 
of King Aedh fled to him complaining of the ill-treatment he received. 
Now it so chanced that Brendan in digging had come on an ancient 

1 O'Donovan, Book of Rights, Dublin, 1847, P- IO . et sec l- 

2 The lives of S. Fursey give very different accounts of his parentage, De- 
cause two saints of the same name have been confounded together. According 
to some of them the father of Fintan was Finlug, and he was therefore brother 
of S. Brendan. 

S. Brendan 253 

gold ornament, perhaps a torque, and he gave this to the man, and 
bade him therewith purchase his freedom. 

If we place the return of Brendan from his second voyage at 527, we 
have a considerable gap of time to fill in before we come to his relations 
with Aedh, king of Connaught (544-555), and this is one objection 
to the placing of the peregrinations at so early a period. The fixing 
of the voyages as occurring about 519-524, and 525-527, was due to 
the mention of the visit to S. Brigid after that which could only be the 
first, and that of his wintering twice with S. Ailbe, who, according to 
the best authorities, died in 527, but the Annals of Ulster and Innisfallen 
give it at 526, and the Chronicon Scottorum at 531. J Probably the 
migration of the Ciarraidhe began under Eoghain Beal and continued 
under Aedh. 

If we place the voyages of Brendan at a later period, we must cast 
. ivi-r the story of his visit to Brigid on his return ; that also of his having 
passed two Christmas festivals with S. Ailbe. 

We are told in the Life of S. Finnian of Clonard that both Brendans 
were his disciples. 2 Finnian died in 548, and his school was founded, 
as Dr. Lanigan holds, about the date of the death of S. Ailbe, 527^ 
Xow, if this was the year, as suggested, of Brendan's arrival from 
Armorica after his second voyage, and if on account of the civil war 
in Kerry he did not care to return there, it is not impossible that he 
may have spent some time with Finnian at Clonard, not as a pupil, 
hut as an assistant. It was there that Brendan made acquaintance 
with Ruadhan, an acquaintanceship that would draw him into the 
worst error of his life. 

In 527, Brendan would be aged forty-four. At Clonard he made 
acquaintance as well with Columcille, whom in after years he visited, 
when the latter was exiled from Ireland. 

That he remained long with Finnian is improbable, as there is no 
further notice of him in the Life of the great " Master of Saints " than 
that already mentioned. 

At some time between 544 and 555, Brendan paid a visit to King 
Diarmid Mac Cearbhoil in Meath. The king was then at Tara, and 
he was told that Brendan was coming to him. He was not over 
gratified at the prospect, fearing lest the Saint should demand of him 
the gold torque he wore. We are told that the king dreamt that this 
would be the case. Now the bards had the privilege of asking for what 

1 The Four Masters give 541, but this is another Ailbe of Senchua. Lani- 

l-ccl. Hist. Ireland, Dublin, 1829, i, pp. 461-3. 
Cod. Sal., col. 200. 
3 Eccl. Hist. Ireland, i, p. 464. 

254 Lives of the British Saints 

they wanted, and this could not well be refused them, for if they were 
denied they lampooned the person who rejected their demand, so as 
to turn him into a general laughing stock. This had become an intoler- 
able nuisance, and when a bard actually demanded of King Cormac 
Mac Airt the royal broach, the badge of supreme kingship, he banished 
the whole pack out of the country. 

The Saints had stepped into the prerogatives of the bards, and if 
they did not lampoon, they cursed, and that soundly. Diarmid 
feared lest Brendan should make the same audacious demand. He 
consulted his druids and they told him that his dream portended that 
the sovereignty of Ireland would thenceforth be shared between the 
king and the Saints. When Brendan arrived and was told of the 
dream and its interpretation, he said that the good things of both 
worlds would be given only to such as truly served God, and contrary 
to the king's expectation he made no demand of him. " And Diarmid 
rendered great honour to S. Brendan, for he was a righteous and 
Christian king." x 

Indeed, Diarmid had been most generous to the Saints, and meanly 
and cruelly did they recompense him, as we shall see presently. He 
had been a liberal benefactor to S. Cieran of Clonmacnoise, he gave 
large endowments to Columcille, and he was liberal as well to Bishop 
Maighneu. But as soon as he touched their privilege of sanctuary 
they all turned against him and produced his overthrow. 

Brendan was walking one stormy day with some monks through a 
forest. The wind roared among the trees, and every now and then 
one fell with a crash. The brethren were alarmed, one of them 
exclaimed that they were in dire peril from the falling timber. " Fear 
not," said the abbot ; " one night when I was at sea, and all were 
asleep in the vessel but myself, a gale was blowing and we drew near 
to some breakers, and I thought our boat would be rent on them, but 
a great billow heaved us over the prongs of rock into still water. God, 
who delivered us then, can deliver us now." 2 

In 555, Brendan founded Clonfert. It was the year of the battle of 
Cuildreihmne, in which Aedh of Connaught fought and defeated 
Diarmid Mac Cearbhall. 3 The account in the Second Life in the 

1 Vita, ed. Moran, p. 21. 

2 Ibid., p. 23. In the text, the rocks rise up to let the boat pass under them. 

3 " Diarmid vero fugit, et in eo die Cluainferta Brennain fundata est," 
sub anno 561. But 555 is the date in the Annals of the Four Masters, and those 
of Tighernach. The Ulster Annals give as the date of the founding of Clonfert 
557 (i.e., 558), but again under 563 (i.e. 564), " Or in this year Brendan founded 
the church of Cluainferta." 

S. Brendan 255 

Codex Salmanticensis may be quoted. " Some time afterwards S. 
Brendan said to his brethren, ' We must go into the country of the Hy 
Many, for that land hath need of us, and there perhaps shall our bodies 
repose. I have heard its angel waging battle in my name, and we must 
therefore lend him assistance, for our Redeemer's sake.' In that year 
the kings of the northern parts of Ireland, and Aedh, king of Connaught, 
with all their forces, gave battle to Diarmid, king of Ireland, at a place 
called Cuildreihmne, and won the victory. Then, the man of God, 
Brendan, went forth into the land of Hy-Maine, and there founded the 
famous monastery of Clonfert. ' This shall be my rest for ever, here will 
I dwell,' said he. T n that place he became the father of many servants 
of God, and thence he diffused light and virtue all round." * 

Previous to this, however, he had been mixed up in a very discredit- 
able affair, concerning which his biographers are mainly silent. 
Diarmid was high-king of Ireland (544-58). His steward had been 
ill for a year. On his recovery, he inquired whether the king's 
privileges had been maintained during the time when he was unable 
to * xercise his office. The spear-bearer of Diarmid undertook to go 
through the land and report. It was the rule that every under-king's 
Us or court should have a door wide enough for the royal spear to be 
carried through it, borne horizontally. This man, on arriving in 
Connaught, went to the mansion of Aedh Guaire, who had a stockade 
of oak about his rath, with a new wooden house in it, erected with a 
view to his marriage feast. 

When the spear-bearer arrived, he found that the entrance to the 
rath was of the regulation size, but not so that of the house, and he 
imperiously demanded that it should be hacked to the conventional 
width. Aedh objected, an altercation ensued, and ended in the 
spearbearer being killed. 

When Diarmid heard of this, he was furious, and sent his men to 
devastate the lands of Aedh Guaire, who, unable to resist the superior 
force of the king, fled for sanctuary to S. Ruadhan of Lothra. Ruadhan 
sent him away into Britain, but Diarmid contrived his arrest there, 
and he was brought a prisonei to Tara. 

Upon this, Ruadhan, who regarded the matter as a breach of sanc- 
tuary, went to Brendan of Birr, and thence sent messengers throughout 
Ireland to the great abbots to assemble in maintenance of their rights. 
They accordingly gathered, and proceeded to Tara, and undertook a 
fast against the king. 2 

1 2nd Life in Cod. Sal., col. 770. 

2 Ibid. 

256 Lives of the British Saints 

But Diarmid retaliated, and instituted a fast against the Saints. 
" To the end of a year they continued before Tara under Ruadhan's tent 
exposed to weather and wet, and they were every alternate night 
without food, Diarmid and the clergy, fasting against each other." 

At this time Brendan arrived on the scene, returned apparently 
from having visited his monasteries in Armorica, for he is represented as 
arriving from abroad. He at once made common cause with the other 
abbots against the king who had been his benefactor. 

According to one account, Diarmid was so frightened when he heard 
of the arrival of Brendan, that he consented to surrender his captive ; 
however that may be, the fast continued on both sides. Then Brendan 
devised a most unworthy stratagem to enable the Saints to get the 
better of the king. Diarmid had his spies observing the abbots. 
Brendan advised them to pretend to break their fast, by pulling their 
hoods over their faces, and making believe that they ate, but actually 
slipping their food into their laps. 

The spies, thinking that the abbots had broken their fast, hastened 
to announce it to the king, and Diarmid, overjoyed, broke his. Thus 
the Saints got ahead of him by one night. When he heard how he 
had been outwitted, he went to them and thus addressed them : " Alas 
for the iniquitous contest you are waging against me ! seeing that 
what I pursue is the good of Ireland, her discipline and the rights of 
the crown. But it is discord and slaughter in Ireland that ye are 
aiming at. God Himself appointed me to give right judgment and rule 
and truth. A prince must combine stringency with mercy, and peace 
must be maintained among the under chiefs. Unless a king succour 
the wretched, overwhelm enemies, and banish falsehood, he has fallen 
from his duty, and will be held responsible therefore hereafter." 

Then Ruadhan and all the assembled Saints cursed Diarmid that his 
dynasty should come to an end, and that Tara should be for ever 

There is another, but not necessarily contradictory version of the 
story, that the king bribed Mobai to withdraw from the conjuration 
of the Saints against him. 1 

1 The authorities are these. The lost Annals of Clonmacnoise, which were 
translated into English by Connell Mac Geoghegan in 1627, and printed in 1896; 
an Irish MS. in Trinity Coll., Dublin (H. I. 15) ; the Life of S. Ruadhan in the 
Book of Kilkenny ; a fifteenth century MS. in the Brit. Mus., which is a copy of 
the lost Book of Sligo ; the Life in the Codex Salaman., No. xv ; The Book of 
Rights, ed. O'Donovan, 1847, pp. 53-7 ; The Four Masters, the Chron. Scott., 
the A nnals of Ulster ; Tighernach and Keating are silent upon the matter. 
" Yet so great a national event was infinitely too important to have been passed 
over in silence except for some special reason, and I cannot help thinking that 

S. Brendan 257 

Diarmid was murdered in 558, and Tara was never again inhabited 
r made the centre of government. " The great palace where, accord 
jnr to general belief, a hundred and thirty-six pagan and six Christian 
kings had ruled uninterruptedly, the most august spot in all Ireland, 
where a ' Truce of God ' had always reigned during the great triennial 
assemblies, was now to be given up and deserted at the curse of a 
tonsured monk. The Great Assembly, or Feis, of Tara, which accus- 
tomed the people to the idea of a centre of government and a ruling 
po\\er, could no more be convened, and a thousand associations and 
memories which hallowed the office of the High King were snapped in 
a moment. It was a blow from which the monarchy of Ireland never 
recovered, a blow which, by putting an end to the great triennial and 
septennial conventions of the whole Irish race, weakened the prestige 
of the central ruler, increased the powers of the provincial chieftains, 
segregated the clans of Ireland from one another, and opened a new 
road for faction and dissension throughout the entire land." l 

The last Feis of Tara occurred in 554, and the Cursing of Tara must 
have taken place that year, or the next, when the battle of Cuild- 
reihmne was fought, in which Diarmid lost most of his troops, and was 
obliged to fly. He was an unfortunate prince in having offended the 
Saints of Ireland. The conjuration which led to this battle was brought 
about by the efforts of Columcille, against whom he had pronounced a 
judgment that the Saint regarded as unjust, and because Diarmid 
had put to death Curnan, son of Aedh, the king of Connaught, whom 
he had received under his protection. 2 

Clonfert, founded in 555 by S. Brendan, is in Galway, and near the 
Shannon, and it grew to be a great centre of monastic activities, a 
celebrated school, and an episcopal throne. Probably about the same 
time Brendan established a religious house at Enachduin, now Anna- 
down, in Galway, on the banks of Lough Corrib, on land granted him 
by King Aedh. He also began a monastery near Lothra in Tipperary, 
but his friend Ruadhan objected, as the bell of each church could be 
heard at the other, and Brendan removed his settlement elsewhere. 3 

According to the story in the Life of S. Brendan in the Kilkenny 
Book, shortly after the founding of Clonfert, at Christmas, a great 
longing came over S. Itha to receive the Holy Communion at the 
of her foster son, and she was conveyed by angels the three 

s not alluded to because the Annalists did not care to recall it." Douglas 
3, The Literary Hist, of Ireland, London, 1899, p. 227. 
1 Ibid., p. 226. 

For the Battle see Reeves, Adamnan's Life of Columba, p. 247, et seq. 
3 Vita Sti. Rodani, Cod. Sal., coll. 219-20. 
VOL. I. S 

258 Lives of the British Saints 

days' journey from her convent in Kerry to the monastery of Brendan 
in Galway. Even if we allow that the angels who bore her were her 
white-robed nuns, the story is not possible. 

Itha became foster mother of Brendan in 484, and cannot have been 
then under twenty. This would make her aged ninety-one in 555, and 
we can hardly suppose her at this advanced age making so long a 
journey. It is more likely that she made her Christmas Communion 
with him as celebrant when he was on a visit to Ardfert. 1 

Whilst Brendan was in Connaught, Itha asked his assistance in a 
delicate matter. One of her young nuns had run away, and had gone 
into Connaught, where she became a mother, and went into service 
to a Druid. Itha requested Brendan to bring her back, but this could 
only be effected through the intervention of King Aedh, as the Druid 
refused to surrender her. Eventually the unfortunate girl with her 
child were recovered by Itha at Killedy. 2 

From Clonfert Brendan seems to have occasionally retired to the 
lonely Isle of Inisgloria, off the coast of Mayo at the N.W. extremity, 
where a mass of land is connected with the mainland by a narrow 
neck, on which is planted Bellmullet. Here is to be found a very rude 
and venerable oratory that bears the name of Brendan, and here also 
is preserved a wooden statue of the Saint. On the island are the 
remains of four cloghans, or beehive huts. The fishermen of the coast, 
when passing Inisgloria, lower their sails in honour of S. Brendan. 3 

" Once, when the King of Munster came into Connaught, with a large 
army to lay waste that country, Brendan was very old (senex), and at 
the entreaty of the men of Connaught, he went to meet the Munster 
men, and besought them to make peace, but they in their pride would 
grant neither peace nor truce to the Saint. But when they were 
proceeding to ravage the land, they were for a whole day kept moving 
round in a circle at one place, and could make no advance. Then they 
supposed that a miracle had been wrought against them, and, seized 
with fear, they decided to return into their own country." 4 

What probably occurred was that a fog came on, which the Munster 
men imagined had been called up by the prayers of Brendan, and so 
desisted from their undertaking. 

Brendan made a compact of friendship with several saintly abbots, 
which was to remain in force after their deaths between the monks 

1 Vita, ed. Moran, p. 20. 

2 Colgan, A eta SS. Hib., Vita S. Itae, cap. xxxi. 

3 O'Donovan, Letters on the Antiquities of Mayo, Ord. Survey, 1838, i, pp. 

4 Vita, ed. Moran, pp. 23-4. 

Inisgloria, Co. Mayo. 

N. Blasket Island, Co. Kerry. 

S. Brendan 259 

of their several monasteries. These were S. Finbar of Cork, Cainech, 
and Abban Mac Cormic, the latter of whom he had visited on his return 
from his last voyage. 1 Also with Ciaran of Saigher, 2 with whom 
IK had made acquaintance at Clonard, and also with his namesake 
Brendan of Birr. 3 He paid a visit to S. Columcille, in company with 
Comgal, founder of Bangor, Cainech of Achadbos, and Cormac of Dur- 
n>\\. Columcille was then in the isle of Hinba, probably Canna, north 
of Hy. The Saints between them invited Columcille to celebrate the 
Holy Sacrifice before them, and they asserted that they had seen a 
globe of light above the head of the officiant which irradiated his face 
as he sang Mass. 4 This was apparently a hanging lamp which they 
\\viv pleased to regard as illuminating Columcille in a remarkable 
manner. Brendan was also on intimate terms with S. Scuthin. 5 

Seven years before his death, Brendan was in his monastery at 
Clonfert on Easter day. 6 A clerical student bearing a harp entered 
the refectory and played to the monks, and then inquired where the 
old abbot was, as he desired to harp to him. They told him that 
Bivndan was in his cell, and would not listen to music, he put wax into 
,rs. However, the student persisted, and was introduced into 
tlu- cell of the old man, whom he found engaged in reading. Brendan 
\vas with difficulty persuaded to listen to the harping, and leave his 
study ; but in the end he yielded. He hearkened for a while to the 
sweet music, and then said, " A blessing on thee for thy melody, and 
may Heaven be thy due." Then he corked up his ears again. The 
harper urged that he might continue to play. " No," said Brendan. 
" Seven years ago I was in a church after preaching, and when Mass 
was ended and I was alone and had gone to Christ's Body, there came 
on me an ineffable longing to be with my Lord. And as I was in this 

260 Lives of the British Saints 

ecstasy, trembling and afraid, I saw a pretty bird on the window-sill, 
and it flew in and alighted on the altar and there sang, and his song was 
as the music of heaven. After that I have never cared more to hear 
the strains of earth." 

Feeling his end approach, he visited his sister at Annadown, and 
told her that he was about to die. She was filled with grief. He was 
very old, in his ninety-sixth year. On the following day he stood 
at the altar, and turning to all present, said : "I commend my death 
to your prayers." " But," said his sister, Brig, " what have you 
to fear?" "I fear," he replied, "dying alone, I fear the dreadful 
journey in darkness, I fear the unwonted land, the face of the King, 
and the sentence of the Judge." 

Then he bade the brothers take his body, when he was dead, to Clon- 
fert; and after he had kissed his sister and the rest, he said, "Salute all 
my kinsfolk for me, and tell them to restrain their tongues from profane 
talk. For evil talkers are sons of perdition." l That same day he 
died, May 16, 577.2 

A curious entry in Leland's Collectanea is that in 1199, at Ludlow, 
in Shropshire, whilst enlarging the parish church, a tumulus was 
opened that contained three cists, in which were found bodies, and 
with them an inscription to the effect that they were the remains 
of S. Ferco (Finlug), the father of S. Brendan, and of S. Cochel, his 
cousin. That the cists and skeletons were found is likely enough ; the 
inscriptions were impudent and interested forgeries. The bodies 
were enshrined in the church for the reverence of the credulous. 3 

There are no churches in Wales dedicated to S. Brendan. In the 
Life of S. Machu, or Malo, it is confidently asserted that Brendan was 
at one time abbot of Llancarfan. Machu is only mentioned as a 
disciple of Brendan in the Colbert MS. of the Navigatio, and this is 
evidently an interpolation. Owen, in his Sanctorale Catholicum (p. 234), 
says that Brendan " was a disciple of S. Finan, and lived some years 
in the abbey of Llancarvan in Wales," but he drew this from the Life 
of S. Machu, and the book is wholly uncritical. 

Brendan's name among the British seems to have been Branwalader 
(which see}. 

S. Brendan's day in the Felire of Oengus and all other Irish Martyr- 

1 Vita, ed. Moran, pp. 24-5. 

2 Brendan died on Sunday, May 16. Ussher, Brittan. Eccl. Antiqnitatcs, 
Index Chron,, gives 577. But the Annals of Inisf alien give 570, the Dublin copy 
however 575. The Annals of Tighernach and of Ulster give 571, which in the 
latter would be 572. The Four Masters give 576. But Sunday fell on May 16 
in 577. 

3 Collect., iii, p. 407. 

S. Brendan 261 

ologies is May if). The S. Malo Breviary of 1537 gives this day. 
His translation is on June 14, but a Leon calendar (1516) gives 
July 5. On May 16, in John of Tynemouth's collection, and Cap- 
grave's Nova Legenda. But Whytford, under May 14, says: "One 
ot the feests of saynt Brandane that were born in Englonde, but an 
abbot in yreland of III. M. Monkes, a holy fader that gretely exer- 
rvsed, that laboured in pylgrymages, after the which he was made a 
bysshop in yreland, and ever of synguler sanctitie " which is a tissue 
of errors. 

The principal authorities for the life of S. Brendan have been already 
s] token of. 

There is, in the first place, that in the so-called Kilkenny Book, in 
i;i>!ioj> Marsh's Library, Dublin, which has been printed by the Right 
Rev. P. F. Moran, bishop of Ossory, Acta Sti. Brendani, Dublin, 1872. 
Another Latin Life in the Codex Salamanticensis, coll. 759-772. A 
fragment of another in the same, coll. 495-6. An Irish Life from 
tin- Book of Lismore, Anecd. Oxoniensia, Oxford, 1890, pp. 99-116, 
Translation, pp. 247-261. The Latin Life in the Salamanca Codex, coll. 
113-154, is a Navigatio. A Latin Life from a thirteenth century MS., 
ed. Carl Schroder, Erlangen, 1871. Translations of the Life in the 
Kilkenny Book, and of the Irish Life are in O'Donoghue's 5. Brendan 
the Voyager, Dublin, 1893. 

The Metrical Life of S. Brendan in the Brit. Mus. Cotton MS. 
Vrsp. D. IX, is also contained in Cardinal Moran's Acta S. Brendani. 

A Vita in Rees' Cambro-British Saints, from the Cotton MS. Vesp. 
V XI^, in the British Museum, is a bad version of the Navigatio. 
The Life in Capgrave is a compilation from the " Life " in the Kil- 
kenny Book and the Navigatio. 

Churches dedicated to S. Brendan in Devon are Brendon on the 
northern slope of Exmoor, and Branscombe, now held to be under the 
patronage of S. Winefred, but where the body of S. Brendan, under 
the Welsh form of the name, Branwalader, was supposed to repose. 

There \vas also a chapel at Stokenham, placed under his patronage, 
licensed by Bishop Lacey, June 24, 1421. 

There were a hermitage and a chapel to S. Brendan on Brandon Hill 
above Bristol. Brancepeth in Durham is also dedicated to him. 

In art, the proper symbol of the Saint would seem to be a boat. 
Brendan is regarded as the author or compiler of a Monastic Rule ; 
this has unhappily been lost. Also of a prayer, published by Cardinal 
Moran. 1 This may perhaps originally have been composed by him, 

1 1 rom a Sessorian IMS. at Rome, Acta S. Brendani, pp. 27-44. The rubric 
to it is as follows : " Beatus Brendanus, monachus, quaerens insulam promis- 

2 6 2 Lives of the British Saints 

but it has been amplified and extended in after ages. It contains an 
invocation for the protection of various parts of the body that resembles 
the Lorica of Gildas. Brendan is also but very hesitatingly claimed 
as author of a hymn to S. Brigid, which certainly is not his. 1 

There is in Welsh an apothegm attributed to him, which occurs 
in what are called the "Stanzas of the Month," supposed to be by 
Aneurin, but are really several centuries later : 

Truly saith S. Brenda, 

" The evil is not less resorted to than the good." 2 

Brendan is invoked in the Litany in the Stowe Missal, published by 
Warren. 3 See also under S. Branwalader. 

S. BRIAC, Abbot, Confessor 

BRIAC was an Irishman by birth, son of a chieftain in Ulster, whose 
name is not given. At an early age, he embraced the monastic pro- 
fession, and passed into Wales, where he placed himself under the tuition 
of S. Tudwal, and in course of time was ordained priest. 

Two years after that event, Tugdual or Tudwal resolved on crossing 
into Armorica, along with Ruelin, Loenan, Guevroc, and Briac, who 
attached themselves especially to him. They landed in the Isle of 
Kermorrun in lace of le Conquest in the west of Leon. The legend 
says that no sooner had they reached the mainland, after leaving the 
island, than their vessel vanished ; this means no more than that 
having carelessly attached it, or not having drawn it up sufficiently 
high on the beach, a high tide carried it out to sea and they were unable 
to recover it. 

Tugdual founded the monastery of Lanpabo, in a sheltered valley 
near the sea, but deemed it advisable to obtain a confirmation of his 
claims to land from Deroch, then prince or king of Leon and Domnonia. 
Deroch was the son of Rhiwal who had welcomed S. Brioc. Tugdual 
took with him as his companions the four above-named companions > 

sionis per septem annos continues orationem istam de verbo Dei per Michaelum 
Archangelum fecit quando transfretavit septem maria. Quicunque istam 
cantaverit sive dixerit pro se vel pro amico suo aut familari vivo sive defuncto 
centies flexis genibus aut prostrate corpdre remittuntur ei omnia peccata, et de 
poenis inferni salvus erit." 

1 The hymn is " Brigit be bithmait," Liber Hymnonim, ed. H. Bradshaw 
Soc., i, pp. 37-39. 

2 Myvyvlan Archaiology, pp. 21, 419. 

- 1 Liturgy of the Celtic Church, Oxford, 1881, pp. 238, 240. 

S. Briac 263 

h received them well, and made a grant to Tugdual of the old 
camp where now stands the city of Treguier. At the request of the prince, 
\vlio lived at Castel-deroch, near where is now the town of Bourbriac, 
IK- left his faithful attendant Briac with him, and Deroch bade him 
form a monastic colony near his castle. This Briac did in a clearing 
of the forest. The mound on which stood the wooden palace of 
Deroch still remains at a little distance from Bourbriac ; the town 
has formed itself about the monastery and not the royal habitation. 
After some years, Briac resolved on a pilgrimage to Rome, and he 
passed through France to the Mediterranean, where he took ship and 
sailed for the mouth of the Tiber, which he reached after having been 
live days at sea. 

He returned in the same way, and landed at Marseilles, whence he 
departed for Aries, where he was well received by the bishop, and 
remained with him for two years. The bishop would have retained 
him longer, but Briac was anxious to return. On his way back he 
made a digression to visit the abbey of Luxeuil. 1 

II- had left his monastery under the charge of a brother whom he 
regarded as a model of Christian virtues. But on his return he found 
" a certain person," puffed up with pride, and domineering in manner. 
The Life does not say that this was his deputy, but leaves us to under- 
stand that this is implied. Apparently this man was by no means 
willing to surrender the rule to his former superior, and Briac had 
much trouble with him. It is possible that it was now that the Saint, 
along with the party of monks which sided with him, removed to the 
site on the coast now called S. Briac. We are not told this in so many 
words, but it is not difficult to read between the lines, and discern 
that there was for a while a schism in the community. However, the 
" certain person " fell ill, and when he thought himself at the point of 
death, sent to Briac and confessed his pride and wrongful usurpation. 

Briac died on December 17, and was interred in his monastery at 
Bourbriac. A little difficulty exists as to the date of the founding 
of this establishment. According to the calculation of M. de la 
Borderie, Deroch succeeded Rhiwal in 530 and died in 535. But it is 
possible enough that Deroch held the principality of Leon whilst his 
father lived and exercised rule over Domnonia. 

We may put down the death of Briac as taking place about 570, 
perhaps earlier. 

1 Ihis is chronologically impossible. Luxeuil was founded in 590. An old 
name for Trcguier was Lexovia, and this has been confounded with Luxovium, 
Luxeuil. Briac visited Tugdual at Lexovia, and not Columbanus at Luxo- 


264 Lives of the British Saints 

Briac's tomb at Bourbriac was crushed and much injured by the 
fall of the nave of the church in 1765 ; it has, however, been restored or 
reconstructed. The Life of the Saint is given by Albert le Grand from 
a legend formerly preserved at Bourbriac, but now lost, and from one, 
also lost, that he found at Treguier. It was apparently an early and 
trustworthy document. Briac is also mentioned in the Lives of S. 
Tugdual and of S. Guevroc. 

According to his " Life," Briac died on December 17, and that is the 
day given for his commemoration by Albert le Grand and Lobineau, 
and a MS. Missal of Treguier of the fifteenth century. 

Briac founded no churches in Wales or Cornwall. 

In art he is represented as an abbot, in a long habit, with a hood, 
over the habit is a surplice, at his feet a dog. Such is the representa- 
tion on his tomb at Bourbriac. 

Formerly he was invoked for the cure of insanity. Lunatics were 
confined in a cell near his tomb, with barred windows, and Mass was 
said before them, with the hopes of effecting a cure. All this is now 
of the past. He had a Holy Well at Bourbriac, but this has disappeared. 
The water is carried off by an underground channel to supply the 
requirements of the inhabitants of the presbytere. 

S. BRIGID, Virgin, Abbess 

THE cult of S. Brigid in Wales, Cornwall, Devon and Brittany be- 
longed originally to those portions of the land that were colonized by 
the Irish in the fifth and sixth centuries. 

We know of no Welsh founders of Religious communities who can at 
all compare with Brigid in fame and popularity. At Glastonbury, 
under the vague tradition that she at one time lived and even died 
there, is concealed, in all likelihood, the fact that there was there a 
house affiliated to Kildare ; and Glastonbury is termed in Cormac's 
Glossary " Glasimpere of the Gadhaels." 1 

One reason for her extraordinary popularity is that S. Brigid has 
replaced, like S. Anne, a Goidelic female deity, in the same way that 
S. Vitus has stepped into the prerogatives of Suativit in Bohemia. 

Brig is a feminine noun, and in Gaelic signifies valour or might, 
and the Welsh Bri, honour or renown, comes from the same root. 
Brigid has the same signification. Brigid was, as Cormac tells us in 

1 Ussher, Britann. Ecclesice Antiqititates, Dublin, 1639, ii, p. 900. Cormac's 
Glossary, ed. Whitley Stokes, Loncl., 1862, pp. xlviii. 

S. Brigid 265 

Irish Glossary, becoming antiquated in the ninth century. " A 
;<!< It -> whom the poets worshipped, for very great and noble was 
her JH -rk'ction. Whose sisters were Brigid, woman of healing, and 
Bri^id, woman of smith's work (i.e., patroness of the forge), goddesses." 1 
Altars to her have been found in Britain, as Brigantia, a fire goddess. 
At Middleby, an inscription on one runs : " Brigantiae s(acrum), 
Annandus Architectus ex imperio, imp. I " ; also on one found at 
Greta Bridge, Yorkshire, " Deae numeriae numini Brig et Jan." - 

Shr was a nature goddess, differentiated in later times into a triad 
ot >istrrs, the Brig of Fire, of Life, and of Valour. 

Tin- uivat people of the Brigantes derived their name from the same 
root, Hrig, signifying valour. 3 

The historical Brigid stepped into the affections of the Irish race 
ami occupied the place formerly given to the mythical Brig or Brigid. 
\\ V commit a grievous error if we suppose that S. Brigid never existed, 
and is merely the old goddess introduced into the Christian Calendar 
and receiving Catholic cult. Many a Christian martyr and saint in 
Greece and Rome had a name derived from a heathen deity, as Apollo, 
Apollonia, Dionysius, Januarius, Martialis, and Saturninus. In like 
manner our Celtic forefathers bore names derived from the deities that 
had been worshipped of old in the land. 

A confusion of ideas concerning Brigid lasted on in Christian times, 
and she was identified with the Virgin Mary. Thus in S. Broccan's 
hymn : 

Brigid, mother of my high King 

Of the Kingdom of Heaven, best was she born. 4 

In the hymn " Brigit be bithmait " not only is she identified with 
the goddess of fire as " the sun fiery, radiant," but she is also made the 
mother of Christ, 

She, the branch with blossoms, 

The mother of Jesus."' 

And S. Broccan further calls her " The One-Mother of the Great King's 

In the Third Life in Colgan she is spoken of : " Haec est Maria quae 
habitat inter vos." 

.iac, Gloss., pp. xxxiii-iv. 

altars see \Yellbeloved, Eburacum, 1842; and inscriptions, Hubner, Corp. 
/.if/., vii, 191, and Stokes' notes to Cormac's Glossary. 

1 Siv Kliys. Hibbert Lectures, 1886, pp. 75-7, where she is also described as the 
MiiuTva of the Celts. 

Hyinnuntm, ed. Henry Bradshaw Soc., Loncl., 1897, n ', p. 40. 
P- 39- 
. 4.} ; sec also pp. 46, 107, 190, 223. 

266 Lives of the British Saints 

The identification of S. Brigid with the fire goddess showed itself 
in the maintenance of a perpetual fire at Kildare near her church. 
Giraldus Cambrensis thus describes it : " As in the time of S. Brigid 
twenty nuns were here engaged in the Lord's warfare, she herself 
being the twentieth, after her glorious departure, nineteen have always 
formed the society, the number having never been increased. Each 
of them has the care of the fire for a single night, the last nun, having 
heaped wood upon the fire, says, ' Brigid, take charge of your own 
fire ; for this night belongs to you.' She then leaves the fire, and in 
the morning it is found that the fire has not gone out, and that the 
usual amount of fuel has been consumed. This fire is surrounded by 
a hedge, made of stakes and brushwood, and forming a circle, within 
which no male can enter ; and if any one should presume to do so, he 
will not escape divine vengeance. Moreover, it is only lawful for 
women to blow the fire, and they must use for the purpose bellows, 
and not their own breath." * 

This was an Irish counterpart of the College of the Vestal Virgins 
at Rome keeping alive the sacred fire of Hestia ; and no reasonable 
doubt can exist that it was a pagan survival of the worship of Brigid 
the fire goddess. This would seem to have struck Henry of London, 
archbishop of Dublin, for in 1220 he ordered the fire to be extinguished. 
Brigid, Bride, or Ffraid, was one of the most popular saints in Wales, 
hence all the Llansantffraids, and legend has it that she visited \Yales 
sailing across the channel on a green turf. This was, however, a totally 
distinct personage, living at a later period, and of her we will deal in 
a second article. This Second Brigid has, however, inherited the 
favour due to the first. 

There is a good deal of material extant out of which to w r rite a life 
of S. Brigid, but it is of very various value. No thoroughly critical life 
of this illustrious saint has been as yet written, and all that can be here 
attempted is to give a brief sketch of her life, and the most interesting 
and illustrative anecdotes connected with it, as S. Brigid belongs to 
Ireland rather than to Britain. 2 

Colgan, in his Trias Thaumaturga, has printed six Lives of the Saint. 
The first is an Irish poem in fifty-three stanzas of four lines each, of 
which he gives a Latin translation, and which is erroneously attributed 
to Broegan of Rosture in Ossory. It is a panegyric rather than a 

1 Girald. Camb., Topog. Hib., cc. xxxv-vi. 

2 John Canon O'Hanlon has given a Life of S. Brigid in his Lives of the Irish 
Saints, ii, pp. 1-224, a marvellous monument of industrious compilation ; 
but no hand has yet touched the mass of material to sort it according to its 
value, and elucidate from it a life treated from an historical standpoint. 



S. Brigid 267 

,ind the Bollandists did not consider that it deserved reproduc- 
tion in their collection. It is in the Liber Hymnorum (H. Bradshaw 
Soc.) i, 112-128. 

The first Vita in the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists is the same 
as the Third in Colgan's volume Trias Thaumaturga. It is erroneously 
attributed to S. Ultan of Ardbreccan, died 656 ; it is probably later. 
It contains much interesting detail. 1 It begins: " Fuit quidam 
vir nobilis." 

The second Vita is by Cogitosus, and was written after 800 and 
before 835, when Kildare was sacked and burnt by the Danes, for he 
speaks of the monastery as a safe refuge, free from all fear of hostile 
attack. His Irish surname was Maccu-machtheni ; 2 the Celtic form 
of the name Cogitosus would be Cogitois, or Cogitis, and in reference 
to this the author opens his narration with the words, " Me Cogitis 
fnitivs," and he ends by imploring the prayers of his readers, " Orate 
pro me Cogitoso." 

This Life is written in a florid style, and avoids quoting particulars 
of places and names of persons associated with S. Brigid, and passes 
abruptly from a narrative of her miracles to a description of Kildare, 
without an account of her death. It is, therefore, probably frag- 
mentary. The one great merit it has is that it affords us a most 
valuable description of the monastic church of Kildare, before its 
destruction by the Danes. 

The Life by Cogitosus is the second in Colgan's Collection. 

The third Life is metrical, in Latin hexameters, and incomplete, by 
one Coelan or Chilian, a monk of Iniskeltra, supposed to have lived at 
the close of the eighth century, but this is impossible, as he speaks 
of Animosus as his predecessor in writing the life of Brigid, and 
Animosus is held to have lived in the latter part of the tenth 
century. " His calling S. Brigid's mother a countess," says Dr. 
Lanigan, " smells of a late period." 3 

The passage is as follows : 

Quadam namque die genetrix dum forte sedebat 
In curru praegnans, nee tune enixa puellam, 

1 Dr. Lanigan calls it " a hodge-podge made up at a late period, in which it 
is difficult to pick out any truth amidst a heap of rubbish." Nevertheless it 
contains much curious matter, though perhaps not chronologically arranged. 
Colgan attributes it to Ultan, but Ultan 's work may be engrafted in it with other 
matter. Lanigan, Eccl. Hist, of Ireland, Dublin, 1829, i, p. 380. The Lives 
are in Acta SS. Boll, for February, t. i. 

2 Todd, .S 1 . Patrick, p. 402. 3 Lanigan, op. cit., \, p. 381. 

268 Lives of the British Saints 

Audierat sonitum Vates stridere rotarum 
Dixerat ecce venit, Rex est qui praesidet axi ; 
Sed Comitissa tamen carpentum sola regebat. 

This is the sixth Life in Colgan's Collection. The poem is of no 
particular value; it is based on the Life attributed to S. Ultan, on one 
by S. Elevan, and on that by Animosus. 

The fourth Vita, beginning " Fuit gloriosus rex in Hybernia," is 
supposed by Ussher to have been written about 657. This is an 
interesting Life, full of detail, and with genealogical information in it, 
as well as numerous valuable historical allusions. 

The fifth Vita is by Laurence of Durham, who died in 1154. He 
dedicated it to Ethelred, one of the officers of the household of King 
Henry I. This is also the fifth Life in Colgan's Collection. It is 
that printed in the Lives of the Saints from the Salamanca Codex. l 

The Life (Vita i wa ) attributed to S. Ultan is in an Irish form in the 
Book of Lismore.' 2 This also forms the basis of that by John of 
Tynemouth in Capgrave's Nova Legenda Anglice. 

There are other lives, in Irish, but they are versions of those 
already described. 

A sixth Life, by Animosus or Aimchad, is in Colgan, Trias Thaum., 

PP- 546-567- 

At the outset we are met with a difficulty. According to Lives I, 
IV, V, Brigid's mother was a slave girl in the service of her father, 
Dubtach. Cogitosus slides over the circumstances of the birth and 
infancy. He says : " Sancta Brigida de bona ac prudentissima 
prosapia in Scotia orta, patre Dubtacho et matre Brotsech genita ; a 
sua pueritia bonarum rerum studiis inolevit." And the rhythmical life 
by Chilian is still more vague. 

There can be no reasonable doubt that the birth of Brigid was as 
described by the more exact and precise biographers. It is not credible 
that these latter would have gone out of their way to describe Brigid 
as base-born ; whereas it is comprehensible enough that panegyrists 
should slur over such a fact and even reject it. 

Brigid was the daughter of Dubtach, son of Demri, eleventh in 
descent from Fedlimidh Rechtmar, king of Ireland in the second 
century of the Christian era. Her mother's name was Brotseach, a 
slave in his house. Dubtach was married, and when his wife perceived 
the condition in which was Brotseach, full of jealousy, she forced her 
husband to get rid of the favourite maid-servant. 3 The man, unable 

1 Vitae SS. Hib., in Cod. Sal., pp. 1-76. 

2 Anecd. Oxon., 1890, pp. 34-53. 

3 Vita, i, iv, v. 

S. B rigid 269 

resist, sold Brotseach to a Druid, but with the stipulation that he 
reserved property in the child she bore in her womb. l 

The Druid, who came from Meath, took his newly acquired slave to 
his home at Tochar-maine, now Pochard, and there Brigid was born, 
about the year 453. 2 The Druid and his wife were kind people, and 
finding that the little Brigid was delicate, reserved for her one cow, 
that she might drink of its milk only. 

As Brigid grew up she was set various tasks in the house and on 
the farm. The Druid moved into Munster, and as she was now grown 
up, he sent word to her father that he acknowledged his claim, and 
that Dubtach might take her. Throughout the story, as far as he 
enters into it, the Druid shows himself an honourable and well-disposed 
man, and it is pleasing to know that eventually he became a Christian. 

Dubtach came to the house of the Druid for his daughter, and the 
master allowed her, when she departed, to take her Christian nurse 
with her. Brigid was now for some time with her father, who also 
lived in Meath, but was not received with kindness by Dubtach's wife 
and sons. Various stories are told of her childhood, showing how 
hard was the life in her father's house. The stepmother made her 
drudge in the kitchen, scolded her, and took a stick to her back, if a 
dog ran away with some of the bacon, and heaped abuse on her head. 
Hearing that her mother, who still remained in bondage, was out of 
health, she begged leave to go to her assistance, and when this was 
granted, Brigid did her mother's work for her. Her duty was to milk 
the cows and make butter at the summer-pasture lodge, the hafod as 
the Welsh would call it. 

Some ill-natured people accused Brigid to the Druid of want of 
thrift, and of wasting the butter. He and his wife went to the pasture 
farm, to inquire into the matter, and required the girl to produce 
all the butter she had churned. Then Brigid went to and fro 
between the kitchen and the parlour, singing the following hymn, 
whilst fetching the pats of butter : 

Oh, my Prince 

Who canst do all things, 

Bless, O God, a prayer unforbidden 

With Thy right hand, my kitchen. 

" Venit quidam magus . . et emit ancillam Dubtachi ; sed tamen ille non 
vt-miidit partum, quern habebat ilia in utero." Vita i"*, cap. i, similarly told 
in iv and v. 

* Ussher reckons that she was born in 453 ; and with this Dr. Lanigan 
agrees. The Annales Cambrics give 454. The Annals of Inisf alien give 456. 
Slu died in 525, and if she were then aged eighty, this would give as the year 
of her birth 445. But was she eighty when she died ? 

270 Lives of the British Saints 

My kitchen, 

The kitchen of the White God, 

A kitchen which my King hath blessed, 

A kitchen stocked with butter. 

Mary's Son, my friend, come thou 
To bless my kitchen, 
The Prince of the World to the border, 
May He bring abundance with Him. 1 

As she was able to exhibit abundance of butter, and all of excellent 
quality, the Druid and his wife expressed their satisfaction. Then 
Brigid seized the opportunity to entreat them to give liberty to Brot- 
seach, and as the woman was in failing health, the Druid consented. 
On Brigid's return to her father's house, petty annoyances recurred. 
Dubtach, for the sake of domestic peace, failed to take up her cause ; 
he sent her, so as to be out of the way, to keep swine in the oakwoods. 
At length, to be relieved of the annoyance, he resolved on selling her, 
and thought to dispose of her to Dunlang, son of Faelan, 2 king of 

Seeing that the poor girl was pleased at being in the chariot with 
him, Dubtach said roughly : " Do not suppose it is out of regard for 
you that I am taking you this drive, but to sell you to grind corn in 
the quern of Dunlang." 3 

When Dubtach went into the fortress, he left his chariot outside, 
with Brigid in it, and also a handsome sword that had been given him 
by the King. He told Dunlang his purpose, and extolled the good 
qualities of his daughter. Presently the King said that he would 
go out and have a look at the girl, before coming to terms. 

Now, whilst this was going oil within, a leper came to the side of the 
chariot whining and asking alms. Brigid at once handed to him her 
father's sword, and the fellow made haste to disappear with it. 

When Dunlang and Dubtach issued from the Caer, the latter at once 
missed his sword, and inquired after it. 

" There came a poor wretch here begging," answered Brigid, " and 
having nothing else to give him, I let him have that." 

" A wench so free-handed with other people's property is not for 
me," said Dunlang, laughing ; " I will not have her at any price." 

1 Vita in Book of Lismore, A nee. Oxon., pp. 186-7. The hymn is not in the 
Latin Life by S. Ultan. In Vita 4* all this part of the story falls out, as the 
MS. here is fragmentary. 

2 He is not named in Vita i or iv, but is so in the Irish Life in the Booh of 
Lismore, which however confounds him with Dunlang, son of Enna Nia, his 

great-grandfather. Dunlang, son of Faelan, died before 460. 

3 Book of Lismore, p. 187. 

S. Brigid 2 7 i 

.Consequently, in very bad humour, Dubtach had to return home, 
with his daughter. 

He now sought to dispose of her in marriage, but the girl showed 
great repugnance to be so got rid of. One of her half-brothers was 
violent, and ill-treated her. In an altercation she had with him, he 
hit her and almost blinded her in one eye. According to one version 
of the story, the family sought to dispose of her to Dubtach, the chief 
ban! of King Laoghaire, an elderly man and a widower, and she, at the 
time, could hardly have been above sixteen. But she resolutely refused 
the honour, and insisted on taking the veil. She was accordingly 
allowed to have her own way, and was veiled by Bishop Macchille 
about the year 469. Macchille, according to Tirechan, was then at 
I'sny Hill in West Meath, and we may infer that the residence of 
Brigid's father was in that part of Leinster. Macchille would be the 
st bishop to her father's house. Some biographers have con- 
founded him with Mel of Ardagh, and even with Maccaldus, bishop of 
Man. But the error has arisen through similarity of names. 1 

Macchille invested her with a white cloak, and placed a white veil 

on her head. She had at the same time with her several virgins, usually 

< > have been seven, but said by others to have been three. That 

account which gives the larger number relates that each of the maidens 

chose a Beatitude, as representing the grace to which she specially 

di -voted herself, and Brigid selected that which referred to the quality 

of Mercy. As, when she became abbess, she exercised jurisdiction 

Bishop Conlaeth, and this puzzled late writers, they feigned that 

the bishop in dedicating her, made a mistake, and read over her the 

consecration to the Episcopate. 

The reason why Bishop Mell was supposed to have veiled her perhaps 
was that she had her first settlement in the plain of Teffia, at Longford, 
in his diocese. It is, however, difficult to follow the exact order of 
her foundations. Moreover, for some time she led, as we may judge, 
a wandering life, much as did the bards with their peripatetic schools. 
She was famous for the ale she brewed, and on one occasion supplied 
seventeen churches in Meath with liquor from Maundy Thursday to 
Low Sunday. 2 She also furnished Mel, her diocesan, with beer 
continually. 3 Lepers and poor people clamoured for her ale, and on 

" Sancta Brigida pallium cepit sub manibus filii Cuille in Huisniach Midi," 
quoted by Ussher, p. 1031. 

2 Vita i, Mel et Melchu ; Vita 2*, Machalle; Vit-> 3* Melchon ; Vita 4'., 
this portion of the life is lost ; Vita 5 to , Machilenus ; Life in Book of Lismore, 
M- 1. See Lanigan, op. cit., i, p. 386. 

3 Book of Lismore, pp. 188-9. 

2"j 2 Lives of the British Saints 

one occasion she bluntly told them that all she could give them was 
her bath-water. 1 The biographer improves this story into a miracle, 
her tubbing water was converted into excellent beer. Indeed such was 
her desire to supply the Saints with wholesome home-brewed ale, that 
the only hymn of hers that has been preserved, runs as follows : 

I should like a great lake of ale 

For the King of Kings ! 
I should like the whole family of heaven 

To be drinking it eternally. 2 

One day Bishop Mel arrived with a large party of clerics, and cla- 
moured for breakfast. " This is well for you to be hungry," replied 
Brigid, " but we also are hungry and thirsty, and that for the Word of 
God. Go into the church first and serve us with the spiritual banquet. 
After that we will attend to your victuals." 

As she still suffered from the eye that had been injured by her 
half-brother, Mel advised her to have recourse to a physician, and 
offered to take her in his chariot to one. She consented. But on the 
way, the driver upset the vehicle, and Brigid was pitched out on her 
head, which was cut by a stone. After that she declared that her eyes 
were better for the blood-letting she had involuntarily undergone. 3 
To recruit her community, she took in quite young children. One day a 
mother came to see her, bringing her little girl along with her. Brigid 
asked the child whether she would like to live with her and be a nun. 
The mother hastily replied that the little one was still an infant, and 
could not answer for herself. Brigid however persisted, and when 
she wrung a consent from the little girl, she insisted that the child had 
declared her vocation, and must remain in the community. 4 This 
the biographers have magnified into a miracle, by converting the in fans 
into a born mute. 

Of the charity of Brigid many instances are recorded. One day a 
woman brought her a basket of apples as a present, and was much 
annoyed when the abbess distributed them among some lepers, who 
lived on her charity. " I brought them for you, and not for these 
wretches," said she. " What is mine is theirs," answered Brigid. 5 

Once she was driving in her chariot over the plains of Teffia with 
other nuns, when she saw some poor people, a man with his wife and 
children, toiling under heavy loads. She immediately alighted, made 
her nuns do the same, and lent her vehicle to the family ; then sat by 
the roadside, till they had done with the conveyance. 6 

1 " Vita," Cod. Sal., col. 41. Vita 5'" , cap. ix. 

2 The entire hymn is printed in O'Curry's MS. Materials for Irish History, 
Dublin, 1861, p. 616. 3 Book of Lismore, p. 189. Vita i***, cap. iv. 

4 Vita i ma , cap. xvii. 5 Ibid., cap. iv. ' Ibid., cap. iv. 

S. Brigid 273 

(was visiting another convent, when the abbess ordered some of 
ns to wash the feet of the old sisters. They made faces, and 
tried to get out of the obligation by offering various excuses. Then 
Brigid jumped up, girded herself, and put them to shame by herself 
discharging the unwelcome task. 1 

A scandal having spread that Bishop Bron was the father of a child, 
S. Patrick came to Tell Town to investigate the matter, and Brigid 
also was there. A woman insisted on the paternity of her child resting 
with Bron. Brigid suggested an ingenious expedient for settling the 
difficult question. The child was asked to point out its father, and, 
as it indicated another man, Bron was acquitted. 2 

This would seem to be the gathering at Tell Town to which Patrick 
(vrtainly went, when Cairbre, brother of King Laoghaire, sought to 
kill him, and caused his attendants to be beaten. 

Patrick then cursed Cairbre " Thy seed shall serve the seed of thy 
brethren, and there shall be no king of thy race for ever," a prophecy 
which, as Dr. Todd has shown, failed in its accomplishment. 3 

The date of this convention is not easy to determine. It must 
have been early in Brigid's career, as we may judge from what 
follows. A man at this time invited Brigid to go to the new house 
he had built, and consecrate it, but finding that the man was a 
heathen, and an opponent of S. Patrick, she refused, unless he would 
consent to be baptized. To this condition he submitted, and she asked 
Bron to baptize him. S. Patrick then said, " She must have a priest 
always at hand," and he ordained one Nadfraich to be her chaplain. 
She had not yet founded Kildare, nor engaged Bishop Conlaeth. But 
her fame was spreading. 

She was invited by S. Lassair to visit her. The site of the Saint's 
monastery has not been satisfactorily determined. Whilst with her, 
Lassair asked Brigid to take over the establishment and affiliate it to 
her own. And to this she agreed. 

Whilst she was with Lassair a virgin arrived who lived as a beggar, 
wandering over the country. She complained to Brigid that she had 
exhausted the charity of the people. Then Brigid gave her the girdle 
she wore, and bade her trade on that, as a charm. The woman did so. 
Sick people asked the loan of it, and paid for its use, and some supposed 
that it had done them good. 4 

About this time she made the acquaintance of Bishop Ere of Slane, 

1 Book of Lismore, pp. 130-1. 

2 Vita i mfl , cap. v. A somewhat similar story is told of S. Brice. 

3 Todd, S. Patrick, pp. 439-440. 
Vita i 1 *", cap. vi ; Vita 4'" , cap. v. 

VOL. I. T 

274 Lives of the British Saints 

and she travelled about with him in Munster. This was probably in 
484, a date we can fix, because it was during this expedition that S. 
Brendan was born, and it was not till some years later that Brendan 
became the pupil of Ere. 

From Munster B rigid returned east with Ere, and went into the Deisi 
country. But it was probably whilst she was in Munster that a 
curious incident occurred. 

A certain master, with his pupils, was on his way west to find an island 
on which he might settle. He and his party passed near where Brigid 
was with her nuns, and the pupils suggested to their instructor that 
it would be well to pay her a visit, obtain her hospitality, and taste 
her excellent beer. The master, however, demurred. He did not 
approve of association with women, and so pushed on his way, with 
the result that they had to camp out in the open air. During the 
night, Brigid carried off all their baggage, and in the morning the 
master and his pupils were forced to retrace their steps and beg 
humbly to have their goods surrendered. "Not," said Brigid, "till 
you have partaken of my hospitality." She detained them there for 
three days and three nights. 1 

In the Deisi country Brigid founded Kilbride. 

A council of bishops was held in Magh Femhin, in Ossory, which had 
been given to the Deisi by Aengus MacNadfraich, who had expelled 
the Ossorians from it, sometime between 460 and 480. The gathering 
probably concerned the religious organization of the Deisi in their 
new lands. At it Ere lauded the virtues of Brigid highly, and recom- 
mended the Deisi to accept her as the instructress of their daughter. 

Whilst she was in these parts she made the acquaintance of Bishop 
Ibar. As there had been bad harvests, she ran short of food, and went 
with two of her nuns to visit the bishop at Begery. The time was Lent, 
and Ibar brought out for supper bread and bacon. Brigid and he ate, 
but presently she noticed that the two nuns sat stiff and with their 
noses in the air. They were not going to eat meat in Lent, not they. 
Brigid might forget herself but they would keep the fast as behoved 
good Christians. 

Brigid started from her seat, took them by the shoulders, and turned 
them out of the house, after having read them a lecture before the 
bishop. Then she opened her trouble to Ibar. She wanted food to- 
take back with her. The bishop expressed his regret his barns were 
empty. But Brigid knew better. She had made inquiries beforehand, 
and was well aware that he had twenty-four waggon loads of wheat 
stowed away. So now it was Ibar's turn to receive a harangue. He 
1 Vita \ ma , cap. xii. 

S. Brigid 275 

mittrd shamefacedly, and finally consented to let her have twelve 
loads. 1 It was perhaps at this time that she paid a visit to her father 
in Mi-atli, and found him unmercifully thrashing one of his maids. 
She interceded for the poor woman, and reproved Dubtach for his 
inhumanity. Next day a servant said to her, " Would to God you 
were always here to protect us from the master's violence." 

Dubtach then begged his daughter to do him a favour. It seemed 
that the sword that Brigid had given away had been recovered by 
Dunlang, and it was now in possession of lollan, Dunlang's son and 
successor. Dubtach was sore about it, and wanted his sword back ; so 
he urged Brigid to use her best efforts to recover it for him. She 
consented. On reaching the royal court one of lollan's retainers 
m treated Brigid to receive him as her servant. He had been harshly 
and roughly treated by the king, and his heart was broken. 

lollan had been baptised by S. Patrick in 460, but his Christianity 
\\ as a veneer, nothing more. She asked the king to surrender the man 
to her and to let her have her father's sword again, which had been 
presented to him by Dunlang, but which she had long before given 
away, as a girlish artifice to save herself from being sold into slavery. 

" What will you give me for them ? " asked lollan. 

" I will promise you eternal life, and a continuation of the royal 
title in your family." 

" As to eternal life," said the King of Leinster, contemptuously, " I 
have never seen a glimpse of it. As to the continuation of the sove- 
reignty to my sons, the boys must look to that themselves. But 
promise me a long life, and victory over my enemies, and sword and 
slave are thine." 

This Brigid promised, and he surrendered to her what she solicited. 
Then as, at the time, he was engaged in war with the Hy Niall 
in Magh Breagh, he insisted on her going to battle with him, bearing 
her staff and cursing his enemies. 

This she did, and lollan gained a victory, which he attributed to the 
force of her imprecations on the enemy. After that he fought nine 
battles with the Hy Niall, and was successful in all. lollan died in 
506, and was buried in Brigid' s church at Kildare. 2 

Whilst Brigid was with the Deisi she was one day driving in her 
chariot over the plains of Magh Femhin, when her charioteer, who was 

1 Vita i ma , cap. vii ; Vita 4'" , cap. iv ; Vita 5 to , cap. xiv. 

8 Vita 4 to , cap. ii. A curious story is connected with lollan. Alter his 
death the Leinstermen were so convinced of his efficacy in war, that in then- 
battles against the Hy Niall, they put his dead body in the royal chariot, and 
made it precede them to battle. 

276 Lives of the British Saints 

also her priest, Nadfraich, observed that a new settler had encroached 
on the common land, and hedged in a field across a portion where he 
supposed there was right of way. Brigid advised to turn aside, but 
Nadfraich would not hearken to this, and drove straight at the 
hedge, with the result that he upset the car and threw Brigid out. 1 
On another occasion when Nadfraich was driving her, she asked him 
to give her a religious exhortation, and he did this without attend 
to the horses, with the result that one of them kicked over the tra 
and bolted with the chariot, and all but brought about a repetiti 
of the upset. 2 

From Leinster Brigid removed into Connaught. No reason 
given in the Lives for this transfer, but it was doubtless occasio 
by the desolating wars in Leinster, in which the Hy Niall and loll 
were engaged. In a country swept by invaders, and partially depop 
lated, she could not carry on her great work of education with comfo: 
and advantage. 

She had been in Connaught as a little child, for the Druid and 
wife had taken her there, but the stay had not been lengthy. S 
now settled in the plain of Magh-ai in Roscommon. 

Her stay in Connaught on this occasion was not for long. She ha 
been with Ere in Munster in 484, and in 487 she was back in Leinster ; 
but brief as was her residence there, her strong personality left its 
mark, and we find that, later on, the Hy Many regarded her, along 
with S. Grellan, as a patroness, and paid a penny for every baptism i 
the tribe to the monastic establishment at Kildare. 3 

She returned to Leinster on the urgent entreaty of King lollan, who 
offered her a central position for the foundation of a large religious 
establishment for men and women. When she came back, she 
selected a site on the clay ridge that rises above the plain of Magh 
Breagh. A huge wide-spreading oak grew on it, a tree of vast age, and 
one that served as a landmark, and had possibly received idolatrous 
veneration. Here she established her till, which took its name from the 
oak, and became famous as a monastery and an episcopal seat, Kildare. 
Cogitosus, in his Prologue, tells us that innumerable people of both 
sexes flocked to her, " from all the provinces of Ireland," bringing 
their free-will offerings ; and in that time of harassing warfare, her 
monastery became an asylum for those who felt no vocation for arms. 
She became the head of a great ecclesiastical tribe or clan. 

As Dr. Todd well says : " The state of society rendered it practically 

1 Vita i"", cap. xii. 2 Vita 4', cap. iii. 

3 O'Donovan, Tribes and Customs of the Hy Many, Dublin, 1843. 




S. Brigid 277 

[possible to maintain the Christian life, except under some monastic 
rule. The will of the chieftain was law. The clansman was liable 
at any time to be called upon to serve upon some wild foray, in a 
quarrel or feud with which he had personally no concern. The 
domestic ties were unknown, or little respected. No man could call 
his life or property, his wife or children, his own ; and yet, such is the 
inconsistency of human nature, the people clung to their chieftains 
and to their clan with a fidelity and an affection which continue to 
the present day. Hence the spirit of clanship readily transferred 
: to the monastery." 1 

Under the crosier of the abbot or abbess there was peace. The 
ritfht of sanctuary was rigorously maintained, and generally respected. 
Kildaiv. according to Cogitosus, became the " head of nearly all the 
Irish churches, and the pinnacle towering above all monasteries of 
tin- Scots, whose jurisdiction (parochia) spread throughout the whole 
Hibernian land, reaching from sea to sea." Brigid then, he adds, 
reflected that she ought to provide " with prudent care, regularly in 
all things, for the souls of her people," as well as for the churches and 
monasteries that were affiliated to her main foundation. She therefore 
came to the conclusion " that she could not be without a high priest 
to consecrate churches, and to settle ecclesiastical degrees in them." 
There was a kinsman named Conlaeth, living the life of a hermit at 
Old Connell, near the modern town of Newbridge, in the county of 
Kildare. His chantry lay about a quarter of a mile from the river 
LiiYcy, on its right bank. No traces of his cell and oratory remain 
above ground, but the site, overshadowed by elders, and overgrown 
with nettles, has been for ages a favourite burial-ground, and the 
earth has risen above the interments. 2 

Conlaeth was a notable artificer in metals, and diversified his time 
between prayer, study, and hammering out bells. One day he took 
it into his head to visit his cousin. So he drove to Kildare, with a boy 
to attend to the horses. On reaching the great monastery, he was well 
received, given a hot bath, a banquet, and plenty of Brigid's famous 
home-brewed ale. 

He found himself so comfortable that he remained there several days. 
On leaving, he requested Brigid to bless him and his chariot. That 
done, he drove off. On reaching his cell, after crossing the grassy 
undulating Curragh, he found that the linchpin was not in one of his 
axles, and considered that it must have been due to the blessing of 
that the wheel had not come off, and he been upset on the way. 3 

Todd. S. Patrick, p. 505. 2 O'Hanlon, Lives of the Irish Saints, v, p. 73. 
3 Vita i'"", cap. vii ; Vita 3", cap. vii. 

278 Lives of the British Saints 

When Brigid had resolved on having a bishop of her own attached to 
her clan, she thought on Conlaeth, who was suitable, not only on 
account of his worth, but also as being a kinsman. She accordingly 
sent for him, and proposed to have him consecrated bishop. He 
agreed to her proposal, and she engaged him, " to govern the church 
with her in episcopal dignity, that nothing of sacerdotal order should 
be wanting in her churches." 1 

In this way, says Cogitosus, he " was the anointed head and chief of 
all bishops, and she the most blessed chief of all virgins." 

Cogitosus gives us a description of the church as it was in his time 
but lets us understand that it was practically the same in its general 
arrangement as ordered by Brigid. Under one roof were three com- 
partments, and the body of the church had a wall running down 
the centre and rising to a considerable height. On the one side of this 
wall were the men, on the other, women, who attended divine service. 
On the right hand was a doorway, through which the bishops and 
clergy and male students entered, and apparently these latter occupied 
the right-hand chapel, and the bishop and clergy the choir. On the 
left hand was another door through which entered Brigid and her 
nuns and the female pupils, and they, as far as we can follow the 
description, filled the left-hand chapel. 2 

Conlaeth and Brigid got on without much friction, but they had 
occasional quarrels. He had a set of handsome foreign vestments, in 
which he celebrated " on the festivals of our Lord, and the vigils of 
the Apostles." These, according to Cogitosus and the Metrical Life 
attributed to S. Broccan, she gave away to the poor. He was very 
angry, and was only appeased when she produced others, richer and 
more elaborately embroidered, as a present to him. An interesting 
point in this story is that he is said to have brought these vestments 
from Leatha, i.e. from Brittany. 3 That Conlaeth was at one time in 
Brittany we may suppose, for he is there regarded as founder and 
patron of the church of Saint Coulitz near Chateaulin in Finistere. 
But the final quarrel with Conlaeth took place much later, and shall 
be spoken of presently. 

Whilst Conlaeth was bishop at Kildare the little Tighernach was 
brought to be baptized. A Leinster chieftain named Cairbre arrived 

1 " Convocans eum de eremo . . . ut Ecclesiam in Episcopal! dignitate cum 
ea gubernaret," Vita 2*", Prol. " Quern beata Brigida primum elegit in sua 
civitate Kildara," Vita auct. Animoso apud Colgan, ii, cap. xix. 

2 Vita 2 da , cap. viii. 

3 She blessed the vestments of Condlaed 
Which he had brought from Leatha. 

Colgan, Trias Thaum., p. 517 ; also Liber Hymn., ii, p. 44- 

S. Brigid 279 

with his infant son at Kildare. Brigid received them courteously, 
and taking the child in her arms, called on Conlaeth to baptize him, 
and she herself stood sponsor to him. 1 Tighernach later became 
Bishop of Clogher and Clones. 

Conlaeth made himself very useful at Kildare ; he not only exercised 
his office as bishop, but he also worked at the anvil and made many 
beautiful metal crosiers, bells, and book covers. In the end, however, 
he proved restive under petticoat government, and told Brigid it was 
his intention to travel. He wanted to see Rome. Brigid forbade 
his leaving. He persisted, and in a fit of feminine anger she cursed 
him, and wished him an evil death. Conlaeth, however, departed, and 
as he was crossing the Leinster plain, he was attacked by wolves and 
torn to pieces. 2 

Some of the stories told of Brigid show that she was possessed of a 
dry humour ; an epigram of hers has been preserved on one of the 
nuns afflicted with an infirmity, which is too broad to be transcribed. 3 

Some stories throw curious sidelights on the customs of the times. 
During a bitterly cold winter, an old nun in the community was 
thought to be dying, and the sisters approached Brigid with a suggestion 
that it would be advisable to strip her of her garments before she died, 
as there might be inconvenience in getting them off when she was 
dead and stark. They were perplexed and astonished when Brigid 
objected to such inhuman treatment. 4 

It was habitual for the saints to maintain a number of lepers. At 
I\iii Lire there were several. One who was fairly sound was ordered by 
Brigid to scour another, who was very dirty. He rudely refused. 
Thereupon she herself put the man in a tub and washed him. 

One leper became so pampered and insolent that he exercised a 
veritable tyranny over Brigid. On a certain occasion King Icjlan _ 
called at Kildare, and the fellow pestered the abbess to demand of the 
king his shield and spear, because he wanted them. She very naturally 
refused. Thereupon the leper sulked, and said he would starve 
himself to death. Brigid was weak enough to send after lollan, to 
entreat him to surrender his spear and shield, as the only means of 
inducing the stubborn leper to eat his food. 5 

A girl came to Kildare on Easter Eve, and after seeing the abbess 
and giving her a present, said that she must return home, as her parents 

Vita Sti. Tighernach in Cod. Sal., coll. 211-2. 

Scholiast on the Felire of Oengus, under May 6. 

Liber Hymnorum, ed. Bernard and Atkinson, London, 1898, ii, p. 59. 

Vita i, cap. xv. 

Vita i""*, cap. viii. ; Book of Lismore, p. 195. 

280 Lives of the British Saints 

were coming to the Paschal Eucharist, and the house must not be left 
unwatched. Brigid persuaded her to remain, and next morning 
early the parents arrived. When they and their daughter returned 
home in the afternoon, they found that their byre had been broken 
into and their cows stolen. 

Now this had been done by thieves from the further side of the 
Liffey, and they drove the cattle to the river. There they divest 
themselves of their clothes, which they attached to the horns of th 
beasts, hoping thereby that the clothing might be kept dry 
crossing the Liffey. Then they attempted to drive the cattle across ; 
but the beasts scattered, and proceeded to gallop back over the plain in 
the direction of Kildare, and the stark-naked men raced after them 
to endeavour at least to recover their garments, to the admiration 
of the whole community. 1 

Brigid is said to have been fond of calling to her and caressing 
the wild duck and wild geese that abounded. They readily respond 
to her summons. 2 

She is reported to have been summoned by S. Patrick to Armag 
but this is more than doubtful. 

One of her favourite young disciples was Darduglach. Now t 
girl was carrying on a flirtation with a youth, and he had endeavou 
to persuade her to elope with him. 

Brigid knew what was going on, and made Darduglach s' 
with her. During the night, the girl was tossed between her desire 
run away, and her conscience, which bade her stay. Unable to 
she rose and went to the fire, and sat there looking into it, and holding 
her feet to the glow till the soles were scorched and tender ; then she 
stole silently back to bed. 

Next morning Brigid said : " I knew, dearest, the battle that was 
being waged in your heart. I said nothing, but I prayed for you all 
through the night." 3 

Notwithstanding that the story of Brigid has been enveloped in 
the frippery of extravagance, and the freshness taken out of it by 
absurd amplification with marvels, it is easy to see underneath, the 
outlines of a strong and noble character, full of zeal, courage, and withal 
marvellously tender. 

Although her headquarters were at Kildare, she still went about a 
good deal, visiting her daughter institutions. Her order ramified in 
all directions, and extended into Wales and Brittany. It was held in 
Wales that she had crossed over there, and visited her affiliated houses. 

1 Ibid., cap. vi. 2 Ibid., cap. xvii. 3 Vita i ma , cap. xvi. 



S. Brigid 281 

- ) it \vus held at Glastonbury that she not only had an institution 
there, hut had resorted there for a while. 1 

In Devonshire there is a cluster of Brigid churches, and the cult of 
this Saint is widely spread in Western Brittany. There is, however, no 
intimation in her Lives that Brigid ever quitted Ireland. 

On one of her expeditions to see to the well-being of her daltn 

cluireln-s. she arrived in the plain of Cliach, whither she had turned 

to visit the king and intercede for a man he held in chains. The 

kiiu, r was not in, but his foster-father and some of the family were 

and they invited Brigid to wait. She found that the time 

. r ed, and observing some harps hanging in the hall, asked the 

old foster-father to sing a ballad. He professed his incapacity, 

his hands were stiff with age, and his voice cracked. However, by 

means of flattery and much persuading, the old fellow was induced to 

When the king returned in the evening and heard the twanging 

of the harp, and the foster-father twittering his old songs in a broken 

discordant voice, he laughed heartily, and was put in so good a humour 

that Brigid easily induced him to consent to her request and release 

his capti 1 

Among the disciples of S. Brigid were Brig, Darduglach. Cinnia, 

and Blathmaic (her cook). 

Among her friends were Gildas, who sent her a bell from his settle- 
ment in Brittany. Brendan visited her on his return from his first 
ge, and told her a story of fighting seals, which amused, her. 
Ailbe of Emly frequently visited her. Ibar of Begery called on her 
and drank her ale at Kildare. Mel of Ardagh died in 487, and she must 
liavt- greatly felt his loss. Macchille, who had veiled her, died about 
489. Bron, whom she had extricated from a discreditable scrape, 
died in 511 ; and Ere, with whom she had travelled in Munster, joined 
the Church at Rest in 512 ; Patrick in 491 or 492, according to one 
computation, and was buried in a winding sheet she had woven for 
him. A friend and fellow founder, Monynna or Darerca, was laid to 
rest in 517. 

At last her own call came. Her age is not so certain as the date of 
ath. The Martyrology of Donegal says she died at the age of 
seventy- four. The author of her Life, which we call the sixth, who is 
d to have been Animosus, says she died in her eightieth year. 
e Chronicon Scotorum hesitates between the seventy-seventh and 
eighty-seventh. But the general opinion is that she was aged 

Colgan, Trias Thanm., App. 4'" ad Vita 5. Brigidce, pp. 617-8. 
i m ", cap. xii. 

282 Lives of the British Saints 

She received the last Communion from the hands of one Ninnidh. 
Many years before, when he was a schoolboy, he had run by her in a 
thoughtless and uncivil manner. She called him back, and asked 
whither he was racing. He replied impudently : " To the Kingdom 
of Heaven." Now he was a priest, and he happened to arrive as 
she lay on her death-bed, and from him she received the Bread of 
Life. A late fable said that he had had a prevision that so it would be, 
and had kept his hand enclosed in a box, that it might be clean for this 
last rite. Soap and water would have been more efficacious. But it 
is an idle legend, nothing more. 1 

She was not at Kildare at the time, but in Ulster, on one of her 
visitations to her foundations. 

She died, according to Nennius, four years after the birth of S. Colum- 
cille, and that would give us 525.2 This is the date given by the 
Annals of Inisfallen, but Ussher and Colgan adopt 523, which is the 
date in the Chronicon Scotomm. The Life by Animosus says that 
she died thirty years after the death of S. Patrick, and this would 
give 522 or perhaps 523, if we take the above date as that of 
his death. This date, says Dr. Lanigan, is " almost chiefly founded 
on wrong suppositions of the year in which S. Patrick died, and 
on the admission of an unproved and indeed false assumption 
that S. Brigid survived him exactly thirty years." And " 525 is a 
date best agreeing with what Nennius has concerning the birth of 
Columcille having been four years prior to the death of S. Brigid. It 
appears to be better supported than that of 523, which is the only one 
that can stand any competition with it." 3 

And this is the date given by the Annals of Ulster, and by the Four 

The day of her death and Commemoration is February i. On this 
day she is entered in all the Irish Martyrologies, in the Welsh Calendars, 
in most English and Scottish Calendars, and in the Breton and many 
Latin Martyrologies and Calendars. 

The Pictish Chronicle says that " Necton morbit nlius Erip (the 
NeGtan of Bede, 624-642) xxiv regnavit. Tertio anno regni ejus 
Darduglach abbatissa Cilledara de Hibernia exulat pro Christo ad 
Britanni^um. Secundo anno adventus sui immolavit Nectonius 
Aburnethig| Deo et Sancte Brigide, presente Dar4glach, que cantavit 
alleluia super istam hostiam." 

1 Vita i ma , cap. xii ; Vita 4 to , cap. xv. 

2 Reeves, Adamnan's Life of S. Columba, p. Ixix ; and Appendix L. " A 
nativitate Columbae usque ad mortem Stae Brigidae quatuor anni sunt." 

3 Eccl. Hist, of Ireland, i, p. 455. 

S. Brigid 283 

The cause of this offering was that when Nectan, also called Morbreach 
or Morbet, was driven into Ireland he besought the intercession of S. 
Brig id. For the churches and chapels in Scotland, which are situated 
especially in those parts nearest to Ireland, and under Irish influence, 
see Bishop Forbes, Scottish Calendars, pp. 290-1. 

In \Vales there are at present no less than seventeen churches 
<lr<iu\iU'd to her: Dyserth (called also formerly Llansantffraid), 
Flintshire ; Llansantffraid Glan Conwy (formerly called also Dyserth), 
in Denbighshire; Llansantffraid Glyn Ceiriog, in the same county. 
Uansantffraid ym Mechain, Montgomeryshire ; Llansantffraid Glyndy- 
iiduy, Merionethshire ; S. Bride's, Pembrokeshire, and the noble bay 
Itrais IUT name, as also the haven ; Llansantffraid in Cardiganshire ; 
LlansantffraidCwmmwdDeuddwr (or simply Cwmtoyddwr), Radnor- 
shin 1 ; Llansantffraid yn Elfael, also Radnorshire ; Llansantffraid- 
juxta-Usk in Brecknockshire ; S. Bride's Major, S. Bride's Minor, 
and S. Bride's-super-Ely, in Glamorganshire ; Llansantffraid, Sken- 
frith (Ynys Gynwraidd), S. Bride's Netherwent, and S. Bride's 
\\Vntloog, all in Monmouthshire. Bridstow in Erging (Herefordshire) 
is called " Lann Sanfreit " in the Book of Llan Ddv. 1 

To these churches may be added the following chapels, now either in 
ruins or extinct : Capel Sant Ffraid, under Holyhead, Anglesey ; 
i Sant Ffraid, under Llansantffraid Glan Conwy, Denbighshire ; 
and another under Nevern, Pembrokeshire ; and Capel Ffraid, under 
Llandyssul, Cardiganshire. A conventual foundation of S. Ffraid's 
is said to have once stood on the Cardiganshire coast, about a mile 
to the north of Llanrhystyd. Llansantffraid is a little to the south 
of it. Kinnerley Church, Salop, now dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, 
had, it would appear, an earlier dedication to S. Ffraid. 

In Devon are Bridestowe, with a sanctuary, Virginstow, and 
Bridgerule. 2 

In Cumberland the Brigid Churches are Bridekirk, Kirkbride, 
Brigham, and Bassenthwaite. At Chester was a parish church of 
S. Bride, near the Castle, now demolished. In Herefordshire is Brid- 
stow. In Somersetshire Breane and Chelvey. Near Glastonbury 
was an islet called Brideshay, on which it was pretended that the Saint 
livi-d and died. But seeing that there were several Brigids, it is not 
sary to assume that all these churches were originally under the 
patronage of the great abbess of Kildare. In London, S. Bride's was 

1 Ed. Evans and Rhys, p. 275. 

1 In Cornwall, on the Tamar, she had a chapel and holy well at Landue in 
Lezant. The Holy Well, in good condition, has been closed, owing to the water 
having Invn contaminated by some stables near at hand. 

284 Lives of the British Saints 

under her invocation, and the name of the royal palace of Bridewell 
shows that here she once had a holy well. In Scotland, as Bishop 
Forbes says, " the number of churches dedicated to her exceeds the 
power of our enumeration." 

In Brittany, where she is called Berc'het or Perhet, she is patroness 
of Berhet in Cotes du Nord, of Lopherec (Locus penitentiae Stae. 
Brigidae) in Finistere ; of Ste. Brigitte near Cleguerec in Morbihan ; 
of Noyalo in the same department and on the inland sea, on the high 
road from Vannes to S. Gildas ; of Kermoroch in Cotes du Nord, and 
of numerous chapels. At Pluvigner, an Irish settlement, she has her 
chapel. The parish church of Buleon in Morbihan is dedicated to her. 
Here is a little bronze bell, bearing the inscription s. BREGE MA 
NOME. At Locperhet in Crach, she has been dethroned to make 
place for S. Anne. In Grand-Champ is a fine chapel of flamboyant 
construction that bears her name at another Locperhet. In the island 
of Groix both she and Gildas had chapels. At Locoal, in the peninsula 
of Plec, is a chapel of S. Brigid, and near it a lech, or early British tomb- 
stone, called la Quenouille de Ste. Brigitte. It is nine feet high, and 
near it is another, not so lofty, that is called her spindle. These, and 
there are many more, are in the diocese of Vannes. As many as thirteen 
churches and chapels are dedicated to her in Finistere. She was 
patroness of Spezet out of which Brest has grown, which is now under 
the invocation of S. Louis. She had a cult at S. Thegonnec. At 
Perguet by Audierne she has also a chapel, and here again in con- 
nection with an Irish Saint, S. Tujean. Hard by, at Esquilien she 
has also a chapel. At Guingat, between Quimper and Douarnenez, 
she is associated with S. David. At Motreff by Carhaix she had 
a chapel, and here it is hard not to see a connexion with Gildas. 

In Brittany she is invoked by women before their confinement. 

With thirteen dedications in Finistere, and fourteen in Morbihan, and 
several in Cotes du Nord, it is difficult not to suppose that she at one 
time exercised there a remarkable influence, probably through branch 
establishments from Kildare among the Irish settlers in Western 

S. Brigid, under the form Ffraid, is frequently mentioned in 
mediaeval Welsh literature. In an anonymous poem in the twelfth 
century Black Book of Carmarthen l she is invoked : " Sanffreid 
suynade in imdeith " (S. Ffraid, bless us on our journey). Lewis Glyn 
Cothi, in the fifteenth century, swears by her shrine. 2 

1 Skene, Four Ancient Books of Wales, ii, 44. 

2 " Myn bedd Sain Ffraid ! " (Gwaith L.G.C., p. 238). 

S. Brigid 285 

The custom called " Cwrw Sant Ffraid," or S. Bride's Ale, is not 
infrequently mentioned, as, for instance, in the Red Book of S. Asaph, 
" quaedam consuetude vocata Corw Sanfrait." l 

There were several persons in the Middle Ages who bore the name of 

Sant Ffraid, that is, the (tonsured) slave or servant of S. Ffraid. 2 

The name, like several others of the kind, is not a proper Welsh 

compound, but is formed in imitation of a well-known Goidelic 


The betony is very often called in Welsh " cribau Sant Ffraid," 
her combs. 

S. Brigid is represented as an abbess in white wool, with a white 
veil, and with wild geese at her side, or with an altar on which burns 
her perpetual fire ; sometimes with an ox at her side. But in Brittany 
she is without these symbols. Many statues of her remain, but are not 
usually of much antiquity. Perhaps the most interesting is the most 
ancient, a fine figure in the little chapel of the SS. Dredeneau in the 
parish of S. Geran near Pontivy. This is of the end of the fTffeenth or 
early in the sixteenth century. 

S. BRIGID, of Cill-Muine, Virgin, Abbess 

THERE can be no question that the Brigid who was in Wales was an 
-entirely distinct personage from the Brigid of Kildare ; the enormous 
popularity attaching to the latter enveloped the first, and led to their 

It must be remembered that Brigid, which is the diminutive of 
Brig, is a common name. S. Brigid had several disciples of the same 
name as herself. 

In the Tallagh Martyrology there are as many as seven Brigid 
commemorations apart from that of Brigid of Kildare ; and in the 
Martyrology of Donegal is a Brigid of Cill-Muine or Menevia, com- 
memorated as a distinct personage on November 12. In that of Gorman 

1 The custom is also mentioned in the poems of Dafydd ab Gwilym, lolo 
Goch, etc. Her Festival is thus alluded to in a rhyming calendar in Cardiff 
Library -MS. 13, written in 1609 

Digwyl San Ffraid ydoedd fenaid, 
I bydd parod pawb ai wyrod. 

* Myv. Arch., p. 164, the Record of Carnarvon, etc. ; cf. the Malbrigid of 
one of the Rune-inscribed crosses of the Isle of Man. 

286 Lives of the British Saints 

she is enrolled as " the gracious Brig with a (conventual) rule/ and 
the gloss adds, " Brig and Duthracht, from Cill-Muine were they." 1 
Duthracht of Lemchaille is commemorated on October 25. 

Now here we have a clear distinction between Brigid of Kildare 
and another Brigid who was at Cill-Muine. And who this Brigid was 
we ascertain from the Life of S. Monynna or Darerca. She was her 
disciple, and spying one night when the abbess was at prayer, she saw 
two swans fly away from the cell. When she told Monynna what she 
had seen she sent her away to have a religious house of her own else- 
where, and decreed that she should be blind. 1 Previously Monynna 
had sent her to Rosnat, i.e. Cill-Muine (S. David's), to learn there 
the rules of monastic life ; and there she remained some time " in 
quodam hospiciolo." 2 

This Brigid, there can be no manner of doubt, is the Brigid who 
became known in South Wales. 

Now in the Life of S. Modwenna by Concubran, we are informed that 
this Saint, together with Brigid and the damsels Luge and Athea, came 
over the sea from Ireland on a piece of detached ground, and that 
they landed " apud castrum Daganno nomine, juxta littus immensi 
maris," i.e. Deganwy Castle, nearConway. The piece of ground after- 
wards became fixed to the coast, and on it Capel Sant Ffraid was built, 
at a distance of about a quarter of a mile west from the present 
church of Llansantffraid Glan Conwy. By about 1740 " the sea had 
carried away part of it " ; by to-day the chapel has been entirely 
washed away. Bishop Maddox (1736-43) has the following note 
in MS. Z. in the Episcopal Library at S. Asaph on her Festival as 
observed here : " On her day, Feb. I, the R r . reads prayers. And 
out of the offerings of that day is p d i8 d ., the Wardens, I2 d ., and 
the Clerk 6 d . ; the rest to the poor." 

S. Brigid and Luge were here left by the other two, who moved on to 
Polesworth and the Forest of Arden. According to another tradition, 
Brigid is said to have landed in the estuary of the Dovey, perhaps 
at the place called Ynys y Capel, near Talybont ; 3 whilst another 
tradition makes her to have landed at Holyhead, and to have 
erected there Capel Sant Ffraid, which stood on an artificial tomen or 

1 Vita S. Monynnae, Cod. Sal., coll. 181-2. 

2 " Inter alias Dei famulas quadam virgo, nomine Brignat, cum sancta vir- 
gine cohabitasse traditur. Hujus enim future sanctitatis indicia considerans, 
earn in Britanniam insulam, de Rosnatensi monasterio conversations monas- 
tice regulas accepturam, misisse perhibetur." Ibid., col. 179. 

3 Gossiping Guide to Wales, ed. 1900, p. 213. A brook called Ffraid runs into- 
the Eleri, a tributary of the Dovey, in North Cardiganshire. 

S. Brigid 287 

mound by the seaside, on a sandy beach called Tywyn y Capel, 
about two miles from Holyhead ; but there is not any of it now left. 1 
Xmv the Life of S. Modwenna by Concubran is a most unsatisfactory 
compilation. The author has combined Monynna or Darerca, who 
red the veil from S. Patrick, and was the disciple of S. Ibar of 
Begery, who died 500, with a second Monynna, who arrived from 
Ireland a century later, and became for a while superior of Whitby, and 
instructress of Elfleda, sister of Alfrid, king of Northumbria. Elfleda 
became abbess of Whitby, and died in 715. Not content with this 
anachronism, he farther identified her with S. Modwenna of Burton-on- 
Trent, who was the instructress of S. Edith of Polesworth, who died in 
954, consequently he has combined in one terrible jumble three women, 

rst and last of which died at about 440 years apart in time. But 

thi- is not all ; the Irish Life of Monynna, alias Darerca, is itself a 

compilation of two Monynnas, so that the Vita by Concubran is an 

almost inextricable chronological puzzle. 

The Brigid who landed in North Wales is not and cannot be the 

1 who studied at Cill-Muine, if the story is to be trusted that 
the latter was blind in later life, and lived in a monastery at but a little 
(list, UN v from Kildare. Nor can she have been a companion of the 
second Monynna, who stayed in Anglesey or Gwynedd, and was also 
forgotten in the greater glory of her namesake of Kildare. 

\\V are obliged, from lack of information, to dismiss this latter 
Brigid, of whom even less is known than of the Brigid sent by 
Monynna to Cill-Muine. But we may safely assert that two Brigids 

I Wales, one was in Mynyw, another in Gwynedd, and both 

distinct from Brigid of Kildare. 

\\V will now give the legend of S. Brigid as told in Wales. Brigid's 
name usually appears in its full form in Welsh as Sant Ffraid Leian, 2 
that is, S. Ffraid the Nun. In mediaeval Wales she enjoyed a very 
widely diffused cult, being preceded in the popular estimation only 

5. Mary the Virgin, Michael the Archangel, and David the Patron 
of Wales. Her name is almost invariably given with the title of Sant, 
as is the case with most non-Welsh Saints. 3 
lonverth Fynglwyd, a prominent Welsh bard of the second half of 

1 Angharad Llwycl, Hist, of Anglesey, Ruthin, 1833, p. 203. 

2 There are not many instances in Welsh of the mutation of initial br into ffr. 

3 In the composition of Welsh place-names Sant is dropped as a rule. 

'xceptions are few Llansantffraid, Llansantsior (near Abergele), Llan- 
santftagan (also Llanffagan), and Lann Sant Guainerth (now S. Weonard's, in 
the #00* of Llan Ddv). Llandyfeisant (S. Tyfai), under Llandeilo Fawr, stands 

ui d 

288 Lives of the British Saints 

the fifteenth century, wrote a poem in honour of S. Ffraid, in which he 
gives briefly the legendary life, and enumerates the various miracles 
attributed to her. 1 

The following is a summary of it. She was a beautiful Irish 
nun, the daughter of Dipdacws (Dubtach), of ducal lineage ; she 
procured for the poor honey from stone ; she gave her distaff to a 
ploughman to do duty for his broken mould-board ; she converted 
butter that had been turned to ashes into butter again ; she gave to a 
certain cantref all the cheese in the steward's store, but not so much as 
one was ever missed by him. She knew the Fifteen Prayers ; whenever 
it rained heavily she would throw her white winnowing sheet on the 
sunbeams ; when her father desired her to marry some one she did not 
like, one of her eyes fell out of its socket, which she afterwards put 
back, and it was as well as ever ; she sailed on a turf from Ireland, 
and landed in the Dovey ; she made of rushes, in Gwynedd, the beauti- 
ful fish without a single bone called brwyniaid (smelts), which she 
threw out of her hand among the water-cress ; she went to Rome to 
S. Peter's ; Jesus established her festival on Candlemas Eve, and it 
was observed with as much solemnity as Sunday. 

In a longer metrical version of the legend (text not given, and 
doubtful whether by the same author) she is said to have sailed over 
with her maidens on green turfs, landing at Porth y Capel, near 
Holyhead, where she built a chapel on the little bank there. From 
thence she went to Glan Conwy, and founded Llansantffraid, and 
turned a handful of rushes into smelts, which she threw into the 
Conway. 2 

The legend of the brwyniaid is still current in the Vale of Conway. 
It is said that in the days of S. Ffraid there was a dire famine, 
which was alleviated by her miracle. The fish taste of rushes ; 
hence the name. The Conway is famous for them. 

S. BRIOC, Bishop, Confessor 

THE Life of S. Brioc, written by an anonymous biographer, before 
850, has been published from a tenth or eleventh century MS. by 
Dom Plaine, in the Analecta Bollandiana for 1883, but without the 
supplement, which is printed in the Analecta for 1904, pp. 264-5. 

1 A copy is printed in Williams, History and Antiquities of Aberconwy, Denbigh, 
1835, PP- 198-200. 

2 Lewis Morris, Celtic Remains, London, 1878, p. 386. Smelts or sparlings 
\vere also, if not so still, locally called pysgod Sant Ffraid (her fish). 

O . i ' 

S. Brioc 


A second Life, of very inferior value, from the Lections in the S. 

Hi ieuc Breviary, was published in the Acta SS. Boll. May I, pp. 92-4. 

Albert le Grand, in his Vies des Saints de Bretagne, made a very passable 

version of the Life from the Breviaries of S. Brieuc, Quimper, and 

:i, ist ed. 1636, new ed. 1901, pp. 151-7. 

A third, a metrical life by a certain Peter, and in a fragmentary 
condition, is in the library at Rouen. This has been printed by the 
Bollandists in their Analecta for 1904, pp. 246-251. It adds nothing 
of importance to what we know from the Vita. 

According to the author of the First Life, which we shall alone quote, 
tin- original name of the Saint was Briomagl, and this is a form 
which about the middle of the eighth century would have become 
Brioimiil, 1 later, Briafael, which is preserved in the Gloucestershire 
parish-name, S. Briavel's. 

Brioc has the same derivation as Brychan, and signifies the " speck- 
led," or " tartan-clad." It would seem to have been a tribal name, 
applied to the Hy Brachan, who occupied what, in later times, became 
the Barony of Ibrican in Clare. Members of this clan may have 
effected a lodgment in South Wales, and have given the appellation to 
Brecknockshire, though the probability is rather that the Brychan 
clan came from South Leinster. 

Brioc's father was named Cerp, and was a princeling of Coritica. 2 
Various opinions have been expressed as to the whereabouts of Coritica. 
Sunn' have suggested Cork. But Core signifies a marsh, and was 
tiled till S. Finbar erected a monastery there at the close of the 
sixth century. Dom Plaine proposed Kerry, that was the territory 
of the Corca Duibne, and did not acquire the name of Kerry till the 
fourteenth century. 3 

Another opinion is that of De la Borderie, who, trusting to a certain 
similarity of sound, and to nothing else, proposed Coria Otadaenorum, 
.md assumed that Brioc was a native of Jedburgh in Teviotdale. 4 
Dom Plaine and De la Borderie argued that, because the parents of 
Brioc were heathens, they could not have lived in what all Welsh 
scholars agree to consider Coritica, namely Ceredigion, which com- 

1 J. Loth, L 'Emigration Bretonne, Paris, 1883, p. 35. 

" Sanctus Briomaglus, Coriticianae regionis indigena .... pater ejus Cerpus 
nomine, mater vero Eklrucla vocata est." Vita, ed. Plaine, p. 3. 

3 Camden has " In Corcagiensi Comitatu urbs est Corcagia Giraldo, Korke 
An^lis . . . Briocum virum sanctissimum, a quo Sanbriochiana in Britannia 
\rmorica dioecesis vulgo 5. Brieii nomen assumpsit, hinc oriundum scribit 
Robertus Coenalis. Sed in hoc a veritate abiit." Britannia, 1594, pp. 654-5. 
i he mistake was due to Coenalis taking Coritica to stand for Cork. 

4 Hist, de Bretagne, tome i, pp. 301-2. 

VOL. I. U 

Ul r -), } 


290 Lives of the British Saints 

prised Cardiganshire and a portion of Pembrokeshire, because they 
assume that, in the fifth century, all Wales was thoroughly Christian. 
Neither was aware of the facts. 1 

Ceredigion, or Ceretica, and the entire west and south-west of 
Wales, were occupied by pagan Irish in that century, till expelled by 
the sons of Cunedda, and by Urien Rheged. In fact, in or about 
430, shortly after the death of Dathi, the Irish grip on Britain relaxed. 
There still remained on British soil numerous Irish settlements, and 
marauding excursions were frequent ; but a wave of British power 
rolled south over Wales and swept the Irish away. If M. de la Borderie 
had looked at the Lives of S. David and S. Teilo, he would have seen 
that there were still Irish pagans in Pembrokeshire as late as the sixth 
century. 2 

Ceredigion is usually Latinized into Ceretica, but as S. Patrick 

"' changed Ceredig into Coroticus, in his famous letter, so the writer of 

the Lift- of S. Brioc rendered the name Coritica, instead of Ceretica, 

which latter was the form adopted in the twelfth and thirteenth 


According to the Vita, the father of Brioc was named Cerp. This 
is the Irish_Qpjrpre or Cairbre. He was married to Eldruda, and her 
name is Saxon. " The common object of attack, Roman Britain,'" 
writes O' Curry, 3 " brought Irish and Saxons in contact at an early 
period. And that this intercourse was, on the whole, of a most friendly 
character, is shown by the frequent inter-marriages which took place 
between them." 

Eldruda was warned in a dream to make three staves one of gold 
for her son Brioc, one of silver for herself, and a third of the same metal 
for her husband and to lay them aside until Brioc was old enough to* 
be given for instruction to a Christian bishop. 

Something of the same kind occurs in the Life of S. Samson. 4 Brioc 
happens to be a name found in Ceredigion and Brecknock on inscribed 
stones. Professor Rhys reads the Ogam-inscribed stone in Bridell 
churchyard, North Pembrokeshire, thus " Nettasagru Maqui Mucoi 

1 " Mais il y a une objection trds grave : d'apres la vie de Saint Brieuc, le 
pays ou il naquit etait enti&rement ou presque entierement pai'en. Or, en 417, 
non seulement le pays de Cardigan, mais toute la province romaine de 1'ile de 
Bretagne situee au sud du mur de Severe etait chretienne." Ibid. The exact 
reverse was the case in Western Wales. 

2 Vita Sti. David, in Cambro-British Saints, pp. 124-6. 

3 O'Curry, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, I, p. xxxv. 

4 Vita 2*", ed. Plaine, lib. i, cap. ii. Redemption by weight of metal was a 
pagan custom, and existed in India and ancient Germany. Y Cymmrodor, 
1899 ; and Revue Celtique, xi (1890), pp. 377-8. 


S. Brioc 

i," i.e., (Monumentum) Nettasagrus filii generis Breci." This 
that Brec or Brioc was a clan name. l 

We have, further, the name with the prefix Ty in S. Tyfriog of 
Llandyfriog in Brioc's own country, Cardigan. 

Tin- Rickardston Hall stone, near Brawdy, has "Briac/Fil/ ..." / /< 
The last name is all but obliterated. ' The Llandefaeloe. stone, near j^ 
Brecon, has "Briamail Flou," that is to say, "(The Cross of) Brioma- 
glus Flavus." 2 

At a suitable age Briomagl was committed to S. Germanus to be 
educated, and he took him to Paris. 3 Germanus, bishop of Paris, cannot 
be meant. He died in 576. Dom Plaine and De la Borderie assume 
that the Germanus spoken of as tutor to Briomagl or Brioc was S. 
(it-nii anus of Auxerre, and construct the chronology of his Life on 
this assumption. But the author nowhere says that he was the great 
prelate of Auxerre. If he had been, the author would have made 
Germanus school him at his own cathedral seat and not in Paris. 

Was the tutor of Brioc the Germanus who visited Britain in 429, and 
447 ? Probably not. There was another Saint of the same name ; as 
far as we can judge, he was an Armorican by birth, a disciple, perhaps 
a nephew, of S. Patrick. Rusticus and Germanilla were the parents of 
Germanus of Auxerre, in which city he was born in A.D. 378. The 
father of the Patrician Germanus, according to the Irish accounts, in 
the Lives of S. Patrick, is called Rechtitutus, or Restitutus, " the 
Lonjjobard," and his wife was Liemania, or Darerca, the sister of 

"The Bishop of Auxerre's father, according to the Cambrian account, 
was Rhedyw of Armorica . . . making him a native of Armorica very 
clearly shows that the name of the father of the Patrician German 
was assigned, from its similarity to Rusticus, in error to Germanus of 
Auxerre a locality which was never included within the Armorican 
territory. Aldor, the king of Armorica, Llydaw, or Letha, as the Irish 
called that country, was married to a daughter of Rhedyw, the father of 
German." 4 

1 \\\lsh Philology, 2nd ed., pp. 274, 394; The Welsh People, 1900, p. 53. 

1 The Welsh People, p. 568. The earliest known form of the name is 
" Brigomaglos," on an inscribed stone now in the Clayton Museum, near Chesters, 
on the Roman Wall (Revue Celtique, xi, p. 344). The modern literary form 
occurs in the place-name " Kelli Uriauael," " Briafael's Holt," in the Verses of 
the Graves (Skene, Four Ancient Books, ii, p. 32)^ 

" Mater ejus .... suggerabat marito ilium Parish's ad beatum Germanum 
jam debere transmitti," p. 6. " Cum igitur ad virum Dei Parisius pervenissent," 
P- 7- 

4 Shearman, Loca Patriciana, Dublin, 1882, p. 171. See also Tab. ix. 



2 g 2 Lives of the British Saints 

This question of the confusion that has been made between the 
Armorican Germanus, who died in 474, and the Auxerre Germanus, 
who died in 448, shall be entered into more fully later. It has been the 
cause of many apparent anachronisms. 

Germanus went to Ireland about 439. He founded a church, Kil- 
gorman, in Wexford, and has given his name to Wexford Harbour, over 
against Cardigan, which in Irish is Loch Garmon. Now if Germanus 
were, as we know he was, in Wexford, labouring among the Hy Cinnse- 
lach, and purposed to go back to Armorica, he would naturally 
across to Cardigan Bay, for the Welsh mountains are visible from 
Irish coast. Thence he would make his way to some port on the south 
coast of Britain, perhaps Plymouth Sound, where perhaps he has left 
his name at S. German's. 

In the Life of S. Brioc we are informed that Germanus had as his 
pupils Patrick and Illtyd along with Brioc. 

Caerworgorn had been founded by Theodosius and Cystennin Gorneu, 
and Belerus had been its first president, but it had been ruined by the 
incursions of the Irish. Germanus is said to have refounded it. But 
was this Germanus of Auxerre ? A Patrick, son of Maewon, was made 
superior there. 1 And this is perhaps the Patrick who is supposed to 
have died at Glastonbury in 494, and led to the supposition by the 
monks of Glastonbury that they possessed the body of the Apostle of 
Ireland. That this Patrick did work for a while in Ireland is possible 

There was again another Patrick, said to have been son of Sannan 
the Deacon, a kinsman of the great Patrick, who was also in Ireland. 
It is a moot point whether the Apostle of the Irish was ever with 
Germanus of Auxerre. 2 And it is conceivable that one or other of 
those namesakes, having been with Germanus the Armorican, may 
have led to the confusion. 

Germanus of Auxerre is also said to have appointed Illtyd to Caer- 
worgorn. This is chronologically impossible ; but ithe difficulty is 
lessened if we suppose the German to have been the Armorican who 
had both Patrick and Illtyd as his disciples along with Brioc. 

" It appears," says Mr. Shearman, " that a good deal attributed to 
S. Germanus of Auxerre in Cambrian hagiology may be justly trans- 
ferred to the second and later Germanus ; and the historical accuracy 
of the very early biographers still be upheld. It often happens that 
the fault we find in their apparent anachronisms and inconsistencies is 

1 lolo MSS., p. 134. 

2 Todd, 5. Patrick, Dublin, 1864, pp. 314-21. Dr. Todd supposes that the 
association of Palladius, also called Patricius, with Germanus, led to the mistake. 

S. Brioc 293 

be attributed to our ignorance of the facts and persons of whom 
they write." l 

According to the biographer, Brioc as sent to Germanus wrjen he was 
ten years of age, and remained with him till he was ordained to the 
priesthood. The candidates appeared before Germanus, but, just as 
the Celtic Church required that three bishops should be consecrated 
simultaneously, so it would seem that it was customary at an ordination , 
to the priesthood, that there should be three candidates presented 
together. To make up the requisite number, Germanus chose Brioc, 
although, at the time, unprepared for the dignity. Brioc now resolved 
on returning home. Dom Plaine says circa 450, De la Borderie gives 
448, supposing that this was due to the death of his master, the Auxerre 
Germanus. That identification rejected, the attribution of the date 
falls to the ground. 

The cause may have been that the great Patrick had summoned 
German to the great work of evangelization going on in Ireland, and the 
date would be about 462. 

( )n leaving Paris, Brioc took ship for the River Scene. This, may 
In , is the Cleddeu that flows into Milford Haven. Scian is Irish 
for knife or sword. So soon as the Irish were expelled from this 
portion of Wales, the river changed its name to Cleddeu, but kept its 
signification. Or it may mean the brook Cyllell, mentioned by 
Leland and George Owen. 2 

Brioc went to his home attended by one boy only. He was then 
aged twenty-five. He arrived at his father's house when the family 
was holding the mid-winter feast. 3 There is some difficulty in accept- 
ing this statement. Certainly at that period no vessels would venture 
to make the perilous voyage from Llydaw to Wales at a time of winter 
gales. Either Brioc loitered on his way, or, what is more probable, 
the biographer has mistaken the midsummer feast for that kept in 

1 Loca PatriciaiKi, p. 169. 

" Yenit puer ... ad fluvium qui dicitur Gladius," Vita S. Aedui, Cambro- 
British Saints, p. 236. This was the Cleddeu. Leland, Itin., v, 28, says : 
" 'I her is a litle Rille betuixt the 2 Gleves caullid Kollell, i.e., Cultellus." 
And, further on : " Betwixt the two Gleves by Harford West is a litle Ryveret 
caullid in Walsch (Cyllell), in Englisch ' Knife.' One beyng requirid wher 
he lay al night, answerid that he lay having a swerd on eche side of hym, and 
life at his Hart, alluding to the 3 Ryvers in the midle of whom he lay al 
it." See also Owen's Pembrokeshire, i, p. 98. 

>rabatur . . . die illo quo beatus ad domum patris sui devenit Brioc - 
cius memoratum illud magnumque convivium, quod semper ab eo in Kalendis 
Januani fieri erat consuetum," p. 11. The great winter feast of the Irish was, 
however, Samhain, Nov. i. 

294 Lives of the British Saints 

Brioc found the family holding high festival with drinking, games, 
and ballad-singing. No sooner did his mother see her son than she 
rushed to him, and overwhelmed him with kisses, 1 and led him to 
his father who was almost beside himself with delight. What with 
the liquor he had imbibed, and the pleasure he felt at the meeting, the 
old man cried "and could hardly keep his feet." 2 

Brioc, if we accept his biographer's word, was not a little priggish, 
and he threw a damp cloth over the hilarity that prevailed by 
haranguing against intemperance and idolatry. The old couple bore 
this with good-natured suppressed impatience, forgiving much in their 
gladness at having recovered their son. 

Brioc set to work to convert his parents and tribesmen. This was 
not an arduous matter. The highway to Britain and the Continent 
ran through their territory, and missioners to and from Ireland were 
incessantly passing through. The Christian Britons from Strathclyde, 
under the sons of Cunedda, were bearing down on the Irish from the 
north with irresistible force ; no succour was to be expected from 
Ireland ; and the paganism of the Irish settlers in Ceredigion might 
serve as an excuse for their extermination. Brioc erected a chun 
called Landa Magna (Llan Fawr), probably that which to this 
bears his name in Cardiganshire, Llandyfriog. 3 Pupils flocked t( 
him, those who had been dispossessed by Ceredig doubtless hoping 
in religion to find a home and security. His mother, filled wii 
enthusiasm, desired to leave her husband and be admitted to 
monastic life, but this proposal aroused so much opposition in the 
family that she was compelled to abandon her intention. She had 
felt a leaning towards the Faith of Christ for many years, as is shown 
by her anxiety to have her son brought up as a Christian. And it 
speaks highly in favour of her sweet and loving nature, that the sug- 
gestion she made of retiring into religion should have roused such a 

1 " Ruit in oscula." 

2 Videns filium prae gaudio flere cepit, complectensque, et osculans, vix 
sese in pedibus prae immensa laetitia poterat continere," p. 12. 

3 The prefix to or ty, attached to the names of several Welsh names, is a 
particle showing respect or esteem. We have it in Ty-suliau, T-eliau (Teilo). 
M. J. Loth says : " It was customary among the ancient Bretons to give to 
their Saints and venerated persons more than one name ; one, the true name, 
composed of two terms ; the other terminates in oc, and was preceded by to. 
WJrfnoc who wrote the Life of S. Paul Aurelian in the ninth century, tells us, in 
connection with Quonoc, the Saint's companion, ' Quonocus quern alii sub addita- 
mento gentis transmarinae Toquonocum vocant.' These holy people were 
venerated in Brittany under both names. " S. Conoc is in several places 
called Toconoc." Bulletin de la Soc. Arch, de Finistere, viii (1892-3). See 
also Whitley Stokes, in Academy, 1886, p. 152. There is a place called Llan 
Fawr in the parish of Eglwys Wrw, Pembrokeshire. 

S. Brioc 295 

feeling of opposition in the family and whole clan. Although 
" ardentissime volebat," like a good woman she submitted. 1 

Hi it perhaps after all, when the old man died, she was able to follow 
her bent. We cannot be sure. S. Edeltruda is venerated in Brittany 
in the parish of Treflez by Plouescat in Finistere, and she has a 
chapel in the parish of Loc Brevelaire. The popular name of the 
saint is Ste. Ventroc, but that is not a personal name. Ventroc 
comes from gwentr, the Breton for colics, which she is supposed to 
<-uic. Her day is June 23, that of Etheldreda of Ely. 2 

As we shall see presently, Brioc, when first landing in Brittany, came 
ashore in the estuary of the Aber Ildut in Finistere. But if Edeltruda 
of Treflez be his mother, she must have preceded him, as he did not 
arrive there till very aged. 

Brioc spent a great part of his life in Britain. Unhappily the writer 
of the Life gives us no detailed account of what he did there. 

A church in Rothesay bears his name, and he was venerated in the 
Isle of Bute. His presence in the Western Isles may be explained, if 
we suppose that Germanus, who had been sent by Patrick to be first 
bishop of Man, summoned his old pupil to him, and set him to labour 
among the Irish settlers in the isles and on the coast of Alba. 

At length, when advanced in life, Brioc resolved on migrating into 
Armorica. The Irish were being driven " bag and baggage " by 
Ceredig out of Wales. The date of their expulsion is set down by 
ees as having been between 380 and 430. But it cannot have been 
so early. Niall of the Nine Hostages held down the British with a 
firm hand, and died in 405. He was succeeded by Dathi, who reigned 

428, and both he and Niall had made of Britain a base for their 

itary operations on the continent. It cannot have been till after 
fall of Dathi that Cunedda and his sons ventured on their attack 

)n the Irish in Wales, and only by degrees were these latter expelled. 

was in 480, or thereabouts, that Cadwallon Lawhir drove them 
from their last retreat in Anglesey. 

Almost without doubt, it was on this account that Brioc resolved on 
quitting his native land, though the biographer does not intimate that 

was so. 3 He collected a large number of followers, as many as a 
id and sixty-eight, and with them embarked in one vessel. On 

1 Vita S. Brioci, ed. Plaine, c. xxviii. 
L'Hermine, 1906, p. 81. 

3 He does, however, speak of a certain Tyrannus, from whom, in hunting, 
a stag fled and took refuge with the Saint, and of a great famine devastating the 
country. Probably the Tyrannus was Ceredig, and the famine a consequence 
of the invasion. 

"K. ux. 

296 Lives of the British Saints 

the voyage Brioc's huge coracle was nearly wrecked by fouling a whale. 
He put into a harbour for repairs. He was now an old man, and was 
conveyed on his land journeys in a cart ; and, as he sat, he sang psalms. 
One evening, as he was chanting vespers, a pack of wolves approached; 
whereupon the brethren who had been dragging Brioc along in his cart, 
took to their heels, and left their abbot in the vehicle, which was at once 
surrounded by the pack. He shouted at the top of his voice, am 
presently some of his disciples ventured near, to see the wolves surrounc 
ing the cart, yet none of them so far had attacked the old man. Happib 
at this moment, the chief man of the district, Conan by name, came 
up and drove the beasts away. Conan received Brioc with much 
kindness, and Brioc baptized him after subjecting him to a fast of 
seven days. 

The harbour into which Brioc ran his vessel can de determined by 
his foundation near Wadebridge, at the head of Padstow Harbour. 
There was no other port except S. Ives Bay into which he could h 
run. Conan, we may presume, gave large donations to Brioc, for 
parish of S. Breocke is one of the most extensive and rich in Cornwall. 

The fact that Conan and his people were pagans would lead to tl 
conclusion that they were some of the Irish who held north and we 
Cornwall, from which, as far as we know, they were never expellee 
After having remained some time in Cornwall to accomplish tl 
conversion of the tribe of Conan, and to organize a llan where no> 
stands the church bearing his name, Brioc took ship again, and afte 
a prosperous voyage, arrived at the Port d'Ach, now Le Conquest, 
Plouguerneau in Finistere. Thence, it is said, but this is more th; 
doubtful, he made his way to the Jaudy, and founded a monastery. 
Not long after, news reached him that a plague was ravaging his native 
land, and he resolved on returning to console the dying and minister 
to the panic-stricken inhabitants. The only pestilences of which 
we know about this period were the Blefed in 543 and the " Yellow 
Death " in 547-50. There was, however, one earlier, referred to by 
Gildas, the date of which it is not possible to fix. 

Brioc then confided his monastery to his nephew Tudwal or Tugdual 
(Pabo Tugualo), and departed for Ceredigion. On the cessation of the 
plague he returned, and decided to leave his monastery in the hands of 
his nephew, and go elsewhere. He took with him eighty-four disciples 
and departed in a boat, and coasted till he reached the estuary of the 
Gouet, where he disembarked. 

M. de la Borderie rejects all this portion of the story, on the ground 
that the biographer blundered in his geography, in making Treguier 
on the Jaudy near the port of Ach ; and because, in the Life of 

S. Brioc 297 

:d\val, tlicre is no mention of his association with Brioc and of 
their subsequent separation. 

The mistake made by the biographer may, however, be easily 
mted for. Near the Port d'Ach is Lanpabu, Tudwal's first 
monastery, which, however, he abandoned for the more important 
plantation of Treguier on the Jaudy. Lanpabu is now Tre'babu. In 
the Life of S. Tudwal by a certain Loenan we are told that this Saint 
lirst landed in the port of Ach, precisely where, according to the bio- 
grapher of S. Brioc, that saint disembarked. Afterwards Tudwal was 
granted land on the Jaudy, where he established himself, at Treguier, 
and abandoned Lanpabu. 

The writer of the Life of S. Brioc did not know about the earlier 
inoiKotrry, and confounded Lanpabu with Treguier. We cannot see 
that we are justified in rejecting a serious statement because of this 
slip. The facts were probably these. During the absence of Brioc the 
monastic family was split into two parties, and the larger resolved 
on having at its head a younger and more energetic chief than Brioc, 
and when he returned, there ensued a revolt, which constrained him to 
his nephew in possession, and depart with those of the brethren 
who remained faithful to himself. It was not a creditable incident in 
tin Life of Tudwal. and his biographer considered it advisable to pass 
it over unnoticed. 

Main ex eis videri sibi incongruum dicebant, si de ministerio 

quod nepoti suo commiserat, amplius eum mutare vellet. At ille 

itiones eorum intelligens . . . recessit ab eis, in pace cunctos 

dimittens." l This surely intimates that there was a quarrel, and that 

he was forced to leave. 

ascending the creek of the Gouet to the point reached by the tide 
re a lateral ravine enters it, forming a tongue of land, Brioc en- 
camped beside a spring. A servant of Rhiwal, the chieftain of the 
British settlers in those parts, saw the monks and reported their 
arrival to his master. Rhiwal was at first displeased, but in an inter- 
view recognized a kinsman in Brioc, 2 and they came readily to terms. 
Rhiwal gave up to his cousin Campus roboris, the Champ de Rouvre, 
and himself retired to Lishelion, now Million. Rhiwal was the son of 
one Deroch, and had come to Armorica at the head of a large number 
of colonists, and in process of time brought the whole of Domnonia 
under his rule. 3 

eel. Plaint-, c. xliii. 

" Hie est, ait (Rigualis) consobrinus meus Briocius, optimus transmarin- 
orum dux." p. 22. 

" Riwalus, Britanniae dux, filius fuit Deroci . . . hie Rhiwalus a trans- 

^? /^ < 

298 Lives of the British Saints 

Le Baud, on the authority of a Chronicle of Ingomar, now unhappily 
lost, says : " Riuvallus, comte royal, pria Clothaire qu'il lui laissat 
posseder et exercer en paix ladite provence (de Domnonee) avecques 
tous ceux qu'il avait amenez deca la mer, et Clothaire lui donna conge 
de 1'habiter, cultiver, posseder, donner, et vendre sous sa parole, 
domination et puissance, et de ses successeurs apres lui, tant que les 
hommes y pourroient habiter." l 

From a summary of the Life of S. Malo by Bili, made by Leland, we 
learn that Brioc as well deemed it advisable to go to Paris, so as to 
' j obtain confirmation of the grant from Childebert. 2 

This is not mentioned in the copies we possess of the Life of Brioc. 
But there is a reason for the omission, as has been pointed out by M. 
de la Borderie. 3 After Nominoe had freed Brittany from Frank rule 
(846), it was eminently distasteful to Breton readers to find that the 
bishops of their sees had gone to Paris for confirmation, and the passage 
recording the journey to the capital of the Frank kingdom was excised 
from all copies written later than the middle of the ninth century. 
Rhiwal died, according to the conjecture of De la Borderie, in 530. 
On his death-bed he made over to Brioc all his plou at Lishillon, and 
his son Deroc succeeded to the chieftainship over Domnonia. 4 Whether 
it were now, or when the earlier donation was made, that Brioc visited 
the court of Childebert we do not know. 

Brioc now organized his ecclesiastical clan in the usual Celtic fashion. 
As he was becoming very aged, and grew anxious about his spiritual 
condition, he was wont to retire into a cave where flowed a perennial 
spring, there to remain in solitude and commune with God. His cave 
has been converted into a subterranean chapel under a large flam- 
boyant chapel, and the fountain is covered with a stone structure of 
the same period. 

Apparently not long after the death of Rhiwal, Brioc fell ill, and 
died at the age of ninety. At the time of his death a priest named 
Marcan saw a vision of angels bearing his soul to heaven. This man 
has left his name associated with a parish church in the Bay of S 

marinis veniens Britanniis cum multitudine navium possedit Minorem Britan- 
niam, tempore Clotharii regis Francorum, qui Chlodovei regis films extitit." 
Ex Cod. MS. Sti. Vedasti, Mabillon, A eta SS. O.S.B. saec. iii. 

1 Le Baud, Hist, de Bretagne, 1638, p. 65. His book was, however, written 
130 years before. 

2 " Britonum episcopi videlicet Sampson, Machu, Paternus, Corentinus, 
Paulus Aurelianus, Pabu Tutwallus, Briomelius . . . una die petierunt palatium 
Philiberti regis," Coll., i, pp. 430-2. We adopt the correction of two names 
proposed by De la Borderie. Philibert is Childebert. 

3 Bulletin de la Societe Arch, du dep. d'llle et Vilaine, tome xvi (1884), p. 309. 

4 Vita, p. 25. 

i ) j ^ K /\ <f .AZTr A ' 

/^ ' 

A ( 

S. Brioc 299 

Mirlii'l, near Pontorson. Moreover, a monk named Simaus or Sivanus, V 
in his native land dreamt that he saw Brioc ascend by a ladder into the 
heavenly land. He took ship, and after a voyage of seven days arrived 
at the Breton monastery in time to take part in the obsequies. He 
must have remained in Domnonia, for he is regarded as the patron of 
Laneieux near Ploubalay. 

\\V must now consider the statement that Rhiwal recognized Brioc 
a* his cousin (consobrinus). From the Life of S. Tudwal we learn that 
this latter was the son of Pompeia, the sister of Rhiwal. 1 As we have 
already seen, Tudwal was nephew (nepos) of Brioc. 

According to the Life of S. Leonore, that Saint was the son of Eloc, 
and his mother was Alma Pompa. Apparently, Pompa is the same as 
Pompeia, and if so Leonore and Tudwal were brothers. The name Eloc 
is the short for Hoeloc, or Hoel with the common termination of oc 
appended. Tradition, the origin of which is uncertain, makes Hoel 
the father of S. Tudwal. 2 

If the husband of Pompeia were Hoel, then he apparently comes into 
one of the pedigrees preserved by the Welsh. He was Hywel, the son 
of Emyr Llydaw, or Emyr of Armorica. Emyr had, beside Hoel, who 
may have been the husband of Pompeia, Gwyndaf, who was father 
of S. Meugant, whom we discover close to S. Brieuc at La Meaugon 
(I. ami Meugant), also of Gwen Teirbron, wife of Fracan, who settled 
on Rhiwal's lands hard by. Hoel himself founded a church in Pem- 
brokeshire, Llanhowell, under Llandeloy. 

If we come now to the question of the chronology of Brioc's life, we 
have to abandon the calculations built on the assumption that he was 
the pupil of Germanus of Auxerre. He belonged to the generation 
that of Tudwal. Tudwal's death took place in 553 or 559, more 
probably at the latter date. Deducting a generation from the mean 
\\v have 523 as the approximate date of Brioc's death, but as he lived 
to the unusually advanced age of ninety we can hardly place his decease 
earlier than 530. This is precisely the year in which, according to 
De la Borderie, Rhiwal died, and from the text of the life it would seem 
that Brioc did not long survive him. 

Accordingly Brioc was born about 440. He was sent to Germanus 
then in Paris in 450, and returned to Ceredigion in 463. Germanus 
died in 474, so that if Brioc went to assist him in the Western Isles 
among the Irish colonists, it must have been soon after his return 

1 " Mater cjus Pompaia erat nomine soror Riguali comitis, qui primus venit 
de Britonnibus citra mare." Vita i ma S. Tuduali, M&m, de la Soctttt Arch.des 
Cdtes du Nord, tome ii (1885-6), p. 84. 

8 Garaby, Saints de Bretagne, S. Brieuc, 1839, p. 529. 


/,- | - 

300 Lives of the British Saints 

home. We do not know the precise date of the expulsion of the Irish 
from Ceredigion, but it was about 480 that they were driven out of 
Anglesey. They were not, however, cleared from part of Pembroke- 
shire and Carmarthen till somewhat later, when S. David undertook 
the ecclesiastical organization of the Welsh about the Cleddeu. Almost 
certainly it was these troubles that compelled Brioc to migrate, but 
perhaps he did not leave till nearer 500 than 480, as he is spoken 
of as old when he departed. Childebert reigned from 511 to 558. We 
must allow a certain time to Brioc in Cornwall before he departed for 
Armorica. There is, of course, no truth in the statement quoted by 
Leland from Bili that all the bishops he named visited Childebert the 
same day ; Leland may have misread the text. Dom Plaine supposes 
that Brioc died in 515, and De la Borderie in or near 520. We should 
put it certainly ten years later. The approximate date of the death of 
his fellow pupil S. Illtyd was 537, but at that we arrive by a rough 

In Wales, the only foundation of Brioc is Llandyfriog in Cardigan- 
shire. 1 But S. Briavel's (from Briomagl) in Gloucestershire shows that 
he had been there. In Cornwall his sole church is S. Breocke near 
Wadebridge. In Brittany he is patron of the diocese of S. Brieuc, and 
of the churches of Caulnes and Million, in Cotes du Nord, the latter of 
which was the Us made over to him on his deathbed by Rhigual ; also 
S. Brieuc de Mauron and S. Brieuc des Ms. The former is in 
Morbihan, the latter in Ille-et-Vilaine. 

Such representations as remain do not give Brioc any characteristic 
symbol, but he might well be figured in abbatial habit, or as a bishop 
with a wolf at his feet. He is regarded as the patron of pursemakers, 

S. Brioc's Day is May I. Brev. Briocense, 1537, the thirteenth 
century Brev. of S. Yves at Treguier, the MS. Calendar of S. Meen, 
fifteenth century, the MS. Breviary of S. Melanius, Rennes, and 
in that of Quimper. 

In that of Leon for 1736 it is transferred to May 7. In that of 
Quimper for 1701 it is on May 3. In the Treguier Breviary of 1770, on 
April 27, in the S. Malo Breviaries of 1537 and 1627 an d 1730, and 
the S. Malo Missal of 1609, on April 30. Albert le Grand gives May I. 
The reason for the shifting has been because of the coincidence of 
the day with the Feast of SS. Philip and James, but mainly because 
it opens the month of May. 

In some of the Welsh Calendars the Festival of S. Tyfriog, Abbot, is 
given as May I. 2 

1 Rees gives Tyfriog ab Dingacl. 
- The Demetian Calendar (S). 

S. Brioc 301 

The Life of S. Brioc is by an anonymous author, who cannot have 
lived long after the time of Brioc, for he quotes as an authority Simaus, 
the monk who attended the funeral of the Saint. But it is evident that 
what we now have is not in its original form, but has been padded out 
with marvels at a later period. 

Only three MS. copies remain. From these Dom Plaine printed the 
Vita in the Analecta Bollandiana, tome ii, pp. 161 et seq. 

The approximate dates of Brioc 's life were probably these. 

440. Brioc born in Ceredigion. 

450. Germanus the Armorican leaves Ireland to establish schools for the 

Irish missions, and is given Brioc to train. 
454. Germanus [refounds^ Caerworgorn, and then] * departs with his pupils (J~V S r^ 

to Paris. 
40;. Germanus returns to Ireland, and is sent by S. Patrick to be Bishop of 

Man. At the same time Brioc receives Priest's Orders and returns 

47. i. Brioc founds churches in Ceredigion, and for awhile assists his old master 

in the Western Isles. 
474. Germanus dies. 2 

I roubles in Ceredigion through the invasion of the sons of Cunedda 

and the expulsion of the Irish. 
Brioc compelled to leave. Goes to Cornwall, and eventually crosses 

to the Pagus Achensis in Brittany. 
Brioc returns to Wales, and on coming back to his monastery in Brittany 

finds his nephew Tudwal in possession and unwilling to receive him 

back. He goes on to the land of Rouvre. 

Visits the court of Childebert and has the grants made by Rhigual con- 
tinued. Returns to Brittany and dies. 

Tin- body of S. Brioc was translated on July 23, 1166, in the pre- 
sence of Henry II of England, and William, bishop ot Angers, in the 
dmrch of SS. Sergius and Bacchus, in Angers, whither it had been taken 
in the tenth century, on account of the ravages of the Northmen in 


BROCHFAEL or Brochwel Ysgythrog, the well-known king of Powys, 

-on of Cyngen ab Cadell Deyrnllwg by Tudglid, daughter of 

Brvchan Brycheiniog. He had three brothers, Cadell, leuaf, and 

1 The rcfounding of Caerworgorn depends on the questionable authority of 
tin- /,./,) .1/55. 

- t'sslu-i. nritaunicarnm Eccl. Antiq., Dublin, 1639, ii, p. 1117. Ussher 
almost certainly quoted some Irish Annals now lost, perhaps those of Tighernach ; 
the copy we now have is defective at this period. 

302 Lives of the British Saints 

Mawn, and one sister, Sannan, the wife of Maelgwn Gwynedd. 1 He 
was styled "Ysgythrog" probably because he had very prominent 
teeth. His name, written in Old Welsh Brochmail, and Brocmailus 
in the oldest MSS. of Bede, 2 occurs as Brohomagli on the sixth or 
seventh century inscribed stone at Voelas Hall. He married Arddun 
Benasgell, daughter of Pabo Post Prydyn, who had received lands 
from his father Cyngen, and by her he became the father of Tyssilio 
and Cynan Garwyn. 

His title to saintship rests on very doubtful authority, and we will 
therefore only briefly pursue his history. His name is included but 
once as a saint in the lolo MSS. genealogies, 3 where it is stated that 
" he was slain at the Battle of Bangor Orchard, when that Cor (Bangor 
on Dee) was destroyed by the pagan Saxons " ; but the statement is 
inaccurate. The battle, otherwise known as the Battle of Chester, 
was fought in 607, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (and this 
is the date adopted by Freeman), but the Annals of Ulster give 613. At 
this battle Brochwel acted as escort to a large body of British priests 
and monks, mostly from Bangor on Dee, " standing apart in a place of 
comparative security," who had come to pray for the success of the 
Welsh against the English under Ethelfrid, or rather, according to 
Celtic usage, to curse the enemy. But, " woe to Brochwel's feeble 
hand," or rather to his having fled without striking a blow, only 50 out 
of 1,250 monks escaped. 

But it should be remembered that Brochwel was by no means an 
uncommon Welsh name at that period, and, as Mr. Egerton Philli- 
more has pointed out, 4 there is no proof whatever that the Brocmailus 
of Bede was Brochwel Ysgythrog in fact, the statement is a pure 
assumption and as baseless as the other statement that the Brochmail 
whom the Annales Cambriae state to have died in 662 was that same 

Brochwel was succeeded by his son Cynan Garwyn, who is thought 
to have died in 650 ; but in the Life of S. Tyssilio there is another 
account. It says that Brochwel was followed by his son Jacobus, who 
lived but two years after the death of his father. There seems from 
this account to have been trouble at this time, and the widow of Jacobus 
thought of drawing Tyssilio from his monastery and marrying him. 
To this Tyssilio objected, and he ran away. It was then perhaps 
that Cynan Garwyn became king. 

1 Cognatio de Brychan in Cott. Vesp. A. xiv. Tudful is given as his mother 
in lolo MSS., p. 121. 

2 Hist. Eccl., ii, c. 2. The name seems to mean " badger-hero," and is prob- 
ably totemistic. 3 P. 129. 4 Owen's Pembrokeshire, iii, pp. 281-4 

S. Brychan 303 

Pengwern, or Shrewsbury, was then the capital of the principality 
of Powys, and the palace is said to have occupied the spot whereon 
S. Chad's Church now stands. The copious fountain, a spring which 
long supplied the town of Shrewsbury with water, is known in records 
as Brochwel's Spring, and to the Welsh as Ffynnon Frochwel. 

S. BROTHEN, Confessor 

S. BROTHEN was one of the twelve sons of Helig ab Glannog, whose 

trrritory the sea overflowed. Deprived of their patrimony, he and his 

brothers devoted themselves to religion, and became saints, in the first 

instance, in Bangor-on-Dee. Most of them, after its destruction, migrated 

to the Bardsey Bangor. 1 He was the founder of Llanfrothen, in 

Merionethshire, where he " did searve God, and lyeth buried," 2 but 

hurch apparently received a later dedication to the B.V.M. 

ival of the Assumption). 3 The Calendar in Llanstephan MS. 

117 gives October I4th as his Festival. Rees 4 gives the I5th, and 

Browne Willis 5 the i8th. 

There is a S. Brothan, the son of Seirioel ab Ussa ab Ceredig ab 
Cuneddii Wledig, mentioned once in the lolo MSS., 6 but nothing 
is known of him. 

S. BRYCHAN, King, Confessor 

THIS great father of a saintly family is most difficult to treat of satis- 
factorily. He was not inaptly described by Skene as " the mysterious 
Brychan." 7 The short Latin tract generally known as the Cognatio 
de Brychan is almost our sole authority for his legend. There are 
two versions of it. The older one occurs in the Cottonian Collection, 
Vespasian A. xiv, entitled " De situ Brecheniauc," and was written 
at or near Brecon in the early thirteenth century, but evidently copied 
from a MS. a century or two earlier. It has been printed by Rees 
in the Cambro-British Saints, 8 "with the greatest inaccuracy";* 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 106, 124; Myv. Arch., pp. 416, 418-9, 426, 429; Cambro- 
liriti^h Saints, p. 268. 

Sir John Wynn, Ancient Survey of Pen Maen Mawr, reprint 1906, p. 19. 

Cambrian Register, iii, p. 226 (1818). 

\Vclsh Saints, p. 302. 

Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 277. 6 P. 125. 

Four Ancient Books of Wales, i, p. 43. 

Pp. 272-275. 

Mr. Egerton Phillimore, in Y Cymmrodor, vii, p. 106, further remarks that 
the original copyist clearly did not understand Welsh. 

304 Lives of the British Saints 

but a list of Corrigenda is given in Y Cymmrodor. 1 The other 
version also occurs in the Cottonian Collection, Domitian i (at the 
end), but differs widely from the previous one. This was written 
about 1650, but the copyist had before him a MS. of probably the 
thirteenth century, which he was not always able to read. It has 
been printed, with many inaccuracies, by Theophilus Jones in his 
History of the County of Brecknock* Both versions have since been 
very carefully edited by the Rev. A. W. Wade-Evans, and printed, 
with translations, in Y Cymmrodor. 3 

According to the legend, there was a King Tewdrig of Garthmadryn, 
who came to live at a place called Bran Coyn, near Llanfaes. This 
was supposed by Theophilus Jones to be a field called Bryn Gwyn, near 
Llanfaes, in the neighbourhood of Brecon. Tewdrig had a daughter 
named Marchell. He said to her: "The sharpness of the cold 
weather doth greatly affect thee ; wherefore it is well to procure for thee 
a fur garment. I will send thee to Ireland, along with three hundred 
men, to Anlach, son of Coronac, king of that country, who will marry 
thee." Then Marchell departed with her retinue, and arrived at 
Lansemin on the first night, and there a hundred of the men died of 
the cold. There are to-day two places called Glansefin, on the brook 
Sefin, near Llangadog, in Carmarthenhire. 

On the second night she reached Methrum, which is evidently 
Meidrim, in Carmarthenshire, and there a second hundred died. 
The third night was spent at Porthmawr, a warmer place, by S. 
David's Head. 4 Thence she sailed, with the hundred men left, to Ireland, 
and arrived safely, along with her attendants, at the court of Anlach, 
who received her with dancing and joy, and made her his wife. After- 
wards Marchell brought forth a son, who was named Brachan, later 
Brychan. 5 "And Anlach returned with Queen Marchell and the 
boy Brychan," and several chiefs, to Wales. Brychan was born at 
Benni, the ancient Bannium, near Brecon, and was sent to be fostered 
by one Drichan. " And in his seventh year Drichan said to Brychan, 

1 Vol. xiii, pp. 93-95. 

2 Vol. ,i, pp. 342-3. The copyist, however, it would appear, was none other 
than Sir John Price, of Brecon (d. 1555). 

3 Vol. xix, pp. 24-37. 

4 Caerfarchell, near Solva, is supposed to take its name from her. 

5 The name Brocagni (= Broccagni) occurred on a stone, now lost, except 
fragments, at Capel Mair, Llangeler, Carmarthenshire. The same form, Brocagni, 
occurs on an inscribed stone, of probably the seventh century, at Porthqueene, 
near Camelford, Cornwall. We have here the early form of Brychan, in Irish 
Broccan (Prof. Rhys, Welsh Philology, p. 393, Arch. Camb, 1907, pp. 293-309). 
Brychan, as a common noun, means in Welsh a coarse kind of home-made 
cloth, a tartan or plaid, and is a derivative from the adjective brych (Irish, brec), 
variegated or speckled. 

S. Brychan 305 

' Bring my lance to me.' And Drichan in the latter part of his life 
became blind ; and whilst he lay awake, a certain boar came 
from the wood and stood by the banks of the river Yscir ; and there 
was a stag behind it in the river, and also a fish under the belly of 
the stag, which then portended that Brychan should be happy in 
abundance of wealth. Likewise there was a beech-tree standing on 
the side of the aforesaid river, in which bees made honey, and Drichan 
said to his pupil Brychan, ' Lo, I give thee this tree full of bees and 
honey, and also of gold and silver ; and may the grace of God, and 
His love, abide with thee always, here and hereafter.' " 

After that Anlach gave Brychan as hostage to the King of Powys ; 
" and in process of time Brychan violated Banadlinet, the daughter of 
Benadel (the king), and she became pregnant, and brought forth a 
son named Cynog." 1 

The Cognatio goes on to give the names of the wives and sons and 
daughters of Brychan, and adds that he was buried in Ynys Brychan, 
near Man (Mannia), apparently in Scotland 2 

The grave of Anlach his father " is before the door of the Church of 
Llanspyddid," where there is also to be seen in the churchyard, on 
the south side of the church, a stone with crosses and circles, popularly 
called the "Cross of Brychan .Brycheiniog." 3 Llanspyddid is dedi- 
cated to S. Cadoc, grandson of Brychan. Possibly Anlach's name 
occurs in Llanhamlach, in the neighbourhood. 

The first difficulty we have to surmount is the identification of 
Brychan's father. 

In Cognatio Vesp. he is given as Anlac, Anlach, and Anlauch, the 
son of Coronac ; in Cognatio Dom. as Anlach, the son of Gormac ; 
and in Jesus College (Oxon.) MS. 20 (first half of the fifteenth century), 
as Chormuc, the son of Eurbre the Goidel. The later genealogists 
generally have fallen into two mistakes as regards Brychan's father's 
name. One is to give his grandfather's name as that of his father, 4 
and the other to treat his grandfather's name as a mere epithet of his 
father, meaning " crowned " or " tonsured." 5 They describe him 
as " King of Ireland," and " King in Ireland." 

1 " Barfhadhvedd, daughter of Banhadle of Banhadla in Powys," Peniarth 
MS. 127 (circa 1510), Myv. Arch., p. 421. 

2 In Cognatio Dom. he is said to have been buried " in Mynav in valle que 
dicitur vail Brchan " (sic). 

3 Figured in \Yestwood, Lapidarium Wallice, p. 70. 

4 Korvmawc (Peniarth MS. 74), Korvniawc (Peniarth MS. 75), Korinwy 
(Peniarth MS. 137), all three of sixteenth century; Korinawg (Cambro-British 
Saints, p. 270). Prof. Rhys (Celtic Britain, p. 248) identifies " Anlach, son of 
Coronac," with the well-known Dane, Anlaf Cuaran. 

5 Anllech corvnawc (Peniarth MS. 127, circa 1510) ; Anllech Goronawc 

VOL. I. X 

306 Lives of the British Saints 

Several theories have been proposed for the location of Anlach 

1. That Anlach stands for Hua Lagh, sons of Lugh, a Leinster 

2. That Anlach is Caelbadh, who had a son Braccan, and was 
king of Ulster for one year, and was slain in 358. 

3. That Anlach stands for Amalgaidh (now pronounced Awley). 
Amalgaidh was son of Fiachra of the Flowing Locks, brother of 

Dathi, who succeeded Niall of the Nine Hostages as king of Ireland 
in 405, whereupon Dathi surrendered to Amalgaidh the crown of 
Connaught. He reigned till 449, and had at the least three wives, 
and twenty-one sons are attributed to him besides daughters. 

4. That the " Chormuc, son of Eurbre the Goidel, of Ireland," 
whose son Brychan is said to have been, in the Jesus College MS., 
is Cormac Caoch, son of Cairbre, younger son of Niall of the Nine 
Hostages, son of Eochaidh by Carthan Casduff, daughter of the King 
of Britain. 

Cormac's wife, Marchell, was sole daughter of Tewdrig by 
an Irish-woman, a daughter of Eochaidh Muighmedhuin. This 
is the identification proposed by Mr. Henry F. J. Vaughan in 
Y Cymmrodor. 1 

Shearman, inhisLocaPatriciana (Geneal. Table VIII), gives a pedigree 
of Brychan from Caelbadh, king of Ulster. He makes Caelbadh 
father of Braccan, who is father of Braccanoc, the husband of Marchell, 
daughter of Tewdyr ap Tudwall ; and Braccanoc and Marchell are 
parents of Brychan, who marries Dwynwas or Dina, daughter of the 
King of Powys. As his authority he refers to the Naemsenchas, 
Leabhar Breac. The Bollandists, relying on Shearman, have adopted 
this pedigree. But the Naemsenchas in the Leabhar Breac gives 
no such pedigree, which seems to have been entirely drawn out of Mr, 
Shearman's imagination. Nor does Duald MacFirbiss, in his great 
work on genealogies, the Leabhar Genealach, give any countenance 
to this derivation of Brychan. It must be dismissed into the limbo 
of fantastic pedigrees. 

The conjecture of Mr. Vaughan is unsupported by Irish authorities. 
The pedigree was as follows : 

(lolo MSS., pp. 118, 140 ; Myv. Arch., p. 418) ; Aflech Goronawg (lolo MSS., 
p. 78) ; Enllech Goronawc (ibid., p. in) ; Afallach ap Corinwc (Peniarth MS. 
132) ; Enllech ab Hydwn (lolo MSS., p. 109) ; Anlach, son of Urbf (Vita 5. 

1 Vol. x, p. 86. 

S. Brychan 


Eochaidh Muighmedhuin = Mongfinn and Carina (a Saxon). 

358-378 (or 356-365). 

ian (by .U). 

Niall of the Nine 
Hostages (by C.), 

Oiliol Fiachra 

(byM.). (byM.). 

Duach Teanghamba, 
Kini; of Connaught ; 
d. 504. 


Dathi, 1 

Amalgaidh, King of 
Connaught, 438-449. 


47" 503- 

Cairbro. Amalghaid. Maine. 

Cormac Caoch. 

Conall Cremthan, 
d. 475. 


Enna. Conall Gul- 
ban, d. 464. 

Eochaid, d. 

Tuathal Maolgarbh, 533-544- Dermot, 544-558. 


Murtogh MacErca, 503-527. 

Duald MacFirbiss says, in his Leabhar Genealach, 2 " Cairbre, son 
of Xiall, left ten sons : Cormac Caoch (the blind). . . . This Cormac 
Caoch had two sons, viz. Ainmire and Tuathal Maolgarbh, king of 

The first of the proposed identifications is the most satisfactory. 
Mardiell crossed from Porthmawr to Leinster ; and it is precisely in 
Leinster that several of the children of Brychan have left their names 
as founders. 

That a migration should take place from Ulster or from Connaught 
to South Wales is improbable. The set from Ulster was to Alba, and 
in Connaught the Milesians obtained as much land as they required, 
x terminating or expelling the native Tuatha De Danann. 

The name of Brychan, or Braccan, is somewhat suspicious, signifying 
the " Speckled " or " Tartan-clothed" ; and it looks much as though 
he to whom it was applied was an eponym for that clan of the Irish 
Goidcls who certainly did invade and occupy Carmarthen, Pembroke, 
and Brecknock. We know that these invasions and colonisations 
were frequent, and that for a time Britain was subject to the Irish 
Goidels, and obliged to pay tax to them. It was after the reign of 
Dathi, who died in 428, that the Irish hold upon Britain came to an 
end, or was gradually relaxed. 

Rees conjectured 3 that Brychan's father was captain of one of these 
Irish invading bands, a supposition that is supported by a passage in 
the lolo MSS.,* wherein three invasions (gormesiori) of Wales by the 

1 Dathi was father of Oiliol Molt, 459-478. * P. 167. 

3 Welsh Saints, p. 112. 4 P. 78. 


' oi 

308 Lives of the British Saints 

Irish are mentioned, one of which " was that of Aflech Goronawg, 
who took possession of Garth Mathrin by invasion ; but, having 
married Marchell, the daughter of Tewdrig, king of that country/he 
won the good will of the inhabitants, afld obtained it as his dominion 
in virtue of the marriage ; and there his tribe still remains, intermixed 
with the Welsh." 

Garthmadryn, according to the lolo MSS., 1 had at one time been 
part of the district called Morganwg, but was severed in Brychan's 
time. His grandfather, " Tewdrig the Blessed," is there descri 
as being " King of Morganwg, Gwent, and Garthmadryn." 2 

Old Brycheiniog was commensurate with the present county 
Brecknock, less the Hundred of Buallt or Builth. 3 The name Garth- 
madryn gave way to one derived from its new regulus, who was called 
Brychan Brycheiniog, with which compare Rhufon Rhufoniog and 
other similar formations. In the Book of Llan Ddv the district is called 
regio Brachani, and the people Brachanii.^ 

The Goidel invasion came probably from one of the harbours of 
Pembrokeshire or Carmarthenshire, and the Irish made their way up 
the valley of the Towy. Perhaps to them may be attributed the 
stone camp at Garn Goch, on an isolated rock commanding the river. 
Beneath it lies Llys Brychan. Then, pushing up to Llandovery, where 
the old Roman town of Loventium lay in ruins, they struck the Roman 
paved road, the Via Julia, that led over the pass of Mynydd 
Myddfai, above the River Gwydderig, to the Roman camp of the 
Pigwn ; and so tramping on upon the road straight as a bow- 
line, looked down on the broad, richly-wooded basin of the Usk. 
Crossing the little stream Nant Bran, they halted in the walled city of 
Baimium, with its stone gateways still standing, among the ruins of 
Roman villas and baths, and made that their headquarters. Here it 
was that Brychan was born ; and a little further down the Usk, 
at Llanspyddid, before the doorway of the church, Anlach was 

These Irish invaders had entered on a fair land, well watered, the 
rocks of old red sandstone, crumbling down into the richest soil con- 
ceivable ; and here they were well content to settle, and to bring into 

1 P. in. 2 P. 118 ;~cf . pp. 140, 147. These statements cannot be accepted. 

3 In the beginning of the ninth century, Buallt and Gwrtheyrnion (in modern 
Radnorshire) formed a kingdom by themselves (see Owen's Pembrokeshire, i, 
p. 203). 

4 Pp. 219, 256. In a Bonedd y Saint (which contains a list of his children) in 
the late eighteenth-century MS. known as Y Piser Hir, pp. 294-296, in the 
Swansea Public Library, Brychan, we are told, was " Lord of Brecknock, Earl 
of Chester, and Baron of Stafford ! " 

S. Brychan 309 

subjection the natives, who probably offered little resistance. To 
tlu- South shot up the purple Brecknock Beacons ; away to the East 
tin- range of the Black Mountains, abruptly dying down, and forming 
a mighty portal through which, many centuries later, the Normans 
would pour and make Brecon their own. 

To the North were only wooded hills, stretching away to the Epynt 
ran^e : a fair enclosed land, some twelve miles across, a happy valley 
as that of Rasselas, to all appearance, but one to be battled for from 
itineration to generation : so rich, so lovely, that it was coveted by all 
who looked upon it. 

That Anlach was a Christian we must suppose, but of a rude quality. 
His wife was one, certainly, and his son Brychan was brought up in the 
Christian faith. 

Within the walls of Bannium, now Y Gaer, on a hot summer, the 
grass burns up over the foundations of a villa, and reveals the plan, 
with atrium and semi-circular tablinum opening out of it, and chambers 
to which access was obtained from the atrium. It was the most 
notable building in Bannium perhaps in the fifth century not wholly 
ruinous. And in it Anlach may well have dwelt ; and in one of those 
chambers now under the sod, Brychan, who was to give his name to 
all that country, may well also have been born. 

Of the life of Brychan we know nothing, save only what has been 
already related : how he was instructed by the Christian sage Drichan, 
and how he was sent hostage to the King of Powys. 

The following represent the principal printed Welsh lists of Brychan's 
children. There are, needless to say, more still in various MSS. 

1. The Cugnatio of Cott. Vesp. A. xiv (early thirteenth century) : eleven sons 

and twenty-five daughters. 

2. The Cognatio of Cott. Dom. i (circa 1650) : thirteen sons and twenty - 

four daughters. 

3. Jesus College, Oxford, MS. 20, known as Llyfr Llywelyn Offeiriad (first 

half of the fifteenth century) : eleven sons and twenty-four daughters . 

4. The Achaii compiled by Lewis Dwnn, a Welsh herald, temp. Queen Eliza- 

beth, printed in the Heraldic Visitations of Wales, vol. ii, p. 14, 1846, 
edited by Sir S. R. Meyrick : fourteen sons and twenty-two daughters. 
'/v, vnYm Archaiology, p. 419, from an Anglesey MS. written in 1579 : 
twenty-three sons and twenty-five daughters. 

6. lolo MSS., p. in, from a Coychurch MS., compiled or transcribed by 

Thomas ab If an, circa 1670 : twenty-four sons and twenty-six 

7. Iln MSS., pp. 119-121, from another Coychurch MS., by the same : 

twenty-five sons and twenty-six daughters. 

*. lolo MSS., p. 140, from a Cardiff MS. : twenty-five sons and twenty- 
eight daughters. 

9- Cambro-British Saints, pp. 270-1, from Harleian MS. 4181, early eight- 
eenth century : two sons and twenty daughters. 

3 i o Lives of the British Saints 

To these must be added : 

10. The list given by Nicolas Roscarrock, the friend of Camden, in his MS. 
Lives of the Saints, now in the University Library, Cambridge. He 
was assisted by Edward Powell, a Welsh priest, who had in his 
possession a number of Welsh pedigrees and calendars. Thirty- 
two sons and thirty-one daughters sixty-three in all the most 
liberal allowance given him, we believe, in any list extant. 

i. The list in the tract on " the Mothers of the Saints " in Ireland, attributed 
to Oengus the Culdee : twelve sons in all. 

12. The list given by William of Worcester : twenty-four children. 

13. The list given by Leland : also twenty-four children. 

Giraldus Cambrensis, who speaks of Brychan as " a powerful and 
noble personage," says that " the British histories testified that he 
had four-and- twenty daughters, all of whom, dedicated from their 
youth to religious observances, happily ended their lives in sanctity." 1 
No doubt Fuller had this passage before him when he wrote, in his 
Worthies, of Brychan : 

" This King had four-and-twenty daughters, a jolly number ; and 
all of them saints, a greater happiness." 2 He had, of course, 
other conception of saintship than that of the Latin Church. 

Caw, the founder of one of the Three Saintly Tribes, is also credit 
with having been the father of a numerous family twenty-six sons and 
five daughters ; but some of his sons followed a warlike life. Clechre 
or Clether, mentioned in the Life of S. Brynach, had 20 sons. But 
Welsh law, even down to the I3th century, made no distinction 
between children born in and out of wedlock. 

The following is an alphabetical list of Brychan's children, as given 
in the Cognatio of Cott. Vesp. A. xiv, by much our earliest authority, 
with identifications from the later lists : 

Sons : 

1. Arthen. 

2. Berwin (Berwyn, Gerwyn). 

3. Clytguin (Cledwyn). , 

4. Chybliuer (Cyflefyr or Cyflewyr) ; son of Dingad in the Jesus MS. 

5. Kynauc (Cynog). 

6. Kynon (Cynon) ; son of Arthen in Cogn. Dom. 

7. Dynigat (Dingad). 

8. Papay (Pabiali). 

9. Paschen (Pasgen) ; son of Dingad in Cogn. Dom. and the Jesus MS. 
10. Rein (Rhun or Rhun Dremrudd). 

n. Rydoch or ludoc (Cadog). 

Married Daughters . 

1. Aranwen (Arianwen), wife of lorwerth Hirflawdd, king of Powys. 

2. Kehingayr (Rhiengar), mother of S. Cynidr. 

1 Itin. Kamb., bk. i, ch. ii. 

2 Vol. iii, p. 514, ed. 1840. 

S. Brychan 311 

3. Gladis (Gwladus), wife of Gwynllyw Filwr, and mother of S. Catwg or 


4. Guaur (Gwawr), wife of Elidr Lydanwyn, and mother of Llywarch Hen. 

5. Gurycon Godheu (Gwrgon), wife of Cadrod Calchfynydd. 

6. Hunyd (Nefydd), wife of Tudwal Befr. 

7. Luan (Lleian), wife of Gafran, and mother of Aidan or Aeddan Fradog. 

8. Marchel (Mechell), wife of Gwrin Farfdrwch of Meirionydd. 

<>. Meleri (Eleri), wife of Ceredig, and grandmother of S. David. 
ic. Nyuein (Nefyn), wife of Cynfarch Gul, and mother of Urien Rheged. 

1 1 . Tutglid (in quite the later lists Tudful and Tangwystl are confounded with 

her), wife of Cyngen, and mother of Brochwel Ysgythrog. 
Daughters not mentioned as married : 

12. Belyau (possibly Felis of the Jesus MS., and Tydieu of the other lists). 

13. Bethan (unidentified). 

14. Ki-in (Ceinwen). 

15. Keneython (Cynheiddon). 

1 6. Kerdych (Ceindrych). 

17. Clydei (Clydai). 

1 8. Duyn (Dwynwen). 

19. Eiliueth (Eluned). 

20. Goleu (Goleuddydd). 

21. Guen (Gwen). 

22. Ilud (the Llud of the Jesus MS.). 

23. Tibyei (Tybie). 

24. Tudeuel (Tudfil). 

25. Tudhistil (Tangwystl, otherwise called Tanglwst). 

We now give them as they occur in the various later lists : 
Sons : 

1. Artlun. Attlien in the Jesus MS. 

2. Cadog. He is the Rydoch or ludoc in Cogn. Vesp. ; Ridoc in Cogn. 

Dom. ; Reidoc in the Jesus MS. ; Radoc in the Achau (No. 4). 

3. Cai. 

4. Cledwyn or Clydwyn. 

5. Clydog or Cledog. The son of Clydwyn according to the Cognatio. 

6. Cyflefyr or Cyflewyr. 

7. Cynbryd. 

8. Cynfran. 

9. Cynin. No doubt Cunin Cof, the son of Brychan's daughter Hunyd 

(Nefydd), by Tudwal Befr. 

10. Cynog. By Banadlined, daughter of a King of Powys. 

11. Cynon, in the Jesus MS. Cogn. Vesp. has " Kynon qui sanctus est in 

occidental! parte predicte Mannie " ; Cogn. Dom., " Run ipse sanc- 
tus ycallet (sic) in Manan " ; the Jesus MS., " Runan yssyd yny 
(lie) a elwir Manaw." 

12. Dingad. 

13. Dogfan, Dogwan, or Doewan. 

14. Dyfnan. Probably the Dustnon of Achau. 

15. Dyfrig. By Eurbrawst (lolo MSS., p. 119). He must not be taken for 

the well-known Dubricius or Dyfrig, who as we know from his Vita 
was the son of Efrddyl, daughter of Pepiau, king of Erging, but his 
father's name is not mentioned. 

1 6. Gerwyn or Berwyn. 

17. Hychan. 

18. Llecheu. 

312 Lives of the British Saints 

19. Mathaiarn. Marthaerun in Cogn. Dom. ; Marcharairjun or Marcharan- 

hun in the Jesus MS. ; and Matheyrn in Achau. 

20. Nefydd. 

21. Neffei. Possibly the Dedyu or Dettu given in the Cognatio as son of 

Clydwyn. In lolo MSS., p. 119, he is said to have been a son by 
Proistri, his Spanish wife. 

22. Pabiali. Papai in the Jesus MS. Son by Proistri (lolo MSS., p. 119). 

23. Pasgen. Son probably by Proistri (lolo MSS., p. 119). 

24. Rhaint or Rhain. 

25. Rhawin. 

26. Rhun or Rhun Dremrudd. Drem Dremrud hi the Jesus MS. ; Rlievn 

in Achau. Succeeded his father as king, according to Cogn. Dom. 

27. Syredigon. In Achau only. 

28. a Valath (sic). In Achau only. 
Daughters : 

1. Anna. lolo MSS., p. 140, only. 

2. Arianwen. The Wrgrgen of the Jesus MS. is a misscript for this saint's 


3. Bechan. Cogn. Dom. ; the Bethan of Cogn. Vesp. ; in none of the other 


4. Ceindrych. Kerdech in Cogn. Dom. and the Jesus MS. 

5. Ceinwen. 

6. Cenedlon. 

7. Clydai. 

8. Cymorth or Corth. 

9. Cyneiddon. Only in Cogn. Dom. as Koneidon, and the Jesus MS. as 


10. Dwynwen. 

11. Eiliwedd, Eluned, or Elyned. As Eliweet in Achau. The Almedha of 

Giraldus Cambrensis, but a misreading. 

12. Eleri (properly Meleri, unrubricated) . Meleri in Cogn. Dom. and the 

Jesus MS. ; Elen in Achau. Daughter by Eurbrawst (Lewis Dwnn, 
ii, p. 64). 

13. Enfail. Of Merthyr Enfail. Her name has probably been evolved out 

of the Merthir Euineil of Cogn. Vesp., a misscript for Tutuul, i.e., 
the Tudful of Merthyr Tydfil. 

14. Goleu. Only in Cogn. Dom. as Gloyv, and Achau as Gole. The same 

as Goleuddydd. 

15. Goleuddydd. 

1 6. Gwawr. 

17. Gwawrddydd. 

1 8. Gwen. 

19. Gwenan. 

20. Gwenddydd. 

21. Gwenfrewi. Only in lolo MSS., p. 140, and Achau. 

22. Gwenlliw. 

23. Gwladus. 

24. Gwrgon. Grucon Guedu in Cogn. Dom., and Grugon in the Jesus MS. 

25. Hawystl. 

26. Lleian. 

27. Lludd. In the Jesus MS. only. 

28. Mechell. As Marchell in Cogn. Dom., the Jesus MS., and Achan. 

29. Mwynen. 

30. Nefydd. In Myv. Arch., p. 419 ; Hunyd in Cogn. Vesp. ; Nunidis in 

Cogn. Dom. ; Goleuddydd in the Jesus MS. 

31. Nefyn. The Nyuen of Cogn. Dom. 

S. Brychan 313 

32. Kliicii^iii or Khini-aii. Keyngair in Cogn. Dom., Kingar in the Jesus 

MS., and Kyngar in Achau. 
I'anglwst or Tangwystl. Taghwystyl in the Jesus MS. ; probably the 

Tutbistyl of Cogn. Dom. 

J4. Tudfyl. The Tuglit of Cogn. Dom., and Gutuyl of the Jesus MS. 

yln'ru or Tybi'e. 
37. 'I'ydieu or Tydm. 

Nicholas Roscarrock, in his MS. Lives of the Saints, on the authority 
<>t MSS. possessed by Edward Powell, priest, gives another list as 

follows : 


1 . ( Vnawcus, Martyr. The Cynog of the Cognatio. 

2. Clndwin, and (3) Cledwin, " whoe conquered South Wales, and had a 

great saint to his son, named Clydocus." He duplicates Cledwyn, 
the Clytguin of Cogn. Yesp. 

4. Citliver. The ('hyl)liuer or Cyflewyr of the other lists. 

5. Berwin. This is Berwyn or Gerwyn, the son of Brynach Wyddel and 

grandson of Brychan. 

6. Maethiarn. Occurs in Cogn. Dom. A saint of Cardiganshire. 

7. Cinan. The Cynon of Cogn. Vesp., and son of Arthen in Cogn. Dom. 
S. Kembrit. The Cynbryd of the later lists. A martyr at Bwlch Cynbryd, 

. Cimfram. In the later lists Cynfran, founder of Llysfaen, Denbighshire. 

10. Hichan. In the later lists. The saint of Llanychan in the Vale of Clwyd. 

11. Dittrig. In the later lists. 

\2. Cain, a Martyr. This is the Cai of the lolo MSS. pedigrees. 

i.v Allecheu. The Llecheu of the later lists. Of Llanllecheu in Ewyas. 

14. Dingad. Cogn. Vesp. He was father of Pasgen according to Cogn. Dom. 

15. Cadocus, the Rydoch of Cogn. Vesp. 

16. Rawn or Rohun. The Rein of Cogn. Vesp., otherwise called Rhun Drem- 

rudd. Succeeded his father as king. See also 25. 

17. Arthen. Cogn. Vesp. Father of Cynon. 

18. Difnan. In the later lists. Founder of Llanddyfnan in Anglesey. 
H). Aiu\vi. Possibly Neffei. 

20. Paball. In Cogn. Vesp. and Dom. Papay ; in the later lists Pabiali. 

21. Ridorch, and (22) Rodorch, the same duplicated, the Rydoch of Cogn. 


23. Caradocus. This is Caradog Freichfras, great-grandson of Brychan, by 

his granddaughter Gwen of Talgarth. 

24. Helim, the Helye or Helic of Leland and William of Worcester. 

25. Run. The same as Rawn, No. 16. 

26. Japan. Not recorded elsewhere. 

27. Doguan. The Dogfan of the later lists. A martyr at Merthyr Dogfan, 

in Pembrokeshire ; founder of Llanrhaiadr ym Mochnant. 
Aunllach. A mistake of Roscarrock, who has inserted the father of 
Brychan among his sons. 

29. Lhoiau. Possibly the Llecheu of the later lists. 

30. Pashen. Paschen in Cogn. Vesp. Son of Dingad, according to Cogn. 


31. Idia. Not found elsewhere. 

3J. Io. The lona or loannes of Leland and William of Worcester. 

314 Lives of the British Saints 

Daughters : 

1. Gladus, i.e. Gwladys, in all lists. Wife of Gwynllyw and mother of Catwg. 

2. Gwawr. In all lists. Wife of Elicit Lyclanwyn and mother of Llywarch 


3. Eleri. The Meleri of Cogn., but Eleri in later lists ; wife of Ceredig. 

4. Arianwen. In all lists. 

5. Triduael. The Tudeuel of Cogn. Vesp. Martyr at Merthyr Tydlil. 

6. Winifred, " called in some coppies Gurgon." The Gwenfrewi of one list of 

Brychan's daughters, in which Gwrgon also occurs (lolo MSS., p. 140). 

7. Cindreth, " of some Mechel," i.e. Marchell or Mechell, wife of Gwrin 

Farfdrwch (Cogn.. Vesp.). Her name, however, matches Ceindrych 
of the later lists. 

8. Newin, i.e. Nyuein or Nefyn, wife of Cynfarch Gul, and mother of Urien 


9. Neuidh, the Hunyd or Nunidis of Cogn., wife of Tudwal Befr, and mothe 

of Cynin. 

10. Gleian, i.e. Luan or Lleian, wife of Gafran, and mother of Aeddan Fradog. 

11. Macella. See 7. 

12. Roscarrock omits this name ; was probably unable to read it. 

13. Gweadhydh, " in some coppies Gwawardhydh, the mother of Kenedir." 

The Gwenddydd of the later list. The mother of Cyndir was Cein- 
gair (Rhiengar). 

14. Goliudhed. The Goleu or Goleuddydd of the other lists. 

15. MekLada, " mother of Cinfinn," not identified. 

1 6. Keingir, " mother of St. Kenedar." The Ceingair (Rhiengar) of 

other lists. 

17. Gwen, " mother of Sannan, the wife of Malgo Venedoticus." Gwen 

Talgarth was granddaughter of Brychan, and wife of Llyr Me 
Cogn. Vesp. gives Sanan as daughter of Tudglid, wife of Cyngen. 

1 8. Cenelin. The Cyneiddon or Cenedlon of the lists. 

19. Clodfaith, probably Clydai. Clotfaith occurs once in the Welsh list 

(Myv. Arch., p. 426), where she is confused with Gwen of Talgarth. 

20. Hawistle, and (30) Hudwistle, reduplications of Hawystl or Tangwystl 

and Tutbistyl (Cogn. Dom.). 

21. Towen. A blunder for Gwen. 

22. Tibies, i.e. Tybieu. Martyr at Llandebie. 

23. Enuael. The Enfail of the later lists. Probably a mistake for Tudful 


24. Elinedh, " whom Giraldus calleth Almedha." 

25. Elida, the Ilud of Cogn. Vesp. and Llud of the Jesus MS. She is called 

Juliana by Leland and William of Worcester. 

26. Tideu. The Tydeu or Tydieu of the later lists. 

27. Diganwen, and (28) Dwinwen, " July 13," are Dwynwen. January 25th 

is Festival of S. Dwynwen; July I3th, of S. Dogfan or Doewan. 

29. Conoin, no other than Ceinwen, or Cain, the celebrated S. Keyne. 

30. See 20. 

31. Malken. Probably Mechell or Marchell. 

There is a Life of S. Ninnocha, or Gwengastle, a saint of 
Brittany, contained in the Cartulary of Quimperle, that states she was 
a daughter of Brychan, and that her mother's name was Meneduc : 

Quidam vir nobilis fuit in Combronensia regione, Brochan nomine, ex genere 
Gurthierni, rex honorabilis valde in totam Britanniam . . . Ipse Brochanus 
accepit uxorem ex genere Scottorum, , liliam Constantini'regis, ex stirpe Julian! 
Caesaris, Meneduc nomine. 

S. Brychan 315 

The Life was written in 1130, and is of little value. It teems 
with blunders. The regio Combronensia is probably Cambria, and 
not Cumbria or Cumberland, as Mr. Egerton Phillimore supposes. 1 
The Gurthiern to whom Brochan is akin is described in the Life 
of that saint, in the same Cartulary, as son of Bonus, son of Glou 
(Glywys), and traced back to Outham (Eudaf ?), son of Maximus 
(Macsen Wledig). 

The wife from the Scots, or Irish, is a daughter of Constantine. 
The writer of the Life lived in trie twelfth century, when it was 
forgotten that Scot signified Irish : and, as he knew that there had 
been a Constantine of Scotland, he made Brychan marry a daughter 
of the King of Alba of that name. In the Life, S. Patrick sends 
Germanus to the court of Brochan, but he is also visited by S. Columcille 
from Hy. The Germanus who did go to Wales died Bishop of Man 
in 474 (not he of Auxerre, who died 448), and S. Columcille in 598. 
Brychan can hardly have lived later than 500 ; consequently, we have 
here a pretty confusion. Brychan's wife Meneduc, and his daughter 
Gwengastle, or Xinnocha, are unknown to the Welsh. 

These various lists by no means exhaust the number of children 
attributed to Brychan by the Welsh ; e.g. in the Demetian Calendar 2 
four more are mentioned : two sons, Gwynan and Gwynws ; and two 
daughters, Call wen and Gwenfyl. 3 

Brychan is said to have had three wives. In Cogn. Vesp. their names 
are given as Prawst, 4 Rhibrawst, and Proistri ; and in Cogn. Dom. 
as Eurbrawst, Rhybrawst, and Proestri. The last-named is elsewhere 
given as Peresgri and Prosori. 5 It is stated in the lolo MSS. 9 
that Rhybrawst, his first wife, was his cousin, being the daughter of 
Meurig ab Tewdrig. Eurbrawst was " a daughter of a prince of 
Cornwall " by "an emperor of Rome." 7 Proistri, his third wife, 
was a Spaniard. 8 

According to Welsh hagiology, Brychan's family forms one of the 
Three Saintly Tribes of Britain, the other two being those of Cunedda 

1 Y Cymmrodor, xi, p. 100. 

2 Denoted S. 

1 Among other names and forms occurring in Peniarth MSS. 74, 75, and 178, 
the following : Sons Avallach, Kaian, Kain, Heilin, Lloyan, Llonio, Pabal, 
derch ; Daughters Keindec, Clodfaith, Goleuvedd, Gwenllian, Tudwystl. 

the Calendars vn. Peniarth MSS. 187 and 2 19 and Llyfr Plygain of 1618, against 
ember i, we have another daughter, Gwenrhiw. 

1 Another Prawst was wife of Einion Yrth, the son of Cunedda. Another 
pound, Onbrawst, occurs. 

6 Myv. Arch., p. 418 ; lolo MSS., pp. 118, 119. 

P. 147 ; on p. 119 she is said to have been Eurbrawst. 

7 Dwnn, Heraldic Visitations, ii, p. 64. 
lolo MSS., p. 119. 

3 1 6 Lives of the British Saints 

and Caw. The most powerful and influential of the three was Cu- 
nedda's, and Brychan's next. His was the most Goidelic. One of the 
Triads credits him with having " given his children and grandchildren 
a liberal education, so that they might be able to show the Faith in 
Christ to the Nation of the Welsh, wherever they were without the 
Faith." x This Triad has been adduced to show how the names of 
some of the grandchildren have crept into the lists. " The sons of 
Brychan were Saints in the Corau of Garmon and Illtyd ; and they 
afterwards formed a Cor with Bishop Dyfrig in the Wig on the Wye," '' 
that is, Hentland, in Herefordshire, the foundation of which is ascribed 
to Brychan. 3 Brynach the Goidel, who married his daughter Cymorth, 
or Corth, is said to have come over with him to this Island, and to 
have been his confessor (periglawr) . 4 

Welsh tradition does not strictly confine Brychan's children to Wales. 
We are told that Neffei, Pabiali, and Pasgen, his sons by his Spanisl 
wife, went to Spain. Cadog was buried in France, and Dyfnan in 
Ireland. Berwyn, or Gerwyn, founded a church in Cornwall. Nefydd 
was a bishop in the North ; and Cynon went to Manaw. 

Mr. Copeland Borlase is too sweeping when he says that the children 
of Brychan were merely natives of the country over which Brychan 
once ruled, and that they might be regarded in much the same way 
when we speak of the Children of Israel ; 5 and we believe the Cognati 
de Brychan to be too early and trustworthy a document to enabk 
us to quite dismiss the whole family as a " mythical progeny." 
Dray ton, whilst not denying the existence of twenty-four daughters to 
Brychan, says that they all underwent metamorphosis by becoming 
so many rivers. He is very probably incorporating some tradition, 
now lost. He says : 

For Brecan was a Prince once fortunate and great 

(Who, dying, lent his name to that his nobler seat) 

With twice twelue daughters blest, by one and onely wife : 

Who for their beauties rare, and sanctitie of life, 

To Riuers were transform 'd ; whose pureness doth declare 

How excellent they were, by beeing what they are : 

Who dying virgins all, and Riuers now by Fate, 

To tell their former loue to the vnmaried state, 

To Seuerne shape their course, which now their forme doth beare ; 

Ere shee was made a flood, a virgine as they were, 

And from the Irish seas with feare they still doe flie : 

So much they yet delight in mayden companie. 7 

1 Myv. Arch., p. 402. z lolo MSS., p. 120. 

3 Ibid., p. 121. 4 Ibid., pp. 121, 140. 

5 Age of the Saints, p. 147. 

6 Prof. Hugh Williams, Gildas, p. 27. 

T Polyolbion, Second Part, p. 57, ed. 1622. 

S. Brychan 317 

It cannot be believed that the reputed children of Brychan were 
all really his. Welsh hagiology, as in the case of Cunedda and Caw, 
designates them his gwelygordd, a term which, in the Welsh Laws, 
means a tribe derived from one common ancestor ; and in the Welsh 
Tribal System, the gwely was the family-group, embracing sons, grand- 
sons, and great-grandsons. Some of those reputed to be sons of 
Brychan are known to have been grandchildren ; and allowance must 
also be made for duplications, of which there are clearly some, as also 
for blunders on the part of copyists. This will considerably reduce the 
number of his progeny, as they appear in, especially, the later lists. 

In any enumeration, however, of the children of Brychan, it must be 
borne in mind that there were several persons of the name known to 
Celtic hagiology. A King Brychan, with many children, who all, 
or nearly all, became saints, figures in Cornish, Breton, and Irish, as 
well as Welsh, hagiology. Mr. Egerton Phillimore has endeavoured 
to show 1 that the best authenticated children in the Welsh lists are 
pretty clearly the children of at least two distinct Brychans : one 
belonging to Breconshire, the other to what is now Southern Scotland. 
The Breton Brychan he traces to Scotland, 2 and thinks that he admits 
of being plausibly identified with one of the Brychans who together 
made up the composite Brychan of Welsh hagiology. The names of 
most of his children are not preserved ; but Mr. Phillimore assigns 
to him the children who are in the Cognatio said to be connected 
with Cumbria or its neighbourhood. These are (i) his sons Cynon, 
Khun, and Arthen, and his daughter Bethan, or Bechan, all said 
to be commemorated or buried in Mannia or Manaw (no doubt Manaw 
Gododin, stretching all along both sides of the Forth below Stirling) ; 
and (2) his four daughters who are said to have married Northern 
princes, viz. Gwrygon, Gwawr, Nyfain, and Lluan. The statement 
respecting Brychan *s burial, he thinks, must needs also refer to a 
Northern, not to a strictly Welsh, Brychan. To this it might be added 
that there is some evidence of a Brycheiniog also in, apparently, 
Southern Scotland. 3 

The tract on the " Mothers of the Saints " in Ireland, attributed 
to Oengus the Culdee, but actually by MacFirbiss, says of Cynog, 
whom it calls Canoe : " Dina was his mother, daughter of a 

1 y Cymmrodor, xi, pp. 100, 101, 125. The Brychan ab Gwyngon 
mentioned in the note in Cambro-British Saints, p. 606, is a misreading for 
Bricon, son of Guincon (Book of Llan Ddv, p. 203). 

2 The only authority for this is the Vita Stce. Ninnochce ; but it does not state 
this, and is a most unreliable document. See what has already been said thereon. 

3 Skene, Four Ancient Books, ii, p. 150. 


? / '2. ul^ J *-v^~> 

318 Lives of the British Saints 

Saxon king. She was the mother of ten sons by Bracan, king 
of Britain, son of Bracha Meoc : to wit, S. Mogoroc of Struthuir ; 
S. Mochonoc the Pilgrim of Cill-Mucraisse and of Gelinnia, in the 
region of Delbhna Eathra ; Dirad of Edardruim ; Duban of Rinn- 
dubhain alithir ; Carennia of Cill-Chairinne ; Cairpre the Pilgrim of 
Cill-Cairpre, Isiol Farannan ; lust in Slemnach Albania? ; Elloc of 
Cill-Moelloc juxta Loch Garman ; Pianus of Cill-Phian in Ossory ; 
Coeman the Pilgrim in Cill-Coemain in regione Gesille and elsewhere. 
And she was also the mother of Mobeoc of Gleann Geirf ; for he also 
was the son of Brachan, son of Bracha Meoc." 3 

We will now give the list of the sons and daughters of Brychan who 
were reputed to have settled in East Cornwall. 

William of Worcester, in 1478, visited Cornwall, and extracted th 
following from the Acts of S. Nectan, in a MS. he saw on S. 
Michael's Mount. It has been printed by Nasmith, but not correctly. 
We have been able to collate it with the original MS. preserved in 
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and we give the revised extract : 

Brokanus in partibus Walliarum regulus, fide et morum &c. per Gladewysam 
uxorem ejus genuit 24 filios et filias, et hiis nominibus vocabantur : (i) Nectanus, 
(2) Johannes, (3) Endelient, (4) Menefrede, (5) Delyan, (6) Tetha, (7) Maben, 
Wentu, (9) Wensent, (10) Marwenna, (n) Wenna, (12) Juliana, (13) Yse, (\t 
Morwenna, (15) Wynip, (16) Wenheder, (17) Cleder, (18) Kery, (19) Jona, (: 
Helye, (21) Canauc, (22) Kenheuder, (23) Adwen, (24) Tanclanc. Omnes 
filii et filiae postea fuerunt Sancti et Martires vel Confessores, et in Devonia, v< 
Cornubia, heremeticam vitam ducentes ; sicut enim inter omnes quorum vit 
meritis et virtutum miraculis Cornubiensis vel Devoniensis irradiatur ecclesu 
beatus Nectanus primo genitus fuit, ita caeteris omnibus honestate vitae maj 
fuit, et prodigiorum choruscitate excellentior extitit. 

Fuit in ultimis Walliarum partibis vir dignitate regulus, fide et morum hones- 
tate praeclarus, nomine Brokannus, a quo provincia ipsa nomen sortita nuncu- 
patur Brokannok usque in praesentem diem ; hie itaque Brokannus, antequam 
ex uxore sua Gladewysa filium vel filiam genuisset, in Hiberniam profectus est, 
uxorem suam et omnia sua relinquens ; timuerat enim ne si cum uxore sua 
remaneret, generacionem ex ea procrearet, qua impediretur ne libere Domino- 
servire potuisset. Mansit igitur in Hibernia 24 annis, bonis operibus intendens ; 
postea autem visitare patriam suam volens, rediit in Walliam, ubi uxorem 


1 Colgan, Ada SS. Hib., i, p. 311. Of these the Martyrology of Donegal 
gives " Dubhan, son of Brachan, King of Britain, by Din, daughter of the King 
of Saxon-land," and " Moghorog, son of Brachan, king of Britain, son of Bra- 
chaineoc by Dina, who was also mother of nine other saints." Shearman got 
his Brachaineoc from this. But the martyrologist misunderstood the title 
Brychan Brycheiniog for Brychan, son of Brycheiniog, instead of Prince of 
that territory. 

2 William of Worcester wrote a most atrocious hand, and scribbled in hi* 
note-book as he saw anything that struck him. He probably intended to have 
made a fair copy, but never did this. Nicolas Roscarrock had a transcript sent 
him from the MS. of such portions as concerned the Cornish Saints, and we are 
able to check off our reading of the names by the reading sent to him. 



S. Brychan 319 

suam ad hue viventem invenit. Post aliquantulum autem tcmporis sicut Deus 
preordinaverat, licet ipse homo non proposuisset, uxorem suam cognovit, ex 
qua postea 24 filios et filias genuit. Videns Dei virtutem cui nemo resistere 
potest, ait, " Jam Deus in me vindicavit quod contra disposicionem volun- 
tatis rjus venire frustra disposui ; quia enim 24 annis ab uxore mea ne sobolem 
procrcarcm illicite effugi, dedit mihi pro quolibet anno illicitac continent!* 
sobolem imam quia jam 24 filios et filias post 24 annos ab eadem uxore suscepi." 
Pradicti autem 24 filii et filiae, quos praedictus Brokanus ex uxore sua Gladewysa 
gen u it his nominibus vocabantur, Xectanus et ca?tera. 

(iwladys was not the name of any wife ascribed to Brychan in the 
Welsh accounts, but she was his daughter, and one of his most eminent. 
She became the wife of Gwynllyw Filwr, and mother of St. Catwg. 
The account given by William of Worcester supplies an omission in 
the Welsh Cognatio. It shows us that Brychan did visit Ireland, 
though probably for a very different reason from that assigned by the 
monkish writer. He went either to assert his rights in Ireland, or to 
collect more Irishmen to surround him, and to extend his kingdom in 

Leland, in his Collectanea (iv, p. 153), gives a list of the children 
of Brychan from a legend of S. Nectan, which he found at Hartland. 
His list is this : (i) Nectan, (2) Joannes, (3) Endelient, (4) Menfre, 
(5) Dilic, (6) Tedda, (7) Maben, (8) Weneu, (9) Wensent, (10) Mere- 
wenna, (n) Wenna, (12) Juliana, (13) Yse, (14) Morwenna, (15) Wymp, 
(16) \Venheder, (17) Cleder, (18) Keri, (19) Jona, (20) Kanauc, (21) 
Kcrl lender (Kenheuder), (22) Adwen, (23) Helic, (24) Tamlanc. 

\\V will now concern ourselves only with those children or grand- 
children of Brychan who are named in the lists of William of Worcester 
and Leland, both of which we have quoted. 

\\V will take the latter list as our basis : 

1. Nectan is the Saint of Hartland. He is not included in the Welsh lists. 

2. Joannes and (19) Jona are clearly the same. This is the Ive of S. Ive ; 

his settlement there is in connection with those of his cousins, S. 
Cleer, substituted for Clether, and S. Keyne. 

3. Endelient. This is misprinted or miswritten by Nasmith in his William 

of Worcester list as Sudbrent. She is Cenedlon in the Welsh lists. 
Her foundation is St. Endelion. 

4. Menfre or Menefrida, the foundress of S. Minver, may be Mwynen, the 

daughter of Brynach the Goidel, and Cymorth or Corth, the 
daughter of Brychan. 

5. Dilic is given by William of Worcester as Delyan, and is possibly the same 

as (3) Endelion. 

6. Tedda in William of Worcester. Tetha is S. Teath, pronounced Teth. 

She is actually S. Itha, but may be Tydieu. 

7. Maben is S. Mabenna of S. Mabyn, also unknown to the Welsh. 

8. Weneu or Wentu is the same as (11) Wenna. This is Gwen. Gwen of 

Talgarth was a daughter or granddaughter of Brychan, who married 
Llyr Merini, and was the mother of Caradog Freichfras, who cer- 
tainly was in Cornwall, in the Callington district. 


3 2 o Lives of the British Saints 

9. Wensent cannot now be traced ; probably same as (8) and ( 1 1 ) ; Wen- 
sant, or S. Wenn. 

10. Merewenna and (14) Morwenna are doubtless the same, patroness of 

Marhamchurch and of Morwenstow. Not known to the Welsh. 

11. (See 8 and 9.) 

12. Juliana is the Juliot of North Cornwall ; her name probably occurs as 

Ilucl in the Cognatio. 

13. Yse, clearly the patron of S. Issey. This is no doubt a mistake of the 

legend writer. The Episcopal Registers gave S. Itha as patroness 
of S. Issey, and she was an Irish saint. Her cult may have been 
introduced by the Brychan family. 

14. (See 10.) 

15. Wymp is S. Wenappa, the Gwenabwy or Gwenafwy of the Welsh lists 

a daughter of Caw. Patroness of Gwennap (see 16). 

1 6. Wenheder is the same as Wenappa (see 15). 

17. Cleder is possibly Clydog, who was grandson of Brychan and son of C'lyil- 

wyn. He is S. Clether in Cornwall, probably also S. Cleer. 

1 8. Keri is clearly intended for Curig, patron of Egloskerry. His ancestry 

is unknown, but as he settled in the Brecon colony he was reckoned 
as a son of Brychan. 

19. (See 2.) 

20. Kanauc. By this Leland means Cynog. He was Brychan's illegitimate 

son by the daughter of the Prince of Powys. He was killed 
at Merthyr Cynog, in Brecknockshire. Probably patron of S. 

21. Kerheuder in William of Worcester is Nasmith's misreading for Ken- 

heuder, i.e., Cynidr, S. Enoder, who was the son of one of Brychan's 

22. Adwen or S. Athewenna is probably Dwyn or Dwynwen, a virgin, daugl 

of Brychan. Ok ' 

23. Helic or Helye. The patron of Egloshayle is intended. 

24. Tamlanc is given by William of Worcester as Tanclanc. The pati 

of Talland is S. Elen. This may be the Elined or Almedha of the 
Welsh lists, and the MSS. may have had " Elena cujus ecclesia in 
Tamlanc," and both transcribers may have committed the same care- 
less blunder of taking the name of the place for that of the patron. 
Talland = (Sain)t Elined, as Awdry became Tawdry. 

We have accordingly been able to account for about seventeen 
persons out of the twenty-four names. 

Nicolas Roscarrock gives April 6 as the day of S. Brychan. The 
saint is represented in fifteenth century glass, with a lap full of children, 
at S. Neot, Cornwall. 

In the lolo MSS 1 he is said to have founded the church of Gwenfo 
or Wenvoe, now dedicated to S. Mary, in Glamorganshire. 

There is a place called Llys Brychan (his Court), near the site of the 
ruined church of Llangunnock, or Llangynog, near Llansoy, Mon- 
mouthshire, and also another under Garn Goch, in Carmarthenshire, 
as already mentioned. 

Dafydd ab Gwilym, the contemporary of Chaucer, in his well-known 

1 P. 221. 


From Stained Glass Window, S. Neot, Cornwall. 

S. Brynach 321 

poem addressed to S. Dwymven, implores her to grant him his request 
" for the sake of the soul of Brychan Yrth with the mighty arms." 1 

We fear that we have been able to throw but little light on a pecu- 
liarly obscure topic, but it may be of some avail to have collected 
together all that is recorded relative to this most shadowy but prolific 
father of a saintly family. 

S. BRYNACH, Abbot, Confessor 

THE authorities for the life of this Saint are, a Life in MS. Cotton., 
lint. Mus. Vespasian A. xiv, a Life possibly drawn up in the tenth 
or eleventh century, and an epitome of the same in Capgrave's Nova 
Legenda, which is really due to John of Tynemouth circ. 1360, whose 
MS. (Tiberius E. i) was partly destroyed by fire in 1731, but is still in 
most portions legible. From the minuteness of the local details it 
is obvious that it was composed by a Kernes man. Further informa- 
tion is obtained from the Welsh Genealogies of the Saints. 

The Life seems to imply that Brynach was a " son of Israel," 2 
but this may mean no more than that he was of the true Israel of God, 
a Christian by family. The Welsh call him a Gwyddel or Irishman. 
Hr was "soul-friend " (periglor, as it is in Welsh), i.e., confessor and 
chaplain, to Brychan, the Irish conqueror and colonist of Breck- 
nock, and came with him to Britain. He married Brychan 's daughter, 
< 01 th or Cymorth, and by her had a son, Berwyn, and three daughters, 
Mwynen, Gwenan, and Gwenlliw. 3 

Leaving his native land, Brynach went on pilgrimage to Rome to 
>it the tombs of the Apostles, and whilst there, according to the 
id, slew a pestiferous monster. Returning from his pilgrimage he 
iited Brittany, where he remained for several years, 4 but he has left 
;re no permanent trace of his presence. Then he departed ; accord- 
to the legend he floated over the sea on a stone. 5 This means no 

, ed. 1789 ,p. 156. The epithet Gyrth seems to mean "touched" or 
-icki-n " ; cf. Einion Yrth, son of Cunedda, whose name occurs as Enniaun Girt 
the very early pedigrees in Harleian MS. 3859. 

1 " Elegit sibi Dominus virum de filiis Israel juxta cor suum. Bernaci nom- 

Vita, Cambro-British Saints, p. 5. The Life in Capgrave says only " ab 

lustri siquidem prosapia ortus, divitiis admodum locupletatus extitit, et patri- 

loniis dilatus," ed. Horstman, Oxf., 1901, Part i, p. 114; from the Vita, " ab 

>stri siquidem parentum prosapia ortum ducens," etc. 

3 /o/<) MSS., pp. i2i, 140. Berwyn is called Gerwyn in the later genealogies. 

4 " Minorem Britanniam ingressus est, ibi quidem per multos annos commor- 

beneficia potiora magnasque virtutes operatus est," \'ita, p. 6. 
6 " Sanctus Dei fide plenus .... petram ascendit," Ibid. 
VOL. I. Y 

322 Lives of the British Saints 

more than that, as was a common custom among the Celtic Saints, he 
carried his lech, or tombstone, about with him, even in his wickerwork 
boat, wherever he travelled. 

He landed in the estuary of the Cleddeu at Milford Haven. The 
time was unpropitious. A great rising had taken place among the 
Wjelsh, aided by the sons of Cunedda and by Urien Rheged, against the 
Irish settlers and oppressors, and these latter were being expelled from 

Brynach was an Irishman, and was looked on with an evil eye. 
According to the legend-writer's account, on his arrival he was much 
harassed by an impudent woman, who, when he did not respond to her 
advances, set assassins on him to murder him. One of these thrust 
a spear into him, and grievously wounded him, and the Saint would 
have been killed outright, but for the intervention of friends. Brynach 
went to the nearest spring, where he washed his wound, and the 
fountain thenceforth bore the name of the Redspring, and was for long 
regarded as holy. 

This story must be read in a different light from that in which 
presented by the biographer. The woman who pursued the Saint was, 
in all probability, his wife Cymorth. The Brychan family was indeed 
Irish on the father's side, but Welsh on that of the distaff, and in the 
political convulsion, this family endeavoured to side with the Welsh 
against the Irish. They were unsuccessful, and eventually were also 
expelled ; but at the time of the arrival of Brynach, Cymorth 
very probably displeased at his return, and desired to be rid of him 
compromising her position in her lands of Emlyn. 

With the account in the Life, agrees the still current legend that 
Brynach on his arrival first stopped at Llanbeudy or Llanboidy (the 
Church of the Cow-house) in Carmarthenshire, where he was denied 
other lodging than a cow-shed, and the Church bears a name significant 
of his reception. From thence he went to Cilymaenllwyd (the nook, 
or possibly, cell, of the grey or holy stone), also in Carmarthenshire, 
where he was refused shelter, and had to take refuge under a grey 
stone (maen llwyd). At Llanfyrnach in Pembrokeshire, however, he 
was better received, and there he built his oratory and cell by a spring, 
and called it after his own name. 1 The foundations of the chapel re- 
mian a small rectangular structure at some distance from the parish 
church. The account of his settlement here is given with some detail 
by the author of the Life. 

1 Fenton, Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire, p. 482 (London, 181 1), quoting 
Edward Lhuyd. 

S. Brynach 323 

rynach, leaving the place where he had been half-murdered, went to 
another on the banks of the Gwaun, the river that flows into the sea 
at Fishguard, and which gives to this town the Welsh name of Aber- 
gwaun. Here was a stone bridge, and the place is still called Pontfaen. 
But the opposition he met with drove him away. The legend-writer 
says that evil spirits made life there insupportable. Then he departed 
to the banks of the Nyfer, that flows through the valley of Nevern, 1 
above Newport ; but there he halted only four days. He and his 
companions cut down trees, but the Welsh inhabitants hauled them 
off as soon as they were hewn down. This compelled Brynach again 
to shift his quarters, and he moved to the banks of the Caman, and 
lighted a fire there, by which he and his companions spent the night. 

Now the lord of that country was Clechre or Clether, 2 his wife's 
kinsman, advanced in years, God-fearing, and the father of twenty sons. 
Early in the morning Clechre rose, and seeing smoke rising where he 
knew there was no tref or farm, he sent his sons to inquire who had 
settled there without his leave ; for to light a fire on land without the 
consent of the chief was an act of possession-taking. The sons of 
Clechre came to where Brynach and his monks were crowded about the 
tin . ;ind ordered them to the presence of their father. A recognition 
ensued, and the chief gladly welcomed Brynach, and requested him 
to give instruction to his sons. Then, moved by the exhortations of 
Brynach, Clechre departed to Cornwall, where he died. The stream 
Caman is the crooked brook that runs through a glen into the Nevern, 
and Clechre's habitation was probably the castell on the little height 
above, where the earthworks remain to this day. 

Brynach settled at Nevern, a beautiful site, sheltered and command- 
ing a noble view of Carn Ingli, to the summit of which he was wont to 
ascend, there to spend long hours in prayer, in the midst of the rude 
walls of the prehistoric fortress that crowns the mountain. There also, 
according to the legend, he received the visit of angels, and thence the 
name this bold peak has received. 3 

This was not the only foundation of Brynach. In spite of his being 
an Irishman, he so impressed the people with reverence that he was 

1 The oldest form of the name Xevern is Nant Nimer, which is the correct 
Trading in the oldest Annales Cambriae, s. a. 865. 

2 In the Vita, Clechre, in John of Tynemouth and Capgrave, Cletherus ; see 
concerning him under S. Clether. " Senex cognominabatur " (Vita). The name 
is apparently the Welsh clairch (cf. cleiriach), a decrepit old man, from the Latin 

3 " Ita Deo placentem gerebat vitam, ut angelorum visione, simul et allocu- 
tione crebro perfrui mereretur. Unum et mons ille in quo conveniebat, in 
cujus videlicet pede ecclesia fabricata est, Mons Angelorum appellatus est," 
Vita, p. 10. 

324 Lives of the British Saints 

first tolerated, and then accepted as a man of God. He established 
churches at Llanfyrnach, and Dinas, as well as Nevern, in what is now 
Pembrokeshire. He was also the founder of churches or chapels at 
Henry's Mote, and Pontfaen, 1 near those already named, thus forming 
a continuous belt of establishments. Llanboidy in Carmarthenshire 
was also one of his settlements, and he had a foundation as well in 
Brecknockshire called after him Llanfrynach, and one in Glamorgan- 
shire, also called Llanfrynach. 

The legend relates that he had a cow which gave such an abundance 
of milk that he greatly valued her, and committed her to the custody 
of a wolf, " which, after the manner of a well -trained shepherd, drove 
the cow every morning to her pasture, and in the evening brought her 
safely home." He had, it would seem, a trusty wolf-dog, which the 
writer has converted into a wolf. 

On the occasion of Maelgwn Gwynedd coming south, to exact dues, 
he sent word to Brynach that he must prepare supper for him and all 
his retainers. This the abbot positively refused to do, lest thereby he 
should establish a precedent, and the kings should claim as a right 
to quarter themselves and their followers on him. 

Maelgwn was very wroth, and his servants seized the cow. Thereupon 
the wolf, or dog that tended her, came whining to his master. Brynach 
went to Maelgwn, recovered his cow, and arrived at a compromise with 
him. He agreed to receive the king and his company as guests, if the 
prince would not claim hospitality as a right. 2 Maelgwn was a 
drunkard, but in Brynach's monastery was constrained to drink only 
the water drawn from the stream, and his supper consisted of wheaten 
bread, and doubtless meat, but the wheaten bread was a luxury 
unknown where barley and oat-cake were the staple of food ; a 
legend attached to this distribution of wheaten loaves ; it was said 
that Brynach had gathered them off a tree. 

Maelgwn slept in the monastery, and next morning said to the saint, 
" In the Name of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, I will exempt thee 
for ever from all royal tribute," and he also made to him a grant of 
land that had been settled on by a monk named Telych, and which, 
apparently, Maelgwn took from this monk to make it over to Brynach. 
The Life gives no further particulars of Brynach save that he died 
on the seventh day of April. 

1 Rees, in his Essay on the Welsh Saints, pp. 347, 349, following Ecton, ascribes 
both to S. Bernard. George Owen, in his Pembrokeshire, p. 509, mentions a 
" Capell Burnagh" as existing in the parishes of Henry's Mote and Morvil. 

2 " Sanctus volens se et suos necnon et loca sua ex omni actione libcrarc, 
asseruit se regi nullam debere cenam, nee injusto ejus precepto in aliquo vcllc 
parere," Ibid., p. 10. 

\ Brynach 325 

It is somewhat remarkable that no mention is made of his having 
been in Devon, where was his notable foundation of Braunton, and 
where, according to William of Worcester and Leland, 1 his body 
lay. We can hardly doubt but that his migration was due to the 
determination of the Welsh to be rid-of all the Irish who had so long 
oppressed them, and that they compelled the ecclesiastics of that 
nation to leave, as well as the chieftains. 

Ldand, in his Itinerary? says : " I forbear to speak of S. Branock's 
cow, his staff, his oak, his well, and his servant Abel, all of which are 
lively represented in a glass window of that church (Braunton)." 
This has long perished. Of Abel nothing is known. The oak was 
fabled to have supplied the wheaten loaves. 

Whytford. in his Martiloge, calls the Saint Bernake, and says of 
him : " In Englonde ye feast of Saynt Bernake, a gentylman of grete 
ssyon, which all he sold and went on pylgrymage to Rome, where 
by the waye he dyd many myracles. And when he came to England 
agayne he was of grete fame, and moche magnifyed, whiche to declayne 
and avoyde he fiedde pryvily into South Wales, where he was assayled 
with the tentacyon and persecution of a lady in lyke maner as Joseph 
in Egypt, but with grace he vanquyshed and was of hygh perfectyon, 
many myracles, and had revelacyons and also vysyons of angels." 

The son of Brynach, called Berwyn, is said to have settled in 
Cornwall, where a church was dedicated to him, and to have been 
slain in Ynys Gerwyn. 3 

In Nevern churchyard, to the south of the porch, is a fine cross 
called Croes Fyrnach, about thirteen feet high, with elaborate inter- 
laced ornamentation. William Gambold, in a letter dated September 
18, 1722, wrote : " This S. Byrnach was the Minister of that parish 
(Nevern), and a great Cronie of S. David. Now S. David, whenever 
he went from S. David's to Llandewi brevi, always called at Nevern, 
and generally lodged a night with his friend S. Byrnach. But, one 
time, coming that way Byrnach discovered on David's shoulder a 
prodigious large stone (draught enough for six yoke of oxen) carved 
all over with endless knots, and on one side (among or underneath the 
knots) five or six characters now unintelligible, which stone David 
told his friend he designed for Llandewi brevi, as a Memorial of him: 
but was prevailed upon by Byrnach to give it him, and Byrnach fixed 

1 Leland , Coll., iii, p. 408. 

also Westcote, View of Devonshire in 1630, p. 308. 
MSS., p. 119. Nicolas Roscarrock calls him Berwyn or Breuer, and 
says he suffered at S. Breward, Cornwall. 

326 Lives of the British Saints 

it on end on the south side of Nevern Church within a few yards of the 
church wall." 

About this stone there is a tradition that the cuckoo is wont to 
first sound his note, perched thereon, on the day of the patron saint, 
April 7. ''I might well have omitted," says George Owen, 1 " an 
old report as yet fresh of this odious bird, that, in the old world, 
the Parish Priest of this church would not begin Mass till this bird, 
called the Citizen's Ambassador, had just appeared and begun his 
note on a stone called S. Brynach's Stone, standing upright in the 
churchyard of this parish ; and, one year, staying very long, and the 
priest and the people expecting the accustomed coming came at 
last, lighting on the said stone, his accustomed preaching place, 
and being scarce able once to sound his note, presently fell dead." 

There is a Ffynnon Fyrnach in the parish, and the adjoining fall of a 
small rivulet into the sea is called Pistyll Byrnach. There is another 
Holy Well of his near Henry's Mote, and close to it are an upright 
stone, marked with a rude cross, and the ruins of his chapel. 

The principal well dedicated to the Saint (referred to by Giraldus 
Cambrensis), 2 lies above the range of rocks called Carnedd (or 
Carnau) Meibion Owen, on the side of the mountain by the roadside. 
It is compassed round with a curtilage of stone wall, five or six 
feet thick, called Buarth Byrnach, Brynach's Fold or Enclosure. 
This is supposed to have been his principal resort. 

In the inventory of Church goods taken by the Commissioners of 
1552 is mentioned " Bronach is chapell," in the parish of Llanddarog, 
Carmarthenshire, which has been in ruins for nearly three hundred 

Whytford, Cressy, and the Welsh Calendars generally give April 7 
as the day of S. Brynach ; but according to Bishop Grandisson's Legen- 
darium for the Church of Exeter, his day in that diocese is January 7, 
and this is the day given by William of Worcester. 3 

The Translation of Brynach was kept on June 26. At Braunton 
the Feast or Revel is now held on Whitsunday, to which it has gravi- 
tated from the Feast of the Translation. In a good many places 
Brynach, also called Branock, Byrnach, and Bernach, has been con- 
founded with, or supplanted by, S. Bernard. Even at Maenclochog 
this is so, where his well is now called S. Bernard's Well. 

1 Fenton, Pembrokeshire, 1811, p. 542. 

2 Itin. Camb., Bk. II, cap. ii. 

3 Carlisle, in his Topographical Dictionary of Wales (London, 1811), s.v. 
Llanfrynach (Brecknockshire), gives the parish Wake as the Sunday next after 

S. Brynack 327 

At S. Stephen's in Brannel, Cornwall, is a holy well, or ancient 
baptistery, called S. Bernard's Well. That it was dedicated to the 
abbot of Clairvaux is improbable. It is possible that originally it was 
called after S. Bernac or Brynach, and may show what was the original 
dedication of the church, before it was placed under the patronage 
of S. Stephen. 

For the determination of the date of S. Brynach we have not much to 
go upon. Maelgwn Gwynedd died of the Yellow Plague in 547 ; and 
the death of the Saint must have taken place some ten or fifteen years 
later, possibly even as late as 570. 

His symbol is a wild white sow with young pigs, as he is said to 
have founded the church at Nevern where he discovered a sow with 
her litter. Also stags are said to have drawn timber for him from 
the forest. Both are represented in Braunton Church on the bench 
ends and on the roof. 

Mr. Anscombe l identifies Brynach with the " Eurbre gwydel o 
iwe[r]don " of Jesus College MS. 20, reading Gur Bre[nach] for Brynach, 
in which case he was grandfather or great-grandfather to Brychan. 
But it would be simply impossible to identify this man with the 
Brynach of Welsh hagiology. There is, however, a Brynach Wyddel, 
also under the forms Eurnach and Ur-nach, connected by legend with 
the Snowdon mountains, in whom we may detect the Gwrnach, 
Awarnach, and Diwrnach Wyddel, with his magic cauldron, of the 
Tale of Culhwch and Olwen. There are some details of him, hopelessly 
jumbled, to be found in the lolo MSS., where Brynach Wyddel, king 
of Gwynedd, is said to have been converted and baptized by S. Rhidian 
of Gower and Rheged, and to have " founded the first churches in 
Gwynedd." He was killed at his stronghold, Dinas Ffaraon, now 
Dinas Emrys, near Beddgelert, in single combat with Owain Finddu, 
son of Maxen Wledig, the one killing the other. Eurnach or Urnach, 
we are also told, was the father of Serigi Wyddel and Daronwy, " and 
headed 20,000 Irish to Gwynedd, where they and their descendants 
remained for 129 years." 2 A Brynach Wyddel is also mentioned in 
a mythical Triad. 3 

1 Archiv f. Celtische Lexikographie, i, p. 524; ii, p. 185. 

2 lolo MSS., pp. 8 1-2, 84-5. 

3 Myv. Arch., pp. 390, 412. 

328 Lives of the British Saints 

S. BUAN, Confessor 

BUAN was the son of Ysgvvn (Esgvvn or Ysgwyn), the son of Llywarch 
Hen. 1 His grandfather was the celebrated sixth century warrior-bard 
and Brythonic prince in the north. Not being able to hold back the 
invading Angles, Llywarch lost his patrimony and fled to Wales, where 
he found, for a time, an asylum with Cynddylan, prince of part of 
Powys. There was no profession open to such of his sons as escape 
the sword but the religious life. Buan is said to be the patron of 
Bodvean, Carnarvonshire, which means the " Dwelling or Abode of 
Buan," a somewhat uncommon combination for a church-name. The 
old form was Boduan, i.e. Bod Fuan. His festival used to be observed 
there on August 4. 2 

S. BUDDWAL, or BUDDWALAN, Confessor 

S. BUDGUAL or Budgualan, hodie Buddwal or Buddwalan, is men- 
tioned in the Book of Llan Ddv in a grant to that Church of 
Lann Budgualan (or Budgual) in Erging. 3 It is represented to-daj 
by the church of Ballingham, some 8 miles S.E. of Hereford, ai 
dedicated to S. Dyfrig. Budgual must have been one of those vei 
early Saints, before the sixth century, of whom no records have be 

S. BUDMAIL, Confessor. 

BUDMAILE is invoked in the Celtic Litany of S. Vougay, 4 of the 
tenth century. 

Budmail is probably, almost certainly, Bothmael, the disciple of 
S. Maudetus or Mawes, along with S. Tudy. These disciples attended 
Maudetus when he retired to the island now called 1'Isle Modez, off 
the north coast of Brittany in the Brehat archipelago. 5 Once, when 

1 Peniarth MSS. 16 (early thirteenth century), 45 (late thirteenth), and 12 
(early fourteenth) ; Hafod MS. 16; Myv. Arch., p. 418 ; lolo MSS., p. 128 ; 
Cambro -British Saints, p. 266. 

2 Willis, Bangor, p. 275 ; Rees, Welsh Saints, p. 280. In the Cambrian 
Register, iii, p. 225, the gth is given. 

3 Pp. 164, 171, 275. 

4 Alb. le Grand, Vies des SS. de Bretagne, new edition, 1901, pp. 226-7, 

5 " Duos discipulos, scilicet Bothmaelum et Tudium secum habuit fideles 
consortes in spe perhennis gaudii, labore et divino officio." Vita ima S. Mau- 
deti, ed. De la Borderie, p. 8. 

S. Budoc 329 

their master was absent, a demon which the Britons call a Tuthe 
appeared before them in the form of a marine monster. They told 
Maudetus, and one day shortly after, seeing the creature in the waves, 
IK- threw a stone at it, knocked it over, and the Tuthe never again 
appeared. 1 

( )n a certain day the fire in the island went out, and Maudetus sent 
isciple Bothmael at low tide to the mainland to bring him some 
live coals. Bothmael crossed, and asked a woman who was boiling 
milk to furnish him with what he required. She replied that she would 
do so on condition that he carried back the glowing charcoal in the lap 
of his habit. 

This condition he accepted, and he was on his way back when the 
tide turned and he was in peril of his life, but managed to reach the 
island, through the interposition of Providence, at the prayer of S. 
Maudetus. 2 Nothing further is known of Bothmael. All we learn 
romvrning him is from the Vita Sti. Maudeti, of which two editions 
exist, that have been published by De la Borderie in the Memoires de 
la Societe d' Emulation des Cotes du Nord, Rennes, 1891. 

.Maudetus is said to have been an Irishman ; he must have been for a 
while in Cornwall, as both he and Tudy have left their impress there, 
but whether Bothmael were an Irish or British disciple is not related. 

S. BUDOC, Abbot, Confessor 

THERE were four or five of this name. 

1. An abbot in the Isles of Brehat. Ard-Budoc, or " Budoc the 
exalted one," or " the Chief Budoc," was his title. He was the teacher 
of S. \Yinwaloe from about 467 to about 480 ; and we may suppose 
that he died about 500. 

2. Budoc, son of Azenor, born, according to the legend, in Ireland, 
almost certainly the Budoc of Devon and Cornwall. 

3. Budoc, bishop of Dol, after S. Maglorius, circ. 586-600. 

4. Budoc, bishop of Vannes, circ. 6bo, the successor of Regalis, and 
predecessor of Hinguetien. 

5. Budoc, disciple of Gildas, and martyr, circ. 560. 

The first and the second may be, and probably are the same ; for 

1 " Daemon quern Britoncs Tuthe appellant coram eis apparuit in specie 
marimr bflhur," Vita i nut S. Maudeti, ed. De la Borderie, p. 9. 

2 Ibid., p. ii. 

33 Lives of the British Saints 

Budoc, son of Azenor, is said to have been a son of the Count or Chief- 
tain of Goelo, which is the tract between the river Leff and the sea, 
and to it pertained the Brehat archipelago, in one island of which 
Budoc " the Exalted One " had his monastic school. It is at Chatel- 
audren on the Leff that Budoc and Azenor are culted, and the isles 
of Brehat are in the estuary of the Leff and Trieux. 

In the Life of S. Winwaloe we learn that his father, Fragan, coi 
mitted him to the Abbot Budoc, who lived in the Island of Lavrea 
the Brehat cluster. 1 

The remains of Budoc's settlement, a small rectangular church and 
row of bee-hive huts, are extant ; and one of these huts is fairly intact. 
The pattern is precisely that of the Irish ecclesiastical settlements. 2 

The name of Budoc still survives in Pembrokeshire and in Devon 
and in Cornwall. In Pembrokeshire a chapel, now destroyed, in Hub- 
beston, was called S. Buttock's; the name has recently been altered to 
S. Botolph's. In Devon and Cornwall are S. Budeaux, near Plymouth ; 
the parish churches of S. Budock, by Falmouth, and a ruined chapel, 
Budock Vean, or Little S. Budoc, in the parish of S. Constantine, near 

According to the Exeter Martyrology, his Festival in the diocese was 
held on December 8. At S. Budock it is kept on the Sunday before 
Advent ; so as not to interfere with that penitential season. At Dol 
the feast is transferred to December 9, because December 8 is the 
Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. 

Leland, speaking of S. Budoc, says : "This Budocus was an Irishman, 
that came into Cornewalle and ther dwellid." 3 

The legend of S. Budoc is found in the Chronicon Briocense, that 
dates only from the fifteenth century, and has not been printed. But 
there are extracts, relative to S. Budoc, in an article by A. de Barthelmy, 
in the Bulletin de la Societe d' Emulation des Cotes du Nord, tome iii. 
(1863), p. 235. 

The legend was further contained in the Breviaries of Dol and Leon, 
and from them Albert le Grand derived the material for his wonderful 
romance. 4 Albert, however, omitted certain incidents that occur in 
the narrative in the Chronicon Briocense. 

1 " Post septem dies, una cum infantulo quendam angelicum audit magis- 
trum nomine Budocum, cognomine Arduum, scientia praeditum, justitiaaequitate 
egregium, quern velut quoddam fidei fundamentum columnamque ecclesiae 
firmissimam cuncti pariter tune temporis credebant," Vita Sti. Winwaloei, ed. 
Plaine, p. 13. 

2 De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretagne, i, pp. 295-9. A plan of the island and 
its remains are in the same volume. 

3 Leland, Itin., Oxf., 1744, 333, p. 14. 

4 Vies des Saints de Bretagne, 1636, ed. 1891, pp. 739-60. 

S. Bu(/oc 331 

The legend is as follows : 

There was a king of Brest who had, once upon a time, a daughter 
named Azenor. She was filled with every virtue. One day, when the 
king was out hunting, a monstrous serpent struck at him, and wound 
itself about his arm, and could not be detached thence. 

A wise man of the Court declared that nothing would relieve the 
king save the counter-attraction of a fair woman's breast washed 
with ewe's milk and olive oil. 

Azenor at once volunteered. She presented her bosom, duly 
smeared, to the monster, which immediately relaxed hold of her 
father's arm and attached itself to her breast. Thereupon, with a 
razor she cut off her bosom and threw it, along with the serpent 
adhering to it, into a fire. Heaven, to reward her filial piety, restored 
her breast whole. 1 At this time there lived a Count of Goelo, that 
portion of the modern department of Cotes du Nord which forms the 
Cantons of Paimpol, Plouha, and Lanvollon, off the coast of the 
northern portion of which is the Brehat archipelago. 

This Count married Azenor. About a year subsequently, Azenor's 
mother died, and the King of Brest married again. The new Queen 
was now anxious to clear her step-daughter out of the way, as she was 
heiress of Leon. To this end she poisoned the minds of the father 
and the husband of Azenor with suspicions as to her fidelity. The 
Count of Goelo had his wife tried by the Council of his estates, and 
she was condemned to be put into a barrel and cast into the sea. 

The sentence was executed, and Azenor floated in the cider-cask for 
five months, tossed up and down by the waves. 2 During all this time 
she was supplied with victuals by an angel, who must have thrust them 
in to her through the bung-hole, and, marvellous to relate, the barrel 
always maintained its balance. 

Whilst thus drifting, Azenor became a mother, and was assisted by 
S. Brigid, 3 who acted as midwife. Budoc was born in the barrel. 4 

1 Chron. Brioc. Albert le Grand omits this incident. 
2 Hoc parato judicio 
Mensibus quinque dolio 
Mari mansit devia. 

Brev. of Lion. 

3 " Et Angeli, beatse (ut asserunt) Virginis Brigittae, cui devote inserviebat, 
ministerio cibata et consolata 

Ubi, cum luce splendida 
Ministrans Sancta Brigitta 
Dabat necessaria." 


4 " Ast ubi, quinque mensium spatio toto, marinis fluctibus Britannicis primum, 
deinde Britannicis et Hiberniensibus littoribus agitatur dolium, tanquam regia 

332 Lives of the British Saints 

Eventually the cask was washed up at a place called Bellus-portus, 
in Ireland. An Irish peasant seeing the jetsam on the shore, and 
supposing that it contained liquor, procured a gimlet, and would 
have tapped it, had not the babe from within shouted, " Do not hurt 
us." " And who may you be inside there ? " inquired the Irishman. 
" I am a child desiring baptism," replied the infant. 

The native ran off to the nearest abbey, and told his story. 

" Surely you are deceiving me," said the abbot. " Is it likely I 
should tell you of the find," replied the man, " if there had been any- 
thing better than a baby in the butt ? " 

The abbot released Azenor and her child from their long confinement, 
and, astonished at the miracle, on the morrow baptized the young 
Budoc 1 and educated him. 

Azenor lived near the abbey and earned her livelihood as a washer- 
woman. 2 There they spent many years. 

In the meantime the wicked step-mother had fallen ill, and when at 

quadam. fulgentissima coelestis claritate luminis Azenor illustrata Azenor 
nlium in dolio peperit. 

Tandem peperit nlium 
Azenor, intra dolium 

Quadam ut in regia." 

Brev. of Lion. 

1 " Nutu divino dolium ad Hyberniae littus, ad locum, qui Bellus-Portus 
dicitur, appulit. Quod cum piscator quidam adverteret, vini dolium arbitratus, 

Piscator quidam, dum quaerit 
Pisces, dolium reperit 

Vagari per maria." 

Ubi pueri vocem audiens ne dolium solveret ; sed ad Belli-Portus abbatem 

Ad Bellum-Portum ducitur. 
Infans ab intus loquitur, 

Ne dolium lania. 
Piscator mirans auditu, 
Retulit ; Qui es ibi tu ? 

Baptisandus sum, eja ! 
Vade, inquit, quae vidisti 
Die abbati det ut Christi 
Mihi baptismalia." 


" Azenore matre lotricem agente, tenuique, paupercularum more, victu et 
habitu contenta, quidquid operae supererat lucelli pauperibus fideliter dilargiente. 
Mater Azenor lotricae 
Officio stetit curae 

Quaerens victualia. 
Non quaerebat massam verum 
Sed mater erat pauperum 
Paupercate sobria." 

S. Buaoc 333 

the point of death, confessed that she had fabricated the charges 
against Azenor, and that they were wholly destitute of foundation. 

The Count of Goelo at once started on his travels in quest of his 
wife. His good luck led him to Ireland, and he disembarked at the 
very bay where lived Azenor as a washerwoman, and there he was 
reconciled to her, and made the acquaintance of his son. 

The Count then had a ship prepared to take them all back to 
Brittany, but the sea-voyage had upset his constitution, and he died 
before embarking. Azenor resolved on remaining near the tomb of her 
husband, and there, after a few years, she died. 

On the death of the abbot, Budoc was elected in his place, and he 
might have remained there the rest of his days, had not the Irish people 
elected him to be their king. 1 

This was too much for his modesty, and he fled, but finding no boat, 
entered a stone trough, and in that was carried over the sea to 
Brittany. 2 He disembarked at Porspoder, where he formed a her- 
mitage, in which he spent a year. But unable to endure the war of 
the waves on that wild coast, he had his stone trough mounted on a 
cart, and resolved on settling wherever the cart should stop. It broke 
down about four miles from Porspoder, and there he remained a while, 
but found the people more vexatious than the sea, and having got 
across with them, he excommunicated them and departed. The 
legend then carries him to Dol, and confounds him with the successor 
of S. Maglorius. 

\\V must now inquire whether there be any historical basis for this 
marvellous tale. We shall have, first of all, to eliminate the fabulous 
matter that has been imported into it. 

1. The story of the serpent attaching itself to the father's arm, and 
jing drawn off to Azenor's breast, is that found in Welsh legend 

itive to Caradog Freichfras and his wife Tegau Eurfron ; or perhaps 
should say in the Romancer's version of the Arthurian tale. 8 

2. The fable of Azenor's being sent to sea in a barrel is an importation 
>m the popular folk-tale of Catskin. We have this in its noblest 

1 " Ab Hyberniae populo rex et archiepiscopus desideratissime nominatur, 
>tatur, diligitur." Brev. of Lion. 

" Erat autem illi velut area lapidea quaedam, concava petra, in qua, nocte 
jre solitus erat, quam, angeli minister io, mari proximam conspexit ; cujus 
3U, tanquam navi quadam usus, transfretavit, inque partes Leonensium 
rectus, ad portam, cui nomen est Porz Poder, pervenit, ubi, per annum, vel 

:iter, commoratus, oratorium construxit." Ibid. The same, but fuller, in the 

3 Lady Charlotte Guest, Mabinogion, 1877, pp. 328-9. For Welsh and other 

irallols see Rhys, Celtic Folklore, Welsh and Manx, pp. 689-690. 


334 Lives of the British Saints 

form in the old German epic of Gudrun. In that, as in the Budoc tale, 
the lady becomes a washerwoman. 

3. The false accusation made by the step-mother is common to many 
folk tales, and occurs in the mediaeval romance of Octavianus. 

Sometimes it takes another form, a steward poisons the husband's 
ears. So in the tales of Hirlanda and Genoveva of Brabant. 

When we have swept aside all this accretion from folk romance, the 
facts remaining may possibly be these : 

Owing to one of the many dynastic revolutions that took place in 
Brittany, Azenor was constrained to fly with her newborn son. She 
escaped first of all to Britain, and then perhaps to Ireland. There 
Budoc embraced the ecclesiastical life. 

It is more probable that Azenor took refuge in the west of Cornwall, 
which had been colonized from Ireland, than that she went on to 
Ireland itself, for the parish of Zennor regards her as patroness under 
the name of Sennara, and Budoc certainly became a founder in Corn- 
wall ; whereas neither he nor his mother have left any traces in Irish 
tradition, or find a place in Irish Martyrologies. 

That Budoc went on to Ireland, there to finish his education, is 
probable enough, and this may account for Leland speaking of him as 
an Irishman. But Budoc is not a Goidelic name, the nearest approach 
to it being Buite, who was a son of Bronach. 

The statement that Azenor died in Ireland is contrary to the 
tradition of Cornouaille, as she is held to have founded a religious 
house for women in the Cap Sizun promontory. 

Budoc, as we learn from the Life of S. Winwaloe, settled as a teacher, 
in the island of Lavrea. 

Where Budoc, and his mother with him, landed, was at Porz Poder 
on the extreme west of Finistere, where the granite cliffs receive the 
whole weight of the Atlantic surges, rolling in before a west wind. He 
is still regarded as the patron of that parish. Thence, however, he 
moved inland, and his next station was at Plourin, where both he and 
his mother receive a cult as patrons to this day. The church has been 
entirely rebuilt, but the pulpit has been preserved, on which in carved 
oak are represented scenes from the life of Budoc. 

The subjects are : 

1. S. Azenor holding a crucifix and leaning on a cask. In the rear, 
water, and a castle. 

2. An angel seated, pointing to the cask that is floating on the waves. 
In the distance, out of the sea, stands a rock like a menhir. 

3. S. Budoc with archiepiscopal crosier and wearing a mitre. The 
cask is on one side of him, and in a corner is a church. 


< It, 

S. Budoc 335 

4. An angel with the barrel. In the background, on the right, a 
tower with a house on top of it. On the left a two-masted ship with 

5. S. Azenor with the babe swaddled in her arms. The barrel is at 
her side. In the distance a monastery. 

Eventually, both Budoc and his mother must have gone to the Sizun 
promontory in Cornouaille, for he is patron of Beuzec-cap-Sizun. 

Azenor had a church near the Point du Raz, and a convent in the 
parish of Goulven, but it has been destroyed. 1 

Two holy wells at Languengar near Lesneven bear her name ; and 
women drink of that of Clesmeur, to augment their milk. A young 
man once took a draught from it, and to his dismay found his breasts 
swell. His tears, prayers, and shame softened the Saint, and she 
graciously dried up the fountains of his bosom. 
Budoc is patron of Beuzec-Conq. 

The traditional site of Azenor's husband's castle is Chatelaudren in 
Cotes du Nord, where stood formerly a fortress that has been levelled, 
but tla mounds show its position, above a pretty tarn with woods 
sloping clown to it. Hard by is the chapel of Notre Dame du Tertre, 
with a painted wooden ceiling of the end of the fifteenth century, 
representing in a series of subjects the story of Azenor and Budoc. One 
of these depicts the saintly mother in the cask, whilst above flutters an 
angel bearing a scroll inscribed " Audita est oratio tua." 

S. Budoc's day is December 8 in the Leon Breviary of 1516 ; in 
that of Dol, 1519, he is given on this day, but the observance is trans- 
ferred ; in the Exeter Calendar on the same day. 

In addition to the churches of S. Budoc in Cornwall and Devon, and 
e chapel in Pembrokeshire already referred to, there seems to have 
n a dedication to him in Oxford. Anthony Wood quotes notices of 
e rebuilding of the church of S. Budoc in Oxford in 1265, but he 
.s, " it hath for several hundreds of years past been demolished." 2 
e strongly suspect that there is some mistake about this dedication. 
Owing to the reason already referred to, the commemoration of S. 
doc is transferred to December 9 in the Missal of Vannes, 1530, in 
Vannes Breviary of 1589, and in that of Dol, 1519. 3 
Albert le Grand gives as his day November 18, but probably quite 
itrarily. It is, of course, uncertain that the Budoc of legend should 

1 Carguet, Cap Sizun, in Bulletin de la Soc. Arch, de Finistere, 1899. 

2 Anthony a Wood, Antiquities of Oxford, Oxford Hist. Soc., 1889-99, vol. ii. 
also the Close Rolls, i, ff. 498, 529. 

The Commemoration at Vannes is of Budoc, bishop of Vannes, cite. 600, 
id that at Dol is of the Bishop of Dol, 585. 


336 Lives of the British Saints 

be the Ard-Budoc of the Life of S. Winwaloe, but it is probable, as 
the Isle of Lavre, where are the remains of his monastery, is in 
Goelo, of which he was a native. That the master of Winwaloe can 
have become the bishop of Dol of the same name is chronologically 

Winwaloe died in 563. As a child he was with Budoc, between 467 
and 480 ; and Budoc cannot have been young then. Consequently 
he could not become bishop of Dol in 585. 

In art, S. Budoc is represented with his stone trough, or with the cask 
at his side, vested, erroneously, as a bishop or archbishop, because 
identified with the successor of S. Maglorius. 

That such a childish nurse-tale should have been adopted into the 
offices of the churches of Dol and Leon, with hymns based on it, is 
indeed astonishing. But more astonishing still are the remarks there- 
on of a man in the nineteenth century, presumably of some education 
and intelligence. This is M. Miorec de Kerdanet, who brought out an 
edition of Albert le Grand's Vies des Saints in 1837. He says : " La 
legende de Sainte Azenor et de Saint Budoc n'est pas un conte. Elle a 
toutes les preuves dans la tradition, et dans les actes des eglises de Dol 
et de Leon." And Garaby has the effrontery to quote this assertion 
with approval. 1 

There is a supplement to the Life of S. Budoc, as silly as the story 
of his mother's adventures. 

Before his death, Budoc bade his disciple Illtyd cut off his arm, so 
soon as he was dead, and take it to Plourin, where he had been so ill 
received, and had excommunicated the inhabitants. Illtyd (Hydultus) 
did so, and halting on the way at Brech, in Morbihan, he put down the 
box that contained the arm, on the floor. A man inadvertently sitting 
on the box became paralysed. The people of the place, convinced that 
the miracle was performed by the relic, refused to permit its removal. 
Illtyd begged to be allowed to kiss it, and when this was permitted, bit 
off one of the Saint's fingers, and carried it away in his mouth. This 
finger is now preserved at Plourin, in a silver reliquary formed like an 

On this story it may be remarked that the name Brech in Breton 
signifies an arm. The relic there cannot be of Budoc, son of Azenor, 
but of Budoc or Bieuzy, the disciple of Gildas ; for Brech is near Plou- 
vigner, where the latter Bieuzy halted on his way to Ruys, and where 
he is still culted ; whereas it is quite out of the way from Dol to Plourin. 

1 Vies des Bienheureux et des Saints de Bretagne, S. Brieuc, 1839, p. 328, 
Lobineau, with more sense, says of the legend, " elle est si romanesque et si 
ridicule qu'on ne peut rien lire de plus extravagant." 

S. Budoc 337 

The principal settlement of Budoc in western Brittany, or Cornubia, 
was probably Beuzec-Cap-Caval and Beuzec Cap Sizun. The whole of 
this peninsula between the river of Quimper and the bay of Douarnenez 
would seem to have been the sphere of his labours. The population 
is that of the Bigauden, an extraordinary race, very Tartar like, and 
different in characteristics, and in costume, from the true Bretons. 

De la Villemarque has given a ballad of Azenor and Budoc in 
his Barzas-breis, but whether genuine is doubtful, at any rate it is 

The name Budoc becomes in Breton Buzoc, Beuzec, and Beuzeuc. 
That of Azenor has also undergone several transformations, as Alienor, 
Eleonore, Honore, and Honoree. On account of the fanciful derivation 
of the name Beuzec as " saved from the waters," Budoc, according to 
Brizieux became the patron of wreckers. 1 

S. BUDOC, Bishop, Confessor 

BUDOC, Bishop of Dol, was the successor of S. Maglorius. The date 
is not fixed with certainty. But it took place close on 585 or 586. 

It is reasonable to suppose that he was akin to both Samson and 
Maglorius, as the headship of the great monastic institutions was re- 
tained as much as possible in a family. Only in exceptional cases was 
one raised to that pre-eminence who did not belong to the founder's 

Of Budoc of Dol nothing is known. His career was uneventful. 

Kdied and was buried at Dol. 
Alien the clergy returned after the cessation of the ravages of the 
rthmen, they were possessed by the infatuation of making their 
cathedral metropolitan, and of magnifying the acts of the past abbot- 
bishops. Then, perhaps, disappointed at having so meagre a record 
of Budoc, they laid hold on the legend of Budoc, son of Azenor, of L&>n, 
and compounded the two into one, making of the Leon Budoc their 
Bishop, the successor to Samson and Maglorius. But, as says the 
Abbe Duine, " Cette merveilleuse histoire de Sainte Azenore et de 
int Budoc ne fut jamais populaire que dans le pays de son origine." 2 

Les Bretons, Chant ix. 

Abbas natum baptizavit 
Et Beu/euc eum vocavit 
Ob tanta naufragea. 

Breviary of Leon. 
L'Hermine, t. xxvi, 1902, p. 263. 
)L. I. Z 

338 Lives of the British Saints 

S. BUDOC, Monk, Martyr 

WHETHER Budoc, the friend and disciple of Gildas, be the Boda, 
with the suffix oc, met with in the Welsh Lists of Saints, we have no 
means of knowing. 

The material for the Life of Budoc is not of good quality. During 
the War of the League, the church of Beuzy was plundered, and the 
Life supplied to Albert le Grand is taken from such fragmentary docu- 
ments as remained there, and in the possession of the seigneur of 
Rymaison. According to this Life, Budoc was a native of Britain, 
almost certainly of Wales, who accompanied Gildas when he settled at 

By the side of the Blavet a mass of granite rock projects, leaving 
only a narrow space of turf between it and the river. This is below the 
finger of hill round which sweeps the Blavet, and which served as a 
Roman station, the Gallo-Roman city of Sulim. 

Gildas and Budoc founded a monastery at the neck of this promon- 
tory, and it was called Castanec. But, that they might be alone for 
prayer and meditation, they were wont to retire under this overhanging 
rock. A little spring oozes out at its base. Here the two friends spent 
much time in devotion. When the half Christianized, half pagan 
inhabitants pursued them to this retreat, one or other mounted a node 
of rock between their cell and the gliding stream, and preached to them 

According to the legend, on one occasion they came in such crowds, 
and were so impatient to hear the Word of God, that Gildas preached 
for long, though thirsty, fevered and weary. At last, unable to con- 
tinue, he fled to his cell under the rock, and as the people clamoured 
after him, the rock split, and through the cleft he was able to scramble 
to the summit and so escape them. The crack is a natural fault, and 
the story has been invented to explain it. 

The two Saints built a wall to enclose their retreat, with only one 
opening through which to crawl, and which admitted light. For the 
summons to prayer, in place of a bell, they provided themselves with 
two thin slabs of diorite, which, when struck with a pebble, emitted 
a bell-like note. 

When Gildas was constrained to leave Castanec, and return to his 
main foundation at Ruys, he left the little monastery under the 
charge of his friend. 

By some chance Budoc was credited with a power of driving away 
madness in man and beast. 

S. Budoc 339 

Ine day, when he was about to proceed to celebrate the Holy Mys- 
?s, a chief in the neighbourhood sent to bid him come at once to 
, as his dogs were ill, he feared with hydrophobia. Budoc told the 
messenger that he could not attend to the dogs till he had ministered 
to men, and that he must first celebrate the Eucharist. 

The man returned to his master, and exaggerated what Budoc had 
said, and coloured it after his own perverse mind, into an insolent 
refusal. The chieftain was furious, and hastening to the church, dealt 
the unhappy Budoc a severe blow on the head. 

With his head bleeding, the excited, hurt, and indignant monk 
rushed off to lay the case before his master, Gildas the chief had not 
only committed sacrilege, but had violated sanctuary. A number of 
people attended him. He hastened down the river, then cut across the 
spur of hill covered with the forest of Camors, passed the caer of Con- 
more, regent of Domnonia, and a power to be considered even in 
Broweroc. Conmore, who at that period was on excellent terms with 
Ciildas, was not there at the time, or Budoc would have made his 
complaint to him. He passed on, and night fell as he reached the Irish 
colony of Plouvigner. There he halted, and the people who had 
attended him lit their fires and camped out for the night. 

Next day the wounded monk pushed on, and, reaching the sea at 
Baden, there took boat. Lusty arms sent the little vessel flying over 
the still waters of the Morbihan. When it reached the peninsula of 
Sarzeau Budoc had become so weak and exhausted that he could 
hardly stagger forward. 

Messengers ran ahead and told Gildas that Budoc was coming, and 
what had taken place. At the time he was chanting vespers. At 
once he proceeded in procession from the church, at the head of his 

onks, to receive the wounded man. When they met Budoc, they saw 
t he must die. He was conveyed into the church, and there he 
athed his last. Had he gone quietly to bed, and had his head been 

tended to at once, instead of his posting off on a long journey, he 

ight have recovered. 

Legend has embellished a very simple tale, and represents him as 

ving had an axe or a knife cleave his skull, and as having gone two 

ys' journey wearing the weapon in his wound. But this is a common 

travagance in hagiographic fiction. 

Albert le Grand gives as his day November 24. But he has been the 
asion of a strange confusion. His name, softened in Breton to 
uzy, has been Latinized into Bilicus. Now there was a Bili, Bishop 

Vannes in 725, probably the same who composed the Life of S. Malo ; 

t he died quietly in his bed. However, in the Missal of Vannes of 

34-O Lives of the British Saints 

1530, and the Proper of Vannes 1660, he is entered on June 23 as Bill, 
Ep. M., of Vannes. 

In the churchyard of Beuzy is a portion of Budoc's stone bell. The 
church itself is interesting, late Flamboyant, and possesses some 
fine old stained glass. In the church are statues of S. Gildas, S. 
Bieuzy, and S. Helen ; also a modern window representing the legend 
of the Saint. S. Bieuzy is invoked against madness and hydrophobia. 

S. BUGI, or HYWGI, Confessor 

BUGI or Hywgi, the father of the great S. Beuno, is reckoned among 
the Welsh Saints. He was a son of Gwynllyw ab Glywys ab Tegid 
ab Cadell Deyrnllwg. Devoting himself to the religious life, he " gave 
his lands to God and Catwg for ever, and became a saint with Catwg" 1 
(at Llancarfan), who was his brother ; but this does not accord with 
the life of S. Beuno. Gwynllyw Filwr, who had married Gwladys, 
daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, was lord of Gwynllywg in Monmouth- 
shire, and the father also of Cammarch, Glywys Cernyw, Cynfyw (or 
Cyfyw), Cyflewyr, Gwyddlew, Maches and others. Bugi's wife was 
Beren or Perferen, daughter of Lleuddun Luyddog of Dinas Eidclyn 
(Edinburgh). Most of what is known of him is to be found in the Welsh 
Life of S. Beuno. He is there spoken of as a gwr bonheddig, a man of noble 
birth, who lived in Powysat a place called Banhenig, situated somewhere 
near the Severn. He and his wife were a very virtuous couple, well 
stricken in years, and childless. An angel appeared one evening to 
them and promised them a son, " who should be honourable according 
to God and man." This was Beuno, whom, as a boy, they instructed 
in the rudiments of the Christian religion, and afterwards sent to S. 
Tangusius at Caerwent . Af ter some time Bugi was taken ill of a hopeless 
disease, and he sent for Beuno, for he could see that the end was near. 
" After receiving the Communion, making his confession, and rendering 
his end perfect, he departed this life " ; and Beuno planted an acorn 
beside his grave. 
. See further under S. BEUNO. 

S. BURIENA, Virgin, Abbess 

S. BURIENA was one of the Irish colony that came over to Cornwall 
at the beginning of the sixth century. Leland, in his Itinerary (iii, 18), 
says, " S. Buriana, an Holy Woman of Ireland sum tyme dwellid in this 

1 lolo MSS., pp. 108, 130. 

S. Buriena 341 

Ice and there made an oratory. King Athelstane going hence, as it 
said, unto Sylley, and returning made ex voto a College where the 
oratorie was." 

She is to be identified with Bruinech the Slender, " who," as the 
scholiast of the Martyrology of Donegal says, " is venerated in a town 
bearing her name, in England, on the 2gth of May." But this is inaccu- 
rate, the feast of S. Buryan being on the nearest Sunday to May 12. 
Leland calls her Bruinet, and says she was a King's daughter, who 
came to Cornwall with S. Piran. The forms Bruinet and Bruinech 
are mere variations of spelling that occur repeatedly, as Gobnat and 
Gobnach, Rignat and Rignach, Dervet and Dervech. The ech, or at, is 
a diminutive for female names, corresponding to oc for male names. 
So Brig becomes Briget. 

Bruinech was of illustrious birth. She was a daughter of Crimthan, 
a chieftain in Munster, grandson of Aengus Mac Nadfraich who had 
been baptized by S. Patrick. Her father Crimthan was of Magh Trea, 
probably Ard Trea, near Lough Neagh in Deny. She was a kinswoman 
of S. Cieran (Piran). The story of Buriena is found in the life of S. 
Cieran of Saighir. She embraced the religious life under Liadhain, the 
mother of S. Cieran, one of the first abbesses in Ireland. Liadhain had 
a religious house at Killyon in King's County. The damsel was slim 
in form, and so went by the name of Caol, the " Slender." She was 
also very beautiful. 

Dima, of the Hy Fiachai tribe in West Meath, fell in love with her, and 
carried her off against her will, with the assistance of his clansmen. 
The wrath of S. Cieran was kindled, and he sped after the ravisher to 
demand her back again. Dima refused to restore her. " Never," said 
he, " till I hear the cuckoo call at day-dawn and arouse me from sleep." 
It was winter time, and a deep snow lay on the ground, and crested 
the castle walls. As the gates were shut, Cieran and his companions 
had to spend the night in the snow outside. They passed it in prayer. 
Lo ! next morning a cuckoo 1 was perched on every turret of the 
chieftain's castle, uttering its plaintive call. Surprised and alarmed 
this marvel, Dima released the maiden. 

Putting aside what is fabulous in this story, we see the venerable 

int's enthusiasm for the protection of innocence. 

What actually took place was that Cieran " fasted against" Dima. 

is was a practice among the Irish sanctioned by law. When one who 
s aggrieved was unable by force to obtain redress, he went to the 
r of the aggressor and remained there exposed to the inclemency 

The word is " cuculus." In the Irish version it is that for a heron or stork. 

Lives of the British Saints 

of the weather, and refused all food, till he died. As this would entail 
a blood feud, the wrongdoer generally yielded. 

When, in the twelfth century, the Life of S. Cieran was re-written, the 
editor could not understand the practice, which had long ago been 
abandoned, so he invented the story of the cuckoo to give point to the 
incident, and to account for the surrender of Dima. 

As soon as Bruinech had been released, Cieran took her back to his 
mother at Killyon. 

After a few days the chieftain repented of having released the girl, 
his passion was not overcome, -and he returned to the convent to again 
carry her off, protesting that she was his wife; and that he had a right 
to reclaim her. In her fright Bruinech fainted, and Dima was shown 
her lying unconscious. He stormed at Cieran, declared that the Saint 
had killed his wife, and threatened to drive him out of the country. 
Cieran replied, " Thou hast no power over me. Thy strength is but 
a vain shadow." 

According to the legend, at this juncture news arrived that Dima's 
dun was on fire ; that is to say, the wooden and wickerwork structures 
within the fort were blazing. At the tidings, the chief hastily left the 
convent, in hopes of rescuing his child and some of his valuables from 
the flames. 

It is not difficult to read between the lines of this narrative. Brui- 
nech was well connected. Indeed, her kinsman, Carthagh, a turbulent 
youth, was a disciple of Cieran at Saighir. The family of Crimthan 
was not likely to brook the indignity of the rape. Carthagh probably 
led a party of the clansmen, as well as retainers of the abbey, against 
Dima's fortress, and set it on fire. However brought about, 
Dima was completely humiliated, and surrendered himself and tribe in 
subjection to Cieran and his coarbs of Saighir. 

We cannot tell when Cieran passed into Cornwall ; when he did he 
took with him his old nurse Cuach, and his young pupil Bruinech. 

Nothing is recorded of the acts of S. Buriena in Cornwall. Her 
settlement must have been of considerable importance. It had a 
sanctuary, which, with its oratory, remains about a mile south-east of 
the parish church that bears her name, beside a rivulet, on the farm 
of Bosliven. Probably popular veneration attached to this place long 
after the transfer of the church, for it excited the rage of Shrubsall, 
one of Cromwell's officers, and he almost totally destroyed it. Ros- 
carrock says that in his day the old church was called Eglis-Burien. 

The day of S. Bruinech in the Irish Calendars is May 29, and this 
indeed is the day marked as that of S. Buriena in Wilson's English 
Martyrology of 1608, and by FitzSimons in his sixteenth century 

S. Byrnach 343 

Iendar. But the Exeter Calendar gives as her day, May I, and the 
ist at Bury an is on 0. S. May Day, i.e. eleven days after May i. 
In the second edition of his Martyrologium Anglicanum Wilson arbi- 
trarily inserted her on June 19, but in the first edition correctly on 
May 29. Sir Harris Nicolas, in his Chronology of History, follows Wilson's 
second edition, and gives June 19. Dr. Oliver, in his Monasticon 
Exoniense, gives June 4 as her day, but in his Supplement corrects this 
to May i. 

Her death probably took place about 550. 

In art she would be represented as an Irish nun in white, with a 
cuckoo, or, better still, a heron, on a tower, at her side.