Cambria Sacra
content="Cambria Sacra">



By Rev. LOUIS N1SDELEC, O.C. 1879




Summary op the History op Religion in Britain, from the
Introduction op Christianity, down to the Arrival of
St. Germanus, as the Champion op Truth against
Pelagian ism.

Britain described first by the pen of a Roman General —
Customs and civilisation of the Britons — Bold horsemen —
Religion represented by Druidism — Its organisation — The oak
tree and the mistletoe — Duration of the Roman occupation—
Its influence on the natives — Introduction of Christianity —
Contrast between the military conqueror and the peaceful
messenger of the Gospel — St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Joseph of
Arimathea, Bran, Claudia, and Pompon ia Grascina — Inter-
course of nations created by the wide-spread Roman Empire a
means in the hands of Divine Providence for the propagation*
of the Gospel — Second and third centuries — King Lucius — His
family — Sends Ambassadors to Pope Eleutherius — His con-
version, and that of his subjects — A Hierarchy established —
The names of Churches built in Britain under Lucius — His
death and burial in Gloucester — St. Mellon — First Bishop of
Rouen — The first nine persecutions against flic Church not
carried out in Britain — Publication of the tenth persecution —
Constantins puts his household to the test — St. Alban, the-
first British martyr— SS. Aaron and Julius, martyrs at
Caerleon, on the river Usk — Coustantius on his death-bed, at
York, foretells better days tor the Christians — Constantine
Emperor — St. Helena — British Bishops assist at various
Catholic Councils ou the Continent — St. Ursula and her
companions Martyrs — Pelagius, or Morgan — Palladios in r
Ireland and Scotland — St. Patrick — St. Germanus and Lupus
— A few observations on the fall of the Roman Empire.

(Page 1 to 49.)


The Cambro -Britons and the Papacy.

The history of the British Church, confined to the western
part of the island, from the days of Germanus down to St.
Augustine — In the fifth and sixth centuries Britain, and
Cambria in particular, produced a legion of saints, whose
history is not generally known — Dubricius, Cadoc, Illtyd, and .
others at the head of this glorious epoch — A visit to LlandafF
Cathedral — Its history by the Verger — Wrong notions of the
public at large respecting the early Cambrian Church — The
Britons and the Papacy — Pope Eleutherius — British Bishops at
the Council of Arles, in 314, at the end of which a Synodical
Letter was sent to Pope Sylvester, requesting him, as he had
universal jurisdiction, to extend the decrees of Arles to the
whole Church — The first Bishops of LlandafF gave an account
of the state of their diocese to the Holy See — Councils of Brefi
and Caerleon approved by Borne — Howell Dda, the Justinian
of Wales, goes with hfe Code to Pope Anastasius — St. Kenti-
gern lays his scruples concerning his consecration before St.
Gregory — Pilgrimages to Rome frequent — St. Cadoc — Gildas’s
present of a bell to the Pope — Extraordinary privileges granted
to the Pope by the Welsh laws — St. Augustine and the British
Bishops — The British Church, although disobedient, never
ceased to acknowledge the supremacy of Rome — A similar
misunderstanding between St. Patrick and the Church in the
South of Ireland— Wilfrid and Coleman — Urban, Bishop of
LlandafF in the twelfth century, writes to Pope Calixtus II.
that his See ever acknowledged the supremacy of Rome —
Catholic Brittany converted to the Catholic faith- 'by British
# bishops and monks — Unity of faith and religion an idle dream
without the Papacy — As a citizen, the modem Briton respects
authority ; as a Christian, he acknowledges none — The ancient
Cambrian belle and the Pope. (Page 50 to 90.)


The Holy Eucharist. — Confession.

Belief of the Cambrians in the Holy Eucharist both as a«.
Sacrament and as a Sacrifice — In their eyes the most exalted
dignity ou earth was that of the Priesthood — Gildas rebukes .
some of the clergy for not celebrating Mass often enough — The
Britons and the Altar cannot be disconnected — St Samson,
when leading the life of a hermit, joined his brethren every
Sunday for the celebration of the Mass — St. Cadoc of.'
Llancarvan killed by the Saxons whilst celebrating Mass — St.
Winefred slain on the threshold cf a church whilst the Holy
Sacrifice was being celebrated — Welsh Princes on their knees
before the Altar — The Altar of Sacrifice stripped and the
Church closed — Its effeot upon the people — The Judges, on
their appointment, required to take the oath during Mass — A
woman bringing a suit as to the paternity of a child has to
swear before the Blessed Sacrament — The informer taken to
the church by a priest, and there cautioned against peijury —
The Indian's respect for the Catholic Altar — Legal punishment
of sacrilege — Communion at the hour of death a general
eustom amongst the Welsh — Geraint and St. Teilo — The priest,
whilst travelling to a sick call, cannot by law be a trespasser —
To be deprived of Communion considered a great punishment
— According to the Code of Howell Dda, a child is to go to
Confession at seven years of age — A bishop, by privilege, the
confessor of a king — Maelgon's instructions to his soldiers
concerning St. Cadoc, his confessor — Unreasonable objections
against this admirable institution of our Lord — Revival of
Confession in the Church of England in our days.

(Page 91 to 121.)


Piety to tiie Dead.

Piety to the dead a sacred and general custom in Britain —
The Welsh anxious to be buried by the walls of a church or a
monastery — The devotion for the dead exemplified in Brittany,
which received its customs from Britain — St. Cadoc made
pilgrimages for the souls of his departed relations — Prayers for
the dead constantly mentioned in Charters — The Kings of
Glamorgan very particular on this point — The murderer
praying at the grave of his victim — Charter of Gwereck, Duke
of Brittany, to St Ninnoc, a Welsh nun — Piety to the faithful
departed an act of gratitude and justice — Piety to the departed
reflected in the Celtic tales — St. Augustine, the great African
Bishop, in his book entitled “ Confessions,” requests the reader '
to j5ay for his relations — The writer makes a similar request.

(Pago 122 to 146.)*


Saints Honoured and Invoked in the British Church.

Doctrine of the Council of Trent on the subject — The lives
of saints written and read for public edification — Beautiful aud
original sentiments emanating from the pen of the Biographer
of St. David, in concluding the life of that saint — The names
of saints bestowed on towns, villages, vallovs, and mountains,
both in the land of their birth and that of their labours —
Pilgrimages to churches- dedicated to saints — Custom o&
settling differences at their tombs — King. Arthur, at the battle
of Badon, invokes the blessed Virgin — Popular tales convey,
the same custom — The names of. Saints invariably mentioned
in Charters — Pope Honorious II., in his rescript to Urban,
Bishop of Llandaff, uses the same form of expression — St.
Gunstan, patron of Armorican mariners, in his youth a poor
Sailor boy, invoked by the mariner — The confidence of our
forefathers in the intercession of saints was often a deduction
from miracles witnessed in their lifetime — Ancient British
Hymns to St. Curig and St. Julitta, republished by the Welsh
MSS. Society — A double hope is entertained by the writer that
in course of time the Festivals of the British Saints will be
revived in our Missal and Breviary, and that converts to the
Church, in their acts of donation for religious purposes, will
again make use of the old phraseology, so touching and
Catholic. (Page 147 to 170.)


Monastic Life.

Christian perfection consists in the love of God and of our
neighbour— The practice of the Evangelical Counsels pointed
out by our Lord as the surest road to arrive at that love —
Religious communities in the Church from the earliest ages of
Christianity, in the East and West — Monastioism in Britain,
and especially in Cambria — Monasteries numerous — The
cloister finds recruits in every class of society — Number of
monks in three princely families of South Wales in the fifth
century, as an illustration of public opinion in those days —
Numerical strength of some monasteries in Wales — Some enter
the cloister when young, others in their old age — St. Ninnoc —
Her family and birth — Her intended marriage — Stratagem she
used to obtain the consent of her parents to become a nun —
Her departure for Brittany — Tewdrig, King of Glamorgan,
becomes a hermit at Tintem — The Cambrians force him out of
his cell to lead them, to battle against the Saxons — His death
— St. Suliau— Runs away from home — His speech to his
father’s messengers — trials from his sister-in-law for refusing to
marry her — Legend of St. Efflam and Honora — Like St.
Alexius, Efflam leaves his wife on the night of their marriage —
Honora follows her husband to Brittany, and there becomes a
nun — St. Patern, a mere boy, wishes to follow his father to tho
cloister — Sent to Cardiganshire — The family of Hoel, the first
Armorican King, enter religion whilst residing in Cambria —
The hermit and the Cenobitcr— Diary of the various exorcises
in a cloister — Continual public prayers in the great. British.
monasteries — Extraordinary devotion in Lent — Revival of.
Monasticism in Britain — It cannot be uprooted.

(Page 171 to 220.)


The Saints and Supernatural Events.

The saints endowed with supernatural power in the East as,
well as m the West — Difference of opinion as to the authen-
ticity of this or that particular miracle — St. Dubricius is.
favoured in a vision with the designs of Almighty God on St.
Samson — Visions of St. Patrick in relation to Ireland —
Tugdual commanded by an angel to cross over to Brittany —
The same command given to St. Samson — Apparition of the
dove as a mark of the presence of the Holy Ghost — The angel
at the hour of death — Vision, of St. Keyna — Death of Paulus
Aurelianus — St. David warned of the exact day of his death —
St. Kentigem sees the soul of David taken up to heaven —
Prophecy of St. Kentigern concerning the Anglo-Saxon
race — Advico of St. Gildas for the obtaining of the gift of
prophecy to the Bards of Britain — The saints cured various
infirmities, enumerated in the hymn to St. Armel — Privatus*
wife and daughter cured by St. Samson — St. Maglorious’ reply
to a Breton Prince — The miracles of St. Ninianus, in Scotland
— The saints in connection with wild beasts and the dragon —
The saints and the devil — St. Gunstan and the devil — Sacred
Wells — Sacred springs spoken of in Holy Writ and in early
traditions — St. Meen — St. Tailors well— St. Winefride’s well.

(Page 221 to 261/),


A fjbw. Observations on the Services Rendered to Society,
by the Early British Monks.

Unfairness of modern opinion in reference to Religious
Orders — Spiritual and corporeal works of mercy — Superiority
of the former over the latter — Missionary works of the Cambro-
British monks — St. Patrick and St. Brieuc disturbed even in
the cloister by their zeal for the salvation of souls — The
voyage undertaken by St. Malo in search of the Fortunate
Islands, in order to convert their inhabitants to the faith of
Christ — Pedrog’s journey, for the same purpose, to far-distant
India — St. Cadoc's travels to Scotland and Brittany-^—St.
Maglorius in his old age wavers between the solitary and the
active life — Bishops, in the early Celtic Churches, generally
choson from monasteries — Provisions by which monasteries
secured attention to tho spiritual welfare of the districts
surrounding their bouses — Poetry and numbers made use of;
by British missionaries in the instruction of thd peoplfc—
Example of this system of teaching by numbers — The
monastery a place of refuge in time of distress — Extraordinary
privileges granted to St. David by his countrymen — Minute
description of the same in the “ Liber Landavensis ” — St.
Meen, the prince, and the prisoner — Light-houses built and
maintained by monks — All necessaries of material life pro-
duced within the monastery — Perfection and energy of
monastic farming operations. (Page 262 to 288.)


Dubricius, First Bishop of Llaxdaff.

Dubricius at the head of a great period in the history of
Britain — His birth — State of Britain at the time — Dubricius
consecrated Archbishop of Llandaff by St. Germanus —
Antiquity of Llandaff — Generosity of the Cambrians to
religion — King Meurig, of Glamorgan — A few remarks on the
leading characteristics of British Charters — Promulgation of
the Charter of Meurig — Procession along the banks of the
rivers Taft' and Ely — Work of Dubricius in South Wales —
Education his speciality — In his days a great number of
women entered the cloister — Solemnity of taking the veil- —
Dubricius transfers his See to Caerleon — Coronation of King
Arthur in that city by the Archbishop — Speech of Dubricius
at the battle of Badon — The Council of Brcfi — Dies at Bardsey
Island — The relics of St. Dubricius removed from Bardsey
Island to Llandaff — The writer’s appeal to the public for help
to build a church between the rivers Taff and Ely.

(Page 289 to 523.)


St. Teilo, Second Bishop of Llandaff.

How the biographer commences the Life of St Teilo — His
birth and education — Teilo, David, and Padern at Ty-gwyn ar
Taf — Trial of their virtue — Pilgrimage to Jerusalem — Teilo
elected to the See of Llandaff — The yellow plague — Emigration
to Brittany — On his way through Cornwall, Teilo receives the
oonfession of Geraint, a Prince of the province — Remains iu
Armorica for seven years, during the greater part of which
time he leads the life of a religious — Returns to Llandaff —
Fulfils a promise made to Geraint, by visiting Cornwall and
preparing him for death, — Teilo reorganises his diocese —
During a battle he prays, like Moses, that his countrymen
may obtain a victory — Miracles performed by St. Teilo— His
death at an advanced age — Dispute about his place of burial —
The name of Teilo given to localities both in Wales and
Brittany — “The Liber Landavensis ” called “The Book of
Teilo.” (Page 324 to 350.)^


Saint Oudoceus, Third Bishop op Llandaff.

St. Oudoceus a Breton by birth — On the death of St Teilo-
he is elected by the people as his successor in the See of
Llandaff — His administration — Councils held under his Epis-
copacy — State of the country — Oudoceus and the three
Chieftains — Measures taken by Oudoceus before pronouncing
sentence of excommunication — Meurig resists for two years —
Morgan submits at once — Gwardnaeth sent to Brittany
— Oudoceus undertakes a journey to Rome — Towards the end
of his days he retires into solitude— Comparison between him
and St. Ambrose of Milan. (Page 351 to 375.)


St. Cadoc, Founder of Llancarvan.

Family of St. Cadoc — Baptised and educated by Tatliai, at
Caer-went — Contrast between the monastery and the home of
the chieftain — Cadoc departs from home — The Swine-herd and
Cadoc — The uncle and the nephew — Foundation of Llancarvan
Monastery — Travels of Cadoc — Induces his father and mother
to leave the world — Cadoc and the princes — Maelgwyu and
the Abbot — King Arthur and Cadoc — Life of the founder of
Llancarvan during Lent — Leaves Llancarvan — Departing
advice to his brethren — His death — Cadoc as a Fabulist — The
man who killed his greyhound — The old woman and the yarn,
a lesson on unity amongst brethren — The Cambrian maiden
who allowed hersdf to be painted — Religion painted to suit
interests and prejudices*— A visit to Llancarvan in 1878.

(Page 376 to 416.)


St: Illtyd the Knight.

Illtyd a name held in veneration by the Celtic traditions —
Birth and early life — Came over to Britain as a soldier —
Casual meeting of Cadoc and Illtyd at Llancarvan — The latter
resolves to leave the world — The step rendered difficult by the
fact that he was married — His wife consents to his dedicating
himself to the religious life — Illtyd a hermit — Protects a stag
against Merchion and his huntsmen — Impression made by the
hermit on the Cambrian chieftain, who grants a large tract of
land to the recluse — Dubricius and Illtyd — Antiquity of.
Lantwit-Major — University of Illtyd in that locality becomes
the greatest scat of learning in Britain — The system of educa-:
tion at Lantwit made manual labour obligatory — Illtyd visited
by his wife, Trynihid — Refuses to see the lady — Persecutions
fiorn the agents of his benefactor, Merchion — Illtyd secretly
leaves his brethren — His retreat being discovered, he is forced
to come back to Lantwit — The latter end of his life veiled in
obscurity. (Page 417 to 445.;


St. David, the Patron of Wales.

David the popular name iu Cambria — King Arthur and
David contemporaries — Birth of the saint attended by extra*
ordinary phenomena — Foretold to St. Patrick in a vision—
David at Lautwit-Major — His mother retires to a convent in
Brit tauy— David restores sight to his old Principal — Pilgrim-
age to Jerusalem — St. David at Glastonbury — Restores the
first church built in Britain — Burial of King Arthur in that
locality — Monastic life of David — The rule of St. David — The
Council of Brefi — David absent in the beginning — On his way
to Bred restores to life a youth, who becomes bis acolyte
during the Council — St. Dubricius resigns — David chosen to
be his successor — Puts into canonical form the detrees of
Brefi — Another Council at Caerleon — Both sent to Rome for
approval — Spirit of that legislation reflected in the subsequent
customs of Wales — The Archiepiscopal See removed from
Caerleon to St. David — The Patron of Wales and miraculous
wells — Ills death — Great confidence of his countrymen in his
powerful intercession in heaven — The three first days of March
kept holy in Wales — The finest church in the Principality
erected to the memory of David. (Page 446 to 479.)


St. Samson, Archbishop of D6l, Brittany.

Samson’s parents twice before the altar, once on their
marriage day, after, on their taking the monastic habit — Samson
a child of prayer — Education entrusted to Illtyd, who pro-
phecied his future career — Strong faith of Samson — Power of
the sign of the Cross — Embraces religious life — Father and
mother at first rather reluctant — His exemplary life — Hatred
borne to Samson by two nephews of Illtyd — His residence at
Barry Island, near Cardiff — Visits his sick father — The result
of this visit — The entrance of father, mother, uncle, and aunt
into the cloister — Becomes Abbot of the convent at Barry Island
— Visit to Ireland — Retires into solitude — Ordered by a Synod
to give up this kind of life — Consecrated Bishop — Circum-
stances connected with the event — Samson’s departure for
Brittany — Delayed in his voyage— A Pagan feast and the
Missionary — Leaves his father, Amon, behind — Meeting of
Pit vat os and Summon on Ihe shores of Brittany — Samson and
the Frank King — Dol and Tours — Episcopal work of Salmon
—His death — Heavenly melody heard ar his funeral — tiewn>e
of Lis wonderful career — Extraordinary supernatural assist-
ance he received from his guardian augel. (Page 480 to 516.)


St. Paulus Aurelianus, or Paul de Leon.

Early tendency of young Aurelianus to ascetiscism — Leaves
Lantwit-Major, with the consent of Illtyd, at sixteen — The
British saints models of temperance — Beginning of missionary
life— First appearance of the angel bidding Paul to leave his
country — His arrival at Ouessant, an island off the coast of
Franco — Strange ideas about this island in Pagan times —
Landing on the shores of Armorica — Aurelianus and the wild
beasts — Arrival of the British colonists at Batz — A local
Prince becomes their benefactor — The people want Paul to be
consecrated Bishop — Stratagem resorted to on the occasion —
Paul at the court of the Frank King — Return to Armorica —
Episcopal career — The Bishop and the hermit — Paul and
Tanguy, guilty of the murder of a beloved sister — The uncle
and his nephew, Jovin — Paulus Aurelianus in his old age —
Bis death — Contention concerning the place of his burial —
Occismor, the cradle of the British race in Armorica, forgotten
— Replaced by the small town of St. Paul de Leon — Beautiful
cathedral erected to his memory — Chapel built in the locality
by Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, in thanksgiving for her
safety from a storm. (Page 517 to 558.)

St. Gildas the Historian.

Early Life — Suraamed the “Aquarius,” or “Water Drinker,”
by the students of Lantwit-Major — Visits Ireland — Missionary
life throughout Britain— Gildas sails across to Brittany —
Gildas and the Lady Tripbinia — Various monasteries built by
Gildas — W arned by an angel of the day of his death — Orders
iis body to be thrown into the sea — Gildas as a writer —
Motives which induced him to take the pen — Some extracts
rom his writings — Constantine rebuked — Maelgwyn — Certain
‘esemblance between St. Jerome and Gildas as writers — Britain
is described by Gildas — Although not more corrupt than other
lations of the period, stilj deserved the severe reproaches of
he saint — A priest’s duty not to connive at the crimes of
lations or individuals. (Page 559 to 584.)


On Thursday, the 17th of August, 1876, I visited Llandewi
Brefi, Cardiganshire, with the determination of not passing Lilnikwi
through that county without making a pilgrimage to the Brefi *
valley within which had been held the most important
ecclesiastical Council ever assembled in Cambria-

After walking eight or nine miles from Lampeter, along the
river Teifi, under a tropical sun, I reached the village about
mid-day.* Vehicles standing at the doors of public-houses, a
number of people strolling about in holiday dress, whilst others
pic-nic’d on the banks of the stream, now nearly dried up,
indicated that some festivity was being held. I was
informed that the annual meeting of the members of the
Church of England, honoured by the presence of the neigh-
bouring Protestant clergy, was the cause of this unusual week-
day gathering. The Church people mustered in fair strength,
and, as far as I could judge from those whom I addressed,
Welsh was the language of the district, for many could neither
speak nor understand any other.

I proceeded, in the first instance, to examine as closely as
possible the spot on which the Church stands ; dor the legend,
as told in the “ Lives of the Cambro-British Saints,” distinctly
states that the ground on which the sacred temple was after-
wards built had risen under the feet of St. David, so as to form
an improvised platform, from which he could address the
.thousands eager to listen to his eloquent teaching.

• There is a railway station about a mile from Llandewi Brefi.

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The plaee itself seemed to testify the truth of the legend. I
saw before me a mound of earth, rising gradually to a height
of twenty or twenty-five feet, comprising an area of about an
acre, on the summit of which stands the church, having the
tower in the centre, as usually found in Cambrian ecclesiastical

After looking into the church, half of which has been neat ly
restored, I sat down amongst the graves, to survey the neigh-
bouring mountains. With the aid of a powerful field-glass, I
examined a picturesque gorge, which is also spoken of in the
Welsh legends as having been cleft by Divine power. Some of
the peasantry made a free use of the glass, and pronounced it
to be the most ingenious invention ever made. No doubt it
was to them a novelty.

Whilst thus occupied, I was accosted by the vicar, who
kindly offered to become my guide, and directed my attention
to the Staff of St. David, as a stone of some height planted
before the door of the church is called. But when I drew his
attention to the fact that the mound whereon we stood tallied
exactly, in its formation, with the statement in the legend
which asserts that it rose miraculously under the feet of St.
David, the reverend gentleman remained silent.

Indeed, it is difficult to call in question that the power of
God is displayed at suitable times, and unwise to ridicule the
faith of our forefathers, who deemed it a duty they owed to
truth to hand down to posterity accounts of miraculous events.

I presented my card to the vicar, and in the course of the
day observed that I had become an object of interest, which I
attributed to the following circumstance : —

Several lectures on the first three Bishops of Llandaff and on
S3. Cadoo and Illtyd had been reported by the Western Mail,
and read in Cardiganshire as well as in the southern counties
of Wales.

The memory of ancient Welsh bishops and monks being
revived in a Catholic church, and their lives set forth before a
Catholic congregation as models for imitation, and that by a
Catholic priest, had sharpened public curiosity and attracted
attention to the lectures ; so, when it was perceived that the
name on the card corresponded with that of the lecturer on
the Welsh saints, in St. Peter’s Church, Cardiff, the discovery,
instead of estranging the reverend gentlemen from me, had the
effect of drawing us closer together.

In the evening I took tea in the Board-school, and, amongst
other queries from some of the gentlemen, I noted the

u Was I a Jesuit! ”

“ What could be my purpose in reviving the ecclesiastical
history of Wales 1 ” eta, etc.

“ Had I the honour to be a member of a society formed
ad hoc!”

“ Who supplied the funds 1 ” eta, eta

To the first question, I replied that I trusted I was a disciple
of Christ, but felt bound to state distinctly that I had not the
honour of being a member of that great society, so worthy of
praise, yet so much misunderstood and abused.

On the second point, I frankly informed my inquisitors that
in studying the religion of ancient Cambria, the object I had
in view was my own edification and that of i uy fellow-men.
Breton by birth, the history of Cambria offered me particular
attractions. We were first cousins. For years our forefathers
had stood together in politics and in religion. In the battle-
field they fought side by side, and in the church they
worshipped together round the same altar. The Catholio faith
had been planted on the shores of Brittany by Welsh bishops,
priests, and monks, and this the Bretons never forgot.

I was happy to certify by personal observation, that the old
Celtio tongue, spoken by Dubricius, Paulinus, and David at the
Council of Brefi, was still, after so many centuries, the language
of Welshmen; but I begged to express my heartfelt regret
that the same old tongue from the lips of their present
spiritual teachers no longer instilled the same one and
unchanging faith. In my tour through Wales, I saw temples
opposed to temples, creeds to creeds, and found religious
dissension eveiywhera Not a hamlet but was under the bane

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Love of the
for the
history of


xviii preface.

of two or three different religions, sometimes even more.
(General assent.) The grocer and the baker were dogmatising
against the minister of the Church of England — (assent) — and
they themselves are divided on ritualism, on the relations of
Church and State, and other serious subjects.

I had remarked that intelligent Welshmen throughout the
country bewailed the total disorganisation of the city of God
in the land, and yearned for the future day which would sweep
away religious anarchy and once more bring back peace and
union to Welsh homes. For myself, I fully shared this feeling,
and prayed to Almighty God to restore to a nation which had
lost it, unity of faith. Influenced by this wish, I had resolved
on disinterring the ancient Cambrian saints from their graves,
in the hope that the history of their saintly lives, and of the
religion they had taught, might help the work of restoring
the faith in Cambria*

There are very few people on earth more anxious to study
the records of their ancestors than Welshmen, or who listen
with a deeper interest to the recital of the teachings or doings
of their forefathers.

In the prospectus of the great Eisteddfod held at Wrexham,
in 1876, amongst the subjects on which papers were invited I
find the following, so characteristic of the Welsh mind : —

“Best compilation of historical facts connected with -the
early British Church : —

“ I. A compilation of the best evidences of proof of the
existence of a Christian Church in Britain within the first
century after its invasion by the Romans, during their stay,
and at the time when Augustino with his fellow-missionaries
arrived in Britain, in 597.

“ II. What information can be obtained of the places where
Christianity was established, whether by occasional congrega-
tional assemblies, the building of churches, or the foundation
of monastic institutions — more particularly in Wales ?

“ III. By whom and by what means was the first earliest
.introduction of Christianity effected? £15 15s v given by

Digitized by




*T. T. Griffiths, Esq., Wrexham, and a gold medal by the
committee (English).

Dr. Newman, whilst yet connected with the Church of
England, had planned out the hagiography of the ancient
British saints. The chronological arrangements are to be
found in his “ History of my Religious Opinions.” What a
pity that such a well -stored mind should not have enriched
English literature with a work on a subject of so much
importance !

Protestant writers who have dealt with this subject have not
done justice to the ancient British Church or to her saints.

Holding a different creed from our forefathers, they have
misrepresented their faith and ridiculed their religious customs,
or maintained a contemptuous silence in their regard. ^

These historians seem to have ignored that there is such a
thing as the science of the saints — clearly treated, defined^
divided and sub-divided, with as much method and order as
zoology, botany, and astronomy, medicine, and other sciences
expounded by our best professors. Perhaps in their lives they
never read St Basil, St Augustine, St. Theresa, Schram, Gorres,
and a host of other spiritual writers who, from St. Denis the
Areopagite, in the first century, down to Father Faber, have
told us what a saint is, and how Divine grace operates wonder-
fully in his soul.

I. A saint is a man who, whilst in the flesh, kept to per-

The science

fection the law of God, loved, according to His word, the Lord of holiness,
with his whole heart, his whole soul, his whole mind, and his
whole strength, and his neighbour as himself ! ! ! The saint
practised, to an heroic degree, the theological virtues — faith,
hope, and charity; and also the cardinal virtues — justice,
prudence, temperance, and fortitude.

It is not the power of performing miracles, or the gift of
prophecy, or extraordinary visions which constitute sanctity,
but the practice of the Gospel precepts and the following of
the law of God.

The tests by which we may know a saint are as follows : —

Did he believe in God, trust in Him and love Him above all

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things, and love his fellow-men as himself, as commanded by
Jesus Christ ? Can we trace in his life a ready will to give to
every man his due, a horror of any injustioe whatever 1 for
this is included in the virtue of justice.

A saint should be endowed with prudence — a science which
consists, as St. Basil tells us, in the true "knowledge of what we
should do in the various circumstances of life.

Did he, by temperance, guide his natural appetites and keep
them within the boundaries of the law of God 1

Did the virtue of fortitude strengthen his will in following
the right path through trials and dangers ; nay, instil into it a
certain instinct which would lead it to rush nobly to encounter
difficulties 1

We all know that dogmatic and moral theology fully treat
these subjects in all their details.

II. The saints, as a rule, practised the Evangelical Counsels,
as the best means to advance in the love of God and man,
which constitutes real sanctity. Obedience, poverty, and
chastity have been and are now the rules of monastic life, and
sum up the Evangelical Counsels. No sooner was Britain
converted to the religion of Christ than a large proportion of
her children embraced with enthusiasm the practice of these
counsels of the Gospel. This will be evidenced in these
pages. , In point of fact, all the early British saints wer»

For the information of such readers as may wish to study
this branch of divinity, I beg to refer them to “Ascetic
Theology, a Science which Explains the Practice of the
Evangelical Counsels/' * Hundreds of divines, from the first
to the nineteenth century, have treated this matter. The
learned Benedictine, Schram, is perhaps one of the best and
most methodical writers on the subject.

III. God is wonderful in His saints. These holy souls, pun
as crystal, powerfully reflected the light of the Holy Ghost
The grace of God lifted them to the supernatural regions, in
which they saw and heard things it is impossible to describe*

* k lftjgne*f < Dictionnair* d’Ajcdtisme.”

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aa St Paul said when he was caught up to the third heaven.
This branch of the science of the saints is called Mystic
Theology, and treats of visions, ecstacies, miracles, conflicts
with the devil, supernatural apparitions of our Lord in the holy
Eucharist and on the Cross, of the blessed Virgin, the angels,
or the saints, and other phenomena, such as walking on the
sea, like St. Peter, standing on fire without being burnt, etc.

Various works may be consulted on the matter, dating from
the earliest times of Christianity down to our own days.
Amongst these, Gtirres, a German writer, may be read with
interest. The French translation of this book is entitled
“ La Mystique Divine, Naturelle et Diaboliquc.”

This branch of saintly science is, I bog to observe, a science
of observation, consisting of facts, authentic, visible, and most
carefully examined.

As a rule, the servants of God made little of these extra-
ordinary heavenly gifts ; for their existence does not constitute
sanctity. Judas performed miracles, and yet betrayed his
Lord. Holiness, they all knew, consisted in keeping the law of
God. However, their Divine Master favoured them with these
supernatural graces for their own spiritual benefit and for tha^
of their fellow-men, and thus glorified His name.

The servants of God should, as a matter of course, reproduce
in their thoughts and in their actions the teaching of dogmatic
and moral theology, as well as the rules of ascetic divinity,
and also share in the extraordinary gifts which come under the
head of mystical theology. We cannot understand or me2t
with a saint of Jesus Christ disconnected with these sciences, for
he is a saint because he kept the laws of God and the counsels
of the Gospel, as far as possible. And the friendship which he
enjoyed with his Divine Master was often revealed by miracles
or other wouderful signs.

Writers who should ignore these principles are not qualified
for the great work of recording the actions and thoughts of the
noblest children in the Church of Jesus Christ; they are
utterly unable to do justice to the subject ; an illiterate man
might as well attempt to write on astronomy.

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In point of fact, we expect to find everything supematurar
in a saint. The end he aims at with energy and perseverance
is supernatural, and the help he relies on for success is the
heavenly grace of his Redeemer.

For the conquest of heaven, for the service of God and of
his neighbours, he waged war against irrational passions,
against the devil and the world.

A worldly-minded man pursues a temporal end, the saint an
everlasting one. To him every other aim is blindness and folly.
In all his undertakings he asks himself the question, Quid hoc ad
vitam octemam ? — “ In the other world, how far will this or that
action benefit my soul ] ” He fully understands, with the
author of the imitation. of Christ, that an humble peasant who
serves his Maker is wiser than the greatest philosopher.

The present age has witnessed the existence of men of
prodigious intellectual talents ; they opened our railways, laid
our telegraphs, both on land and under the ocean. Materially,
they deserve the title of benefactors of their fellow-men. They
are now dead and gone to another world, and enjoy not in this one.
the benefit of their inventions. If they neglected the salvation .
of their immortal souls and the service of God, they trifled
away the few days of their existence on earth.

The saints applied their minds to the study of the only
needful science, and threw the whole energy of their souls into
securing everlasting bliss.

If in the worldly man we admire persevering efforts,
continued labours, self-sacrifice, say, in winning victories on the
battle-field, realising a fortune, etc.,* let us not wonder at
finding the saints extraordinary in their labours and exertions
in the acquirement of Divine love. For the sake of their
Master they subdued their passions, devoted a whole life, in».
auffering, in mortification, and in self-abnegation, to benefit
their fellow-men.

Enlightened by the Holy Ghost and strengthened by His .
grace, they became perfect masters in the science of holiness
and practised it with unwonted zeal. This explains the
parting from father and mother, brothers and sisters, their.

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mode of living — so severe and painful to flesh and blood, and
at times incomprehensible to a material man.

The task of recording the memory of the Cambro-British
saints has been taken in hand by two classes of writers —
monks, in the first place, and, later on, modem authors have
devoted their talents to the subject. The former, as a matter
of course, were better qualified to depict in their true colours
servants of God, who, like themselves, had embraced the
religious state. A soldier is the fittest exponent of war, and
the best to teach us how battles are won and lost. An
engineer will be able to explain the mechanical arts with
greater clearness than any other man. To a chemist we look
for the best work on chemistry. By the same rule, any person
who wishes to understand what a saint is, must refer to those
who have studied and practised what holiness consists in,
through the writings of men who valued the spiritual life.

In monasteries great care was taken to keep alive the’
memory of those who had rendered themselves illustrious in
the service of God and religion. Their lives were set forth as
an example. Such of the brethren as possessed talent as
historians were directed to carefully note down their actions,
and these records were read to the community on particular
occasions, such as their anniversaries.

The monks were eminently men of faith, and lived in an age
when society at large could boast of being untainted by the
infidelity and materialism which at present prevail. Thus,
men of faith, of hope, and of charity arc reproduced in their
writings; men w T ho, moulded in the spirit of the Gospel, were
poor in spirit and meek ; who lamented the days of their
banishment in this world, because they looked forward to a
country where they would become ennobled in the company of
Jesus Christ. Men who saw Cnd because of their purity of
heart — who, with courn gc and patience, suilered persecution
for justice sake.

At times, however, the monastic hagiogmphers have fallen
into exaggerations on the subject of miraculous events. It
mast be admitted that in several instances those recorded;

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Two classes
of wi iters.



were not well authenticated. Popular opinion in those days ofT
faith was easily deceived, through the fact of spurious or
imaginary supernatural events being mixed up with real
miracles, which were or could not be denied as havings
been performed by the saints. Some hagiographers have,
no doubt, overstepped discretion in stating as facts events
which could not be proved to have taken place. Perhaps such,
writers would have acted more judiciously in bringing out the
virtues of the servants of God.

In reference to supernatural occurrences, some Protestant,
historians exhibit an utter, and we may say deplorable,
scepticism. They even brand hagiographers with the stigma<
of ignorance and superstition, terms which they constantly
apply to the monks, simply because they record miracles,
apparitions of angols, celestial visions, etc.

These gentlemen must have read the Bible, and, no doubt,
believe in Holy Writ. Now, the Old and the New Testament
abound in narratives of supernatural intercourse between heaven
and earth. In both Testaments the angels are continually
spoken of as descending from heaven on special errands to-
Moses, to the Prophets, and to the Apostles. The devil
tempted our Redeemer in the desert, and an angel appeared
to Him on the eve of His death. They delivered St. Peter
from gaol, and visited St. Paul. The Prophets of old
performed miracles, so did the Apostles. Are we, in order to-
gratify our views or indulge our. prejudices, to. fix a> limit to-
the power; and bounty of God 1

Supernatural events can stand the test of examination ; they
are facts, often witnessed by thousands of spectators, both
friends and foes, and all are constrained to admit their truth.
The circumstances, places, and persons concerned in them are
named in detail, and the events are frequently commemorated
by building churches and granting charters, and are handed,
down to posterity by hymns, traditions, or local religious^.
festivals. In a word, such events bear within ^themselves the
evidence of their having taken place. Are monks, then,
superstitious or ignorant because they have recorded them %.

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XI y

Perversity or prejudice, unfortunately, often veils, truth.
The Jews could not deny the miracles of our Lord, yet they
resorted to any subterfuge rather than acknowledge His.

These somewhat severe but truthful strictures cannot be-
applied to the Welsh Archaeological Society. These gentle-
men have published the MSS. as they found them, leaving
everyone to form his own opinion on the subject.

The Rev. Professor Rees, M.A., Oxford, in his “Essay on
the Welsh Saints,” dedicated to the Marquis of Bute, 1836,
may be taken as a fair specimen of this class of writers. A
great deal of information is to be gleaned from his work by
the student of history, who will find in its pages many useful
notes on the illustrious champions of Christ in Britain.

This book may be compared to the official registers preserved
in the sacristies of our churches, which duly record, day by
day, the birth, parentage, death, and, it may be, marriage of
the inhabitants of the parish. This is the characteristic of the
“ Essay on the Welsh Saints,” and in the capacity of a registrar
its author has rendered service to history.

But any person who may wish to derive edification from the
religion, faith, and spiritual life of the early British saints, will
but waste his time by reading the essay. The science of the
saints is not familiar to the author, who even professes to lay
it aside as superstitious and monkish.

One might have expected more religious reverence and a
deeper instinct of faith in a clergyman of the Church of
England and a distinguished, professor of St Davids College,
Lampeter. The fact of a minister of religion being unable to
appreciate, instinctively, nobility of soul in men who reproduced
in their lives the eight beatitudes, and practised every precept
and counsel of the New Testament of our Lord, reveals,,
unfortunately, a degraded state of Christianity.

The learned Professor of Lampeter allows himself to be
drawn away from historical truth by his religious prejudices..
If there be anything historically true, it is the fact that the
early Christians in Britain were Catholics to the back bone.

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Yet, this the Rev. Professor Rees repeatedly denies, without?
bringing any telling argument to support his assertions. The
following is amongst the strongest he adduces : that Britain
received the faith from the East ; from this he draws the
broad conclusion that the Britons had no connection with the
Papacy of Rome. What docs all this come to? Nothing.
Italy, France, and Spain received the Christian religion from
the East. Our Lord Himself and all His apostles belonged to
the East ; St. James, of Spain, came from Judea ; St. Peter; of
Rome, from Gallilee ; St. Denis, of Paris, from Athens ; yet all
these were Catholics, like St. Joseph of Arimathea, the founder,
it is believed, of Glastonbury Abbey, in England. The same
professor advances other erroneous assertions on the Real
Presence and the Invocation of Saints — doctrines of the Gospel
which formed a part of the religion of ancient Britain. These
subjects are dealt with in Chapters III., IV., and Y., to which.
I beg to refer the reader.

The study of the ancient Hagiography of BWtain presents a
great many difficulties to overcome. The old manuscripts are
to a certain extent lost, or not yet published in such a form as
to make them accessible to the public. The Welsh
Archaeological Society has rendered a great service to history
in this respect, and spared no trouble or expense in bringing to
light the ancient records of the servants of God in the island
of Britain.

The society will, no doubt, do more in future. Where, for
instance, are the hundreds of Welsh saints whose names are
mentioned by Professor Rees ] the history of their lives must
exist somewhere — on the shelves of public libraries or in the
possession of private families.

In Brittany, Albert le Grand, a Dominican monk, and
Lobineau, a Benedict iue, have brought to light the MSS. of the
British saints who laboured and died in Armorica, and given
the names of the places where the MSS. are to be found. In
Ireland, the Rev. John O’Hanlon has undertaken a similar
Work. Even when we have the original of the ancient records
on our desks, all difficulties do not disappear. These lives, in.

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th» course of centuries, have so often been re-copied or
compiled, that chronological errors, defacement of names, and
inaccuracies of circumstances have crept in. The amanuenses
were not infallible, and seem, at times to have paid more
attention to calligraphy than to accuracy. There is sometimes
a difference of date, and circumstances connected with the life
of one saint are introduced into that of another. This kind of
study requires a great store of comparative judgment, and a
spirit of fair and loyal criticism. In the MSS. we find truth,
but it is covered with the dust of ages, which must be swept
away before it shines forth to us in all its brightness. The
patience and skill of an artist who has to re-colour an ancient
picture are required in such a work.

The following plan has been adopted in the classification of Plan
matters contained in this book : — hr th'o ed

The primary object I had in view was to revive the memory
of the illustrious servants of God, the pride of the British
Church in the fifth and sixth centuries. Before handling the
subject, I thought myself bound to place before the reader a
summary of the history of the Christian religion in Britain up
to that period. '

The fifth and sixth centuries formed the brightest era of the
faith amongst the pure British race. The bishops, abbots,
professors, and, w*e may add, many of the princes of that
period, by their holy lives and high cultivation, exercised a
wonderful influence over their fellow-men in their lifetime, and
after death commanded the veneration of succeeding

At the head of that period we find Dubricius, Cadoc, and
Illtyd, who left at their departure from this world a multitude
of servants of God as eminent as themselves, such as David,

Teilo, Samson, and others. Thus, a natural plan is already
traced out to any biographer or historian. I have somewhat
departed from chronological order by placing the lives of St.

Teilo and Oudoceus after that of Dubricius. I thought I
could not separate the three first Bishops of Llandaff, invariably,
placed side by side in the charters of their cathedraL

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Whilst perusing the ancient documents which contain the
lives of tlieso eminent servants of God, I noted down as I
proceeded some striking features of their religion and faith,
such as their ideas with regard to the organisation of the city
of God on earth, their firm belief in the doctrines of transub-
stantiation, practice of confession, piety towards the souls in
purgatory, invocation of saints, eta

My attention was drawn to these subjects by the repeated
assertions of modern historians, who persist in stating that
these doctrines never formed a part of the religion of the
ancient British Church. Three or four chapters are devoted
to the enlightenment of the reader on this point. Those
following deal with monastic life in Wales, and then come the
lives of the first three Bishops of Llandaff, those of St. Cadoc,
Jlltyd, St. David, and Samson, their disciples, and others.

I must apologise to the reader for all ^hort-comings in style,
and strongly appeal to his indulgence. I have handled in my
days too many languages to be master of any.

My mother tongue was Breton ; it carried my first prayer to
my Maker. My classical education was conducted in French.
At twenty, I acquired my first knowledge of English, on
English soil, and for about fourteen years expressed my
thoughta in that language.

Ordered to the island of Mauritius, although under the
English flag, French became once more the medium through
which I had to discharge the duties of missionary life — not to
mention the Creole language, a mixture of all the idioms of the
East, such as Tamul, Chinese, Malay, and African dialects,
condensed together in a French patois, enabling the various
nationalities of which this beautiful little island is [the centre
to understand each other.

In this Hagiography particular attention is given to place
before the reader a truthful and honest narrative, grounded
on facts and gleaned from ancient British and Armorican
documents. Imagination and rhetoric are discarded. Some-
times, however, the writer cannot help giving scope to his
feelings, as he dwells in admiration on those olden times ; for

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the coldest heart, when visiting Babylon, Carthage, Athens, or
places sanctified by religion, such as the Holy Land or Rome,
cannot remain insensible.

My task is simple; it is that of a spectator who looks
dispassionately on olden times and bygone events, as they roll
on before his gaze.

Perhaps this unpretending and short narrative may Induce a
more refined pen to supply a much-needed want — the revival
of the ecclesiastical history of the British race on a larger scale.

I beg to express my most sincere thanks to all those who
have encouraged me in this work — some by sympathy and
kind letters, others by co-operation.

I cannot forget the help I received from the Cardiff Press,
particularly from the Western Mail. This paper published in
its wide-spread columns the substance of twelve, lectures
on the Welsh saints given at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. The
South Wales Daily News reproduced those on the first three
Bishops of Llandaff, and sent one of its reporters to St. Peter’s.

As far as I could learn, these lectures, given to test public
opinion, were favourably received and extensively read.

In a town in the west of Wales, a desire was expressed that
what had appeared in the Western Mail should be reprinted in
the form of a small pamphlet; I discouraged the idea, by
stating that a work on the subject was about being published.

Clergymen of the Church of England, and gentlemen from
Swansea and other places, have expressed a similar desire.

Writers of periodicals, Government surveyors, whose
instructions are to collect, as far as they can, the historical
facts connected with the places they are surveying, have at
tiroes called on ma

Several of my brethren in the priesthood, wishing to lecture
on the ancient British Church in the winter season, wrote for

The Catholic authorities, Dr. Brown and Dr. Hedley, have
written encouraging letters, and some Cardiff gentlemen have
been so kind as to read over some of my manuscripts.

The writer concludes this preface by declaring that he is an

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admirer of the old axiom, “ Errare humanim e$t, perseverure
diabolieum” It is easy to commit an error, although the
greatest care be taken to secure historical exactitude. This
observation applies not so much to leading facts as to matters
of detail.

It is the duty of any right-minded recorder to be ready to
acknowledge proved inexactitudes ; for it is not unlikely that,
although he has made a particular study of the subject he
handles, there may be others who possess a more extensive
knowledge on the same question. One who is not open to
conviction, shows evident signs of pride and obstinacy.

Canton, Cardiff, January \§th, 1879.

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On page 15, for legions and auxiliaries were constantly been,
-read being.

Page 49 : Senate of the Roman people, read Senate and
.Roman people.

Page 94 : For nunguam, read nvnquam.

Page 235 : On the first of May, read March.

Page 315 : The history of Bangs, read Bangor .

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Summary op the History op Religion in
Britain, from the Introduction op Chris-
as the Champion of Truth against

History fails to dispel the clouds that hang
over the infancy of Britain. Who were the first
settlers in the Island? How long after the
Deluge did the tide of emigration, constantly
flowing from the plains of Babylon, the cradle
of mankind, take to reach the British Islands, is

What route did it follow ? Was it along the
coast of the Mediterranean on the African shore,
and then through Spain and Prance ? Or, did
it slowly advance along the hanks of the Danube
and the Rhine till it reached Britain ? Or, was
the country invaded by two different columns,
one coming through the south, the other through
the centre or north of Europe ? Ancient records
do not make this clear ; nor does it come within
the plan of these pages to discuss the various
opinions on the subject.

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Britain The first description of the country, its customs
^*>edt>y an( j j aw8 (religious and civil), is due to the pen
a Roman of a Roman general, Julius Caesar.


When the first conqueror of Britain and his
legions took possession of the island, they found
it inhabited, from the shores of Kent to the
Mountains of Caledonia. The South Coast, front-
ing Gaul, was even densely populated.

The inhabitants were a hardy, bold, and
warlike race, ruled by several petty kings inde-
pendent of one another, a circumstance which
rendered the task of Caesar and his soldiers
rather an easy one. In the scale of civilization
they stood rather low ; and their dwellings,
clothing, and diet indicated a society in its
infancy. As the Romans made their way
inland, they found the dwelling-houses very
primitive and rude. A low stone wall supported
a conical roof with an opening at the top for
the exit of smoke and the admission of light.
Near their huts, palisades planted in the ground
formed an enclosure to protect their cattle from
marauders and wolves. The people, as a rule,
lived chiefly on the produce of the chase, as well
as on fruit and milk ; however, they cultivated
some narrow plots of ground round their habitation.

On the South Coast cultivation was in a more
advanced state. Here the Romans met with
some sumptuous mansions, groves, and orchards ;
and marl was used as a fertilizing agent in
agriculture. The science of extracting minerals

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from the ground and working them was known
and cultivated; though not to the same extent
as in our days, when the iron and coal of
England replenish all the markets of the world.

The dress of the natives was in keeping with
an infant state of society. Untanned skins and
cloth of their own manufacture covered their
bodies ; in the North, however, they were more
scantily clad. As with the present Aborigines
in the many islands of the PaciflcO cean, tattoo-
ing was a general and favourite custom.

Early trained to arms and hardships, the
British adults were fond of excitement, and
spent most of their time in campaigning or in
hunting. On horseback they could not be ex-
celled; for their feats of horsemanship astonished
even the Roman legionaries. Rushing at full
gallop on the declivity of steep hills, the Britons
had such command over their horses as to he
able to stop them almost in full career . 1 In
battle thev made use of chariots drawn hv two,
four, and even six horses; and could fight
standing on the poles of these chariots or on the
bare backs of their foaming steeds, with much
the same assurance as our modern circus riders.

Women followed their fathers or husbands
to the battle field, and by their gestures and
shrieks animated the combatants. This practice
seems to have been common to all Celtic races ;
for we read in the life of St. Patrick that he

(1) Sammes Britannia Antiqua.

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ed by

succeeded, although with difficulty, in persuading
the martial ladies of Erin that the excitements
and dangers of the battle field were not in
harmony with their gentle sex, and that Almighty
God had designed them to bring forth and rear
children for society, rather than to countenance
their slaughter.

The religion of the Britons was Druidism, and
their god and goddesses, with Celtic names, were
not dissimilar to the divinities in the mythology
of Pagan Rome. Traces of the primitive revela-
tions could be discerned in their theology. Thus,
they acknowledged the immortality of the soul,
and taught that beyond the grave rewards or
penalties awaited the departed spirits, according
as their lives on earth had been spent. In their
creed we also find that they believed that sins
and guilt were atoned for by the shedding of
blood ; and animals and even human beings were
sacrificed on their altars. When the country
was in great danger, the favourite victims chosen
to avert the evil genius were the assassins,
public malefactors, prisoners of war, or even
some relations . 1

The Druids were the ministers of this religion,
and formed a numerous and most influential
body. To keep up a certain hierarchical unity
in this privileged class, one of them was elected
Archdruid or High Pontiff, and resided either
in the Island of Man or that of Anglesey.

(1) Sammes, Britannia Antiqua.

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Once a year they met in public assemblies to
discuss scientific questions, or give their advice
on social or political matters ; for their influence
and authority were great and extensive. In
critical and grave circumstances their opinion
was asked for and invariably followed, for in
the opinion of their countrymen they possessed
two indisputable titles to respect ; they were the
ministers of the gods ; and, as a body, in learning
and the sciences had not equals amongst the
Britons. This good reputation had even crossed
the sea; in Europe the British Druid ranked
foremost in medicine, in natural science, and
magical arts ; hence their schools were not only
frequented by native students, but also by
foreigners from Gaul. Long was the course
of studies, extending over 15 or 20 years. At
a time when the art of writing was little known
and less practised, verses and numbers, to a great
extent, were the usual medium of communicating
knowledge, and of stamping it upon the memory.

The Celtic Dero (oak tree) was invariably the
natural temple, under whose wide-spreading
shade the Druids met for Divine worship,
sacrifice, and public deliberations. Hence
majestic long avenues of oak groves were com-
mon throughout the country. The mistletoe,
a parasite growing on apple as well as on oak
trees, was held sacred, and used not only as a
medical agent, but as an antidote against poison
and preserver from witchcraft and malice. On

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its discovery in a forest the circumstance was
followed by a religious ceremony. The most
honourable of the surrounding Druids, clad in
a white robe, ascended the tree, and cut off the
mistletoe with a golden knife. The sacred
branch was not allowed to touch the ground,
hut was received in the whitest of cloths by a
minister who stood under the tree. The ceremony
ended by the sacrifice of two heifers.

Such is the substance of what has been handed
down to us by Caesar and other historians of
ancient Britain's religious and social condition.

The Roman rule in Britain lasted about 500
years, that is to say, from the 55th year before
Christ to A.D. 411.*

Although naturally conservative and tenacious
of their own customs and language, the Britons,
no doubt, felt the effects of foreign influence.
The more polished manners of the conquerors,
their superiority in science and art, produced
no slight changes amongst these barbarians;
whilst their laws checked deeds and customs
peculiar to savage tribes. In this, the remotest
part of the empire, emperors and proconsuls
failed not to encourage and enforce, wherever
they could, the study of their national language.
Of course, Latin was to be used in all official
transactions and spoken by the invaders. If the
mass of the people tenaciously adhered to their
own idioms, the nobility, as a rule, learned Latin,

* Lingard, History of England.

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and prided themselves in speaking it with the
purest accent.

The civil and military administration of the
country was framed on the Roman model. The
island was divided into three parts, Britannia
Prima, Britannia Secunda, and Flavia Csesaris.

High roads, opened throughout the length and
breadth of the conquered land, placed it in com-
munication with the seat of government.

Along these high roads, fortresses constructed
from distance to distance, and garrisoned by
veterans or auxiliaries, insured the submission
of the Britons.

In her numerous colonies and stations, it was
the policy of Rome to allow her rule to be
shared by native potentates; thus the Herods
in the East, as we read in Holy Scripture,
retained the title of king. In Britain many of
the old chieftains, or petty kings, were left in
possession of rank and title as long as they did
homage to the supremacy of Rome, and brought
the annual tribute into her exchequer ; just the
same as the sovereignty of England is recognised
in our days by the Rajahs of India.

However, during the foreign occupation, a intro-
remarkable change was effected in the island, Christian-
by the introduction of Christianity. Before the ,ty '
last Roman soldier had embarked for Gaul,
another and more lasting rule had been esta-
blished in Britain, gradually, it is true, but
striking deep root in the minds of the people.

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the mili-
tary con-
and the
of the

The Master of that new empire was Jesus Christ
oi Nazareth, Son of the living God. In the
fifth century, as we shall see later on, Druidism
had faded away before the zealous and more
enlightened Disciples of the heavenly Creed,
and had lost its influence over the Britons. The
men of Christ, as the monks were called, occupied
the Roman fortresses, and took in hand the
education of the British youths. The Druids,
forsaken by the people, retired to the mountains
or lonesome islands ; and their order, unable to
recruit fresh subjects to replace those who died,
insensibly disappeared.

The old Celtic tongue, rich in figures, terse
and energetic in utterance remained; but it
conveyed new ideas on the Diety; its unity,
and the form of worship.

“God is wonderful in His Saints,” as the
Psalmist observes; by them he converted the
world. Pagan Rome was at one time the
Empress of the Universe, and, by the force of her
arms, ruled from the river Euphrates to the
Clyde in Caledonia ; her fleets held undisputed
sovereignty of the ocean, and, by her wealth,
she commanded supremacy in all the markets
of the world.f The humble and peaceful apostles
of Christ, without armies and fleets, but solely
by the persuasion of revealed truth, their edify-
ing lives, and untiring zeal, assisted by Divine
grace, brought all the nations of the world to bow

+ Godwin de Prasulibus.

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down their knees to Jesus of Nazareth, crucified
on Mount Calvary. Caesar took possession of
Britain at the head of 30,000 infantry and 2,000
horse. Eight hundred ships conveyed his legions
from the shores of Prance to the coasts of Eng-
land. Some humhle hut intrepid missionaries
unassisted, except by the grace of God, planted
the standard of the Cross in this land, and gained
its inhabitants to the religion of Jesus Christ.

Caesar and his legions have long since disap-
peared; they only exist in the pages of history ;
but the teaching and work of the Messengers
of the Son of God still remain alike in crowded
cities and remote villages.

As regards the introduction of Christianity
into insular Britian, the first questions naturally
enquired into are : — Who were the first Apostles age ‘
that taught the religion of their Divine Master •
in the land ? Who were their first converts, and
at what period were they gained over to Christ ?

The first century of the Christian era is sur-
rounded by dense clouds, and not much informa-
tion can be arrived at respecting it. In the
second, the horizon becomes clearer and docu-
ments more abundant. As we descend the stream
of time the dead come forth from their graves.

It is asserted by many ecclesiastical writers,
of no small repute, that St. Peter, the first
Pope, and St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles,
preached the Gospel in Britain. On one side,
there is nothing to prevent us from believing

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it ; on the other, we find no arguments strong
enough to prove, as certain, their presence in
this land. Both may have visited England, but
it cannot be satisfactorily ascertained. Peter
and Paul (especially the latter) were zealous,
active, and intrepid travellers ; when there was
a question of forwarding the interests of their
Divine Master, nothing could deter them. After
all, there were no insuperable barriers to check
their aspirations ; even in those days of slow
locomotion, a journey from Italy to Britain
could not occupy more than a month, for Dr.
Lingard observes that heavy goods, such as
metals (especially tin), were conveyed from
Cornwall to Marseilles in about thirty days. 1
Joseph xt is also asserted, by ancient monastical his-
the*. torians, that Joseph of Arimathea, who waited
on Pontius Pilate and claimed the honour of
burying, in his own family vault, the body of
bis crucified Master, preached the Gospel in
this country. Godwin, Protestant Bishop of
Llandaff, gives us an interesting dissertation on
the subject.*

Amongst other details he informs us that in
an old manuscript, preserved at the Vatican, it
is stated that Joseph of Arimathea was shipped
by the Jews in a decayed and leaky vessel, along
with Lazarus, Mary Magdalen, and Martha, and
sent adrift on the ocean. However, these victims

(1) Lingard, History of England, vol. 1.

(2) Godwin de Prosulibus.

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of Jewish bigotry and hatred were not deserted
by Divine Providence, which steered their frail
bark safe into the port of Marseilles in the
south of France. Thence Joseph came over to
Britain, under the following circumstances. A
certain disciple, named Philip, had often come
in contact with the Druids in Gaul, and from
them had learned that their Chief High Priest
dwelt in the great island in the north-west.
He thought it advisable to bring the light of
the Gospel into the very sanctuary of Druidism,
and carry on the work of conversion at head-
quarters. Joseph of Arimathea and twelve
others were chosen for this important under-
taking. The missionaries, on landing in Britain,
settled at Glastonbury (the Isle of Apples),
which was kindly bestowed on them by a

The earliest traditions of Britain fully coin-
cide on this point, and call this interesting spot
in Somersetshire the first ground of God; the
first grownd of the saints in England ; the rise
and fountain of religion in England ; the burying
place of the saints; the mother of the saints; they
also say that it was built by the very disciples of
our Lord . 1

Roman officers, whether military or civil, did
not disdain to intermarry with the races whom,
by the sword, they had conquered and made
subject to the senate and Reman people; nor

(1) Camden Britannia.

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do we read of any regulations issued by their
Governments forbidding such unions;, on the
contrary, they tended to cement friendship and
foster attachment to the new rulers. In the
East, Felix the Proconsul, to whom Paul ap-
pealed for protection, was married to Drusilla,
daughter of Agrippa; and in Britain, Constantius
Chlorus shared his destiny with Helena, the
mother of Constantine the Great.

British historians record with pride the con-
version of two ladies of British race, who thus
married — one a Patrician, the other a Roman
general. Their names are Claudia and Pomponia

Of Claudia little positive is known beyond her
nationality and her conversion to the Christian
Faith. This, however, is surmised : — That she
was daughter of Caractacus 1 (Caradoc), who for
nine years kept the invaders of his country at bay,
until at last, defeated and taken captive, he was
led in chains to Rome to adorn the triumph of the
conqueror on his march to the capitol. He had
thus to appear before Claudius and Agrippina,
with his wife, his daughters, and his aged father.
Bran. The Emperor behaved generously to his
prisoner, and gave him his liberty. However,
Bran and the rest of the family were kept as
hostages to answer for the fidelity of the pardoned
British patriot. In the course of time, Bran
became acqainted with the religion of Christ,

(1) Nicholl’s Antiquity of Wales.

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was baptised, and, when allowed to return to
His native island, landed in Britain a sincere
Christian . 1

As for Claudia, his granddaughter, after re-
ceiving the best education that could be imparted
to a patrician lady, she married into the sena-
torial family of Pudens. Her beauty, talents,
and the distant land from which she came, made
her such a favourite in Roman society, that even
poets deemed it their duty to celebrate, in their
verses, this much admired British lady. Martial
speaks of her thus : —

Though Claudia doth descend of British race,

Yet her behaviour’s full of grace ;

Her beauty far the Italian dames surpass,

And for her wit she may for Grecian pass.

However, it is not this worldly tribute of
praise which renders her memory interesting to
the Christian enquirer so much as her immediate
connection with the head of the Church.

The names of Peter and Pudens are inseparable.
Cornelius the centurion, who was the first Gentile
officer converted by St. Peter to the religion of
his Divine Master, belonged to this family, and
introduced his Apostolic teacher into the patrician
household of Pudens, whose guest he became in

(1) The Iolo manuscripts contains the following short notice in
reference to this point : Bran, the son of Llyr, was the first to

bring the Christian faith to this Island from Rome ; and is, therefore,
called Bran the Blessed. With him came Hid, an Israelite, who converted
many to the Religion of Christ. Eigen, the daughter of Caradoc (Caractacus),
son of Bran, married a chieftain named Sarllog . She was the first female
Saint of the Island of Britain. Iolo MSS., page 514.

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nia Gne-

Rome. The prince of the Apostles repaid his
hospitality, by winning to the faith of Christ
crucified, Pudens and his wife Claudia. The
holy sacrifice of the mass was offered under their
roof, and thus, in history, this senatorial mansion
is looked upon as the most ancient church in
Rome. The Cathedra Petri, or the chair of St,
Peter, in Rome, as it still exists, was the gift of
Pudens and his British consort Claudia. 1

Aulus Plautius, left hy Claudius at the head of
the Roman forces in Britain, married Pomponia
Graecina, believed to be also of British extraction.
On the return of her husband to Rome, where
he received a petty triumph, she followed him.
In this new Babylon, to her great sorrow, she
soon became acquainted with the vices, intrigues,
and scandal of the Palace, and of Roman society
at large. Disgusted with this degraded state of
society at court, she turned to the religion of
Christ, which was then beginning to attract
public attention in the capitol. This step was
the signal for trials and persecutions. Her re-
putation was attacked on all sides, and to such
an extent, that the family considered it their
duty to call her to account for her conduct
before a tribunal composed of her nearest rela-
tions; according to Roman custom, her own
husband presided at the examination. Amongst
many heads of accusations, the only one proved
to he true was the fact of her having embraced

(1) Cardinal Wiseman, Fabiola.

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a false superstition (the Christian faith), and
thus bringing disgrace upon the family.

However, her husband, Aulus Plautius, de-
clared her innocent, inasmuch as she was entitled
to liberty of conscience, and therefore free to
follow the religion she liked best . 1

Such are the scanty materials and somewhat
uncertain records handed down to us relative
to the introduction of Christianity into Britain,
its first propagators and followers. It is not
likely that such an interesting country as Britain,
one which held so high a position in the estima-
tion of Borne, should have been overlooked by
such zealous men as the Apostles.

The administration of the immense Roman
Empire required a well-organized system of
locomotion. Legions and auxiliaries were con-
stantly been moved from the East to the West,
and vice versa. The same may he said of the
almost innumerable civil staff employed by the
Imperial Government. A mass of men was thus
on the constant move, from one end of the world
to the other, as the exigencies of public service
required ; and fleets, day and night, crossed the
ocean, bearing to their respective stations the
servants of the immense Empire. To find a
parallel in our own days, we must visit the
Colonial and Indian Offices of Great Britain,
in London, and study its connection with the
British Colonies scattered all over the world. '

(1) Henrion Histoire Ecclesiastique,, Tome xi., page 862.

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The great Christianity had already many followers in

extent of * *

Roman this army of Pagan Rome ; and, wherever they

rule helps "

the pro- went, they propagated the name of Jesus of


of the Nazareth and His Divine religion. Por the

Gospels Christians were in earnest, and spared no

pains in forwarding the interests of their heavenly

Thus, the intercourse between various nation-
alities created by Roman ambition was a pro-
vidential means, made use of by the Church of
God, for disseminating the Gospel. The Christians
in a Roman legion, whether quartered on the
river Usk in Wales, in a fortress in Yorkshire,
or in any. other part of the globe, would erect
a Catholic altar for the holy sacrifice of the Body
and Blood of Jesus Christ.

However, through lack of trustworthy docu-
ments, we are unable to state precisely the ex-
tent of the Gospel’s propagation, or the proximate
numerical strength of the faithful amongst the
Britons, in the first century of the Christian era.

Second Let us now place before the reader a synopsis

Centuries of the work of the Christian Religion in Britain,
its progress, trials, and final triumph, down to
the days when Germanus and Lupus came over
as champions of Catholic truth against Pela-

In the second century, the Ecclesiastical
History of Britain becomes more diffuse and
precise. The country feels a certain pride in,
announcing to the world that the first crowned

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head who embraced Christianity and propagated
its doctrines amongst his countrymen, was by
birth a Briton.

The name of this king was Lucius in Latin,
Lewfer Mawr (the Great Brightness) in his
native language. He was the son of Coyle, a
British Chieftain, who, unlike most of his com-
peers, had willingly accepted the Roman yoke.
Coyle in his youth had been sent to Rome to be
educated, and on his return, had succeeded to
his father’s kingdom. During a long reign he
won the affection of his subjects and the respect
of the Roman rulers, to whom he did homage,
and paid the usual tribute, with the greatest
regularity . 1

When Lucius ascended the throne, his subjects
could boast that their young Prince was superior
to most of the native chieftains, for his father had
bestowed on him all the advantages of education
which he had himself acquired in Rome.

Not only from the Romans, but also from such
of his own subjects as had travelled abroad,
either as students or soldiers, Lucius heard nar-
ratives of the wonderful miracles wrought by
Christians — their heroic attachment to their faith,
even through the greatest trials — and of the
rapid progress of their religion in every class of
society. This led him to take a great interest in
the study of Christianity. In a short time the
impression produced on his mind by the history

(1) Sammes, Britannia Antiqua, p. 256.

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becomes a



of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our
Lord excited in his heart a desire to become a
Christian. On being informed that Eleutherius,
the chief Pontiff of this heavenly religion, resided
in Rome, he determined to send ambassadors to
this Vicar of Jesus Christ. Two envoys, duly
accredited, set out for Rome, to petition the Pope
to send missionaries to Britain for the purpose of
instructing their master — King Lucius — and his
people in the faith of Christ . 1

Eleutherius received the embassy with the
greatest kindness, and on learning the object of
their mission raised up his hands with emotion,
and thanked Almighty God for having thus
visited with His grace the remote land of Britain.
The envoys seem to have received baptism in
Rome, and returned to their sovereign accom-
panied by two missionaries, Fugatius and Da-
mianus— or, in the Celtic tongue, Pagan and
Damian . 2

„ ,, The Britons were, no doubt, ripe for conversion.

Mertbyr missionaries met with a people ready to

duvau receive the Gospel. We read of no desecration

hamlets in #

aiamw- or bloodshed m connection with its propagation ;

are named and, wonderful to relate, the Imperial Govern-

after these A

two ment — the declared enemy of Christianity in

every other part of the globe — remained in-
different to its introduction and progress in

(1) Nennius plaeeb the event in the year of Our Lord 187.

(*2) Geoffrey of Monmouth calls them Fagan us and Duvanus, and these
are the names ,by which they arc Btill known in South Wales.

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Shortly after their arrival the two missionaries
entered on the work, and baptized Bang Lucius,
many of his officers, and a multitude of his

The Protestant Bishop, Godwin, observes that
the truth spread with rapidity through the length
and breadth of the land. The zealous teachers,
Fagan and Damian, unable to attend to the
spiritual wants of so many thousands who were
desirous of instruction, thought it best to return
to Rome to plead the cause of the British neo-
phytes, and urge on the Pope the necessity of
sending them further assistance.

He granted their request, and they returned to
Britain with additional labourers. The propa-
gation of the Gospel then progressed with even
greater rapidity.

In accordance with orders to that effect received
from the Holy See, a Hierarchy, similar to that
established in other parts of the world, was con-
stituted in Britain.

It corresponded with the civil divisions of the
country, and comprised three dioceses, or arch-
dioceses — namely, London, York, and Caerleon.
York had jurisdiction over the North of England;
to Caerleon, on the river Usk, "Wales was
subjected; and London exercised jurisdiction
over the rest of the country . 1

The conversion of Lucius and of a large pro-
portion of the Britons is not a pious fiction, as
some modern writers endeavour to maintain. It

(1) Godwin, Geoffrey and others.

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is based on facts difficult to deny. The archives
of the most ancient churches throughout Britain
afford proof beyond doubt that this Christian
Prince was connected with their foundation.
Godwin, the Protestant Bishop, elucidates this
fact with great erudition.

Churches The first church ever built in London was that
thedlys'of °f St. Peter, Cornhill, which was erected by
Lucius. Bishop Heanus, or Theanus. He was greatly
assisted in his work by the cup-bearer of Lucius.
Elvanus, the second Bishop, built a library in
connection with the same Church, and gained
over many Druids to the Christian faith.

The See of York owes its origin to the zeal and
liberality of the same saintly king, and its first
Bishop seems to have been a missionary named

The first Church erected in Llandaff, near
Cardiff, Glamorganshire, was also in a great
measure the work of Lucius. St. Fagan preached
the Gospel in this part of the island; and a
Parish Church within a mile or two of Llandaff
was named after him, and has handed down to
posterity the appreciation with which his zeal
and Apostolic labours were regarded by past

The Church of Winchester, dedicated to our
Saviour, was opened for Divine worship in
October, 189, by Fagan and Damian, under the
auspices of Lucius. For about a hundred years
religion flourished in that part of the country.

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Under the persecution of Diocletian the Churches
were levelled to the ground, but on the accession
of Constantine to the dominion of the Roman
Empire, the Church of Winchester was re-built,
and dedicated to Amphilobus, the Priest sheltered
by St. Alban, but later on put to death through
hatred of Christ.

The writer of these pages regrets his inability
to supply fuller or more graphic details in con-
nection with this first Royal convert received
into the Church as a Sovereign ; we do not find
his name associated with any daring exploits on
the battle-field, but he may be justly styled the
protector and even the propagator of the Christian
faith in his native land.

The very fact of his embracing Christianity
despite Druidical prejudice and Roman opposition,
and of his zealous and open exertions to further
its extension, shows beyond doubt that he pos-
sessed a noble mind, and was endowed with an
energetic will ; for many there are, even in our
own times, who, having been inspired with the
knowledge of the truth, are yet so weak-hearted
as to shrink away from it, through pusillanimity
and human respect.

It is not unlikely that the conquerors of Britain,
though not openly persecuting the Christians by
endeavouring to force them to offer incense to
idols, and on their refusal condemning them to
torture or death, yet caused them in many
ways to suffer for the faith, through withholding

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buried at

the full measure of justice from them at .their
tribunals, and depriving them of many rights and
privileges. They may thus have suffered from
the action of many petty penal laws.

It is stated that Lucius bestowed both consti-
tutional and civic freedom upon the Christians,
and granted them special privileges in regard to
law and land. Coyle, his father, had gone to
Rome to study profane science at the seat of
Empire. He, from the same city, brought the
faith to his countrymen. He led a life of celibacy
after his conversion, and was the first Prince in
Britain to practise continency, which so many
thousands followed him in adopting, in accord-
ance with the counsels of perfection taught by
the Gospel.

Some annalists contend that Lucius, in his
latter days, retired to Germany, where he
preached the Christian faith and received the
crown of martyrdom. But this Lucius of the
Teutons must not be confounded with the British
Piince of the same name, who, according to the
more probable opinion of grave historians, gave
up his soul td his Maker in Gloucester, and was
there buried, Anno Domino 201. His feast was
celebrated on the 3rd of December, the day of
his death, and on the anniversary of his baptism,
May 28th. 1

1. Mathew of West mins ter has handed down the following notice in
reference to this: —

Anno Gratia CCI., Inclytus Brittanorum, Rex Lucius, in bonis actibus
assun tus Claudio cestria ab nac vita migrovit ad Christum et in Ecc'esia
priina sedis honorifice sep alius en. (Samnies, Bj itt. Ant., p. 266).

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The records of Church history, handed down
to us from the death of Lucius to the tenth
persecution under Diocletian, are very scanty.

During this period, however, the British Church
was fruitful, not only in native clergy, fitted to
supply its own spiritual wants, but also in mis-
sionaries to foreign countries.

I may here cite St. Mellon, first Bishop of st. Mellon
Bouen, Normandy. Mellon, probably a member of Rouen.* 1
of the British aristocracy, was led by curiosity
to visit Borne, the capital of the conquerors of
his native land, which, whilst yet a Pagan, he
had heard extolled for its beauty, refinement,
and population. In the Holy City, however, he
became a Christian, receiving baptism from the
Pope St. Stephen, Anno Domino 257, who sent
him to preach the Gospel in Gaul.

Mellon laboured with zeal amongst the Neus-
trians, and when consecrated Bishop fixed his
See at Bouen, about the year 260. His Episcopal
administration lasted fifty years, and during this
long period he built several Churches, and laid

In the Iolo MSS. we find the following passage in connection with
King Lucius : —

St. Lleirug, King of the Island of Britain, the son of Coel ....
sent to Rome for a Bishop to return with him, in order to baptise such of
the Cymry as embraced the faith of Christ. Pope Eleutherius granted
him as Bishops, Elvan, Medwy, Dyvan, and Fagan.

St. Fagan was Bishop of Llansanfagan, where a Church was dedicated
to him.

St. Medwy occupied the See of Llanmedwy, which also possesses a
Church dedicated in his name.

The Church and College of Glastonbury were dedicated to St. Elvan,
the first Bishop of that See, (Iolo MSS., p. 514).

It may not be out of place here to remind the reader that the two
last-named Saints — Medwy and Elvan — are supposed to be the two
Ambassadors sent to Pope Eleutherius. In the City of Rome they received
baptism, and later on ordination, and were thus enabled to preach the
Gospel to their countrymen.

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as it were the foundation of the Cathedral of that
city on the very spot it now occupies. The noble
Gothic building which in our days is the glory of
the capital of Normandy of course traces its
origin to a more modern date.

St. Mellon died at an advanced age, and rich
in noble deeds, at the beginning of the fourth
century. A beautiful village near Cardiff still
bears his name.

The first The Britons were spared all the horrors of the

nine per- #

sections first nine general persecutions. If the edicts of

against the ox

Christiana the Homan Emperors were officially proclaimed

not carried.

out. throughout the land, they turned out dead letters,
as no Proconsul or Magistrate had either the will
or could spare the time to carry them into exe-

In France, Spain, and Italy, as in the East,
Christian blood was shed in torrents. The
Amphitheatres became the scene of the protracted
struggles and final victory of thousands of
martyrs. But in Britain, the followers of
Christ were allowed to remain undisturbed,
although perhaps some minor penal laws may
have been put in force against them.

This leniency on the part of local authorities
proved beneficial to the Church. The Christians
when persecuted elsewhere fled for shelter to this
island, where, the moment they landed, they felt
safe. Thousands of the faithful children of the
Church who were marked for destruction in Gaul
and Spain crossed over to Britain, and thus

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added to the strength of the Christian com-

However, on the 27th of February, 303, 1 a
first edict of persecution was issued, with orders
that it should not only be published, but also
rigorously carried out throughout the Empire.

This edict enacted that all Christian Churches
should be levelled to the ground, all copies of the
Holy Scriptures should be confiscated and burnt,
and the followers of Christ should be tortured,
without any distinction of rank, age, or sex.

Christians were debarred from honours and
dignities, and were deprived of their possessions.
Any one could sue them before the Magistrates,
but they were to have no power of appeal to the
Judges. They were pronounced incompetent to
claim redress in any civil court, either for
robbery, violence, or any injustice whatever that
might be committed against them. In a word,
they were declared outlaws, in the fullest sense
of the term.

Shortly after the first a second and third edict,
referring particularly to the Clergy, were pro-
claimed. By order of these, the ministers of
the Christian religion were at once to be arrested
and tortured, unless they offered incense to the

Explicit orders were at the same time sent to
Britain to enforce these penal laws in the strictest

(1) Henrion, Histoire Eccles. Tome 13, p. 54-55.

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tius puts
his house-
hold to

Constantius Chlorus was then the Caesar of the
West. In religion he was a Philosopher. As a
ruler, history gives him the credit of being a just
man, and of possessing a discerning mind, and a
heart inclining to mercy.

He was aware that the Christians, as citizens,
were as loyal, if not more so, than their perse-
cutors, and that they had as much right to
believe and follow the religion of Christ as the
Homans had to worship Jupiter or Mars; there-
fore the cruel and impolitic edicts which ordered
the extermination of the Christians were enacted
without his approval.

However, for the moment he had no choice
but to publish the decrees, being assured that if
he individually was reluctant to carry them out,
no such scruple would be felt by many of his
Lieutenants and Magistrates.

A considerable portion of his own household
belonged to the Christian faith. Summoning
these together, he read to them the Imperial
orders, and told them that under such circum-
stances it would be necessary for them either to
offer sacrifice to the national gods or resign their
respective offices. He would allow them time
for reflection.

On the day appointed for receiving their de-
cision, a great number declared that they would
rather forfeit their position than become rene-
gades, whilst others pusillanimously professed
themselves ready to offer sacrifice to the national

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deities. Having listened to the noble refusal of
the Christians to barter faith for worldly advan-
tage, and to the cowardly subservience of the
Apostates, Constantius gave his own opinion as
to their respective conduct . 1 In no measured
terms he condemned the base acquiescence and
the cowardice of the renegades, telling them that
he never henceforward could place any confidence
in them, for they could not be true to the Caesars
who had proved traitors to their God, and de-
serters from their religion. He then informed
them that he would for the future dispense with
their services, and dismissed them. The faithful
Christians on the contrary he retained near his
person, and, convinced of their loyalty, entrusted
to them the most important affairs. Moreover,
it was from amongst them he selected his own
body-guard, and during his whole life he placed
the greatest confidence in their loyalty.

This policy does credit to the discernment of
Constantius, and is a strong proof of his common

It is a time-honoured axiom that he is not to
be depended upon who abjures what is, by a
right-minded man, deemed most sacred — his con-
scientious belief.

Had the officers employed by Constantius in
Britain been endowed with a similar nobility of
nature, the tenth general persecution would not
have been carried out there, any more than the

(1) Henrion, Hist. EccL Tome XI., p. 66. Lingard, Hist, of England.

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St. Alban

nine preceding ones. However, such was not the

In the persecution of Diocletian, Christian
blood was shed all over Britain. St. Alban, who
is looked upon as the proto-martyr of England,
suffered at Yerulum. A priest named Amphi-
holus — later on the patron saint of Winchester —
was pursued by the lictors of Diocletian. St.
Alban, whilst yet a Pagan, offered refuge to the
fugitive, and concealed him in his own house.
Struck by the demeanour of his guest, and by his
pious life (for Amphibolus spent most of his time
in prayer), Alban enquired into his religion, and
soon became instructed in the doctrine of Christ.
On the Governor being informed that he gave
shelter to a priest a band of soldiers was dis-
patched to arrest the servant of God. To defeat
this intention Alban induced Amphibolus to ex-
change garments with him, and fly beyond the
reach of his persecutors. Then, taking his place,
he presented himself before the Roman soldiers
in the caracalla, or long robe, worn by the
priesthood. He was brought before the Governor
at an hour when the latter was offering sacrifice
to his gods. Hearing how his satellites had been
deceived, he flew into a great passion, and ex-
claimed — “ Since the priest Amphibolus has
escaped through your exchanging clothes with
him, you shall now die in his place, unless you
offer sacrifice to the immortal gods.” Alban,
who had already declared himself a Christian to

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the soldiers, said, with determination, that he
would never obey the Governor in offering
incense to dumb idols. “But who are you,”
replied the Governor, “who dare to resist my
command? What family do you claim kindred
with ? ” “ It matters little from what family I

spring. If you desire to know my religion, I am
a, Christian.” “But,” repeated the Governor,
“ what is your name ? ” “I am called Alban; I
adore the only true God, Creator of heaven and
earth.” The Governor — “Either sacrifice to the
idol, or die a miserable death by the hand of the
public executioner.” Alban — “You, Governor,
sacrifice to your idols; I will not so debase
myself. They can neither hear the prayers of
their worshippers nor come to their assistance.
Those who sacrifice to them have nothing but
eternal punishment in store.”

The Governor, exasperated, ordered him to
he scourged till his bones were laid bare, and a
pool of blood covered the ground under his feet;
but Alban remaining steadfast, the angry judge
commanded the executioner to strike off his head.
It was at Verulum, then a flourishing city, that
Alban suffered for his Saviour. On their way to
the place of execution they came to a bridge
built across the river Cole. This bridge was
crowded by thousands of spectators, and all the
efforts of the soldiers to clear a passage proved
fruitless. Alban, longing to die gloriously for
his Divine Master, besought them to open a way

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across, when, behold! the bed of the river
became dry, and more than a thousand persons
passed safely to the other side — the water, says
Gildas, standing like walls on both sides.

The commanding officer was so struck by this
miracle that he threw himself at the feet of
Alban, and begged either to die in his place, or,
at least, in his company. On his refusal to cut
off the head of Alban, he was condemned to die
with him, and thus shared his martyrdom. St.
Alban gained his crown on the 22nd of June.
Verulum has fallen to ruin, but a more modem
town erected on the same spot commemorates, by
its name of St. Albans, the first martyr of Britain.

Martyrs of Many other saints of both sexes were slain in

Caerieon cause 0 f their Divine Master throughout the
country. It is said they numbered thousands.
South Wales participated in the glorious roll of
martyrs. Caerieon — its seat of government —
was the scene of not a few executions. History
has transmitted the names of but two of these
Christian heroes — Aaron and Julius, or Jules.
Both these saints were Britons, and both seem to
have gone to Borne in their youth to pursue their
{ ecclesiastical studies, and in that city to have
been admitted to Holy orders. The martyrs had
probably been the priests of Caerieon, TJsk, and
the country adjoining. If we rely on the tra-
ditions which exist in South Wales, even at the
present day, we will find that the persecution in
this part of Britain was carried on with extreme

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severity. Ten thousand martyrs, it is asserted,
shed their blood at Caerleon, on the river Usk.
The authorities of this district must have in-
tensely hated the very name of Christianity, and
waged a religious war a outrance against the
followers of the Saviour, who were here very
numerous and deeply devoted to their faith. It
is again to be regretted that no detailed narrative
of the noble struggles of these heroic souls, as
also no list of their names, should have been
preserved for our edification.

As Aaron and Julius were eminent amongst
the Confessors, two Churches were erected by
their countrymen on the spots crimsoned by their
blood — one on the east, the other on the west
side of the river. London also possesses the
record of the martyrdom of Augulus — a priest
who, it is believed, was a bishop. Lichfield, or
the City of Carcasses, witnessed the noble death
of hundreds of the followers of Christ.

Constantius Chlorus had taken more a passive
than an active part in the persecution, and, as
far as he was himself concerned, had only levelled
the Churches, sparing the living temples of God.
Therefore, as soon as he felt himself independent
of his colleagues in Rome, he ordered their edicts
to he altogether annulled in Britain . 1

To his son Constantine, however, was reserved
the glory of putting a stop for ever to the cruel
and iniquitous war waged by the Roman Empire

(1) Qildas.

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against the Church. This young Prince, on
hearing of his father’s illness, hastened to York
to attend his death-bed, and received from him
his last will. Constantius, presenting the future
champion of the Church to the assembled coun-
cillors, thus addressed them : —

“ I leave you my son as my successor in this
Empire. With God’s assistance he shall wipe
away the tears of the Christians, and avenge the
tyranny practised against them. In this, above
all, do I place my hopes of felicity .” 1

This address gained general approval, and was
heartily applauded by all the Legions, for public
opinion already held in execration the long per-
secution so cruelly carried on against the Chris-
tians. If such were the wishes of Constantius —
one of the few Caesars who favoured the followers
of Christ — they were fully realised.

It may here be interesting to relate the incident
connected with the conversion of Constantine
before his entry into Italy. He was favoured by
beholding the apparition of a cross in the air, on
which appeared the words, in Greek characters,
“In hoc signo vince” — through this sign shalt
thou conquer.

After the overthrow of Maxentius, the victor
emancipated his Christian subjects, and became
their benefactor throughout the Empire.

His mother, St. Helena — who, according to the
generally received opinion, was British by birth —

N (1) Sammes, Britannia Antiqua, p. 314.

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followed the example of her son, and embraced
the religion of Jesus Christ.

Her latter days were entirely devoted to good gt Helena
works, particularly those of restoring the Holy
Places connected with the birth, life, and death
of the Redeemer, both within and without
Jerusalem. It was she who discovered the true
cross on which the Saviour had died, and built
Churches both over His sepulchre and the manger
in Bethlehem, which was His first resting-place
on earth.

"When this Imperial matron departed from
earth, the Church bestowed upon her the title
“Venerabili8 et Piissima Augusta”— an august
and most pious Princess. Never was a title more

The great revolution in religious matters
effected by Constantine changed the entire face
of the world. Not only was liberty of conscience
granted to the Christians, but decrees were
enacted by which the ministers of that religion,
through force of circumstances, were obliged to
assume the same position, both socially and
politically, as that held by the Hierophants of
the Paganism which was fading away.

Under the auspices of Constantine the Christian
Priesthood became the Clergy of the Empire.

In Britain the Church rapidly recovered from
her sufferings. The Christians returned from
the forests and the mountains and re-built their 1

(1} Gttdas.

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temples, having a particular regard, in several
instances, to dedicate them to such of their
brethren as had nobly given their lives for Christ.
Accordingly, the new Church at Yerulum was
named after St. Alban, whilst that of Winchester
was dedicated to Amphibolus, the martyr, who
had been the priest of the district when the
persecution overwhelmed it. At Caerleon the
same rule was followed in perpetuation of the
noble sacrifice made by Aaron and Julius.

British So flourishing did religion become at that time,
r^thT* that the British Church sent three of her most
distinguished Bishops to represent her at the
Eimini - Council of Arles, in 314. These Prelates filled
the Sees of York, London, and probably that of

In the middle of the same century we again
find British Bishops on their way to join the
assembly of their Episcopal brethren, convened
against Arianism. This time their destination
was not to the South of Erance, but carried them
beyond the Alps to Bimini (Ariminum) in the

Constantius, the son of Constantine, had ordered
that all the travelling expenses on this occasion
should be defrayed out of the public purse. The
Bishops of Aquitaine, Gaul, and Britain preferred
living at their own expense, in order to show the
world that they were independent of the Emperor.
Three of the English Prelates, however, havin°-
no means of their own, and being unwilling to

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burthen their Episcopal brethren, availed them-
selves of the Imperial offer, remarking that their
maintainance would fall lighter on the public
purse than on that of individuals.

In closing this short notice of the tenth perse-
cution, and its noble victims, it may he well to st.^ Ursula
call the attention of the reader to the glorious her Com -

° . panions

martyrdom of St. Ursula and her companions, Martyred
which took place towards the latter end of the
fourth century. These daughters of Christ were
not amongst those who fell victims to the de-
liberately issued Penal Edicts of the Emperors —
they met their death through the ferocity of the
Huns. The circumstances connected with this
event may he thus briefly summed up.

The Emperor, Gratian Elavius Clemens Maxi-
mus, came to Britain and caused himself to he
proclaimed Caesar . 1 Having consolidated his
power in the island, he then turned his thoughts
to the conquest of Gaul, and for this purpose
collected a large army, with which he sailed for
the Continent. He first attacked the Armoricans,
upon whose shores he landed. So desolated did
this province become through the war, that hut
few of its inhabitants remained on its soil, those
who were not slain in battle retiring to the
interior of Gaul.

Maximus, anxious to re-people the country,
published a decree, by which he invited a hundred
thousand of the peasants of Britain to come to

(1) Geoffrey of Monmouth, Roman Breviary, Supplemental.

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Armorica and settle there. An army of thirty
thousand soldiers was allotted to protect this
colony from hostile attacks. These forced immi-
grants, on their arrival in Armorica, were dis-
tributed throughout the province, and thus
Maximus created a new Britain on the western
coast of France, which, in course of time, became
known as Brittany.

Having arranged all to his satisfaction, Maximus
bestowed the new province on Conan Meriadec,
and proceeded to complete the final conquest of

Conan Meriadec was not long in possession of
his dominion when he discovered a drawback.
So great was the numerical disparity between the
men and the women, that it was impossible for
his subjects to procure British wives, and he was
unwilling that they should intermarry with Gauls.

In this dilemma he looked to his native land
for the future mothers of his people, and dis-
patched messengers to Britain to place before
Dianotus, King of Cornwall, the special difficulty
he laboured under in Armorica in this respect,
asking at the same time the King to bestow on
him in marriage the hand of his daughter Ursula.

Dianotus acceded to the wishes of Conan, and
issued a summons to the daughters of the nobility,
and also to a great number of young women of
inferior rank, requiring them, whether willing or
unwilling, to assemble at a given date in London,
where he was collecting a fleet to transport them
to Armorica.

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This arbitrary measure may have pleased some,
particularly those who had husbands in Brittany,
and perhaps others who were not unwilling to
marry there.

But a great number naturally felt aggreived
at being forced to leave their native land and
their relatives and friends. A few, like St.

Ursula, had vowed virginity, devoting themselves
to heavenly espousals. To these the commands
of the King were especially obnoxious.

The fleet, with its living freight, sailed down
the Thames, but in the channel encountered a
violent storm, and was dispersed. Many of the
ships foundered, and those which weathered the
tempest were driven by the westerly gale towards
Holland and Belgium, on whose shores the crews
and passengers landed, in a most forlorn condition.

The brutal soldiers who had been appointed to
guard the unfortunate women, finding them thus
at their mercy, and having no respect either for
chastity or liberty of conscience, required their
victims to sacrifice their virtue, and also to offer
incense to Pagan deities.

Ursula, in the name of all, pleaded their cause, st Ureula
and appealed to the honour of the soldiers for Com
protection and respect towards defenceless women. P auions -
She said that their destination was Armorica, to
which place it was their intention to proceed, to
join their relatives, friends, or husbands. They
therefore hoped to be allowed to travel unharmed
to the camp of Maximus, who would provide them

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with the means of making their way to Armorica.
They belonged to the Catholic faith, which or-
dained chastity, not only to the virgin, but to the
married woman and widow.

Being commanded by their captors to renounce
their faith, these virtuous women declared that
they would die rather than abandon the religion
of the Redeemer of the world; and they also
sternly refused to forfeit their chastity. This so
exasperated the soldiers that they rushed on the
defenceless victims, and put them to death. One
only, named Cordula, contrived to escape; but,
struck by the determination of her companions,
and the spectacle of the turf reddened with their
blood, she hastened back, proclaimed to the
barbarians that she also was a Christian, and
claimed, like them, the privilege of dying for her
Divine Master, and following the souls of her
friends to the throne of God. On this the soldiers,
in their fury, at once slew her.

The martyrdom of these Christian heroines
took place on the 21st of October, in the year of
our Lord 383, and their memory is held in great
veneration. The Emperor Theodosius was in the
habit of invoking St. Ursula and her companions
when in danger, and at the commencemont of
his battles. It is rather difficult to indicate
exactly the number included in this martyr band,
but some assert that it amounted to eleven

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Conan Meriadec could hardly be consoled on
learning the fate of his promised wife, Ursula.

Breton historians relate that later on he married
Parerea, sister of St. Patrick, who, they state,
was bom at Pondaven, a village in the Diocese of
Quimper, Finisterre, and thus neither Scotland nor
Wales can claim this Saint amongst their noblest

If Arianism found place in the minds of some
Christians in Britain, the number was so trifling
that this erroneous doctrine can scarcely be said
to have taken root in the island.

The same assertion cannot, unfortunately, be’
made in regard to Pelagianism.

Morgan, a Briton by birth, as his name clearly
indicates, was a lay Monk of Bangor, North Sr^n.
Wales, near Chester. Nature had not favoured
him physically, as he was blind of one eye, and
otherwise disfigured. However, he was endowed
with great intellectual powers, and possessed a
strong will. Going on pilgrimage to Borne, he
became attached to that city and its inhabitants,
and determined to make it his place of abode.

There lie improved his education, and became
known amongst the Homan literati as a good
Greek and Latin scholar. Later on he proceeded
to the East, where he changed his Celtic name
into its Greek equivalent — Pelagius. He adopted
the errors of Theodorus of Mopsuestia, about the
year 400. 1

(1) Henrion Hist. Eccles. Tome xiii., p. 534.

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St. Falla-

Pelagius denied the doctrine of original sin and
its consequences. According to his opinion there
was no necessity for divine grace for the en-
lightenment of our mind and the strengthening
of our will. Such a doctrine, according to his
theory, upset the whole scheme of redemption,
because, if mankind was not guilty, there was no
need for a Redeemer, and the seven sacraments
instituted by our Lord, as seven channels of grace,
were useless. As a modern writer 1 has observed,
Pelagianism is the eldest sister of the rationalism
of our days, which maintains that reason, un-
assisted by Divine grace, is a sufficient guide and
monitor for man on his way through life.

This heresy was triumphantly refuted by the
great St. Augustine in his treatises on grace, and
was also condemned by several Councils.

About the same time, under Pope Celestine,
Fastidius, Bishop of London, wrote two books on
this subject — “De Vita Christiana,” and “De
Medico ad Conservandam Viduitatem.” These
treatises are elegant and polished in style, but
somewhat savour of Pelagianism . 2

Whilst the peace of the Church was being dis-
turbed, even in the British Isles, by Pelagianism,
she was at the same time receiving consolation
from the thousands of converts who flocked into
the fold in Scotland and Ireland.

St. Prosper, speaking of Pope Celestine, says
that, not satisfied with exterminating Pelagianism

(1) Henrion, Hist. Eccles. Tome xv., p. 267.

(2) The same, p. 121 4. This work is to be fouud in the Patrologia of Migne.

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in Great Britain, he consecrated a Bishop for the
Scoti, or Hibernians. This Bishop, whose name
was Palladius, sailed for Ireland in 431, with
special instructions from the Pope to devote
himself to the faithful in that country. The
Christian religion had already been preached in
the southern province by St. Albius, St. Declan,

St. Ibar, and St. Kiaran, who had there established
Christian communities. 3

This statement is' confirmed by the following
incident, mentioned in the life of St. Patrick : —

The great Apostle, after evangelizing the north
and centre of Ireland, visited the south ; but here
he found a Catholic clergy and population disposed
to receive him much in the same way that, later
on, the Bishops of Britain received St. Augustine.

Palladius landed at Wicklow, and remained PaUadius
there about a year, when he was forced to abandon
his intended field of labour, in consequence of land '
the persecution of some petty prince. He sailed
from thence to Scotland.

If his work in Ireland was unfruitful, it was
richly rewarded by the Caledonians, whose first
Bishop he became. 1

Where the Apostle of Scotland failed, St.
Patrick was ordained to succeed, reaping a most

(1) The Scoti of Caledonia claim, like the Britains, to have received
the Gospel in Apostolic times. Be this as it may, it is, however, certain
that a holy Bishop, a North Briton, educated and ordained in Rome
during the reign of Pope Damasus, planted the cross in the South of
Scotland. His name was Ninias, or Ninianus. This saintly Apostle fixed
his See at Whitehem, in Galloway, where he built a stone Church, and
dedicated it to St. Martin.

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abundant harvest, and winning to the faith of
Christ the whole unconverted population of

Patrick Strange to say, he also landed at Wicklow, in
the very territory abandoned the previous year
by his predecessor. Like him, too, he had to
leave and make his way to the north of the
island, where, as a slave, he had suffered much.
St. Patrick was accompanied by thirty or thirty-
four fellow-labourers, whom he had collected in
Italy, Prance, and Britain, to share his toils and
triumph. In considering the immense work he
performed, and his continual journeys and
preachings, one would be led to think that he
must have commenced his apostolate in the prime
of life. This, however, is not the case. He had
attained the age of sixty when he entered on his
missionary career, being born about the year 372,
and commencing his work in 432. Yet, like a
conqueror, he swept through the north, converting
the Pagans by thousands* and persuading even
princes and princesses not only to become Chris-
tians, but to embrace the monastic life.

When the thirty missionaries who had accom-
panied him to Ireland became inadequate to the
spiritual wants of the converts, so rapidly did
they increase, St. Patrick sailed for Britain, to
enlist Priests from the ranks of the clergy of that
country, either as professors for the University of
Armagh, or to assist him in the work of conversion .
This Apostle, so wonderful, who is even to this

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day held in such love and reverence wherever an
Irish heart beats, or an Irish foot has been planted,
was nearly a centenarian at the time of his death.
Before leaving for heaven the land he loved so
well, he could say with truth —

“ When at the age of sixteen I was captured
and brought to this soil as a slave, there was no
Christian altar at which I could kneel, or Chris-
tian soul with whom I could commune. When
I fled from hence the whole country was plunged
in idolatry. At sixty I returned as Bishop, and
now, after labouring for forty years in my
mission, I die rejoicing, for few are now the
children of this land who remain unconverted
to the faith of my Master .” 1

Eew amongst the Apostles succeeded during
their own lifetime in changing a whole nation
from idolatry to Christianity. Ireland, as a
people, has lost her native Celtic tongue, but most
steadfastly has she preserved the faith of the
Catholic Church, taught by Saint Patrick.

Although originating with a native of Britain,
Pelagianism did not gain much ground in the
island until an exiled partisan of the heresy
succeeded, on his return to Britain, in deceiving
many by an exaggerated account of the talents
and virtues of Morgan, whom he represented as
a persecuted defender of the truth. Agricola —
such was his name — gained over several of the

(1) St. Patrick was born in the year 372 at Pondaven, a town now in
the Diocese of Quimper, Finisterre.

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St. Qer-

clergy and laity to his views, and thus, for the
first time, the plague of religious dissension was
disseminated throughout the land.

Palladius, writing from Scotland, informed
Pope Celestine of the disturbed state of religion
in that country. At the same time the British
clergy sent a deputation to the Bishops of Gaul,
soliciting them, as qualified to explain the ortho-
dox doctrine of grace, to give their aid in a holy
war against heresy. In consequence of this
application Germanus and Lupus were sent to
Britain for the purpose of upholding the true

Germanus, the head of this mission, had in his
youth been a lawyer, then a soldier, and subse-
quently, as Bishop, was eminent for sanctity and

To give greater effect to his mission, Pope
Celestine named him his Vicar Apostolic in
Britain. During their voyage across the channel
the two Bishops were assailed by a violent storm,
as though the demons of dissension dreaded their
landing on British shores.

Germanus, filled with confidence in God, in-
voked the adorable Trinity to come to their aid,
and poured Holy Water on the sea. The storm
then abated, and they were enabled to reach the
English shores.

The arrival of the two Bishops soon produced
good effects. They preached without intermis-
sion in the Churches, in market places, on

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elevated spots, in the fields, under the canopy of
heaven. Thousands of the people crowded to
hear them, and wherever they directed their
steps they were met hy multitudes.

The nohle forgot for the moment the pleasures
of the chase ; the labourer left his plough in the
furrow, rather than forfeit the chance of hearing
the truth from the lips of these holy and eloquent
preachers. Even mothers, with infants in their
arms, made their way through the throngs in
order to approach as near as possible to the two

Felagianism rapidly lost ground in public
opinion. Germanus and Lupus soon made it
clear to all that the doctrine of Christ, not that
of Morgan, was the true faith; that the Church,
the guardian of truth against innovators, was the
appointed teacher whom all must hear; and that
no credence must be attached to an individual
presuming to come forward and endeavour to
impose his own views on the ignorant and

The missionary Bishops, however, were not
only powerful in their orthodox teaching, hut
also in supernatural deeds. On a certain occasion
a Tribune and his wife, leading by the hand their
blind daughter, ten years of age, made their way
through the crowd, and presenting her to the
preachers, besought them, in the name of God,
to restore sight to their beloved child. Germanus
referred the case to the heretical teachers, asking

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A few ob-
on the fall
of the

them to comply with the parents wishes. They,
of course, were unable to do so, and declined.
Germanus then, filled with the Holy Ghost,
invoked the name of the Blessed Trinity, and the
girl at that moment was restored to her sight.
Such miracles as these were even more powerful
than eloquence, and made a deep impression on
the people, who ever afterwards accepted the
words of the Bishops as Gospel.

Germanus twice visited Britain. First in the
year 425 or 426, and again, twenty years later,
in 446. On the second occasion, Bishop Severus,
and not Lupus, was his companion.

Such is the substance of what may be gathered
concerning the Church in this island, from its
first foundation down to about the middle of the
fifth century.

Compared with the immense results obtained
as regards Christianity, the records we possess
are indeed scanty. When the last Homan soldier
left Britain for Gaul the whole nation had been
converted to the religion of Christ, and possessed
a regularly constituted hierarchy of Archbishops
and Bishops throughout the entire island. Priests
were distributed in due proportion to carry on
the work of the mission. This affords ample
testimony that at that time the rule of Christ
was firmly established through the length and
breadth of Britain.

The departure of the pro-consuls effected a
great change in the temporal administration of

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the country. The organization established by
the Caesars ceased then to exist. It is also worthy
of remark that, about the same time, the Vicar
of Christ in Rome was already beginning to
acquire that moral influence which, in the end,
was to raise him to the temporal supremacy of
the City of the Caesars.

The colossal empire, crimsoned with the blood
of Christian martyrs, was crumbling to ruin, a
prey to two powerful enemies — its own corruption
and the invasion of barbarians. The hand of
Divine justice was armed against it, and its day
of retribution had come. Christ had already
punished the J ews, the first enemies of his Church.
They, as a nation, had ceased to exist.

Now, in her turn, Pagan Rome was to dis-
appear as an empire. Heaven, for three hundred
years, had patiently beheld the tortures inflicted
on the Christians in the Forum and Amphi-
theatre by these proud idolaters. The time of
hard trial for the Church had passed away, and
she was now triumphant. The heathen temples
were deserted, or changed into Catholic Churches.

Now was heard chanted at Matins by the
clergy round the altars these words of David —
“ Why have the Gentiles raged, 'and the people
devised vain things? The kings of the earth
stood up, and the princes met together against
the Lord and against His Christ, saying: Let us
break their bonds asunder, and let us cast away
their yoke from us. He that dwelleth in heaven

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shall laugh at them, and the Lord shall deride
them.” 1 These words were most applicable to
the doomed empire. At the fall of the Caesars
and the extinction of their rule, the fathers of
the Church were forced to exclaim — “ Justus es
Domine et rectum Judicium tuum.”
what now The inhabitants of the earth in this, the nine-
5.r“ n^n! teenth century, if educated, have had the growth,
of the past final grandeur, and fall of that mighty

empire placed before them in the school-room,
but the mass of mankind knows but little if
anything of its existence and doings. Now and
then the scholar’s attention is drawn to some
ruined temple, “broken arch,” rusty old coin
which has been disentombed, or tesselated pave-
ment, all of which proclaim to the gazer, “ Vanity
of vanities.” And of the mighty “ mistress of the
world” nothing more now remains !

Truly dost the Psalmist exclaim, Everything
under the sun is doomed to destruction, hut
Veritas Domini manet in oetemam.

The Caesars, with their legions, have passed
away, hut Christ and his religion remains. The
Church to-day sings His glory and triumph
throughout the universe. “ Te per orbem terra-
rum sancta Confitetur Ecclesia .” His name is

hallowed, not only in the school-room, but in
the humble homes of every nation under the

Once every road to Gaul was covered by the
armies of Pagan Rome, on their way to Germany

(1) Psalm 2. (


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i '


or Britain. Her officers crowded the galleys
sailing eastward to execute the orders of the
Senate of the Roman people.

Bong ages have elapsed since these were things
of the past. New kingdoms have arisen on the
tottering ruins of the once mighty empire. But
the oldest and strongest amongst them is the
Kingdom of Christ.

Rome is the seat of his Vicar, and from that
city he sends his officers to the four corners of
the globe ; for he has brethren in the faith in
Japan andNorway, on the banks of the Euphrates,
as well as in the mountains of Scotland.

Modern kingdoms will disappear and be re-
placed by others, but against the Kingdom of
Christ no power can prevail. The Church is to
last as long as the sun and the stars are to shine
in the firmament.

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The his-
tory of the
Church in
confined to
the wes-
tern part
of the
from the
visit of
to the ar-
rival of St.

The Cambro Britons and the Papacy.

“ Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church.” —

Matthew xvL

Whatever information we can glean referring
to the British Church, from the visit of St. Ger-
manus down to the arrival of St. Augustine, is
to be found in the western part of the island, and
chiefly in Wales.

The Saxons, invited over by Vortigern in 449
to fight his battles, finding the country to their
liking, came in crowds. Chieftain after chieftain
brought his followers across the ocean, not at the
request of a native chieftain, but following the
strong instinct of barbarians for conquest and
plunder. The Britons, as in the time of the
Roman invasion, under Julius Caesar, were dis-
united, and hence no match for these numerous
and bold adventurers incessantly landing on the
eastern and southern coasts, and were by degrees
driven from county to county, and obliged to
take refuge in the mountains of Wales and
Cornwall, or to cross the sea over to the western
coast of Gaul, to which they have left their
name — Brittany .

The conquest of Britain by these foreign races
was not, however, the work of a few years, for

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nearly a century after the landing of Hengist
(the first Saxon leader), we find the celebrated
Arthur master of the western part of England —
from Land’s End, in Cornwall, to York. At his
death in 544 the Saxons had not pushed their
conquest beyond the Thames in the south of the
island, or the Humber in a northerly direction.

As they advanced the scourge of war raged in
its worst form in that part of the country trodden
under their heels. They burnt, or levelled to
the ground, Churches and Monasteries, and put to
the sword their peaceful inmates. Their motto
seems to have been — “Worship our gods, or
perish by our swords.” Those of the wretched
Britons who escaped the general massacre were
forced to become their slaves. The Bishops of
London and York, with such of their flock as
they could hastily gather together, took refuge in
Cambria; and, for years to come, the Christian
Church was confined to the western part of the
island, and especially to Wales.

This period in the history of the British Church
— fugitive, covered with blood, and clad in
poverty — was a glorious one, and prolific in
Saints who edified their countrymen by their
holy lives, and kept the light of faith burning in
the hearts of the Britons.

Three eminent saints stand on the threshold of D b . .
this period; and, as we advance, we shall see Cadoc,and
their disciples nobly following in their footsteps, the hLa of
They are Dubricius, first Bishop of Llandaff; th “ period

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Cadoc, Abbot of Llancarvan ; and Illtyd, of
Lantwit Major. These are the first three bright
lights of this period. Scholars, practical men,
and, above all, true servants of Jesus Christ, they
brought to the service of their Master in Cambria
learning, piety, and zeal. Education received
from them a wonderful impulse, and Glamorgan-
shire, where they chiefly resided, became the
abode of sanctity and learning.

Dubricius, consecrated Bishop by Germanus,
ranked first in dignity amongst the Bishops as
the Metropolitan of all Wales. Cadoc, surnamed
the wise, figured as the founder of several
monasteries in his own country, in Scotland, and
in Brittany ; and Illtyd deserved to be surnamed
the “ Great Master ” in Cambria, for his uni-
versity of Llantwit Major was resorted to by
scholars from all parts of Europe.

By birth they belonged to the highest families.
Dubricius was the grandson of Pebian, a king in
Herefordshire; Cadoc’s father was Gwynliew, a
warrior chieftain in Monmouthshire ; the parents
of Illtyd reigned in Armorica. They all followed
the monastic rule peculiar to the time. Dub-
ricius and Cadoc entered the cloister very young,
whilst Illtyd first took to the army, fought under
the British standard, and then enlisted in the
Militia of Christ.

These three eminent personages, at the end of
a long and well spent career, left to their country
a legion of saints, whom they had carefully

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trained to the service of God. David, Bishop of
Menevia; Teilo, second Bishop of Llandaff ;

Daniel, the first Bishop of Bangor ; and Padarn,
of Llanhadarn, Cardiganshire, were either dis-
ciples of the school we have just mentioned, or
connected with it, and continued to carry on the
work of the Church in Cambria, when Dubritius,

Cadoc, and Illtyd had departed from this world.

About the same time Kentigern, Bishop of Glas-
gow, settled in the beautiful valley of St. Asaph,
at the head of a large community of monks.

A great number of their disciples crossed over
to Brittany, and there implanted the Catholic eminent

J . men hardly

faith and the traditions of their country, and left known in
their names to cities and villages, to mountains native
and valleys. Amongst many we may mention country '
Samson, of Dol ; Paulus Aurelianus, Maglorius,
the two brothers, Tugdual and Eleanor ; Gildas,
the historian; St. Malo, &c., &c. The saintly
lives of these eminent servants of God, and
zealous propagators of the Gospel, are hardly
known in Britain in our days.

Gildas, a contemporary, who, like St. Jerome, oiidaa the
inveighed in no measured terms against the Indent
abuses of the time, both amongst some of the
princes and clergy, remains silent on the virtues
of hundreds of his countrymen, who, like himself,
kept the commandments of God and of the
Church in the most perfect manner that can he
attained by human weakness.

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The verger
of Llandaff

Venerable Bede, who died in 737, is also silent
oii the subject. An Anglo-Saxon by birth, he
devoted his talents to record the doings of the
servants of God belonging to his race, and did
not heed the British Church. Butler, in his
“Lives of the Saints,” merely mentions their
existence. Protestant writers, in their zeal
against Popery, as a rule aim at one object — to
make the world believe that the British Church
before St. Augustine was Protestant, entirely dis-
connected with the Papacy, and that it never
acknowledged the Pope as the head of the

The Rev. Ria Reece, an Oxonian and professor
of Welsh at Lampeter College, in his Essay on
the Welsh Saints, constantly reminds his readers
that such was the case. How, having under his
eyes undeniable documents to the contrary, he
should have repeated such historical errors, is not
within my province to explain.

From time to time I like to visit the old
Cathedral of Llandaff, now at the door of Cardiff ;
and I can the more easily indulge in this pleasure,
as the village lies within the district entrusted to
my spiritual care. In one of these visits I
happened to go round the building in the
company of the verger, the very type of a
cicerone, knowing by heart the information he
is expected to impart to strangers, and delivering
his lesson in the best style of his profession.

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As, during five previous months, I had been
studying hard the history of the Church, of
Dubricius, Teilo, and Oudoceus, I was seized by
that impression which rushes upon the souls of
most visitors when they enter under the roof of
an ancient Church. The ghosts of those who
prayed and taught in the place seemed to come
from their graves.

Distracted by my thoughts, I happened to
exclaim — “Dear me! what an ancient Catholic
Church this is. The Roman legions were as yet
quartered at Caerau , 1 when the Holy Sacrifice of
the Mass was offered up for the sins of mankind
on this spot.” This ejaculation seemed rather
strange to my learned friend, the verger, for he
started and soon called me to order in a some-
what abrupt manner. “ You are totally wrong,
sir; this place has never been in the hands of
Catholics, nor has this Church ever been con-
nected with the Pope of Rome.”

This historical barbarism I thought it my duty
to correct, and asked my conductor whether, in
the course of his life, he had ever heard or read
anything about St. Fagan. “St. Fagan,” he
said; “yes, sure; St. Fagan’s is the next parish
to us.” “But do you know anything about
him? — who he was, where he came from, and
what he did? ” “ You see, sir, I am not much of

a scholar.” “Well, I will tell you. St. Fagan
was a priest in Rome. King Lucius, a real

(1) Caerau, a Roman camp about two or three miles from Cardiff

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Briton, thought it was better for himself and his
countrymen to profess the religion of Christ
rather than that of the Druids, and so despatched
ambassadors to Rome to Pope Eleutherius, who
was then the reigning Pontiff of the Christians,
begging him to send over some priests to instruct
and baptize himself and his people. St. Pagan,
one of these priests, came to Llandaff, baptized
many of your forefathers, and then built the first
Church in this place.”

Whilst this exchange of ideas was carried on,
we came to the tombstone of Dubricius. I let
the verger recite his ordinary lesson, and when
he had done put in a rejoinder.

“Yes,” I replied, “Dubricius was the first
Bishop of this Cathedral, and a great man he was,
highly esteemed by his countrymen from genera-
tion to generation. The old Welsh kings and
princes, whenever they made a grant of land to
any Church in this diocese, invariably began
their act of donation by saying : —

“I grant to Almighty God, to St. Peter, to
holy Dubricius [so many] acres of land, that the
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass may be offered up for
my soul, and the souls of my wife, children, and

In the days of Howell Dda this Cathedral had
for its Archdeacon a celebrated Welsh scholar,
who put into shape the laws decided upon at Ty
gwyn on Taf, near Carmarthen. This same
accompanied to Rome Howell Dda and the Welsh

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Bishops, who thought it their duty to pay a visit
to the Pope, and have his opinion on the code
they had framed for their country. No mistake
about it, every Welshman in those days was a

St. Dubricius was consecrated by Catholic
Bishops from France, invited over by the British
clergy to help them to convince the people that
they were going astray from the Catholic Church,
a task in which they succeeded.

In the year 1107 A.D., Urban was consecrated
Bishop of LlandafF, and built the Cathedral on
the present plan. He was an energetic and clever
prelate, and by the help of two Popes — Calixtus
II. and Honorius II. — to whom he applied for
redress, placed the diocese on a good footing.

The Liber Landavensis 1 contains some twenty
Bulls, or letters from these two Popes, addressed to
the Bishop and people of Llandaff, to the people
of Gower, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, to
the King of England, &c., &c.

In his letters Urban says that “ the Church of
Llandaff, ever since the days of Eleutherius, Pope
of the See of Borne, and since the coming of St.
Augustine,- has always been truly Catholic.” It
was the same Urban who brought the relics of
St. Dubricius from Bardsey Island and buried
them here.

At the close of this conversation, I gently
hinted to the verger not to be so positive in his

(1) There are six Bulls of Calixtus II. and fourteen of Honorius II.
concerning the ecclesiastical affairs of Llandaff Diocese.

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assertions to visitors, for many of them were sure
that, at one time, Wales was Catholic to the
backbone. As for myself, a Breton by birth, I
have to thank Welsh Bishops and Monks and
others for converting my countrymen to that
Catholic faith, which they practise to this very
day. Yes, it was from Llantwit Major and
Llancarvan, in Glamorgan, that most of those
saintly missionaries who founded the Catholic
Church in Brittany started on their holy mission.

One cannot expect the verger of a Cathedral to
be well up in history, nor does one rely over
much on what he recites. His duty is to he the
custodian of the Church, and to shew kindness to
the visitors, a qualification which the verger of
Llandaff most certainly possesses.

However, the false statements of this guardian
of a Cathedral, built by Catholics, and once
Catholic, reflect to a great extent the opinions of
many of his countrymen in our days. Some
reason or other must he brought forth to cover
with the veil of antiquity a religion of yesterday.
The religion of Jesus Christ is 1900 years old,
whilst that of Henry VIII. has not existed more
than 300 years.

Llandaff Cathedral contains a diocesan library
accessible to all the clergy of the diocese. I ex-
pected to find on its shelves the Liber Landavensis
(or the Register of Llandaff), the most interesting
record of the Catholic Church in Cambria, con-
taining memoirs of the lives of most of its

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prelates, the acts of endowment to Churches,
from the time of St. Dubricius to that of Urban
in the twelfth century. However, this precious
book was not to be found. In fact, on the whole,
the library is a poor one. The Latin and Greek
fathers now found in the private library of many
a Catholic priest, thanks to the exertions of the
Abbd Migne of Paris, are also conspicuous by
their absence. The clergy of the diocese, if
anxious to study the traditions of the Church of
God from the time of Christ down to the nine-
teenth century, are not, certainly, to rely on
what is collected together in the Cathedral of
Llandaff, for the selection made will never give
them a correct idea of the religious traditions of
past centuries.

Any one who will call the British Church out Organic-

“ tion of the

of her grave, kneel with her clergy and people Bntuh
round the altar as they did, pour forth their and its con-
prayer to their Redeemer, assist at their ec- with the
clesiastical meetings in some deep valley under Papacy ’
the shadow of the oak tree (as for instance at
Brefi or within the precincts of the monasteries
of Llancarvan and Llantwit Major), study the
history of her Bishops, Monks, princes, or people,
is obliged to exclaim, “What fine Catholics these
were.” The Seven Sacraments as channels of
grace, prayers for the dead, prayers to the Saints,
the altar containing the Sacred Body and Blood
of Christ, a veneration for the Pope of Rome as
the great chieftain of the Church, these formed
essential parts of their religion and belief.

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Great Britain, like most of the nations of the
globe gained to Christ, owes her conversion
directly to the Popes. Leaving aside the obscure
tradition concerning the preaching of Ss. Peter
and Paul in these islands, there is not the least
historical doubt that the first missionaries who
converted Britain, Ireland, and Scotland, received
their mission from the Pope, acknowledged him as
their highest superior on earth holding the place
of Christ in the government of the Church, and
taught the same to the various tribes which they
gained to Christ.

Eleutherius, at the request of King Lucius, in
the second century, sent over Ss. Fagan and
Damian to Britain. Later on another supreme
Pontiff of Rome — Celestine — sent Palladius for
the conversion of Ireland, and, on his settling in
Scotland, appointed St. Patrick in his place.

The idea which the old Britons entertained of
the Church of God was that of an immense,
supernatural society, founded by Christ to lead
mankind to heaven, and intended to embrace
within her bosom all the nations, tribes, and
tongues of the globe.

To keep together in the unity of the faith such
a variety of nationalities, Christ had placed the
Bishops as the teachers and rulers of that Church ;
and amongst these Bishops, one had power and
jurisdiction over the rest; for it was then under-
stood, as it is now, that, as no army can be kept
together without a general, so the various

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Churches stand in need of a chief, otherwise
unity of faith and discipline is a mere dream.

Such was the plan of the Church taught to the
Britons by their first missionaries, and admitted
by all as true, because established by Christ

When Ss. Eagan and Damian had established
Christianity in their new mission, they went to
the Pope to give an account of their stewardship,
and then a hierarchy, similar to that of other
Catholic countries, was established in Britain, as
already stated in the preceding chapter.

St. Patrick in Ireland and Palladius in Scot-
land, acting on the same principle, deemed it
their duty to keep Borne informed as to their
doings, and to consult the Pope in matters of
faith, morals, and discipline, following in this
the practice of the Catholic Church throughout
the world.

In A.D. 314, on the first of August, was opened British
the first Council of Arles in the South of France, fhfcw 1
The British Church was represented by three of cUo£Aries -
the leading Bishops, and they subscribed to the
decrees which were sent to Rome for approbation,
with a synodical letter from the Fathers of the
Council to Pope Sylvester. Amongst other things,
we find the following passage : —

“We have thought it advisable not to confine
our labour to the programme set before us. We
have also thought of providing for the wants of
our dioceses; and so we have framed for our

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dioceses, in the presence of the Holy Ghost and
His angels, certain regulations. But it is our
opinion that, as you have a under jurisdiction, it is
your duty to promulgate them to all the faith-
ful.” 1

From this it is evident that all the Bishops
present, and with them those of Britain, recognised
the supremacy of Rome. The legates of Pope
Sylvester — namely, Claudius and Vita, priests,
and Eugenius and Cyriacus, deacons — were
present, and all, as a matter of course, thought
it their duty, before separating, to give an
account of their transactions to the great chief
of Christianity.

Thefiret When, therefore, we open the Liber Landa-
LWftff° f vensis, and, a century or a century and a half
countof* 0 later on, we see the Bishops of Llandaff giving
dotogB to an account of the state of the Diocese to the
itonfe!* ° f P°P e Rome, we find such a step natural
enough. They acknowledged Rome, like their
predecessors at the Council of Arles, as the
mistress of all the Churches; and, like good
Catholic Bishops, thought it their duty to keep
that See acquainted with their doings and

Hence, in the lives of Ss. Dubricius and Teilo,
the first two Bishops of Llandaff, we read without
wonder the following phrase : —

“And sanctioned by Apostolic authority,” 2 in
reference to privileges granted to them and

(1) Henrion, Histoire de L'Eglise. Tome 13, p. 584.

(2) Liber Landavensis.

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accepted by them. The Pope of Rome was
evidently consulted on these transactions.

The third Bishop of LlandafF, not satisfied with
sending a written account, went in person to
Rome to confer with the head of Christianity.

St. David is the great legislator of the Catholic
Church in Wales. The laws and usages which
ruled the Church in Cambria were agreed upon
at the celebrated Council of Brefi, in Cardigan-
shire, A.D. 519. St. David was commissioned to
write them down in a canonical form. This he
did at Caerleon, and, when the work was com
plete, he called together another Council in this
ancient city of South Wales, and laid before it
what he had written.

The work was unanimously approved by the
Council, sent to Rome for approval, and re-
mained for centuries the ecclesiastical code of
Wales; for we read the following words in the
Cambro-British Saints, p. 442 : —

“Therefore, from these two synods all the
Churches in the country received their method
and rule, approved of by Roman authority, the
decrees of which confirmed by his mouth . . .

Let us for the present leap over two or three
centuries, forget chronological order, and assist
at a national meeting of the Cambrians convened
at Ty-gwyn, near Carmarthen, by Howell Dda
(or the good). This prince may be called the
Justinian of Wales; for in his life he gave his
country a written civil code, which deals minutely

Councils of
Brefi and
by Rome.

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with the respective rights and duties of every
Welshman, from the prince to the lowest of his

The Welsh Subjects.

mittecTto I will lay before the reader a summary of the
provafof preface to this interesting work, as we find it in
the Pope, the Dimetian code.

“Howell Dda, son of Cadel, by the grace of
God King of all the Cymru, observed the Cymri
perverting the laws and customs, and therefore
he summoned to him from every cantreff of his
kingdom six men practised in authority and
jurisprudence, and all the clergy of his kingdom
possessed of the dignity of the crosier, as the
Archbishop of Menevia, and Bishops, and Abbots,
and Priors, to the place called White House on
the Taf, in Dyved. That house he ordered to be
constructed for him of white rods, as a lodge in
hunting, when he came to Dyved; therefore it
was called the White House.

“ And the king, with that assembly, remained
there during the whole of Lent to pray to God
through perfect abstinence, and to implore grace
and discernment for the king to amend the laws
and customs of the Cymru.

“ At the termination of Lent, the king selected,
out of that assembly, twelve of the wisest laics
and the most learned scholar called the Master

Blegwirid And by the advice of these wise

men, the king retained some of the old laws,
others he amended, others he abolished entirely
sanctioned them with his authority ; and

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the malediction of God, as well as theirs and that
of the Cymru, was pronounced upon such as
should not observe them, unless changed by the
concurrence of the country and the Lord.”

“ Howell the Good, after the Law had been
made, accompanied by the princes of Cymru,
Lambert, Bishop of Menevia, Mordav, Bishop of
Bangor, Cebur, Bishop of St. Asaph, and Bleg-
wirid, Archdeacon of Llandaff, went to Rome to
Pope Anastasius to read the Law, and see if there
was anything contrary to the Law of God ; and
as there was nothing militating against it, it was
confirmed and called ‘ The Law of Howell the
Good,’ the year of the Lord at that time, 914.” 1

That St. Dubricius, Bishop of Llandaff in the
fifth century, and St. David with the Welsh
clergy in the sixth, after meeting in Councils on
ecclesiastical business, should communicate with
the Pope, is easily understood. They were
Bishops of the Catholic Church, and their flock
practised the Catholic religion; communication
with Rome was, with them, a matter of course.
But when Howell Dda, a Prince and a layman,
after framing a civil code, deemed it his duty to
refer it to the Pope, lest it should contain any
regulations against the Gospel, whose chief
interpreter is the Bishop of Rome, one must
admit that the Cambrians were thoroughly

Howell Dda’s line of conduct, far from being
laughed at, should, on the contrary, command

(1) Welsh Laws. Dimetian Code. p. 341.

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the respect, and draw the attention of legislators ;
he they kings or deputies of their fellow citizens :
it contains a deep sense of justice and much
practical wisdom. It stands to reason that any
one legislating for a Christian community should
acknowledge the fact and work upon it. The
following axiom should guide him : “ The first
Law of all is that of God; the Laws of man are
minor rules which should respect the legislation
of Christ, and never enact any regulation militat-
ing against it.”

The Britons thought that the best interpreter
of the Law of God was the Pope of Rome, and
hence they submitted their Code to his considera-

st. Kenti- But now let us go hack to earlier ages and lay
filahop of before the reader the Legend of St. Kentigern,
22K’ Bishop of Glasgow, and the bosom friend of St.

Rome on • i

the vali- DaVld.

oom»e tl011, patron of Wales, but contracted with him one of
those friendships which no events can break. It
began when the Bishop of Glasgow was forced,
by political events, to leave the hanks of the
Clyde, and take refuge in the beautiful valley of
St. Asaph, in North Wales. Heaven itself smiled
on that friendship; for, when St. David was
called to the Lord, Kentigern, although distant,
was informed of the fact by a heavenly vision, in
which he saw his dear friend’s soul carried to
heaven by angels.

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He lived several years later, and his old age,
as we are told by several ecclesiastical writers,
was disturbed by tormenting scruples bearing on
the validity of his ordination. The circumstances
were as follows:

When young Kentigem had reached the age
of manhood and finished his studies, feeling in
his breast an inclination for an ascetical life, he
determined upon becoming a hermit. He built
his cell near, or on, the spot where now stands
the most populous town in Scotland, Glasgow,
with its hundreds of thousands of human beings.

His solitude was soon discovered, and he was
burdened with admiring and curious visitors. In
the course of time, his reputation became so
great, that the King and clergy of the country
resolved to have him for their Bishop. When
the wishes of the people were communicated,
Kentigem offered the utmost resistance. It was
of no use.

As there were no Bishops near, the King and
clergy sent to Ireland for one Prelate, who con-
secrated Kentigem.

The Law of the Church on this matter required
the presence of two or three Bishops. “ Episcopum
proecipimus ordinari a tribus Episcopis, vel ad
minimum a duobus. Non liceri autem ab uno
constitui,” says the Apostolic constitution ; a rule
approved by several subsequent Councils . 1

Though the Church has for ages required the
presence of three Bishops, or of at least two, in

(1) Henrion. Histoire de L’Egliae.

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the consecration of another, she had not, however,
declared invalid, ordination conferred only by
one consecrating Prelate.

However, Kentigem, in his old age, was
tormented by scruples. The idea that perhaps
he was never validly consecrated, consequently
that those Priests whom he had ordained were
not Priests at all, any more than he was Bishop,
that no real sacrifice of the Mass was offered up
by them, no valid absolution given in the
Sacrament of Penance to those who came to
confession, disturbed the peace of his mind.

Although an old man, he did not hesitate to
go to Rome, and lay open his whole life, his
elevation, consecration, and all the circumstances
connected with it, to St. Gregory, the Apostle of
the English. The Pope confirmed his consecration,
as nothing that was of necessity had been
omitted ; and to please the venerable old Bishop,
and at his earnest request, St. Gregory, unwillingly
indeed, supplied those small defects which were
wanting in his consecration.

Professor Rees, from whose “ Life of the Welsh
Saints” I borrow the narrative, laughs at the
following remarks made by ancient writers on
the conduct of the Bishop of Glasgow.

“ A more authentic proof of the respect and
dependence which the British Churches had for
the Roman Bishop cannot be imagined than the
behaviour of Kentigem himself. For, being
afflicted in his mind by the aforesaid defects in

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his ordination, he did not seek for counsel or
remedy from any Metropolitan in Brittany,
Ireland, or France, but only from Rome and the
supreme Bishop thereof, to whom the custody of
ecclesiastical canons was by the Church commit-,
ted, and who had authority to enjoin their
observation, to punish their transgression, and to
supply or dispense with the defects, either by
negligence or necessity, occurring in their ex-

In the mind of Professor Rees, who had a
theory of his own, (that the British Church was
never Catholic) such conclusions, drawn by our
forefathers, are not pleasant, and the facts on
which they are grounded must, as a matter of
course, be looked upon as spurious. However,
the theories or prejudices of an individual cannot
destroy historical truths.

The Welsh were very partial to pilgrimages
abroad. Jerusalem, the Holy Land, the tomb of “S 66 to


St. Martin of Tours, and of St. Peter and Paul
in Rome, were visited by thousands of pilgrims
even from Wales. Devotion was the primary
motive of these religious excursions; at times,
the journey was imposed as a penance. A
Welshman, Bishop, Prince, or Abbot, was often
seen crossing Gaul and the Alps on a pious
journey to Rome. Thus we read of St. Cadoc of
Llancarvan that seven times in his life, the
pilgrim’s staff in hand, he had gone to Rome,
and thrice to Jerusalem, to obtain pardon for

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present of
a Bell to
the Pope.

the souls of his parents and companions ; an
evident sign, as we shall see later on, that the
Welsh thought it their duty to undergo hardships
for the souls of their departed relations and

On a certain evening, a pilgrim named Gildas,
knocked at the door of Llancarvan, asking, in
the name of God, shelter for the night. He in-
formed St. Cadoc, the Abbot, that he was on his
way to Home, and that he expected to find at the
Severn Sea (as the Bristol Channel was then
called) a ship to take him across to Brittany,
from which place he would, with the help of
God, make his way to Rome. His luggage was
not very heavy; but it contained a handbell,
which the pilgrim stated it was his intention to
present as a gift to the Holy Father. It was of
his own manufacture, and so sweet in tone, that
he thought no one should have it except his

The Abbot took the bell, admired the work-
manship, rang it, and declared that never before
had he heard such a sweet sound. At once he
expressed a desire to possess the bell and to pur-
chase it at a handsome price. Gildas replied
that it would always be a pleasure and honour
for him to oblige Cadoc the Wise, Abbot of Llan-
carvan, hut he was sorry to say that in this case
he could not comply with the inclination of his
heart, for he was determined to offer it on the
altar of St. Peter in Rome. St. Cadoc insisted.

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“ I will fill it up with as many pence as it can
contain.” Gildas declined the offer. “ "Well.”
added the Abbot, “ I will give thee as much pure
gold as it can hold.” “On no account,” said
Gildas; “I have made a vow to God and St.
Peter, and, with the grace of God, I hope to be
able to give what I have vowed ; for a foolish
and unfaithful promise is displeasing to the Al-
mighty.” So Gildas, the legend says, started for
Rome and arrived safely with his bell.

On presenting his gift to the Pope, he ac-
quainted his Holiness with all the temptations
he had been subject to on the road; how St.
Cadoc, an Abbot of a monastery in his country,
wanted to bribe him by offering as much gold
for the bell as it would contain; but he was
proof against corruption, and had brought it to
his Holiness.

The Pope greatly admired both the devotion
and determination of the Celtic Monk, thanked
him most sincerely, and said to him — “Well,
Gildas, I will bless this bell ; and then you will
take it back to the Abbot of Llancarvan as a
present from me. I know Cadoc well ; he has
been here several times. Tour countrymen, in
course of time, will take their oaths on it;
because it has been blessed by me, and has been
the property of Blessed Cadoc of Llancarvan.”

The Code of Howell Dda brings forward the
same reverence, in the most explicit terms, in
several passages. The 25th Article of the

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Dimetian Code may seem very extraordinary
to a modern Welshman, brought up to look
upon the Pope as the harlot of the Apocalypse.
It runs as follows : —

“ Whosoever shall commit treason against his
granted by lord, or waylay, is to forfeit his patrimony ; and.

Pope!” the if caught, is liable to be hanged If he

repair to the Court of the Pope, and return with
a letter in his possession shewing that he is ab-
solved by the Pope, he is to have his patri-
mony .” 1

According to the notion of the Welsh legislators
and people, the position of the Pope as the ruler
of the Church, and the high estimate in which
he was held by the people, entitled him to this
privilege ; and no Welsh prince or official was to
lay his hand on any felon, whatever his guilt
might have been, if the same man had been for-
tunate enough to obtain his pardon from Rome.

It was, again, a custom in a Welsh Court of
Justice, when there was some difficulty on the
part of the Judge in finding the truth between
the conflicting depositions of the litigants, to
take the relics in his hands, and thus address
them : —

“ The protection of God prevent thee ; and the
protection of the Pope of Rome ; and the pro-
tection of thy Lord ; do not take a false oath .” 1
st. Augus- Shortly after the arrival in England of St.
the° British Augustine, the Apostle of the Anglo-Saxons, an

Bishops. (1) Dimetian Code, p. 551.

(1) Venedotian Code, p. 117.

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event took place which has been so far misinter-
preted by Protestant writers as to induce many
to believe that the Welsh people separated al-
together from the Catholic Faith. I will place
before the reader the substance of the facts, as
related by the Venerable Bede . 1

St. Augustine, with the help of King Ethel-
bert, called together the ^Bishops and Doctors of
the Britons, and begged of them, in a brotherly
manner, that, for the sake of Catholic peace,
they should preach, in common, the faith to the
nations, and keep the celebration of Easter on
the same day. The meeting took place in Wor-
cestershire, under an oak tree. A long debate
ensued, in which the Britons pertinaciously
maintained their determination to keep to their
customs. St. Augustine then said : —

“ Let us beseech Almighty God, who creates
union in the Church, to inspire us with His
heavenly gifts, that we may know what traditions
are to be followed. Let some infirm person be
brought forth, and let the traditions of those who
shall cure him be received.”

This was agreed to. A blind man taken from
the ranks of the English was brought in. The
prayers of the British produced no effect. St.
Augustine, kneeling down, besought the Almighty
to give sight to the blind man, that thereby
spiritual light might be imparted to the
faithful. His prayer was heard, and the blind

(1) Yen. Bede. Histcria Eccl. Fart iv. Art. iii. Cap. ii.

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man restored to sight. This miracle produced a
deep impression upon all ; and the Britons con-
fessed that the way of justice preached by Augus-
tine was the right one. However, they could
not lay aside their customs without consulting
their brethren, and requested that a more num-
erous council might be convened.

At the appointed time, seven British Bishops
and several Doctors and Abbots (amongst them
Dinoth, Abbot of Bangor Iscoed, near Chester)
came to meet St. Augustine . 1

Previous to going to the assembly, some of them
called upon a hermit, renowned in the country
for wisdom, sanctity, and learning, to have his
opinion as to whether they should give up their
traditions to follow those of St. Augustine ; —

“ If he be a man of God, follow him,” said the
hermit, and such he is, if he he humble ; for the
Lord says — ‘ Take upon you My yoke and learn
of Me to be meek and humble of heart.’ If
Augustine he meek and humble, he carries the
yoke of the Lord ; hut if you find him proud, do
not take much heed of his advice. When you go
to the meeting contrive to arrive last, and if he
rises from his seat to salute you, listen to him.”

It happened, that when the British Bishops
came in a body, St. Augustine did not rise. This
want of etiquette produced at once a painful
impression on the minds of the British Bishops,
and spoiled the work of conciliation, the object

(1) Sammes Britan, ant. p. 510.

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of the convocation. They accused him of pride
and haughtiness, and contradicted him in most
of his views. In the course of the conference St.
Augustine gave them to understand that he
would give way in many points out of respect
for their customs; hut requested that they
should agree with him in three things : (1) To
celebrate Easter at its proper time ; (2) To ad-
minister Baptism in the same way as the Roman
Apostolic Church ; (3) To preach with him the
Gospel to the English nation.

These points were not agreed to by the British
Bishops, nor would they acknowledge him for
their Metropolitan ; for amongst themselves they
made the following remarks : —

“ If he does not even condescend to rise when
we come into his presence, how much more will
he make little of us when we are subject to his

Such is the substance of what the V enerable Bede
tells us of this celebrated Council that estranged for
years the British and English Churches, although
both of them were Catholic.

Dr. Lingard properly observes that, “it is
surprising that so many modern writers should
have represented the Britons as holding different
doctrines from those professed by the Roman
missionaries, though these writers have never
produced a single instance of such difference.
Would Augustine have required the British
clergy to join in the conversion of the Saxons if

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they had taught doctrine which he condemned ?
Bede has minutely related all the controversies
between the two parties ; they all regard points
of discipline.” These observations of Dr. Lin-
gard are perfectly correct. 1

Ireland and Scotland, as well as Britain, with
that pertinacity of temper 'in the blood of
all Celtic races, kept to their computation as to
the celebration of Easter, without thinking them-
selves out of the pale of the Catholic Church.

However, such a diversity of opinion, on a
practical question, created no small amount of
ill-feeling ; and even, at times, interfered with
the peace and union in families ; nor was it easy
to come to an understanding, owing to the strong
national feeling of each party. Thus Oswy,
King of Northumberland, saw. with regret his
own household divided into two factions ; and at
the end of each Lent, it was a hard task to keep
peace ; for when one half of the Court sang the
Easter Alleluias and sat down to an Easter
dinner, the other half fasted and did penance:
for them it was Palm Sunday, the first day of
Holy Week.

To settle this difference, it was thought ex-
pedient to call together a synod. It was held at
Whitby in 664. King Oswy opened the proceed-
ings by briefly stating to the assembly that, “ as

(1) Some writers have banded down to us a fabricated speech, placed
on the lips of Dinoth, the spokesman of the British Clergy. The document
is evidently spurious, as, in the beginning it asserts that the British Bishops
acknowledged the Pope, and at the end, only the Archbishop of Caerleon,
they could not thus contradict themselves.

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they served one God, they should observe one
way of living, neither should they differ in the
a dminis tration of the Sacraments ; for they ex-
pected only one kingdom in heaven. Let them,
then, discuss the matter and follow the truth.”
Coleman represented the Scots, and Wilfred
the other side. Both defended their respective
opinions with warmth and eloquence, and, when
they had spoken, the king closed the conference
by the following conclusive and practical re-
marks : — Wilfred had concluded his speech by
appealing to the authority of the Holy See and
the practice of the universal church, as the
ultimate judge in religious matters.

“ Whatever your Columban, whom we admit
to have been an holy man, may have thought,”
said Wilfred, “ is, after all, his authority above
that of the Prince of the Apostles, to whom
Christ said ‘ Thou art Peter ; and upon this rock
I will build My church, and the gates of hell
shall not prevail against it; and I will give unto
thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven’ ? ”

“Is it true,” said Oswy to Coleman, “that
Christ addressed these words to Peter?”

“ King, it is true.”

“Did He tell the same to your Columban,
thereby conferring on him the same authority? ”
“ No,” answered the Scotch Bishop.

“ Then,” replied the King, “ both you and
Wilfred agree that the keys of the kingdom were
given chiefly to Peter?”

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“ We both agree.”

“ Then,” concluded the King, “ as the Pope is
the porter of heaven, I am unwilling to disobey
him. As far as I know, and to the best of my
power, I shall abide by his statutes ; lest perhaps
that after my death, when I come to knock at
the door of heaven, the porter who holds the
keys should lock me out.”

The British Bishops were in exactly the same
state of mind, and knew full well that the Pope
of Borne was the Head of the Church ; yet they
were, for a time, unwilling to give up some of
their customs, and to recognise St. Augustine as
their Metropolitan.

No doubt, they thought that St. Gregory was
hard on the British race, by imposing on them as
Archbishop a foreigner, ignorant of their customs
and language, with another doubtful qualification
in their eyes, that of being the favourite of their
bitterest enemies. Pope Eleutherius, in the
second century, had established a hierarchy for
the Britons ; and they, their descendants, expect-
ed that the same should be respected, by his suc-
cessor in the sixth.

However, when the British Bishops were in-
vited to meet St. Augustine, they obeyed ; and
had the zealous apostle of the Anglo-Saxons
risen to greet them, the celebrated oak tree in
Worcestershire might have witnessed an act of
reconciliation and recognition. St. Augustine
conceded as much as his conscience would allow;

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but unfortunately he had wounded the suscepti-
bility of the British Bishops, who exchanged
amongst themselves the remark: ‘“If, when we
are not his subjects, he proves so haughty, what
will he not do when he is our master ? ”

Something similar had occurred in Ireland
about a century before. When the great apostle
of Erin had established missions in the North
and centre of Ireland, and converted the pop-
ulation, he directed his steps southward ; but there
he found the Church already established, with
an organized clergy. St. Patrick had received
from Rome jurisdiction over the whole island;
on the other side the people of Munster were
satisfied with things as they were, and said that,
as they were already Christians, St. Patrick
might confine his labours to the rest of the
country. However, this difference on a question
of jurisdiction was amicably settled. The reader
would have wished a similar result from the
celebrated meeting in Worcestershire.

In the case of the British and Anglo-Saxon
question, a strong national antipathy between
the two races, the invaded and the invaders, stood
in the way of reconciliation.

Nationality is often a great obstacle in the
propagation of the Gospel. The Church of Christ
is intended by her Divine Eounder to embrace
within her fold all the nations of the globe. The
commandment of the Great Master is : “ Make no
distinction between the Jew and the Gentile. All

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are brethren, or children, of Adam and Eve.
Christ died for them all, and wishes all to reign
with Him in heaven.”

The selfish spirit of the world does not consider
this, but confines rights, privileges, brotherhood,
to certain narrow boundaries of territories; as
much as to imply, “We are brethren, provided
we belong to the same race, and live under the
protection of the same flag.”

After making due allowance for national feel-
ing and human frailty, one cannot exonerate
from blame a Catholic clergy, such as the British
Bishops; first, from disobedience to ecclesias-
tical orders from Borne; and secondly, for re-
fusing to help in the conversion of the Anglo-

The Britons, as a nation, were perfectly
justified in resisting the invasion of their island ;
but Catholic Bishops and Priests, the ministers of
a God who wishes the Gospel to be preached to
all, seem for the moment to have lost sight of the
spirit of their Divine Master. Peter and Paul
were by race Jews; the Bomans were the deadly
enemies and the conquerors of their country ; yet
these Apostles rejoiced to shed their blood for the
spiritual good of their prosecutors.

Protestant writers have greatly exaggerated
the consequences of the step taken by the British
Bishops under the oak tree in Worcestershire.
According to them, the Welsh Church, if ever
Catholic before, became altogether disconnected

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with the Church of Rome. I think I cannot
better answer such an historical barbarism, than
by calling a Welsh Bishop from his grave and
begging of him to correct the erroneous ideas of
his countrymen in the Nineteenth Century.

This Prelate is Urban, Bishop of Llandaff, a
man of energy, talent, and zeal. He lived in
the twelfth century, and kept up a long corres-
pondence with Rome. His first letter to Pope
Calixtus II. solves the question. In the Liber
Landavensis it is entitled : — Requisition of Bishop
Urban to Pope Calixtus II. It runs as
follows : — 1

“ To the Venerable Apostolical Calixtus, chief
Patron of Christianity, Urban, Bishop of the
Church of Llandaff, sends faithful service and
due reverence. The Church of God, and ours
under God and you, addresses this letter to your
mercy and piety ; and suppliantly requests that,
for the sake of Christ the Chief King, you will
order that it may be carefully read, and kindly
heard by you.

“ From the time of the ancient Fathers, dearly
beloved Father and Lord, as the Chirograph of
our patron St. Teilo does testify, the aforesaid
church, originally founded in honour of the
Apostle St. Peter, was always the mistress of all
other churches in Wales in dignity and privilege,
until at length through means of seditions and
many injuries from wars ... it began to decline,

(1) Liber Landavensis. p. 555.

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and to be nearly deprived of its pastors, and
annihilated by the cruelty of the natives and the
invasion of the Normans.

“ Yet religious persons always remained in it
to perform Divine Service; as well on account of
its being in the neighbourhood of the English
from whom they differed nothing in Church service
(having been brought up and educated amongst
them), as because from ancient times, that is
from the time of Eleutherius, Pope of the see of
Rome, and after the coming of St. Augustine,
(Metropolitan of the Church of Canterbury) to
the island of Britain, the Bishop of this place was
always subject and obedient, in all things, to the
same Archbishop.”

There is no doubt whatever that the Supre-
macy of the Papacy in the Church was an un-
disputed dogma in the old religion of Wales, as
it is now in the Catholic Church. When a
Bishop of LlandafF in the twelfth century sent
his faithful service , and due reverence, to the
venerable Apostolical CaUxtus, chief patron of
Christianity, he did nothing more than what his
countrymen before had done. The civil code of
his country had been sent to Rome to be approved
by Pope Anastasius, 200 years after the arrival
of St. Augustine. In case the Cambrians had
not been Catholics, such an event would have
been noticed as extraordinary. There is nothing
of the kind; not a word is uttered implying that,
after having seceded from Rome, they had re-

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turned to it in the days of Howell Dda. The
Welshmen in the days of Dubricius, in the fifth
and sixth centuries, were as Catholic as when
they received the Gospel from the missionaries
sent by Pope Eleutherius at the request of Lucius,
and remained such for nearly 200 years after the
faith had left England, in the days of the so-
called Reformation.

A Breton tolerably well up in the knowledge cambro-
of the early religious history of Armorica, who
should come over to Cambria and read in some J££^* b ‘
of the modern historians of Wales sentences such ^
as the following — “ The early Britons were never Britta “y-
Catholic in faith or worship,” would greatly
wonder at such barefaced inaccuracies, for he
would know well that Brittany received the
Catholic faith from the early British Church, and
that her first Catholic Bishops, with few excep-
tions, were all from Britain.

* As the Anglo-Saxon invasion drove away the
Britons from their country, and even long before,
in the days of Conan Meriadec, legions of emi-
grants made their way to that Celtic country.
Thousands upon thousands of exiles continued
for years to choose the Armorican shores as a
refuge from the sword of the Saxons. In a few
years the new settlers completely outnumbered
the natives, and changed the name of Armorica
for that of Brittany, or Little Britain, no doubt
as a compliment to, or in remembrance of, their
old home.

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The first Bishops mentioned in the archives of
the ancient dioceses of Armorica, such as Dol,
Quimper, St. Brieuc, St. Malo, are all of British
origin . 1

The graphic pen of Montalembert describes
the exodus and the influence it exercised. “ A
swarm of monastic missionaries descended on the
cliffs, at the head of a population already Chris-
tian. They came to ask shelter from their
brethren, issued from the same race, and speak-
ing the same language. The leaders of the
British monks, who disembarked with their army
of disciples, undertook to pay for the hospitality
they received, by the gift of the true faith ; and
they succeeded. They gave their name and their
worship to their new country. They preached
Christianity in the language common to all
Celtic races, and resembling that which is still
spoken by the peasants of Lower Brittany. They
implanted in the Armorican Britain, in this
Brittany of ours, that faith which remains so
firmly rooted there. ‘ The sun,’ says a Breton
monk of the seventeenth century, apostrophising
one of these prophets from beyond the sea, ‘ has
never lighted a country where, since you banished
idolatry, the true faith has been held with more
constant and unchanging faithfulness. For
thirteen centuries, no kind of infidelity has stained
the language by which you preached Jesus
Christ; and the man has yet to be born, who has

(1) Montalembert. Monks of the West. Vol, II., p. 264.

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heard a Breton preach in the Breton tongue, any
other than the Catholic Faith.’ ”

In the diocese of Quimper, there is an island
called Sein, that bears not a single venomous
beast ; no serpent can live on its soil. It is a
faithful image of the Brittany you (British
Saints) have evangelized; it is a land which,
since her conversion, has bred no venom against
the sentiments of our Holy Mother the Church . 1

There is not a shadow of doubt that Brittany
has always been a Catholic country, and that it
received the faith, in a great measure, from
British priests and monks. The Celtic songs of
Brittany invariably convey two ideas; that its
inhabitants are proud of two qualifications — to be
Bretons and Catholics.

If Montalembert had lived in Glamorganshire
he would not have failed to remark that many
of these holy missionaries, who preached the
Catholic religion in Armorica, were sons of South
Wales, or educated at Llantwit Major, Llan-
carvan, or other seminaries of Cambria. Gla-
morganshire, however, has the lion’s share in the
honour of having trained them for their Apostolic

In our days Wales has reached a material without
prosperity not to be met with in her past annals. rfS
If the surface of her soil, except at the sea coast, of chria- y
is poor, not to say barren, the bowels of her impossible,
valleys and her mountains conceal diamonds in

(1) Albert le Grand, Vies des Saints de Bretagne.

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the shape of coal and minerals. Her seaports
are filled with the fleets of the world, and in-
numerable railways convey her minerals to
crowded docks. Her miners earn wages envied
by clerks in banks or in Government offices; and
wherever the curse of intemperance does not
extend its baneful influence, comfort is the
general rule in a Welsh home.

Such is not the pleasing aspect when we come
to examine the religious condition of the country.
A variety of religions and creeds, almost as
numerous as the coal-pits, divide the country.
There is only one Christ and Redeemer, one
Faith, one Baptism. Our Lord came into the
world to hand mankind together in one form of
religion, and Britain has torn that unity into
shreds, and cast it to the winds.

Amongst the most intelligent and better edu-
cated portion of the Britons there is a feeling
gaining ground every day that there ought to be
only one religion, as there is only one Christ, and
not many; that class of men would hail the
dawn of better days, when the Britons could
again kneel round one altar and sing together,
“Credo in unam Catholicam Ecclesiam.” A
large and influential party in England is striving
to forward this principle. The only possible way
of bringing about this result is the Papacy. To
think of the unity of Christians in one religion
without the Pope is an idle dream; it is to build
a house on the sand, to be washed away by the

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first boisterous tide. “ Thou art Peter, and upon
this rock I will build My Church; and the gates
of hell shall not prevail , against it,” is written.
Civil governments or individuals cannot bestow
on the world unity of religion. Christ did not
choose them as the foundation-stone of His
Church. Wherever and whenever they meddled
with religion, their hand undid the unity estab-
lished by Christ. The history of the east and
west unfortunately proves this.

Henry VIII. took it into his head to become
the supreme ruler of religion in England. What
has been the consequence ? In 1877 not half of
the English population will hold communion
with his Church, or acknowledge in him or his
successors on the throne any Divine mission or
spiritual jurisdiction.

Any, therefore, be it a kingdom, a society, or
an individual, anxious to promote unity of re-
ligion, let him take the only road leading to it —
the road to Home. Every plan devised by the
greatest genius, or the most powerful conqueror,
will be an utter failure without the Pope.

The motto of Protestantism — “Let every one
judge for himself” — is the most destructive
engine of war ever brought against the Church
of Christ. The Bible is made a laughing-stock
throughout the world by this erroneous principle.
Even Pagans keenly remark that “ the Christian
religion is the greatest absurdity ever offered to
mankind, if everybody is allowed to interpret it

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according to his interested views, his national or
individual prejudices.”

Very few nations under the sun exhibit a
greater love and respect for human authority
than Great Britain. She venerates civil authority
in all its gradations ; and this fundamental prin-
ciple of society has contributed in no small
degree in extending and consolidating her
immense power, and in keeping away from her
shores continental revolutions.
a* a citizen -^ n Englishman respects the Sovereign and
Briton^re- an y° ne lawfully invested with authority. Take
authority Navy, the Army, the Civil Service, sub-
tun S 1 ™ or( ^ na ti° n to superiors is instinctively understood
admw- by all to he a duty, and orders are cheerfully
none. obeyed.

Outside the Government influence, in a sphere
in which the people feels its liberty to greater
advantage, the same spirit rules its mind. A
mayor during his term of office is to important
personage, for he represents the community. A
magistrate on the bench is respected, and even
in passionate meetings the most rabid speaker
bows to the chair.

In religious questions there is not a more in-
subordinate being than the modern Briton. He
will acknowledge no authority, and proclaims
h im self as good a theologian as any one living,
and thinks he must he the fin«.l judge in the
interpretation of the Word of God, free to take

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as much as he likes, and to reject as much as he
thinks proper.

With such principles unity of faith becomes
an impossibility. Hence, as a Christian com-
munity, there is not a country more divided
than Great Britain.

Religious dissension exists in the Established
Church as well as amongst Dissenters, and makes
itself felt in political and social life, and often
interferes with the peace of families. Want of
unity in religion is witnessed in Parliament, in
elections, in town halls, at the school board, on
the platform, and in the pulpit.

The sentiment that creates unity is uprooted
from the mind of the nation — namely, submission
to ecclesiastical authority, to the local clergy,
the Bishops, and the Pope of Rome.

This is the secret of Catholic unity, which
binds together in one faith the millions of the
east and the west.

An influential party in the Church of England
is accused of Romanising the mind of the people.
The charge is somewhat correct, and the Catholics
rejoice in this movement towards our faith, and
hope that time will bring home the Prodigal
Son, after an absence of centuries.

These gentlemen are busily occupied in the
erection of a fine Catholic bridge, but the
building will not hold together without the
keystone — the supremacy of the Pope of Rome.

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Before the country returns to the old faith this
principle must sink deep in its mind, form a part
of the thoughts and phraseology of the nation,
manifest itself as of old in the writings of the
historian, philosopher, and poet. This last re-
mark brings to mind the romance of Gwen, a
fair young Cambrian belle, whom the bard of old
sends to Borne to receive penance for causing the
death of her lover.

In the Iolo MSS. it runs as follows : — •“ Take
thou thy neat ashen staff, and proceed to Rome.
The Pope will demand of thee. What wickedness
has brought thee here ? What hast thou done ?
If thou wilt enjoy heaven thou must confess.
Then will the disheartened fair one acknowledge
herself guilty of the death of one who loved her ;
that she broke the heart of a youth of her
country, who died for her love. Then will the
fair one he clothed in horse hair, thus to perform
penance for the rest of her life, for wilfully
slaying the youth who loved her. And may St.
Mary forgive her as I do ! My beauteous maid,
may heaven be to thy soul ! ”


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The Cambrians’ Belief in the Holy Eucharist,
Mass, and Communion. — Practice of Con-

We have seen the Cambrians, in their relation
to the Papacy, faithful in their allegiance to the
Pope of Rome, on whom they looked as the great
Captain of Christianity and centre of Christian
unity. Now, let us ask the reader to accom-
pany us into the Church, where the Priest cele-
brates Mass. Let us lead him to the altar, with
its relics and candles ; show him the tabernacle
which contains the Body and Blood of our Lord
Jesus Christ, carefully preserved there for the
adoration of the faithful, and to be carried to the
sick and dying, whether rich or poor; to the
prince in his castle, to the labourer in his hut.

Within the Sacred Temple let us point out the
confessional, around which, in Holy Week, or on
the eve of Pentecost, the faithful are kneeling,
awaiting their turn to unburden their consciences
and to receive the Absolution of the Priest.

Leaving the Church, let us stroll with that
reverence for the house of the dead which is so

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marked in the Celtic race through the cemetery,
and gaze on the Cambrians of past ages, kneeling
as they come from Mass at the graves of their
forefathers, sprinkling them with Holy Water,
and saying a “He Profundis” for the souls of
the faithful departed.

I like to summon the dead from their tombs,
to sit with them under the shade of the yew
trees, and silently listen to the narrative of
bygone generations, for the tales of the dead are
impressive beyond expression.

The The Cambrians were taught by their spiritual

Cambrians preceptors to believe that Jesus Christ, on the
the^u m eve °f His death, instituted the Holy Eucharist
presence. containing really and truly His Body and His
Blood for the spiritual nourishment of our souls,
and that the Holy Eucharist was both a sacra-
ment and a sacrifice.

The first Priest who ever celebrated Mass was
Jesus Christ Himself, and He commanded TTis
disciples to do the same till the end of time. It
was also on the eve of His death that the
Redeemer of the world gave communion to TTia
disciples, who were the first on earth to partake
of the Body and Blood of their dear Master ; but
one of them — Judas — made a sacrilegious com-

The Welshmen of early days did not, like the
Jews, call in question the power of Jesus Christ
by saying, “ How can this man give us His Flesh
to eat and His blood to drink ? ” and when our

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Lord persisted in declaring to them, “ Unless yon
eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His
Blood, yon shall not have life in yon ,” 1 went
away and left Him. The Welshmen of old said
with St. Peter, when he was asked by his Master
whether he also would not go away like the rest,
unwilling to believe in His power, “To whom
shall we go ? Thon hast the words of eternal life.”
The Welshmen of old, without exception, believed
in the sacrifice of the Mass, and that when the
faithful came to the altar rails to receive com-
munion, they did really and truly partake of the
Body and Blood of our Lord.

In their eyes the most exalted dignity on earth
was that of the Priesthood, because the Priest
had power to call Jesus Christ from heaven
whenever he went to the altar, and distributed to
the people the real bread from heaven whenever
he gave Communion.

With St. Paul they knew that “every high
Priest taken from among men is ordained for
men in the things that appertain to God, that he
may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins .” 8

The laws of Howell Dda give the priest the
title of “ offerenner,” or the celebrator of Mass.
In the Breton language the Mass bears the same
name as in the Welsh. “ Offeren” is the Breton
name for Mass. “Offeren” conveys the same
significance in the ancient Cambrian . 8

(1) Gospel of St. John, chap, vi, v. 54.

(2) Epistle to Hebrews, v. 1.

(3) In the English and Welsh Dictionary (Thomas Edwards) the Priest
is called ** OfiireiadcL”

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CAMURIA sacra.

The Welsh laws are clear and precise in their
definition of the duties of a Priest. The three
things named as indispensable to a king are his
Priest to say grace and to sing Mass.

The judge of the court to elucidate everything
doubtful, and the chief of his household for his
command. (Venedotian Code, p. 177. Dimetian
Code, p. 436.)

These laws, although compiled in the tenth
century, are nothing else than the reflection of
the faith of the Britons from the time they re-
ceived the grace of conversion from heathendom,
oiidasre- The celebrated Gildas, a British monk be-
buk*88° m e i 0 nging to the fifth and sixth centuries, leaves no
Sf doubt on the subject.

I n his work Increpatio ad Clerum he inveighs
enough, -^ith all the energy of his soul, and in that strong
style peculiar to him, against certain abuses that
had crept into the midst of a portion of the
British clergy of his days.

“Sacerdotes habet Britannia sed insipientes
quam plurimos, Ministros sed imprudentes . . .
raro sacrificantes et nunguam puro corde inter
altaria stantes.”

The earnest Monk, from his monastery on the
Armorican shores, denounces two abuses. He
finds fault with some of the clergy for rarely
celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and
when they went up to the altar for not being
endowed with that purity of heart required in
those who do service in the sanctuary of God*

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According to the Catholic spirit he expected his
brethren in the Priesthood to celebrate daily the
Holy Sacrifice. Then, the sacredness of their
functions imperiously demanded that they should
enter the temple of the Lord clad in the robes of
an unblemished life. They were the ministers
of the Church, sprinkling mankind with the blood
of the Lamb of God. Their hands were to be

The altar of sacrifice and the British saints


cannot be disconnected. On the shores of Britons
Armorica we find these servants of God from altar of
Britain celebrating Mass in the presence of an cannot be
alarmed crowd which has called on them to rid ^^4
their neighbourhood from a huge dragon or a
poisonous serpent. They opened the battle at
the altar, offered up first the sacrifice of the Body
and the Blood of Jesus Christ, who formed their
sole strength ; and clad in these very vestments
in which they had celebrated Mass, they boldly
started to meet the dangerous reptile, and gained
an easy victory. Thus acted Paulus, Aurelianus,

St. Meen, and many others. From the holy
Eucharist they derived that personal courage
the boldest of warriors lacked on the occasion, as
well as supernatural power over dreaded animals.

Indeed, one cannot read the history of these
islands without being constantly brought before
the holy of holies.

In all the large monasteries the perpetual
adoration was strictly carried out. Jesus Christ

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St. Cadoc
at the

is really present in the sanctuary. He is not to
be left alone like an indifferent and neglected
guest. Day and night a sentinel of honour is
appointed to do duty in His temple, and sing
Divine praises. Such was the spirit of the ancient
Britons, and that of the founders of religious
houses throughout the country.

The men of the fifth and sixth centuries
possessed a limited knowledge of sacred archi-
tecture. This was a science the Monks of the
Middle Ages were destined to develop to a degree
of perfection not even surpassed in our days.
However, the Britons paid a particular attention
to the decoration of the altar. The stone was
often brought from Jerusalem, and the tabernacle
studded with diamonds and gems of the greatest

Many of the saints of Britain died martyrs
before the altar, and as it were mingled their
blood with that of Jesus Christ. Such was the
case of St. Cadoc, of Llancarvan, Glamorgan-

Let Albert le Grand, a Breton Monk, describe
the circumstances : — “ The old Prelate — for he
was no longer Abbot, but Bishop— was residing
at Weedon, in Northamptonshire, when one
night, whilst in prayer, an angel appeared to
him and gave him his choice as to the kind of
death he would prefer. The old man said, “ As
my Lord died on the cross for my sake, I should
wish, if such be His holy will, to shed my blood,
for His sake.”

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The angel replied, “ Servant of God, rejoice ;
this desire shall be accomplished. To-morrow
thou shalt pass from this miserable life to ever-
lasting glory, and receive the crown of martyr-
dom.” This said, the angel disappeared.

In the morning St. Cadoc communicated the
revelation to some of his intimate friends, and
prepared himself to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice
as usual. At the appointed hour he vested and
began Mass. At the same time an army of
barbarians rushed on the town unexpectedly,
and made their way to the Church. There they
found St. Cadoc at the altar, and after swearing
at and cursing the Christian worship and its
ministers, they seized upon Cadoc, and slew him
at the altar . 1

When the Saxons, laden with plunder, had
retired, the people came to the Church, washed
away the blood, and buried him in his own

St. Winefrid, in the Ecclesiastical Annals of
Cambria, and also in the opinion of her country- s^wiL^
men, ranks first amongst the maidens of Wales. frid-
What St. Agnes is in Rome, St. Genevieve in
Paris, Winefrid is in her native land. From the
time of her martyrdom to the present day a
continuous stream of pilgrims has annually
resoited to her well, in the hope of finding, on
the spot where she died for her virginity, a cure
for their infirmities, for at all times and every-

(1) Albert le Grand. Vies dea Sainta de Bretagne,

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where a virgin martyr is looked upon by the
people as a soul dear to God — a spouse of Jesus
Christ, able to help the afflicted who seek her

On a certain day St. Beino visited Tewyth, the
father of Winefrid, with the intention of obtaining
from him the cession of some land on which he
might build a Church, wherein to celebrate Mass.
Tewyth agreed to give the land on condition that
the Priest should instruct his only child, Winefrid,
in sacred and human learning. The land was
situated in a valley called in Welsh “ Sychnant,”
or the dry valley. There Beino built a Church
in which he daily officiated, and he fulfilled his
agreement of instructing the young Winefrid.
Under the training of such a holy man the
youthful virgin closed her heart and her mind
against the world. She was beautiful in person,
and possessed of great intelligence and a pure

Her pleasure was to keep in order the Church
of her pious master, and to attend to everything
required about the altar. She prepared the
thurible with its lighted charcoal for High Mass,
and when the Holy Water stoup was drained of
its contents she replenished it, placing salt and
the Ritual in order that the fresh supply of water
might be blessed by the Priest.

On a certain Sunday, whilst Beino was at the
altar and Winefrid alone in the house, the lawless
Caradoc made his appearance. The young girl

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contrived to escape, but was overtaken on the
threshold of the Church, and barbarously slain
by the wicked prince. This murder at the door
of the sanctuary, and during the celebration of
Mass, was not to be soon forgotten in Cambria.
The Christian bards commemorated it in their
verses, and the maidens of Wales, in the long
winter nights, sang by their firesides, with
throbbing hearts and eyes bedewed with tears,
the death of the Virgin Martyr.

We may picture to ourselves the sacred bard
drawing a touching antithesis between Jesus
Christ shedding His blood for the sins of man-
kind, and Winefrid, expiring in the protection of
her virginity.

“One Sunday morning,” said the bard, “a
father, a mother, and a people weep, in the
Sychnant Valley, at the altar of St. Beino. Two
victims are immolated — the bridegroom and the
bride — one on the altar, the other at the door of
the Church. The one is Jesus Christ, the only
Son of the living God; the other St. Winefrid,
the only daughter of Tewyth. St. Beino mysti-
cally immolates the Lamb of God, a vic tim
willing to die for the sins of the world. The
wicked Caradoc strikes off the head of the virgin
Winefrid, unwilling to yield to his passions.”

This episode in the life of St. Winefrid carries
us back to another celebrated daughter of Wales
— St. Ninnoc, of the royal house of Brychan, in
Brecknockshire. She lived in the days of Ger-

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manus, about tbe middle of the fifth century, and
was induced, hy the example of this venerable
prelate of Gaul, to embrace a religious life. She
went to Brittany, and there founded a monastery
for women.

Guereck, Duke of Brittany, a man who could
appreciate worth and sanctity of intention, be-
haved generously and nobly to the young virgin,
and granted her a large tract of land.

The charter conveying the deed of donation
was solemnly placed upon the altar, together
with a chalice containing wine, and a paten of
gold. This charter expressly stipulates that
“ the banquet of the Body and Blood of our Lord
should he offered up m perpetwum for the benefit
of the donor’s soul, and for his family, both
living and dead.” This deed of gift, which bears
the date 458, will, later on, be placed before the
reader. In form and substance it is similar to
those in the Liber Landavensis.

0athg The register of Llandaff abounds in instances
before the w h ere we 8ee Welsh princes on their knees in the
sanctuary, and there, in the presence of bishops,
clergy, and nobles, taking the most solemn oaths.
Such instances repeatedly occurred in the days of
Oudoceus, Bishop of Llandaff.

When a feudal war was about to break out it
was customary with the clergy and laity to en-
deavour to effect a reconciliation between the
disputants, and thereby prevent the shedding of
blood. On these occasions the contending parties

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came to the Church, and there, before the altar,
in the presence of God, His ministers, and the
laity, they solemnly promised to lay aside hatred
and the spirit of revenge, and to live together
like brothers, in peace and concord.

When such an oath, taken in such a sacred
place, was violated, and murder committed, the
Churches in the neighbourhood were deprived of
Mass, the altar was stripped, the relics, candles,
and bells were laid upon the pavement of the
Churches, and thorns heaped up before the closed
doors, for those who violated their promise to
Jesus Christ were deemed unworthy to partake
of the benefit of the Holy Sacrifice of His Body
and Blood, or to receive Holy Communion.

Upon an act of such severity being exercised
by a resolute Bishop, such as Oudoceus, the gloom
of death seemed to overshadow the district under
punishment of interdict. Sunday, instead of
cheering the heart with gladness, cast a cloud
over every home, and forced the people to reflect
deeply on the enormity of the crime of the prince
who had brought such desolation on the country.
Sooner or later he was compelled to yield to the
pressure of public opinion, and seek pardon from
the Bishop, because his people would not remain
long without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The reader will find fuller details on this subject
in the life of the third Bishop of Llandaff.

According to the laws of Howell Dda, when a
judge was appointed, the taking of the oath ad-

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ministered to him was attended with greater
solemnity than in our days. The life and the
property, as well as the liberty of subjects, are in
the hands of the judge. He decrees the ruin or
justification of many. This was well understood
by the legislators of Wales, and therefore, before
entrusting any person with an office of such im-
portance, they ordained that he must appear at
the foot of the altar at the moment when the
Redeemer was present thereon, and in that
Divine presence, and before the angels of God,
he was obliged to take a solemn oath to render
justice to all, to the rich and to the poor alike,
without distinction of rank or position. The law
runs as follows : —

The “ When the judge is appointed, let the Priest,

to take the the King’s Chaplain, with twelve principal officers
before the of the court, take him to the Church to assist at
jUtar ' Mass, and after Mass and offerting by everyone,
let the chaplain require him to swear by the
relics, and by the altar, and by the consecrated
elements placed upon the altar, that he will never
deliver a wrong judgment, knowing it to be
wrong, either through the entreaty of any person,
or for worth, or for love, or for hatred of anyone.
Then let the chaplain declare what has been
done .” 1

The people of Wales believed, with the rest of
Christendom, in the real presence of our Lord
in the Holy Eucharist as an article of faith, and

(1) Dimetian Code, chap, xiv., art. 20.

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therefore considered that if the word of a man
could ever be relied on, it would be when in the
presence of Jesus bn the altar, he affirmed or
denied an assertion. The law being aware of
this sentiment, often cited the litigant to the
sanctuary, confident that if the truth was to be
told, and falsehood confuted, it was most to be at
the foot of the altar.

If a woman appealed to law concerning the
birth of a child, she was required to swear as to
its paternity before the consecrated altar, and her
deposition was then taken ; for no Welshwoman,
unless she had reached the lowest degree of per-
versity, would dare to take a false oath at the feet
of the Lord.

The law again, to prevent the lodging of rash
and untrue informations, which were often the cautioned

before the

result of ambition, jealousy, or revenge, imposed Altar,
a caution on the informer as to the gravity of the
charges he was about to make. Before the de-
position was taken the Priest was enjoined to
bring him to the Church, and there remind him
of the duties imposed by justice and charity, and
of the awful sin of perjury.

The formalities to be observed on such occasions
are defined as follows : —

“Whoever wills to make an information, let
him go to the lord (prince) and say that a person,
whose name he does not mention, has committed
a theft. The lord should then summon the Priest,
who is to take the informer before the Church

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door, admonishing him to understand and beware
of the guilt of perjury. If he swear, let him first
take an oath before the door of the Church,
secondly in the chancel, and thirdly at the altar.
This being done, let the priest go and inform the
lord of it .” 1

The writer of these lines, during a sojourn of
ten years in the East, in the island of Mauritius,
has witnessed hundreds of times even Pagans
make their way to a Catholic Church to settle
their differences at the foot of the altar. They
had learned from the Catholics that the Bon Dieu
dwelt in the tabernacle, and into His presence
they therefore came. As a rule they lighted two
or three candles before the altar. Then the man
who was accused of robbery solemnly declared to
all the bystanders, generally six or seven in
number, that he was aware he knelt in the house
of God (la grande case du Bon Dieu), and he
invoked Him as witness that his hands were free
of theft.

His assertion, made in so sacred a place, was
generally received as truth, and thus all further
litigation was prevented. More than once the
writer has heard these Indians remark, when they
left the Church, “Well, now, we leave him to
Almighty God. If he has told an untruth in
His presence, he will have to pay dear for it.”

A Church, in the eyes of a Catholic population,
is more sacred than the holy of holies in the

(1) Venedotian Code, p. 247, art 28

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tabernacle of Solomon’s temple was in the eyes
of the Jews. A Church is in reality the house of
Jesus Christ, in which He dwells — not in figure,
but really and truly. Hence when a Catholic
enters and beholds the lamp of the sanctuary
burning before the tabernacle, he falls on his
knees in adoration. “ Terribilis est locus iste, hie
domus Dei est et porta cseli.”

In the old Celtic phraseology the Church in
Wales and Brittany is called “ Ty Doue, Ty Duw ”

— that is to say, the house of God. What a
difference exists between that ancient name and
the modern Welsh term “Meeting-house,” which
conveys the idea of a covered space suitable for
any purpose, whether tea parties, fierce political
discussions, or prayer. Since Jesus Christ was
expelled from the temple it has lost its sacred
character in the minds of the people.

The Welsh law punished, with particular p , in , A
severity, any misdemeanour committed in or ^
about a Church. The sacredness of the place
was considered to aggravate the transgression.
Whoever shall do wrong in a Mother Church,
let him pay to it fourteen pounds. If in the
Churchyard, seven pounds. Whoever shall do
wrong in another Church, let him pay seven
pounds . 1

A Catholic of the nineteenth century, reading
this penal code written for a Catholic population
of past ages, draws this natural inference. The

(1) Welsh Codes.

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severity, increasing by gradation, implies the
following facts. The Mother Chv/rch enshrined
habitually the Blessed Sacrament; hence the
heavy penalty of fourteen pounds for any serious
wrong committed under its roof. The Church-
yard connected with the Church, and the burial
places of her Christian children, was also sacred,
but not in the same degree ; hence the fine was
only half. The other Churches wherein cases of
crime occurred, which were subjected to a fine of
seven pounds, no doubt were Chapels, used oc-
casionally, but which were not privileged to
reserve the Blessed Sacrament, and consequently
an offence perpetrated in them was a lesser

The Church of England is spending millions of
pounds sterling in the restoration of the old
Cathedrals built by generations of Catholics, and
wrenched from them at the time of the Reforma-
tion. No expense is spared, the highest archi-
tectural talent is employed in effecting the work
of restoration, and to all outward appearance one
would take them to be again Catholic Churches.
That which is essential is, however, as yet absent
— the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. These Churches
were built to enshrine the sacred humanity of our
Lord Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the Holy
Eucharist. As long as He is kept away, they do
not answer the purpose for which they were

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There was nothing in the world the Catholic J 110 . .

° Cambrian*

Welshman dreaded more than dying without the Hol y
Sacraments of the Church; and the Priest who “ion-
had care of souls considered it a most sacred duty
to attend the last hours of a dying Christian. If
ever remorse gnawed his conscience it was when
any of his parishioners had died without the
Sacraments through his fault. This was also the
opinion expressed by the legislation on the sub-
ject, for the laws of Howell Dda specify that a
Priest, on his way to attend a sick call, shall be
free to pass over any person’s land. He may
ride through gardens and cultivated fields if he
thinks it necessary, for he is called to the death-
bed of a Christian, who, before leaving this world,
stands in need of absolution and of the Body and
Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. When upon
such a holy mis sion no one in Wales has a right
to call him to account for trespassing.

When Gwynlew, the warrior, was dying in his
hermitage on Stowe Hill, Newport, Monmouth-
shire, he called his companions around him and
said — “I feel my days are coming to an end.

Send to Llancarvan, and request my son Cadoc
to come in haste to receive the confession of his
dying father, and to give him Holy Communion
before he leaves this world.”

St. Cadoc at once came from Llancarvan, and
when he reached the cell of his dying parent, on
the hill of Newport, he found that St. Dubricius
was already at his bedside. After he had received

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Geraint o;

at the
hands of
St. Teilo.

the Body and Blood of our Lord, the old chieftain
thanked God and his son for his conversion, and
stretched forth his hand to bless Cadoc in this
world and in the next.

St. Teilo, the second Bishop of Llandaff, was
on his way to Brittany at the head of a colony
from Glamorganshire, when coming to Cornwall,
the place from which they were to embark, he
was hospitably entertained by the prince of that
country. Geraint, for such was his name, took
compassion on these poor exiles, forced to fly
from yellow fever. The account of the awful
havoc caused by this pestilence in Wales (where
the houses were empty, and the Churchyards full
— where kings, as well as their subjects, had
fallen victims), as related by the fugitives, to-
gether with their emaciated and yellow appear-
ance, struck terror into the heart of Geraint, for
he felt that this dreadful plague might seize upon
him as it had on thousands of others. He thought
it advisable, therefore, to take advantage of the
arrival of the Bishop of Llandaff, and settle the
affairs of his conscience before he should again
embark. St. Teilo assured the alarmed prince
that he was not as yet to die. The Holy Prelate
had received a revelation that Geraint was
destined to live for seven years longer, and that
he should not pass away without receiving the
Body and Blood of our Lord from His own hands.

The prophecy was verified by subsequent events.
At the end of seven years Geraint fell ill, and St.

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Teilo, whilst returning to Wales from Brittany,
met the messengers of the dying prince, who
requested him to hasten his journey that he
might keep his word to their master. Teilo
hurried on, and arrived in time to administer
Holy Communion to the sick man, who shortly
afterwards expired . 1

We might multiply, almost ad infinitim, the
instances in which we see the dying Welshman
consoled during his last moments by the presence
of the Redeemer of the world, and the Judge
before whom he will have to give an account of
all his actions and omissions, of his words and of

his thoughts, when the soul shall have parted
from the body ; but as these will be placed before
the reader as they occur in the life of each saint,
we shall not tax his. patience now by useless

The greatest punishment which could be in- To be
dieted on the Welsh was to forbid them to of Com-

approach the sanctuary to receive the Body and the ’
Blood of our Lord.

When King Meuric had given to Almighty

God, to the Church of Llandaff, and to St.

Dubricius, the Bishop thereof, the tract of land
situated between the rivers Taff and Ely, the
grant was understood to be ad perpetmm, for
when a Welshman gave land to religion it was
for perpetuity. However, the charter clearly
specified that “ if ever any man, prompted by

(1) Liber L^ndavensiH


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avarice and the evil spirit, seized on such lands
in any way whatever, he was to be admonished
twice or thrice ; and if he did not amend, was to
be excommunicated and deprived of the Body and
Blood of our Lord." And the people who heard
the proclamation of this threat cried “Amen ! ” for
it was the opinion of all that this punishment,
severe as it was, should be inflicted on persons
who were guilty of sacrilege.

The ecclesiastical authorities dealt with other
crimes and misdemeanors in like manner, by
forbidding the offender to approach the sacred
banquet until such time as he had performed
penance. In the register of Llandaff we find
several examples of Welsh princes who, having
committed murder, were excommunicated, sent
on pilgrimages, and not allowed to receive the
Holy Eucharist until they had gone through
their penance, as will be seen in the life of St.

The history of the early Christians, both in the
east and west, are full of instances showing forth
the wonderful effects of the Holy Eucharist.
The Esthers of the Church call our attention to
the fact that the martyrs, drawn in crowds by
iniquitous tyrants to torments and death, derived
their superhuman endurance from Jesus in the
sacrament of His love. One day their members
were dislocated, the next day they were slowly
burnt, then thrown to wild beasts, or tried by
other tortures. But nothing could induce these

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noble heroes to renounce their religion, for they
were fortified hy the Mesh and Blood of their
Divine Master. Hence the greatest care was
taken to bring them Holy Communion before
they left the prison for the amphitheatre. Nay,
in time of persecutions the early Christians were
allowed to keep the Holy Eucharist in their
private houses, for at any moment they might he
called upon to seal their faith with their blood.

St. Ignatius, Bishop and martyr in the second
century, was so enamoured of his Divine Master
in the tabernacle, that on his road from the East
to Rome, there to die for his religion, he writes
to his brethren in Rome — “ The pleasures of this
world have no longer any attraction for me. I
long after the celestial bread — the bread of life —
which is the Elesh of Jesus Christ, Son of the
living God, the incorruptible love and life ever-

Later on St. Cyprian gives us several examples
in which Christians receiving unworthily the
Body and Blood of Jesus Christ were severely
punished by heaven.

These remarks of St. Cyprian brings to mind
the monstrous conduct of a British chieftain
towards the two sons of Modred.

Constantine, son of Cador, kinsman of King
Arthur, and his successor, said on his lips —
“ Eorgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them
that trespass against us,” but in practice followed
to the letter the law of retaliation, in exacting

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blood for blood, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. He
thought himself bound to revenge the death of
Arthur, who fell in a battle against Modred, on
the two sons of this rebel prince.

The clergy, in the name of religion, demanded
of Constantine to spare the two youths, and not
call them to account for the sins of their father.

The Duke of Cornwall promised, before the
altar, in the most solemn manner, to do not hing
against their existence.

Yet, not long after, maddened by the spirit of
revenge, he broke the gates of the monasteries
the two brothers had entered. They ran into
the Church, entered the sanctuary as places
guarded by the Angels of God, and respected by
every Christian. But Constantine had regard
neither for the laws of God or man. He entered
the sanctuary, in which he found his vic tims
clinging to the altar, and begging to be spared
in the name of Jesus Christ, who was there
present. But Constantine listened to no en-
treaties, and slaughtered them in the Church.

Three years afterwards he was miserably slain,
and people remarked that it was high time he
should be chastised for his sacrilegious murders.
Well might the earnest Gildas use strong language
in denouncing the crime of this prince, his
readiness to swear anything at the altar, and his
promptitude to become sacrilegious and perjurer.

It is reported of St. Samson, that in Lent, at
least during some portion of his life, he abstained

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altogether from any kind of food excepting the
Holy Eucharist of the Body and Blood of our
Lord, which he carried with him . 1 In fact,
what we are told of the extraordinary mortifica-
tions of this Saint seems almost incredible and
beyond the power of human endurance, if we did
not keep in view the various effects of Holy
Communion, which not only nourishes the soul,
hut at times has been the sole nourishment of
certain Saints for a certain period . 1

The Welsh code of Howell Dda says — « A Confession
child is to he placed under a confessor’s care at
the age of seven years,” and describes the privi-
leges of all persons who from seven years upwards
are under direction of a confessor . 3

A Catholic of the nineteenth century, who
remembers the Catechism of his young days,

(1) Britannia Sancta.

Correa, as quoted by Migne, Bays that in the case of certain Saints
Communion replaced the ordinary corporal food. According to the general
law of nature, we a8Bimilate into our organisation the alimentB we eat, but
in the partaking of the Holy Eucharist, the reverse is the case ; our nature
is, as it were, assimilated to that of our Lord ; supernatural life absorbs
the natural life.

Certain Saints had no relish for any other food but the Holy Eucharist,
and for a time have subsisted solely on this Heavenly Bread.

In 1225, Hugues, Bishop of Lincoln, on learning that there was, in the
town of Leicester, a nun who for seven years had partaken of no other food
but the Body and Blood of our Lord which she received every Sunday,
refused to believe what he was told. He sent over fifteen Clerks with
instructions to watch her carefully, and never to lose sight of her for the
space of fifteen days. As during that time Bhe preserved her health and
strength, the Bishop became convinced of the fact.

In Norfolk there lived a holy young girl named Johanna Matles, who
ior fifteen years partook of no other nourishment but the Holy Eucharist.

A Spanish nun — Louisa of the Resurrection — lived in the same miraculous
manner. Many holy hermits in the deserts, such as John the
Abbot, St. Mary of Egypt, and others, were favoured by heaven in like
manner. St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Rose of Lima, relished no other
food but the Body and Blood of our Lord.

(2) Migne, Mystique Chrdtienne.

(3) Welsh laws, p. 207.

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cannot help remarking the antiquity of the
practice of confession at an early age. Catholic
mothers are now as of old exhorted to bring their
children, both boys and girls, to the confessional
when about seven, for it is believed that a child
who has reached this period of life is a moral
agent capable of distinguishing between good
and evil. The old Cambrian Catholics thought
the same, and even went so far as to prescribe,
in their civil legislation, the necessity of taking a
child to confession at the early age of seven.

The same code, alluding to the confession of a
king, says “ that a Bishop is the confessor of a
king by privilege.”

The practice of going to confession is often
mentioned in the lives of the early Welsh Saints.
Thus when Maelgon, King of North Wales, sent
an expedition to plunder the South, under his
son Rhun, amongst other strict recommendations
given to both commander and army are the
following : — “ When you reach the Bristol
Channel you may come upon Llancarvan Abbey.
Mind you respect the said territory. Touch no
man or animal belonging to its community, for
the Abbot is my confessor , and expects protection
and exemption from the horrors of war from
his spiritual son .” 1

It is related of Amon, father of St. Samson,
that being dangerously ill he dispatched mes-
sengers to Barry Island, where his son was a

(1) Cambro-Britiflh Saints.

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Monk, requesting his attendance at home, giving
as reason that his coming would have the result
of curing him both in body and in soul.

Indeed, it is asserted that this nobleman felt
very uneasy in his conscience. In the habit of
going to confession like every Christian in
Britain, he had not been sincere in the accusation
of his sins, and thus had made sacrilegious con-
fessions. At some period of his life he had
committed some great fault which he could not
find courage to confess. He knew full well that
religion required a disclosure of all mortal sins,
under the pain of rendering the Sacrament of
Penance inefficacious, and the absolution of the
Priest void. This fact had disturbed the peace
of his conscience on many occasions, but never
so much as in this illness, when death stared him
in the face. However, the arrival of Samson
infused energy into his soul. He made a general
confession of his entire life, and, accompanied
by his brother, followed his son to Barry Island,
to live and die religious.

Anyone who will read the lives of such men
as Gwynlew, the warrior, a prince of Monmouth-
shire, and of Geraint, King of Cornwall, or
assist at the death-bed of any Welshman from
the earliest dawn of Christianity down to the
Beformation, and even long after, will always
find the practice of confession in force. At the
hour of death a Priest will always, be discovered
attending the last moments of the dying man,

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receiving his confession, absolving him from his
sins, “ in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost.” The family and friends
of the dead were doubly afflicted at a funeral if,
when lowering the body into the grave, they
were conscious that he had gone into eternity
without confession and co mmuni on.

Modern W elshmen entertain very extraordinary
views on this subject, and have presumed to
limit the power and control the will of the Son
of God, for in their opinion He cannot empower
a man to forgive sins. If amongst us anyone
can delegate his authority to another, and consti-
tute him his alter ego as far as he judges proper,
is it reasonable to deny the same power to the
Redeemer of the world ?

The Cambrians of old thought differently, and
believed, with the Catholic Church, that when
Christ told His disciples, “ Whose sins you shall
forgive on earth they are forgiven in heaven,”
instituted the Sacrament of Penance by which
the sins committed by adults after baptism are
really forgiven.

Penance, as a sacrament, implies the concur-
rence of two persons, a sinner and a Priest, with
power from God to absolve. The sinner must
be sorry for his transgressions, determine to do
his best not to fall again, confess, and make
satisfaction. Then an approved Priest absolves
him, as the agent of God empowered by Him to

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The Cambrian of old. was also reminded by bis
spiritual teacher of the provident kindness of our
Redeemer in securing for us a life-boat in case
of shipwreck, for how few there are who preserve
baptismal innocence through life.

Let us go to the graves of past generations and
ask the dead whether or not they have been
benefited by this noble institution of our common
Master and Redeemer. Thousands upon thou-
sands will tell us — “ On earth we lived reckless
and cared little for any law, human or Divine.
However, in the course of time we repented, did
penance, and received absolution. When called
upon to give an account at the bar of Divine
justice we pleaded guilty, but said on earth there
is a tribunal established by heaven with power
to forgive, and that tribunal has forgiven us, and
thus we have escaped the eternal punishment of
hell; and now we are members of the elect of
heaven, and thank the Lamb of God for the
wise institution of the Sacrament of Penance.

Dissenting and Ritualistic opinion on the
question of confession engrosses a great deal of
public attention at the present time, both in
Great Britain and throughout her immense
empire. A large, influential, and determined
party in the Church of England are inviting their
people to frequent the confessional, and that
with a success which cannot be under-rated. It
is true this party meets with a great deal of
opposition in high quarters, and draws ridicule

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upon it from a certain number of Protestants,
and is even annoyed by tbe wavering hand of
the law. Dissenters, as a matter of course, side
with the opponents of confession, while Catholics
watch with deep interest the great change which
is taking place in the public mind in favour of
the Divine institution they cherish.

The The Ritualist is in the right, and can say to

Ritualists # 0 "

and public his opponents, with us Catholics, read the Scrip-

opuuon. t ure8 "WTiat do they say in Matt. xvi. 19, xviii.
18, St. John xx., 22-23? Christ gave power to
His Apostles to forgive or retain sins, to loose or
hind, and whatever course they take is ratified in
heaven. The words are clear and obvious, and
cannot he distorted to suit our purposes.

Yes, whatever sins are forgiven in a confessional,
in a sick room, on land or on sea, by those who
have received power, are forgiven in heaven.
Our ancestors, for 1,800 years, believed in the
institution of the Sacrament of Penance. Ask
the fathers of the Greek and the Latin Churches.
They all speak of the power of forgiving sins —
of the tribunal of penance.

In the course of the present year (1877) public
opinion was somewhat occupied by this contro-
versy in the neighbourhood of Cardiff. A cele-
brated Canon of Llandaff considered it his duty
to come before the public and expose his views
on the subject. The elegant Churchman de-
nounced, as strongly as he could, the practice of
confession as unscriptural, and unsupported by
the traditions of early ages.

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This step did not meet with the approval of a
large portion of the Church-people attending
Llandaff Cathedral. One of them told the writer
of these pages that they were sorry the Canon
had committed two egregious blunders : first, in
having misunderstood altogether both Scripture
and history; and secondly, in having wounded
the susceptibilities of many in the Church who
entertained on confession exactly the same ideas
as the Catholics.

I replied that I felt certain the Canon had
distorted the Holy Word and the traditions of
past ages, but was not aware that such a large
portion of the people round Llandaff shared our
Catholic views on the Sacrament of Penance. I
was happy to learn that we were drawing closer
and closer.

“Fifteen or sixteen years ago,” I added, “I
happened to be sent for to a certain institution
for females, connected with Llandaff. The
practice of confession seemed to be a law of
the institution, as the following reason for my
visiting the place will show : —

“A young inmate, Irish and Catholic, was
invited like the rest to present herself for con-
fession. This she declined, stating that it was
very useful to go to confession to a Catholic
Priest, who had power to forgive sins, but a loss
of time to confess to anyone else. Let them
send for one of her own clergymen, and she
would be happy to unburden her conscience, for

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unfortunately, she had neglected her soul since
she had left school.

“The institution, with a consideration not
always met with in such establishments, wrote
to the Priests of Cardiff, and one of us called in

“A well-known Catholic hook treating on
confession — “ Gaume, Manuel des Confesseurs” —
occupied a conspicuous place in the parlour, and
evidenced to every visitor that confession was
favourably looked upon in the house.”

My impression in those days was that this
Catholic custom was confined to Protestant con-
vents ; by what this informant said, I found it
was extending to the Church of England at

I hope a day will come when England will
again kneel round one altar in the unity of faith
and practice.

It is out of place for any Protestant Clergyman
of Llandaff to run down confession as an intro-
duction of modern times. The Saints of that
Church, one of the most ancient in Britain,
might come forth from their graves and protest
against such historical blunders.

St. Dubricius, first Bishop of Llandaff, in the
fifth century, and St. Teilo, his successor, heard

In the days of Howell Dda an Archdeacon of
Llandaff was commissioned to write down the
Welsh code at Ty-gwyn as Daf, near Carmarthen,

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One of the articles of the said code declares'
that a child is to go to confession at seven years
of age.

Well might the educated portion of the Church-
people of Llandaff feel uncomfortable on the
benches of the Cathedral when they heard the
Canon tell them that the practice of confession
did not exist before the twelfth century. The
very stones of Llandaff Cathedral deny the
correctness of such assertions, and the traditions
of past ages protest against the historical

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Piety to
the de-
parted a
custom i

Piety to the Dead a Sacked and General
Custom in the Ancient British Church.

Kindest Jesus, Lord blest.

Grant them everlasting rest

The Dies Ibal

In Llandaff Cathedral, on the monument
erected over the Matthew family, lords of the
Rhadyr, we read the following inscription: —

“Orate pro animabus Gulielmi Matthew, qui
obiit decima die Martii . . . quorum ani-

mabus Deus Propitietur. Amen. (Pray for the
soul of William Matthew . . . who de-

parted from this world on the tenth of March
. . . on whose soul may God have mercy.


This epitaph reminds us of a devotion deeply
impressed on the hearts of our ancestors, which
made it a crime for the living to forget the de-
parted when the grave had closed over them.

To offer prayer for the dead has ever been
looked upon in the Catholic Church as a most
sacred duty. Whatever may have been the
faults or vices of our forefathers, there was one

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virtue they never failed to practice — piety to-
wards the departed ; and the Welsh in particular
were most religious in the fulfilment of this
spiritual work of mercy. They deemed it
obligatory in a Christian to feed the hungry, to
clothe the naked, and to offer hospitality to the
traveller ; hut they believed that to relieve the
suffering souls in Purgatory by prayer, alms, and
the sacrifice of the Mass, was the greatest act of
mercy that could be exercised, and one impos-
sible to be neglected, except by the most un-
grateful, who were pointed out to public execra-
tion as the scum of Christians.

In Cambria there is invariably a cemetery
round a Church, or a monastery, for kings and
subjects, clergy and laity, did not relish the idea
of being buried in any other place. They felt
convinced that if their bones were laid whilst
awaiting the resurrection of the body beside the
walls of the Church, the people who came to
Mass on Sundays would not fail to breathe a
prayer to our Lord on the altar for the repose of
their souls.

The Church-yard of a monastery was also, in
the public mind, a favourite spot for interment,
because it was frequented both day and night by
the Monks on their way to the Church to chant
the Divine Office. The sacred harmony died
away into the silence of nature in the following
strain — Et Fidelium animse per misericordiam
Dei requiescant in pace. Amen. (May the

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i A



to the
dead in

souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy
of God, rest in peace. Amen.)

To lay the body, when abandoned by the soul,
within the boundaries of a Church, or in the case
of the rich under the very roof of the sacred
building, was deemed most important by the
faithful of old, for they seemed to feel, through
a religious instinct, that they could he happy
near the altar on which Jesus Christ sheds His
blood, both for the living and the dead.

“ There are three places,” says the Welsh code,
“ where a person is not to give the oath of an
absolver. . . . The second is at the porch of

a Church-yard, for the Pater (the ‘ Our Father ’)
is there said for the souls of the Christians of the
world ; and at the Church door, for the Pater is
chanted there before the road .” 1

To realise the extent of the devotion to the
departed which prevailed in Wales in by-gone
ages, one should visit the country parishes of
Brittany, for there the old religious customs of
Britain have been preserved in all their purity.

Every Sunday, either before or after Mass,
there is not a grave hut is visited and sprinkled
with Holy Water. Children, whatever he their
age or sex, are seen kneeling at the tomb of a
father or a mother. A wife bends over the stone
beneath which her husband rests; a husband
over that of his wife. A mother leads her
children by the hand, and they, like her, kneel

(1) Webb Lawn.

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and pray, for she deems it her duty to teach
them a devotion which she has herself learnt
from the departed; and no doubt the thought
suggests itself to her that one day, when she has
taken her place in this same Church-yard, those
now innocent children, grown up to manhood,
will in like manner come and weep and pray for
her soul.

In a Celtic country the old beggar is a type of
the living faith of former days. He enjoys
acknowledged privileges, and follows customs
handed down to him by generations of his class.
No police, no pauper guardians, can meddle with
him. He is old, poor, known in the parish, born
in it, and has never left it except when con-
scription called him to serve in the army. So
he is free to go about unmolested, and to knock
at every door. The farm dog will not even bark
at him ; they are too old acquaintances. If the
dog could speak he would call the beggar by his
name, and the latter politely salutes the canine
guardian by the title familiar to him.

Bent on his staff, the old man can undisturbed
make his way to the door. On the threshold he
takes off his hat, and commences to recite aloud
the Pater, the Ave, and the De Profundis, ending
with the following ejaculation — “May all the
souls of the faithful departed, the souls of those
who lived in this village, and in this house,
through the mercy of God rest in peace.”

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Whatever humour the landlady may be in, or
however busily engaged, she will find time to go
to the flour-bin, and pour from thence a measure
into the wallet of the mendicant.

When a marriage is about to take place, and
the time fixed for its celebration is at hand, the
departed are not forgotten, nor can the festivities
attendant on a wedding be opened without giving
a thought to those who once also married and
gave in marriage, but now lie buried in the
cemetery. Two or three days before that ap-
pointed for the wedding a Requiem Mass is sung
in the Church at which the bridegroom and the
bride, with their respective relatives, attend,
according to an immemorial custom.

No interment takes place without the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass being celebrated in presence
of the corpse ; and when the body of the deceased
has been laid in the grave, his family will cause
Masses to be offered for the repose of his soul on.
every day for a week, find once a week for a year
after his death. Then when the anniversary
comes round, Mass is again celebrated for seven

Who can reasonably find fault with a practice
which is so natural to the human heart, and
which testifies gratitude, and keeps alive the
memory of those who formerly tenanted the land
in which we live — perhaps built the very houses
in which we dwell — and helped, in a great
measure, to bestow on us the comforts we now

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enjoy. Away with any teaching which condemns
the dead to oblivion, and stifles thankfulness for
past services in the breast of man. Let the
Cambrians of old leap forth from their graves
and denounce such revolting impiety and black

The venerable founder of Llancarvan Monas- st. Cadoc’s

devotion to

tery is particularly noticed in the Welsh manu- the dead,
scripts for his piety towards the dead. No doubt
in the history of his ancestors he met with sullied
pages which made him think that many of them
were detained in purgatory for a time. His
prayers in their behalf were incessant, and his
penances offered up to heaven for the same

He must he acknowledged as the great traveller
amongst the Welsh Saints. Several times he
went to Rome and to J erusalem. In undertaking
such dangerous, long, and fatiguing journeys, he
was actuated by no natural desire for moving
from place to place, or love of learning, as is
often the case. His sole motive was piety to the
dead. The Pope, speaking of him to Gildas,
said — “ Cadoc has been in Rome seven times, and
thrice to Jerusalem, to obtain forgiveness for the
souls of his parents and friends.”

The Liber Landavensis is full of wills and Prayers for
bequests to religion. These public deeds, care- ^t^tiy
fully written and signed on all occasions by £j e J‘£ onod
witnesses taken from the ranks of the clergy and charters -

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laity, illustrate in bold relief how strong was
their piety towards their departed brethren.

In the fifth century Meurig, King of Gla-
morgan, ceded to Almighty God, to St. Peter,
and to Dubricius, Bishop of Llandaff, all that
tract of land lying between the rivers Taff and
Ely, over which the rising town of Cardiff is now
continually extending itself. The condition of
tenure required by the charter is — “That daily
prayer should be said, and ecclesiastical service
performed, for his soul and for the souls of his
parents, kings and princes of Britain, and of all
faithful deceased .” 1

Under St. Teilo, successor of St. Dubricius, of
Llandaff, we find Iddon, a prince living in Mon-
mouthshire, granting land in a place near Aber-
gavenny, at Llantellio, or Llandeilo Pertholey,
stating that “ his intention in making the
donation is to benefit his own soul and those of
his ancestors.”

The charter commences thus — “King Iddon
granted an alms for his soul and the souls of his
ancestors, kings and princes, to God, and to St.
Peter, and to Archbishop Teilo, and all his
successors in the Church of Llandaff, Llanmawr
— that is, Llan Teilo .” 2

To spare the reader too many quotations, let
me introduce him into the home of the kings of
Glamorganshire, and there, in the intimacy of

(1) Liber Landavenris, p. 311.

(2) Liber Landavensis, p. 385.

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family life, lie will be able to judge for himself
as to the religious duties dictated to their faith
with regard to deceased relatives. Their religion
and customs were, without exception, exactly
the same as those of their countrymen.

In that family a sacred tradition exists that is
handed down from father to son, and never
departed from, which embodies the beautiful
saying of St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, who
thus addresses the dead : — “ We will never forget
thee till such time as by our prayers and good
works we have delivered thee from Purgatory.”
Thus Meurig, King of Glamorgan, prays for his
father Tewdrig after the grave has closed over
him ; and when in his turn this dutiful son has
passed to eternity, we find his children and
grand-children calling on the Redeemer to over-
look his frailties, granting land to religion and
building Churches for the repose of his soul . 1

Connected with the name of Meurig, the Liber
Landavensis mentions a charter, thus worded —
“ Be it known to all that Meurig, son of Tewdrig,
and his wife Ambrawst, daughter of Gwirgant,
gave to God and Oudoceus, and to his holy pre-
decessors, Teilo and Dubricius, and to all his
successors in the See of Llandaff, for their souls
and the souls of their parents, three modii, nearly
twenty-seven acres of land .” 2

When the grave had closed over him and he
had gone to eternity, the same attention was paid

(1) Liber Landavensis, pp; 884, 885.

(2) Liber Landavensis, p. 882,

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at the
graves of
his victims

to his memory by his surviving relations, for we
read — “ King Morgan, son of Athruys, granted
the village of Guilbin for his soul and the soul
of his grandfather, Meurig, to Oudoceus, the
Bishop, and to the Church of Llandaff .” 1

These two chieftains were, however, far from
being blameless. They had shed innocent blood,
and that too of near relations. Their Bishop, in
solemn assembly of the clergy and laity, had
even deemed it his duty to exc ommuni cate them
as guilty of perjury and murder. Undoubtedly
at times they had no control over their wild
nature, hut no sooner had their passions cooled
down than the action of faith told powerfully
on their souls, and caused them to repent and do
penance. They soon felt an intensity of remorse,
and the ghosts of their victims haunted their
imaginations night and day. Faith doubled the
stings of conscience, for it reproached them for
having sent into eternity a soul unprepared for
the journey. Was it not just, therefore, that
they should have prayers offered and alms given
to benefit these near relatives, the victims of their
swords ?

Hence we find the following words in the
Liber Landavensis 2 : — “ King Morgan, son of
Athruys, for the soul of Ifrioc, son of Meurig ,
whom he hilled, and for the redemption of his
own soul, having taken on him the yoke of
penance in fasting, prayer, and alms-giving,

(1) Liber Landavensis, p. 891.

(2) Liber Landavensis, p. 399.

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bestowed on the chief Bishop Qudoceus, and on
St. Dubricius, and on St Teilo, Lan Cyncyrill
and the land of Cynfall, situated on the banks of
the river Ely, in Glamorganshire .” 1

In these days of materialism the law considers
the crime of murder only from a temporal point
of view, and pronounces the perpetrator of it
guilty, because he deprived a man of the right to
live an additional twenty or forty years of life,
and took, perhaps, a husband from a wife, or a
father from his children. The man of faith sees
it in another aspect, and says — “ Here you have
launched an unprepared soul into eternity. By
far the most serious part of the offence is your
having deprived him of the chance of putting
his conscience in order by repentance, and pre-
vented him from receiving the Sacrament of
Penance and the Holy Eucharist. Temporal
existence is nothing compared to eternal life.

The least you can do is to pray to Almighty God
for the soul of the victim of your unbridled

As I have before said, the Bretons of Armorica donation


had Welshmen for their first Bishops and Pastors,
and monastic institutions were introduced into to the

Welsh nun

that country, or at least owed their development st. nwdoc
to natives of Britain.

It is said that the first convent for women
erected in Brittany was founded by a daughter
of Cambria, Ninnoc, the virgin and servant of

(1) Liber L&ndavenais.

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God. On this occasion kings and princes came
nobly forward to help the cause of religion.
There is a charter of Count Guereck to blessed
Ninnoc, which we will place before the reader,
as it evidences the same respect and devotion to
the departed. It bears the date 468, and thus
belongs to the fifth century.

“ In the name of the Holy and Undivided
Trinity, and of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,
and by the virtue of the Holy Cross, I, Guereck,
by the grace of God, Duke of Brittany, out of
my own heritage, for the continual commemora-
tion of the souls of my 'parents, either alive or dead,
for the salvation of my soul and the souls of those
of my blood who are to succeed me, and for the
welfare of my kingdom, in the presence of the
Bishops, counts, and lords of Brittany here
present, give and concede to the virgin and
servant of God, Ninnoc, and her successors for
ever who are to serve God in this locality, called
by her name Lan Ninnoc, the whole Parish of
Pluemer, with all the territories cultivated and
uncultivated contained within its boundaries.
Moreover, I add another gift — namely, the whole
territory on which stands the Church of St.
Julitta, with the Church of the same name
situated in Rengruis. Towards the support of
the said donation I also grant annually three
hundred measures of wine, salt, and wheat, out
of the estate called Dalkhgerran, to be delivered
on the spot by vessels, and at my own expense.

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I increase my donation by the gift of three
hundred horses, or mares, and as many bullocks
and cows, and other smaller cattle. To confirm,
therefore, this privilege of my donation, I offer
this gold chalice full of pure wine, and a patina,
as a testimony and to he used in the heavenly
banquet. Therefore, whoever shall violate or
diminish the quantity of this donation, let him
be pierced by the dart of present and eternal
anathama, and let his lot he with those who burn
in the unextinguished fire for their sins.

“All present answered Amen; and this was
done in the place called Lan Ninnoc, in the
Parish of Pluemur, and presence of the above
named princes of Letavia, in the year of the
Incarnation of our Lord (XX3GLVIII. (468), the
same Lord Jesus Christ reigning throughout the
infinity of ages.” 1

(1) Albert le Grand. Vies des Saints de Bretagne, p. 361,

“In nomine Sanct® et Individual Trinitatie et beatissim® Virginia
Marias, ac per virtutem sanct® Crucis, Ego Guerech, Dei gratia, Brittanies
Mm oris Dux, ex mea proprid haereditate, pro commemoratione asaidua
animarum parentum meorum, tam vivorum quam defunctorum, et pro
salute anim® me®, nec non eorum qui ex stirpe me& successuri sunt, et
pro statu Hegni mei, in conspectu Episcoporum, comitum et optimatum
regionis Brittanic® hie astantium, Do et concedo sanct® Dei famul® et
Virgini Nennoc®, ejusque successoribus, in perpetuum ibi in loco qui ex
ejus nomiue didtur Lan- Ninnoc, Deo servitude, to tam plebem qu® didtur
Pluemur, cum omnibus terris cultis et incultes, itfc ut penitus oontinetur
intrh fines suos. Adjicio insuper aliud donum, terram to tam videlicet, in
qu& est ecclesia sanct® Julit®, cum efidem ecclesifi qu® est in Renguis, ad
suBtentandam quoqve lod hujus procurationem, quolibet anno, trecentos
modi oa tam vini quam salis, atque frumenti, de terrfi qu® didtur Dalkh-
Gerran (vel Rathguerran), similiter concedo, eosque deferri hhc usqub
navigio fadam. Augeo etiam huic meo dono trecentos tam equorum
quam equaram et totidem bourn et vaccarum, necnon min u torn m ani-
ma l i u m . Ad corroborandum verb hujus me® dationis priviligium, calicem
hunc aureum, cum patenft, vino mero plenum in testimonum offer© et in
discumbitione ®temft. Quicumque ergb hujus doni quantitatem violayerit,
aut minuerit, pr®sentis et stemi anathematis jacula transfigatur, sitque
pars ejus cum illis qni in igne inextinguili in cumulum perditionis pro suft
nequitifi involvuntur. Respondentes autum omnes qui ibi aderant

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A careful reader meditating on this will of a
Icing in the fifth century may, perhaps, share
our own feelings as regards the donor and
recipient. It is beneficial to the heart of a
Christian man Irving in the nineteenth century,
an age of materialism, to see his fellow-men long
since departed so supernatural in their deeds, and
so Christian in the wording of their transactions.

Ninnoc, the Welsh nun, had no doubt gained
the esteem of the Britons, both clergy and laity.
Had she gone to Armorica, as a young and
beautiful daughter of Cambria, she would have
been admired, and at once have become a welcome
guest amongst the nobles of that country. Young
princes would have sought her hand, and hards
have sung the praises of her beauty in the
banquet halls; but when she lands on the
western coast of Gaul, her form is shrouded in
the coarse habit of the convent, her face hidden
under the veil of a nun, and she is venerated.
Her aim is not to please the world, but to serve
God, and those amongst whom she came thought
that too much could not he done for her and her

The Armoricans regard her as an angel on
earth, and her prayers ascend straight to heaven ;
and the spirits who minister around the throne of
God are prompt in assisting her. Hence the
Duke, in return for his donation, demands her

dixerunt. Amen. . . . Faactum est hoc in loco, qui dicitur Lan-

Ninnoc, in plebe Pluemur, coram prtcdictis Letaviie nobilibus, anno ab
incarnatione Domini Jesu Christo CCCCLVIII regnante eodem Domino
Jesu Christo per infinita saocula satculorum. Amen.”

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intercession for himself and for all he holds dear.

On the day of the official promulgation of the
charter, the solemn ceremony commenced, as
was usual on such occasions, with the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass. A chalice of gold, with
the paten, reminded the community of what was
required in perpetuity — namely, the celebration
of the Holy Sacrifice for the donor and for the
souls of his relations, living and dead. The
Discwnbitio oetema meant that the Body and
Blood of our Lord was to be offered up for ever,
according to the intentions specified by the

When the Anglo-Saxons were converted to
Christianity they also inherited the piety and the
usages of the Britons towards the departed.

An Anglo-Saxon chieftain, although a Chris-
tian, shows at times no more control over his m

The same

passions than his British confrere. Unfortunately
in those primitive days murders occurred but too “ Anglo-
frequently amongst both races. However, as verts,
they professed the same religion and the same
faith, they atoned as far as they could in the
same religious manner for the crimes they com-

Oswy, King of Northumberland, was a strange
mixture of virtues and vices. Zealous for the
propagation of Catholic truth, we have already
beheld him presiding at the conference between
Coleman and Wilfrid on the question of Easter.

Yet the same prince unmercifully slew his

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opponent, Oswin, who had been treacherously
delivered into his hands. Public indignation and
hitter remorse soon brought him to the altar to
ask pardon for himself and for his victim.

He erected a monastery on the very spot where
the murder had been committed, and stipulated
that daily prayer should he offered for both
kings — the slayer and the slain. It is related
that his conscience not being yet satisfied, he
thought, when fifty-eight years of age; of going
as a poor pilgrim to Pome, still further to atone
for having slain Oswin . 1

Reader, deride not the piety of our forefathers

which im-
the breast.

gratitude Call not by the name of superstition a devotion
and justice that brings a child to kneel at a father’s or a
mother’s grave, there, according to the Welsh
phraseology, to say the Pater for their souls.
Laugh not at a beloved and bereaved fellow-
being who seeks the Church in order to plead
before Jesus Christ the cause of his departed
relatives or friends. It is impiety and folly,
and any enlightened man who may witness
the act feels indignant. May you, on your
death-bed, he consoled by the idea that when you
shall have exchanged a short existence for an
everlasting one the living will still remember
you, for in the family there is a sacred tradition
which pronounces it a sin not to give a thought

(1) Sammes, Brittania Antiqua.

piety to- towards the deceased, nor the religion
dented 6 planted it and fostered its growth in

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to the dead or to pray for them. Happy are the
father and the mother who have taught their
children to kneel each night hy the fireside, and
who have enforced, as a religious duty, that
every one should join, before retiring to rest, in
prayers for the faithful departed. Such a custom
may he beneficial beyond the grave to the pious
soul who practices it.

We are deeply indebted to those who have
gone before us. The house, the village, the town
in which we were born was built hy them. The
general comfort we enjoy is in a great measure
the result of their work. They opened our
roads, and brought the country into a high state
of cultivation. From them we inherit our laws
and customs, and our present safety as regards
life and property. Is it not, therefore, just that
we should gratefully appreciate what they have
done, call down a blessing on their graves, and
invoke peace to their souls ?

Were the dead allowed to appear again and
speak, they might with truth reproach the living
with being in. a great degree the cause of their
sufferings in Purgatory, and say — “We now
undergo a term of punishment before being
admitted into heaven, and this we attribute to
the scandals you placed before us, and to your
advice which we followed ; and further, in order
to benefit you in temporal concerns, we, for love
of you, infringed on the rights of God and man.”
In such a case not only gratitude but justice bids

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us remember, in our prayers and good works,
those souls suffering in another world because of
our sins in this.

When Judas Maccaboeus had put the army of
Georgias to flight, he traversed the battle-field to
ascertain the number of his own soldiers who had
fallen, in order that they might receive honour-
able burial. To his own great sorrow, and also
that of his companions in arms, donaries to idols
were found underneath their coats. The fact
that such brave men should have died guilty of
such a heinous transgression grieved all the sur-

A collection amounting to twelve thousand
drachmas was made amongst the soldiers and
sent to Jerusalem, in order that sacrifices might
be there offered up for the sins of the dead,
because Judas and his warriors knew to a man,
as the Saicred Biography remarks, “ that it is a
holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead,
that they may be loosed from am .” 1

A day will again dawn over Cambria when
the sons of Britain, re-converted to the faith of
their forefathers, will restore to their country
that piety towards the departed so sadly lost at
the present time.

Welshmen who have recently returned to the
Catholic faith, and were possessed of wealth,
have already bestowed land and endowments
upon Catholic missions ; and, following the custom

(1) Maccabees, xii. 46.

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of the children of the Church in the fifth and
sixth centuries, hare stipulated that in return
for their donations prayers should he said, and
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered up for
their souls and for the souls of their departed

When the tide of public opinion, directed by
the spirit of God, shall have brought men to look
upon Catholicity in a more favourable light,
and shall have drawn more souls within the
threshold of the Church, such donations will
increase in number. Amen. We want land
whereon to build Churches — schools wherein to
pray and educate our rising generation. Like
Beino, the master of St. Winefrid, we are under
the necessity of appealing to landowners, being
unable to refrain from using our utmost exertions
to supply urgent needs. We ask them in the
name of God to grant us at least a few square
yards of ground on which we may erect a modest
Chapel, wherein to worship according to the
dictates of our conscience and the religion of our

I will close this chapter with a Breton tale,
which is often narrated in the peasant’s homes Piety to
by the fire-sides on the long winter nights. A parted re-
tale, although hut a tale, is still a medium for tlbfceitic
conveying the thoughts and religious convictions tale8 '
of a nation as to what a Christian should do for
the faithful departed. This story is borrowed
from Emile Souvestre, who has naively repro-

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duced the customs and mode of thinking, not
only of his own country, but of Celtic races in
general, who have not lost the faith.

“ The Bretons,” he observes, “ like all the rest
of the world, are children of sin. However, they
love their dead, take compassion on those in
Purgatory, and endeavour to release them from
the purifying fire.”

It is in the black month 1 they more especially
demonstrate their Christian piety. On All Saints
evening every one gives a thought to those who
have stood at the bar of Divine justice. Masses
are said for them, blessed tapers are lighted, and
their sad condition recommended to the inter-
cession of the Saints. Their graves are visited
by the people of the district in the company of
little children, and after Vespers the Parish Priest
proceeds from the Church to bless their tombs.

It is on that night Jesus Christ bestows many
favours upon departed souls, and allows them to
re-visit the homes they inhabited whilst on earth.
During those hours the dead are as numerous in
the houses as the leaves are on the deep roads,
and each dwelling is set in order to receive them
with hospitality.

But if we count those devoted to the Blessed
Virgin and her Divine Son by thousands, children
of the Black Angel (the Devil) also abound, who
forget those who have been dear to them, and
are no longer of this world.

(1) November.

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William Postic was one of these. His father
had died without the benefit of Absolution, and
he was going in the right way to depart in the
same unblessed manner. He led a dissolute life,
and danced during Mass on Sundays, whenever
he could, in company with horse dealers and the
like. In the same year he lost his mother,
sisters, and wife, and to console himself, like
every wicked widower, he used to say, “ I lost
my wife, but I can find plenty more.”

His Parish Priest had warned him privately,
and had even denounced him from the pulpit as
a scandal to every Christian ; but all to no pur-
pose ; for, as the saying is, “ The cracking whip
drives away the loose horse.”

When the feast of All Souls came round, every
baptized Christian put on mourning and went to
Church to pray for the dead. As for William,
he proceeded to the neighbouring village to meet
sailors without religion, and shameless women.

All the time passed by the others in pious
exercise for the relief of the suffering souls was
spent by him in drinking fire water, gambling
with the sailors, and singing songs to the girls.
Thus he caroused until midnight, and was the
last to leave the public-house.

On his way home he chanted aloud such songs
as even the boldest only whisper, and passed
before the highway crossed without lowering his
voice or taking off his hat. He whirled
his stick, heedless whether he might strike

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the souls with which on that night the roads
were crowded.

On arriving at a place where four roads met,
he paused to deliberate, for two of them led to
his village. The longer one was under the pro-
tection of God, whilst the shorter was haunted by
the dead, for many in passing along it at night
had seen and heard things they dared not speak
of except near the Holy Water stoup. But
William was no coward, and so in the end he
dashed down this road.

The night was pitch dark ; no stars glistened
in the firmament ; no moon was to he seen ; the
silence of death reigned around, interrupted only
by the murmuring of streams, and the clattering
of his clogs on the rocky path.

Whilst he was passing under the walls of an
old ruined manor Jiouse the weather-cock from
the tottering belfry crowed and said, “ Go back !
Go back ! Go back ! ” But William went on,
and when he came to the cascade the waters
spoke thus: —

“ Do not cross ! Do not cross ! Do not cross ! ”

Leaning on his stick, he leaped from rock to
rock, until he reached the opposite side.

As he passed an old hollow oak tree the wind
whistling through its branches said : —

“ Stop here ! Stop here ! Stop here ! ”

William struck the old tree with his stick, and
walked on till he came to the entrance of the
haunted valley. At this moment the hour of

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midnight was tolled from the towers of the three

To cheer himself up the young man began to
whistle, but at the fodrth attempt he heard the
noise of wheels coming in his direction ; and as
soon as he caught sight of the mysterious cart he
perceived that it was covered with a winding
sheet. Postic soon discovered that it was the
Chariot of Death , drawn by six horses as black
as ebony. The coachman, who was death him-
self, shouted —

Get out of the way, or I will overrun thee.”

William moved aside, hut, far from losing
courage, audaciously said —

“Well, Master Death, what art thou doing

“ I take — I waylay ! ” was the solemn answer.

“ Then thou art a robber and a traitor,” said

“ I strike blindly and regardless of persons.”

. “Then thou meanest to say that thou art a
fool and a brute,” exclaimed the young man;
“but never mind all that, only let me know
whither thou art going.”

“I am going,” Death replied, “in search of
William Postic.”

The youth hurst into a fit of laughter, not
altogether natural, and continued his journey.

He was not long in reaching the spot haunted
by the night laundresses from the other world,
and he was soon convinced that what people

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said on this subject was correct, for he perceived
young women as white as snow stretching linen
to dry on the hedge.

“ Hail ! fair damsels,” shouted William. “ I
see you are not shy; but pray what are you
doing in these meadows at this hour of the

“ We wash, we dry, we sew,” smartly replied
the two women.

“ But what? ” enquired the young man.

“ The winding sheet of a dead man, who as yet
speaks and walks.”

“ A dead man ! But pray do let me know
who he can be?”

“ William Postic.”

The youth laughed as before, and continued
his descent along the narrow, rocky path. As
he proceeded he heard the voices of several
women, mingled with that particular noise
occasioned by several persons scouring on the
stones of streams.

As he drew nearer he beheld them with his
own eyes washing out winding sheets , and heard
them singing the following mournful verses as
they worked : —

“If Christians to our aid come not
Till doomsday, washing is our lot
By moonlight, in the howling sleet,

In fresh snow still — the winding sheet.”

On seeing the stranger the fairies at once ran
to him, requesting his help in wringing out their
wet shrouds.

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“I am always glad to oblige,” answered
William. “But, fair laundresses, let each of
you take her turn, for a man has but two hands.”

He laid down his stick, and took the end of a
sheet presented to him by one of the dead, being
particularly careful to wring in the same direction
as the laundress, for old people say that is the only
way of keeping one’s arms to one’s shoulders.

Whilst thus occupied William witnessed the
arrival of other women, amongst whom were his
own mother, his aunt, his sisters, njnd his wife,
who screamed —

“ A thousand woes to him who lets those be-
longing to him burn in the flames of Purgatory !
A thousand woes!” And all the surrounding
echoes repeated, “ A thousand woes ! ”

This scene was too much for William; his
hair stood on end; a cold perspiration broke out
over his body ; he lost his presence of mind, and
wrung the linen in the wrong direction, when
his arms became dislocated under the iron
strength of the ghost.

Partly through fear, and partly through the
deadly touch of the spectre, the unhappy young
man fell down dead.

At his funeral the blessed candles would not
light, and all who were present left his grave
with the sad conviction that there was one more
bad Christian in hell.

Whilst revising this chapter I happened to fall
on Jones’ History of Brecknockshire, and therein

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met with the following epitaph written on the
monument of the Aubrey family : —

“ Water le Fitz Water git id, Jesus de sa alme eil
mercy. Amen. Pater Noster. Christina sa femme gist
id, de sa alme en merci. Ave Maria. Pater Noster.' '

Our ancestors took the greatest care to remind
the living to pray for the departed. Speechless
under the granite or marble monument they lent
their voices to an inanimate stone, and ordered it
to remind the visitors of their mortal remains,
not to forget to recommend their souls to the
mercy of God. They are to kneel on the pave-
ment, and say — “ Eternal rest give unto them, O
Lord, and may everlasting light shine upon them.”
St. Augustine, the African Bishop, in his Con-
fessions, requests the reader to pray for the
repose of his mother, Monica, and his father,
Patricius. “My God and my Lord,” says the
great doctor, “ inspire such of my brethren who
may read this hook to pray at the altar for the
souls of thy servant Monica, and her husband,
Patricius, whose blood flows in my veins.”

In keeping with these pious and useful customs,
the writer calls upon such persons who may read
these lines recording the piety of the ancient
Britons for the faithful departed to recommend
to the mercy of God the humble Priest who spent
many a night in the sweet company of the ancient
inhabitants of this island. May they say a Pater
and Ave for the repose of his soul when the
grave has closed on him.

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Saints Honoured and Invoked in the
Cambrian Church.

The Church of God, taken in the widest
meaning of the word, encloses within her fold
the living and the dead. We tenants of the
earth form the militant Church, for on our road
to eternity we have to fight the Devil, the world,
and the flesh. Amongst the departed the souls
in Purgatory constitute the suffering Church ;
whilst the happy souls round the Throne of God
form that glorious society called the triumphant

We can tell the number of our brethren on
earth, but are unable to realise an approximate
idea of the legions of souls either in Purgatory
or in heaven. We pray for those who suffer
beyond the grave, and earnestly request our
brethren enjoying the vision of God to help us
with their powerful influence in heaven.

The Council of Trent, in its twenty-fifth Doctrine of
session, directs that all over the world it shall be onSlIton
taught “ That the Saints who reign with Christ ^ 8ub ‘
in heaven offer up their prayers on behalf of

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men ; that it is a good and useful thing to invoke
them and seek for their intercession and help, in
order to obtain graces from God through our
Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is our Redeemer
and Saviour.”

This doctrine is certainly in keeping with the
traditions of the Catholic Church. From the
time of Christ down to our own, religion, although
teaching that it is not absolutely necessary in
order to be saved to pray to the Saints, still
strongly recommends her children to avail them-
selves of the powerful influence which their
departed brethren exercise in heaven. The
Saints, no longer within the prison of a corrupt
body, enjoy the vision of God. They are beatified
spirits, empowered to behold what passes on
earth, and from the heights of heaven look down
with compassion on their brethren who are still
navigating the stormy ocean of life. The blessed
in the other world return thanks to the Lamb of
God, in whose blood they have washed their
garments, hut do not forget those whom they left
behind; and coming to the presence of Christ
they bear with them the phials containing the
prayers of their brethren. (Apoc. v. 8.)

Veneration for the Saints and confidence in
their intercession with God is everywhere to be
met with in ancient Welsh history. In Churches
and monasteries their lives were read and set up
as examples to he followed, and their intercession
invoked in Litanies and in prayers at Mass.

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Sailors during a storm called on them for assist-
ance in the hour of danger, and their countrymen,
when visited by epidemics, unfavourable seasons,
or the scourge of war, implored of these Saints
now before the throne of God to plead for them
in the time of tribulation.

The Rev. "W. Y. Rees, M.A., in his introduction Their lives


to the lives of the Cambro-British Saints, very and read

* for public

properly observes that “ these and similar lives edification,
were compiled to give information how the holy
persons commemorated lived, and to set their
modes of living as an example for others to
follow ; and accordingly they were appointed to
be read in the time of and as a part of Divine
service, whereby the hearers would receive a
knowledge of the various particulars of their
conduct, and be excited to imitate them. Being
thus read for the purpose of conveying religious
instruction and inciting to piety, they were called
legends, in contradistinction to homilies and dis-
courses. The days of the year on which these
lives of the Saints were publicly read were those
of their festivals, which took place on the anni-
versary of their deaths, and were considered as
their birth days, because they then entered into
a state of happiness .” 1

In many a Breton family of Lower Armorica
this ancient custom is not yet extinct, and the
lives of the Saints are invariably read before
kneeling down to evening prayer every day

(1) Cambro-Britiah Saints.

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throughout the year. Several religious com-
munities also follow this practice, and a short
life of the deceased members of their order is
read on their anniversary days.

Such a custom in any nation or family denotes
a supernatural people who place a due value on
the real end of man, and are anxious to copy the
example given them hy the servants of God. A
soldier studies the life of an Alexander, a Caesar,
or a Napoleon, in order to learn from them how
to vanquish nations and obtain perishable glory.
The soul illuminated hy Divine grace, scorning
all such transitory considerations, takes the Saint
who conquered heaven for the model of his life,
and his written history for his book of study.
Beautiful Supernatural life as a rule pervades such

sentiments • . A •

expressed writings intended for edification, and at times
bKigrapher the cast of thoughts is somewhat original. Let
David at us take as an instance the sentiment which
bis iife d ° f emanates from the pen of a biographer of St.
David, after the said pen had narrated his de-
parture from this world.

“ And on that Tuesday, the first day of March,
Jesus Christ took the soul of St. David with great
victory, joy, and honour, after hunger, thirst,
cold, labour, fasts, and acts of charity ; afflictions,
troubles, and temptations, and anxiety for the
world. The angels bore his soul to the place of
light without end, and rest without labour, and
joy without sorrow, and abundance of all good
things — of victory, brightness, and beauty. The

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place where the champion of Christ is praised,
and where the wicked who on earth abounded in
riches are cast aside ; the place where health is
without pain, peace without disappointment,
music without discord; the place where Abel
rejoices with the martyrs, Enock with the living,
Noah with the sailors; where Abraham dwells
with the Patriarchs, Melchisedech with the
Priests, Moses with the princes ; where Aaron is
with the Bishops, David with the kings, Isaias
with the Prophets, Mary with the virgins, Peter
with the Apostles ; where Paul is with the Greeks,
John with the Asiatics, Thomas with the Indians,
Matthew with the men of Judea, Luke with
those of Archaia, Mark with those of Alexandria,
Andrew with the Scythians, in that eternal home
where dwell the angels and archangels, Cherubim
and Seraphim, and the King of Kings, for ever.

And as we have commemorated David in his
life and works on earth, so may he now he our
assistant , and effectually give us strength before
our true Creator , that we may obtain mercy here-
after. Amen.

Nothing, perhaps, brings home to us more
powerfully the veneration of our forefathers for
the servants of God than the early common
practice of giving their names to towns, villages,
valleys, or mountains.

Anyone who will take the trouble to study a
good map of Wales will continually meet such

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names as the following — Llan Illtyd, Llangadog,
Cadoxton, Llandeilo Vawr, Llandewi Brefi, St.
Asaph, etc. Now, these appellations were given
to the said localities as tokens of respect and
veneration for the memory of St. Illtyd, Cadoc,
Teilo, St. David, and St. Asaph.

The names The names of parishes in the neighbourhood of
give^to* Cardiff point out that this part of Britain received
localities. ^ Q 0S p e j f rom the early missionaries sent over

by Pope Eleutherius to King Lucius. St. Fagan
and Merthyr Dovan, villages not far distant, tell
us in plain terms that our forefathers never
forgot the services rendered to their race by these
two Priests belonging to the second century.

In Brittany the names of the following towns
or villages tell the same tale — Quimper, Corentin,
St. Brieuc, St. Malo, Landeilo, Lan-Iltut, and
hundreds of others indicate the same custom and
religious practice, for Ss. Brieuc, Malo, Corentin,
and the rest had won, by their virtuous lives, the
admiration of the Armoricans. They were not
horn on their shores, but in the island of Britain.
This, however, mattered little. They were Saints,
and as such gained the esteem of the people, who
believed that their names being bestowed on a
district would ensure for it the benefit of their
protection. We find the same practice carried
out at the baptismal font, for every one knows
that David and Patrick- are the names most
frequently given in baptism to the children of
Wales and Ireland.

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The well, in the vicinity of which a Saint had Mgrim-

. . ages to

spent a great part of his existence in prayer and ^usm-
contemplation, was considered a sacred spot, and
resorted to by numerous pilgrims, especially when
it became known that it did not arise from a
natural spring, but, at the command of God,
gushed forth from the mountain side at the
humble petition of one of His dear servants, or,
as in the case of St. Winefrid, indicated the spot
where the virgin had nobly shed her blood for
the sake of her Master. This well is religiously
visited by hundreds every year. In times past
St. David’s, in Pembrokeshire, although situated
on a far away, treeless promontory, was resorted
to by pilgrims not only from Cambria, but even
from England. The journey was long and
fatiguing, but nothing deterred the “man of
faith” who had some heavenly favour to obtain
or sins to atone for. William the Conqueror,

Henry II., Edward I., and his consort, Eleanor,
accomplished the journey. In the minds of the
people two pilgrimagesto St.David’swereesteemed
equal to one to Rome.

Roma semel quantum, Dat bis Menevia tantum,
and, Meneviam si bis et Roman si semel ibis
Merces sequa tibi redditur hie et ibi. 1

These were couplets used to convey the general

The grave of a Saint or the Church erected to Differences
his memory was also chosen as a suitable spot the'grave

(1) The Welsh Saints. Reece, p. 202. °* a

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wherein to settle differences, lay down the sword
of murder, and form a resolution to lead a
religious life. I will illustrate this by the legend
of St. Clydog. In the days of Bethguuin, fourth
Bishop of Llandaff, there lived in Herefordshire
a young prince, who kept to perfection the laws
of God and of the Church. In his private and
in his official life he was a model to his country-
men. He governed his subjects with justice, and
watched over his officers, a duty which many of
the British chieftains failed in. His private life
was austere, chaste, and kindly towards the poor.
A fair damsel of the district used to say openly
how much she desired a union with such a prince.
Amongst those devoted to him was a maiden of
great wealth, who invariably put off her numerous
suitors by saying that if ever she was to marry
she would take no other husband but Clydog.

One of the companions of the young prince
fell in love with this lady, notwithstanding her
expressed resolution, hut was dismissed like so
many others.

He who of old tempted Adam and Eve in the
terrestial Paradise suggested to the discarded
lover the thought of ridding himself of the
obstacle to his wishes by murdering Clydog. The
demon whispered that though the lady would
weep at first, yet after a month or two she would
forget the prince and ultimately marry his false
friend. The deluded youth listened to this evil
suggestion, and determined to assassinate his

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master. This he accomplished at a hunting
party. Clydog was alone in a solitary part of
the forest, when the murderer rushed suddenly
upon his unsuspecting victim and slew him.
This fiendish and treacherous deed caused a
general sensation of horror throughout Wales;
and Clydog, although not a martyr in the strictest
sense of the word, was looked upon as such by
his countrymen. The people, as a rule admirers
of virtue, had remarked that his life was pure
and austere as that of a hermit by the side of his
well, and regular as that of a monk in the cloister.
A Church was soon erected over his grave, and
solemnly blessed with Holy Water, and from
that time the place began to he held in great
veneration, as the following events will show.

About this time two persons had a quarrel,
which was to he decided by an appeal to arms;
The day was fixed, and the spot for the meeting
chosen, when friends interfered and suggested
that the affair should be quietly arranged before
the altar in the Church of St. Dubricius, at
Madley. The proposal was neither adopted nor
rejected, but modified in this way : They would
go to the Church and kneel before the altar, not
at Madley, but at the Church of St. Clydog. So
they proceeded thither, and before the tomb of
the martyred prince laid down their swords, and
swore a solemn oath hereafter to live in peace
together . 1

(1) Liber Landavensis, p. 445.

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Arthur at
the battle
of Badon
(Bath) in-
vokes the

Two brothers and a sister of good birth, who
resided near the present town of Cowbridge, in
Glamorganshire, resolved to abandon the world
and lead a religious life. When their place of
retirement came to be considered, the brothers
and sister were unanimous in their choice of the
spot on the banks of the river Mynndy, where
the body of blessed Clydog had been deposited.
No doubt they looked upon the place as holy,
and believed that the demons would be driven
from it by the blessed spirit of the murdered prince.

Ithael, son of Morgan, owner of the territory,
was so pleased that the recluses should have
chosen this spot out of respect for the memory of
Clydog, that with the approbation of his sons and
heirs he granted the land to them by a clear and
formal charter.

The description given by Geoffrey of Mon-
mouth of the battle of Badon pourtrays, as
accurately as possible, the confidence of the
Britons in the intercession of Saints. When
Dubricius had given his blessing to the army
after exhorting them to do their duty, the men
prepared for battle.

Arthur having arrayed himself in a coat of
mail suitable to the grandeur of so powerful a
king, placed a golden helmet on his head, on
which was engraven the figure of a dragon, and
upon his shoulders his shield called Priwen, on
which was painted the picture of the Blessed
Virgin, Mother of God, in order to put him

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frequently in mind of her ; then, girding on his
sword Caliburn, which was of wondrous power,
made in the Isle of Avallon, he took in his right
hand his lance named Ron, which was hard, broad,
and fitted for slaughter. Then, having placed his
men in order, he attacked the Saxon army, which
was drawn up in the form of a wedge, as was its
custom. They made a noble defence during the
whole day against the onslaught of the Britons,
but towards sunset retreated to the nearest
mountain, which served them as a camp. . . .

On the following morning Arthur, with his
soldiers, rushed up the mountain, hut lost many
of them, on account of the advantageous position
held by the Saxons, which enabled them to
shower down stones upon his men with greater
rapidity than they could advance against them.
The Britons, notwithstanding, after a very hard
struggle, gained the summit of the hill, and
came to a close engagement with the enemy,
who again gave them a warm reception.

In this way a great part of the day was spent.
At last Arthur, provoked at seeing how little he
had achieved, and that victory was still in sus-
pense, drew his Caliburn, and, calling upon the
name of the Blessed Virgin, rushed furiously
forward into the thickest ranks of the enemy, ol
whom (such was the success of his prayer) very
few escaped . 1

Emile Souvestre, in his Foyer Breton, eluci-
dates this truth in the tale of the Old Witch and

(1) Goffirey of Monmouth.

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the Two Orphans. It commences thus: — “In
the olden times there lived in Lan-illis a young
man called Houarn Pogam, and a fair young girl
whose name was Bella Postick. They were
cousins, and their mothers brought them up as
though destined to marry by the permission of
God, when of age. They lost their parents early,
and were then obliged to earn their bread as
farm servants . 1

They might have been very happy in that position
of life, but lovers, like the sea, are ever murmuring.

“ Had we but the means to buy a cow and a
lean hog,” Houarn sadly remarked, “ I could rent
a plot of ground, and the Priest would marry us.”

“ Yes,” replied Bella, sighing ; “ but times are
hard, and the cattle market rose at the last fair.
For once God seems no longer to mind the world.”

“ I am afraid,” rejoined the young man, *• that
we must wait for a long time, for when I share
a bottle of wine in the public-house with my
friends the last drop never falls to my share.”

“ Very long indeed,” said Bella, “ for I never
hear the cuckoo.”

These complaints were repeated day after day,
until at last Houarn lost patience. One morning
as Bella was winnowing in the barn he came to
communicate to her that he was going to travel
in search of fortune.

(1) The most sceptical reader may convince himself of the faith of
Celtic races in the intercession of Saints by studying their traditions, as
reflected in old stories told by the winter firesides at night. These tales,
although abounding in fictions, still indicate the nature of the religious
tendency of the mind in ‘those early periods.

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The young girl grew pale at this intelligence,
and used every persuasion to induce him to change
his purpose. But Houarn was obstinate, and
would not listen to reason.

“ The birds,” he said, “ fly onward until they
find a corn-field, and the bees never rest unless
they discover flowers filled with honey. Should
man he less enterprising than these tiny- winged
creatures ? I also will fly till I make out the
price of what I want. If you love me, Bella,
oppose not my plans.”

The young girl, seeing it was useless to offer
further opposition, said with a failing heart —
“ Under the protection of God go, since it must
he so; but before we separate I must divide
between us the best part of the inheritance left
me by my parents.” Then she led the young
man to her drawer, and took from it a little bell,
a knife, and a walking stick.

“ These three relics,” she said, “ have never
left my family. Here is the bell of St. Koledok.
Its sound is heard even at the further end of the
world, and tells us the danger we may be in.”

“ The knife once belonged to St. Corentinus,
and whatever it touches becomes free from
charms and the Devil. The staff is the very
same on which St. Vouga leaned, and possesses
the virtue of transporting its owner whitherso-
ever he may wish to go.

“ The knife I give you as a protection against
evil charms, the bell to warn me of the dangers

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charters o
full Of
to the

which may beset you, and the staff I keep to
carry me to your assistance if needful.”

The Liher Landavensis contains hundreds of
charters from the fifth century down to the
twelfth. The first of these hears the date of the
time of St. Dubricius, and the last is connected
either with Urban or his predecessors.

Their phraseology runs as follows — “ I grant
to Almighty God, to St. Peter, and to the Holy
Dubricius, Teilo, and Oudoceus, for the benefit of
my soul, the redemption of my sins, and for the
souls of the faithful departed [so many] acres of
land.” Such is invariably the form in which the
ancient Cambrians worded their deeds of dona-
tion ; and we children of the nineteenth century,
living in an age of materialism, are agreeably
affected in reading such phrases in the full
freshness of religion and faith. Generation after
generation pass before our eyes ; changes, social
and political, take place throughout the island ;
the Anglo-Saxons, the Danes, the Normans,
invade the country, and introduce their customs
and language. Yet each Briton who makes a
will, either whilst in health or on his death-bed,
keeps faithfully to the old form, so religious and

Thus in the twelfth century Urban, Bishop of
Llandaff, in his long correspondence with two
Popes, adheres to the sacred phraseology of his
predecessors, and we find it reproduced in the
Eescripts from Borne, for in the Bulls of Pope

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Honorius we read such passages as the follow-

“ Therefore, dearly beloved in the Lord, Bishop
Urban, complying with thy rational request, we
receive the Church of St. Peter, and of the holy
confessors* Dubricius, Teilo, and Oudoceus, at
Llandaff, over which through God you preside,
into the protection of the Holy See.”

An antique French sonnet on St. Gunstan, a Saiiore
Briton by birth, and a disciple in Brittany, ofounetan.
Paulus Aurelianus, runs thus : —

St. Gunstan (Goustan)

Notre ami
Kamenez nos maria.

St. Gunstan
Notre amant
Ramenez nos parens.l

This used to he sung by the wives and daughters
of sailors on the western coast of France. His
memory was endeared to a seafaring population
by two qualifications. In the first place he was
a Saint; in the second he had been long con-
nected with the ocean ; so they considered that,
having been acquainted with the hardships and
dangers of a sailor’s life, he would naturally
when in heaven specially interest himself for
hard-working mariners.

When a mere boy he had been kidnapped by
pirates, and being of a strong constitution was
retained by the captain as a sailor. The hard
and menial work fell to his share as a matter of
course, because he was a slave. He became

(1) Albert le Grand, page 783.

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The confi-
dence of
our fore-
fathers in
the inter-
cession of
Saints a
natural de-
from the
they had
seen them
perform in
their life.

incapacitated for service at sea through a tumour
in his foot. Being no longer of any use. he was
landed by the captain on the coast of Brittany,
between Morlaix and Brest, Finist&rre. When
cured of his ailment he became a disciple of
Paulus Aurelianus, and later on retired to lead the
life of a hermit in a small island called Houadic,
in which place he frequently found abundant
opportunities of exercising charity.

When shipwrecked sailors were driven by a
storm on the coast of this little island, Gunstan
hastened to the sea shore along with his com-
panion, and they spared no exertion in rendering
assistance to the mariners, who, when safely
landed, found a good fire lighted to warm and
dry them, and the best provisions to be procured
at their disposal. The reputation of the Holy
Hermit soon spread from country to country,
his charitable deeds being related by the crews
whom he had not only rescued from danger, but
cheered in body and edified in spirit.

The confidence which Celtic races placed in the
servants of God whom He has called from this
land of exile to His heavenly kingdom may be
thus accounted for. It was often a simply rational
deduction from the miracles which they had seen
them perform under their own eyes whilst they
were yet in the flesh. Such, for instance, as
Germanus commanding the winds and the waves
to subside when he was crossing from France
to England during a storm, and shortly afterwards

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restoring sight to a blind girl ; or from the belief
that St. David, whilst on his way to the Council
of Brevi, restored a hoy to life. Far from thinking
that the power of their prayers was decreased by
death, they, on the contrary, came to the natural
conclusion that if whilst on earth they could
obtain favours for their fellow-men, this privilege
must he immeasurably increased when freed
from the faults and defects inseparable to human
nature and displeasing to God. They now,
clothed in the beauty of glorified spirits, rejoiced
in heaven as brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And hence those who suffered in mind or body
sought their protection.

Such were the reflections of our forefathers, as
frequently evidenced by their writings or practice.
The Liber Landavensis closes the life of the first
Bishop of that See with the following words : —
“ As the survivors of Dubricius had venerated
and looked upon him as a father when with them
corporeally, so they now often applied to him as
an intercessor with God, and as the defender of
all the Saints in the island and throughout the
entire country.”

On the death of his successor in the same See,
such was the eagerness amongst Welshmen to
possess his body that a dispute arose between
three parishes. After much altercation, Llandaff
prevailed, and from the time of his burial in that
Cathedral his grave was for centuries visited by
crowds of pilgrims, and there frequently the

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sick were healed of their diseases, sight restored
to the blind, and hearing to the deaf.

In this nineteenth century of ours, which
boasts of having discarded all belief in the super-
natural, there are still thousands and millions
who venerate the grave of a servant of God, and
resort thither confident that their time and
trouble will not be without avail. North Wales
possesses the spot more favoured and frequented
by pilgrims than any other sanctuary in the British
Isles. Holywell is known to everyone. Un-
believers may scoff and rail ; newspapers write
rabid leaders on superstition; nevertheless, in
our own enlightened ages crowds will persist in
visiting, or having themselves carried, to the well
of St. Winefrid, the Cambrian virgin. Neither
can it be denied that many are benefited in soul
or body, or that miraculous cures were effected
in past ages, and still take place at the present

Is the hand of God to be shortened because
there are infidels ? or is the simple confidence of
the believer in His protection and in the power
of His Saints to be disappointed to please blas-
phemers or sceptics? Of Holy Winefrid and
her well the reader will hear again later on in
these pages.

The Welsh Archselogical Society has given us
some prayers and hymns used in the Welsh
Church, no douht at a very early period, probably
the fifth or sixth century. They are addressed

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to Curyg and Julitta, both of whom died in the
East under Diocletian. The fact that Julitta
was a young mother, and that her boy, but three
years of age, cried out along with her “ I am a
Christian,” and that both were victims for their
faith, endeared their memory to our forefathers,
who never failed to appreciate noble sacrifices
for Jesus Christ. I will place a few of those
hymns before the reader.

hymn I.

In the name and in honour of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and the Blessed Virgin, and the holy
Curyg and Julitta, his mother, and all the male
and female Saints in heaven, deliver us, Lord
Jesus Christ. To-day and this night, and at all
times, protect and defend us from all oppression,
robbery, damage, and sudden misfortune — namely*
from fire and water — and provide us with all
things needful for our soul and body. Amen.


Christ our Lord who reigns, Christ who van-
quishes, Christ, through the merits of holy Curyg
and Julitta, his mother, and all the male and
female Saints in heaven, deliver us and preserve
us from all evils to our souls and bodies. Am en.


Lord Jesus Christ increase what is beneficial
for us, and keep us from all evil, as Thou didst
increase it for Thy servants Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, in the name of Curyg, the holy martyr,

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and Julitta, his mother, and the male and female
Saints in heaven. Amen.


Lord Jesus Christ blot out all our iniquity and
all our mortal sins which we have committed in
times past, and which we commit at present;
destroy the incitement of the devil from us and
from our household and property, in the name
of Curyg, the holy martyr, and Julitta, his
mother, and all the male and female Saints in
heaven. Amen.

In the Celtic races devotion to Curyg and
Julitta was general, for in Brittany we find
Churches dedicated to them as early as the fifth
century, as mentioned in the charter of Guereck,
Duke of Brittany, to St. Ninnoc. It seems
probable that the above-mentioned prayer belongs
to that period.

T h is short summary of a national devotion
will no doubt convince even a prejudiced reader
that Saints were honoured by the ancient
Cambrians, and that they availed themselves of
their influence quite as much as any Catholic
nation under the sun, either in primitive or
modem times. The Cambrians of old knew that
Saints are the work of God. The heroism through
which we find them reproducing in themselves
the life of their Master was also God’s work. To
praise their actions was to give glory to the
Lord. Even an earthly architect feels nothing

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but pleasure in the admiration bestowed on a
building of which he was the designer.

The Catholic Church is slowly but surely
working her way throughout Wales; and a
traveller, as he journeys along, is sometimes
struck by the remark, emanating from far-
seeing Protestants, that the country will again
return to the Catholic faith, for it is becoming
weary of a Babel of creeds.

Already that religion is represented in Cambria
by two Catholic dioceses, and parishes duly
constituted exist in its crowded cities and towns
of importance. From these the Church of God
will, according to her custom, extend her influence
into the villages. Then the feasts of ancient
Welsh Saints will be restored, and in their own
country they will again find a place in the
Missal and the Breviary.

New Catholic Churches, dedicated to St.
Dubricius, St. Illyd, St. David, St. Winefrid,
arise from the ground already.

When the time — not, it is to he hoped, far
distant — arrives that the commemoration of these
Saints shall be introduced into the Missal, or
their lessons read in the Breviary at Matins, the
Bishop to whom God shall have entrusted this
restoration will only have to borrow in most
cases a Breviary or Missal from the dioceses of
Brittany, for in that Celtic land most of the
Welsh Saints are to this day held in remembrance.

Many Cambrian families of wealth and position

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have of late returned to the faith of their fathers,
and been most generous and liberal to the
Church, and by grants of land and money have
forwarded the work of God. Many more no
doubt will in course of time follow in their steps,
and exhibit the same earnestness and spirit of
sacrifice. Then again we may see revived in
deeds of donation to religious institutions the
ancient form of words, so pious and so Catholic —
“ I grant for the erection of a Church, Monastery,
College, or Hospital, to Almighty God, to St.
Dubricius, St. Teilo, St. David, St. Winefrid [so
many] acres of land, for the redemption of my
soul and the souls of my ancestors and deceased

As Catholic doctrines gain ascendance amongst
the people, the preachers of Protestantism will no
longer venture to denounce the consoling belief
which assures us that our fathers who surround
the throne of God, far from being indifferent to
our trials, temptations, and needs, spiritual and
temporal, are, on the contrary, our best friends
and protecting angels. He will also fail to
convince his hearers that honour paid to the
servant of God in any way detracts from the
homage due to his Creator. The Saint is the
work of God, and He is glorified through him.

Moses, in narrating the gradual formation of
the world, from the creation of light to the
moulding of the frame of Adam from the dust
of the earth, into which the Almighty breathed a

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soul, repeats at the close of each day that God
was pleased with his work. “ Et vidit deus quod
esset bonum.” 1 Thus when the souls of His
servants, on being liberated from their bodies,
are presented to Jesus Christ, the Redeemer com-
placently smiles on that which is in truth His
own work. Can He be displeased if we rejoice in
what He has made perfect?

May the day soon dawn upon Wales when the
feasts and devotion to the Saints of Cambria will
resume their place in a country now oppressed
with the curse of religious dissension. May the
prayers of Dubricius, Teilo, Winefrid, and their
companions bring back the faith to the country
of their love. A Welsh lady — a convert to the
old religion — beautifully illustrates this feeling
in the following verses, which, with her kind
permission, we place before the reader.


In those old days so blessed
When Cambria’s Faith was one,

They knelt around one altar —

The father and the son,

Th§ mother and the daughter,

And all the hamlet too,

For One, the God, they worshipped,

And one, the Faith, they knew.

From all our ancient valleys,

Borne on our mountain gales,

Our cry goes up to Heaven —

Bring back the Faith to Wales !

That faith for which our martyrs
Poured forth their blood of yore,

Ten thousand of them at Caerleon,

And many, many more.

(1) Genesis.

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For though not ours the glory
Of martyrdom to be,

Yet still we hope in heaven
Their faces bright to see.


Our saints to many a hamlet
Have left their names so sweet ;
On mountain and in valley
We trace their holy feet.

Who has not heard of Htyd,

Of Tydfil, Cadoc, Nun —

The mother of Saint David,

Our Patron, her great son?


And those three holy Bishops,

The first of LlandafTs See,

Long ere on Wales had fallen
The blight of heresy ;

We’ll ask them to remember
The land their feet once trod,

For saints are they in Heaven,
Before the throne of God.


And you to whom is given,

For food, the Living Bread,

Pray for them, for whom Josub
His precious Blood has shed.
They’re groping in the darkness,
Whilst you walk in the light,

God waits but for your Prayers
To turn to day their night.


Then let ub cry to Heaven
That Cambria’s sons once more
Kay all be one in Jesus,

As their fathers were of yore.
That our most sweet Redeemer
Once more within the Fold
May drive these sheep, now straying
Out in the dark and cold.


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On the Monastic Life.

“ J*8U8 said to him, 1 If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast
and give it to the poor, and thou ehalt have treasure tn Heaven, and come
follow me.’ — And when the young man had heard this word he went away
sad, for he had great possessions. — Then Jesus said to His disciples,

* Amen ; I say to you that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom
of Heaven/' — St. Matt, xix., 21, 22, 23.

Thus far we have seen ancient Cambria in her
relation with the Papacy ; we have assisted with
her at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; in her
company we have knelt at the graves of the
dead, and said the Pater for the souls of the
faithful departed ; in the Church our ears have
heard the sweet harmony of the prayers and
litanies addressed to our brethren in Heaven.
Now, let us pay a visit to the Monastery and
converse with such monks as St. Cadoc at Llan-
carvan, Illtyd at Llantwit-major, and others ; and
in a straightforward manner ask them why, and
for what purpose, they have left the world ; and
learn from their own mouths their way of living,
their occupation, and sundry other things.

In our days people entertain a very poor idea
of a monk. What the present generation knows
about him comes from enemies, or has been
gathered from romances, the stage, or occasional
leaders in the newspapers.

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Wndpie Our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, summed

religious U p the substance of the Gospel in two words —

state: its A A

difference “ Thou 8halt love the Lord thy God with thy whole

from the

ordinary heart , with thy whole soul, with all thy strength ,

life of

Christians, and with all thy mind ; and thy neighbour as thy-
self. ’ n This is the great law that is to guide the
children of Adam through this valley of tears on
their journey to eternity.

The Pope in the Vatican, the king on his
throne, the magistrate on the bench, the soldier
on the field of battle, the merchant or the humble
peasant, all were created for no other purpose
but to fulfil this great commandment. The same
law guides the religious man in the cloister as
well as the ordinary Christian in the world.
The degree of glory we are to enjoy in Heaven
is to be measured, not according to the position
we occupy, or the kind of life we lead, but by
the greater or lesser progress we make in the
love of God and of our neighbour.

What, then, is the line of demarcation between
the religious life in the cloister and the ordinary
one in the world? It is this — Religious life
implies the profession of the evangelical counsels
— namely, poverty, chastity, and obedience — in
order that we may attain the end of our creation,
which is to love God above all things, and our
neighbour as ourselves.

If one wishes to convince himself of the great
advantage of travelling on the road to eternity

(1) Matt, xxii, 37, 39. Mark xii., 30, 31.

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in the company of these three virtues, which in
a vision appeared to St. Augustine after his
conversion as three beautiful maidens, let him in
imagination stand at the Bar of Divine justice
for one day and see judgment passed on some
80,000 souls, which daily have to give an account
of their stewardship.

In that crowd of souls some are condemned to
hell, others to Purgatory, for a longer or shorter
period, to he purified according to the state of
their souls; a third part goes to heaven. He
will invariably remark that those who are
condemned to hell or Purgatory have been
deluded into sin either by riches, pleasures, or an
uncontrollable self-will. These are the three
rocks on which we are generally wrecked on our
weary voyage in this world. An inordinate
love of riches, the source of numerous acts of
injustice, proves fatal to many at the day of
reckoning. Carnal pleasures not checked in their
wild course, and a self-will not kept within the
bounds of the commandments of God and of
those of the Church, draw down thousands of
punishments on the other side of the grave.

“ Love not the world,” says St. John, “ nor the
things which are m the world. If anyone love the
world, the charity of the Father is not in him ; for
all that is in the toorld is concupiscence of the flesh
and of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not
of the Father but of the toorld.” 1

(1) St. John, 1st Epistle, ii, 15, 16.

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On the other hand, to those souls which,
practising poverty, chastity, and obedience, have
passed through the world free from injustice,
impurity, and disobedience to the laws of God,
the gates of heaven are at once thrown open ; or,
if they are condemned to Purgatory, the sentence
as a rule is a very short one.

Serious reflection upon these facts has induced
thousands, since the introduction of Christianity,
to enter the cloister and form religious com-
munities. The primary object of an Antony,
Benedict, Francis, or Bernard was not to create
a society of agriculturists, architects, theologians,
or learned men, but to save their souls by the
practice of the three evangelical counsels — viz.,
poverty, chastity, and obedience . 1

If in the course of time the orders founded by
them acquired a reputation in agriculture or
science, Divine and human, this was only a
secondary object, and the result of the love of
God and their neighbour burning in their hearts,
for these men looked from their cells on the
wants of society, and devoted their existence to
such particular works as they deemed most
beneficial to the interests of the Church of God.

People form associations for worldly purposes,
for the construction of railways, to build fleets of
steamships, to lay telegraphs on land and across
the ocean ; in fact for any undertaking that will
bring them money. Religious men will also

(1) Montalembert, Monks of the West

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associate, but for the attainment of a spiritual
end — to save their souls and those of their

As soon as Constantine had put an end to the Religious
300 years of persecution under the Roman dTLThe
Emperors, or even before that, immense Monas- Sm*e
teries arose all over the world. The deserts of
Egypt became peopled by legions of monks.

When St. Antony died on the Nile, 4,000 or

5.000 of his sons wept and prayed round his
grave ; and we are told by Rufinus, a traveller
in the East in 373 — namely, seventeen years
after the death of this celebrated chief of
Monastic life — that there were as many monks
in the desert as inhabitants in towns; that at
every hour of the day and night the praises of
the Lord rent the skies. About the middle of
the fourth century it was calculated that some

70.000 men and 20,000 virgins followed the
Monastic rule in Egypt. 1

About the same time there was a rush from
the world into the cloister, in Gaul and in Britain.

St. Martin is believed to have established the
first Monastery in France, and with such success
that his funeral resembled that of St. Anthony,
for thousands of the religious brethren of St.

Martin covered the roads from Poitiers to Tours,
accompanying the body of their founder to its
last resting place.

In the same period St. Patrick brought the

(1) Migne Diet deeordres religieux. — Introduction.

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Monastic plant from Gaul to Ireland, in which
country it soon prospered to a wonderful extent.
St. Patrick had spent one year in the Monastery
of St. Martin at Marmoutiers, and seven at
Lerins, always dreaming of the conversion of
that land in which he had been a slave. Mont-
alembert properly observes that the Apostle of
Ireland was astonished that in his own lifetime
the number of the sons and daughters of chieftains
who had embraced the life of the cloister at his
bidding could not be counted. The celebrated
Irish round towers, whose origin and use for so
many years exercised the ingenuity of archaeo-
logists, modern science has proved beyond dispute
to have been only the belfries of Cathedrals,
Abbeys, and Priories.

Britain did not remain behind other nations in
the practice of religious life. It is difficult to
tell who was the first to introduce Monasticism
into this land. Glastonbury, as we have already
seen, was the first ground of Almighty God in
Britain. There St. Joseph, of Arimathea, and
his companions are believed to have lived in
community, as far as their missionary duties
allowed; and probably their successors lived
much in the same manner.

Be this as it may, it is an undeniable fact that
in the fifth and sixth centuries Wales teemed
with religious life, and immense Monasteries rose
throughout the length and breadth of Cambria.

(1) Mont&lambert. Monks of the West.

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Llancarvan, Lantwit-Major, in the south ;
Bangor and St. Asaph in the north, were the
centres of intellectual and manual labour, as well
as the abodes of sanctity.

In those days a traveller on his way through
"Wales, starting from Chepstow in the south, fol-
lowing the Bristol Channel as far as St. David’s,
in Pembrokeshire, then the sea coast along the
Irish Channel, and continuing his journey as far
as Chester, would meet on his road almost as
many religious houses as there are now im-
portant railway stations.

Shortly after leaving Chepstow, he would come
to Caergwent, an anfcient Roman fortress. The Cambria.
Roman legions are gone, and a small religious
community, governed by an Irish monk, have
taken their place. Co min g to the present town
of Newport, Monmouthshire, he will find on
Stowe Hill, which commands the town, a Welsh
chieftain, Gwynliw the warrior, and a few com-
panions leading an ascetic life. At the foot of
the same mountain, in the valley of Risca, at
Bassaleg, Gwladys, his wife, is at the head of a
community of nuns. The Elat Holmes and
Barry Island, at the entrance to the present town
of Cardiff, are occupied by the men of Christ, as
the monks are called. The said traveller, as he
proceeds westward, at about eight or ten miles
from Cardiff, will come to the valley of Llan-
carvan. Here there is a busy monastic colony,
founded by St. Cadoc, the son of those two

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hermits he met with a few days before at New-
port, Monmouthshire. Here the axe clears the
forest, and the spade drains swamps, to make
room for wheat, barley, or oats. A few miles
farther on the sea coast is Lantwit-Major, which
was also a Roman camp, hut is now the residence
of Illtyd and his brethren. The spot is a scene
of activity, mental and physical — labourers,
builders, and students are occupied by their
respective work. The valley of Neath and the
neighbourhood of Swansea have their religious
communities ; Ty-gwen-ar-taf, where the South
Wales Railway now branches off for Tenby, is
occupied by Paulinus, the master of St. David,
Teilo, and others. Later on Howell Dda will
render the place sacred for Wales, as in its valley
the Welsh laws will he compiled. Still more to
the west there is a celebrated monastery — St.
David, on the very limits of Wales.

On his journey northward, monastic institu-
tions will offer him hospitality. In Cardiganshire,
a mile or two from the present Aberystwith, is
Lan Badarn Pawr, whose bishop and abbot is
Padarn, a Breton monk. Not far off, in the bay
of Cardigan, lies the celebrated Bardsey island,
called the Necropolis of Welsh Saints. Anglesey,
the residence of the chief druids in times gone by,
is occupied by the monks. And so on till he
comes to Bangor Iscoed, in the county of Chester.
Should he return from north to south through
the midland counties, he would still hear the

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praises of Almighty God in monastic churches
scattered here and there throughout the country,
and erected by St. David or his disciples.

No period of Welsh history has witnessed a
greater percentage of the population rushing to
the cloister than the fifth and sixth centuries.
The monastery finds willing recruits in every
class of society, amongst the princes and
their tenants, and to such an extent as to
be hardly believed in our days of materialism
and religious indifference. A careful perusal
of the “ Liber Landavensis ” and “ The Lives
of the Cambro-British Saints ” will, however,
convince the most incredulous reader that the
enthusiasm for religious life was then at its
greatest height.

Let us take as instances two or three great
families in South Cambria — that of Meurig, king
of Glamorgan; then of his next neighbour,
Gwynlew, the warrior chieftain, in the present
county of Monmouth ; and after him of the famil y
of Brychan, of Brecknockshire.

Meurig, king of Glamorgan, exhibits in his life
a mixture of virtues and vices. We see him, in
the “Liber Landavensis,” coming forth most
nobly to the help of the bishops of Llandaff ; and
yet one of them, Oudoceus, is forced to excom-
municate him as guilty of the blackest perjury
and the most atrocious murder. He submitted
to penance, not only under the pressure of faith,
but also through the powerful influence brought




recruits in
every class
of society.

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to bear on his guilty conscience by the many
monks belonging to his family.

His father, Tewdrig, who had resigned the
sovereignity of Glamorgan in his favour, and
thus made him king when he was yet a mere
youth, was leading the life of a hermit on the
river Wye. His nephew, Sampson, embraced
religious life at Lantwit-Major ; then, forced by
circumstances to put himself under the abbot
Peyro, at Barry Island, induced his father and
uncle, his mother and aunt, and then his cousin
Maglorius, to leave the “world and follow him to
the cloister. His father and uncle he brought with
him to Barry Island, whilst their respective wives,
namely, his mother and aunt, retired into convents.

So Meurig could say that, whatever he might
be personally, his blood had given noble servants
to the Church. His father, two of his daughters, two
sons-in-law, two nephews, were fighting for God
and the Church in the ranks of the monastic army.

To the east, the next chieftain to Meurig was
Gwynlew the Warrior. The family consisted of
nine brothers, who amicably, and according to
custom, divided amongst themselves the landed
property of their father. However, in the par-
tition eight portions only were made, as Pedrog,
one of them, surrendered a transitory inheritance
for an eternal one, and, embracing religious life,
would not accept of any territory . 1

Later on the son of Gwynlew, the celebrated

(1) Cambro-Britiah Saints.

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Cadoc, left his parents’ house, and, directing his •
steps to the west, stopped in the valley of Lan-
carvan, on which spot he erected a monastery.

In the course of time he also induced his father
and mother to quit the world.

To the north of Glamorganshire is the county
of Brecknock, whose prince, Brychan, was father
of a very numerous family, although it may be
perhaps difficult to state their exact number.

In the “ Life of St. Ninnoc,” 1 as related in
Albert le Grand, fourteen of these children are
said to have entered the Church, and preached
the Gospel in several localities, not only in their
own country but beyond the sea, and edified
many nations by their saintly lives. Then the
youngest daughter followed their footsteps, as we
shall relate a page or two later on.

The percentage of religious vocation in these
three princely families enables the reader to
judge how high enthusiasm for the monastery
ran in the minds of the Cambrians. It also
accounts for the numerical strength of some reli-
gious communities in the country.

Thus, at Bangor Iscoed, near Chester, in the Numerical
time of the Saxon king Ethelfrith, 1,200 monks some

. , moiiaster-

were unmercifully slain for the sm of praying ies.
for the success of their coiintrymen in battle.
Venerable Bede, speaking of this monastery, tells
us that the community was divided into seven
sections, each under a direct superior or prior,

(1) Albert le Grand. Lea Saints do Bretagne (p. 36).

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and that each of these priors had three hundred
monks under him, all earning their bread by the
sweat of their brow. According to this calcula-
tion, the brotherhood of Bangor, in Cheshire,
amounted to more than 2,000 members.

Not far off, still in North Wales, in the
beautiful valley of St. Asaph, St. Kentigern had
gathered round him a numerous colony of monks,
who night and day sang the praises of the Lord.
They were divided into three sections — the
labourers, the artisans, and the students, and
mustered 965 strong.

In the south, in the county of Glamorgan,
Lancarvan counted its inmates by hundreds;
and at Lantwit-Major, not far off, the number
was still greater. 1

There is no doubt that the Cambrians of those
days were a supernatural people, and earnest in
their endeavours to secure heaven. These words
of our Lord, “ What doth it profit a man to gam
the whole world and lose his soul” vibrated along

(1) In the Iolo MSS. (page 556) we find the following interesting
details in reference to religious institutions in Wales : — “ Here are the
names of the cellB of the college of Ultyd, the College of Matthew, of
Mark, of Luke, of John, Arthur, St. David, Morgan, Eurgain, and
Ainwn. Of these eight colleges Illtyd was principal ; and the place was
named Bangor Illtyd, and there were three thousand taints. In the
colleges of Dubridus there were the following choirs : that of Dubridus,
of Arthur, of Julius, of Aron ; all these were in Caerleon-upon-Usk. The
College of Dubiidus and the College of Meugant on the banks of the
Wye, and the College of Llandaff ; Dubridus was prindpal over all, and
had two thousand scholars. .... The College of Cattwg, in
Uancarvan, with three cells and a thousand taints , and two cells in the
Yale of Neath. ...» The College of Dochwy, in Moiganwg, with a
thousand saints. .... The College of St. David, in Menevia, for five

hundred saints The College of Tathan, in Caerwent,

with five hundred Baints. The College of Sarlloc, in Llandaff, for thirty
saints, and Sarlloc was the prindpal. The College of Elvan, in Glaston-
bury, for a thousand saints. The College of Teilo, in Ll&ndaflj for a
thousand Baints.”

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every fibre of their souls, and hence they rushed
to the practice of religious life, certain that it
was the safest way to save their souls. Some
entered religion when young, others in their old
age. Thus, some were first married and then
sought refuge in religion, whilst others, perhaps,
had ignored altogether the allurements of the
world when they put on the monastic habit.
Monasteries saw several of their students enter
the cloistral precincts with only the desire of
acquiring human knowledge, who never after
returned home, but joined the brotherhood.

Others, at the end of their scholastic career, left
the monastery, but soon after returned, finding
in the world nothing but vanity and hollowness.

Some of these young people had the full
consent of their parents, who were persuaded
that it was better for their children to be in the
service of God, than in that of men, and
encouraged them on. Others, however, had to
contend with the opposition of their relatives.

We even read of young men who, unfortunately,
had conquered the hearts of princesses, and, on
obeying the call of God, were importuned in their
cells by disappointed damsels who made use of
every art to induce them to leave.

The reader may naturally desire to have a few
details of these noble souls so anxious to reach
evangelical perfection.

Let us begin by Ninnoc, the beautiful and StNinnoc.
saintly daughter of Brychan of Brecknockshire ;
the substance is taken from Albert le grand.

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Ninnoc was the last child of a numerous
offspring, horn when her parents were advanced,
in years. She was the gift of a supernatural
grace bestowed to console, in their old age, a
family that had given 14 children to religion as
we have already seen. 1 When 15 years of age,
a certain Irish prince came on a visit to her
father and, smitten with her beauty, applied for
her hand. The matter was discussed in a family
council, and the offer accepted.

Brychan called Ninnoc aside and, opening his
mind, informed her that such a union would be
advantageous to her, as well as to both families.
The prince was young, handsome, and one of the
leading princes in Ireland, and a powerful ally
would be gained by the family which would
prove useful in time of need, for in those days,
as in ours, politics and family interests played a
conspicuous part in marriages.

In her reply, Ninnoc stated that the intended
husband possessed every quality which could
render any maiden happy; that the marriage
would no doubt prove beneficial to both provinces ;
but she was already bethrothed, and had given
her word to a divine spouse. He was aware that
a promise made to Jesus Christ could not be
broken, and for this reason she expected him not
to be dissatisfied with her refusal. It was the

(1) On a Good Friday, the legend says, the chieftain knelt before the
cross, and in the name of the bleeding wounds of our Lord, entreated

heaven to grant him a child In the same night an angel

appeared and informed him that his request had been granted.

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first time of her life she had disobeyed her father,
and now he must forgive her.

The disappointed parent communicated the
answer to his wife, requesting her to bring all
her maternal influence to bear in altering her
daughter’s resolution. But entreaties, tears, and
threats, proved useless, and failed entirely to
shake her mind.

The young Irish prince was admitted into the
secret in all its details, and then took leave and
returned to Ireland, and Ninnoc was left free to
follow her vocation; the parents still hoping
that their dear daughter, although resolved to
remain a virgin, would however live under their
roof and console them in their old age. For a
few years such was to be the case.

However St. Germans came to visit the court
of her father, and stayed for a length of time
under his hospitable roof. A spiritual friendship
soon grew between the venerable old Patriarch'
of Gaul and the young virgin. Hearing from
the bishop the edifying life led by nuns in Gaul,
and their earnestness in the service of God, she
determined to cross the sea and lead a religious
life among them. The difficulty was to obtain
the consent of her father and mother, for she
was fully aware that it was the only request they
would never grant. However the determined
lover of the convent removed all difficulties by
the following stratagem —

The first day of a new year, being also her

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birthday, there was a sumptuous banquet in her
honour. A number of bishops, princes, and lords
were invited, and amongst them Germanus. In
the presence of all the guests the young lady
entered the hall dressed in her richest garments,
and ravished all present by her beauty. Amidst
a dead silence she went up to her father and,
falling on her knees, stated that as it was her
birthday she had a favour to ask, and she hoped
that for the sake of all the illustrious guests
present it would not be refused.

Her father raised her up and said, that for
nothing in the world would he refuse whatever
she might ask.

Then in a clear and beautiful voice, betraying,
however, suppressed emotion, the young lady
addressed her father — “ Long ago I informed you
how strong was my wish to consecrate myself to
the service of God ; now I ask your consent to
cross the sea for the shores of Amorica (Britanny)
and there to end my days in the service of my
Jesus. I shall not cease to pray for the welfare
of your souls, and those of your subjects.”

This scene produced a deep impression on all
present. There was a struggle between nature
and grace in the breasts of father and mother,
uncles and aunts, and other relations. Men were
silent and women wept. Every possible argument
was brought forth to force Ninnoc to withdraw
her request, but they all proved fruitless assaults
against an impregnable will. At last St. Germanus,

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seeing that this was not the over-excited imagina-
tion of a young virgin, but a purpose of long
years’ standing, and evidently the work of God,
took her part and represented to the bereaved
family, that they should yield to the call of God,

Master of our existence, and make the sacrifice
like Abraham, who parted with the most precious
treasure he had on earth. They yielded and,
tears in their eyes, gave their blessing to their
parting daughter.

Whilst the vessel destined to carry her to the
country she was to edify by her saintly life was
being fitted out, she made such a good use of her
time as to induce her god-father and god-mother,
several priests, and many laity of both sexes to
follow her. The little expedition safely landed
in Brittany, at a place later on called Poul-ilfin,
after the name of her god-father, and the chief
of the colony, whose name was Ilfin. Ninnoc’s
success in Armorica has been referred to in
preceding pages . 1

Let us now carry the reader to the grave Tendng,
of old Tewdrig at Mathern near Chepstow, thehermit ’

The contrast in some sense is great, although
the supernatural end the same. Indeed, Ninnoc
was a pure soul never defiled by the world, a
virgin in all the fervour of youth ; Tewdrig, on

(1) St Keyna, virgin, sister of Guladys, mother of St Cadoc of
Llancarvan, belongs to the same family. It is strange that Welsh
genealogists omit the name of St. Ninnoc. This may be attributed to the
fact of her passing the greatest part of her existence on the Continent

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the contrary, was an old warrior whose powerful
hand had slain many on the battle field, and
whos' rough voice had given the word of
command for slaughter.

Tewdrig was the father of King Meurig, and
governed in Glamorganshire with justice. How-
ever, as he valued eternal power more than
temporal, he gave up his kingdom to his son
Meurig, determined to live in solitude . 1 He chose
for his retreat a dense forest on the river "Wye,
on, or near, the spot where later on rose the
magnificent monastery of Tintern Abbey, visited
and admired in our days as one of the best speci-
mens of monastic buildings.

There he built a hut beside a clear stream, and
provided for his bodily wants by cultivating a
few plots of ground round his hermitage, and
spent his life in Divine contemplation.

In his day he had fought many a battle, and
never met with any reverse, and in the opinion
of his countrymen he was a bold and skilful
general. In this respect his children were
inferior and less successful. The southern
Cambrians having sustained severe losses in some
encounters against the Saxons, who were pushing
their incursions as far as the Severn, and even
the Wye, remarked that under Tewdrig they were
never defeated, and resolved to go to his cell and
there represent the danger of the country, and
entreat him once more to put himself at their head.

(1) Liber Landavensis, p. 383.

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Meanwhile, a heavenly messenger appeared to
him at night, and said, “ Go and assist the people
of God against the enemies of the Church of
Christ, and the foes will turn their faces in flight
as far as Powll Brochwael. And thou, in full
armour, stand in the battle, and when they shall
see thy face and recognise it, they will, as usual,
betake themselves to flight ; and afterwards, for
the space of thirty years, they will not dare, in
-the time of thy son, to invade the country, and
thy people will be in peace ; but thou wilt he
wounded by a single stroke in the district of
Bhyd Tintern, and three days after die in peace.”

In the morning he rose and put himself at the
head of the army of his son, encamped in the
neighbourhood. Mounted on his charger, he
cheerfully moved onwards with his Britons to the
banks of the river Wye, at the ford of Tintern.

Both sides were soon engaged, and after a pro-
tracted battle, in which the venerable old soldier
and hermit was conspicuous everywhere en-
couraging his men, the enemy was put to flight.
In the pursuit, a Saxon, turning his face to his
pursuers, threw a lance at the general, and
wounded him.

The old captain requested his son to take him,
if possible, to the Plat Holmes, a small island at
the entrance of the present Cardiff, wishing to be
buried on that rock. No doubt he felt that the
monks, who came there annually to spend a few
weeks in Lent, would kneel round his grave and

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recommend his soul to the mercy of God. How-
ever, he died on the road, and was buried at
Mathern. His son Meurig built a church over
his grave, and for the repose of his soul granted the
land to the church of Llandaff, as statedpreviously .
st. Suiiau. gt. Suliau (Issylio in Welsh) is an instance of
a religious vocation being granted at an early
period of life. According to Albert le Grand,
he was born in Wales, in the year of our Lord
630, under the pontificate of Boniface II. and
during the reign of the Emperor Justinian I.

Brocmail 1 — his father — a chieftain in Powis,
Western Wales, had many children, on whose
education he bestowed the greatest care. He
particularly desired that Suliau, his first-born,
who was to be his successor, should be carefully
trained in divine and human learning. This
task was entrusted to Gwymark, Abbot of Meibot,
in Montgomery, a monastery which owed its
origin to the generosity of Welsh princes.

The young Suliau, whilst yet at school, had
felt a strong desire to embrace the religious life,
and being aware that the designs of his father
ran in a different direction, considered what
would be the best plan to follow in order to win
him over to his views. After several attempts to
gain his consent, which always met with a stern
refusal, he resolved to break through all obstacles
by secretly leaving home as soon as a favourable
chance presented itself.

(1) Albert le Grand . Lobineau.

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One day, as he was hunting with his brothers,
some monks chanced to pass by, singing religious
hymns as they journeyed along. This sacred
music, which had so often kindled his imagina-
tion whilst in the monastic school, now, as it re-
sounded through the silence of the woods, made
such a deep impression on his mind that he
resolved to carry out at once his long thought of
intention. He therefore said to his companions,
“ I will follow these monks, and in their com-
pany spend my days in singing the praises of the
Lord.” His brothers, after remaining for some
time rivetted to the spot in a state of stupefaction,
hurried after him determined to force him back.
Their efforts were, however, useless, and they
were obliged to return home without Suliau. On
learning the sad news, the mother wept and the
father became furious, inveighed in bitter terms
against monks and monasteries, and swore to be

Whilst this scene was taking place in the
prince’s palace, the young deserter had arrived
at the monastery and informed the abbot of the
bold step he had taken. Falling on his knees he
begged to be at once clothed in the monastic
habit, for of a certainty his father would soon
come and reclaim him.

Gwymark — the abbot — assembled the com-
munity in order to ascertain the opinion of the
brethren, and it was agreed that young Suliau
should be admitted as a novice, the Chapter

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..‘I” ‘

djeciding that although such a step might draw
down upon them the ire of Brocmail, they would
trust in the protection of God, whose servant they
were sheltering.

Shortly after they had resolved upon this step,
thirty horsemen arrived at the gate of the
monastery and demanded to speak to the abbot,
in the name of Brocmail, Prince of Powis.

On being admitted, they reproached Gwymark
and his brethren with having kidnapped a young
boy, the son of their master, taking advantage of
his youth to work on his imagination and decoy
him into adopting a kind of life to which he was
not called. They announced that they had
explicit orders to bring home, alive or dead, a
child unjustly taken away from his father and
mother, adding that if this lawful request were
refused, they would teach monks not to interfere
with the family of Brocmail.

The abbot modestly, but with the firmness
peculiar to his order, replied that neither he or
his brethren had directly or indirectly seduced
Suliau. He had come amongst them of his own
free will. They should be allowed to see the son
of their master, and thus have an opportunity of
judging for themselves. If when in their pre-
sence Suliau consented to return home, he and
his brethren would not offer the least objection
to his doing so. But if, on the other hand, the
youth persisted in his resolution to remain in the
monastery, they could not and would not, turn

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him out, even though they shed their blood iu
his cause.

The anger of the prince’s messengers was some-
what appeased by this fair but resolute reply.
The young man already clad in the monastic
habit was summoned before them. The soldiers
testified astonishment, and said that it was not
the custom for auy monastery to clothe a novice
before he had gone through one year’s probation.
Suliau, however, put a stop to all comments by
the following speech : —

“ Gentlemen, say to my father that I humbly
confess having co mmi tted a fault against him
although with no intention of giving offence;
that fault consists in having left him without his
consent and without his blessing. I felt myself
drawn by an irresistible grace to serve God in
this saintly community. I knew that my father
would never give his consent, but would throw
every obstacle in my way, and therefore I de-
parted abruptly and without giving notice of my
intention, having from my infancy been taught
that when one is called by the Almighty to His
Divine service, he must leave father and mother
brothers and sisters unmindful of their tears and
affliction. If, however, my dear father is so
incensed against this monastery for having
afforded me a shelter, and will be appeased by
nothing but blood, cut off my head and carry it
to him, because if any one is guilty in connection
with this matter, it is myself and no person else.”

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This noble and touching reply of the saintly
youth drew tears from every eye, and put a stop
to all violence. The messengers returned to the
prince and related what they had seen and heard,
how they had been fascinated and disarmed by
the presence and speech of the young monk, who
was to have been their future king. Brocmail
and his wife wept and said, “ Let the will of God
be done.”

Trials of Suliau’s vocation proved to be a true one, and
not the result of a strong imagination — not un-
usual with young men of twenty — which often
fades away with time. He brought into the
cloister a truly religious spirit. His abbot out
of precaution sent him to a priory dependent on
the monastery — which was situated on an island
called Aber Menew, and later on Enes-Suliau
(Island of Suliau) where he spent an angelic life
for the space of seven years.

Guymarch on his deathbed called together his
brethren and addressed to them the following
words —

“ My brethren and children, I loved you in
life, and I could not die like a good father unless
consoled by the idea that after my death you
shall be ruled by a man of God. As you are
aware, you will be free in the election of your
new abbot, but I cannot help recommending
Suliau for that office, knowing him to be a man
well fitted for it.”

When the last of the sacred hymn over the

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grave of Guymarch had died away, the chapter
proceeded to elect a new superior, and the votes
were one, and all, in favour of Suliau.

He had governed Meibot Monastery for six
years, when in 564, his father died, and was
succeeded by his brother Jacob.

After a reign of hut two years, this prince died
in 666, leaving a widow hut no children. This lady
was destined to putSuliau’s love of celibacy to the
test, and to be his persecutor during the remainder
of her life. The young widow, whose name was
Hayarm< 3 , was a woman of great intellectual
powers, ambitious and energetic. In order to
secure possession of the kingdom of her deceased
husband, she informed her vassals that it was her
intention to marry the Abbot of Meibot, he being
the only survivor of their Royal Family.

She visited the monastery and opened her
mind on the subject to Suliau, stating that the
resolution she had arrived at was dictated by her
desire to promote public interest and peace, and
to prevent the extinction of the Royal Family of
which he was the last representative. As regarded
the necessary dispensation, she said she would
secure that through an application to the Pope
at Rome.

Suliau, as might be expected, was at first
perfectly amazed at having such a proposal from
the widow of his brother, but recovering from
his surprise he intimated firmly that he could
never accede to such a request. Was he not a

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monk, a priest and her brother-in-law. A young
widow was free to marry again. If she decided
on doing so, let it he in accordance with the laws
of God and the Church. But he was not at
liberty to break through his vows. Why should
she come to seek a husband within the walls of a
monastery ? Were there not plenty of Princes
and noblemen in Britain, not hound by religious
vows, who would willingly marry one so young,
handsome, and rich? By making a judicious
choice from amongst the number, she could give
her subjects a wise and judicious ruler. For
himself, he had declined the marriage state when
in his father’s house, and saw no reason to
change his resolution. On no account would he
apply to the Court of Borne for a dispensation
from his vows ; he was not going to scandalise
the Church and the Britons.

Whether this lady had conceived an affection
for young Suliau before he embraced the religious
state, and had keenly regretted his entrance into
the cloister, and that her present feelings towards
him were a revival of an old love, we are not told.

However, after this absolute refusal of her
advances, she became possessed by the passion of
hatred, swore revenge, and persecuted Suliau and
his brethren ; the property of the monasteries,
such as cattle, was seized, and their crops

To save his brethren from these injuries, the
abbot retired to Enes Suliau ; but the persecution

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in no degree abating, he determined to leave the
country altogether, and accordingly sailed for
Brittany, at that time the refuge of all who were
thus troubled.

There he remained, preaching the Gospel along
the shores of Armorica from St. Malo to the pre-
sent town of Brest, and converting numbers of
sinners. On the death of his sister-in-law, his
monastic brethren in Cambria invited him to
return and once more become their spiritual
guide; but he declined, having been warned by
an angel of his approaching death, which took
place on the 1st of October, 606, at the age of
76. He was buried in his Armorican monastery,
since called St. Sulian-sur-Rance, a place about
six miles distant from St. Malo. 1

The legend of Efflam and Honora reminds us
of the history of Alexius, or Cecilia, in Rome,
who, when forced into the marriage state, never-
theless succeeded in preserving their virginity
intact, the latter through an angelic apparation,
and the former through an energetic step.

Efflam was born in Ireland, about the year

St. Efflam

448, and Honora was a daughter of Cambria, and
Both belonged to families of high distinction.

For two or three generations their families
had only known each other sword in hand, either
as pirates on the ocean, or deadly foes on the

(1) The Welsh legend tells us that St. Suliau returned to Wales and
was chosen to represent the British bishops in their controversy with St.

Augustine. This is improbable.

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The forefathers of Efflam had passed their lives
in threatening the coasts of Wales with invasion,
ma king annual descents upon her shores, during
which many Christians were put to the sword,
and women and children carried off to Ireland
to be sold in her market-places as slaves. The
Welsh chieftain retaliated, and by organised
expeditions made sudden attacks on the territory
of his enemy across the channel, and bore away
whatever he could lay hold of. This continued
plundering soon wearied the people on both sides,
and discontent became so strong that the two
chieftains were forced to come to terms. Peace
was concluded by the betrothal of Efflam, son of
the Irish king, and Honora, daughter of the
Cambrian Prince. As they were both children
it was arranged that the marriage should take
place as soon as they were of age.

Efflam was sent to the monastic school to be
educated, and whilst there felt a strong attraction
towards religion, which became even more in-
tense as he increased in years. Several of his
fellow-students shared the same desire, and they
encouraged each other to devote themselves to
the service of Christ in the monastic life, then
held in so much favour throughout the world,
hut more especially in Ireland.

Efflam returned home on the completion of
his education, with the determined resolution that
— cost what it might — he would consecrate him-
self to God.

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Under the paternal roof, however, he was
reminded of the contract signed in his name
when he was an infant, by the terms of which he
was engaged to marry Honora, the Cambrian
princess. The contracting parties, both in Ire-
land and in Wales, were pledged by the most
solemn oaths, and the marriage must take place.
It was the condition on which peace had been
concluded between the two houses so long at war.
Honora was beautiful and accomplished, and
would secure him many years of happiness, and
the union would cement peace and friendship
between those who had been bitter enemies.

This intelligence was far from pleasing to a
young man whose thoughts ran in so different a
direction. He communicated it to the friends
who like himself had resolved on entering the
cloister. They assembled in his father’s house,
and consulted together as to the best mode of
proceeding under the circumstances. It was a
juvenile meeting, and yet what serious and im-
portant matters were discussed, and what
courageous resolutions adopted ! The speakers
demonstrated to the satisfaction of all present
that full consideration should be shown to
paternal authority, which could not be called in
question; but that the same authority had its
determined limits, and could in no way trample
on the sacred rights of God in regard of chil-
dren. . . . Marriage was a free contract,

and those who entered on it had a right to be

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consulted. A match arranged by relatives be-
tween two children might be a judicious specula-
tion according to their views, but the persons
concerned should be free, when of age, either to
sanction or reject such alliances.

Efflam, in his speech, informed his companions
that, feeling himself called to religion, he was
resolved to enter the cloister. . . . He

knew his father’s temper, and was fully aware
that a chieftain whose will had been law to
mariners on sea and to soldiers on land, would
expect obedience from his children at home.
Still, though most reluctant to seem disobedient,
he, Efflam, was determined to follow his vocation.

It was unanimously resolved to secure a vessel
and sail quietly away, trusting to God to direct
them to some hospitable shore where they could
land, seek out some lonely valley, and erect a
church and some hermits’ huts.

Whether it was found impossible to fit out a
vessel before the time fixed upon for the mar-
riage, or that Efflam thought it better, in order
to avoid complications between the two families
on account of the non-fulfilment of the contract,
to lead his bride to the altar, is not stated.

He, however, was married, and after the cere-
mony had been celebrated in the church, a
splendid banquet was given in the palace. Cups
of the most generous wine were handed round,
bards sang the beauty of the British bride, and
bade her welcome to the land of Erin, and

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lauded the valour of Efflam and his ancestors.

Later on in the evening, the numerous guests
invoked the blessing of God on the newly-
married pair, wished them a long succession of
happy years, and retired.

When he found himself alone with his bride, E ® a “

7 quits his

Efflam commenced a conversation on the excel- 1 ° n

the first

lence of virginity, reminding Honora that the mg^ of
Redeemer of the world was a virgin, and elected marriage,
to he born of a virgin. John the Evangelist, the
disciple whom Jesus loved beyond the others, and
permitted to repose upon His Sacred Heart, was
indebted for this privilege to his state of virginity.

The most glorious group around the Throne of
God in Heaven consists of the guard which
followeth the Lamb wheresoever He goeth, and
is called in the Apocalypse the 144,000 spotless
virgins. Thousands, in their time, cultivated this
charming flower of the Church of God.

In Ireland, his own country, as well as in her
native Wales, the monasteries were filled with
lovers of chastity. “ Let us,” he said, “ walk in
the same path. Alexius, son of the Roman
senator, left his wife the very night of their
marriage ; Cecilia told "Valerian, her husband,
shortly after their union, that an angel of God
stood by her side to protect her in the fulfilment of
the vow she had made to her Spouse in heaven.”
Honora listened to her bridegroom’s words,
and expressed her desire to follow these

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Being thus far successful, Efflam became
bolder, and intimated to his wife that he, too,
had taken a vow of virginity. Before the world
she would appear to he his spouse, hut in reality
they would dwell together like brother and
sister. Afterwards he told her of his intention to
retire into some solitude, the better to give him-
self to the service of his Master. Perceiving,
however, that his last announcement had brought
a cloud over his young bride’s countenance, he
regretted having committed himself so far, and
endeavoured to console her in the best manner
he could. When, wearied by the fatigues of the
day and her varied emotions, Honora closed her
eyes in sleep, the young man made his prepara-
tions for departure. Casting one last glance on
his bride, he exclaimed, “ Earewell, Honora, and
may God protect thee! ! ! Virgin I brought
thee hither, virgin I leave thee. May thy
guardian angel guard and console thee. Fare-

Then, drying his tears, he passed through the
silent halls and directed his steps to the sea-shore,
where his companions awaited him in a vessel
equipped for the voyage. They at once set sail,
without having any definite destination, leaving
themselves to the guidance of Providence. The
young pilgrims landed safely in the present
department Des C6tes du Nord, at the parish of
Pleslen. This spot was for generations called by
the Bretons Toul Efflam and Lock Mikel, in

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remembrance of the event ; Mikel, or Michael,
must have been one of his companions.

Not far from where they landed, they dis-
covered an abandoned and dilapidated chapel.
This they repaired, and around it built as many
huts as answered to their number.

On the morning following the marriage,
Honora found herself alone, her bridegroom had
departed. As during the day he was nowhere to
be seen, the whole household, the numerous
guests, and, above all, Honora herself, became
seriously alarmed. Messengers were despatched
through the country, but no trace of Efflam could
be discovered ; the only intelligence they could
glean was a vague report that a vessel had left
the shore with several young men on board, but
no one could give any information as to the
direction it had taken. Meanwhile, a favourable
wind was filling their sails and increasing the
distance between the emigrants and their country,
as, quietly seated in the barque, they chanted the
Psalms of David.

Honora then remembering the conversation of
the preceding night, came to the sad conclusion
that he had acted up to it.

She wept and lamented, but time, which sooner
or later heals the deepest wounds, failed to lessen
her affliction. She could have wished that with
her flowing tears the remembrance of Efflam
would have also passed away. But his image
remained continually before her eyes. “ He

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asked me,” the widowed bride said sorrowfully
to herself, “ to be a dear sister to him instead of
a wife, and I promised to agree to his wishes.
Why, then, did he leave me, and so suddenly ? ”

“ I will find him ; I must find him, even if it is
necessary to search the whole world through.”
Honora Like her beloved Efflam, she also secretly

leaves her # ¥

home in planned her escape, and contrived to fit out a
Efflam. small boat, covered with skin, and when it was
ready she left home in disguise. Trusting, as he
had done, to Divine Providence, she directed the
sailors to steer for Armorica.

After being three days at sea, the little vessel
drew near the coast of Brittany, and as the tide
ebbed, grounded on a beautiful strand in the
midst of the nets of fishermen. The manager of
the fishery hastened to visit the strangers, and
Honora informed him of the motive of her
journey, that she was seeking for her husband,
whose name was Efflam ; that he was the son of
an Hibernian prince, whilst she herself was the
daughter of a British chieftain. He told her
that at the distance of nine miles from that place
dwelt a hermit, who had lately arrived from
beyond the sea with a few young men like him-
self, that they were as busy as bees repairing a
ruined church and erecting hermits’ huts
around it.

Having escaped pursuit, Honora reached this
place, was allowed to live in a house separate
from the monastery, and obtained permission to

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attend the services in that part of the church
which was reserved for the laity. Later on she
retired to the Convent of St. Ninnoc, a British
nun like herself, and there ended her days. The
ancient Britons used to invoke her intercession
in time of epidemics.

Efflam edified Brittany by a saintly life, and
died on the 6th of November, 512. His tomb
became a place of pilgrimage to thousands, both
from Gaul and the British isles, and God glorified
his servant by granting to his prayers the requests
of those who were afflicted. 1

Most of these vocations to the cloister which
we have placed before the reader were strongly
opposed by parents and relatives. Others, on
the contrary, were encouraged by them, fathers
and mothers feeling a certain pride in the fact of
their children swelling the ranks of the servants
of God. Let us take two or three of these in-
stances, and amongst them that of St. Patern, or
Padarn, according to the Welsh tongue.

Erom his very infancy this child of predilec- Young
tion felt an instinct calling him to religion. It Padorn -
might be that love of the contemplative life was
hereditary in his family, for soon after his birth
his father, Petran, a prince of Brittany, with the
consent of his wife, Julitta, left the world and
consecrated himself to God in a monastery in
Ireland; Julitta remained in the world to bring
up her infant child.

(1) The Bretons have popularised this romantic legend by Celtic verse,
which may be found in Albert le Grand.

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When the boy came to the use of reason, hear-
ing the name of his father mentioned, he, with
that inquisitiveness which belongs to children,
would ask his mother thousands of questions
about him — where he was, what he was doing,
why he would not come home, and say how
happy he would be to see him. And a thousand
times over his mother was obliged to answer these
queries, often with suppressed sobs. She told the
boy that his father had crossed the sea and dwelt
in a large island called Hibernia, where he lived
in a monastery. Then the child would inquire
what a monastery was, and what people did
there. This his mother would explain in a style
adapted to his age, telling him that in a
monastery lived the soldiers of Christ, waging a
constant war against the devil. There every one
laboured to secure a crown in heaven when he
should have departed from this world, and dis-
dained the service of kings and princes on earth,
deeming it more glorious to enrol themselves
amongst the servants of the King of kings.

When his mother’s narrative was concluded,
the boy invariably said, “ When I grow up to be
a man, I will follow my father, and, like him,
become a soldier of Christ.”

He kept his word, for in his youth we find him
kneeling to receive the blessing of his mother
previous to taking the habit in the Monastery of
St. Gildas of Hhuys. 1

(1) Cambro-British Saints — Lobineau — Vies dea Saints do Bretagne* —
Albert le Grand.

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In course of time Padarn was chosen to be one
of a monastic colony which was sent from
Brittany to Western Wales. We find him erect-
ing a monastery and church in Cardiganshire>
about a mile from the present town of Aberyst-
with. In consequence of his zeal in the propa-
gation of the Gospel, he was consecrated bishop
of that district.

The numerous visitors who frequent Aberyst-
with in the bathing season, and may sometimes
take half-an-hour’s walk to Lanbadam Pawr,
which to this day retains the name of its founder,
Padarn, will be struck by the size of an enormous
yew tree in the cemetery, near the old church.
Perhaps it was planted there of old by the Breton
Bishop. From the bold mountains surrounding
the valley and the high cliffs on the sea-shore,
Padarn many a time gazed on the setting sun
whose golden gleams rested on the green isle
beyond the waves, and thought of his father,
longing to see him if but once in his life. After
God, it was his example that had decided his own
religious vocation. At last he crossed over to
Ireland and received the embrace of that vene-
rated parent whose hair had turned to silver
under the monastic habit. During his stay in
Ireland he succeeded in reconciling two chieftains
of the country, who had elected him as their
umpire, after which he returned to Wales.

Hoel the First, King of the Armoricans, having The family
been overpowered by the soldiers of Clovis, who

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put his father to the sword, set sail for Cambria,
and with 15,000 followers settled in South Wales,
either at Caer-gwent, in Monmouthshire, or in
Glamorganshire. He was accompanied by his
wife, Pompeia, and a numerous family. In 513
Hoel recrossed the sea, and, landing on his native
shores at the head of a large army, composed of
his own subjects and volunteers from Britain,
recovered his provinces and drove off the
lieutenants of Childebert. Later on he returned
to Britain to assist his cousin Arthur in his wars
against the Saxons, and died in England in 545.

During all -these events his family remained in
Cambria under the care of their mother. Three
of his sons — Eleonor, Twgdual, and Hoel, sur-
named Jonas, were sent to Lantwit-Major, the
celebrated college of Illtyd, which was held in
high esteem by all classes, to be educated.

At Lantwit-Major two of these boys — Eleonor
and Twgdual — hearkened to the sweet voice of
Christ calling them to enlist under His standard.
The world became distasteful to them, and the
love of religion reigned sole sovereign of their

Their mother approved of, and even encouraged
this feeling, saying she would be proud to behold
her children enlisted in the service of Christ, and
die rejoicing in the thought that they were safe
from the seductions of a vain world within the
shelter of the cloister.

They assumed the religious habit in Wales, and

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during the time they remained there endeared
themselves to all by the practice of every virtue
that could adorn the soul.

On the death of Howel the Great, his wife,
Pompeia, entered a convent, and, together with her
daughter, St. Seve, consecrated herself to God.
One of her sons, Hoel II., remained in the world
and succeeded to his father’s territory in Brittany.

Meanwhile the third brother, Twgdual, was
elected Superior of his monastery in Britain, as
soon as his abbot died, but was not long destined
to guide his community. One night after he had
retired to his cell an angel appeared to him whilst
in prayer and said, “ Twgdual, it is the command
of God that thou leave Britain and cross the sea to
Armorica, the land of thy ancestors, there to
labour for the Church.”

Pompeia, his mother, and Seve, his sister, being
apprised of his intention, besought as a favour to
be allowed to follow him, neither would his old
nurse remain behind.

The light vessel which bore them across the
channel touched land at the present Department
of Pinist&re, between St. Pol de Leon and Brest.
The Bretons welcomed their former queen, the
wife of that Hoel whom they had called Great,
and her children. ' They had seen Pompeia in
her younger days, in all the splendour of royalty,
and had been proud of her. But now when she
landed amongst them in the coarse dress of the
convent, they pronounced her to be a saint. One

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of her sons was now their king, but his two
brothers, Eleonor and Twgdual, with their sister,
Seve, by the advice of their mother had chosen
what all fully appreciated to be the better part.

Hoel could not induce either his mother,
brothers, or sister to accept from him any other
gift than some lonely valley or sandy beach,
where they might serve Almighty God according
to the custom of the monastic life they had

These few examples, selected at hazard from
amongst thousands of others, give us a fair idea
of the spirit of the Celtic races in the fifth and
sixth centuries. When converted to Christ they
threw all the energy of their souls into the ful-
filment of His law.

Supernatural life was strong amongst them,
like vegetation in spring. Purely worldly pur-
suits they viewed in their true light, and pro-
nounced to be folly and vanity. They thirsted
after heavenly things ; they searched for the
precious pearl, and having found the bed where-
in it lay, sold all things else to purchase it. The
Evangelical counsels indicated to them a safe
harbour against pride, licentiousness, and in-
justice, and they hastened to anchor within such
sheltered waters.

Is it not wiser for a man who, after a few
years must pass away to another world, where
he must render a strict account for all his actions
in this, to live in justice, purity, and humanity,

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rather than appear before the Judge with a
heavy load of ambition and injustice and an
existence sullied by impure passions, seldom or
ever restrained?

The monastery offered an asylum against the
corruption of the world ; to it, then, they fled, as
to the camp of Almighty God. They chose for
their companions on their journey to eternity,
not men who delight in the slaughter of the
battle-field, but those who cherish meekness and
innocence; not the worldly and polished lady
who finds a fitting sphere amid earthly vanities,
but the virgin favoured by Heaven because her
only aim is to practise the beatitude; “ Blessed
are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.”

The followers of the Evangelical counsels were ^ mit
divided into two classes — anchorites, or hermits “ d
and cenobites. The first dwelt alone, in some
solitary island, forest, or desert; the second
formed themselves into communities. Hermits
are everywhere recorded in the history of Wales.

To this day the wells near which these holy men
built their lonely huts and cultivated their plots
of ground are clearly pointed out to travellers by
local traditions.

The practice of a religious life was the main
object of this absolute seclusion. Some old
warrior whose conscience, racked by remorse,
made the thought of eternity terrible, was
inspired to cleanse his soul, too frequently
sullied by murder and violence of every kind.

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He felt that as long as he mixed with dissolute
companions he could not resist their baneful
influence ; hut in a solitary valley, shut in by
mountains, there would he nothing to prevent
him from keeping the commandments of God.
Another time it was an innocent soul who.
disgusted by what he saw around him, determined
on abandoning a society ruled by the maxims of
the world, and refused to share an existence spent in
plunder, or in the gratification of sensual pleasures.

Very frequently we find religious men quitting
the large monasteries of Lantwit or Lancarvan and
retiring into solitude, as more conducive to a life
of contemplation. Thus St. Illtyd, when perse-
cuted by Merchion, withdrew to a cave in the
valley of Neath, where he lived as a hermit
until, being discovered by his brethren, he was
forced again to assume the direction of his
monastery. And so on of many others.

The aim of the religious life being the service
of God and the good of mankind, the greatest
attention was paid in every community to the
cultivation of these two virtues. When a
postulant applied for admission into a monastery,
nothing was more strongly impressed on his
mind than the necessity of attaining love of God
and of his neighbour. For ten days — as we learn
from the rule of St. David — he was obliged to
live in a building separated from the monastery ,
and subjected to frequent trials in order to test
his sincerity.

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“ For what purpose hast thou come hither ? ” ^“7 ? f

# the various

was the invariable question put to the aspirant, religious

1 1 A exercises

and he was given distinctly to understand that if in »

_ • /I I-. . , . . Cloister.

he was influenced by any idea of acquiring
wealth, or reputation for learning, or science, or
by the hope of finding a comfortable and easy
life, he was under a delusion, and had better
seek elsewhere for worldly advantages, for such
were not to he found within monastic walls.

Indeed, there were two things the postulant
soon learned by personal experience, if he
remained,’ and those were, that monks prayed
fervently and worked hard.

In the diurnal of the cloister a great part of
the four-and-twenty hours of the day was
consecrated either to public or private devotion.

The Church, besides inculcating the necessity of
private prayer, to every individual monk, also
instituted offices to be carried out in public by
her clergy, either in congregations or in
monasteries. These offices consisted of prayers*
which were recited or chanted by special com-
mand, and those entrusted with the execution of
this were reminded that they did not act in their
private capacity, but as officers of the great
Christian community, doing service before the
altar of God in the name of the whole Church.

These prayers were distinguished by different
names — Divine Office, Breviary, and Canonical
Hours. 3 They were divided into seven parts:
Matins with Lauds, Prime, Tierce, Sext, None,

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Vespers, and Compline. Matins and Lauds,
which were said at night, were called nocturns ;
the other portions, being recited during the day,
bore the name of diurnals . 1

“ Seven times a day,” said David, “ I have
given Thee praise.” The Church, from Apostolic
times, can with truth repeat these words of the
Royal Psalmist, before the face of God and man ;
for during the twenty-four hours of the day,
seven times the choir met before the altar to sing
the praises of the Lord, in accordance with the
primitive institution of the Canonical Dours. At
midnight they assembled for matins, at daybreak
for Lauds; Prime was sung at sunrise, Tierce
between sunrise and noon, Sext at twelve, None
between mid-day and sunset, Vespers at sunset,
and Compline at twilight.

Several of the Popes, such as Damasus, Gelasius,
and Gregory the Great, employed much of
their time in giving a regular form and unity
to these Divine Offices. In Celtic monasteries
the greatest attention was paid to ensure
their being sung with devotion, reverence, and

One of the first lessons given to a postulant
was to learn the Psalms and the Lessons, as well
as the sacred chant. The shores and many of the
valleys of "Wales resounded day and night with
the praises of the Lord, and the voices of
hundreds of her children ascended to heaven in

(1) Troneon. Forma Cleri,

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supplication for pardon of the sins of their
country and of mankind.

In several Cambrian cloisters Divine Offices
were carried on not only seven times a day, but
continually. Thus, in the life of St. Asaph we
read , 1 “ There were assembled in this monastery
(founded by St. Bentigern) no fewer than nine
hundred and ninety-fi,ve brethren, all living
under monastic rule, serving God in great
continence. ... of which number three
hundred, who were illiterate, were appointed to
till the ground, take care of the cattle, and do
other works outside the monastery. He assigned
to another three hundred the preparation of the
food and the performance of other necessary
works within the walls. To the three hundred
and sixty-five, who were learned, he deputed the
daily celebration of the Divine Offices. He
would not suffer any of these to go out without
necessity, but appointed them to attend con-
tinually, as in God’s sanctuary. Now, this part
of the community was divided by him in such a
manner, into companies, that when one division
had finished another presently entered and began
(it) anew; these having ended, a third troop
succeeded them, so that by this means prayers
were offered up in this church without any
intermission, and the praises of God were always
in their mouths.

In the Iolo MS , 2 we read, in like manner, that

(1) Britannia Sancta, 1st vol,, p. 278.

(2) Iolo MS., p. 559.

in the

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at Lantwit-Major “praise and prayers to God
were kept up by twelve saints of each college day
and night without ceasing.” Considering the
great number of colleges and of companies, a
great many Religious must have constantly stood
before the altar in adoration, like the angels
round the throne of God; and impressive beyond
conception must have been that sacred testimony
rendered by so many hundreds of voices.

Private devotion was not- forgotten; for,
whether in the study-room, the workshop, or the
field, the monk was enjoined to keep silence as
much as possible, and continually to direct his
mind to contemplation. Heaven and earth were
to speak to him of the greatness and beauty of
God. He was to draw lessons from the sea as it
dashed its mighty waves in thunder against the
shore, and from the mountains which on all sides
surrounded him. Even the humble flower should
preach to him, for he had chanted on coming
from the choir, “Oh, Lord, our God, how
admirable is Thy name in the whole earth, for
Thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens.”
Extra At certain seasons of the year, such as Lent,
devotioDs particular devotions were added to those already
m Lent ‘ prescribed by the monastic rule. Thus, we read
that several of the Cambrian monks used to spend
the four weeks of Lent on some of the islands at
the entrance to Cardiff, such as the Flat Holmes
and others.

In closing this chapter, the writer, though his


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mind is filled with the memory of the monks of
the fifth and sixth centuries, cannot resist casting
a glance at Monasticism in this present nine-
teenth age of ours.

There is no denying the fact that the followers ^^. of
of the Evangelical Counsels are again pitching
their tents throughout Britain. Monasteries of
men and women are again rising up on all sides,
and Monasticism, driven away from the country,
proscribed by law, reviled by the press and by
the preacher, revives in the land and begins to
find favour in the minds of many. The
aristocratic, professional, commercial, and labour-
ing classes are represented in our cloisters.
Converts, as well as those born in the faith, swell
the list of our clergy, regular and secular, and
their names are inscribed in the registers of our
numerous convents. Religious, both men and
women, kneel in prayer before the monastic altar
for the conversion of their relatives still alien to
the true faith.

Many of the primitive founders of religious
institutions in modern Britain came from France
or Italy, but at their death they left behind a
community exclusively native.

The large proportion of its members who, in
certain families, devote themselves to the cloister
recalls to mind the devotion of the fifth and sixth
centuries. Without trespassing on home privacy,
we will state a few instances : —

Converts are by no means backward in

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estimating the advantages of religious life ; they
embrace it with eager enthusiasm.

A privileged family was received into the
Church, thirty or thirty-five years ago. It
consisted of four members, two daughters and
one son, who had graduated with distinction at
Oxford. The young ladies both entered convents,
and the son became a priest and a religious.
Their mother spent the remainder of her life
near the church where her son officiated. . . .
A clergyman who left the Church of England
many years ago, and is still alive, pays yearly
visits to a convent of which his daughter is
Superioress. He is at times accompanied by his
other children, nearly all of whom are priests
and religious.

Another well-known and most venerable

gentleman, in the county , is father of a

large family, all of whom, with the exception of
one or two, like that of the old chieftain of
Brecknockshire, in the fifth century, have
embraced the monastic life.

In one of the midland counties both the sons
of a respectable family have become priests and

One of my confreres in the priesthood informs
me that seven or eight of his near relatives have
entered religion. Another of my clerical brethren
has had the happiness of seeing both his sisters
and his brother consecrate themselves to God.

The writer himself, who is a Celt by birth,

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returns thanks to Heaven for having called
several of his relatives to the priesthood and to
the religious life.

Monasticism cannot be uprooted. Man can- it cannot
not stop the growth of vegetation in Spring, uprooted.
Whether he likes it or not, in due season the
humble flower will bud forth in the fields, and
the trees in the forests and parks will be covered
with fresh leaves ; for such is the law of God.

In like manner, the monastic tree will and
must flourish in the Church of Christ as a part of
her system, and any attempt to destroy that
spiritual plant must, in the end, prove a failure.

We have witnessed a regular war being waged
against religious orders in our own days, and
yet they are as strong and as numerous as ever.

In France, during the last century, every
religious house was emptied, and its inmates
dispersed or guillotined. Their number is now
as great, or even greater, than before.

In England, after three hundred years of pro-
scription, monks and nuns are again seen carrying
on their works all over the country.

Yearly, it is true, one or two zealous members
of Parliament bring in a Bill for the suppression
of monasteries, but they fail to obtain even a
hearing. British statesmen are too far-sighted
to countenance measures in direct opposition to
liberty of conscience and public opinion at large.

Meanwhile, throughout the country religious
houses daily increase in numerical strength, for

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God speaks to many a heart, inviting it within
the sacred shelter of His tabernacle.

When the Spouse has whispered to a soul these
words of David, “ Hearken daughter, and see and
incline thy ear ; forget thy people and thy father's
house, and the King shall greatly desire thy
beauty ,” 1 that soul is conquered. Who, indeed,
can see Jesus and listen to His sweet voice and
not be enthralled by His love? He is all beauty,
power, and love. A soul who has once caught a
glimpse of this Spouse cannot bestow any lasting
affection on anything else.

Powerful is the celestial influence exercised
by grace over certain hearts, throughout the
entire world, and at all times. No sooner do
our Catholic missionaries form a congregation
amongst the pagans, either in India or Africa,
than a supernatural attraction is certain to draw
some of them to the religious life. The writer
has seen, with his own eyes, the bronzed maidens
of India and ebony-hued daughters of Africa
eagerly embrace the monastic life, happy, and
giving edification in the habit of the cloister.

(1) Psalm 44—11, 12.

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The Saints and Supernatural Events.

In the preceding chapter the Annals of Britain
have agreeably surprised us, by bringing before
our eyes a long procession winding its way to the
doors of the monastery. We have seen the road
to the cloister thronged with her children, and in
the crowd have noticed the young and the old,
the nobleman and the peasant, the maiden, the
widow and the mother of a family. Our ears
have heard the sweet harmony of Divine praise,
as day and night it ascended round the altar of
sacrifice. Spiritual life then was strong in the
hearts of our ancestors, and they looked upon
serving God in religion as a glorious undertaking,
most profitable for obtaining the treasures of
eternal life. Those noble souls hearkened to the
voice of the Divine Spouse, and, enthralled by
His heavenly beauty, forsook father and mother,
brother and sister, wife and husband.

In this chapter we will call the attention of
the reader to the miracles connected with the
lives of the British saints.

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endowed 1 * Theologians divide grace into gratvm faciens
with and gratis data. The first sanctifies the particular

natural soul to whom it is granted ; the second is chiefly
imparted for the sanctification of others. The
one cleanses us from all weeds of sins, beautifully
decorates our hearts with every Christian virtue,
and enkindles in them the fire of Divine love ;
the other becomes the companion of those men
who are chosen by God for special missions in
His Church, such as the conversion of a heathen
nation, or the reformation of manners in a
corrupt Christian community, or any other work
which may be pointed out by Almighty God.

The Apostle St. Paul, in his first Epistle to the
Corinthians, thus speaks of the latter grace : —

“ To one, indeed, by the Spirit is given the word
of wisdom ; and to another the word of knowledge,
according to the same Spirit ; to another faith in
the same Spirit, to another the grace of healing in
one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to
another prophecy, to another the discerning of
spirit, to another diverse kinds of tongues, to
another interpretation of speeches." (1 Cor. xii.)

Whether one opens the Old or New Testament
he will invariably find that the men chosen by
God to do His work were armed with Divine
power, which manifested its presence in a variety
of ways, according to circumstances of times,
localities and persons.

Thus, Moses, the liberator of his brethren from
the bondage of Egypt, begins his arduous task by

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showing to the Egyptians and their rulers that
God stood by his side. He strikes the land with
the ten plagues, opens the waves of the Red Sea,
and performs sundry other miracles recorded in
Holy Writ.

The action oi fire was stopped by heavenly
intervention in the case of the three Hebrew
youths in the furnace of Babylon, and famished
lions refused to tear to pieces Daniel, because
sheltered by the protection of God.

Joseph, sold by his brethren, was favoured with
supernatural light in explaining the visions of
his master.

The prophets of old were shown future events,
and foretold the rise and fall of mighty empires ;
they pointed out to coming generations, the
Incarnation of the Son of God, the place of His
birth, His cruel death.

In the New Testament, the four Gospels and
the Acts of the Apostles are full of miracles.

Our Lord cast away devils, cured every kind
of infirmity, called the dead from their graves,
and when he sent his Apostles to preach the
Gospel he graciously gave them the same power.

The history of the early martyrs teems with
miraculous events which often converted their
very persecutors. They were visited in their
dungeons by angels. Their wounds were mira-
culously cured. Wild beasts crouched at their
feet, at their deaths the earth shook, and as a
rule the emperors or magistrates who so cruelly

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tortured them, died a miserable death struck by
Divine justice.

In fact, from the first century of the Christian
era, down to the nineteenth, Christ has never
ceased to be wonderful in his saints.

St. Peter wrought miracles, and so did, later
on, St. Benedict, St. Francis, St. Ignatius of
Loyola, and in our days Maria Taigi and the
Cur& D’Ars.

Unless a biographer understands the methods
which God adopts towards his chosen servants, he
will be utterly unable to read, write, or compre-
hend their lives. He who derides supernatural
action on the soul, has never studied holy men,
or the history of sanctity.

Let such a man pray, and live like a saint, and
in like manner heaven will visit his mind and
his soul with the same favors.

In the lives of the Cambro British saints we
continually read of a variety of supernatural
events connected with their names. Angels
alight in their cells on some particular mission
from heaven. They see extraordinary visions.
Power over devils — over the elements — and over
beasts — is given them by their Divine Master.
They command the storm at sea and a calm
ensues. At their bidding miraculous fountains
gush forth from the bowels of the earth ; they
subjugate dragons, and cure all sorts of infir-
mities. The afflicted gather round them whilst
they remain in this world, and for centuries after

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they have departed from it, pilgrims are attracted
to their graves.

Some modern historians question — nay even
ridicule — all these miracles , and speak of the
writers who have handed them down to us, as
superstitious. The same term is freely applied
to our forefathers who believed in them — and we
men of faith belonging to the nineteenth century
who endorse their belief, are stigmatised as
simple-minded and ignorant. These critics — of
course advertise themselves to the world as
clear-sighted and well informed. Such men are
to be pitied, in the first place for their own •
blindness, and in the second for their unfairness
and injustice to past generations.

We fail to see why Almighty God who conde-
scended to send an angel to an Israelite exiled by
the rivers of Babylon — or to a virgin at Nazareth
in Galilee, could not also dispatch heavenly
messengers to the shores of Britain, Gaul, or
Ireland. If Gabriel was the envoy of God to
Daniel and to the Blessed Virgin — Jews by birth
— can we deny the possibility of an angel — in
the same way — holding communication with a
Briton, an Irishman, or a saint of Brittany, if in
time of drought Moses and Eliseus in the desert,
by the power of God, obtained water to relieve
the thirst of thousands ; why could not the
Sovereign Master of the universe impart the
same power to St. David, St. Teilo, and others ?

All writers who have transmitted to us the acts of

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the saints, either in the East or West, bear
unanimous testimony to the occurrence of
miracles, which they narrate with all the
circumstances that evidence their truth, no doubt
of which existed in the minds of their contem-

Some few hagiographers may differ in opinion
as to the authenticity of this, or that particular
miracle attributed to such or such a saint, hut on
the main point they all agree. Thus Montalem-
bert — a layman — whose eloquent pen has so
beautifully depicted the monks of the West,
terms the learned Bollandists cautious and
reserved, intimating that in some instances they
call in question certain miracles concerning
which he had no douht.

Albert le Grand — a Dominican and a Breton —
has handed down to us interesting particulars in
reference to the British saints who settled in
Armorica during the fifth and sixth centuries.
Difference The miracles attributed by him to these
^ tothe 011 servants of God are, no doubt, numerous, and
ticity^f perhaps somewhat exaggerated. Lobineau, a
or Benedictine monk, writing on the same subject
particular with, greater method, finds fault with the former
writer for not exercising more discretion in the
reproduction of these wonders.

In a late edition of Albert le Grand, with
corrections and notes by M. de Kerdanet, a
Breton layman and a lawyer, he justifies the
Dominican writer against the severe reproaches

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of Lobineau. The substance of his remarks is as
follows : —

“If modern critics find fault with Albert le
Grand for crowding a number of miracles and
marvellous events into his Lives of the British
Saints, it must be borne in mind that the good
Religious has narrated what was piously and
universally believed in his days — a time in which
faith and religion flourished more than at our
epoch. Then public opinion was not startled at
miraculous events which illustrated the sanctity
of these men and their power with God, and
justified the confidence and veneration with
which they were regarded in past ages. . . .

Then, the authorities on which he grounded his
narratives were the offices of the Church, the
lessons read in the Breviary, the hymns chanted
in cathedrals or parish churches. . . Miracles

are found in connection with the servants of God
in the Eastern and Western Churches at every
period of Christianity. Why should our country
he excluded? They were necessary in Britain
and in Armorica, as in every part of the world.
First, in the conversion of pagan nations to the
faith ; secondly, to confirm them in the practice
of their new religion. Reason, by itself, lacks
the power to convert ; the senses often require to
be called into action. This explains the
numerous miracles mentioned in this work in
connection with our saints, and handed down to
us by tradition, which even in our days is vivid

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in these localities once trodden by our holy
apostles, evidencing how deeply-rooted they are
throughout the land.”

These observations will be endorsed by every
Christian, for it would be difficult to imagine that
a servant and friend of God could be unvisited by
Divine grace, or unassisted in a particular
manner whilst fulfilling the mission entrusted
to him.

Thus prefaced, let us place before the reader a
few instances of supernatural gifts, such as we
find in connection with the British saints,
st. Du- These holy men were at times favoured with a
favoraHn pre-knowledge of the designs of Almighty God,
draignsTof 1 either on themselves or on some of their brethren,
gIS ™ ty and this recalls the legend of Saint Samson, as
st. Samson re i a t ec [ j n the “ Liber Landavensis.” When
Samson had come to attend the annual meeting
of the clergy, on a certain night he fell into an
ec8tacy, during which he saw a number of persons,
clothed in white, surrounding him. Pre-eminent
amongst them were three bishops, who stood
before him adorned with golden crowns. With
great humility he inquired their names and the
cause of their visit. He who was most prince-
like in the assembly replied —

“ I am Peter, the apostle of Christ. The Lord
Jesus has pre-elected thee to be a bishop, and
has commissioned us to consecrate thee.”

About the same time Dubricius had also a
vision. An angel of the Lord stood before him

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in the night and commanded him to consecrate
Samson as bishop.

It is related in the life of the great apostle of
Ireland that whilst in the monasteries of Gaul,
Noirmoutier, and Lerins, his mind was constantly
occupied with thoughts of the conversion of that
land whose mariners had kidnapped him in his
youth — that land which, naturally, he would not
be inclined to love, as his knowledge of it was
connected with the period when he worked there
as a slave, with all the accompanying humilia-
tions. "Whether in the field, spade in hand, or
in the choir singing the Divine praises, the
remembrance of Ireland was supernaturally
recalled to his mind. Sometimes a group of
charming children would appear stretching forth
their little hands to him, and he heard their
voices crying out appealingly —

“ Come to us, Patrick ; we are little children
from Ireland, and are not yet baptised.”

The heart of the saint was touched, and he
promised to comply with their request ; hut many
obstacles occurred to detain him, and it was a
long time before he was able to carry into effect
his earnest aspirations to work for Ireland.

Again, it is related in the life of St. David,
that St. Patrick, was favoured with another vision
whilst in Wales. He beheld the panorama of
Ireland — with her numerous lakes, mountains,
and valleys — unroll before his eyes, whilst the
voice of an angel thus addressed him : —

Visions of
St. Patrick
in relation
to Ireland

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“ Patrick, the country thou beholdest is that
which is given to thee to gain over to Christ, thy
Master. Leave Wales to another apostle, who is
yet unborn.

Most of the saintly missionaries who left
Britain for Armorica in order to win that land to
the religion of Jesus Christ did so in obedience to
the commands of an angel. Amongst others, let
us take Tugdual and Samson.

Tugdual Tugdual, a Breton by birth, who had devoted
manded himself to God in a British monastery, had
angel to thrown himself on his pallet after matins, when

cross over

to Brittany the heavenly messenger stood by his side, and, in
the name of Jesus Christ, commanded him to
return to the land of his ancestors and preach
the gospel to his countrymen in Armorica. Next
morning, when kneeling with his brethren before
the altar, his mind was much occupied with what
he had seen and heard during the preceding
night. He poured forth his soul to his Lord on
the altar, exclaiming —

“ Here I am, oh, my Jesus, ready to obey ; but
how can I be certain that the vision of last night
was a messenger of God ? It may be that I am

In order to remove all doubt, he begged his
Divine Master again to commission the angel to
be the bearer of his commands, and that he
would then at once prepare for the voyage. His
prayer was granted, and the angel twice re-
appeared and communicated his message anew.

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Tugdual summoned the community over which
he was abbot, and informed them of the order he
had received, and must obey. His monastic
brethren did not question the reality of the
vision, nor assert that their abbot was under a
delusion. After hearing all the circumstances,
they naturally concluded that he must fulfil the
command he had received, and seventy-two of
the monks at once volunteered to follow him . 1

St. Samson, in like manner, was commanded An aD e el ,
by an angel to leave his own country and go to ^- Sa “ aon
Armorica. As he watched and prayed in the Brittany,
church, on the eve of the Feast of the Resurrec-
tion, a bright light shone round him, and an angel
of the Lord appeared, and thus addressed him : —
“Samson, dearly beloved of the Lord, act
manfully ; depart from thy country and thy
kindred, for thou art predestined to be a founder
of many monasteries beyond the sea, and
gloriously to govern the people.”

Samson sought counsel of St. Dubricius, by
whom he had been consecrated, and also of his
old master at Lantwit-Major, St. Illtyd. Both
bishop and abbot blessed him, and directed him
to comply with the commands he had received . 2

We frequently find information being sent to
bishops and others, of God having great designs
upon some young man whom they had trained to

(1) Albert le Grand, p. 787.

(2) Liber LandavenBis, p. 299.

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of the Holy
under the
form of a
the future
of a saint.

The Angel
at the
hour of
of death.

Vision of
St. Keyna.

The bishop and all the bystanders saw a stream
of fire alight on the head of St. Brienc, a young
Cambrian priest, whilst being ordained, and
thence concluded that he would one day shine in
the Church . 1

Such supernatural signs were seen at the
ordination of St. Samson, and also at his
consecration as bishop. The dove, the emblem
of innocence, descended on his shoulders, and
after his celebration of Mass streams of fire
proceeded from his mouth. The bishop, St.
Illtyd, and some others were witnesses of these
extraordinary manifestations.

These contemplative souls, whom we see so
highly favoured during their career on earth,
who converse with God, and with whom God
converses, were in a particular manner illumi-
nated when the time for their departure from
this miserable world was at hand. A worn-out
frame, organs which no longer perform their
usual functions without difficulty, a body fai ling
in all its parts, warns the soul that separation is
nigh. The spirit and the flesh can no longer
abide together. The saints understood this law
as we do, but frequently a messenger from their
Master was sent to cheer them, and indicate the
very day of their departure.

St. Keyna, virgin, sister of Gwladys and aunt
to St. Cadoc, of Llancarvan, had spent her life in
the service of her Divine Master, at Keynsham,

(1) Albert le Grand.

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in Somersetshire, and later on in South "Wales,
edifying the Britons by her virtues. At the close
of her existence a heavenly message warned her
of her departure from this world.

The Cambrian virgin was asleep in her cell,
on a hillock not far from Abergavenny, when a
pillar of fire, whose base rested on her bed,
suddenly illuminated her cottage. Then two
bright angels alighted in the room, gently
removed the hair cloths that covered her worn-
out frame, and then clothed it with rich
garments, surpassing in elegance whatever she
had seen in her life. This done, the heavenly
messengers pointed up to heaven and bade her
follow them to the kingdom of her Spouse.
Keyna wept with joy, and when the angels were
departing she rose to accompany them, as she
had been commanded. In the efforts she made
she awoke, and felt a fire burning all over her
frame. It was the fever that was to carry her
away. The virgin recognised in the event her
loving Jesus, whose kindness had warned her of
her death. Not long after she died, and rejoined
in heaven Sim whom her heart had loved during
her earthly career . 1

St. Paul of Leon (Paulus Aurelianus), a Briton,
and the disciple of Illtyd at Lantwit-Major, had
run a glorious course as an apostle and bishop in
Brittany. His end was not far off. He had
attained the age of a hundred-and-two, and his

(1) Britannia Sancta,

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body was a mere skeleton, covered with skin.
The very day of his death was revealed to him.

After matins, on a certain night, as he laid
himself down upon his hard mattress, an angel
appeared in the room, which at once became
brilliantly illuminated. He thus addressed the
venerable bishop : —

Death of “ Paul, thou hast fought valiantly, and blame-
AureHamis lessly run the career. Now the time of reward
is at hand, and thou shalt be paid for all by thy
heavenly Master, whom thou hast faithfully
served. Prepare thyself, therefore, to depart
from this world on Sunday next, for on that day
thy soul shall receive its crown in heaven.”
Having thus spoken, the angel disappeared
Paul communicated the vision to his brethren,
and encouraged them to persevere in the service
• of God. Having received the last Sacraments,
and blessed his community in the name of the
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, he departed from
this world on Sunday, the 12th of March, in the
pontificate of Gregory the Great, and the tenth
year of the reign of the Emperor Mauritius.

St. Meen, when in his agony, said to one of his
brethren, to whom he was particularly attached,
and who was extremely grieved at his death —

“ Cheer up, we shall not be separated for long.
Eight days hence thou shalt follow me to heaven;
prepare thyself for the journey.”

According to the prediction, after eight days
the brother died. 1

(1) Albert le Grand.

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A similar fact is related of St. David. Far
advanced in years, and worn out with toil and
austerity, he felt his end draw near, and prayed
to he delivered from the burden of his body, that
he might find rest with his Lord in heaven. Like
Paul, of whom we have spoken, he persevered to
the last in following the religious exercises of the

Towards the end of February, David and his st. David
brethren were singing the morning office inexact 1
choir, when the venerable archbishop fell into an h “
ecstacy ; his face, pale and emaciated, glowed with
saintly beauty. Then a heavenly voice was
heard by the monks speaking to the saint —

“ David, often hast thou prayed to he released
from a miserable body and received into glory.

Thy crown awaits thee whenever thou wilt
have it.”

David rejoiced greatly, and said, “ Oh, Lord,
take Thy servant in peace.”

The brethren heard what was said, and fell on
their knees, awe-struck by the presence of the
celestial messenger. David prayed aloud a
second time, saying, “ Lord J esus Christ, take my
soul, for I am weary of this wretched existence.’,

Then the angel spoke again : “ David, prepare
thyself for the first day of March, for on that day
the Lord Jesus Christ will come down with nine
choirs of angels to meet thee.” .... David did
really die on the first of May}

(1) Cambro-Britisk Saints.

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St. Kenti-
gern sees
the soul of
St. David
taken up

Whilst the brethren of David were witnessing
the departure of his soul in Pembrokeshire, St.
Kentigern, at St. Asaph, was informed of the
event — not by telegraph, such did not exist — but
by a heavenly vision . 1 David and Kentigern had
been very dear to each other. The Scotch bishop,
an exile from his country, had met in the arch-
bishop of Wales a true friend and protector. We
often find him in Caerleon during the residence
there of David. On the day of his death
Kentigern had a vision, and in a kind of diorama
beheld the soul of his saintly friend taken up to
heaven, surrounded by innumerable angels, and
crowned by our Lord Jesus Christ. This he

(1) These pages, briefly recording certain visions connected with the
Welsh saints, bring back to our mind what, over and over, we have read
in Holy Scripture. For instance, the visions of the prophets, the appara-
tiona of our Lord after His resurrection ; the angel bearing the message to
Zachary concerning the birth of St. John the Baptist ; the angel Gabriel
visiting the Blessed Virgin in her humble home, at Nazareth, on a similar
errand. Schram, Gorres, and others have scientifically classified these
extraordinary events in their mystical works, and laid down clear rules to
discern true visions from illusions, often the effect of strong imagination,
fever, weakness of mind, etc., etc. To their writings we beg to refer the
reader. Our Lord, whilst yet on earth, appeared to some of His disciples
in a glorified state, attended by Moses and Elias. After His resurrection,
to Mary Magdalene, who took Him, at first, to be a gardener. On the
evening of Easter Sunday He stood before His disciples, showing them
His sacred wounds. Our Saviour suddenly appeared to Saul, on his w ay
to Damascus, and spoke thus to him : — “ Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me?” Saul said, “Who art thou, Lord?” “I am Jesus, whom thou
persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Acts chap, ix.)
An angel also visited the prison of St. Peter, loosed his chains, bade him
walk, threw open the doors of the prison, and led him away. (Acts chap, x.)
An angel also assumed the form of a tutor, and became the guide of the
young Tobias on his journey.

I. There are various kinds of supernatural visions — some merely
intellectual — the senses having nothing to do in their representation. Thus,
a supernatural object is seen, the eyes being closed ; a Divine voice is
heard without any action of the ears. Others are communicated through
the ordinary channel of the senses. They are called symbolical, where
Almighty God wishes to convey to us information through the medium of
objects offering a certain similitude to what is meant to be conveyed.
Thus, a white dove is the emblem of the Holy Ghost and of purity. Thus,
again, when St. Peter fell into an ecstacy of mind at Caesarea, and saw the
heavens opened and a vessel full of fouriooted beasts creeping things, and

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communicated to his disciples long before the
announcement of the saint’s death was conveyed
by the ordinary channel.

Many future events concerning the Anglo- ^ { ro t ^ ecy
Saxons were shown to this same Kentigern ^ mo .

0 Kentigern

during his residence in Wales. Already they concerning

° b v * the Anglo-

had established a sure footing in several parts of Saxon race
Britain. The holy, persecuted bishop predicted
in detail a full account of the scourges they were
to inflict on the Britons because of their sins. He
also said that the invaders would be converted to
the faith en masse; that the time when this
change was to take place was not far distant, and

fowls of the air, coming down, and heard a voice bidding him to eat. This
was a symbolical vision, which instructed him that as an apostle he was to
receive into the Church all manner of nations, the uncircumcised as well
as the circumcised. (Acts chap, x.)

II. Our Lord, in His state of glory, on the cross, in the sacred Host, may
appear. The blessed Virgin, the angels, the saints, the devil, the souls in
purgatory, etc , etc., are all objects of vision.

III. Certain rules are laid down to discern Divine aud real supernatural

manifestations from those which are diabolical and fictitious. Should any %
vision, apparition, voice, etc., intimate to us anything against faith or
morals, command us to renounce the one true religion, or appeal to
carnal passions. Almighty God has nothing to do with them ; they come
from the spirit of darkness. Neither can we rely much on visions in those
living in heresy, in rebellion against God, in the 1 proud, or in persons who
lead a bad life. . . . Women, novices in the road to perfection, weak-

minded people, and those with strong imaginations are often deceived in
this respect ; not much importance must be attached to their statements
on events of this kind. When Almighty God condescends to enlighten by
a supernatural favour the mind of an individual, and reveals past events
or circumstances taking place at a great distance, this is called in theology
revelation. Prophecy, on the contrary, refers to occurrences which have
not yet taken place. It is related in Hie Lives of the Saints that many of
them received the most extraordinary graces. To some, for instance, when
in a state of ecstacy, were shown the different scenes connected with the
position of our Lord — such as the streets of Jerusalem, the crowds, their
behaviour, Mount Calvary, etc. . . . Others were allowed to behold

what was occurring at a distance. Almighty God has admitted some souls,
whilst yet in the flesh, into heaven, hell, and purgatory, and allowed them
to see by whom they were inhabited and what was there being done. A saint,
for instance, w r as visited often at night whilst in prayer by the suffering
souls in purgatory. Others were endowed with power to read the most
secret thoughts of the heart. Certain laws of nature have even been

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that the Saxons, when once gained to Christ,
would prove themselves to be fervent Christians.*
This threatened scourge to Britain recalls to
memory the words of the celebrated Gildas, who
has so strongly inveighed against the vices of his
countrymen, and threatened them with the
vengeance of God. The bards of Britain claim
him as a member of their brotherhood, and
according to them he was highly favoured with
the gift of prophecy.

The Iolo M.SS. contain the advice of Gildas
the prophet, uttered before the bards of the
island of Britain, when they assembled at the
Gorsedd to prophecy what would befall King
Arthur and the race of Cymry. As it reflects
the faith of past ages, we will place it before the
reader, referring him to the M.SS. for the
original. 2

Advice ot The instruction given by Gildas to the Christian
for the das hard to enable him to acquire the gift of prophecy
ftSa is as follows : — “ To love God with all his heart,
prophecy, with all his mind, and with all the faculties of
th^Barda his soul. . . . Let him also love his neighbour
of Britain, ^th all his energies, so far as it may not inter-
fere with his love of God. . . . Let him be

a moral and religious man in principle and
disposition, cultivate a clean conscience, and strive
with energy to advance in piety. . . Let his
heart and mind be free from worldly principles.”

(1) Britannia Sancta. Vol. I. p. 37.

(2) Vide Mystical writers — Gorres, Schram, Theologie Mystique*

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It was by following these instructions that the
prophet hards of Wales acquired knowledge of
future events relating to the destiny of their race.

There is much truth in this advice to the hards
of Britain attributed to St. Gildas.

The first condition for obtaining access to the
mysteries of heaven is to secure the friendship of
God and possess a heart purified from all attach-
ment to sin. The brighter the mirror, the
greater and more powerful the light it reflects.

It would he impossible to convey to the reader st. Armei
a more comprehensive idea of the variety 0 f Hymn
miracles performed by Celtic saints than by
quoting a hymn to St. Armei. This holy man
was born in South Wales, probably near Cow-
bridge, in Glamorganshire, under the pontificate
of Pope Simplicius, about the year 482. The
hymn rims thus : —

Omnea rcgros, bruta sanat,

Foeminas a sanguine,

Damon fugat, fons emanat,

Monstrum mergit flumine
Omne morbum hie explanat,

Jesu Christi nomine

In these lines we have a resume of most of the
miracles connected with our saints. We can
gather from them that they cured every kind of
infirmity, exercised power over the animal
creation, cast out devils, delivered the land from
huge monsters which existed throughout Europe
in those days. At their word miraculous springs
gushed forth from the bowels of the earth ; and
all this was done in the name of our Lord Jesus

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The Christians who lived in the time of these
saints fully believed that they had received from
God the power of miracles; for we find the
afflicted from every class of society, both the rich
and the poor, crowding around their cells. . . .
Thus, when Germanus arrived in Britain, an officer
in the army brought his little blind girl to him,
confident that the servant of God who, by the
invocation of the Holy Trinity had calmed a
storm in the channel between France and Britain,
could also restore sight to his young daughter,
and his faith was rewarded.

How often do we see Welsh chieftains come to
saints such as Dubricius, Teilo, David, and others,
one entreating the cure of a child, another
deliverance from the possession of the devil.
Privatum Nothing, perhaps, can more beautifully illus-
daughtel ^ ra ^ e the general opinion of those days than the
s^samaon l e S en< l °f a certain Privatus, a person of high
position in Brittany. When St. Samson landed
on her shores the life of Privatus was embittered
by great family afflictions, his wife being slowly
eaten up by leprosy, and his daughter possessed
by the devil. Thousands of times prayers had
been offered up in their behalf, but as yet to no
purpose. At last he was given to understand
that at no distant period a holy man would arrive
from Britain, who would heal both wife and
daughter. One day, as he was walking on the
sea-shore, with sadness and affliction stamped
upon his countenance, a boat drew near, and a

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party of monks landed on the beach, amongst
whom was St. Samson. The saint entered into
conversation with Privatus, and, remarking his
sorrow, inquired kindly into its cause.

Privatus told his tale, adding that he was look-
ing forward to the arrival of a man who was to
come from beyond the sea, and as had been
revealed to him in prayer, put an end to his grief.

He did not know who this servant of God who
was to cross the waters and work this great
miracle in his behalf could be, but as Samson had
just landed from Britain, and they had met by
chance, Privatus requested the bishop to follow
him in case he might be the man whom God had
appointed to cure his wife and daughter. The
British saint followed the afflicted Armorican to
his house, and by prayer and the sign of the
Cross restored the two patients to health. Then
Privatus knew that Samson was the stranger so
powerful with God who had been indicated to
him. In gratitude for this great favour, he
granted to the British colonists any land they
might choose for the building of a monastery.
Such was the origin of D61, of which Samson
became the first bishop.

Legends attribute a similar miracle to Maglo-
rius, a cousin of St. Samson. Both were natives
of South Wales, and grandchildren of Meurig,
King of Glamorgan.

Maglorius had abdicated his bishopric and
retired to Jersey. A nobleman, rich in a

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St Mag-
reply to a

hundred ploughs and innumerable fishing boats,
whose only daughter, though beautiful and rich,
could find no husband because she was dumb,
came to the holy bishop and entreated him to
restore her speech.

Maglorius answered — “ My son, torment me
not. I am an old man, afflicted with bodily
infirmities of every kind, nearly always ailing.
When I lie on my bed oppressed with sickness, I
know not whether I am to live or to die. How,

then, having no power over my own life, can I
heal the diseases of others. ? ”

The father of the girl, however, persisting in
his petition, Maglorius followed him to his house
and obtained from God the cure of his daughter.

The cases of thousands of sick persons healed
by the British saints which are minutely
described in their biographies are too numerous
to be related here. They will be brought before
the reader in the detail of each respective life.

The Hagiography of Scotland is in this
particular similar to those of England, Ireland,
and Brittany, as the life of Ninianus, one of her
early missionaries, testifies.

The Ninianus was a Christian, born in North

Ninianus Britain. On attaining the age of manhood he
mScotiand a j ourri ey to Home, probably about the

time of Pope Damasus. In that city he com-
pleted his education, received holy orders, and
was consecrated bishop by the Sovereign Pontiff
himself, who sent him back to Britain, there in

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his own country to labour in the vineyard of the
Lord. He fixed his see at Witehern, Galloway,
and built a stone church, which was considered a
marvel in that part of the country, and which he
dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. His labours in
the South of Scotland were blessed by numerous
conversions, and his biographers tell us that he
wrought wonderful miracles, for through his
prayers the blind recovered their sight, the lame
walked, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard,
the dead were raised to life, and devils cast out
from those oppressed by them.

Even when the grave had closed over this holy
man his tomb was visited by the afflicted, and
God glorified him after death by numerous
miracles. It is related that a pious priest, who
had a great devotion to Ninianus and often
celebrated Mass at his altar, was favoured there
with a vision of our Lord in the sacred mysteries,
in the form of a little child.'

Montalembert observes that during the fifth The Saiuta
and sixth centuries Europe was as yet an nection

• n i j • i-i I i i • with wild

immense forest, covered with oak, elm, and pine beasts and
trees. Wild beasts of great size, such as the theDragon
elan, buffalo, bear, and wolf, roamed through
these vast solitudes. The rivers, impeded in
certain places on their course to the ocean, formed
here and there extensive marshes, the resort of
reptiles of every description — crocodiles and
immense serpents, fifty or sixty feet in length.

(1) Britannia Sancta.

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These reptiles were the terror of mankind ; their
aspect was hideous, nature had provided them
with powerful means of defence, and their bite
was often venomous. The kings and nobles of
those days who, when not engaged in warfare
amongst themselves, spent all their time in
hunting, willingly attacked wild buffaloes, elans,
hears, or wolves. This was exciting sport, which
they considered worthy of warriors; but they
were not so inclined to wade through marshes,
amongst grass and weeds, in search of venomous
reptiles. This they regarded as work for a saint,
because spiritual, and not material weapons were
best suited for attacking animals of this sort.
The sign of the cross, the stole of the priest, the
name of Christ invoked by His servants, were —
in the opinion of the people — far more efficacious
than sword or lance in this kind of warfare.

Montalembert, in his second volume of the
Monks of the West, has dwelt at length on the
power exercised by the British saints over these
wild creatures.

Anyone who has visited Irish homes, whether
in the courts of populous towns or amidst the
solitary wilds of Connemara, is certain to have
seen, a thousand times over, their walls adorned
with the picture of a bishop represented driving
serpents before him along a high cliff over which
he forces them into the ocean. This is St.
Patrick freeing Ireland from snakes, on whose
soil, since that time, they can never exist.

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A similar story is related of St. Tugdual. He
celebrated the holy Sacrifice, and strengthened
himself with the Bread of Life ; then, clothed in
his sacerdotal vestments, with cross in hand, went
forth to conquer the dragon which filled the land
with terror and devastation. The stole — the
emblem of priestly power — was the only weapon
he made use of.

St. Samson, at Lantwit Major, cured one of the
brothers who had received a mortal bite from a
snake in the harvest field, by the sign of the cross.

In the diocese of Quimper, Finistere, there is a
spot which for ages has borne the name L'abvme
du Serpent , 1 because a British saint, St. Paulus,
drowned a huge reptile there. This was a dragon
which was the terror of the country. Issuing
from its caverns, it descended upon the villages
and devoured both men and beasts. The lord of
the district came with the affrighted inhabitants
to entreat the assistance of Paulus Aurelianus.
The saint prepared himself by prayer to meet
the monster, and, having celebrated Mass, set out
for the cavern which was its resort, accompanied
hy the Count and his people. On coming near
the spot none dared approach but St. Paulus and
a young gentleman whose sword the saint had
blessed. The dragon being commanded by the
servant of God to come forth from his lair,
obeyed, rolling his fiery eyes, his scales rattling
on the ground as he went along, and his hisses

(1) Montalembert. Albert le Grand.

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resounding to a great distance. Paulus walked
straight up to the monster, and, tying his stole
around his neck, gave him in charge to his
companion. They directed their steps towards
the sea-shore, and the dragon, by the command
of Paulus, threw himself into the ocean and was
there drowned.

Miracles of the same kind are related of St.
Armel and St. Cadoc, all British saints.

The traditions of conflicts such as these
between saints and dragons, or serpents, are
often coloured with all the poetry of the
Christian hards and of the ages of faith.

Dragons are depicted as carrying off bellowing,
powerful bulls, which plough the ground and
even uproot trees as they are forced along
towards the den of the monster. They are also
represented bearing away shrieking maidens and
children through desolate marshes.

Tjie Saints There is another serpent, spoken of in the first
Devil. book of Genesis, and called the acutest amongst
animals, who wages war against monks. This is
the devil, the same devil who successfully
tempted our first parents in the garden of Eden,
and even dared to assail our Lord in the desert
with his evil suggestions. Between him and the
monks there is eternal warfare. They are sworn

This fiend of mankind adopts a variety of
plans in his attacks on the soldiers of Jesus
Christ, as we learn from their history. At times

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he takes the form of a hideous serpent, or an
infuriated lion, who roars beside the cell of the
hermit. Then, jealous of the angelic life led in
the solitude, he disguises himself into beautiful
but licentious females, to excite the carnal
passions of the lovers of chastity.

We read in holy writ that he was allowed to
afflict Job in property, in domestic happiness,
and in health ; in like manner, by the permission
of God, he afflicted our forefathers, and, no doubt,
in our own days he stretches his hands on many
of our fellow-men. Being a spirit, he occupies
even the soul, but conquers it not.

How frequently do we read ot cases of this
kind in the lives of the servants of God ; that
they cast out devils, and that it was customary
for the relatives and friends of persons who were
possessed to apply to them for this purpose.

Tugdual, in the beginning of his monastic life,
in Britain was tormented by the devil of im-
purity, who, day and night continued to assault
him. “ Thou art but a youth,” said the enemy
of mankin d, “ thou mayest live for fifty or sixty
years to come ; how canst thou deprive thyself of
the pleasures of the world for so long a period ;
thou whose passions are so strong. Go back to
the world and marry.” The saint prayed, fasted,
and humbled himself, and vanquished the fiend.

When St. Gunstan, a Briton by birth, had st. Gun-

# # Stan and

retired with one companion to a desert island the Devil,
called Houadic, the devil followed him there.

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In this little barren island Gunstan and his
companion, like Anthony or Paul in Egypt, were
visited by monsters and phantoms, whose aim
was to tempt and terrify them, and thereby drive
them from their holy purpose. But the young
hermit was not to be daunted. He made the
sign of the cross, and repeated the following
verse of David : — “ Super aspidem et basiliecum
ambulabis et conculcabis leonem et draconem ”
which he had so often chanted in the monastic
choir . 1 Then the phantoms in all their various
forms at once vanished. On a certain day, as he
was journeying through his little island, Satan
appeared to him in. the shape of a man.
Introducing himself to the hermit, he seemed at
once to take the deepest interest in him, and
spoke of the desolate and dreary aspect of the
place, remarking that it was not a fit habitation
either for man or beast. The disguised demon
expressed his surprise how a young man like him,
who should take care of himself and indulge in
some comfort, could dwell amongst these rocks,
where none was to he had. The hermit, making
' little of his observations, and not in the least
giving in to the opinions of the fiend who seemed
so kindly disposed, the latter became furious,
threw off his mask, and showed himself in his
true colours.

“You men of Christ,” howled the demon,

(1). Psalm 90 — Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk, and
trample underfoot the lion and the dragon.”

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“stand in our way all over the world. You
have driven us from Britain, from Rome, and
from Gaul, and you now come to persecute us
even on a desolate island. 1 ’*

St. Gunstan at once interrupted him, and, in
the name of his Master, Jesus Christ, commanded
him to leave the island. This stern decree was
at once obeyed, and the devil vanished.

Whoever is descended from Celtic blood, has
lived among the Christian Celts, studied their
history, or travelled in their country, must, have
heard or read something about “ holy wells”

The holy well is constantly mentioned in the
records of past ages, and in our time is pointed
out to the traveller in Britain, Ireland, and
Prance. Our forefathers went in crowds to these
sacred spots ; and the present generation may be
seen in our railway trains on a pilgrimage to the
miraculous fountains of Lourdes, in Prance, or
that of St. Winefrid, in North Wales. These
facts cannot be denied.

I cannot close this chapter on mir aculous
events without calling the attention of the reader
to fae subject, and inquiring into the origin of
the holy well.

Rain water, after moistening the surface of the
earth, and supplying the wants of men, beasts,
and plants, either makes its way to the next
river, which carries it to the ocean from which it
was taken, or enters the earth, sinking through

(1) Montftlembert.

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various beds, till it comes to impermeable strata ;
then, stopped in its downward course, it forces its
way onwards, forming subterranean rivers or
even lakes, and at length finds its way to the
surface in greater or less quantity, according to
the size of the chink that allowed it a passage.

These waters, passing through beds of sulphur,
iron, copper, or other minerals, absorb a certain
amount of their chemical properties, and thus
form our various mineral springs, so much
appreciated by medical science. Such are the
natural springs, the result of a providential law
of God, whose kindness has taken the greatest
care to supply us with an element so necessary to
vegetable and animal life.

Hydrology was not an unknown science to our
forefathers, who were great observers of nature.
Springs vomited forth their incessant streams in
their time as well as in the present day ; nay, as
Europe was not yet shorn of its immense forests,
which attract the clouds, they were more
numerous than they now are, and their laws
were as well understood in those days as in ours.

A “ sacred well ” is so called either because a
saint, in the name of God, ordered it to come
forth from the bowels of the earth, or owing to
the fact that a holy hermit served his Divine
Master by its side, and when he died God was
pleased to show forth the sanctity of His servant
by endowing the waters of the fountain with
miraculous power.

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In the mind of the people something super-
natural is connected with the holy well, either in
its origin or in the miraculous power of healing
it possesses. An ordinary mineral spring may
be recommended by doctors for this or that
complaint, according to the nature of the disease
and the properties of the waters; but the man of
foith makes his way to the sacred well, not on
account of its chemical attributes, but trusting in
the power of God and in the prayers of the saints.

The mind of the past generations of faith is
clear and explicit on the subject. They tell us
that in such a spot there was no water, to the
great injury of animals and plants, when
suddenly it oozed out by the power of God. No
subterranean river or lake had ever made its way
to the surface in that place, till ordered to do so
by supernatural power. They could not tell,
any more than we, where lay the river or lake
out of which the water was taken ; whether it
was distant or close to the surface, or miles deep
in the bowels of the earth. They simply tell us
that it was a miraculous well, and not found by
the digging of persevering miners, as in the case
of our modern Artesian wells.

In most cases the generations in whose life-
time the event took place flocked to the spot;
and so did those that succeeded them for
centuries. The crowds of pilgrims to the holy
wells went there, as a rule, with interested
motives — viz., the lame, the blind, the leper, the

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paralysed, the consumptive, in the hope of
finding a cure; and it cannot he denied that
many returned restored to health, leaving behind
as tokens or ex-votos the stretcher on which they
were carried, or crutches without which they
were previously unable to walk.

The Church, as a rule, does not interfere with
the faith of the public in these matters. If ever
she steps in, it is to prevent abuses, which in the
course of time arise everywhere.

In our days, at Lourdes, in the French
Pyrenees, public opinion forced the local bishop
to inquire into the apparition of the blessed
Virgin in that locality, and the springing up of
a miraculous fountain in connection with the
said apparition. A commission was named to
inquire into the facts — viz., first, whether there
was a fountain before in the grotto of Massabielle ;
secondly, what was the supposed cause of the
existing one; and thirdly, whether its waters
had really cured the infirm. The commission
drew up its report, and sent it to the bishop, who
published it; thus, the facts being laid before
the public, everyone is left to form his own

Thousands upon thousands all over the globe
entertain no doubt whatever on the subject. Our
modern infidels may scoff, and the press may cry
down the revival of superstition, hut the people
will persist in going to Lourdes in spite of the
comments passed upon them.

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The strong faith of past ages may, in many
instances, have carried their credulity too far,
even to such an extent as to have entailed on
them the censures of the Church. Thus we see
ecclesiastical authority obliged to interfere with
practices carried on in Ireland, in the cavern
connected with the life of St. Patrick.

Miraculous fountains, or waters endowed by sacred
heaven with curing properties, are often spoken of
mentioned in Holy Scripture, and recorded in the scripture
history of the Church from the first century down ^-ly" “
to the ninth. When the people of God traditlon8 '
murmured bitterly against Moses in the desert
for want of water, God commanded their leader
to strike the rock of Horeb, when a plentiful
stream gushed forth from the mountain and
supplied the wants of the twelve tribes of Israel,
amounting to more than a million of human
beings, together with their cattle . 1

In the fourth book of Kings, chapter iii., we
are told that the prophet Eliseus procured water
without any rain for the whole army.

The Probatica pond at Jerusalem, as we read
in the gospel of St. John, possessed supernatural
and miraculous powers of healing every sort of .
infirmity , 8

St. Peter, a prisoner in the Mamertime
dungeon, converted to the faith of his Master his
gaoler, who requested to be baptised. As there

(1) Exodus, chap. xvii.

( 2 ) St. John, chap. v.

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St. Meen.


was no water in the deep dungeon, through the
prayer of the apostle a stream rushed forth from
the rock, and flows to these days.

St. Clement, his disciple, drew upon himself
the anger of Trazan owing to the numerous
conversions he made. Relegated to the marble
quarries of Chersonesus, he met there 2,000
Christians condemned like himself to extract and
cut blocks of marble for the Roman Government.
As the place lacked water, St. Clement ascended
a neighbouring hill, and by his prayers obtained
a fountain from the Lamb of God. Many of the
pagans were so struck that they believed
in Christ.

In our incredulous age, and in the lifetime of
most of us, the blessed Virgin has caused two
miraculous fountains to gush forth in France-
one in the Alps, at La Salette, the other at
Lourdes, at the foot of the Pyrenees.

Wherever the old British saint set foot, it is
not uncommon to find the sacred fountain,
connected with his name in lifetime and visited
by pilgrims for ages after.

St. Meen was a native of South Wales, and a
contemporary and near relation to Samson,
Archbishop of D61. He emigrated to Brittany,
and resided for a time at Lan-Meur, a few miles
from Morlaix. Later on he built a monastery,
dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Whilst the
building was being raised, the workmen
complained that they were greatly delayed by

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the want of water, which they had to bring from
a great distance. The mortar was never ready
in time. When St. Meen heard of this, full of
confidence in the kindness of God, he knelt down
and addressed his prayer to heaven ; then,
driving his staff into the ground, a plentiful
fountain oozed forth from the spot. 1

Pilgrims afterwards came to this fountain,
which for centuries was admitted by all to cure
a kind of cancer called prosa by medical men,
and by the common people the evil, or fire of
St. Meen.

St. Teilo, second Bishop of Llandaff, is reported st. TeUo’ B
to have obtained by his prayer two miraculous
springs ; one near his cathedral at Llandaff, and
another near D61, in Brittany, during his seven
years’ residence in that country. The “ Liber
Landavensis,” speaking of the residence of Teilo
with St. Samson at Dol, says : “ He left there
some beneficent proof of his sanctity, that is, the
salutiferous fountain called Cai, which he
obtained from the Lord to flow ; at which the
sick recovered in the name of God and St. Teilo.” 2

As St. Teilo had in his lifetime undertaken
long voyages, been to Jerusalem, crossed several
times from Wales to Brittany, the sailors for

(1) Le Pfcre Candida hm thus versified the legend in French : —

“ Lee ouvriers dtant en peine
D’aller chercher de l’eau fort loin
St Meen fit sourdre une fontaine
Tout proche d’eux pour leur bosom.
Cette source miraculeuse
Est un remfcde souverain

Et d’une vertu merveilleuse
Pour le mal qu’on nomme St. Meen.
Une dame dtant affligdcs
De ce mal infect et hideux
Buvant de cette eau fut purgde
De sa l&pre selon sea vceux,'*

(2) Lib. Landavensis, p. 346.

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still alive
on the

centuries had a great devotion to him, and asked
heaven to grant them prosperous winds and a
safe passage, through St. Teilo. In return, the
mariner whom business brought to the Bay of St.
Malo, and so to the neighbourhood of Ddl,
deemed it his duty to keep his fountain in good
repair. I have been told by ancient inhabitants
of Llandaff that not many years ago a brewer
wanted to take water from Teilo’s well to mix
with his barley in malting. The inhabitants of
Llandatf have no particular repugnance to beer ;
however, as the well of Teilo has, even to this
day, retained some of its sacred character, people
thought it was not proper that its waters should
be used in a brewery.

Moses sweetened the waters of Mara in the
desert ; so St. David, by blessing the waters of
Bath, which heretofore had proved most dele-
terious to health, rendered them most salubrious
to persons washed by them.

After noting in various works, such as the
“ Liber Landavensis,” the “ Cambro-British
Saints,” and others, the various sacred wells
connected with the British saints, and which are
too numerous to be brought before the reader, I
thought of inquiring whether any traces of the
old Welsh traditions still remained amongst the
people. I consulted old, illiterate Welshmen
about Cardiff, and from them learned that there
are more sacred wells than I had heard of. If I
wanted to see a holy well, I had not far to go. I

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would find that of St. Teilo at Llandaff, that of
St. Cadoc at the foot of the Garth mountain, at
Pentyrch. There is one at Pen-y-lan, on the
north-east of Cardiff; others at Penarth and
Sully ; at Llantrissant, on the top of a hill, there
is a holy well which, to my knowledge, is visited
by sick people from Cardiff. A traveller who
should undertake a tour through Wales, and
make inquiries on the subject, would be shown
the well of St. David, in Pembrokeshire, and
others along the coast as he goes northward, till
he comes to the fountain of St. Winefrid, at
Holywell, known all over Great Britain.

The writer of these lines visited it in August,
1876. One is struck by the great mass of water
that oozes out gently from the rock, and one
must travel a great distance before meeting
another fountain so abundant as this. I have
seen only one spring that nearly equals Holywell
in this respect, and that is in the island of
Mauritius (Indian Ocean), at Shoenfeld, a sugar
estate in the district of Riviere du Rempart.

Holywell yields one hundred tons of water a
minute, and turns a powerful mill a few yards
from its source.

On the road from the railway station to the
well, I met an Irishman, lately returned from
America. To ascertain his views as to the super-
natural character of the spring, I stated that
several people did not believe there was anything
connected with the fountain, beyond the purity

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and freshness of its waters. “Well,” he smartly
replied, “people may say what they like; but
the world will never be able to stop the infirm
from coming over to this place, in the hope of
being cured by the power of God and the prayer
of St. Winefrid. The well has been visited for
centuries by the blind and the cripple ; and as
long as England, Ireland, and Scotland continue
to be inhabited by man, pilgrims will make their
way to Holywell.”

On coming to the spot, I minutely examined
the place. In a covered gallery, above the
spring, I found crutches and stretchers, left there
by invalids who previously could not walk
without them, but, being cured on the spot, had
left them behind as an encouragement to others.

Some people, free from all human vanity, had
deemed it their duty to publish to all comers the
favours received at the well, and had written the
cure obtained on the very arches that covered the
fountains. Thus, the visitor may read the
following inscription : — “ T. M. Carew, Esquire,
cured here October, 1831.”

I inquired of the guardian whether any book
was kept on the premises recording the cures
obtained, and was shown a register of recent date,
out of which I copied the following extracts : —

“ May 30th. Mary Conway, of Monkside, cured of paralysis.”
“ I, William Ward, hereby certify that my wife, Honors
Ward, was cured of fits through coming to Holywell and
bathing in St. Winefrid’s. Dated this 22nd day of June,

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“ Lewis Colquhan, Edinburgh, visited St. Winefrid, July
14 , 1876 .”

In the same book I met with the following
Latin words, so expressive of faith : —

“ Christus vincit, Christus regnat.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora pro nobis.

Sancta Winefrida, Ora pro nobis.”

Others, in going away, wrote, “ Thy will be
done.” Perhaps these words, conveying full
resignation to the will of God, imply that the
visitors had not obtained the grace which they
had come to seek.

One person writes that “ he visited the place,
and begged both spiritual and temporal favours.’
A convert certified that he “ had received much
benefit.” Two nuns of the Holy Family, from
Bolton, inserted their names. On the day of my
visit several visitors must have been at the well,
for the guardian’s room was full of wet towels.
There are two ponds by the well ; one connected
with it, another lower down, and covered over by
a glass roof. The pilgrim whom faith has
brought to Holywell will not bathe except in the
first ; ordinary bathers and excursionists are not
so particular, as I was informed by the guardian.

As I had come from Cardiff, I was recognised
by two Cardiff women and a young boy ; they
informed me that they had come from South to
North Wales to obtain some favours from St.

The Catholic Church does not present to the
faithful as articles of faith the miracles connected

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with her saints. Everyone who reads the various
circumstances of such facts, and witnesses the
belief of all ages, is able to form his judgment on
the subject. It is not the power of working
miracles that makes a man a saint, but keeping
the commandments of God and the Church. In
the process of the canonisation of saints, so ably
treated by Benedict XIV., the first point
examined is, not whether such a person worked
miracles, but whether in his life he practised, to
an heroic degree, the three theological virtues —
Faith, Hope, and Charity ; and then the cardinal
virtues — Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and

Temperance. When the commission sitting on
the life of a man reputed to be a saint arrives at
the conclusion that he was to an heroic degree a
man of Faith Hope, and Charity, and to an
eminent degree gifted with Prudence, Justice,
Fortitude, and Temperance, then they examine
into the various miracles connected with his life.

Hence, St. Paul says : “ If I speak with the
tongue of angels , and have not charity, I am
become as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal ;
and if I should have prophecy, a/nd should know all
mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have
faith so as to remove mountains, and have not
charity, I am nothing."

The power of miracles, by itself, does not
render a man holy. Judas performed miracles,
and was a reprobate.

However, as a rule, this power is granted by

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God to such persons as observe His laws to
perfection, and are generally connected with the
lives of those who served their Master in an
eminent degree, either in past ages or even in
our own days.

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of modern
times in
regard to

A few Remarks on the Services Rendered to
Society by the Early British Monks.

lt Principes persecuti sunt me gratis . — Ps. rvin.

In the preceding chapter we have glanced at the
saints as spiritual men ; in the present we will
study them as men of business — active, intelli-
gent, zealous, and persevering in the various
works undertaken by them.

Nothing can he more unfair and unjust than
the ideas of modern society in reference to
religious orders. On their side we see heroism,
self-sacrifice, prolonged labour, and talents of all
kinds consecrated to the welfare of mankind. On
the other, ingratitude, calumny, and contempt.

Those monks, who have not been surpassed as
scholars, architects, agriculturists, artists, or
missionaries by any class of society, either past
or present, are stigmatised as ignorant, slothful
ambitious, or dissolute. In speaking of them^
we may truly say with David, “ Principes
persecuti sunt me gratis ” — (princes without cause
have persecuted me.)

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The monks were not oppressors, shed no blood,
seized not the property of their fellow-men,
lived chaste and pure, like the angels in heaven,
and yet the world has branded them as tyrannical,
luxurious, and enemies of God and man ; it has
even carried injustice so far as to deprive them
of the fruit of their labours, and cast them into
dungeons, which they often never quitted until
led to the scaffold.

In the fifth and sixth centuries Wales
abounded in religious men, who have never since
been surpassed. Whether taken as bishops,
scholars, missionaries, fearless defenders of the
rights of God, or. protectors of the people against
the tyranny of chieftains, none since in their
country have ever equalled them.

It is only at this period that a Dubricius, a
Samson, or an Illtyd can be met with in the
history of Wales. In the present time of great
material prosperity, Cambria cannot show to the
world universities like those of Dubricius at
Mochross, in Herefordshire, or Lantwit-Major, in
Glamorganshire. Where are now the thousand
scholars, not only from Britain, but from Gaul
and Armorica ? Who in our days flock to such
seats of learning? With the monks they
disappeared, and cannot now be recalled.

Nor do we find at the present time such vast
schools of farming as those of Bangor, St. Asaph,
and Lancarvan, in which thousands of God’s
servants not only sang His praises, but laboured

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with spade and axe, reclaimed large tracts of land
from pathless forests or unhealthy swamps and
transformed them into delicious gardens and
productive fields.

In the minds of these holy men spiritual works
of mercy took precedence of corporal. The soul
before the body is the motto of well-regulated
charity. To feed the hungry, cover the naked,
and visit the sick, are praiseworthy works ; but
to instruct the soul, point out to it the way to
heaven, and clothe it with sanctifying grace, is
far more important.

A traveller, writing from a pagan country,
gives a painful account of what he saw there.
“ The people are badly clothed, badly fed, and
badly governed; they can neither read nor write,
and all arts tending to increase the comforts of
life are utterly unknown amongst them. They
are wretched socially and politically.” The
visitor is rightly grieved at witnessing this
miserable state of things, but his is merely a
human compassion, or what is known in our days
as philanthrophy.

A Catholic missionary who, speaking on the
same subject and about the same people, grieves
also, and is deeply moved ; but his sympathies
take a wider scope. His first care is for the
immortal soul, unregenerated by baptism, and
plunged as yet in' the darkness of paganism.

He, also, would wish to introduce into that
benighted land the more advanced civilisation of

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Europe ; but his first and chief aim is to establish
the Christian faith and win those infidel races for
his heavenly Master, because he does not forget
the precept, “ Seek first the kingdom of God and
His justice, and all else will be added unto you.”

The traveller possesses the virtue of humanity;
the missionary is endowed with that of charity,
whose basis is supernatural benevolence, from
which springs natural kindness, both being
included in Christian love.

We have already related the vision of little Zeal of

" . . St* Brieuc

children through which St. Patrick was invited
to Ireland. St. Brieuc, a contemporary of his,
a native of Western Wales, is another instance of
the spiritual zeal so manifest under the monastic
roof. Brieuc had in his youth followed St.
Germanus to Gaul, and been ordained priest in
Paris. On the day when he celebrated his first
Mass, filled with the impressions which rush on
the mind of the young priest when for the first
time he holds .in his hands his Creator and
Redeemer, he thought of Cambria, the country
so dear to him, of his father and mother, his
relatives and countrymen, and prayed most
fervently for them all.

It is asserted by some writers that the parents
of St. Brieuc were still pagans. It is more
probable that, although Christians, they persisted
in adhering to some national customs which were
heathenish, and condemned by the Church in
Gaul and Britain. This grieved the heart of the

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zealous young priest. He was a minister in the
Church of God, whilst the laws of his Master
were being disobeyed by his father and mother.
If ever he poured forth an earnest prayer, it was
on this day.

He felt within him an ever-increasing desire
to revisit his native land, in the hope that he
might win his parents to Christ. Heaven smiled
on this aspiration, for an angel appeared to him,
and in the name of God bade him set forth.
Brieuc consulted his superiors, and they advised
him to fulfil the mandate.

“ Go, my son,” said the Abbot, “ whither God
calls you; and may you, by your zeal and
fidelity to His grace, succeed in the mission
entrusted to you.”

On arriving at his father’s house, he found the
family celebrating a pagan feast in honour of
Janus, which lasted three days. It was
numerously attended, and the time was spent in
various sports. Some of the men wore masks to
represent gods ; others, habited as wild beasts, ran
through the country affecting madness, terrifying
some and amusing others. These games
terminated with a rich banquet in the evening,
and the greatest part of the night was spent in
drinking and carousing.

St. Brieuc refused to take any part in the
entertainments, on the plea that his conscience,
as a Christian and a priest, would on no account
allow him to engage in a pagan festivity.

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His father and mother, and the friends of his
youth, were glad to see again, after so many
years, a beloved son and former companion.
But they remarked how his thoughts and
manners were changed, and considered it rather
sad that his foreign education should not only
have extinguished in his heart the love of
national customs, hut created within it a distaste,
even amounting to hatred, for practices which
they considered an honour to their country. In
consequence of this, his eloquent appeals against
paganism were without effect.

Almi ghty God, however, supplemented all
drawbacks by endowing him with the gift of
miracles. A young man, of noble birth, being
thrown from his horse, was greatly injured. St.
Brieuc healed him by the sign of the Cross.
Later on, a hoy who had been bitten by a mad
dog was seized with hydrophobia. On being
taken by his parents to the young priest, he was
cured by him in the same way; for Brieuc,
trusting in the power of God, sucked the bitten
finger, and every symptom of the disease at once

These miracles produced effect throughout the
country. The people began to look upon him
with veneration, his own father and mother not
excepted. From that time his preaching
produced fruits, and hundreds of conversions
were the result. During the fifteen years Brieuc
spent in Wales he built several churches and

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monasteries, which followed the same rules as
those of Gaul.

On the night of Whit-Sunday, St. Brieuc,
overcome by fatigue, dozed in the choir after
mlatins, when an angel appeared to him in his
sleep and commanded the zealous priest to cross
the sea to Brittany, there to work in the vineyard
of the Lord.

With his usual simplicity, he at once commu-
nicated this vision to his brethren, and one
hundred and sixty of them immediately
volunteered to accompany him. He carried on
his mission in Brittany as he had previously done
in Wales until his death . 1

The present town and diocese of St. Brieuc, so
called out of respect to the memory of this
zealous monk and bishop, is under his especial

We are here reminded of the legend of St.
Malo, as related by Albert le Grand.

Malo was born in the present county of
Monmouthshire, near Chepstow, and seems to
have been a relative of St. Samson.

Being educated at Llancarvan, he, at the
conclusion of his studies, embraced the religious
life in that monastery. Some disagreement
appears to have arisen in the community, and
he with the abbot and about seventy of the
brethren, left Llancarvan and dedicated them-
selves to the conversion of the heathen.

(1) Lobineau. Albert le Grand.

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According to the geographical knowledge
those days, it was supposed that somewhere in for
the far ocean, westward, were to be found large discovery
islands, whose inhabitants were still unconverted. Fortunate

. Islands.

It is difficult, in our time, to indicate the
supposed position of these unknown territories.
According to some, it was the Canary Islands,
and others imagine it to have been the Orkneys.

At that period, however, the undiscovered tracts
were known by the name of the Fortunate Isles . 1

St. Malo and his companions determined to set
out on a voyage of discovery in search of these
regions, with the view of converting the natives
to the Catholic faith. They, accordingly, fitted
out a small fleet and started on their expedition,
which, though it proved unsuccessful, shows how
strongly at that time the missionary spirit existed
within the cloister. Whenever one or two
recluses felt inspired to visit foreign countries in
search, not of gold or silver, hut of souls to win
to the Almighty, numerous volunteers were sure
to offer their services.

The Cambrian monks were great travellers
and men of enterprise. We read of St. Pedrog
journeying not only to Jerusalem, which was
visited by many of his countrymen, but pushing
on even to India. Having lived there for seven
years, he returned to his native country, and died
at Bodmin, in Cornwall . 2

(2) Perhaps our ancestors felt, by a kind of instinct, that large con-
tinents lay to the west, and, like Columbus later on, fitted out expeditions
for discovery.

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St. Maglorius, a relative of St. Samson, and a
pe^iexed student of ' Lantwit-Major, had grown old in
««*• Brittany in the service of God. For fifty-two
years he had been abbot, and for three archbishop,
when he determined to retire into solitude, there
to prepare for eternity. He, accordingly,
resigned his dignities, and in order the better to
secure himself from intruders, selected for his
retreat a spot surrounded by marshes and difficult
of access. The people, however, found him out,
and by their constant coming and going soon
opened a road to his cell.

The venerable archbishop was perplexed as to
what course he should pursue. In his heart he
longed for solitude, but love for his neighbour
pleaded that it might be uncharitable to refuse
him any service he could render. Being unable
to arrive at a decision on the point, he
determined in this difficulty to consult the bishop
who had succeeded him in D61, and abide by his

He accordingly visited this prelate, and com-
plained to him of the importunities by which he
was beset. “ I have left the world,” he said, “ to
give myself entirely to God, but the world
follows me. I am no longer bishop, but my
privacy is intruded upon now much more than
when I was a pastor. Would I not be justified
in secreting myself in some distant spot, or on an
island inaccessible to visitors ? ”

Budoc, the bishop, being anxious that

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Maglorius should remain in his diocese, reminded
him of his former missionary zeal, and thus
delayed his departure.

“Contemplation,” the Bishop said, “is un-
doubtedly sweet, and it is good to sit, like
Magdalene, at the feet of our Lord. Visitors
incessantly breaking in upon you from morning
to night do certainly interfere with your peace
and privacy ; but remember that our Master left
the bliss of heaven to work and suffer for mankind.

“After spending the day in preaching and
healing the infirm, the only way in which our
Lord could obtain rest was to cross the lake and
retire into the mountains. Even there the people
followed him, and, far from being turned away,
miracles were even performed to feed them in
those deserts. Our Saviour carried the stray and
weary sheep upon His shoulders. If uneasy
consciences and wounded hearts come to you for
advice or encouragement; if the sick and the
afflicted, trusting in your power of prayer, flock
to you to be cured, are you justified in shutting
the door of your cell against them ? To serve
our neighbour is to serve God. Our Saviour
sacrificed Himself for us ; let us do the same for
our fellow-men.”

Budoc, in appealing to the zeal of Maglorius,
had struck the right chord, and thus persuaded
him not to abandon the mission.

Nothing more strikingly evidences the ardent
desire of monks for the salvation of souls and

from the

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their aptitude for missionary work than the fact
that the early Celtic Church chose their chief
pastors from the Monastery, for all the early
bishops were religious. Dubricius, Teilo, David,
Patemus, and Daniel were members of religious
communities, as were also the first bishops of
Armorica, most of whom came from Britain.
Particular In Cambria the monks watched with paternal
of'the 611 care over the spiritual needs of the people in
wants of their vicinity. At Llancarvan, Lantwit-Major,
thejpoopte an( j Aaaph, provision was made for the

hSfddfT spiritual instruction of the inhabitants of those


St. Cadoc, Abbot of Llancarvan, divided the
country round his monastery into parishes, over
each of which he appointed a priest, with a
necessary revenue, in order that he might attend
to their souls.

St. Kentigern, in like manner, whilst residing
at St. Asaph chose some of his brethren who were
in holy orders, and possessed talents for preach-
ing, to devote themselves to missionary works, in
order to enable them to carry on which they
were exempted from the severities of monastic

In the fifth and sixth centuries the crowds who
gathered round David in Llandewi, or St. Brevi,
or who followed Samson, Gildas, Maglorius, or
Tugdual to the shores of Armorica, were for . the
most part in a very primitive state of civilisation.
As a general rule, they could neither read nor

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write, nor did they ; feel any need of it. They
were quite content with supporting their families
by their manual labour. But they were aware
that learning was necessary for a priest or monk,
whose office it was to instruct and preach, and
also to chieftains, magistrates, etc. Printing had
not been invented in those days. Books were
scarce and costly, and the teaching of the people
devolved upon the missionary, who had no
means of imparting instruction or the knowledge
of Christian doctrine but those of oral preaching
and teaching, in which they followed the example
of the apostles of our Lord, who were the first
missionaries. .

In order to impress their lessons more forcibly
they availed themselves of the aid, so powerful
more especially in Celtic races, of poetry and

Whilst Britain was yet pagan she glorified her The
bards ; when converted to the Christian faith she w* 1 *”
still honoured them, and they continued to occupy
in Christian society the same position they had
possessed in that of the pagans.

In Celtic nations poetry has always exercised
a most poweriul influence, and bards, in con-
sequence, were held in the highest esteem.
Privileges of byegone days are accorded to them
even now, in Cambria, Brittany, Ireland, and
wherever the Celtic element prevails.

When danger threatened the State, it was the
bards who roused the patriotic spirit into ardent

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zeal to fight in defence of fatherland. It was
they who sang the praises of the victorious
warriors in the banquet-hall, or poured forth
lamentations over the tombs of the slain. They
also acted as censors of inorals or customs,
choosing as themes, if occasion required it, the
murderer who had shed innocent blood,
denouncing his crime, and exemplifying the
justice of God and man by pointing to his
shameful end. When a Briton forsook the
customs of his ancestors, the bard reviled and ridi-
culed him through the medium of sarcastic verses.

On the conversion of the Celtic races to
Christianity, the clergy largely availed them-
selves of the aid of poetry in imbuing the minds
of the people with the precepts and practices of
the faith of Christ. Thus, the commandments of
God and of the Church, the Seven Sacraments,
and other points of doctrine, were clothed in
verse. The lives of the saints and the wonders
wrought by them, the histories attached to
miraculous fountains, and the cures obtained at
sacred wells, were favourite themes with the
Christian bard whereon to exercise his talent;
and his verses, inspired by such subjects, were
committed to memory by the people and sung at
the doors of the churches, at fairs, or other social
gatherings, and by the fireside during the long
evenings of winter. Christianity thus became
identified with even the every-day life and
occupations of the people.

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In Lower Brittany, where the native language
is still spoken, great use is made of poetry in the
rural districts even at the present day. The
professional singer, with his hundreds of hymns
and songs, travels from village to village and
from fair to fair. He has a diary of his own,
and knows the feasts of every saint in all the
parishes of Brittany, and also the month and the
day of every fair throughout the province. He
has no fixed abode, hut rambles about the
country, deriving his living from his songs, which
he teaches and chants according to occasion. At
the doors of the churches, on Sundays, he sings
religious hymns after Mass and after Vespers,
and if he can supply a canticle on a saint, or
sacred well in the neighbourhood, it will take the
place of all else.

At a fair the local hard mingles the profane
with the religious and semi-religious ; but, as a
rule, his songs are always serious, the music
inclining to melancholy. Before offering a
hymn or a song for sale, he sings it himself,
in order to instruct his customers in its melody,
after which he invariably succeeds in disposing
of his collection.

In that part of Armorica where the Breton Hymns
tongue is still the language of the pulpit and of b^Brit^h
the people, sacred hymns are even now sung
in the original Celtic version, supposed to have
been the composition of the British missionaries S^esof
of the fifth and sixth centuries. Such, for Bntt “ y *

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instance, are the “ Cantic ar Barados,” “ Gantic
un Ifern ” (hymns on heaven and on hell), which
are of monastic origin, and describe so beautifully
the longing of the soul for Paradise, and its
passage through the moon and the stars as it
wings its flight to heaven, there to be united to
the sahits of Britain, or terrifies the sinner by
revealing hell opening beneath his feet.

The Welsh bards claim to include such saints
as Cadoc, Gildas, Suliau (alias Issillio), and others
within their order; for, like their co usins of
Brittany, poetry was amongst them the natural
handmaid of religion. They, too, had their
sacred hymns, and their bards consecrated their
gift of song to chanting the praises of their
.Redeemer and of His servants.

A few specimens of these poems have been
handed down in the Iolo Manuscript. Amongst
them is one in which the life of St. Illtyd is
condensed. Mention is also made of similar
compositions having reference to St. Teilo, St.
Cadoc, and St. David. In Albert le Grand’s
“ Lives of the British Saints of Armorica ” the
reader can find many which are written in Latin,
Breton, or French verse. However, these
compositions are in several instances modern.

Our forefathers transacted business in the open
air. King Gwynliw dispensed justice under the
oak trees on the mountains surrounding Newport.
His son, the Abbot of Llancarvan, held spiritual
conferences with his brethren within a hazel

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grove, and the missionaries also often preached
and catechised their flocks beneath the canopy of
heaven, in valleys or upon the slopes of hills.

It was thus that the Council of Brefi was held.

Armorican writers have given us some Religious

, instruction

specimens of the method adopted in teaching hy imparted
numbers. The reader will see hy the following the

medium of

extracts that the teachers were very courteous numbers,
towards their pupils : —

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number one ? ”
Answer : “ One God, creator of heaven and earth.”

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number two ? ”
Answer : “ Two natures in Jesus Christ, the nature of God
and the nature of man. Two Testaments — the Old and the
New. The old embraces four thousand years, and the New
will last to the end of the world.”

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number three ? ”
Answer : “ Three persons in God — the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Ghost. Three sons of Noe — Sem, Cham, and
Japhet ; we fair sons of Britain are descended from Japhet.
Three theological virtues — Faith, Hope, and Charity.”

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number four 1 ”
Answer: “Four great Prophets — Isaias, Jeremias, Esechiel,
and Daniel. Four Evangelists — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
John. Four cardinal virtues — Justice, Prudence, Fortitude,
and Temperance.”

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number five 1 ”
Answer: “Five Books of Moses. Five populous towns
destroyed on the spot which is now covered by the Dead Sea,
in consequence of the crimes of their inhabitants. Five
wounds of our Lord. Five virgins who were wise and five who
were foolish.”

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number six 1 ”
Answer : “ God created the world in six days.”

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number seven ? ”
Answer : “ On the seventh day God rested after the creation
of the world. The seventh day is Sunday. Seven years of

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plenty and seven years of famine were foretold to Pharaoh.
The great candelabro in the Temple had seven brandies.
Seven Sacraments were instituted by Christ — no more, and no

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number eight 1 ”
Answer: “ There are eight Beatitudes. Eight persons were
saved at the time of the deluge, four of whom were men and
four women.”

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number nine 1 ”
Answer: “ Nine choirs of angels surround the throne of

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number ten 1 ”
Answer : “ There are ten commandments, which were
delivered by God to Moses, on Mount Sinai.”

Question : “ Fair son of Britain, what is number eleven ?”
Answer : “ For above eleven months the face of the earth
was covered by the waters of the deluge, in the time of Noe.”
Question : u Fair son of Britain, what is number twelve 1 ”
Answer: Twelve Apostles were chosen by our Lord, and
there are twelve articles in the Apostles’ Creed.”

This mode of instruction, so simple and at the
same time impressive, might perhaps he usefully
employed even now.

In studying the lives of the British saints we
find that they cultivated the law of kindness to a
remarkable degree, protecting to the utmost of
their power not only men hut animals.

In the solitude of the forest wild beasts,
such as wolves, hoars, and more especially deer,
became the natural friends of the monks,
as in the primitive state of the world, before
the fall of Adam and Eve, when animals
acknowledged man as king of all creation, and
man regarded them as fellow-creatures of a
lower grade.

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The hermit never pursued the deer, and the The monks
timid creatures looked without suspicion on the
stranger who had settled in his wood, and, and their
becoming familiar, liked to browse around his feUow men
dwelling and ruminate at his door.

An intimate friendship sprang up between the
two, and when in the hunting season hounds and
sportsmen visited the neighbourhood, the stag
often took refuge in the cell, and sometimes in
the church itself. When this occurred the monk
deemed it a duty to protect the weak creature
against his enemies, and asserted in his behalf
the inviolable rights of hospitality. The hounds
might howl and the hunters rage and threaten,
but the recluse never yielded. We read that St.

Illtyd on one occasion forgot that he was a monk
and a man of peace, and this was when a stag
ran panting up to his feet for safety. He seemed
once more to become the heroic knight in the
army of King Arthur, and sternly defended and
secured the safety of the animal against all
attacks, whether of man or dog.

St. Ninnoc, a Welsh nun, evinced equal
courage in protecting a deer which had fled into
the church for shelter whilst the sisterhood were
singing the Divine Office. It can easily he
imagined that those who extended protection to
the beasts of the field could not look with
indifference on the sufferings of their fellow-men.

Thus, from the earliest ages we find religion
.extending her shield to shelter the weak and

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persecuted, both in the east and in the west.
Persons in distress, from any cause whatsoever,
prisoners of war, run-away slaves, or sufferers of
any kind, felt themselves in safety the moment
they set foot on church or monastic territory.
No military array was needed to enforce this
right of sanctuary ; moral and religious power
alone sufficed to maintain it. _

In the fifth and sixth centuries we find the
law of refuge established everywhere throughout
Britain ; it was specified in charters, and formed
part of the national code. At times we read
instances of its violation by princes, such as those
recorded of King Arthur, Maelgon of North
Wales, and others ; but such infringements were
universally looked upon as scandalous trans-
gressions of sacred rights, condemned by public
opinion, and punished by excommunication.
The guilty parties, as a rule, made reparation.

Privileges When, on the resignation of St. Dubricius, St.

st D»vid. David had been elected Bishop at Brefi, the
grateful Cambrians conceded to him almost
unlimited privileges as to the right of refuge.
They decreed that it should be lawful for him to
grant shelter to murderers and wicked persons
of every kind who were fleeing from place to
place, even before saints, kings, or men of any
degree ; and it was ordained that any one who
violated St. David’s right of sanctuary should be
excommunicated and cursed . 1

(1) Cambro-British Saints.

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In all the charters granted by the kings of
Glamorgan to the diocese of Llandaff the right
of affording refuge is clearly laid down. The
“ Liber Landavensis ” distinctly states, in the life
of the third bishop of that See, that the privilege
of sanctuary secured an asylum in which a
fugitive might find safety without any other
protection, not for a limited time only, but as
long as he required it.

Later on, Howell Dda in his legislations
retained this sacred custom which was so long
maintained by his countrymen.

In an age when Britain was divided and sub-
divided into petty kingdoms, each governed by
independent sovereigns continually at war with
each other, when the sword was resorted to on
the least excuse of grievance, real or imaginary,
religion asserted her right to protect the children
of God. Unable to prevent warfare, murder, or
hasty executions, she instilled into the minds of
the people that blood should not be spilt on
consecrated soil ; such territory must he neutral
to all contending parties. The servants of God
did not use the sword or sacrifice human life,
therefore within their bounds all must dwell in
safety. Thus, amidst social and political turmoil
the weak had an assured refuge in the church or
in the monastery. It cannot be denied that this
privilege proved most beneficial to Britain and
all other Christian nations, and that many owed
their safety to it.

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by the
monks in

of life.

St. Meen
and the

Some Welsh monks showed indomitable
courage in the defence of those who were in.
danger. The life of St. Cadoc, as found in the
“ Cambro-British Saints,” abounds in instances
of his undaunted bearing on such occasions. He
gave shelter at Llancarvan to a general who had
slain some of the soldiers of King Arthur. His
brethren warned him that, this might excite the
wrath of the king. “Let us do our duty as servants
of God,” was his reply, “ and God will take care
of us. Fear not him that kills the body but has
no power over the soul ; ” and he continued to
protect the fugitive.

Seven years later on, a contest arose between
Cadoc and Arthur, the particulars of which will
be related in his life.

St. Samson undertook a weary journey to the
court of Childebert to defend the rights of the

The holy monk, St. Meen, was on a certain
day visiting the different cells of his monastery
when, as he passed along, his attention was
attracted by the sound of bitter lamentation.
On inquiry, he found that the cries came from
the dungeons of Prince Hoel, whose castle was
in the vicinity of the monastery, and that the
victim was a poor man who, having in some way
incurred the displeasure of his lord, was confined

St. Meen sent two of his monks, begging in the
name of God that the captive might be liberated.

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The request being sternly refused, Meen and his
brethren betook themselves to prayer. Through
the intervention of heaven the prisoner made his
escape, and sought protection in the monastery.

The prince, on hearing what had taken place,
sent some of his soldiers to demand his captive.
Meen replied that he could not, before God and
man, surrender a fugitive who had claimed the
rights of hospitality. He was in conscience
hound to protect him.

Hoel, enraged, came in person to the door of the
church, which he forced open, and, rushing to
the altar, followed by some of his men, dragged
the object of his vengeance back to his former
dungeon. It was in vain that Meen and his
brethren appealed in behalf of the unfortunate
man, the prince would not release his victim.
Then the abbot, as if inspired from above, told
Hoel to put hi a conscience in order , for in three
days he would die and have to render account to
the great Master before whom kings are but as

The wild young prince mounted his horse to
depart, jeering at the prediction of the old priest
as dreams and nonsense.

On arriving at his castle, whilst still under the
influence of his passion, he spurred his horse so
violently that the animal threw him, and he was
so much injured by the fall that he became lor a
time insensible. When he came to himself the
ominous words which St. Meen had spoken at the

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door of the church reverted to his mind. He
ordered his prisoner to he set at liberty, and
begged of him to return to the abbot, relate what
had taken place, and entreat him to forgive the
outrage. The saint at once went to the prince,
and saw at a glance how serious was his case.
He, however, endeavoured to cheer him; but,
though he refrained from reproaching him in
words, this thought forced itself upon his mind :
“Hoel, the hand of God is upon you. Tou
profaned the altar, refused mercy to the afflicted,
would not hearken to my entreaties. Moved by
indignation, I cited you before the tribunal of
God ; you laughed my words to scorn, but I fear
they will prove true.”

The abbot exhorted the wounded prince to
repent of all his sins, heard his confession, and
administered to him the last Sacraments of the
Church. He died on the third day, and the
people recognised in his doom the just judgment
of God.

Light- The Celtic monks were bold navigators, and,
built and dwelling in stormy regions and on shores exposed
tailed by to the fury of the wild Atlantic, they had
the monks. p rac ^ ca j knowledge of the dangers of the deep,

naturally sympathised with sailors, and provided
food and shelter for the crews of vessels ship-
wrecked along their coasts. The erection of
light-houses was one of the most important
services rendered by them to mariners. They
built towers on the most conspicuous points, and


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the bright flames which from thence cast their
gleam over the troubled waters during the fogs
and darkness of winter were the means of saving
many a gallant ship and hardy crew in times
when such modern inventions as reflectors, or
electric, or lime lights were not dreamt of.

The fires in these primitive light-houses were
fed with wood, cut by the monks in the forests,
and piled in readiness around the base of the
towers. Thus, we read that the fire on the Flat
Holmes, at the entrance to Cardiff, was kept up
by the monks of Glastonbury at their own

Tanneguy and his brethren, who lived at Relec,
near Morlaix, in the days of St. Paul of Leon,
having inherited a large tract of land at the
entrance to the roads at Brest (Finist&re), built
there a monastery. The monks of St. Matthew,
as Montalembert remarks, kept up a light-house
for the safety of mariners in those dangerous
seas opposite to that terrible strait of the bay
which no man, according to the Breton saying,
has ever passed without fear or grief, and which
has inspired the well-known petition, “ My God,
help me to cross the bay, my boat is so small
and the sea so great.”

Light-houses in our days are erected and kept
up at the expense of Governments; they are
constructed on the best principles, and carefully
attended to. In an age when kings and princes
gave little thought to such a subject, and

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probably had no means at hand to carry out the
system of beacons which at present exists under
all civilised governments, it is impossible not to
admire the forethought and devotedness of the
monks, who spared no trouble in order to secure
the safety of seafaring men.

As regards labour, both mental and physical,
the monasteries were the greatest institutions of
those days. There every one, from the abbot to
the. youngest novice, worked, and that according
to system.

The principle of division of labour, which is a
subject so often under discussion in our days, was
then well understood by the monks. Professors,
artisans, and workers of every kind, had their
respective avocations and responsibilities.

Bray Every article necessary for the community was
Decenary produced within the monastery. At the forge,
produced blacksmiths manufactured spades, axes, etc. ; in
walls of the field, husbandmen sowed and reaped ;
monastery carpenters, bakers — in fact, every trade had its
monastic representative. A great deal of time
was devoted to the copying of manuscripts,
printing being then unknown. The paper and
skins used for this purpose were also prepared in
the cloister, together with the chalices, church
hells, and all that was required for divine

A beautiful treatise, written by a Benedictine
monk, still exists which treats on the art of
working in gold and silver, and also on that of

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painting on glass. This work may be even
usefully consulted in our day.

But in no branch of industry did the monks
excel more than in that of farming. They were
the best agriculturists known at that time ; they
cleared forests, drained swamps, and astonished
their contemporaries by the gigantic extent of
their works.

At a period when Europe lay uncultivated,
being overrun by Franks and Anglo-Saxons, who
lived as the wild huntsmen in America now do,
husbandry was the great lesson needful, and the
people beheld with amazement these hundreds
and hundreds of monks toiling from the early
dawn, in the fields and forests, and saw the most
barren districts becoming transformed under
their hands, as though by magic, into rich corn-
fields, gardens, and orchards.

Thus, the country round Llancarvan and
Lantwit-Major was cultivated into fertile farms
during the lifetime of St. Cadoc and St. Illtyd,
and St. Asaph, in North Wales, during that
of St. Asaph.

St. Illtyd was the first who introduced the
plough into Wales, and when a great famine
desolated Brittany he was able to provide food
for the starving, and seed-corn for that country
from his granaries at Lantwit-Major, and nobly
to supply the necessities of others, out of his own

In speaking of the monks of the middle ages as

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the best architects ever known, Montalembert
observes that “ they combined the greatest beauty
with durability.” To this fact the cathedrals
which they erected bear ample testimony. No
buildings of the present come up to them.

In the fifth, and sixth centuries monastic
edifices were simple, and often consisted of
wooden buildings clustering round the church as
a centre. Timber was plentiful and close at
hand. Settlers in Australia and America lodge
after the same fashion at present.

Stone was by degrees, however, substituted for
wood in Lantwit-Major ; for round the present
village the traveller finds many remains of
ruined walls, and, at even the distance of three
miles, the plough now and then comes in contact
with buried masonry which once formed halls
for study or workshops for labour.

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St. Dubricius, the First Bishop op Llandapf.

“ Omnis enim pontifex ex kominibus assumptus comtituitur in
his quce sunt ad Deum, ut offer at dona et sacrifida prepeccatis”
Heb. v. 1st verse.

“ For every high priest taken from among men is ordained
for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer
up gifts and sacrifices for sins.”

Dubricius — in Welsh Dyffrin, or Dyfrig — is, in
order of time, one of the first among the early
saints of South Wales whose biography strikes
the reader of ecclesiastical history. He was
contemporary with St. Patrick, though somewhat
younger, for the Apostle of Ireland began his
missionary career about the year 432, and
Dubricius his episcopal life in 446 or 447. St.
Patrick’s mission was to convert to the faith of
Christ a pagan nation, which Palladius, an
Italian monk, had in vain laboured to instruct in
the truth. The work of Dubricius, on the
contrary, was to preserve from the errors of
Palagianism a people already Christian, to
re-establish ecclesiastical discipline amongst
them, and to give a new impulse to education.
His career was long, and most fruitful in good

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works. It opened in the beginning of the fifth
century, and did not close until the early part of
the sixth. Bishop of Llandaff in 447, he trans-
ferred his see to Caerleon in 490, and died a
centenarian at Bardsey Island, in Cardigan Bay,
probably in 522. 1

According to the ‘‘Liber Landavensis,”
Dubriciue was horn at Madley, a parish on the
south side of the river Wye, in Herefordshire,
seven miles south-west of Hereford. Pehian, his
grandfather, sumamed Spumosus, or the frothy
(in Welsh Claforawg), is said to have attempted,
in a fit of passion, first to drown and then to
burn the mother and her unborn son, afterwards
Dubricius. However, by the intervention of
Almighty God, he did not succeed in his wicked
design, for mother and child were miraculously

Birth of When this same hoy had attained the age of

Dubncma. and become the most eminent

personage in South Wales, his grandfather
remembered with bitter regret how, prompted
by passion, he had stifled the very sentiments of
nature whilst making this lamentable attempt.*

Little is known of the early life and education
of Dubricius; the same may be said of the time
and place of his ordination. According to
Dugdale, after completing his studies he resided
and taught with distinction in the neighbourhood

(1) Professor Rees. “ Liber Landavensis.”

(2) According to some authors he was boro at MiserbdiL
w Hagiographie.


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of Warwick. Be this as it may, South Wales
was to be the theatre of his labours, both as a
scholar and as a bishop.

Whether his own inclination or circumstances
prompted him to return to his native district, or
whether he did so in compliance with the wishes
of his grandfather and other relations, is not
mentioned; but, undoubtedly, his arrival was
hailed with joy by Pebian, who felt a certain
pride in the public report which declared that
amongst the young British clergy none excelled
Dubricius in virtue and science. His grand-
father placed at his disposal as much land as he
should require for the service of religion.

Dubricius selected a wooded solitude near the
river Wye, Herefordshire. This place was called,
in the old Celtic tongue, Mochross, or the land of
the swine, probably from its being the haunt of
wild boars. There the servant of God built a
church, which he dedicated to the Holy Trinity,
as also a monastery and colleges. Scholars from
all parts of the country flocked to this new seat
of learning, and in a short time Dubricius found
himself at the head of a seminary numbering
more than a thousand students. Here he spent
his life, dividing his time between teaching,
praying, and preaching to the people of the
district. He instructed both clergy and laity,
and was the greatest luminary of that period
throughout Britain, being consulted on the most
important affairs of the country. Events,

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however, were taking place in the island which
ultimately became the occasion of his leaving
both his college and students.

In those days the island of Britain happened
to be visited by two scourges — namely, a great
political revolution in the State, and religious
dissensions in the Church.

The Roman rule had ceased in Britain, and
the legions had been withdrawn from the island
to defend the falling empire, attacked on all
sides. Pro-consuls and other imperial officials
had gone home with the army, leaving the
country to its own resources.

The Britons, after so many centuries of
bondage, were unprepared for self-government.
In the first enthusiasm of liberty they took down
the Roman eagles from the public buildings, and
hailed lustily the dawn of independence.

iritatoat Unfortunately, they did not possess those social
the tune, and political virtues necessary for the formation
of a great country. During the Roman occupa-
tion they grumbled, but obeyed the conqueror ;
when he had left, they refused to be governed
and ruled by their own countrymen. Each
chieftain declared himself independent. It is
true they formed a kind of confederation, with a
king at its head ; but in most cases his authority
was not acknowledged. They had no standing
army able to protect the country against the
repeated inroads of the Irish and Caledonians.

Often they had called on the Armoricans to

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come to their help, and at last had invited over
the Saxons who were to conquer their island.
Such was the political condition of Britain in the
first part of the fifth century.

At the same time the Church was disturbed by
religious dissensions. If in our days every
erroneous religious theory finds ready adepts in
England, and that by thousands, such was not
the case up to the fifth century.

Britain could then boast that there was no
Christian community under the sun which had
kept the purity of faith with greater respect ; for
it may he said that Pelagianism was the first
heresy to strike any root in this island.

The British clergy, naturally, opposed the
errors of Pelagius ; hut, on the evil increasing,
they looked across the channel to the Prench
Church, and implored help. The bishops of this
country were aware that the Prench prelates were
more advanced in theological dissertation than
themselves, and thus they invited some bishops
from Gaul to come to their assistance, and,
amongst others, Germanus.

Palladius, originally a deacon in Rome, who
had great influence in that city, wrote to the
Pope, urging him to exercise his authority in
sending Germanus to Britain, as the man best
qualified by his talents and virtue to crush the
spreading evil.

Pope Celestine ruled the Church at the time,
and commanded Germanus and Lupus to comply

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with the request of the bishops of Britain. To
give greater authority to the defenders of the
faith, he named the Bishop of Auxerre his Vicar-
Apostolic, with unlimited powers.

Such was the complicated state of Britain,
civilly and religiously, when Dubricius was
selected to become the first Bishop of Llandaff
and Metropolitan of Cambria.

Dubncm* St. Germanus justly thought that nothing was
ted Bishop better calculated to preserve purity of faith and

of Llandaff . .

by st.^ doctrine than a good episcopate. As the proverb
says, “ A good bishop and a good diocese.” The
Abbot of Mochross was highly recommended to
him, both by clergy and laity, as a man of God,
well versed in divine and human knowledge, and
possessing great influence throughout the
country. He, accordingly, consecrated Dubricius
Archbishop of Llandaff, with jurisdiction over
the entire of Wales, and strongly urged him to
turn his mind to the development of sound
education in his diocese. After that St.
Germanus bade farewell to Britain, and died
shortly after in Italy.

Antiquity Llandaff, with its cathedral restored, is now a
ofLUnd *ff neat village, close to Cardiff, but looks humble
beside one of the greatest sea-ports in England.
However, if we seek for its origin, we must trace
it up to the introduction of Christianity into

The first church ever built in this locality was
erected in the second century, during the reign

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of King Lucius, by one of the missionaries sent
by Pope Eleutherius to that British prince.
Amongst these was St. Fagan, who is still patron
saint of the village , which bears his name, and
who was either the first or second priest
connected with the district. However, as the
bishop resided at that time at Caerleon, in
Monmouthshire, Llandaff was only a dependence
on that see, ministered to by some missionary
under the episcopal jurisdiction of Caerleon, from
which place it is about twenty miles distant.

It was reserved for St. Dubricius, in the fifth
century, to raise Llandaff to the dignity of an
episcopal see.

The student of history is bound to acknowledge
a debt of gratitude to Llandaff and its bishops,
who carefully chronicled the events of their days,
and thereby enable him to glean precious
information as to the religion and customs of the
early Christians of Wales and Britain. The
“ Liber Landavensis, or Book of Teilo,” is an
invaluable manuscript.

At the time of the Reformation, when it was
held praiseworthy to destroy everything con-
nected with the Catholic Church, piles of
documents, carefully written and preserved by
the faithful clergy of that ancient see, were
gathered together and burnt at the close of an
evening revel, for the amusement of the ministers
of the new religion, their wives, and their guests.
This grievous act of Vandalism afforded pleasant

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recreation to the partisans of the Reformation.

The erection of an episcopal see in Llandaff
was looked upon as a great event, and the
nomination of Duhricius as its first hishop hailed
with joy along the coasts of the Bristol Channel.
Nor was public feeling manifested only hy empty
applause, for the people came forward most
generously to provide everything necessary for
divine worship.

Generosity In glancing through the records of the “ Liber
Cambrians Landavensis,” one is impressed with the belief
religious that the inhabitants of Glamorgan and other
matters. cmm ti e8 were a noble, generous race, devoted to
their bishop, and taking the deepest interest in
their religion. Throughout the whole diocese
grants of land were at once made to the prelate
for building churches and monasteries and for
parochial purposes. We trace the Catholic spirit
everywhere in these deeds of gift. The laws and
customs of the Church are strictly adhered to,
the Welsh charters being compared with similar
documents in Gaul, Spain, and Italy ; such, for
instance, as that made by Clovis in favour of
religion ; are all alike in spirit and form. This
king of the Franks, after his conversion, in 491,
made a concession of land for a monastery to the
uncle of Lupus, the companion of Germanus in
his mission to Britain. The charter runs thus : —
“ Dwell in your country, in the land I give you,
in the name of the Holy, Undivided, Equal and
Consubstantial Trinity. . . . We grant you

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this domain that you may pray to Almighty God
for our preservation and that of our dear spouse
and children.” The Cambrians were equally
generous, and framed their deeds of gift in the
same style and spirit.

During the episcopacy of Dubricius 1 King King
Meurig summoned an assembly of the clergy,
nobles, and leading people of Glamorgan, and,
with their consent, ceded large tracts of land to
the new bishop for the service of religion. This
included the plain between the river Taff and
Ely, on which a portion of the present town of
Cardiff standsi A study of such documents as
these, in all their details, is very interesting, and,
at the same time, most edifying, for it gives us
an insight into the religion of our forefathers.

I. They are solemn, public deeds, carefully A few
drawn up by the best intellects of the time, with
that earnest simplicity peculiar to the early
Church. They were invariably signed by several
witnesses on the part of the clergy as well as on charter*,
that of the laity, and placed upon the altar
during Mass. They were regarded as most
sacred transactions; for, as a general rule, a
curse is pronounced on those who shall violate
them, and the blessing of Almighty God invoked
on all who respect their provisions.® In the

(1) The longevity of Prince Meurig has somewhat puzzled chronologists.

He lived under the episcopacy of three bishops, one of whom ruled his
diocese for a long period. The only explanation that can be given is, that
he was very young, a mere infant, when his charter to the first Bishop of
Llandaff was written, and very old in the days of St. Oudoceus, and that
the said charter to Llandaff may not have been written immediately after
the consecration of St. Dubricius.

(2) “ Liber Lauda vensifl.”

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intention of those concerned, the agreement is to
last for ever. Property given to religion is never
to be used except for the service of God, and it is
consecrated to Jesus Christ without any limit of
time . 1

II. The intention of the donor, as a rule, is
specified in the charter ; sometimes it is recorded
that he wishes to atone for his past sins — as alms
cover a multitude of iniquities — or to have his
name inscribed in the Book of Life ; or, again,
it is a thank-offering for victory obtained over
the enemy of his country, or in remembrance of
some favour received from heaven. In some
deeds the testator makes his bequest for the
benefit of the souls of his father or mother
deceased, or for the soul of someone he has
murdered in an inexcusable encounter, or under
the influence of passion . 1

III. It is specified that such a territory is to
be a place of refuge, not only for persecuted
innocence, hut even for great criminals. The
sword is not to be used on land consecrated to
Jesus Christ, nor is it to he stained with human
blood. Even the cattle of any man who has
sought shelter under the protection of the
sanctuary cannot be molested when within its
pastures. The Church is essentially pacific, and
wherever she exercises immediate authority, war
and its attendant evils are not allowed ; for she

(1) “ Liber Land&vensis.”

(2) “ Liber Landavensfe.”

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is the teacher of peace to all men of good-will.
The poor were . never forgotten ; valuable
privileges were secured to them by these charters,
every indigent person in the diocese being
allowed to fish in the rivers, cut wood in the
forests, and pasture his cattle on the commons. 1
IV. The form of donation was as follows: —

“ King makes an offering of such or such

. territory to God, to St. Peter the Apostle, and to
Dubricius, Bishop of Llandaff, for ever.” When
a bishop died his name was still mentioned in the
deed of gift. Thus, in the time of Oudoceus,
third Bishop of Llandaff, we read such testaments
as the following : — “ King Ithael, son of Morgan,
and his sons . . . give to God and to St.

Dubricius, St. Teilo, and Oudoceus, and all their
successors in the Church of Llandaff for ever,
three uncias of land ” (about 324 acres).*

Dubricius and Teilo were then dead, and the
see was governed by another bishop. The
testator, notwithstanding, does not forget his
deceased prelates, but appeals to their intercession
in heaven. He feels that those saintly bishops
who during their lifetime took such an interest
in the eternal welfare of their people, will not
forget them now before the throne of God in
heaven. Such, amongst the Cambrians of old,
was the spirit and form of donations to the
Church. The “ Liber Landavensis ” has handed

(1) “ Liber Landavensis.”

(2) “ Liber Landavensis.”

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down hundreds of them, thus transmitting to
future generations unmistakable testimony of the
deep religious feeling which prevailed through-
out the country in former days.

In the first charter of King Meurig, which,
unfortunately, is handed down to us only in
fragments, we find the limits of the diocese
clearly defined, and the cession to the Church of
the entire district extending between the rivers
Taff and Ely distinctly stated. The grant
specifies exemption from service, regular or
secular, and right of weirs, fisheries, etc. One
condition, is, however, attached, which is that
daily prayers shall he offered and ecclesiastical
service performed for the soul of King Meurig,
and those of his parents, of kings and princes,
and all the faithful departed.

It also decrees that all donations, whether
from bishops, princes, offerings of the people, or
any other just source, shall be preserved faith-
fully and in full for perpetuity . 1

The charter goes on to state that it shall on no
account he lawful for anyone to disturb the
aforesaid church, or take away any part of its
possessions, or retain such as may have been
taken from it, or diminish, or harass it with
vexatious proceedings, and that all things,
together with the boundaries of the diocese, shall
he preserved intact.

Therefore, if any ecclesiastical or secular

(1) “ Liber Landavensis.”

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person shall in future rashly violate these
decrees, and on being admonished twice or
thrice, does not amend and give due satisfaction,
he shall he deprived of all dignities, powers, and
honours, and liable to the Divine judgment for
the crimes he has committed, and shall not he
allowed to partake of the most holy Body and
Blood of the Lord ou/r God and Redeemer, Jesus
Christ, and be subject to severe punishment at
the final judgment. With respect to those who
shall preserve to the Church the property justly
belonging to it, “ May they be blessed in this
world and in the next .” 1

On the day appointed for the promulgation of Promuiga-
this charter, nobles, freemen, and bondsmen cwur.
deemed it their duty to assist at the ceremony,
and pay their respects to their chief pastor.

Early on the preceding evening the country
round Llandaff was transformed as if by magic
into an immense camp ; the hills were covered
with the tents of hundreds of Welsh chieftains.

Erom the summit of each pavilion floated the
banner which indicated the name and rank of its
occupant. The horses, turned loose after their
long journey, grazed quietly around, and the
whole scene was not unlike a huge encampment.

When night fell the country was illuminated by
fires kindled wherever the tents were pitched.

As the multitude had assembled for a religious
festival, an unusual gravity could be discerned

(1) “ Liber LandavensiB.”

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CAldhtlA sacAa.

along the
banks of
the rivers
Taff and

in their demeanour, and before retiring to rest
all knelt down before the expiring embers, and
religious hymns, sung to the accompaniment of
the harp, sounded sweetly and solemnly through
the gathering darkness, after which the silence
of the night remained unbroken until early
dawn, when all directed their steps to the church
of Llandaff.

In those days religious buildings were very
limited in dimension ; but even had the church
of Llandaff been built upon the vast scale of our
modern cathedrals, it would not have afforded
accommodation to the vast crowd of worshippers.

The holy Sacrifice of the Mass, therefore, was
celebrated in the open air, and during the
ceremony the charter of King Meurig was
proclaimed aloud. When the people heard that
the extensive plain extending between the
Bristol Channel and the rivers Taff and Ely was
the munificent gift bestowed upon the Church by
King Meurig, on the condition that the Sacrifice
of the Mass should be daily offered for the living
and the dead, they were greatly edified. When
the deed of gift had been read, a solemn
procession was formed. The clergy, robed in
their clerical vestments, and preceded by the
cross, led the way, carrying the relics of saints ;
after them walked Dubricius, the new bishop,
with pastoral staff in hand. Then came King
Meurig, bearing the Book of the Gospels, and
surrounded by his nobles. The people brought

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up the rear of the procession, which passed
around the boundaries of the land conceded to
the diocese of Idandaff ; and as it proceeded from
point to point, the limits were sprinkled with
holy water, and dust collected from the pave-
ment of the church was scattered here and there
along the banks of the rivers Taff and Ely. In
those days this was the form used in taking
possession of a property consecrated to the
Church. Finally, when the procession returned
to Llandaff, a solemn curse was pronounced on
any person who should violate the covenant
entered upon that day, and the blessing of heaven
invoked upon all who should religiously respect
it.. To this the people, in accordance with a
custom mentioned in other parts of the “ Liber
Landavensis,” loudly responded “ Amen,” thereby
testifying the strong instincts of a religious

Impressive beyond description must have been
this ceremony, attended as it was by the sons and
daughters of Cambria, assembled together from
all parts of the nation round their spiritual
father. What a deeply devotional feeling filled
their hearts as they generously pressed forward
to help the cause of religion, and how un-
reservedly they consecrated to Almighty God the
gifts they bestowed on His Church for ever ! In
keeping with its teaching, they — like Judas
Maccabseus and his brethren — did not forget the
dead, but enjoined that daily prayers and the

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Work of
in South

daily Sacrifice of the Mass should be offered up
for the living and the deceased whether rich or
poor, princes or vassals, all must be held in
memory within their church, as in all other
Christian sanctuaries. There, also, the weak
must be secure from persecution, and even the
criminal find a refuge. Neither must the sword
smite any child of God on ground dedicated to
Him. As the Saviour of the world pardoned His
bitterest enemies, His children are not to execute
vengeance in or about His temple.

The faith and customs of Cambrians in those
days were entirely Catholic. They dedicated
their cathedral to St. Peter, the head of the
Church. The bishops of the See of Llandaff
recognised his successor in Rome as itaheriting
his primacy. Dubricius, and those who came
after him, acted in accordance with the laws and
customs of the universal Church in transmitting
to the Pope an account of the state of their
dioceses; and when, in the twelfth century,
Urban, Bishop of Llandaff, found it necessary to
appeal to Rome for redress against the encroach-
ments of the Bishops of Menevia and Hereford,
he could say with truth that all the Bishops of
Llandaff, from the time of Dubricius to his own,
had ever been devoted to the Holy See.

The new bishop, when fairly settled, set at
once to work in the vineyard entrusted to his
care. He erected parishes throughout the whole
diocese wherever they were needed. The princes

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of Herefordshire, Glamorganshire, and Carmar-
thenshire generously met the wishes of the bishop
in his zeal for the advancement of religion. The
“ Liber Landavensis ” mentions ten or eleven
grants made to Dubricius.

Pebiau, the grandfather of the archbishop,
is most conspicuous amongst the donors, and the
ardour of feeling which is manifested in his deeds
of concession is most touching. In conceding
Llan Junabtt, near Herefordshire, he commences
thus: — “King Pehiau, being penitent, with a
humble heart, mindful of his evil deeds, and
desiring to change his life for the better, gives,
in exchange for the kingdom of heaven, the
mansion of Junabii to Dubricius and his
successors in the See of Llandaff .” 1

And again: “King Pehiau, in conformity
with the Scripture which saith ‘ Give and it
shall he given unto you,’ bestowed, for the
salvation of his soul and the hope of future
reward, four uncias of land at Conloc, on the
banks of the river Wye .” 2 The reader cannot
help feeling that the remembrance of his
brutality to his grhndson and his mother is
constantly recurring to the mind of the old
chieftain, and that he feels he cannot he too
generous towards his intended victim, who was
saved by the intervention of God, and, by divine
dispensation, called to he his spiritual father and
the chief prelate of his country.

(1) “ Liber Landavensis.’ 1

(2) “ Liber Landavensis.”

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of St.

The great speciality of the first Bishop of
Llandaff was education, and St. Germanus, who
on his visits to Britain, had strongly recom-
mended the necessity of instilling sound
principles into the minds of the growing
generation, had the good fortune of placing the
right man in the right place in Wales.

Dubricius, as a bishop, does not come before us
as a great orator, fascinating the people hy the
power of his eloquence ; he is a patient organiser
of a sound system of education throughout his
diocese. It would be hard to point out in the
whole history of Britain a bishop who met with
greater success. Indeed, in the monastic colleges
of his diocese, and under his eyes, grew St. Teilo,
David, Daniel, Samson, and hundreds of others,
who formed that brilliant generation of British
saints of St. David’s time.

Providence had raised up two illustrious saints
— Illtyd the Knight and Cadoc the Wise — to
share with him the labours and the glory of
carrying with prudence and success this work of
the Church in Cambria.

In Chapter VI. we called the attention of the
reader to the great percentage in the Cambrian
population rushing to the cloister — chieftains
leaving their estates, the student in the monastic
school never returning home, or, if he did,
shortly after going back to the cloister. Immense
monasteries existed throughout the land, in which
the praises of God were chanted day and night.

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All this took place in a great measure during
the episcopacy of St. Dubricius, and under his
spiritual guidance.

Womanhood did not remain indifferent to the (
religious enthusiasm of the age. Indeed, it™“ r e “ h8
would be a wonder to find the daughter of Eve convent,
less devout than the son of Adam. At all times
the beauty of virginity has fascinated .woman as
much as man; nay, as a rule, more women
embrace religious life than men. In our days,
throughout Europe, there are more num in the
convent than religious in the monastery.

The ancient records of Britain are sparing in
their details of the life led by British nuns ; but
this lacwne does not destroy the fact that the
cloister of those days sheltered the virgin as well
as the widow.

How many of these convents throughout
Britain were burnt down by the Anglo-Saxon,
yet pagan, and how many of these defenceless
women fell under his sword ?

Indeed, in reading the history of Britain we
constantly meet women of every class of society
on their way to the convent. In the lifetime of
the first Bishop of Llandaff the female crowd
rushing to the cloister is truly amazing ; in the
throng we perceive the maiden, the widow, and
even the married lady. Every county is repre-
sented in the cloister, which shelters the daughter
of the prince, of the nobleman, and of the

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At Bassaleg, near Newport, Monmouthshire,
Guladys, the mother of St. Cadoc, is at the head
of a convent ; her two sisters, St. Keyna and
Ninnoc, are both nuns.

The mother of St. Samson and his aunt entered
the cloister when their respective husbands had
joined the religious community of Barry Island,
near Cardiff, as we have already noticed in
Chapter VI. The mother of St. David ended her
days in a convent, and the wife of St. Illtyd
followed the example of her husband by leaving
the world ; and so on of many others it would he
too long to mention.

We read in the “ Liber Landavensis ” that St
Duhricius was called upon to give the veil to a
young virgin called Dulon, living in Glamorgan-

The parting between the parents and their
daughter is termed a sacrifice in the old record.
There can be no doubt that when Almighty God
calls to the cloister a young and dearly-beloved
child, perhaps the cream of the family, the
separation is a sacrifice. No matter how strong
may be the faith of the parent, or how deep his
conviction that his dear one is safe for ever from
worldly trials and temptations, nature cannot
remain insensible. Like Abraham, he sacrifices
a second Isaac. Humanly speaking, the cloister
is a grave, for it separates in this world father
and mother from a beloved son or a cherished

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Such ceremonies were carried out with great ^ { ol t e a “ D J‘ y
solemnity. St. Dubricius on the occasion was theTeU -
attended by the nobility of the neighbourhood.
Gwerdog, the father of the young novice, gave to
the convent in perpetuity, as the dowry of his
daughter, four modii, or about thirty acres of
land. According to the invariable rule of the
Welsh Church in such transactions, the deed of
gift was carefully written and signed by the
clergy and laity. Amongst the latter we find
the name of King Merchion. The blessing of
God was called upon those who should respect
the provisions contained in the charter, and the
curse of heaven upon the guilty ones who should
violate them. It was admitted in those days that
conventual property could not be alienated, for
it was consecrated to religion . 1

On a certain occasion a rich nobleman, called
Gwyddgenew , 2 came to St. Dubricius to lay before
him a tale of sorrow His young daughter,
Arganhell, was possessed by a demon. The poor
girl, under power of the evil spirit, was thrown
at times into the water and into the fire. She
tore everything she could lay hands on. To save
her from danger she was bound by strong cords,
but these she often burst asunder like so many
threads. The unhappy father threw himself
with great humility at the feet of the bishop, and
besought him, as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ,
to deliver his child from this fearful suffering.

(1) M Liber Landavenfiis.”

(2) " Liber Landaveosis.”

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his See to

On coming to the house, St. Dubricius knelt
down and implored the Almighty, through the
intercession of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles,
to grant, the cure. The evil spirit at once left
the maiden, who recovered her health of mind
and body. Pilled with gratitude to God for this
great favour, she abandoned the world and
consecrated herself to the religious life, in which
she persevered until death. 1

The saintly Bishop of Llandaff, after forty-
three years’ residence in that locality, transferred
his See to Caerleon, in 490. 2 In taking this step
he was probably influenced by the wishes of his
people, who suggested that Caerleon — the capital
of Cambria — should again become the residence
of the Metropolitan, as it had been since the time
of Lucius, in the second century.

(1) PoasesBion by the devil, as a fact, is testified by Holy Writ and
history. The Gospel narrative abounds in instances of the Saviour casting
out devils and delivering persons who were possessed by evil spirits. His
enemies even accused Him of doing so through the power of Belsebub.
When He sent forth His disciples He transmitted to them this power, and
they rejoiced especially in it ; for, when returning to Him to render an
account of their mission, they said, “ The devils even are subject to us in
Thy name.” Ecclesiastical history abounds in similar statements, recorded
in the lives of the fathers of the Greek and Latin Churches, as also do the
books of the Old Testament. This is particularly evidenced in the history
of Job, where Satan is represented as appearing before the Throne of God
and seeking divine permission to try the holy patriarch — first in his goods,
then by domestic afflictions, and lastly in his own person, through loath-
some diseases. Diabolical possession may be the result of vile and unre-
strained passions. A wicked man often opens the door of his soul to the
demon, courts his friendship ; and when once this false guest has effected
an entrance it is hard to put him out. The great enemy of mankind may
even be allowed to persecute the lover of perfection. Trials of this kind
are sanctioned by God to purify His servants, and thereby enable them to
merit eternal rewards. The effort to withstand these attacks arouses all
their heroism and fortitude. But he cannot get beyond certain boundaries.
Thus, in the case of Job, the Lord assigns a limit to the devil's power.
“Serva aniniam pus ” — Spare his life. In the Apocalypse Satan is repre-
sented chained like a dog, the chain being lengthened as far as it pleases
God, and no further. There is a difference between possession and what is

(21 “Liber Landavensis ” (Notes).

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In a political and ecclesiastical point of view,
the history of the ancient city is most interesting.
It is situated on the banks of the river Usk, four
miles distant from the present town of Newport.
The Romanesque appearance it presented in those
days, with its high walls, amphitheatre, baths,
temples, and schools, forced the Britons — who
compared it to Rome itself — to acknowledge the
intellectual superiority of their conquerors, of
whose rule in Western Britain it was the head-
quarters. The Questor resided in the city, and
all questions of justice and finance were trans-
acted within its walls.

It was also the head-quarters of the Second
Legion, Called Augusta. This legion had been
brought from Germany by Claudius in the year
43, for the protection of the Roman rule in the
western part of the island, and remained for four
hundred years on the river Usk. This circum-
stance led to the city being called Civitas

termed obsession. The latter implies external annoyances from the evil
spirit^ the former internal. In it the devil enters the body and takes
possession of it) either wholly or partially ; whilst in obsession he acts
externally. A few examples will render this more clear to the reader.
We read in the '* Lives of tie Fathers of the Deseit,” and also in those of
later saints, that the devil appeared to them in various shapes — sometimes
as a roaring lion, or a serpent, or a dragon, to terrify them ; whilst at
others the demon transformed himself into the most beautiful and seductive,
forms, in order to excite their carnal passions. We are even told that some
of the champions of Christ were severely beaten by His sworn enemy.
This, in the language of theology, is called obsession. The Gospels Bpeak
of persons being blind, or deaf and dumb, from the fact that a devil occu-
pied the organs of sight, hearing or speech. When the evil spirit was cast
out those organs were restored to their natural powers. In other cases the
demon substituted the instincts of animals for those of man, and souls thus
visited became tormented by all the appetites of wild beasts. Persons
possessed by the devil have also at times spoken foreign languages hitherto
unknown to them ; illiterate, stupid human beings have suddenly become
imbued with intelligence and scientific knowledge ; and those suffering
from debility have manifested superhuman physical powers* This is called
possession . — Vide Schram, Garres .

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Legionem, or, in the Celtic tongue, Caerleon,
which name it retains to the present day. Even
still, in this once celebrated spot, the plough and
the spade constantly bring to light Roman coins,
columns, tesselated pavements, and mutilated
statues of the gods of pagan Rome.

In connection with the Christian religion,
Caerleon was looked upon as sacred. From the
earliest period of its introduction into Britain, in
the second century, the Metropolitan of Cambria
resided within its walls, and the beautiful valley
surrounding it could boast, perhaps, of possessing
the largest Christian population in the kingdom.
When the persecution under Diocletian broke
out, the Forum of Caerleon became the theatre
of martyrdom, where thousands of the followers
of Christ shed their blood as witnesses to His

That a seminary for the education of priests
existed in this city we are led to infer from the
“Life of Amphibolus, Martyr, and Patron of
Winchester,” in which it is stated that he had
been professor in the college of Caerleon.

It is not unreasonable to suppose that the
inhabitants should have urged Dubricius to
transfer his See to the ancient metropolitan
town, and that at last, yielding to their wishes,
he left Llandaff and fixed his residence in the
City of the Legions.

For some time he governed both Sees, but his
advanced age, and the reluctance of the people

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of Llandaff to be deprived of a bishop, induced
him, in the year 512, to consecrate St. Teilo its
second episcopal pastor.

Caerleon preserved all its splendour up to the fifth ^J^* on
century, for King Arthur selected it for his coro-
nation, as being the finest city in Western Britain.

Geoffrey of Monmouth gives a glowing account
of the crowning of King Arthur at Caerleon, by
the venerable Metropolitan of Wales. The
festivities took place about Pentecost, that day so
dear to our forefathers. The City of the Legions,
with its beautiful river — which was navigable for
the largest ships built in those days — its charm-
ing position, its palaces, and its churches, was
decided upon by the British Confederation as the
most suitable place for the consecration of the
king. The Archbishops of London and York,
with many other prelates, were invited. All that
concerned the religious part of the ceremony was
conducted by Dubricius, the Royal court being
within his diocese.

At the time appointed, the prelates proceeded Coronation
to the palace of the king, and conducted him to ^ ur by
the metropolitan church of St. Aaron. Long Dubricius.
and imposing was the procession which wound
its way through the streets of Caerleon, while the
solemn strains of sacred music filled the air.

Clergy and laity in due order preceded the king,
who was supported by two archbishops, and by
four chieftains carrying golden swords, the
insignia of royalty.

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The Queen’s cortege formed a second proces-
sion. This wended its way to the Church of St.
Julius, to which was attached a choir of virgins
dedicated to the service of God. It, also, was
accompanied by bishops. Four queens, bearing
four white doves, according to ancient custom,
walked before the bride of Arthur ; and a crowd
of women followed with every demonstration
of joy.

The holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered up,
and every ceremony prescribed by the ritual of
that day minutely carried out. When divine
service had concluded in both churches the king
and queen, relieved of their crowns, and arrayed
in lighter ornaments, prepared to participate in
the amusements in honour of the festivity.

The banquet took place in two separate
palaces, the king sitting down with the clergy,
nobles, and men of all classes ; the queen with
the ladies, the Britons still observing the ancient
custom of Troy which enjoined that men and
women should celebrate their festivals apart.

St. Dubricius and King Arthur frere known to
each other, notwithstanding their disparity of
age. Whether the young prince had been
educated in one of the colleges of the venerable
prelate is not certain, but there can be no doubt
that Arthur, like the other British chieftains,
rejoiced in securing the presence of the arch-
bishop in dangerous and critical events. It was
a custom of the clergy, as we may infer from the

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history of Bangs, St. Teilo, and others, to follow
their countrymen to the battle-field when the
cause of combat was a national and just one, in
order to rouse the courage of the soldiers and
pray for them during the struggle. It was not
in keeping with their mission to use the sword,
but they could intercede for the warriors, and
this the Britons expected.

We are told by Geoffrey of Monmouth that
the Archbishop of Caerleon followed Arthur to
Bath, and was present at the battle of Badon.

Before the combat the soldiers were gathered
together like soldiers under review, and were
thus addressed by St. Dubricius : —

“You who have the honour to profess the Speech
Christian faith, keep fixed in your minds the ^ubriciuB
love which you owe to your country and fellow-
subjects, whose sufferings through the treachery Badon *
of the pagans will be an everlasting reproach to
you, if you do not courageously defend them. It
is your country you fight for, and for it you
should be ready, when required, voluntarily to
suffer death ; for that is in itself victory and
salvation to the soul, because he who dies for his
brethren offers himself a sacrifice to God, and
has Christ for his example, who condescended to
lay down His life for His brethren. If, there-
fore, any of you should be killed in this war, that
death itself which is suffered in so glorious a
cause shall be to him penance and absolution for
his sins.”

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Council of


Council of

The last important act of the administration
of Dubricius was the convocation of a National
Council of the Cambro-British Church at Brevi,
in Cardiganshire.

The venerable Metropolitan was induced to
take this step before he died in order to frame a
code of religious laws for the province, and also
to crush and extinguish the embers of Pela-
gianism, which still smouldered in the western
part of Wales.

Landewi-Brevi, nine miles from Lampeter,
which forms the boundary of three or four
counties, was, from its geographical position,
chosen as the most advantageous place for the
proposed meeting.

Dubricius opened and presided over this
celebrated synod, which defined the ecclesiastical
laws that were to rule the Church of Cambria
for centuries, up even to the time when she lost
the faith. The most active part in this meeting
was taken by younger bishops and priests, such
as David, Teilo, and others, most of whom
Dubricius had taught as children in his schools
at Mochross, Lantwit-Major, and Llancarvan.

David was chief exponent of Catholic teaching
at this Council, and Dubricius recognised in him
the man who was to be his successor as Metropo-
litan, and felt that the government of the diocese
must be entrusted to younger and more energetic

His, indeed, had been a noble and glorious

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career. He was now a centenarian, and had
been bishop for seventy-one years. 1 He knew
that the time was come for him to resign ,the
care of the souls of others and prepare his own
for the great day of eternity. Therefore, he did
not return to Caerleon on the conclusion of the
Council of Brevi, but set sail for the Island of
Bardsey, in the Bay of Cardigan.

Bardsey — or Enlly, as it is named in Welsh —
was in olden times called the Necropolis of
Wales, and it is recorded in the “ Book
Landavensis ” that the bodies of twenty thousand
confessors and martyrs were buried on its shores.

It is a small tract of land, three miles and a-half
in length by one and a-half in breadth, distant
about three miles from the mainland. Dubricius
thought that a place so lonely and distant was
admirably suited for his purpose. It was beyond
reach of the troubles and cares of this world, and
the soul could there aspire to the highest regions
of contemplation.

His stay at Bardsey was not to be for long.

His reward was at hand. Two or three years
after his settlement there the holy Dubricius
died in the Lord on Sunday, the 14th day of
November, 522.

In the year of the Incarnation of our Lord one The relics
thousand one hundred and seven (a.d. 1107), on Dubricius
the 11th day of August, Urban was consecrated f^ ved
Bishop of Llandaff, at Canterbury. to

(1) Dubricius was consecrated bishop by St. Oermanus about the yea
447-448, and the Council of Brevi was held a.d. 519.

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This energetic prelate, having reorganised his
diocese, considered it his duty to transfer the
relics of St. Duhricius from the lonely island
where he had died to the cathedral of which he
had been the first bishop. Encouraged by the
approbation of the Metropolitan of Canterbury,
he obtained permission from the Bishop of
Bangor, and also secured the consent of Griffith,
King of North Wales, and on the 7th of May,
1120, the grave of St. Duhricius at Bardsey
Island was opened, and his relics reverently
placed in the vessel appointed to bear them to
Llandaff, where they arrived on the 23rd of
May, in the same year.

We are already acquainted with the solemnity
of the brilliant procession and of the imposing
ceremonies which attended the installation of
Duhricius into his cathedral church in the fifth
century. In the twelfth, the translation of the
mortal remains of the same holy bishop was the
occasion of a solemn religious function. The
people came in crowds to seek the intercession of
him who had been the pastor of their forefathers.

The country at that time was suffering from a
prolonged drought. Although spring was far
advanced, vegetation was backward. There was
danger of the cattle perishing for want of grass,
and the crops presented a yellow and sickly
appearance, for in the district of Glamorgan-
shire it had not rained for more than seven

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the first bishop op llandaff. 319

No sooner, however, had the relics of Dubricius
arrived at Llandaff than the country was blessed
with abundant rain. The rivers Taff and Ely,
the channels of which had been almost dry,
rapidly filled, and their waters rolled in torrents
to the sea. The faded and dying vegetation soon
revived, and this was regarded by all as a favour
obtained through the prayers of the saintly
bishop. 1

His body was placed before the altar of St.
Mary, facing the north. When Urban rebuilt
Llandaff Cathedral on its present magnificent
scale, the relics were removed, and now lie
against the south-east pillar of the sanctuary,
near the high altar, as it would be called by

His feast was formerly celebrated by his
countrymen on the 14th of November.

As the Catholic faith is again being preached
in South Wales, and a deanery and parish church

(1) The power possessed over the atmosphere by some saints is thus
described by the Apostle St. James : — ‘ ‘ Elias was a man passable like unto
us, and with prayer he prayed that it might not rain upon the earth f and
it rained not for three years and six months. And he prayed again , and
the heavens gave rain , and the earth brought forth her fruit'* (James,
chap. 5.) It is related of St. Francis Xavier, the Apostle of India, that,
visiting an Eastern prince who was besieged in a town, and in great want
of water, he announced, on the part of hia Master, that, if the prince had
faith in the divinity of Christ, he would obtain that abundant rain should
be given. The potentate and St. Francis accordingly proceeded to the
most elevated part of the city, there planted a cross, and prostrated before
it in presence of all the people. Clouds gathered immediately over the
town, and rain in plentiful showers poured down for the refreshment of
men and animals. The enemy, on this, abandoning all hope of reducing
the fortress, raised the siege and retired. It is recorded that a Christian
legion by prayer obtained rain for a Roman army, and thus saved it from
destruction. How often we read that our forefathers, in the ages of faith,
ordered public processions, carrying the relics of saints, to obtain the
cessation of a long drought. Very frequently their prayers were heard,
and the event recorded in their archives, or commemorated either by
building churches or celebrating particular festivals.

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has received the name of Dubricius, we may hope
that a day will dawn upon Cambria when his
memory will he once more revived in the
Breviary and the Missal.

The “Liber Landavensis” remarks that the
British Church looked upon St. Dubricius as
their chief advocate with God and the protector
of all the faithful in the island when the grave
had closed on his mortal remains.

Indeed, anyone who reads the register of
Llandaff, containing hundreds of charters, is
struck by the deep veneration of the Cambrians
for the memory of their first bishop. His name
is scrupulously mentioned in every deed of gift
to religion.

st. The following formula invariably strikes the

Generated reader “ I give to Almighty God and to St.
after death such a territory.” The people

associate their first pastor in all their good works,
in order to secure his intercession before the
throne of God. Centuries roll on, social and
political events take place, the country has to
bow to the Saxon, to the Norman ; hut it never
loses its devotion to the first Bishop of Llandaff.

It is to be regretted that ancient records have
not handed down to us fuller details concerning
the doings and spiritual life of this wonderful
man — the model of a bishop. Chosen by
Almighty God to crush the errors of Pelagius on
his native shores, he succeeded in the work
entrusted to him. But it is as the spiritual

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father of a legion of saints that Dubricius shines
in the annals of Western Britain.

Before his death he had the consolation of
seeing a considerable number of the pupils
educated in his diocese raised to the episcopal
dignity or at the head of prosperous and holy

Almighty God at times revealed to him,
through supernatural signs, the eminent sanctity
which some of his pupils would attain in after
life. In ordination time, he saw more than once
the Holy Ghost alight on the young deacon or
priest so carefully trained for his respective
dignity in the Church. Even in this world
heaven was thus pleased to reward the patient
and skilful master.

The venerable prelate did not neglect to attend
to his own spiritual welfare. At the beginning
of each Lent, according to a practice often
spoken of in the “ Lives of the Early British
Saints,” he used to retire to Barry Island or
Lantwit-Major, in order to examine the state of
his own soul. , This was the annual retreat, so
dear to the Catholic Church, and now com-
manded as a duty to every bishop and priest all
over the world.

The compiler of this biography has the honour
of representing the Catholic faith in the vicinity
of Llandaff, and feels a certain pride in being the
first resident Catholic priest in this district since
it has lost the Catholic faith. The population of

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Cardiff is daily extending on the land situated
between the rivers Taff and Ely, and the
boundaries of the town have nearly reached the
old city of Dubricius.

The writer This same tract of land was granted, as we

appeals to _ °

the public have seen, to the first Bishop of Llandaff for

for help to

build a Catholic purposes.

Catholic A B

Church With the exception of Glastonbury, it would

between .

therivera be difficult to find, in the whole island of Britain,

Ely. a spot more anciently connected with the Catholic
faith than this.

Llandaff recalls to mind the memory of Pope
Eleutherius, of St. Eagan, and of King Lucius,
who, in the second century, consecrated these
shores to the faith of Christ. The generosity of
that prince to religion naturally presents itself as
the foremost thought in reviewing those bygone

May Almighty God inspire nobles, merchants,
and the public at large with the zeal and
munificence which then actuated Meurig and
Morgan, and help us to restore the worship of
our forefathers on the hanks of the Taff and Ely !

Fifteen hundred Catholics, mostly of the
labouring class, are scattered over Canton,
Grangetown, Llandaff, and Ely, and practise
throughout these districts the religion of Lucius,.
St. Fagan, St. Dubricius, and St. Teilo.

The holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered up in
temporary buildings, such as school-houses, both
in Canton and Grangetown. Such chapels are

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not in accordance with Catholic customs, nor do
they fully answer the end proposed.

The holy altar should be enshrined in an
appropriate building, and the Sacrifice of the
Mass offered up in Temples worthy of the Real
Presence of our Lord.

Catholic custom, wherever it can he carried
out, enjoins that churches should be erected on
freehold land ; because a building which has
been the sanctuary of the blessed Sacrament
should never be used for any other purpose. It
is clearly shown in charters and other documents
that such was the spirit of our forefathers.

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St. Teilo, Second Bishop of Llandaff. 1

“ The memory of the wise man shall not depart away, and
his name shall be in request from generation to genera-
tion. . . Nations shall declare his wisdom, and the Church

shall show forth his praise.” — Eccles. xxxix. 13, 14.

The “ Liber Landavensis,” or, as it is often
termed, “The Book of Teilo,” commences the
life of the second Bishop of Llandaff in the
following manner: — “This holy man (Teilo),
dearly beloved, was from his infancy a worshipper
of God ; nor is it to be wondered at, for before
he was born he was predestined to be His
servant. . . . Therefore, he carried on his

warfare by being urgent in prayer and by giving
to the poor whatever he possessed, . . . re-

serving nothing to himself of his own, he
exchanged perishing for eternal things. What a
merchant he was who gave his own to God that
he might receive a hundredfold ! ' what wisdom
and knowledge he possessed who distributed to
others that he might be himself enriched, who

(1) This Life is compiled from the “ Liber Landavensis,” Lobineau,
** Britannia Sancta,” Rees’ “ Essay on the Welsh Saints.”

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consented to become poor in order to make
others rich! In his infancy he was good, in
his youth still better, advanced in age, the best
of all.”

One cannot help remarking whilst reading the
life of St. Teilo how strong and Catholic was his
faith, and that of the nation to which he
belonged. Teilo had been a great traveller.

When a young priest he had journeyed over a
considerable part of Europe, on his way to
Jerusalem, in company with St. David and
Bishop Padarn. Driven by pestilence, with a part
of his flock, into Brittany, he was everywhere
received as a priest and a bishop of the Catholic
Church, and welcomed as a distinguished member
of the great Catholic community.

St. Teilo, in all probability, was bom in Pern- Birth and
brokeshire, in the neighbourhood of Tenby.

Ensic, or Ecnic, his father, and his mother were
descended from families of great distinction in
South Wales. The utmost care was bestowed on
his education, and when quite a hoy he was
sent to the seminary of Dubricius, at Mochros,
on the river Wye, in Herefordshire.

There is no doubt that young Teilo possessed
talents of the highest order, and soon became a
student of the first class at Mochros. His
biographers state that when his master, Dubricius,
met with passages in the holy Scripture which
he had a difficulty in solving, it was his custom
to -summon his youthful disciple, so much did he

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rely on the acuteness of his mind and the extent
of his learning . 1

Dubricius considered Teilo the person most
fitted to be his successor at Mochros. In this,
however, he was disappointed, for the young
man felt a strong attraction to the contemplative
life, and accordingly left Mochros to place him-
self under the direction of Paulinus, at Ty-gwyn
ar Taf, now Whitland, near Tenby.

The highest branches of theology were
particularly attended to in that college, and this
attracted such scholars as David and Teilo. It
was there they contracted a friendship which,
like that of Basil and Gregory Nazianzenus,
lasted as long as life. • Prayer, study, and
manual labour filled up their time.

At this period a certain Irish chieftain, named
Boya, who was an adventurer, and not averse to
plunder, like many of the princes of those days,
landed on the Welsh coast. He headed a large
piratical party, and devastated the country,
burning churches and dwellings, and putting the
defenceless inhabitants to the sword.

The Cambrians were not more particular in
this respect, for during the lifetime of St. Patrick
a Welsh leader suddenly landed on the Irish
coast and carried away a large number of young
Christians to whom the bishop had just
administered the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Boya, finding the country suited him, settled

(J) To this brilliancy of intellect may be traced the surname of
HXi os (Helios), by which he was known amongst his fellow-students.


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in it, built for himself a permanent habitation,
and soon became acquainted with the Monastery
of Tygwyn, where Teilo and David resided. The
life followed by the religious community was, as
a matter of course, ridiculed by these men, whose
ideal of perfection was daring courage, skilful
swordsmanship, and their accompaniements of
plenty of booty and pleasures ; for carnal men,
as St. Paul says, cannot rise above the level of

The angelic and pure life led by Paulinus and ^ tue of
his companions was much commented upon by“^“^
the household of Boya. It was pronounced to the te0t -
be highly unnatural, or, at least, extraordinary
for men to allow themselves no pleasure in this
world, spending the day in labour and the night
in prayer. During an evening revel someone
suggested the idea that they were like the rest of
mankind, accessible to earthly delights. Boya
considered this a happy thought, and directed
his wife to send her maids to tempt the virtue of
the lovers of virginity. The command was
obeyed with alacrity, and for several days these
women hovered about the monastery, resorting
to every wicked device to attract the pious monks
and lead them into sin. They, however, sought
protection from these snares by beseeching
heaven to deliver them from their importunities.

Feigned madness was one of the plans adopted
by these women to attract the notice of the
co mmuni ty, and for this they were severely


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punished by being stricken with real insanity,
which so terrified the household of the chieftain
that they began to reflect on the impropriety of
the lives they were leading, and perceive the
necessity of reforming them. Boya and his
family sought instruction from the religious
whose virtue they had so wickedly assailed, and
were baptised.

The history of the lives of the monks of Wales,
and of their brethren in other parts of the world
, at the same period, abound in incidents bearing
upon their relations with the wild beasts of the
forests. Living in solitude, apart from human
companionship, a friendship was often formed
between the stag and the recluse. If, on the one
hand, the follower of Christ respected the right
of existence of these animals, they, on their side,
frequently repaid his kindness by assisting him
in various ways. The following legend con-
nected with St. Teilo gives an instance of this : —
The monks On a certain afternoon Teilo and Madoc were
!^ t he reading the Lamentations of the Prophet
Jeremias in the court-yard of the monastery,
when the cook came to inform them that wood
was wanting for the preparation of the evening
meal of the community, and that they must at
once proceed to the neighbouring forest and
carry hack a supply. The students were at first
somewhat vexed, because the evening was rather
advanced; hut, overcoming these feelings, they
departed. On the road they were met by two


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stags, which, instead of running off, awaited their
approach, as if to say, “ We are ready to help
you to drag the wood from the forest.” The
young men sang the praises of the Lord, and,
harnessing the two animals to their vehicle,
hastened to the forest and soon returned with a
heavy load of fuel. These stags lived ever after
near the monastery, like tame oxen, and willingly
performed similar service whenever it was

Strangers visiting Ty-gwyn ar Taf — naturally
moved to wonder at so unusual a circumstance —
were wont to remark, “ These holy men, by the
power of God, render wild animals obedient to
their will ; we can kill them in the hunting field,
hut cannot bring them under subjection. When
these apostles of Christ preach to us we do not
hearken to their instructions ; the beasts of the
field listen, and show themselves in this to be our

In the narration of this legend it is impossible
not to be struck with the simplicity of these
peasants, which makes them naively confess that
they were led to God not so much by the teaching
of His ministers as by the example of irrational
animals. The preaching of the Gospel failed to
convert them, but when they beheld wild beasts
yielding obedience to the monks they became
convinced of the necessity of attending to the
instructions of these holy men.

In a church dedicated to St. Teilo, in the

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diocese of Quimper, Brittany, the saint is repre-
sented riding upon a stag. This is, no doubt, in
pious allusion to the above legend of Ty-gwen,
or Taf .

The early Christians of Britain had much
devotion to pilgrimages, especially to Jerusalem
and Rome. They allowed nothing to deter them
from following this pious practice. The disciples
of Paulinus, from the very nature of their sacred
studies, had mentally to travel over those regions
of the East sanctified by the footsteps of the
Redeemer of the world. During the hours of
study, they beheld in vision Jerusalem, Nazareth,
Bethlehem, and the Jordan, and the same holy
places formed the theme of their conversation at
the time of recreation; then the much-desired
privilege and happiness of visiting them, out of
love and respect for our Lord, and the length
and dangers of the journey, were freely discussed.
Teilo, David, and Padarn came to an agreement
to overcome these difficulties and accomplish
their desire. At what period of life they started
is not easy to ascertain, but the fact of their
going to Jerusalem seems beyond doubt.

Pilgrimage But little preparation was needed. These

Jerusalem, pilgrims were not about to travel as tourists in
search of amusement or distraction, or for the
purpose of killing time by visiting unknown
countries. They set forth as penitents and as
loving disciples of the Lord Jesus, with the sole
wish of adoring Him on the spots where, for

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them. He had shed His blood and died. A staff
in the hand, a wallet on the shoulder, in which
to receive the food begged along the road as
Christian alms, in the name of the Redeemer
whose tomb they were about to visit, constituted
their luggage. One requisite — indispensable
then as now — must not, however, be forgotten.
This was a certificate from their abbot, Paulinus,
and also one from their bishop, Dubricius,
testifying that they were priests of the Catholic
Church, men of pure lives, who observed the
commandments of God and of His Church.
Without such a certificate they could not be
allowed to celebrate the holy Sacrifice of the
Mass, or even approach, like simple laymen, to
the rails of the sanctuary for the purpose of
receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus

The Council of Arles, convened during the
reign of Constantine, in 314, and several other
Councils, are particular on this subject. Thus,
in the seventh Article of the Council of Arles, we
read that any one of the faithful named by the
civil (mthoi'Uy to be governor of a province,
should take with him a letter from his bishop to
certify that he lived in the communion of the
Catholic Church. 1 The Roman Empire, so
vast, necessitated the constant transfer of officers,
civil and military, from one part of the world to
another, and the Church considered such a

(1) Migne, Diet, des Conciles, Arles.

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measure necessary to protect the purity of the
faith. At all times she has taken the greatest
care to preserve her altars from unworthy
ministers, and not to bestow the Body and Blood
of our Lord on laymen of whose purity of faith
or morals doubts might exist.

In our days there have been instances whereof
Ritualists presented themselves in Catholic
churches, both in Rome and Paris, and requested
permission to celebrate the holy Sacrifice of the
Mass. Some of these gentlemen are so well up
in Rubrics as to render detection difficult. Let
them submit to the Church of God, receive the
Sacrament of Ordination, and then, when duly
authorised, we shall rejoice to see them approach
the altar of sacrifice.

Teilo, David, and Padarn crossed Gaul and
other parts of Europe, leaving behind them
wherever they passed a most edifying example of

The After a long, tiresome, and dangerous journey,

deeper they at last reached Jerusalem. Eor the first
on three days the pavement of the church was their
pavement on ly They remembered, no doubt, that our

Lord had spent three long hours upon the bed of
the cross, suspended by three nails, and thought
it not too much that they, hardy Britons that
they were, should sleep for as many days on the
stones which covered the holy spot.

This act of piety, manifesting as it did, a deep
religious faith, produced a great impression in


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th’e holy city. It must be admitted that there
were particular reasons why a Briton should be
welcome in Jerusalem. A lady of their country,
St. Helen, mother of the Emperor Constantine,
had built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, over
the tomb of Jesus, and erected many others in
several parts of the Holy Land.

On presenting to the Patriarch their papers,
giving proof that they were priests from the
island of Britain, educated and bene-nati , and,
above all, true servants of God, living in a
monastery, they found themselves welcome, and
soon gained public veneration, and were even
invited to preach.

St. Teilo appears to have been the first of the
three who edified the Eastern Church by a clear
and moving exposition of Catholic truth. His
two companions, in like manner, seem to have
been requested by the people to preach the
Gospel to them.

The “ Liber Landavensis ” observes that the
teaching of these saintly Britons of Cambria
produced a deep impression. They proved to the
East that the religion of their island was that of
Leo the Great, the reigning Pope ; of Germanus
of Gaul, of St. John Chrysostom, the Cicero of
the Church, and of the great African bishop, St.
Augustine . 1

(1) The “ Liber Landavensis ” remarks that the three British pilgrims
received during their stay in Jerusalem the gift of tongues. We read in
the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles that the beloved disciples
of our Lord received the gift of languages on the Day of Pentecost. The
thousands of strangers from all parts of the world who had come to

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“ These men,” justly observed the Patriarch ’of
Jerusalem, and all the men of intelligence in the
city concurred in this opinion, “ come as pilgrims
from a distant country far away towards the
North Pole. They preserve the purity of the
Gospel as a sacred treasure. Pelagius, their
countryman, and his erroneous doctrine on grace
are rejected by them, because contrary to
Scripture and condemned by the Pope and by
the Church. Unity of faith amongst Christians
is undoubtedly a blessed sight amongst angels
and men. Nothing shows to greater advantage
the influence of Divine grace in gathering all the
nations of the globe into one fold.

The power of God alone can unite in one faith
and one baptism the children of Adam, divided
by languages, customs, interests, and prejudices.

Jerusalem were greatly surprised in hearing ignorant Galileans speak the
idioms of the East, of the islands in the Mediterranean, as well as Latin and
Greek. Commentators tell us that St. Peter and the other apostles may
hare conveyed the doctrine of their divine Master in two ways — either 'by
speaking the respective languages of the various nationalities present, or by
these various nationalities being enabled by a miracle to understand the
apostles in using their own idiom. E.g., let us suppose St. Peter or St.
Stephen w have spoken to the people in Syro-Chaldaic, yet the Cretes, the
Elamites, the Arabs, and others understood them as if they had spoken their
native idiomB. We read of St. Vincent Ferrier, a Spaniard by birth, who,
preaching in Brittany in the beginning of the fifteenth century, made use
of his maternal language, and was yet understood by Moors, Arabs, English-
men, Germans, and others, who knew only the language of their respective
countries. Teilo, David, and Padara were scholars, and according to all
probabilities knew Greek, which was taught in the colleges of those days, as
it is in ours. But their proficiency in that language may not have been of
such a high standard as to enable them to speak in public and extempore.
Then, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the pronunciation of Greek in
Britain was different from that in the East. In our days, the best Greek
scholars in England could hardly be understood in France or in Italy. If,
then, the three saintly priests acquired such popularity in the East as
apostolic orators, are we to disbelieve the ancient records which assert that
the Holy Ghost had bestowed on them the gift of languages ? Amongst
the various gifts spoken of in the New Testament, for the edification of the
Church, is that of languages. Could not the Holy Ghost communicate it
to Teilo and his companions for the spiritual benefit of the Christians
collected round the sepulchre of our Saviour, and many of whom had not
the least knowledge of Greek ?

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The primary object of the Incarnation was
nothing else but the redemption of mankind and
the creation of unity of religion.”

Before leaving Jerusalem, St. Teilo and his two Teilo
companions were consecrated bishops. Some be Bishop
historians throw doubt on the fact, as being
contrary to the canon law; hut we find it
mentioned in the three respective lives of Teilo,

David, and Padarn.

Perhaps the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who
occupied a See of which the Redeemer had been
the first pastor, and [under whose walls he had
shed his blood, enjoyed particular privileges, or
assumed them.

On his way home, St. Teilo, passing through
Brittany, stayed a while with his brother-in-law,

Budic, and strongly recommended his sister to
bring up her children in the fear of God. He
had no idea then that Almighty God destined one
of these young children to be one day his
successor in the See of Llandaff, as we shall see
later on.

In the preceding chapter we related how
Duhricius, yielding to circumstances, had re-
moved his See from Llandaff to Caerleon. Eor
some time he governed both dioceses, hut being
now far advanced in years, and the people in
Glamorganshire being anxious to possess a bishop
of their own, Teilo was elected to fill that See
about the year 512.

The ceremony of installation in his case was

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conducted with the same pomp as attended that
of Dubricius, with processions round the
boundaries of the diocese, and confirmation of
privileges already bestowed, a custom strictly
adhered to at the accession of every prelate.

The new bishop entered at once, heart and
soul, on the administration of his diocese, and
carried on with activity the work of his prede-
cessor, until it was interrupted by one of those
scourges which cause more havoc in the country
afflicted by it than the most merciless war. This
was the yellow plague.

The Lord is the ruler of the earth; fire,
hail, snow, ice, stormy winds, pestilence, and
inundations execute His vengeance on guilty
nations, as the prophet says.

This yellow plague broke out first in North
Wales, sparing neither man or beast. People
fled from the North to the South, thereby, no
doubt, disseminating the pestilence through
regions yet healthy.

King Maelgwinn-gwynedd fled to Carnarvon-
shire, and there died of the plague in a church.
Terror filled every heart. Imagination, excited
still more by the bards and poets, exaggerated
even the extent of the scourge. The bards
represented the plague under the shape of a
woman carrying destruction through the country.
Her hair, teeth, and eyes — in fact, her whole
person — was yellow. Like the Angel of Death
in the time of Pharaoh, she passed alike through

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the castle of the chieftain and the humble
dwelling of the poor. Whatever she touched
was doomed to instantaneous death. However
terrible the Saxon might he, he could he met
face to face, sword in hand; hut this hideous
hag hovered about unseen, and extended her
poisoned hands when least expected, striking her
victims in their beds and in the fields. King
Maelgwinn had incautiously looked at her through
his windows, and forthwith was smitten. So the
hards affirmed, and they were implicitly believed.

South Wales was exempted in the beginning,
only to be more severely afflicted in the end.

St. Teilo spared no exertion in visiting the sick
and relieving distress. He tendered hospitality
to the thousands who fled from the North to the
South to escape the raging epidemic. He ordered
prayers to be offered, and proclaimed a fast
throughout his diocese, and cried out to the Lord,
saying, “ Spare, oh, Lord, spare Thy people,
whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious
blood, for Thou wiliest not the death of a sinner.
Give not Thine inheritance to perdition.”

But as the plague, however, extended to the
southern district, a general emigration ensued,
carrying thousands to Ireland and to the western
shores of Erance. After battling against the
disaster for a long time, St. Teilo judged it
advisable to emigrate, along with his clergy and
people, to Brittany, and there await with patience
the return of better days.

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* 1



Emigre- The exiles, with Teilo at their head, crossed

tion to ^

Brittany the Bristol Channel and directed their steps to
Cornwall, being certain of finding on that coast
a sufficient number of vessels to carry them over
to the western shores of France.

The Prince of Cornwall, Gerennius, or, in
Welsh, Geraint, extended generous hospitality to
the afflicted Cambrians, and supplied their wants
until such time as they had completed all neces-
sary arrangements with* the owners of vessels.
It is evident that he did not allow terror at the
thought of communicating with a plague-stricken
people to influence him or impede his generosity.

Geraint Gerennius and the Bishop of Llandaff soon

COIlf 68868

his sine to became intimately acquainted, and before the
°' embarkation of the holy prelate the Cornish
prince, according to Catholic custom, desired to
unburden his conscience to his venerable guest,
and thus addressed him: — “Before thou de-
partest, I request and desire that thou wilt
receive my confession in the Lord .” 1 St. Teilo
complied with the wishes of the king, who seems
to have had a deep conviction that his days on
earth were numbered. The confessor, however,
with that profound religious prevision which is
the special attribute of the servants of God, hade
his royal penitent he of good heart, because he
had been favoured with a vision intimating that
Gerennius would not leave the world until such
time as he (Teilo) should return from France.

(1) “ Liber Landavemris.”


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“ I am going to Brittany,” said the bishop,

“and shall return to my diocese at the time
appointed by the Almighty. King, thou shalt
not die before thou hast received from my own
hands the body and blood of the Lord consecrated
by me in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”

These words of the prelate were verified, as we
shall see later.

On landing in Brittany, St. Teilo was every-
where met by his own countrymen. The wife of
Budoc, Count of Cornouailles, was his sister,
Samson, Bishop of D61, had been his fellow-
student and intimate friend. Most of the dioceses
around him were, or had been, governed by
bishops from his native land, and the inhabitants
in general were descended from British blood.

St. Teilo first visited the husband of his sister,
and secured a settlement in his territory for
many of his companions. This done, he repaired
to D61, in order to follow the monastic rule with
the brethren of St. Samson. His sister could not
persuade him to remain in Cornouailles. It was
more congenial to the habits of his life to dwell
in a monastery than to share the hospitality of
earthly princes in a castle.

Prayer, manual labour, and, when necessary, occupa-
the exercise of episcopal duties, filled up the TeSo°L St '
period of his absence from Cambria. He was Annonc *-
long remembered in the neighbourhood of 1)61
as an indefatigable and skilful agriculturist. He
himself worked with axe and spade in clearing

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forest land and preparing the soil for the pro-
duction of a rich harvest. Montalembert states
that the Bishop of Llandaff, aided by Samson,
planted with his own hands an immense orchard,
or, as the legend terms it, “ a true forest of fruit
trees,” three miles in extent. To him also is
attributed the introduction of the apple into
Armorica, where cider still continues to be the
national beverage. This orchard existed in the
twelfth century, under the name of Arboretum
Teliam et Samsonis.

Connected with the same plantation is the
fountain of Cai. Popular tradition attributes this
spring to the prayers of St. Teilo. Seafaring
men for centuries regarded it as a duty to keep
this sacred well in repair, and clear away from
around it any over-growth of vegetation, and
when starting for a voyage it was their custom to
invoke St. Teilo for a prosperous journey and
favourable winds.

From time to time the Bishop of Llandaff
found it necessary to lay aside his agricultural
dress and avocations, and assume the crosier and
the mitre. St. Samson was often called away on
important business by the Frank kings, or
summoned to assist at councils of the Church.
The Bishop of Llandaff fulfilled the duties of the
episcopate during his absence, and this led some
historians to state that he had been a bishop in

Meanwhile, the yellow plague by degrees

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disappeared from Wales, and progressive im-
provement was constantly reported. This cheered
the exiled Cambrians with the prospect of a
speedy return to their native shores. When the
bishop thought this could be done with safety, he
sent messengers throughout Prance to gather
together his dispersed countrymen. This was
not a very easy task, for they were scattered all
over Gaul. Some of them had even crossed the
Alps and settled in Italy.

At this period of his life he left D61, and Teiio


fixed his abode on the sea-shore, at a con- Britain,
venient port. There he established his head-
quarters, hastening the preparations for crossing
the sea, and providing food and shelter for
his brethren in exile as they arrived from day
to day.

The formation of this camp and the collecting
of a fleet of vessels announced to the Armoricans
that Teiio was about to depart from their shores.

That exiles should return to their native land
appeared to them to he natural enough, hut they
were unwilling to lose the holy bishop. His
sanctity and gift of miracles had endeared him
to them, and measures were taken to retain him
in Brittany, if possible. Samson, the archbishop,
and Budic, the brother-in-law of Teiio, were
commissioned to endeavour to prevail on h im to
remain amongst them. St. Teiio, without giving
any formal promise, delayed his departure, and
returned for a time to 1)61. But he still con-

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tinued his preparations for leading back his
countrymen into Wales.

Meanwhile, when in prayer one day, an angel
appeared to him and recalled to his mind the
promise he had made to the Cornish prince,
seven years before. “ Teilo,” said the Divine
messenger, “ seven years have elapsed since, in
the name of the Redeemer, thou didst promise
Geraint that he should not die until he had
received from thy hands the body and blood of
the Lord, consecrated by thee in the holy
Sacrifice of the Mass. Geraint lies now upon his
death-bed, and expects thee to fulfil thy promise.
Hasten, therefore, thy return, and delay not.”

The bishop, having communicated this vision
to St. Samson, at once departed from Brittany.
After his embarkation he met at sea a vessel
which had been despatched by the Cornish
prince with a message urging him, in the name
of God, to come to him with the greatest speed
possible. When St. Teilo landed on the coast of
Cornwall he repaired at once to the dying
chieftain, whom he found in the last extremity.
On the following morning he celebrated the holy
Sacrifice of the Mass, and administered with his
own hands the body and blood of the Lord Jesus
Christ to King Geraint. Thus the truth of the
two visions were realised, and Teilo faithfully
kept his promise to a prince who had so
generously extended hospitality to a plague-
stricken people whom others would have

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shunned from fear of the inlection spreading
through their own country.

St. Teilo, on. arriving at his diocese, found the ^ .

0 orgamaa-

country in a frightful condition — in fact, it was
one vast desert, through which the traveller Lkndaff.
could walk for days and scarcely meet a single
human being. Castles and villages were deserted,
and the silence of death reigned over the land.

Many parishes were without priest or inhabitants ;
an undergrowth of wood had sprung up on the
roads to the very doors of the churches. For
seven years these sacred buildings had never
sheltered a Christian worshipper, nor had the
prayers of the afflicted been heard around their
altars. They were in a dilapidated condition ;
the cemeteries around them were crowded with
the remains of the thousands who had been
carried away by the plague, and luxuriant plants
bloomed above their graves. It was a great
work of restoration which awaited the sorrowing
bishop ; but, like Zorobabel, he at once com-
menced to rebuild the ruined walls. Several
priests had accompanied him from Brittany.

These he dispersed throughout the country to
serve in places where the population had been
spared, or had returned to their homes at an
earlier period.

Amongst these priests were three of his
nephews — Ismail, Tify, and Oudoceus. The re-
appearance of the bishop restored confidence
throughout the diocese, and brought back the

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emigrant Cambrians to their native shores, and
in a few years scarcely any vestiges of the
terrible plague could he traced. Tradition, how-
ever, stamped its memory on the district for ages.
Bards made it the theme of verses, which were
chanted by the itinerant poets who exercised
their art at the doors of the churches after Mass
on Sundays, at fairs, at the firesides alike of
nobles in their castles and peasants in their huts
during the long nights of winter. When
surviving witnesses described the harrowing
scenes in the fervid and poetic idiom of the Celtic
tongue, their hearers trembled and almost fancied
they beheld the horrid hag still stretching her
poisoned hand over man and beast.

The archbishop soon reorganised Divine
worship throughout the country, and the princes,
with their usual generosity to religion, nobly
helped him in the glorious work. The register
of Llandaff has handed down to us in full detail
the account of seven or eight large concessions
made to churches during the life of the second
bishop of that See. Xing Iddon is mentioned as
one of the principal donors. Many a hard battle
had he fought against the Saxons, who now and
then showed themselves along the hanks of the
river Wye, ready to cross at any part left

At one time, when St. Teilo happened to he at
Llanarth, near Abergavenny, this king, encamped
in the neighbourhood, came to him there and

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requested him to pray that he and his army
might be preserved in safety, because he was on
the eve of an engagement with the Saxons, who
mustered strong in the neighbourhood. St. Teilo
accompanied the prince to the scene of action,
ascended a mountain seven miles from Mon-
mouth, and there , like Moses, extending his
hands to heaven, he besought the Almighty to
grant victory to his countrymen, who were
fighting for their homes, their wives, and their

Iddon gained a complete victory, routed his
enemies, and carried off from them a great
quantity of plunder. The Welsh chieftain, as a
thanksoffering to God, granted about twenty-
seven acres of the land surrounding the hill
where the bishop had knelt in prayer during the
battle to the church of Llandaff. This prince
held the dead in great consideration, for in this
and other deeds we find that he bestows his gifts
on religion and on St. Teilo, for his own soul and
the souls of his ancestors. These grants include
the spots where some of his intimate friends
were buried . 1

God is wonderful in his saints, and is pleased t * 10 jp 0 ™*
to reveal His power through their instrumenta-
lity. If faith is able even to remove mountains,
how must the devils tremble before a true
servant of God. Whatever public opinion may
now-a-days put forward on the subject of

(1) “ Liber Landavensk.”

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miracles, an historian would fail in his duty if
he withheld the statement of facts recorded and
and believed by our forefathers.

The reputation of St. Teilo’s gift of miracles
was general throughout both Wales and Brittany.
People used to take their infirm friends and
relatives to the holy bishop that through the
imposition of his hands they might be restored to
health. When in the county of Caermarthen, he
is said to have raised a person named Distinni
from the dead.

On a certain Sunday, when the saint was in
the church of Badh, in Pembrokeshire, a man
was brought to him who had for a long period
been afflicted by palsy. The bishop, in the
presence of a large assemblage of people, prayed
to the Lord Jesus to have mercy on the sufferer.
Then, extending his hands over the head of the
patient, the man was at once restored to the use
of his limbs.

Nor was the Almighty slow in making severe
examples of those who persecuted his servant.
It is related that a woman having grievously
insulted him, died suddenly in presence of the

A chieftain named Gowaeddan, who committed
acts of violence and desecration in the church of
Llandeilo Pawr, was ignominously struck down
in its very cemetery.

Death and St. Teilo, full of merit before God and man,

burial of

st. Teiio. died in Caermarthenshire, on the river Towy, at a

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place which even to this day bears his name,
being called Llandeilo Fawr. 1

St. Dubricius, his predecessor, was, as we have
seen, a centenarian at the time of his death. It
is probable that St. Teilo attained a still more
advanced age. We find him a student at
Mochros, on the river Wye, when St. Dubricius was
at the head of that seminary, in 447 or 448. St.
Teilo was then at least ten years old. He gave up
his soul to his Maker in 563 or 566, and this leads
to the conclusion that he had then reached the
venerable age of one hundred and twenty or
one hundred and twenty-three years. It is a
remarkable fact that the early monks, both of
the East and of the West, were very long-lived.
Those who gratify the fanciful desires of the
body hurry it to the grave much more rapidly
than spiritual persons, who, by mortification and
regularity of life, keep its unruly appetites in
subjection. Self-indulgence causes a greater
number of deaths than does the sword in a field
of battle.

St. Paul, the first hermit, spent ninety years
in a cavern, during twenty of which he lived on
dates, and forty on a loaf which was brought to
him every day by a raven ; his only drink was
water from a neighbouring spring. Yet he lived
to the age of one hundred and thirteen.

His contemporary, St. Anthony, who led a
similar life of austerity in the desert, was one

(1) “ Liber Landavensis.”

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hundred and five at the time of his death. St.
Patrick was also an old man, according to our
present ideas of longevity. He was more than
sixty when he commenced the work of converting
the Irish. His travels, labours, and long nights
of prayer are well known ; yet he reached the
age of ninety-two. St. Bemigius, Bishop of
Bheims, ruled that See seventy or seventy-one

Immediately upon the death of St. Teilo a
dispute arose as to his place of burial. The
honour of possessing his remains was claimed by
three churches. Such altercations were by no
means rare over the coffins of the early saints.
The people of Pennalan, Penaby, near Tenby,
Pembrokeshire, asserted their right, on the
ground that the ancestors of Teilo had for
generations been interred in their church, and
that it was right his bones should await the final
resurrection beside those of his relatives. The
parish of Llandeilo Eawr claimed his relics
because this place was a favourite residence with
him. In his old age he had selected it in a
particular way as a retreat wherein to prepare
his soul for heaven, and it was at Llandeilo he
had expired.

The inhabitants of Llandaff came forward in
their turn, and urged the principle that a bishop
ought to be buried in his cathedral. The church
of Llandaff was the first in dignity and in
privilege in Wales, and therefore it was fitting

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that the saintly prelate should rest within its
walls, before the altar whereon he had so often
offered the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

After much altercation this claim was allowed,
and the mortal remains of St. Teilo were
solemnly borne to Llandaff and entombed within
the church. They now lie close to the second
pillar, on the south-west of the sanctuary, at the
Epistle side.

• The “ Liber Landavensis ” remarks that for
centuries it was the custom of the Welsh people
to flock to the tomb of their holy bishop to be
cured of their infirmities. The blind and the
deaf and dumb approached his grave with faith
and often came away benefited both in body and

To this day the visitor to Llandaff will be
shown the fountain of Teilo by any person of
whom he may inquire.

The feast of the second Bishop of Llandaff was
celebrated on the ninth of February in Britain,
and on the twenty-ninth of November at D61, in
the diocese of Quimper, Finistere,

In years gone by, Wales bestowed the name of
Teilo on several localities along the Bristol
Channel. In Brittany, also. Churches and towns
have been called after and dedicated to this
saintly prelate.

The parish of Landelo, in the diocese of
Quimper, is under his patronage.

As far as can be gleaned from history, this is

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the substance of the life of the second Bishop of
LlandafF, the antique Register of whose cathedral
is often called the “Book of Teilo,” probably
because he understood the necessity of compiling
a record of the events connected with his diocese,
and thus originated that precious collection which
was continued by his successors up to the time of
Pope Urban, in the twelfth century.

His countrymen never failed to specify his
name in their charters, as follows : — “ I give to
Almighty God, to Dubricius, and to Teilo,” so
many acres of land. This is an evident proof
that, in their estimation, he was a saint in heaven
— a powerful intercessor before the throne of

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St. Oudoceus, Third Bishop op Llandapp.

“Iam the Good Shepherd ; the Good Shepherd giveth his
life for his sheep, but the hireling and he that is not the
shepherd whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming
and leaveth the sheep and flieth, and the wolf catoheth and
scattereth the sheep.” — John, x. 11, 12.

In the fifth century, a prince of Cornouailles
(Kerne), Brittany, was driven from his country,
and, with his followers, settled in the district of
Dyfed, on the western coast of South Wales.
During his exile he married a Welsh princess,
named Ananmed (Anne). She was a sister of
St. Teilo, second Bishop of Llandaff. Ismael,
one of the sons of this marriage, is believed to
have succeeded St. David in the See of Menevia.
Another son, called Tyfy, after embracing a
religious life died a martyr, and was buried at
Penaby, in the county of Pembroke, not far from
the present watering-place of Tenby.

After an exile of about twenty years, Budic
was recalled to his native land by the unanimous
voice of his countrymen. His brother having
died, the people looked upon him as the rightful

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Election of

heir to the throne. The prince, after collecting
a fleet, left Cambria about the year 490, and.
having driven away a horde of barbarians from
Nantes, which they had made their stronghold,
ruled over the western coasts of Prance as its
undisputed king. Ananmed accompanied her
husband to Gaul, and gave birth to Oudoceus
immediately after landing in Armorica.

Adversity is a good teacher, creates within the
heart a deep sense of the vanity of this world,
and leads men to aim at objects above the reach
of human inconsistency and caprice. Oudoceus,
like his brothers, had been consecrated to God
before his birth by his parents, who earnestly
hoped that he would, like them, devote his life
to the service of religion. Of his early youth
little is known beyond the fact of his receiving a
classical education, and entering holy orders.

When, after a sojourn of seven years in
Brittany, St. Teilo returned to Llandaff, he
brought with him several priests to fill up the
vacancies which the yellow pestilence had made
in the ranks of the Welsh clergy. The bishop
appealed to the zeal and piety of the priests of
Brittany. Amongst those who generously offered
their services were three sons of King Budic,
the brother-in-law of Teilo, namely, Ismael,
Tyfy, and Oudoceus.

Oudoceus, who was the youngest of the three
brothers, must have won the esteem of the
Cambrians by his zeal, kindness, and talents;

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for, on the death of St. Teilo, when, according to
the custom of the Catholic Church in those days,
the leading men of the diocese, both clergy and
laity, assembled to elect a new pastor, Oudoceus
was selected to fill the vacant See. The abbots
of Lantwit-Major, of Docunni, and of Cadmell,
King Meurig, and many other princes whose
names are mentioned in the “ Liber Landavensis,”
decided on proposing the youngest nephew of
the deceased prelate as his successor, and
Oudoceus was, in consequence, consecrated
Bishop of Llandaff . 1

His installation, like those of the two first
bishops, Dubricius and Teilo, was the occasion of
a solemn ceremony, such as has been already
described. King Meurig, with his Queen,
Onbrawst, their two sons, the abbots of the three
large monasteries, the princes of the kingdom,
and all the clergy were present. After the
celebration of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, all
the privileges and donations granted to St.
Dubricius and St. Teilo were again publicly
confirmed and signed on both sides ; the usual
procession passed round the boundaries of the
church property between the rivers Taff and Ely,
the cross being borne in front, and after it the
relics of the saints ; then came the new bishop,
and following him walked the king, carrying
the four Gospels. As on former occasions,
the dust of the church was scattered here

(1) “ Liber Landavensis.”

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and there, and the boundaries sprinkled with
holy water. 1

The third Bishop of Llandaff was much
advanced in life when called upon to undertake
the direction of the diocese. Born in 490, he
was raised to the episcopal dignity in 565 or 566,
and was at that time about seventy years of age.*
His life as a bishop, though short, was by no
means untroubled, the period of his administra-
tion being marked by much greater disturbances
than had beset his predecessors. Disputes,
murders of the most cruel description, and
violations of solemn treaties, both in civil and
religious matters, seem to have been of frequent
occurrence. But the venerable prelate proved
equal to all emergencies. Though of a mild and
kindly nature, he became like a lion when the
interests of God or justice and charity to his
flock demanded it. He may be called the
Ambrose or Gregory of the Church of Llandaff,
for, like those saints, he mounted guard as a
valiant soldier on the ramparts of the sanctuary,
and withstood the tyranny and misdeeds of kings
and princes. Energetic and undaunted, he at
the same time possessed remarkable prudence
and great knowledge of human weakness, for
which he made all due allowance.

During his episcopacy several councils were
held in the diocese of Llandaff. The occasions of

(1) “ Liber Landavensis.”

(2) “ Liber Landavensis/’ p. 625,

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these councils, the persons by whom they were
attended, and the manner of proceeding in such
matters, are most interesting to the student of
history, inasmuch as they afford considerable
insight into the moral, intellectual, and social
condition of Cambria.

After the departure of the Proconsuls and their
legions the political constitution of Britain ^ ter 1118

° departure

underwent a great change, and its unity of
administration was lost. The country became
divided and sub-divided into small, petty states,
governed by chieftains independent of each other.

It is true that a certain confederation existed,
with a king at its head, but his power was more
nominal than real — a fact which rendered the
conquest of the island by the Anglo-Saxons a
comparatively easy task.

At this period the Britons were all Christians,
though many of them were very indifferent
practisers of the precepts of their faith.
Montalembert’s description of the Merovingian
princes and of the Franks of that day would
admirably suit the British chieftains and their

The Welsh princes, like those of Gaul, inter-
fered very little in spiritual affairs. In this they
were unlike their compeers of the East, who
considered themselves better theologians than
their bishops and clergy. The Cambrians
respected their pastors, and, as a rule, did not
seek unduly to influence their election. Princes,

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however, . who made external profession of the
Catholic faith frequently, without scruple,
violated all its precepts, and even the simplest
laws of Christianity, After prostrating before
the tomb of some martyr and giving a grant
of land to religion, they are often to be found
exhibiting all the instincts of a savage nature,
perpetrating acts of cold-blooded cruelty and
treachery of the most revolting character ; then
they pass with incomprehensible rapidity to
passionate demonstrations of contrition. This is,
unfortunately, illustrated by the sad events which
took place under the episcopacy of Oudoceus.
The historical facts are as follow : —

The three King Meurig, the benefactor of two bishops,
TodthT™ Ihibricius and Teilo, in the latter part of his life
oiehop. allowed himself to become entangled in quarrels
. with Cynfeddew, which ended in the murder of
the latter.

Later on his grandson, Morgan, killed his
uncle Frioc.

Two brothers contended for the sovereignty,
and after a long dispute one of them took away
the life of the other.

The third Bishop of Llandaff met all these sad
cases with firmness, but also prudence. He did
not act under the spur of the moment, but with
all the dignity and calmness of a bishop,
following the wise regulations of the Canon
Law in such circumstances. He invariably
exerted himself by kindness and persuasion to

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prevent the evil, but when he failed to bring
about any good result, he did not shrink from
the painful duty of exercising a stern severity.

Excommunication is the highest ecclesiastical M<»aun»
penalty the church can inflict. Unlike the civil
power, she has no standing army, or large staff ^°™ unc .
of police to enforce the execution of her decrees, '^ntenceof
or punish their violation. She is a spiritual
power, and visits with spiritual punishment those
within her fold who rebel against her laws. A
public sinner who, after being duly warned,
persists in an evil course, is by her cut off from
the communion of the Church, and not allowed
to receive her Sacraments until such time as he
amends his ways and gives satisfaction . 1

When it came to the knowledge of the holy
Bishop Oudoceus that serious dissensions, entailing
loss of life, existed within his diocese, he, like a
good shepherd, at once set to work to restore
peace and effect reconciliations. The Welsh
Princes, although quarrelsome < and revengeful,
were not destitute of religion, and the voice of a
Bishop or Abbot possessed more influence over
them than that of a potentate at the head of a
powerful army. In fact the people look upon
their bishop as the natural umpire in such cases.

(I) Theology defines a censure : Pcena spiritualis et Medicinalu qud
homo Baptibatus delinquent et conlumax, quorumdam Bonorum tpiritualium
usu privatur (Gury). A censure is a spiritual penalty, which deprives a
guilty and contumacious Christian of certain spiritual benefits, according to
the kind of the censure. The adjective, Medicinalis, implies that the
punishment is intended as a correction to bring back the prevaricator to
the observance of the law. As a rule the delinquent must be guilty o
contumacy, for such is the spirit of the legislator. Hence in the charters
of Llandafif, when mention is made of excommunication, we often read
After being admonished twice or thrice.

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Oudoceus appealed to their Christian feeling,
and in the name of religion persuaded them to
present themselves in the church and approach
the altar, sheltering the body and blood of our
Redeemer. The invitation of their chief pastor
was law to these simple hut irascible chieftains,
and was seldom disobeyed. A day was appointed
for meeting in the church, in presence of the
leading men, both clergy and laity. The relics
of the saints were placed upon the altar, together
with the Book of the Gospel, and after prayer
to Almighty God, the giver of good counsel and
the subduer of hearts, the bishop addressed to
those at variance an exhortation to live hereafter
in peace and brotherly love. He reminded them
that the commandments of God and of the
Church forbade useless strife in which the lives
of thousands were often sacrificed, and spoke of
the law which prohibits the shedding of blood.
He said that though a Prince carried a sword he
should only use it to protect the innocent and
maintain justice, but should never turn it into
an instrument of revenge for exaggerated wrongs
or private anger. A ruler should be the first to
set a good example to his subjects by abstaining
from useless wars.

The adverse Princes, in presence of the clergy
and principal chieftain, approached the altar,
placed their hands on the Book of the Gospel,
and swore in the most solemn manner that for
the future they would live together in peace

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and brotherly love; like childss peacefully with
Redeemer, that they would disban&ich, Meurig,
and resign all further attempts on dir and fair
lives. >urdered

In the case of King Meurig and Cynfeu
this ceremony of reconciliation took place in the
Cathedral of Llandaff. Morgan and his uncle,-
Frioc, took the same solemn oath before the altar
of Lantwit-Maj or , 2 Glamorganshire.

Such were the measures adopted by St.
Oudoceus to bring about reconciliations between
contending chieftains by appealing to their
noblest feelings, that of religion, and it was at
the foot of the altar that he despoiled them of
their swords.

These transactions, semi-religious and semi-
civil, were looked upon by the Welsh as most
sacred in their nature, and witnessed as they
were by the leading members of the clergy and
the laity, stood in the eyes of the nation as legal
agreements, which could not be violated without
exposing the transgressor to be dealt with as
enemies to their God and to their country, hence
a murder after such solemn promises rendered a
chieftain unworthy to rule over his countrymen.

When Wales was still Catholic, deep was the
veneration of her people for the sacred temple
which enshrined the blessed Sacrament. The
altar was to them the Holy of Holies, never to

(1) “ Liber Landaveneis,” p. 390.

(2) “ Liber Landavensifl,’’ p. 395.

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Oudoceus appe^t with fear and trembling,
and in the np* where justice was dispensed was
present thc'worthy of respect, but the Church and
the alty^ were looked upon as the places most to
Redecorated on earth.

w ^iowel Dda, the Justinian of Wales, retained
y n his code the old Cambrian respect for the
Church and Altar, as we have seen in a preceding
chapter . 1

Some of the Welsh Princes, however, were
not sufficiently masters over their passions, or
proof against surrounding influences. Notwith-
standing their solemn vows, they at times broke
their promise. King Meurig was the first to
violate his word, by murdering Cynfeddew.

This aroused the indignation of St. Oudoceus,
and the whole country joined with him in
reprobating such terrible crimes. A council was
convoked in both instances, the clergy of the
diocese and the leading men of the State being
summoned to attend.

The charges against the chieftain were of the
gravest nature. At the foot of the altar, and in
the presence of his Redeemer, with his hands
upon his gospel, he had called upon Him, and
upon his assembled countrymen, to witness the
solemn promise to respect the life of his adversary.

The unfortunate victim, relying on the security
of the most sacred oaths, had not entertained the
least suspicion of danger, but had disbanded his

(1) Vide Chapter III., “The Welsh and the Holy Eucharist.’'

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soldiers, who occupied themselves peacefully with
husbandry. Notwithstanding which, Meurig,
forgetful of every principle of honour and fair
dealing, had suddenly rushed upon and murdered

Had this attack taken place in open war, the
council might have found extenuating circum-
stances, hut as the case stood nothing could be
urged in mitigation of this act of treachery and
cunning, the victim of which had respected his
oaths, while the guilty Prince had held nothing

Meurig was, therefore, solemnly excommuni-
cated, and the same penalty extended to all who
should in any way abet him. Their churches
were ordered to be closed, the hells taken down
and laid upon the pavement, and the relics and
crosses removed from the altars.

In cases of such grievous crimes we often find
it recorded that the whole assembly hurled such
curses as the following on the delinquents : —

“ May their days be few, may their children
become orphans, and their wives widows .”

Por more than two years King Meurig 1 iiestatance
disregarded the excommunication pronounced ° £ Meurig '
against him at Llandaff. Princes have, at all
times, been surrounded by courtiers, who seek to
advance their own interests by flattering and
inflaming the worst passions of their sovereigns.
Persons of this class represented to Meurig that

(1) “ Liber Landavensis,” p. 890.

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he was a powerful Prince, master of his own
kingdom, and had little to fear from the curses
of an old bishop. In order to assuage his irritation
at the public verdict, they resorted to the means
ordinarily adopted under such circumstances,
namely — those of amusing the King and
occupying his mind by feasts and pleasure parties
arranged on a large scale. These, after a time,
failed in producing the desired result. Meurig
became gloomy. The spectre of Cynfeddew,
covered with blood, seemed to arise before him
at every festive scene. Besides which, he could
not help remarking that Glamorganshire was no
longer the same. Now, as he passed through
the country, he no longer met a cheerful popula-
tion rejoicing to meet their Prince. He was
everywhere received in silence, but this very
silence seemed to say, “ There goes King Meurig,
once so good and so beloved — now a murderer,
cursed by the bishop, and an enemy to God.”

His home was overshadowed by the same
ban. His chaplain could not celebrate the holy
Sacrifice of the Mass, and the people throughout
the country were becoming clamorous at the long
privation of all religious ministrations they were
compelled to endure on account of the sacrilegious
and impenitent murderer who ruled over them.

His own family was a cause of bitter reproach
to the unhappy man. Many of them, by their
saintly lives, had a right to remonstrate against
the course he was pursuing. As we have already

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seen, the house of Meurig had given several of
its most illustrious memhers to the service of
religion. His father had retired from the world
to lead the life of a hermit; his grandson,
Samson, was a religious at Lantwit-Major and at
Barry Island. His two daughters and their
husbands had parted from each other for the
purpose of practising the Evangelical counsels.

He could not repel the reflection which constantly
arose in his mind, that it was befitting a man
whose family could boast of so many saints, to
cease from being a scandal to the Church
and the country. After struggling against the
merciful inspirations of God for two years, his
soul became keenly alive to the sense of his guilt,
and lifting up his voice, like David, he wept with
deep contrition. He threw himself at the feet
of Oudoceus, acknowledged his sins, and declared
himself ready to submit to any penance which
might be imposed upon him, provided he might
again he restored to the communion of the

The bishop decided on the reconciliation taking Hia
place in public, and summoned the abbots of the repentance
three principal monasteries, Lantwit, Lancarvan,
and Docunni, together with many other persons
of note, to assemble in the cathedral of Llandaff . 1

Meurig, kneeling before the altar, confessed
his guilt, and acknowledged the additional sin of
pride which had so long prevented him from

(1) “ Liber Landavensis," p. 390.

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submitting to the laws of the Church, and
professed himself ready to perform any satis-
faction that might be required of him.

After receiving the King’s promise to amend
his life, the bishop imposed upon him penance
in the form of prayer, fasting, and alms. As he
had launched an unprepared soul into eternity,
he must now offer prayers, fasts, and alms in its

Meurig complied with these injunctions, for
we read in the “ Liber Landavensis ” that he
gave four villages for religious purposes, to
benefit his own soul and the soul of Cynfeddeto,
whom he had murdered . 1

The spot on which the unfortunate victim had
fallen under the sword was consecrated to God,
as was also the place where the King’s son had
committed a sin.

When the Bishop of Llandaff had settled
everything connected with the sad crime of
Meurig, tranquillity reigned in Glamorganshire,
until it was again disturbed by the son and
grandson of the same Prince.

Prioc and Morgan quarrelled. The cause of
dissension between uncle and nephew is not
clearly indicated. Some daughter of Eve seems
to have been at the bottom of it. St. Oudoceus
again endeavoured to re-establish peace and avert
bloodshed. The contending parties presented
themselves before the altar in the Church of

(1) “ Liber Landavensis,” p. 391.

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Lantwit-Maj or, and there in the most solemn
manner in the presence of God, of the bishop,
and of the nobility, promised to live for the
future in peace with each other. On this
occasion the council, in consequence of previous
experience, warned the relatives now publicly
reconciled, that in case either committed perjury
and murdered the other, the guilty person should
not he allowed, on any plea, to redeem himself
either with land or money , hut should resign his
dominion, and pass the entire remainder of his
life in pilgrimages.

Morgan, unfortunately, yielded to temptation,
and killed his uncle ; hut he did not show the
same obstinacy as his grandfather in resisting
authority. He hurried at once to Oudoceus, at
Llandaff, and sought pardon for his two-ffold sins
of perjury and murder. The council of the
nation was again convened , 1 and Morgan came
in person, accompanied by the nobles of
Glamorgan, to await its decision in his regard.
The agreement which had been decided upon
at Lantwit-Major left, however, no liberty
of action to the council. It was of necessity
bound to condemn the guilty prince to resign
his kingdom, and start as a pilgrim, staff in
hand, for a foreign land, there to weep over
his sins. Several members of the council,
however, represented that if this sentence was
carried out, Glamorganshire would he left

(1) “ liber Landavensis, M p. 395*

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without a ruler, and deprived of its natural
protector. The Saxons were at their door, and
the country would be exposed to their inroads
more than ever.

This consideration had great weight with
Oudoceus, and it was unanimously agreed that,
under such circumstances, Morgan, although
guilty, should still retain his authority and reign
over the Principality, after having performed
the same penance that had been imposed upon his
grandfather, Meurig. This resolution having
been adopted and communicated to the king,
Morgan, in the presence of the nobles of
Glamorganshire, approached Oudoceus. The
bishop stood before the altar, holding the four
Gospels ; the king knelt, and, placing his guilty
hand upon the sacred volume, promised, with
tears in his eyes, that he would do penance for
his sins, and never again commit such crimes.
He also swore to rule his people with clemency
and justice. As it was probable that he had
many a time violated the monastic rights and the
sacredness of refuge, he most soltemnly pledged
himself to respect for the future all the privileges
of the saintly abodes of St. Cadoc, of Iltyd, and
of Docunni which had been conferred upon
them in the days of St. Dubricius and St.

All these transactions were committed to
writing, according to the invariable custom
observed by Welsh assemblies, and the pro-

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ceedings were terminated with the usual blessing
and curse.

The Iolo MSS. speaks in very high terms of
this Morgan. He gave his own name to the
district he governed ; was good, valiant, merciful,
and courteous, and established wise and just laws
for the welfare of his dominions. One of his
enactments was that no one should kill an
enemy unless he could not conquer him
otherwise, and it was ordained that whoever
took the life of an enemy, unless no other
alternative remained, should thereby forfeit his
military immunities and right of refuge. Another
ordinance of this code enjoined the appointment
of twelve wise men to determine the just
settlement of all claims, the King being at their
head as supreme counsellor.

This act was called the apostolic law, because
it is thus that Christ and his twelve apostles
judge the world.

When young, Morgan was of a wild and
impetuous disposition, but subsequently repenting,
and amending his errors, he became one of the
best Kings that ever lived.

Gwaednerth, who killed his brother Merchion,
was treated with greater severity than Morgan.
He remained under excommunication for three
years, and when he applied for absolution was
sent on pilgrimage into Brittany for a year.
The church of Armorica took compassion on the
penitent exile, and granted him sealed letters of

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remission, on which he returned to Wales ; but
Oudoceus would not release him from the
excommunication, because he had not completed
the year of penance. However, on the death of
Oudoceus, his successor in the see of Llandaff
absolved this Prince at the request of Morgan
and others . 1

The records of those times reveal, as Mon-
talembert observes, a strange mixture of the
most abominable crime, with a great deep spirit
of contrition. Those Princes were impelled by
a semi-savage nature to commit sins of so heinous
a character as to find no parallel, except amongst
African chiefs or Indian despots. Yet they
reverenced a power which invariably led them
to atone for their misdeeds. A bishop, a monk,
exercised greater influence over them than the
warlike powers by whom they were surrounded.
At times they even went so far as to plunder
monasteries, and violate the most essential laws
of Christianity ; but in the end they were sure to
publicly come and, kneeling before the altar,
Shed tears of repentance. In the mind of the
nation the bishop and the monk were natural
umpires in the quarrels of potentates, and when
Kings could not settle their dissensions, they
looked to the Church as the final judge in such
contentions. In a word, it was the triumph of
moral over brute force, for princes stood more in
awe of Christ and His ministers than of Kings
and their armies.

(1) “ Liber Landavensis,” p. 430.

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Dubricius and Teilo, the two first Bishops of
Llandaff, in accordance with the custom of the
Catholic Church, were in the habit of giving an
account of their dioceses to the Bishop of Rome
as Head of the Church of Christ.

Oudoceus, not satisfied with sending a deputa- oudoceu*
tion, or corresponding by letter, went in person CiS.
to the Limina Apostolorum. He was far advanced
in years, but neither age or infirmities deterred
him from undertaking the journey. This cannot
appear extraordinary to the student of Welsh
history. The nation was Catholic, and intimate
relations with Borne were natural.

Like the first Bishop of Llandaff, St. Dubricius, st.
Oudoceus feeling the infirmities of age stealing
over him, resolved to resign the administration Mon- de m
of his diocese into younger hands, in order to^ 1 ^
devote the remainder of his life to the welfare of
his own soul. He accordingly retired to the fordeath -
banks of the Biver Wye, in Monmouthshire,
and whilst living there in solitude a stag, closely
pursued by Prince Einion, sought shelter beneath
the cloak of the venerable bishop. The chieftain^
meeting his ancient pastor under such interesting
circumstances, not only spared the stag, but gave
a grant of land to St. Oudoceus for the purpose
of founding a monastery and a church. Several
persons placed themselves under his direction,
no longer as a bishop, but as the leader of a
saintly community.

His retreat was often visited by hundreds of

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widows and orphans, who came to him for advice
and protection, and also by crowds of persons
afflicted with infirmities, either physical or '

Few details have reached us concerning his
last days. It is true that his disciples collected
with reverence the records of the miracles
performed by him ; but these writings, with
many others, were subsequently burned during
the Saxon invasion, or else carried away by the
exiles, who fled to countries which offered them
greater security than their own.

St. Oudoceus died on the second of July. It is
difficult to state the exact year of his demise, but
it must have been at the close of the sixth

century. Lobineau is much mistaken in fixing
upon the year 564. This date corresponds with
the time when he was consecrated bishop on the
death of St. Teilo. His feast was formerly
celebrated on the second of January.

! The student of history is naturally led to
between remark a striking resemblance between the
Ambrose energetic Ambrose, of Milan, and the equally
and st firm Oudoceus, of LlandafiF. It is true two
of LbSr centuries separate them, and one had to deal
with the Christian monarchs of the great Homan
empire on those territories in the plains of
Lombardy, at the foot of the Alps, and the other
with independent Christian chieftains in Cambria,
along the British Channel. However, a similarity
of temper, circumstances, and actions, cannot but

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strike the reader who has studied the lives of
both prelates.

St. Ambrose was holding a council at Milan
in 390, when the news of a great disturbance at
Thessalonica, in which several officers had lost
their lives, reached him. The archbishop and
his brethren, knowing how severely the law of
retaliation was carried out by imperial officials,
wrote a joint letter to Theodosius, requesting
him, in the name of Christ, to forgive the
unreflecting crowd through whom the disaster
had occurred, or, at least, to act with leniency in
a case where there was no premeditation. The
emperor promised to forgive the rioters, but
yielding later on to the importunities of Rufinus,
his chief minister, secret orders were given to
the commander of the province, directing him
to take a signal revenge. The military accordingly
received instructions to rush upon the circus
when crowded with the citizens of Thessalonica.
The command was obeyed, and the soldiers
entering in the middle of the game, slew all
whom they could reach with their swords,
without distinction of guilt or innocence, age or
sex. The massacre lasted for three long hours.
Seven thousand victims were sacrificed, and the
amphitheatre changed into a sea of blood.

The Emperor was then absent from Milan, but
was expected to return in a few days. As he
entered the city by one gate, the archbishop left
it by another, being unwilling to meet a prince

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crimsoned with the blood of his subjects.
Theodosius, however, addressed to him a most
pathetic letter. Neither angel or archangel
could wash away his sin ; repentance was his only
hope — the Monarch requested to be allowed to do
penance. When the Emperor presented himself
at the door of the cathedral, Ambrose confronted
him on the threshold, and forbade him to
advance, because he was not worthy to approach
the altar or partake of the body and blood of the
Lord, being guilty of the murder of seven
thousand of His children. Theodosius replied
that although David had committed adultery and
murder, he had been forgiven. “ Yes,” replied
the intrepid archbishop, “but he did penance.
Do thou in like manner, and deserve pardon.”

This happened in April, 390. Theodosius
accepted the penance imposed, and for eight
months mourned over his sin. As the Christmas
festivities drew nigh, he became still more sad at
the idea of being excluded from the communion
of the faithful and shut out from the altar of
sacrifice. He thought of presenting himself at
church, though certain of being humbled, for he
knew how inflexible Ambrose was. However,
he did go, and was publicly rebuked, but in the
end absolved.

Happy the Church whose walls are defended
by such intrepid champions of justice and
humanity. Only one who was a saint, a lover of
Jesus Christ, and a true shepherd, devoted to his

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flock, could display such energy in time of need.
St. Oudoceus evinced the same firmness when
dealing with guilty potentates. Like Ambrose,
when he suspected a crime was about to be com-
mitted, he exerted himself to avert it by fatherly
advice ; but if this had no effect, and the sin was
perpetrated, he cut off the criminal from com-
munion with Christianity. Fear of drawing
revenge on himself was powerless to deter him
from the execution of his episcopal duties, and,
like St. Ambrose, he closed the door of the Church
against guilty Welsh princes, not once, but on no
less than four occasions, until such time as they
had undergone the penance imposed upon them
by the council. During the greater part of his
administration some portions of his diocese were
under interdict; one, in the neighbourhood of
Gower, for three years, a part of Glamorganshire
for two. No power on earth could induce him
to absolve a Christian prince until he had made
full satisfaction, like King David and the
Emperor Theodosius, for the crime of which he
had been guilty.

Notwithstanding St. Ambrose’s severity,
Theodosius could not withdraw his admiration
from him. He alternately resided at Milan and
at Constantinople, and he could not avoid seeing
the difference between the Patriarch and the
Archbishop. The acute monarch was accustomed
to observe, “ At Constantinople I am surrounded
by flatterers, at Milan I am told the truth;

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there is not under the sun a bishop like

The Cambrians also, as a rule, approved of the
energy and firmness of Oudoceus. They flocked
around their prelate at the altar of St. Illtyd at
Lantwit-Major, or that of St. Peter at Llandaff,
and supported him in the execution of his
pastoral duties, and when he pronounced sentence
of exco mmuni cation on the guilty, they acknow-
ledged the justice of the decree. With the
exception of those parasites and courtiers who
always live on princes, the people of Glamorgan-
shire received with veneration and awe the just
severity of their bishop, aware that he was the
representative of Christ, and when, on Sundays,
the Gospel of St. John, describing the difference
between the good shepherd and the hireling,
was read to them, they were wont to remark,
“ Oudoceus, the Bishop of Llandaff, is the
good shepherd who flieth not when the wolf
approacheth the fold, but remaineth at his post
and will not allow any of his sheep to be touched.”

The Cambrians in their charters introduce his
name along with those of St. Dubricius and
St. Teilo. Ancient records speak of him as one
of the three saintly bishops ot Llandaff.

The early Cambrians, whatever may have been
their other defects, respected the priest as a
person invested with the most exalted dignity on
earth, and looked upon him as the coadjutor of
God , 1 the dispenser of his mysteiHes?

(1) 1 Cor., iii. 9 (2) 1 Cor., iv. 1.

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He was the possessor of power over the body
and blood of Christ in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

He cancelled sins in the sacrament of penance,
and was the ordinary minister of the seven
Sacraments, and in the Church of God he was a
ruler and a teacher.

In our modern times a Welshman recognises
no authority in religious matters. He judges for
himself, he discards the sacraments of the Church
established by Christ, he has no need of any
priesthood, and is impressed with the idea that
no sacerdotalism should exist in his temples.

Christ and his own ancestors have taught a
different lesson.

The feast of St. Oudoceus was celebrated on
July the second, the day of his death.

The life of Oudoceus closes the career of the
first three Bishops of Llandaff, mentioned as
saints in the archives of their diocese.

Let us now leave the old Cathedral, and invite
the reader to accompany us to Llancarvnn and
Lantwit-Major, and make the acquaintance of
Cadoc, the wise, and Illtyd, the knight. A few
miles to the west along the British Channel will
bring us to their monasteries.

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Saint Cadoc, Rounder op Llancarvan
Monastery, Glamorganshire . 1

In the earlier part of the fifth century there
lived in the present county of Monmouth, South
Wales , 2 a Cambrian chieftain named Gwynlyw,
son of Glywys. He was the eldest of eight or
ten children. When dying, their father divided
h is territory equally amongst them, in com-
pliance with the custom called gavel-kind. One
of the brothers, however, named Pedrog, declined
his portion, having determined on embracing a
religious life, in which he lived and died.

To the share of Gwynlyw fell that tract of
land lying between Newport, Monmouthshire,
and the present town of Cardiff; how far it
extended towards the north is not stated. This
estate at present is in possession of the Tredegar

On entering into this inheritance the young
chieftain considered the time had arrived for
him to marry and settle down. His choice fell

(1) This Life is compiled from the works of Lobineau, Albert le Grand’
and from the “ Cambro-British Saints.”

(2) Monmouthshire is here placed in Wales, for in the times we allude
to the river Wye formed the frontier of Llandaff diocese.

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upon a young lady named Gwladys, who belonged
to the family of Brychan, prince of Brecknock,
a lady in every way accomplished. His proposal
for her hand being declined by the family, the
impetuous lover determined to carry her off
by force.

Such cases of abduction were not uncommon
in those days, and their repeated occurrence
induced the Catholic Church to introduce into the
marriage code the impedimenttm raptus, for the
purpose of protecting the free will of woman-
hood, necessary to the validity of marriage.

Gwynlyw having successfully accomplished his
romantic feat, a deadly war was the result, as a
matter of course, and many lives were sacrificed
in consequence. Friends, however, interfered to
restore peace, and on the lady declaring that she
would never marry anyone hut Gwynlyw, an
agreement was arrived at, and the young couple
united in lawful matrimony.

Of this marriage was born a son, Cadoc, or
Cathmail, as he was named in baptism, who
became the celebrated founder of Llancarvan
Monastery, and to whom future generations were
to apply the title of Wise}

This child, with St. Dubricius, first Bishop of
Llandaff, and Illtyd, the Knight, whom, later on,
he was to induce to forsake the world and its
vanities, was destined by Divine Providence to

(1) According to the Breviary of Vannes, Cadoc was bom in the year of
oar Lord 421. — Vide Albert le Grand.

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by TathaL

become one of the most illustrious sons of the
Catholic Church of Wales in the fifth century.

Cadoc was baptised by Tathai, a monk living
at Caer-went. As this priest exercised great
influence over the future career of our saint, it
may not be out of place to narrate the circum-
stances under which he became intimately
acquainted with the house of Gwynlyw,

Tathai was at the head of a small religious
community at Caer-went, near Chepstow, once an
important Roman fortress. At this period the
far-famed legions had departed, never to return,
and their settlement was occupied by the men of
Christ, as the monks were called. As yet the
number of religious was small, and they possessed
property of no consequence.

One night some of the followers of Gwynlyw —
good soldiers, no doubt, but bad citizens — started
on a plundering expedition. Directing their
steps eastward, they came to Caer-went, broke
into the enclosure of the monastery, and carried
off the few head of cattle belonging to the monks.
This event took place on the very night Cadoc
was born. His father had had a dream, in which
he beheld a venerable-looking priest enter the
hall of his castle. As he gazed upon him, some-
what amazed, he heard a voice which said, “ Be
kind to this holy priest, and let him baptise the
new-born child, for he will be the guide and
teacher of his youth.”

Tathai, on being informed on the following

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morning of the outrage which had been com-
mitted during the night, and of the plunderers
being in the service of Gwynlyw, at once started
off to lay his complaint before their master, and
claim restitution.

The arrival of the priest at the castle accorded
exactly with the dream of the chieftain, who,
having heard his statement about the cattle, and
given him satisfaction for the theft, asked Tathai
to baptise the child.

The monk seemed to have a prevision as to the
future destiny of that infant, for, on restoring
him to his father, he strongly recommended the
chieftain not to neglect the education of his son,
but have him brought up in the pursuit of
literary knowledge. Gwynlyw promised not to
forget this advice, and added that amongst all
the seminaries of Britain to none but the monks
of Caer-went would he entrust the early training
of his son.

When seven or eight years of age, Cadoc was
accordingly sent to Tathai’s monastery, where he
graduated through the various stages of education
imparted in those days.

Manual labour was a custom seldom departed
from in monastic schools ; hence we find young
Cadoc, though of noble birth, engaged in the
humble occupation of lighting the fires, like a
servant. The legend tells us that on a certain
day the young student was sent to fetch some fire
from a neighbouring cottage. He was there told

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and the
home of


that he could not have any unless he carried it
away in his breast. This Cadoc did, without
either his garments or his body being in the least

The noble youth remained in the school of
Caer- went for twelve years, and did not leave it
until he had completed his studies. He was then
nineteen or twenty, a good scholar, and proficient
in learning, both Divine and human. He was
innocent, and beloved by all. The parting
between master and pupil was affecting. Tathai
had baptised Cadoc, and watched him as he grew
up tinder his eyes. Stretching his hands over
the young man, he implored Almighty God to
protect him, and His holy angels to be his com-
panions on the road of life; then, giving him his
own blessing, he wished him prosperity in what-
ever career he might be called to pursue.

Young Cadoc, on returning home, soon began
to feel the difference between the monastery and
the mansion of a chieftain. In the former, every
hour was usefully occupied either in manual
labour, study, or prayer. At the castle, his
father and friends spent their days either in
hunting or warfare, and their nights in banquet-
ing. In the monastery no plundering ot any
sort was allowed, for those whose lives were
passed in doing good to others could not permit
the least act of injustice to be perpetrated.

The chieftain, on the contrary, closed his eyes
to the misdeeds of his followers. Provided they

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stood under his banner and fought valiantly in
time of war, he was satisfied, and did not inter-
fere with their liberty unless they committed
themselves in a way to bring discredit on him
before the world. In fact, whilst he looked well
after his own interest, he neglected that of God.
His son, with a mind enlightened by the Holy
Ghost, and well grounded in the Gospel precepts,
was at a loss to understand how his father and
his friends could take such delight in the battle-
field and set such a value on the slaughter of
their foes, and in such other worldly pursuits.

Gwynlyw, by his deeds of valour, had shed a
halo over his country which had been so
appreciated by the people that they added to his
name the title of Warrior. To the young man
all this was vanity of vanities. More than once
he indicated his feelings to both his parents, and
urged on them the necessity and utility of
serving God, but his words produced little effect;
the time had not yet come.

Cadoc seems to have made up his mind to
enter religion whilst at Caer-went, but how long
he remained at home after the completion of his
studies is not stated. Some writers incline to
think that the following circumstances 1 decided
the young nobleman to leave home suddenly : —

Some difference had arisen between Gwynlyw
and a neighbouring chieftain, which, as usual,
was to be decided by the sword. Cadoc was

(1) Albert le Grand.

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The swine-
herd and

appointed to the command of this expedition,
but he declined, on the plea that he was a soldier
of Christ. His Master, he said, had shed His own
blood for the redemption of mankind, but never
used the sword for the destruction of the children
of Adam; it was his wish to follow this Divine
example. Aware that his father, a stern soldier,
would never forgive this answer, he resolved to
leave home, and thus at once commence the
religious life. This abrupt decision reveals in
the son the determination of character of the
father, but turned to a better cause.

"With a few friends who entertained the same
idea, he set out, and, directing his steps west-
ward, passed through the present town of Cardiff,
and studied the localities of that district along the
Bristol Channel. This part of Glamorganshire is
undulating, and abounds in hills and valleys,
which in those days were in great part covered
with wood.

Cadoc made a minute inspection of the country,
crossing hills and diving into valleys, but could
not find a place suitable for his plans until he
came to Llancarvan, three or four miles from
Cowhridge. Here he discovered a swampy valley,
rarely visited by anyone, and which, by the very
nature of the ground, was adapted to secure the
solitude so prized by monks. Staff in hand, he
examined the place, wading through the swamps
and forcing his way among briars and thorns.
Tired out, at last he lay down to rest on a rising

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spot where the ground was dry and shaded by a
wild apple tree, and fell asleep. A herd of
swine, which was feeding not far off, came to the
spot, and seeing the prostrate figure were
frightened and ran away. Their guardian seeing
this, suspected the presence of thieves or wolves,
and began searching about the place, finding
Cadoc, who by this time was on his knees in
prayer. The man at once concluded it was
thieves, and not wolves who had startled his
flock, and that the young man on his knees was
one of the gang. After showering abuse and
curses on the stranger, he grasped his spear,
determined, as he said, to rid the country of one
of its worst robbers.

The legend adds that, whilst in the act of
aiming a blow, his arm became stiffened and he
also lost his sight. He at once perceived that the
object of his attack was specially protected by
the Lord, and soon found that he possessed the
charity of a saint ; for Cadoc consoled him with
the assurance that the God who struck was also
able to restore to him the use of his eyes and
arm. When informed by the shepherd that the
name of his master was Doulpenythen, Cadoc
replied that he was his uncle. He then told the
man to go home, and recommended him to tell
his master all that had occurred.

When Doulpenythen heard the narrative, he The unde
ordered twelve horsemen to accompany him to nephew.
Llancarvan, for which place he at once started.

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The meeting between uncle and nephew was
by no means free from embarrassment. The
chieftain was distressed that his swine-herd should
have shown disrespect and even violence to the
son of his brother ; but when, instead of a gay
young nobleman, surrounded by hounds and
sporting friends, he saw a few youths, meanly
clad and neglected-looking, he guessed the
purpose for which they had come to that locality,
and felt still more embarrassed.

After a few preliminary remarks on both sides,
which indicated how matters stood, the chieftain
thought it his duty to recommend his nephew to
return home. He bade him remember that a
brilliant career was open to him. He was the
child of a celebrated warrior, who expected that
his son should be worthy of the father, and win a
reputation for bravery in the battle-field and
courtesy in domestic life; that, having now
reached the age of manhood, filial duty required
he should comply with the reasonable wishes of
his family.

Oadoc replied that his mind was irrevocably
made up as regarded his future life, and that on
no account would he forsake the service of
religion for the allurements of a deceitful world,
prefer earthly to heavenly attractions, or risk the
loss of eternal bliss for the enjoyment of
temporary pleasures. He had himself witnessed
with sorrow the lives led by many noble youths,
who were far from assimilating themselves with

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the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “All,” he added,

“ that I desire is a small comer of God’s earth on
which I can build a hut, wherein to pray, live
an innocent life, and die.”

Bis uncle, being much edified by the young
man’s steadfast piety, said —

“ If thou hast need of land, choose and take as
much as thou requirest out of my territory.”

Cadoc thanked his uncle, and replied, “ My
companions and myself have minutely inspected
this district in search of a place suitable for the
religious life we purpose to lead. This valley
will answer our purpose. It is far from human
habitation, and here we can devote ourselves
undisturbed to the service of our Divine Master.”
Having arranged this matter to their mutual
satisfaction, the chieftain bade farewell to his
nephew, and returned home.

Cadoc and his companions recognised in this Pounda .
event the finger of God, who had provided them £j°“ n ^ r _
with a home. At first sight, the place selected ^ nast6ry
was not an inviting spot. The valley was a
watery moor, producing nothing but reeds and
bulrushes, and swarming with reptiles and snakes.

Here and there a few dry and elevated mounds
rose above the surface of the marsh ; these served
as places of resort for wild boars. It was called
by the natives the Valley of the Deer, because in
the hunting season, when these animals were
closely tracked by the hounds, they were wont to
take refuge in this almost inaccessible swamp,

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which was dreaded alike by huntsmen and

The servants of God, however, were glad to
have a place they could call their own, and
thanked their heavenly Father for His gift.
They passed the following night in prayer,
imploring light to enable them to decide on the
best place whereon to erect a building for His
greater honour and glory.

As Montalembert observes, animals were often
made the medium of indicating to religious the
site of monasteries predestined to become here-
after great centres of piety and learning. Thus,
the position of Fecamp, Hautvillers, and other
convents in France were pointed out ; one by a
stag, another by an eagle, and a third by a dove . 1

The site and position of the great monastery of
Llancarvan were, in like manner, marked out by
a wild animal.

The legend records that an angel appeared to
Cadoc, and said, “ To-morrow thou shalt be shown
the spot whereoii God wills thee to erect thy
foundation. On coming to a piece of dry ground
thou shalt find a wild boar, which will run away
affrighted. There thou shalt build a church.
The boar, as he retreats, will twice stop for a
moment. On the first spot thus indicated erect
a dormitory, and on the second a refectory.”

This prediction was fulfilled, for as Cadoc
journeyed along on the following day he did

(1) Montalembert’s “ Monks of the West."

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really meet a bristly white boar. He marked
the spot on which the animal stood, as also the
two places where, as the angel had foretold, he
halted in his flight, and thereon, in course of
time, arose the various buildings connected with
the monastery of Llaiicarvan.

The first erections were simple, being con-
structed of wood from the forests on the adjacent
hills, the roofs being formed of reeds or bulrushes
from the moor.

The fame of Cadoc’s sanctity soon spread
throughout South Wales, and crowds of disciples,
eager to follow the evangelical counsels, flocked
to Llancarvan. By degrees the appearance of
the country was completely changed. A deep
trench, cut in the centre of the valley, formed a
channel for conveying the stagnant waters into
the sea; the sloping ground was also drained,
and roads or footpaths were formed which opened
easy communication with the neighbouring

However scanty may be the records of
monastic foundations, it is always to be remarked
that one of the first works undertaken by the
monks was the formation of an enclosed
cemetery, and near, or within it, a church. No
doubt, those who had renounced the world for
ever remembered that it was within the cloister
that they were to live and die, and, therefore, the
church and the cemetery were link ed together in
their minds. It was fitting that the brethren

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who had passed away should await the resurrec-
tion in the vicinity of the altar whereon the holy
Sacrifice of the Hass was offered for the repose
of the souls of the faithful departed, and near the
church from which their prayers had so often
ascended to God.

Bound the church and the cemetery, as round
a centre, the other buildings which composed the
monastery were erected. The plan of Llan-
carvan was identical with that followed by most
of the religious houses in those days, and included
a monastery, a college, and an hospital.

We can discover no record in the “ Lives of
the Cambro-British Saints” of the amount of
land granted to Cadoc by his uncle Poulentus,
but we have reason to believe that its depen-
dencies became greatly enlarged-through various
donations, and that the boundaries extended
beyond the Valley of Llancarvan. Even in the
lifetime of Cadoc we find that the monks had
cultivated the land in the neighbourhood of
Penmark as far as the shores of the sea. On the
west they carried their works through St. Athens,
Lambthery, and on to Lanfythen ; whilst on the
east they extended as far as Molton.

It is probable that round Llancarvan, as a
centre, rose various priories, each under the rule
of a prior, for we read that in course of time a
separate building was erected for the residence of
St. Cadoc as abbot, and called Cadoc’s Castle.

The buildings first constructed being merely

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huts formed of green wood, were very perishable,
and as the community increased a monastery
formed of permanent materials was substituted.

The biographers of St. Cadoc inform us that in
the Valley of the Deer great use was made of
those animals; they dragged timber from the
forests and stones from the quarries. No longer
tracked by hounds and huntsmen, they willingly
assisted the monks in their various labours.
Persons who visit Llancarvan and neighbourhood
at the present day must feel convinced that in
former times men highly gifted with physical
strength and intellectual power must have
tenanted that locality. This is exhibited in the
ruined churches, halls, and extent of land
enclosed within walls, forming immense parks,
whilst huge mounds of earth raised within the
valleys retained the waters and formed lakes and

It must not be forgotten that, as a rule, the
peasantry willingly became tenants on monastic
territory, influenced by its many advantages.
There they found peace, security, and exemption
from military service ; and also good masters in
the science of farming, and safe teachers in
spiritual matters. They found that Cadoc was a
better ruler as a monk than he would have been
as a wild chieftain like his father, Gwynlyw, and
others . 1 He was, indeed, the spiritual life of the

(1) The Iolo MSS., page 557, speaks thus of the numerical strength of
this monastery : — “ The College of Cattwg, in Llancarvan, with three cells
and a thousand saints, together with two cells in the Vale of Neath.'*

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Travels of

brethren and others of Llancarvan, as also a
model to many monasteries.

Cadoc, like the rest of the religious, did
not disdain manual labour. In the house of
religion none were allowed to eat the bread of

Not far from Llancarvan was a field specially
called the “White Field” (Erwgwen), a name
which was religiously preserved for centuries.
The clearing and cultivation of that field was the
work of the blessed Cadoc.

The primitive monks of Britain were inde-
fatigable travellers ; we find them in Gaul, Italy,
Borne, and Jerusalem ; and, considering the few
facilities for locomotion which existed in those
days, we are bound to confess that they were men
who possessed great energy and extraordinary
physical powers. They crossed stormy oceans in
small open boats, and traversed immense
continents on foot, if no other facility was open
to them. Devotion or love of learning were their
chief motives for undertaking these labourious
journeys ; and Cadoc, the founder of Llancarvan,
holds the first rank as a traveller amongst
the abbots of Wales. We meet with him in
Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany, seeking instruc-
tion for himself, preaching the Gospel to others,
and building monasteries. He kneels at the
tomb of Saints Peter and Paul in Borne, and
in Jerusalem follows, in tears, his Saviour
along the Via Dolorosa. Again and again

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during his life does he renew these pil-

When the Monastery of Llancarvan was
thoroughly established, the abbot thought of
visiting Ireland because the religious houses and
colleges of that country were famed for piety
and learning. The founder of a monastic
institution could hut profit by a personal
knowledge of establishments which were looked
upon as models. He remembered the words of
holy Scripture, “ Son, acquire learning in thy
youth, and thou wilt find wisdom with thy grey
hairs, and it will he to thee as a father and as a

Cadoc’s monastery being a new foundation, he
considered it expedient to examine into the spirit
and administration of the most celebrated cloisters
in Ireland. Taking with him some of his
brethren, he visited Lismore, which then enjoyed
a well-deserved reputation as the perfection of a
monastic institution. Here he resided for three
years, conforming in all things to the rules of
the house.

On his return to Wales he brought back with
him several Irish monks and British priests, who
had a desire to become members of his com-
munity. Amongst them were the celebrated
Professors Einian, Macmoil, and Guavan.

This practical common-sense, which we note
with pleasure amongst the saints of Cambria,
contributed in no small degree to their attainment

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of a high standard of perfection, both religions
and scholastic; and, in course of time, they
gained a great reputation as masters of Divine
and human sciences.

Some persons are inclined to think that there
is nothing to he learnt beyond the narrow limit s
of their own country. According to their
opinion, science has 'fixed her abode amongst
them, and, as a matter of course, there is nothing
they can acquire from others.

Cadoc’s feeling on the subject was very
different. He knew that much was to be learnt
in other lands and from their inhabitants,
especially on subjects about which they possessed
greater experience than his own.

On returning from Ireland, the saintly abbot
passed some time in Brecknockshire, the birth-
place of his mother, Gwladys. Love of learning
prompted this new absence from Llancarvan.
There lived in Brecknockshire a celebrated
professor, who had spent several years in Borne,
and Cadoc wished to acquire from him the real
pronounciation of Latin, and also the Boman style
of psalmody, in order that he might secure
Liturgical correctness for his brethren.

We also find him making pilgrimages to
Jerusalem and Borne. Devotion was his chief
motive for undertaking these journeys ; for at all
times a natural religious instinct attracts the
devout to the sacred spot trodden by the feet of
our Bedeemer — to Bethlehem, the place of his

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birth, and to Calvary, the throne of his conquest
over death and hell.

Pilgrims to the East, as a rule, carried back
with them relics — especially altar-stones — which
had touched the holy sepulchre or been taken
from the quarries on the spot. Cadoc brought
three such altar-stones on his return to Wales,
two of which he gave to his monastic brethren,
Macmoil and Elly, keeping the third for his
own use. The Cambro-British MSS. assert that
seven times in his life did this holy man visit the
Liminia Apostolorum, and Jerusalem tvoice.

His pilgrimage to Jerusalem and his visit to
Borne, on his way back to Britain, took place,
according to Albert le Grand, in 462, in the
beginning of the pontificate of John the Third,
by which Pope he was kindly received. 1

The following remarks on the motives which
incited Cadoc to undertake these long journeys
show how deeply rooted in the hearts of the
Britons of those days was devotion to the faithful
departed. According to his biographer, the
abbot performed these pilgrimages as a penance
for the repose of the souls of his departed

He undertook other journeys also — one to
Scotland and another to Brittany. Having knelt
at the holy sepulchre in Jerusalem and at the
tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul in Borne, he
wished to pray at the Church of St. Andrew in

(1) Albert le Grand, p. 666.

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Scotland, and with three of his brethren started
for the North. His devotions being over, he
remarked that the faith in certain portions of
central Scotland was lukewarm, or, at least, was
little practised. The holy abbot prayed, there-
fore, for light to know if he should consecrate a
part of his life to missionary labour amongst
these people.

He prolonged his stay, accordingly, and
preached the Gospel throughout the country;
and, that the work he had done might not be
lost, he established a branch of his order, to
insure its being carried on in the future. His
stay in Scotland lasted five years.

It is also on record that the Abbot of Llan-
carvan built a monastery on a small island in
the river Ectell, Brittany, in the diocese of
Vannes. For many centuries this island bore
‘ the name of Enes Cadog, or Cadvog, in memory
of the saint who is said to have connected it with
the mainland by a bridge or causeway, which,
for length and beauty, was looked upon in those
days as a prodigy of engineering skill. 1

(1) By the Breton firesides, during the long nights of winter, the
legendists used to narrate how, in the execution of this work, Cadoc
cheated the devil. The saint was spanning the distance to be bridged
over, and calculating the immensity of the work he was about to under-
take, when Satan appeared before him, and at once entered upon the
subject. “ So you are thinking of throwing a bridge across the strait ? A
gigantic work ! It will require thousands of men to quarry the stones, all
the oxen of Brittany and Wales to convey them to the spot, and a forest
of wood for the lime-burning. Who will dig for the foundations through
mud and water ? If you agree to my terms, I will do it ; and that, too, in
the short space of one night. As remuneration for my labour, I require
that the firet that crosses the bridge shall become mine.” The saint well
understood that what Satan wanted was a soul to take with him to
hell ; but, as he did not clearly specify such a demand, Cadoc determined
to outwit and give him a lesson in verbal exactitude. So he bade him

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The saints, as we have seen in the preceding
pages, were great lovers of souls.

St. Brieuc offered the most fervent prayers for
the conversion of his father and mother, the first
time he celebrated the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

At Llancarvan, St. Oadoc often thought of his p«d°c

° induces

parents’ home near the river Usk, in Monmouth- his father
shire. When, in choir with his brethren at mother to

16&V6 th©

night, he chanted the Psalms of David which so world,
beautifully pourtray the miseries and vanities of
this world, the mind of the holy abbot often
wandered from the church to the parental

It was especially during Lent, and when at the
Plat Holms, near Cardiff, that the heart of the
pious priest was pierced with sorrow, because in
the penitential season his mind was most occu-
pied with and penetrated by the eternal truths ;
and from the island of Plat Holms he could
behold the territories of his parents. They were
advancing in years, but were they securing for
themselves a happy eternity ? He had induced
hundreds to follow him in the practice of the
Evangelical Counsels, and he could not but
desire that his own father and mother should lead
good, Christian lives, at least in their latter days.

build the bridge. Satan at once summoned a legion of demons from hell
and set to work during the night. Next morning, after Lauds, Cadoc
found that the bridge was completed, and perceived the devil on guard at
the extremity which opened on the island. “ You have kept your word,”
said the abbot, “and now I will fulfil my part of the compact.” He went
back to the monastery, and shortly after returned carrying a cat, which
he threw on the bridge, and the frightened animal at once darted across
it. “Take him, if you can catch him,” exclaimed Cadoc. “ He will rid
you of all your rats.” Satan vanished, discomfited ; and thus it was that
the abbot cheated the devil.

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No man is a prophet in his own country, and
hut few are considered such in their own families.
Acting on this maxim of our Lord, Cadoc hoped
that some of his clergy might exercise greater
influence over his parents than himself, and
accordingly sent Einian, Guavan, and Elly to
visit them. These envoys were well received by
Gwynlyw and Gwladys. They were the followers
of their son, and the pleadings of nature told in
their behalf. They spoke of the holy life led by
Cadoc, and of the number of devoted men who
served God under his direction in the Valley of
the Deer, and said one thought ever predomi-
nantly occupied the mind of their saintly son,
and that was anxiety for the eternal welfare of
his father and mother.

This revelation made a deep impression on
both parents, but in a particular manner affected
his mother, who impressed it upon her husband.
“ Let us trust to our own dear son,” she said.
“ Let us listen to his advice, and he will be a
father to us in heaven. Let us amend our lives,
and enjoin that at our deaths our bodies shall
repose in his cemetery, near the walls of his
church. He and his brethren will remember us
in their prayers when in this world we have
ceased to' exist, and recommend our souls before
the altar to the mercy of God.”

To this touching appeal of Gwladys her
husband replied, “ Whatever thou recommendest
let us do it, and wherever thou goestl will follow.”

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A messenger was forthwith despatched to
Ll&ncarvan to inform Cadoc of what had taken
plaoe; he hastened to his parents with all
the joy of a general who had gained a great
victory ; and through his exhortations they were
incited and strengthened in their resolution to
spend the remainder of their lives in a pious and
saintly manner.

Supernatural grace told powerfully on these
two souls. Of course, they had penance to
perform — the guilt of past sins to wash away.
As we have already seen, the very earliest days
of their married life bore the stain of blood, and
their after hours had been devoted to worldly
pleasures and pursuits ; neither had they
profited by the good example set before them by
so many of their relatives. One of Gwynlyw’s
brothers was a monk ; the holy nuns Ninnoc and
Keyna were sisters, or nearly akin to Gwladys,
and Cadoc, Abbot of Llancarvan, their own
son. The inspirations of God, no doubt, filled
their minds with such serious reflections in
connection with these facts that in the end
they determined to abandon the world, and, by
mutual consent, separated, and led a life of

As we have already mentioned, the chieftain
retired to Stowe-hill, Newport, Monmouthshire,
where he built a few huts and an oratory .

Gwladys, his wife, founded a church and an
hospital in a valley at the foot of the same hill,

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and, being joined by a few other pious women,
there ended her days as a nun.

Gwynlyw, once renowned as “ The Warrior,”
could never appreciate too much the singular
favour he had received, through his saintly son,
of a call to religious life. On his death-hed he
sent for him and for his bishop, Dubricius, and
entreated them to prepare his soul for death.
After making his confession ,* and receiving holy
Co mmuni on and Extreme Unction, the dying
hermit raised himself on his pallet, and, beckon-
ing Cadoc to come nearer to him, told the
bystanders that for years he had slighted his
son’s advice, but that it was to his unceasing
prayers and solicitations he owed his return to
Almighty God. Then, addressing the holy
abbot, he said, “ Blessed be thou, my son, because
through thee the Lord has had mercy upon me,
and thou hast obtained for me the Divine favour.
I grant to thee this monastery and all that
belongs to it; and it is my desire that kings,
princes, nohles, and warriors be buried at thy
altar, at Llancarvan. Whoever shall respect
this, my will, let him be blessed, and may he
who violates it be cursed.” All present answered.

Nothing can be more touching than the super-
natural love exhibited in the lives of this father
and son.

When the grave on Stowe-hill* had closed over

(1) ‘ ‘ Cambro-British Saints.”

(2) St. Wolloos, Newport.

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the warrior-hermit his son did not cease to
remember him, but devoted himself to prayer
for the repose of his father’s soul.

According to Celtic custom, the lives of
Gwynlyw, Gwladys, and Cadoc were celebrated
by the bards, who reproduced their history in
verses, which, being adapted to favourite
melodies, were sung at the doors of churches, at
markets and fairs, and at the firesides.

There was, indeed, much to inspire a poet, and
to edify a deeply religious nation, in the career
of the noble warrior, the fair Gwladys, and
the saintly Cadoc. Sacrifices made for the
service of God were sure to meet with ready
sympathy from the Cambrians, and the spectacle
of a devoted and generous son leading to the
cloister the proudest warrior of his time and the
fairest lady in the land excited their warmest

It may not he without interest to review the cadoc and
relations of Cadoc with some of the leading men prim**,
amongst the laity, such as the valiant knight
Illtyd, Maelgon, King of North Wales, and King
Arthur. He possessed great influence over them,
through which he succeeded in enlisting the more
worthy into the service of his Divine Master.

There were others with whom he could not
maintain friendship. They were men devoted
to the world, and the views of such often clash
with those of a staunch servant of God.

It was the Abbot of Llancarvan who persuaded

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the Breton Knight, Hltyd, a distinguished officer
in the army, to give up the world and its vanities
and consecrate himself to the service of a better
Master, as we shall see in the following chapter.

During the life of St. Cadoc, Maelgon, King of
North Wales, and probably at that time chief of
the British Confederation, sent an army into
South Wales, either to avenge some quarrel, or
perhaps collect the tribute assigned to him as

With regard to the commissariat, it was clearly
laid down that the army was to be supplied with
food by the districts it would pass through. One
territory, however, was exempted from this
imposition, for the following reason.

Before the expedition started Maelgon reviewed
his troops, which were under the command of
Ehun, his son, and thus addressed them : —

“An army must be supplied with food, and
the country through which its course lies must
provide for it the necessaries of life. It is, how-
ever, my command that you respect the territory
of Cadoc. He is my confessor, and without his
permission you must not touch a single animal
belonging to him. He and his brethren expect
this consideration from me. Elsewhere you will
find men and cattle hidden away in the forests,
terrified at the tidings of your coming ; hut when
you arrive at the domains of the monastery no
one will feel the least alarm at the appearance
of Maelgon's soldiers. Labourers will continue

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to work in the fields, and the cattle graze
undisturbed in the pastures, for all know that
your sovereign is the friend of Cadoc, and that a
spiritual covenant exists between him and me,
which will preserve them from suffering in the
least from the horrors of war.”

Ehun and his soldiers, with the exception of a
party of twelve men, respected the wishes of
their king. These troopers went one day to
water their horses at a brook near Llancarvan.

Being themselves thirsty, they said to each other
it was a pity that soldiers should have nothing
but cold water to . drink when there was plenty
of milk at hand, and, going to the steward of the
monastery, rudely demanded some. Being dis-
pleased at their impertinent language, he refused
what he would no doubt have given willingly
otherwise. The soldiers went away, cursing and
swearing, and even carried their resentment so
far as to endeavour to set fire to the barns.

Ehun and his followers were much distressed
on hearing of this attempt at incendiarism, and
the Prince, in atonement for the misconduct of
his men, made several offerings to Cadoc.

In the “ Cambro-British Saints ” we find Cadoc and
mention of a very interesting contest between Arthur.
King Arthur and the Abbot of Llancarvan.

When divested of its romantic colouring, the
narrative runs as follows : —

Eor some unspecified cause, a brave general of
the British army, named Ligessawc, the “ Long

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Hand,” slew three soldiers of Arthur. The King
tracked the murderer from place to place, and
the unfortunate man, being unable to find safety
elsewhere, came as a fugitive to Cadoc, to whom
he confessed his sin and represented his danger.
The Abbot received him into the monastery,
though some of the brethren dissented, on the
plea that to do so would draw down upon them
the ire of the King. Cadoc replied, “ Let us
show hospitality, as recommended by the spirit
of religion, and rely on the assistance of God for
our own protection. It is written, ‘ Fear not
those who can kill the body, but cannot touch
the soul ; ’ and let us not miss an occasion for
saving the life of a fellow-creature.”

The general had remained with the monks for
seven years, when someone revealed his place of
refuge to Arthur, who despatched messengers to
Llancarvan to demand his expulsion, or, at least,
obtain the tax required from every man who
had committed murder.

Both these demands being refused, the King
became very indignant, his anger being, very
probably, fanned by the courtiers around him.
But he refrained from actual violence, through a
kind of religious fear, for people spoke of
Cadoc as being guarded by angels from
heaven, and of the woe attending those who
molested him.

After much negociation between the King and
the Abbot, it was agreed that the matter should

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be submitted to arbitration. David, Teilo,
Oudoceus, and others defended Cadoc.

The judges assembled on the banks of the
river Usk, and the subject was so warmly
discussed, and the excitement became so intense,
that it was deemed judicious that the adherents
of each party should keep the river between

Whether the guilty general had abandoned his
sanctuary, or lost his right to its privileges after
seven years ; or whether, influenced by fear of
Arthur, one of the judges proposed that the King
ought to be content to receive three very good
oxen for the loss of each one of his three men.
This proposition was seconded by many, whilst
others asserted that human life was so precious
in the eyes of Britons that a hundred cows was
the least atonement which should be offered for
each man, and this decision was ultimately

In course of time Arthur repented of his
unfairness towards Cadoc, and made satisfaction
for allowing himself to act on the unjust maxim,
too often adopted by the powerful, that might
presumes right.

The King, when his anger had cooled, could
not fail to see that the Abbot of Llancarvan, in
sheltering a man who had fled to him for
protection, was but following the rule of the
cloister, sanctioned by the customs of the time,
which granted to monasteries the right of refuge ;

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also, that although the shedding of human blood,
except in lawful war, was taxed according to the
value of the victim, • yet St. Cadoc, who had
nothing to do, either directly or indirectly, with
the murder of his three men, had been forced to
pay for their death. Ligessawc was the guilty
man, and Cadoc and his brethren had been taxed
for a crime which they abhorred.

These reflections haunted the mind of Arthur,
and induced him to make an ample apology for
the injustice he had been the author of. He
gave full recognition to the monastic claim of
right of refuge, and a better understanding was
come to as to the nature and length of such rights.
This was committed to paper, and signed on both
sides, with the usual invocation of the blessing of
God on those who should observe the rules, and
curses on their violators.

As we have already more than once observed,
it was the custom of the British saints to recollect
themselves at the beginning of Lent, and con-
secrate the first weeks of that penitential season
to a spiritual retreat.

Cadoc retired to Flat Holms, at the entrance
of Cardiff, or to Barry Island, close to the same
town, during those days of entire seclusion from
business and the world. The administration of
Llancarvan and his other monasteries entailed
many cares and troubles, and he thought it would
benefit his own soul to retire completely from the
world, at least tor a time.

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On Palm Sunday he returned to his monastery
to celebrate the mysteries of Holy Week. Crowds during
visited Llancarvan during these sorrowful com-
memorations, when the Church places before us
with such solemnity the Passion of our Lord.

No doubt men were then instructed in their
religion, made their annual confession, and
received the body and blood of their Redeemer.

During these religious festivals the community
of Llancarvan exercised the greatest hospitality
towards strangers, and hundreds of pilgrims were
fed daily. The labour of the monks had trans-
formed the waste valleys of Llancarvan and
neighbourhood into productive fields. They had
acquired wealth by the sweat of their brow, and
on all suitable occasions those riches were
generously shared with their neighbours.

In the latter part of his life, the Abbot of
Llancarvan retired from the first and most
celebrated monastery which he had established.

We have already followed him on his journeys to
Jerusalem, Rome, Brittany, and Scotland. One
ot the brethren was selected to rule temporarily
as abbot, or prior, during these absences; but
now that he felt himself called to serve God in
another locality, Elli was elected to succeed
him as permanent head of the religious com-
munity of Llancarvan.

It was on Palm Sunday that Cadoc formally
intimated his determination of leaving them.

The usual procession with the relics of the saints

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had proceeded through the country early in the
morning, before Mass, and the solemnity had
drawn crowds to the monastery. Cadoc preached
on that occasion with unusual earnestness ; then
Mass was celebrated, and Holy Communion

Later on in the day he assembled his religious
brethren in the abbot’s house, and informed them
of his resolution to depart, and appointed Elli to
succeed him as abbot.

“ I am now advanced in years,” he said, “ and
though ignorant of the day on which I shall be
summoned from this world, I feel convinced that
a younger ruler will be better fitted to guide you
in the path of perfection. Obey, in all humility,
the new abbot. I recommend to you, in the
name of the Lord, that no power of king, or
bishop, or noble may ever be called upon to
adjust any dispute arising amongst you. Let
any contentions which, in consequence of human
frailty must unfortunately occur occasionally, be
examined into and decided upon by judges taken
from amongst yourselves.

“You are all familiar with the hazel tree
planted by me not far . from the monastery ; it is
under it that we have been accustomed to
assemble for the discussion of matters concerning
the community, and God stood by us in these
councils. Let that still continue to be the place
of judgment. Let the abbot and the brethren
continue to meet beneath the shade of that tree,

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and you will still feel under the protection of

The book containing the rules of the monastery
was then brought and placed upon the altar, and
Cadoc said, “ May you follow what is written in
that book, and may your ruler guide you accord-
ing to the prescriptions therein contained.”

This explicit recommendation would seem to
the ordinary reader to imply that the founder of
Llancarvan discarded any right of the bishop to
interfere with the administration of a religious
co mm unity existing within his diocese, whereas,
in the Councils of that period all over
Christendom, monasteries were subjected to the
jurisdiction of the bishops.

Perhaps the injunction given to his brethren
by the Abbot of Llancarvan may be explained
by the rule which in our own days fixes the
relations of a bishop with certain religious orders.
A bishop is the chief spiritual officer in a diocese,
and no one can exercise any spiritual jurisdiction
in the said diocese without his permission. In
cases of scandal, no matter from what quarter
they may proceed, he possesses power to check it.

However, at the present time even the bishop
does not interfere with the internal arrangements
of religious houses if under the immediate power
of the Pope. This is what St. Cadoc implied in
his parting advice to his brethren.

We are told that on leaving Llancarvan he
went to Beneventum, and there was again forced

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to place himself at the head of a monastery, and
ultimately consecrated bishop.

The exact locality of Beneventum has some-
what puzzled the hagiographers of Cadoc. Some
go so far as to think it was the town of that
name in Italy, others incline to the belief that it
was Caergwent, but Weedon (Benevenna), in
Northamptonshire, seems really to have been the
place . 1

Of the episcopal career of St. Cadoc little is
known, with the exception of his death taking
place at the altar whilst in the act of celebrating
the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. For all
particulars we beg to refer the reader to
Chapter III.

The founder of Llancarvan Monastery was
buried at Weedon, and his tomb was visited in
crowds by the sick, blind, lame, and afflicted.

His brethren at Llancarvan greatly desired to
have his body interred in his principal monastery,
but their pious wish was frustrated. His grave
at Weedon was guarded, and it was difficult for
a Cambrian to get access to it, so great was the
fear entertained that they would remove his

Cadoc holds a conspicuous place in the
traditions of his land. He possessed great
qualities, and had he remained in the world
would have long been remembered as a brave
and skilful warrior and wise administrator of the

(1) “ Cambro- British Saints. 11

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laws. But when all these great natural gifts
were directed and influenced by the grace of the
religious state, they stamped him as one of the
most eminent of the Cambrian saints.

He was looked upon by his own countrymen
as the Solomon of his race; amongst them he
bore the name of “ Cadoc the Wise.” Perhaps
ancient biographers recorded more minute details
of the actions and hidden life of this holy servant
of God than are at present extant. The bards
deemed it their duty to celebrate his memory.

The Iolo MSS. have handed down a few of Fab . 1 , ee ,
Cadoc’s parables, and twelve fables, which denote Cadoc.
a clear and practical mind, lake ASsop, he was
a great observer of Nature, and possessed the
talent of imparting good moral lessons through
the medium of animals and inanimate objects.

He, no doubt, had studied the ancient fahlists.

Most of his own might take their place beside
those of AEsop and Lafontaine in the instruction
of British youth.

Whilst referring the reader to the Iolo MSS.
for more copious information, it may not be
uninteresting to place extracts of two or three of
these fables before the reader, as specimens of
the holy bishop’s turn of mind and style of
composition. One of these is headed, “ The Man
who killed the Greyhound.”

A Welshman — his wife having gone to church —
was left in the house with only a little child in
the cradle, and a greyhound. A stag, pursued

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by dogs, rushed past, and the man, hoping to
share the venison, joined in the chase.

A wolf meanwhile entered the house, and was
about to devour the child, when the greyhound
attacked and killed him, thus saving the life of
the infant. During the struggle between the
animals the cradle was overturned. When the
man returned home the dog ran to meet him,
wagging his tail, but covered with blood, as was
also the floor of the room. The horror-stricken
father seeing this, and that the cradle was upset,
came at once to the conclusion that the hound
had killed the child, and, in a moment of rage,
drew his sword and stabbed him to the heart;
but when, on raising the cradle, he found his
boy alive, and perceived the dead wolf stretched
upon the ground, he at once understood that he
had slain the preserver of his child, and became
almost frantic with grief.

Hence arose the proverb, “ Before taking
revenge, first investigate the cause, and reflect
ttoice before striking once.” Another saying
refers also to the same story : “ As sorry as the
man who killed his greyhound.”

A person who suffers passion to get the better
of reason is likely to commit acts which he will
never be able to undo. It is necessary to bridle
rage, lest the vengeance proceeding from it
prove, as in this fable, unjust.

Another parable, which is called “ The old
Woman and the Yarn,” is a striking illustration

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of the power which results from union in

An old woman had several children and
grandchildren, but discord and strife prevailed
amongst them. One day she summoned all to
her presence, and they assembled to the number
of twenty. “ Bring me here,” she said, “ each of
you a ball of yarn.” They did so, and having
taken one of the balls, which consisted of a single
thread, she tied together with it the hands of the
feeblest of her grandchildren, but the little child
soon broke through this bond. Then she bound
his hands with stronger thread from another ball,
but this, also, he easily burst asunder. In like
manner she tried threads from all the balls
successively, but they were invariably broken by
the child. The old woman then desired that the
yam of all the balls be twisted together, and the
whole formed into a rope. When this was done,
she bound with it the hands of the most powerful
of her sons, but by no effort could he break it.

“ Behold,” she said, “ how much stronger the
threads are when united than when single.
Even so, my children and grandchildren, as long
as you remain at variance and act in opposition
one to another, any person who wills can over-
power you, and there is not one in a thousand
but will endeavour to do so; but if you cling
together, like the twisted thread, your strength
will be such that no enemy will be able to
conquer you.”

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Three proverbs are derived from this fable:
“ Stronger the thread of double than of single
twist ; ” and, “ There is no strength without
union ; ” and, “ It is an easy matter to cast a
mountain into the ocean after separating each
stone from the others.”

The last fable attributed to St. Cadoc is as
follows : —

There once dwelt in Cambria a maiden, fair
as the loveliest of Eve’s daughters. She was
universally extolled, and all were anxious to see
her ; hut before doing so they had already made
up their minds as to the particular style of her
beauty, and, not finding that she corresponded
with their pre-conceptions, they were dis-
appointed. Each began to paint her according
to his own taste, until she became transformed
into the ugliest of women, and was no longer
sought for in marriage as before. The maiden
perceiving this, examined her face in a mirror,
and saw how much she had been disfigured, so
she washed off all the paint, and refused to allow
anyone to colour her for the future. She soon
bloomed forth again in her former beauty, and
was admired as before, except by those who had
disfigured her. They would not acknowledge
her charms, because it is difficult to make a fool
own his folly.

So it is with respect to truth. Every man
professes to love it, yet each one disfigures it
according to his inclination, until it becomes

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transformed into a falsehood, and is hated by
all. . . . Men of this character are the last

in the world to confess their mistake, acknowledge
their error, or admit their prejudice ; because, as
the proverb says, they make pretence of being in
the right. He who has sworn the crow to be
white, will not allow that she is black although
he knows she is of that colour. He who deceives
others deceives himself much more. All seek
after truth, but all will not suffer truth to be

These telling deductions, we regret to state,
may be in our days applied to the land of the
Abbot of Llancarvan.

The modern Cambrian is a religious man, like
his ancestors ; but the modem Cambrian paints
religion according to his fancies, interests, or
prejudices. Nay. he claims the right of doing
so, and boasts of a liberty which allows any man
to give any colour or any interpretation he likes
to the Word of God.

Indeed, he has made an extensive use of the
right of colouring faith, by giving the Britons
hundreds of religions.

Every chapel in Wales, and one knows how
numerous they are, has, or may have, a
Christianity of its own. If our forefathers were
to leap from their graves, they would no longer
recognise the Christian teaching of our days as
the doctrine of their Divine Master. Nay, if a
pagan from Japan were to land amongst us, and

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Visit to
Llan car-

demand the religion of Christ, Wales (without
the Catholic Church) could not give him the true
faith, for the country does not agree on the subject.

The doctrine of our Lord is one, and, by its
very nature, unchangeable, because true ; and so
one regrets to see so many guilty hands occupied
in colouring it to suit their ideas.

May a future day dawn which will bring back
unity of faith, and lead the Cambrians to kneel
at the same altar as members of one religion.

On November the fifth, 1878, whilst the Life
of St. Cadoc was in the hands of the printer, the
writer, in the company of a brother priest, paid
a visit to Llancarvan. The valley is, indeed,
picturesque, and runs northward from Penmark
to the high road to Cowbridge, bending a little
to the east about midway. At Llancarvan
village the two hills almost close, and then
immediately open, so as to form a large basin,
which could easily be transformed into a deep
lake by erecting a mound of earth across the
village from east to west. This work would he
a trifle for a railway company.

In the fifth century, when the valley was
uninhabited, what a fine place for a contemplative
life ! How the lover of solitude and silence
must have felt at home between these hills,
covered with timber the hand of man had never
touched ! Nature seems to have purposely built
huge walls to shelter a house of prayer from the
intrusion of the world.

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Our visit had a double object — first, to trace
out, if possible, the various localities mentioned
in the Life of St. Cadoc ; then to ascertain how
far the traditions of the past still existed in the
mind of the present generation. We did not call
upon any of the gentry or clergymen in the
immediate neighbourhood. W e wanted informa-
tion from the people, and not from the scholar ;
for we were anxious to test the tenacity of Celtic
tradition in the mind of the masses.

A Welshman, like a Breton, is civil to
strangers, hut reserved. One must know how to
take him before getting any information, for he
does not tell his mind to everybody. We soon
got round this peculiarity of the Celtic character,
and learnt from the villagers that Cadoc' 8 Castle
stood in a field quite close to the present parish
church of Llancarvan. If we wanted to see the
Great College of Cattog, we were to follow the
river for a while, and turn to the left, and call
on Mr. Lougher, the farmer. This we did, and
found in Mr. Lougher a kind and intelligent
exponent of the local traditions of the past.

His farm, he said, occupies the site of the
college. He pointed out to us countless walls,
scattered here and there, and mostly on a
level with the ground, although some actual
constructions reveal still the grandeur of
the past.

In the house there is no need of a water
company, for a beautiful well oozes out of the

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ground in the dairy, and supplies the house with
the purest of water.

Higher than the farm, on the top of the hill,
we were told that bones are constantly being dug
up, the hair preserved. We inquired what they
did with these bones — they are religiously
re-interred, was the answer.

Perhaps an archaeologist might come to the
conclusion that the spot was the cemetery of the

Mr. Lougher pointed out the house of St.
Dubricius, lower down in the valley.

We were strongly advised to visit two sacred
wells in the neighbourhood. One of these wells
possessed the supernatural virtue of curing
erysipelas, the other the king’s evil. On
this matter there was no doubt in the mind
of the people, for every year sick people came to
the wells, and every year cures did take place.
So we were told, with an expressive conviction
we could not hut admire.

An intelligent observer, or a keen historian
who could spend a few weeks about Llancarvan,
and other historical localities, might throw light
on the history of Wales, by securing the con-
fidence of the people and winning their
affections; for traditions of important events
are handed down from generation to generation
especially by the firesides of the Celtic races.

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Life of St. Illtyd the Knight, Founder of
Llantwit-M a job.

“ On thy walls, 0, Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen ;
all the day and all the night they shall never hold their peace.

You that are mindful of the Lord hold not your peace.” —

Isaiah, chap. lxii. verse 6.

The name of Illtyd is still borne by several mtyd » a

. , • T tt i i i * a • • name hold

parishes m Wales, and also in Armorica, min
memory of him who was first an illustrious by welsh
soldier, and after his conversion became a true tradltIon -
servant of God, practised the ascetical life, was a
celebrated scholar, and the spiritual father of a
legion of bishops and other eminent disciples of
the. Lord Jesus Christ.

A noble family in the neighbourhood of
Llantwit preserves to this day a traditional
custom — handed down from father to son — of
bestowing the name of Illtyd on the first-born
son of each marriage.

The birth, early life, conversion, and labours
Of the saint who originally bore this honoured
name will form the subject of this chapter.
Llantwit-Major, about eighteen miles west of

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Birth and
early life.

Cardiff, was the chief scene of his missionary

The birth-place of Illtyd is veiled in obscurity.
The different historians of his life do not agree
on the subject, and, strange to say, British
biographers indicate Brittany, whilst Lobineau
assigns this honour to Britain. • Having duly
weighed the grounds for these different opinions,
we may reasonably come to the conclusion that
Armorica was his native country. His father
was named Bycanus, and his mother, Bienguilida,
was the daughter of Solomon, king and martyr . 1

These virtuous parents, having remarked the
natural piety with which their son’s min d was
imbued from his earliest years, to which was
added a great love of learning, earnestly hoped
that, at the termination of his scholastic course,
he would devote himself to the religious life.
They were, however, for many years disappointed
in these expectations, for, on leaving school,
Illtyd decided on entering the army.

Military life, with its changes and adventures,
is at all times full of attraction to a young man
of twenty, and the brilliant uniform of a soldier
is not without a charm. This proved the case
with Illtyd, for, on his return home, and
associating with the young warriors who served
under his father, he was dazzled and led to
abandon any generous • resolutions he might
have previously entertained of serving God in

(1) Bees' “ Essays on Welsh Saints.” “ Cambro- British Saints.”

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the Church. The helmet, sword, and charger,
dangers in the battle-field, and victorious returns
from it, seemed to him the mprermm bonum
on earth.

Political events and the wars they entail
summoned Illtyd to the island of Britain, and
Almighty God made use of the young soldier’s
love of adventure to endow Cambria with one of
her most illustrious saints.

In the fifth century military service in Britain
found favour with the Armorican sons of Mars,
whose ancestors had emigrated from that island.
The old people in those days were in the habit
of enlivening the firesides during the long
evenings of winter with narratives of their
exodus from that beautiful country, surrounded
by seas, the subsequent conquest of Armorica,
the wreck of the immense fleet which carried
Ursula and thousands of maidens and women.
All the thrilling scenes attendant on the
emigration were described in the poetical and
forcible Celtic dialect, and were listened to with
breathless attention.

The island, however, when abandoned by the
Romans, was unable to protect itself against the
repeated invasions of the Caledonians and Irish.

Gwethelin, Bishop of London, endeavoured in
vain to infuse a spirit of 'union and courage into
the British princes ; but, failing in his patriotic
endeavours to organise them into a strong and
compact confederation, sufficiently powerful to

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drive adventurers from his native land, he passed
over the sea to Brittany, in order to appeal to
the Bretons.

Aldroen, the fourth King since Conan
Meriadec, was offered the sovereignty of Britain,
which, on his declining, was accepted by his
brother, Constantine, who sailed over to that
country with as large an army as his native land
— at that time threatened by the Gauls — could
spare. The various branches of the administra-
tion were soon re-organised, and the hardy
mountaineers of Scotland and the Sea Kings of
Ireland taught to respect the rights of their

Constantine died a violent death, leaving three
children— Constans, Aurelius Ambrosius, and
Uther Pendragon. The eldest of these was
treacherously murdered by order of Vortigem.
The two others fled to Brittany, but in course of
time returned with continental troops, and
re-conquered the kingdom of their father.

It is probable that one of these expeditions
from Brittany brought Ultyd over to England,
with the sole object of acquiring military glory ;
but, in the designs of heaven, a far more
brilliant career awaited him. He arrived as a
fierce warrior, not having the least prevision that
in a short time he was to be changed into a meek
disciple of Him who came on earth to preach
peace to men of good will. At first he drilled
soldiers for battle and bloodshed, and later on

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trained missionaries, abbots, bishops, for the
service of the Church.

Illtyd was followed to these shores by an
unseen mentor, whose orders were never to lose
sight of the young knight, but whenever
opportunity offered to whisper into his ear that
all these feats of war were but vanity. This
invisible friend was his guardian angel.

Illtyd, who was ardent, brave, intelligent, and
strong of constitution, soon acquired reputation
in the ranks of the British army. The old
romances represent him as a model of chivalry,
and affix to his name the title of “ Knight,” as
much as to imply that his valour and noble
qualities gave him an exclusive right to the title.

"Whilst in Britain he married a lady named
Trynihid, supposed by some Welsh writers to be
daughter of a Glamorganshire prince. We find
a somewhat detailed account in the “ Cambro-
British Saints ” of his life as chief of the house-
hold of Paulinus , 1 in the same county.

Paulinus and Illtyd lived on the best terms,
the chieftain placing the utmost confidence — and
most deservedly — in his first officer, for, in truth,
a better administrator could not have been found.
As his biographers remark, the heart of the
soldier beat in accordance with the precepts of
the Gospel. His outward garb was that of a
warrior, his inward soul was effulgent with

(1) This Paulinus seems to be identical with Poul-penychen, which
name might in our days, perhaps, be translated into “ Paul of Cowbridge,”
or, rather, Oxbridge, uncle of St. Cadoc, who bestowed the valley of
Llancarvan upon his nephew.

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intelligence and justice, which ranked him
amongst the first men of Britain. He was
faithful in the observance of the commands of
God and of the Church, and desired that they
should he followed by those under him. He did
not sanction either plunder or exaction, and
respected the rights of the poor as well as those
of the rich.

Meeting of "We how come to the event which was the

St. Cadoc

-di.u y d cause of Illtyd undertaking that work in

carom. Glamorganshire which, in the order of God’s
providence, he was destined to fulfil.

The young knight, in company with the
household of Paulinus, was hunting in the
neighbourhood of Llancarvan, when, wearied of
coursing through the hills and valleys, and
feeling need of refreshment, the sportsmen sent
messengers to the monastery requesting a supply
of provisions. Illtyd was not present at the
time, being engaged in flying his hawks on the
seashore, which was a favourite amusement of
his. The soldiers meantime assailed the doors of
the monastery more like combatants in time of
war than travellers in search of hospitality, and
commanded that the best of everything should
he brought forth, or they would themselves seize
upon what they wanted. St. Cadoc, although
highly displeased at their insolence, complied
with their demands, and the men withdrew to
their camp to feast at the expense of the

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Illtyd, on his return, was at once informed of
what had taken place, and, having severely
reprimanded his soldiers, hastened to the
monastery for the purpose of apologising to the
abhot for the misconduct of those under him.
St. Gadoc very quickly learned to appreciate the
young warrior, and, according to his custom,
engaged him in a long discourse on the all-
important object of the life of man upon earth —
the salvation of his immortal soul — endeavouring
at the same time to convince him how infinitely
preferable was the service of God to that of
kings and princes of this world.

Illtyd, who was naturally inclined to piety,
listened with the greatest attention, and, opening
his heart to the holy abbot, confided to him his
early desires of consecrating himself to religion ;
but said that his vocation had melted like snow
before the brilliant dazzle of military glory. On
this, Cadoc reminded him that it was never too
late to correct the errors of youth.

Illtyd was deeply moved by this discourse, and
on returning to the court of Paulinus, everyone
remarked that he was no longer the same. He
continued to discharge, with the greatest care,
the duties of his station, but from that time
forward refrained from taking any part in the
amusements of the palace.

What he had seen at Llancarvan, and what he
had heard from the lips of the leader of that
saintly community, ever haunted his mind. His

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early impressions when, as a boy, he had dwelt
in the monastery of Germanus, in Gaul, recurred
to his memory like a vision of the past. During
his college life his parents had been desirous that
he should embrace the religious state, and often,
especially before the altar, he had felt within
him the workings of grace urging him to
consecrate his life to the service of the Church
of Jesus Christ.

Then he remembered how fleeting was the life
of this world, and how false the brilliancy of
military glory. To serve as a soldier in the train
of kings and princes was all delusion and vanity,
and he seemed to hear the voice of his guardian
angel whispering reproachfully in his ear :
“ Illtyd, thou wast not made to do battle for
earthly monarchs, but to enlist in the service of
the Bang of kings, Christ, the Redeemer. Thy
hand was not formed to wield the lance and the
sword of the warrior, but the pen of the scholar.
Thy voice was not bestowed on thee to urge thy
fellow-men to deeds of slaughter on the battle-
field, but to lead the chosen of the Lord in the
sacred psalmody of the choir. Thou hast been
in this world a distinguished captain ; what hast
thou gained but vanity and fading laurels?
Cadoc of Llancarvan was, like thee, of noble
birth, yet he did not allow himself to be deluded
into attaching himself to the perishable attractions
of this world.”

Influenced by the constant pressure of these

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thoughts upon his mind, Illtyd left the court,
accompanied by his wife, Trynihid, and
determined, if possible, to consecrate himself to
the service of religion. But difficulties of an
unusual nature stood in his way. Illtyd was not
alone in the world ; he was married, and it was
no easy task to tear himself away from the ties
of human affection. Still, ever in his ears there
rang these words of the Redeemer : “ He that
loves father or mother, brother or sister, wife or
children more than Me, is not worthy of Me.”
He knew that a life of continence was that held
most in honour by Christ and the more favoured
of His disciples ; still, marriage was also instituted
by God, and raised by the Redeemer to the
dignity of a sacrament. Trynihid, his wife, had
knelt with him before the altar, and both had
there promised in the most solemn manner to
share together the trials and the joys of life until
death should separate them. The Catholic
religion, which he professed, and which was the
only religion in the country, did not sanction the
separation of husband and wife, except by mutual
consent ; and Dubricius, then Bishop of Llandaff,
under whose jurisdiction he was, would, no
doubt, take this view of the case.

Trynihid seems for some time to have opposed
the wish of her husband, but in the end consented
to retire into solitude, and built for herself a
convent and a church.

In an age so material as ours, such proceedings

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may appear extraordinary, if not unnatural.
This is a generation eager in temporal pursuits ;
the greed of money and pleasure engrosses it.
Our forefathers, during the early days of
Christianity, set greater value on eternal interests,
more frequently condensed their views on that
point where time ends and eternity begins, and,
after serious reflection, adopted a line very much
in opposition to the ideas of a votary of
materialism. Married people, who do not

experience in that state the happiness they had
expected, or have been visited by unexpected
trials, often separate, and the world finds no
fault ; but in cases where religion is in question,
the same world finds nothing to justify the same
step, and is unsparing in its criticisms and
denunciations. The saints, however, are
uninfluenced by the opinions of sensual society,
hut followed the spirit of Christ.

When husband and wife had parted, never to
meet again on this earth, Illtyd directed his steps
towards the Bristol Channel, south-west of the
present town of Cowbridge, and plunged into the
forests which at that time covered the country.
On coming to a spot suitable for his purpose, he
built a hut on the banks of a stream, and
resolved, if possible, to spend the remainder of
his days in solitude. At this period of his life he
was not likely to foresee the designs of Almighty
God, or imagine that on these very shores, once
occupied by the Roman legions, he was destined

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hereafter to erect another camp — not in the
interests of the pagan Caesars, but one where
soldiers were to be trained to the service of God
— a camp which was to become the celebrated
University of Lantwit.

How long Illtyd succeeded in following that
instinct which led the early monks to bury
themselves in forests or amongst craggy rocks on
the sea-shore, in order to remain unknown to
the world, is not stated ; but for some time he
must have had no other companionship than the
birds of the air and the wild animals of the
woods, especially the deer, which are so
susceptible of becoming the friend of man, and
which we so often find introduced into the lives
of the saints in Britain, Gaul, Spain, and Italy.

The following narrative will show how it was
that a stag was the means of introducing
Merchion, a Welsh chieftain, to the founder of
Lantwit : —

This prince, , who was one of the first
benefactors, though, later on, a persecutor of
Illtyd, was a man of eccentric disposition. His
countrymen had named him “ Mad Merchion.”
Like most of the chieftains of his age, he passed
his time either in war or in the . chase ; and it
was whilst indulging in the latter sport that he
encountered Illtyd.

His hounds had started a fine stag, which,
seeking to escape, came to the spot where Illtyd
dwelt. Tracked there by the dogs, the panting

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creature entered the cell of the hermit and lay
down at his feet, facing the hounds, who
paused at the entrance, ceased their yelping, and
lay down upon the ground, looking at their prey.

When Merchion and his companions arrived
on the spot, they were greatly amazed at the
sight of the stag quietly enjoying the hospitality
of a man, and the dogs, spell-bound, gazing on
the scene.

Merchion imperiously demanded his prey, and
ordered the hermit forthwith to drive the stag
out of the hut.

The solitary resolutely replied that this request
could not be acceded to. “ Here,” he said, “is
an animal, a creature of God, which, in great
distress, has sought my protection and hospitality.
Would it be noble on my part to drive forth my
guest to be devoured by your dogs ? ”

The prince broke out into reproaches, asserting
that the land belonged to him, and he could not
understand how strangers and vagabonds, of
whom he knew little or nothing, could venture
to settle upon it without his permission.

Quite undismayed by this attack, Ultyd
continued to plead the cause of his protege with
an earnestness and eloquence which indicated a
man of rank and of cultivated mind. He
attracted the attention of all present; and as
soon as he perceived that their anger had cooled
down, he asked, in the name of God, and as a
favour to himself, that the life of the animal

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might be spared. Perceiving that they remained
silent, he quietly begged of them to share the
hospitality he had given to the stag, and partake
of such humble fare as he could offer. Both of
these requests were granted ; the stag remained
unmolested, and the invitation to dinner was

It was hut an humble feast that Illtyd could
place before his guests; it consisted of brown
bread, vegetables, and a few fishes ; whilst,
instead of wine, the clear water of the spring
furnished them with drink. The huntsmen,
being accustomed to high living, were not
sparing in their comments on this ascetic fare.

Merchion and his party, however, becoming
aware that their entertainer was no other than
Illtyd, “ The Knight,” the celebrated companion
in arms of King Arthur, were somewhat ashamed
of their rude behaviour to a nobleman and an
illustrious soldier, who in every respect was the
equal, if not the superior, of Merchion himself.
Illtyd, no doubt, narrated his own story — how,
in the course of a hunting expedition in the
neighbourhood of Llancarvan, he had come in
contact with St. Cadoc, and how the deep
impression which the conversation of that
renowned servant of God had made upon him
had induced him to forsake for ever the world
and its vanities.

The soul of Merchion was much moved by
this meeting with Illtyd. Again and again

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would he see the stag tranquilly reposing in the
cell, the hounds, spell-bound, at its entrance, the
courageous resistance of the hermit, and his
saintly conversation. His soul was filled with
admiration for Illtyd ; and, far from thinking of
driving from the land, where he sought to serve
God, this holy recluse, he felt it his duty to
endow him with that spot on which he had
settled. The Welsh chieftains were, as a rule,
noble-hearted, and appreciated supernatural

The guardian angel of Merchion, as the
hagiographer remarks, seems at this time to have
whispered into his ear the necessity of reforming
his life, and making satisfaction for his many
transgressions of the laws of God and of the
Church, and to have reminded him — the lord of
the surrounding territory — that the spot upon
which Illtyd had settled was of no use, being
inhabited only by wild beasts, and that it was his
duty to offer it for the service of God. The holy
hermit, once the knight of King Arthur, would,
in course of time, transform it into blooming
gardens and cultivated fields.

The chieftain obeyed this inspiration, and,
following the example of a neighbouring prince,
uncle of St. Cadoc, who had ceded the territory
of Llancarvan to his nephew, bestowed upon
Illtyd the plain of Lantwit, or a portion of it.

The charter of this grant cannot now be
discovered, but it must have existed, and been

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similar in form to hundreds of such deeds as they
are to be found in the “ Liber Landavensis.”

The monks of old, as their lives attest, were
wont to bury themselves in forests and desert
islands. Their object was to fly from the world,
hut invariably, when their place of retreat was
discovered, they were joined by pious disciples ;
and Illtyd the Knight was not exempted from
this general rule. Numerous souls, eager to
advance in the service of God, visited our saint,
and by degrees he found himself at the head of
a religious community.

Duhridus, first Bishop of Llandaff, faithful to Dubncfaa

A and Illtyd.

the precepts of St. Germanus, who strongly
urged the spread of sound religious education
throughout the country, was thankful to Divine
Providence for bestowing upon him such a man
as Illtyd. He was quite aware of the brilliant
education, the high talents, of this new votary of
the religious life, and determined to turn them
to the best account for the benefit of his diocese.

He urgently pressed upon Illtyd the necessity
of persons who were devoted to God and His
Church consecrating themselves to the education
of the rising generation, and informed him that
such were the instructions he had himself
received from Germanus.

Hltyd received the behest of his bishop as the
command of God, and the necessary steps were
soon taken for laying the foundation of the
University of Lantwit-Major, which was to shine

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of Lant-
wit- Major,
to Welsh

over Britain for many centuries to come as a
beacon of learning and sanctity. Dubricius
invested Illtyd with the monastic habit, and
admitted him to the tonsure and various minor
orders, crowning all by ordaining him priest.

It may not be out of place to introduce here
some of the traditions which have been handed
down in connection with the antiquity of Lantwit-
Major. This district, in the time of the Homans,
was called Caerworgom. In the vicinity there
still exists an ancient Roman fortress or camp,
with triple ramparts, the position of which it
would have been nearly impossible to force at a
time when artillery was unknown.

According to the Iolo MSS ., 1 Christianity found
entrance into Caerworgorn even in the times of
the Apostles. Thus, we are told that a daughter
of Caractacus (Caradoc), named Eurgain, followed
her captive father to Rome, and there became a
Christian. On her return to Britain, she built a
church in this part of the country, and also a
college for twelve saints.

In the second century, King Lucius enlarged
the College of Eurgain, and endowed it for the
maintenance of a hundred saints.

The Emperor Theodosius also favoured this
foundation, which was sometimes called the
College of Lucius and sometimes that of
Theodosius . 2

Welsh tradition goes so far as to assert that St.

(1) Iolo MSS., p. 555 . (2) Iolo MSS. p. 442.

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Patrick was resident in this locality at the time
he was kidnapped by the Irish pirates.

During the decline of the Roman power in
Britain these coasts were exposed to the ravages
of pirates, who were constantly cruising in the
Bristol Channel, and on one of their marauding
expeditions they set fire to the college, which
was reduced to a heap of ruins. It was
afterwards rebuilt, and called the College
of Illtyd.

No doubt, the associations connecting this
place with the early history of the Christian
religion in Britain influenced Dubricius and
Illtyd in selecting it as a suitable position for a
college. The Bishop of Llandaff came in person
to mark out the boundaries of the future
university. A place was fixed upon for a
cemetery, and the plot of ground on which the
church was to be erected was enclosed by a
quadrangular ditch. Round, the sacred edifice
as a centre, the various buildings of the
establishment were to he constructed. A clear
stream flowing at the western side of the church
afforded an ample supply of water.

Like similar institutions of the period, that of
Lantwit was to comprise a monastery, a college,
and an hospital — all on a huge scale. The stream
separated, to a certain extent, the monastery
from the colleges and the monks from the
seculars. Though the professors were under the
necessity of coming into frequent contact with

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the scholars, still they lived apart from them
when not actually engaged in teaching.

Any stranger now visiting the ruins of Lantwit
must be struck with the beautiful position chosen
by its founders. It proves them to have been
men of cultured taste and of practical good sense.
It commands a splendid view of the Bristol
Channel and the wooded hills of Somersetshire.

The soil is good in that part of the country,
and by the constant and intelligent labour of the
monks this became one of the best cultivated
districts in Glamorganshire.

Rees, in his notes on the “ Liber Landavensis,”
justly remarks that this seminary, founded by
St. Illtyd in the fifth century, acquired so high a
reputation that scholars flocked to it from all
parts of Christendom, amongst whom were sons
of British nobles and foreign princes. So
numerous were the pupils that at one time their
number amounted to upwards of two thousand,
for whose accommodation no fewer than four
hundred houses of residence were provided,
together with seven large halls or colleges.

The various colleges were often designated
cells : there was the cell of Eurgain, the pious
daughter of Caradoc ; then there were the cells
of King Arthur, of Dubricius, and of Illtyd.
During the lifetime of the founder this last was
called Bangor Llewersant, or the Monastery of
St. Lucius, whose conversion to Christianity, in
the second century, we have already narrated.

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Other names seem at times to have been adopted
as the indication of particular cells ; for instance,
we have the College of Matthew, of Mark, of
Luke, of John, of Arthur, of St. David, of
Morgan, of Eurgain, and of Amon. Many of these
had, no doubt, been benefactors to the monastery,
in gratitude for which their names were attached
to certain divisions of the establishment.

These various colleges, any one of which
mustered as many students as the total number
to be counted in a modern seat of learning, were
each under the rule of its own separate prior,
and all the priories worked together under the
guidance of Illtyd.

As we have already seen, the early Celtic
monks regulated the hours of prayer in such a
manner as to ensure the praises of Almighty
God being sung both by day and night in their
churches without any intermission. - A guard of
honour was in constant attendance before the
altar, because Jesus in the tabernacle must not
be deserted. It was St. Illtyd’s desire that a
deputation from each college or priory should
alternately succeed each other in thus offering
homage to the Almighty . 1

’(1) The following somewhat puzzling description of Lantwit-Major is
found in the Iolo MSS. : — “ Illtyd founded seven churches, and appointed
seven companies for each church, and seven halls or colleges in each
company, and seven saints in each college.

Otherwise : — Seven Churches ... 7

Seven Companies 7

Seven Collegiate Halls 49


Seven Saints 2401

Prayer and praise were kept up without ceasing day and night, by twelve
saints, men of learning, of each company.” (Iolo MSS., p. 555.)

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The spiritual wants of the inhabitants of the
district were not neglected, fifty-six canons being
appointed for missionary work, to look after
scholars, pilgrims, and settlers ; to instruct the
people, hear their confessions, and attend them
at the hour, of death.

standard The Lantwit standard of education was much
education the same as that adopted in the schools of the
at Lantwit p resen ^.
the earliest period of life, and kept them until
their education was finished. The course of
study included Latin, Greek, rhetoric, philosophy,
theology, and mathematics; and these were
taught with so much success that Lantwit was
looked upon by the most eminent persons as the
first college in Britain. Most of the great saints
and apostles of the country who lived in the
generation succeeding that of Illtyd had been
educated by him ; and these included St. David,
St. Samson, St. Gildas, St. Tugdual, St. Daniel
of Bangor, and many others ; and from Lantwit
emanated, in a great measure, the bishops and
abbots both of Wales and Brittany. .

The scholars of Illtyd were taught to handle
the spade as well as the pen. The rule of the
college did not sanction exemption from manual
labour, no matter what rank or position the
student might occupy. Thus we see the junior
pupils employed — like St. Samson — in driving
sparrows from the corn-fields, and others cutting
grain and binding sheaves in harvest-time. It

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was the importance attached to manual labour,
and the vigour and constancy with which it was
pursued, which gave so high a reputation to the
monastery for producing architects and builders.

The cloister was believed, with reason, to furnish
the best mechanics in every branch of industry.

Some monks — like those of St. David — made
no use of animals in the cultivation of the. soil ;
but Illtyd employed both deer and oxen in
ploughing, drawing timber, and many other
forms of labour.

At the foot of Lantwit is a narrow but long
valley — now forming beautiful grazing meadows
— which separated as by a natural trench an
ancient camp on the sea-shore from the mainland.

Illtyd, wishing to reclaim this land, built an
embankment, consisting of stones, cemented with
clay as mortar. A small bridge in the centre
spanned the opening left to carry to the sea the
waters of the stream. Three times was this
embankment washed away and destroyed during
storms, and Illtyd feared it was useless to wrestle
against the power of the mighty ocean.
However, he made a fourth effort, and, taught
by experience, constructed a more solid sea-wall,
of sufficient strength to resist the action of the
waves. This piece of successful engineering
was considered almost miraculous by his

We have already narrated that Illtyd and his st nityd

• vifiitdd |)y

wife separated by mutual consent, in order that Trynihid.

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both might embrace the religious life. The
pious Trynihid, like her husband, retired to a
convent, in company with some others of her
sex who wished to serve God in the cloister.
However, after several years, she became
desirous of once more seeing the companion of
her youth, in whose society she had spent so
many happy days. She visited Lantwit; but
her former husband would neither see her nor
allow her to see him, neither speak to her nor be
spoken to. He said that, as they had parted for
ever in this world, they could not meet again
except before the throne of God, when summoned
to receive the reward of their sacrifice.

Trynihid, however, insisted on seeing him, at
least at a distance. When her eyes rested on
him who had been her husband they found the
late gallant knight clothed in skins as a labourer,
his hands and face covered with mud. His
appearance indicated a severe life ; he was bent
and emaciated, and a snow-white beard covered
his breast. The lady wept as the contrast
between his present state and that of -former
days forced itself upon her mind. She
remembered him as a noble soldier in the train
of King Arthur. She had listened to the bards
as they sung in the banquet-hall of his bravery
in the battle-field. He had been honoured with
the name of Illtyd “ The Knight,” because of
his courage in war and his courtesy in peace, and
she had gloried in being the wife of such a

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husband. Now his appearance was that of a
hardy, but rude, peasant. Still, as she recognised
in this transformation the effect of Divine grace,
and the result of a fixed determination to serve
God, and gain heaven by the practice of the three
Evangelical Counsels, she returned to her convent
in order to follow the example of her husband.

Persecution is a necessary appendix in the life iwcu-
of a saint. Those who wish to live piously as
servants of Jesus Christ must, like their Master, .
take up their cross and carry it along the road
to Calvary, and make up their minds to suffer

Strange to say, the hand which afflicted Illtyd
was that of the first benefactor God had raised
up to help the saint in his mission.

Merchion, as we have already seen, granted
large tracts of land to Illtyd ; but in course of
time, when the monastery had been established
on a solid foundation, this same prince turned
against the saint whom he had so much admired,
an instance of the mutability of human favour
which recalls to mind that saying of holy
Scripture, “ Woe to him who trusteth in man,
or in the powerful of the earth .” 1

This prince, fretful and inconstant, was
entirely in the hands of his officers, in whose
choice he was unfortunate. He either could
not or would not open his eyes to their
evil deeds, a fact which made him unpopular

(1) Jer. xvii. 5.

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amongst his subjects. Two of these unworthy
favourites, at different times, broke up the
friendship which existed between Illtyd and
Merchion. Their names were Cefygid and
Gyflym. In the old Celtic vernacular the latter
appellation is equivalent to an acute hound — fin
limier in French.

The duties of these men consisted in bringing
to their master the tributes to be paid by his
subjects. It was an office sufficiently respectable
in itself, because in every society taxes of some
sort must be imposed and collected. But these
officers behaved more like pashas serving a
Sultan than the ministers of a Christian prince
ruling over Christian subjects. Under the
pretext of executing the orders of their master,
they worked for their own private interests.
Their journeys through the country were marked
by exactions and misdeeds of every kind ; neither
property nor person was safe in their hands.

The aggrieved inhabitants came to the Abbot
of Lantwit, as to a father and protector, and
begged him to use his influence in convincing
Merchion of the unworthiness of his ministers,
because any complaints they might make would
obtain no other result but an increase of

To enrich themselves, these unscrupulous men
impoverished their master, whose tribute yearly
decreased ; and to make up for deficiencies they
conceived the plan of forcing the abbot and his

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community to supply corn and cattle for the use
of the king. The monastery was rich in both,
because there hundreds of God’s servants worked
hard and industriously.

Illtyd could not consent to this imposition.
His possessions belonged to God and to the poor ;
the charters, laws, and customs of the country
exempted all such lands from any tribute. It
was to his labours and those of his brethren the
productiveness of the soil was due; and if the
followers of Merchion had spent their time in a
similar manner, instead of devoting it to hunting
and other sports, his territory would be quite as
fertile. Illtyd declared that the rights and
privileges of his monastery were entrusted to his
guardianship, and he could not allow them to be

His opponents were not so easily to be checked.
They carried on their plunder and vexations in
various ways. Under the plea, for instance, that
the cattle of Lantwit-Major had trespassed on
the ground of Merchion, these cattle were seized
and “pounded,” nearly starved to death, and
then returned to their owners in mockery.
Things went on in this way for several years,
when both agents successively died unnatural
deaths, which was looked upon by the people as
a punishment from heaven.

Merchion, who attributed their fate to the curse
of Illtyd, resolved to be revenged. He publicly
declared his regret at having permitted the

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from his

monks to build on his land, saying that if
Lantwit had been left to the wild beast, wolves,
and deer, he would have had both sport and
peace. He was prevailed upon by his courtiers
to place himself at the head of his soldiers and
march to the monastery to drive away Illtyd and
his brethren. On several occasions he thus
appeared at Lantwit with threats of war, but we
do not find that he committed any actual violence.

We regret to learn that this chieftain’s death
is also described as a chastisement from God.
His first intercourse with Illtyd denoted the
possession of noble qualities, and one would wish
to see him at the latter part of his life true to
the sentiments of earlier days. Through the
influence of unscrupulous ministers he was
induced to persecute a saint, and endeavour to
undo a work which he had fostered in its infancy.

When the founder of Lantwit became aware of
the machinations of Merchion, and the motives
which prompted them, he came to the resolution
of leaving his monastery. As these attacks were
chiefly directed against his person, he hoped that
his retirement might abate the anger of the
prince and facilitate satisfactory arrangements
between the monks and the chieftain. This
circumstance offered also a favourable oppor-
tunity of following his attraction for a solitary
life. Aware, however, that his religious brethren
would on no account sanction his departure, he
kept it as a secret, and arranged his plan in such

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a maimer as to preclude the possibility of anyone
forming any idea of what direction he had taken
on leaving.

Away from his brethren, without a home or
a friend, the saint wandered about the country
until he came to the banks of the Ewenny, a
river which flows into the sea below Bridgend.
After further roaming, under the concealment of
the woods, he discovered a cave, which he looked
upon as the home provided for him by Divine

He felt happy. Once more he would be
enabled to lead the life of a hermit, free from all
those cares which the administration of a large
community necessarily entail. Now his soul,
undisturbed, could penetrate into the mysteries
of Divine love, and no creature in the world
could intrude on his conversation with his dear
Redeemer. He lived much in the same way as
Paul and Anthony in the deserts of Egypt.
According to the legends, every ninth hour a
loaf of bread was miraculously provided for him,
and after his frugal repast he visited a neigh-
bouring spring and, with the aid of his hands,
drank of its clear waters.

The secret of his retreat was revealed
through the following circumstance : — Gildas, the
historian, was both a master of letters and of the
art of foundry; he had cast a bell, which he
intended for St. David, then residing at Menevia.
A brother was dispatched there with the present.

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On arriving near the retreat of Illtyd, the bell
rang, and its sweet tone, echoing through the
silence of the forest, attracted the attention of
the hermit, who came out of his cave to
investigate the cause of the sound, and fell in
with the brother and his present to St. David.

This was a pleasant circumstance to the monks
and to the people at large, who looked upon
Illtyd as the defender of their rights. They
had already searched the whole country, and
interrogated sailors at every seaport, but all to
no purpose. As soon as his place of retreat was
known, a deputation started off at once to bring
him back to Lantwit, whether willing or unwilling.

No account of the last days of this celebrated
servant of God, or the year and place of his
death, has been handed down by the Welsh
MSS. Society. Some mention is made of his
having established a branch of his order at
Ty-gwyn ar Taf, chiefly for the study of the
higher branches of theology ; also, that the
Paulinus so often mentioned in the lives of St.
David and St. Teilo is no other than Illtyd, and
that under that name he assisted at the Council
of Brefi, together with Dubricius, as one of the
elders amongst the clergy.

Some maintain that Illtyd died and was
buried in Brittany, others in Wales 1 .

Illtyd’s memory remained sacred in the minds
of future generations, as preserved in the

(1) An archaeologist, living in Cardiff, maintains that the tombstone of
Illtyd is to this day to be seen in Brecknockshire.

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traditions of Britain and Armorica. Soldiers
were proud of him, because, in his early life, he
had reflected lustre on their ranks, and to them
he ever remained “ Illtyd the Knight.” The
clergy reverenced him as an eminent scholar
and clever administrator; monks looked upon
him as their model, and the Celtic Church
recognised the great services he had rendered to
religion; for he had trained up, as his successors,
a legion of saints, bishops, and founders of
religious houses, as we have already seen.

The Archbishop of D61 was the intimate
friend of Illtyd, and, it is believed by many, that
in token of gratitude to his old master, Samson
erected an elaborate monument, at Lantwit, to
his memory. Excavations have lately brought
to light his memorial-stone, and the inscription,
still extant, testifies that it was erected by a dear
disciple to the master of his youth.

Lantwit, after the death of its founder,
continued to flourish up to the time of the
Norman invasion, then a part of its revenues
were given to Tewkesbury.

To this day a little bell is exhibited at
Lantwit, which is said to have been placed there
in the time of Illtyd.

His feast was religiously observed both in
Britain and Armorica ; in the diocese of D61 on
the 16th of November, in that of Leon, on the
7th and also the 14th of the same month.

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St. David.

David, in Welsh Dewi, successor of St. Dubricius
in the See of Caerleon, and subsequently the first
archbishop of (St. David) Menevia, belongs to
that generation of Welsh saints who became the
leaders of the Church in Cambria, when
Dubricius, Cadoc, and Illtyd, advanced in years,
had either retired from public duties or gone to
receive in a better world the reward of a well-
spent life in this.

His contemporaries in Wales were St. Teilo,
second Bishop of Llandaff ; Daniel, first Bishop
of Bangor; Padarn, of Llanbadarn; and
Kentigern, Bishop of Glascow. In David’s time
the last-named prelate resided at St. Asaph, in
North Wales, at the head of a large religious

Some of his countrymen, or, probably, fellow-
students, such as Samson, Paul of Leon, Gildas,
Eleonor, and Tugdual, were either bishops or at
the head of prosperous monasteries in Brittany.

(1) Compiled from the " Cambro-Britieh Saints,” “Britannia Sancta/’
Rev. O’ Hanlon’ s “ Life of St. David.”

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David is to this day the popular name amongst
the Cambrians. We cannot convey a clearer “““e in

" Cambria.

idea of the high esteem in which he was held by
liis countrymen while he lived, than by quoting
their own words at the Council of Brefi. When
from his platform (composed, not of wood, but
of the upper garments of the thousands assembled)
the clear voice and eloquence of David had
fascinated his audience, and uprooted for ever
the Pelagian heresy from their minds, they, in
their enthusiasm, pronounced him to be the
greatest man their country had ever produced.

“ God,” they said, “ had given Peter to Borne,

Mark to Alexandria, Martin of Tours to Prance,
Patrick to Ireland, Samson to Brittany, and
David to Wales.”

When in the grave veneration clung to his
memory. We all know that amongst the Irish
Patrick is the name most in favour at the
baptismal font ; so, in the Cambrian household
the most used — we may say the national — name
is David.

In reading the life and times of St. David, one
cannot help noticing another British celebrity,
who figured in the political world, and stands by
the side of the patron of Wales in national
popularity. It is the far-famed Arthur. This
bold captain, who is made by the romancer the
type of chivalry, came into the world and
departed from it about the same time as David ;
for Arthur, born about the year 456, died in 542

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— dates tallying with the hirth and death of
David. Both the patriot and the servant of God
entered on their respective careers early in life ;
for Arthur at fifteen is met with in the battle-
field, and David embraced monastic life whilst
yet very young. The warrior fought for the
independence of his native shores; the saint,
fighting for truth against error, extirpated heresy
and reformed his country. Both of them, out of
devotion, went in pilgrimage to Jerusalem ; and
after their departure from this world, David and
Arthur remained the two most popular names in
the annals of their race.

It is rather difficult to point out with accuracy
the locality and the year in which the patron of
Wales came into the world. There is no doubt
whatever that he was born in the south-west of
Wales — Cardiganshire.

Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire also claim
the honour of having given birth to this eminent
servant of God. His father was Santus, or
Sandle, a Cardigan chieftain, and his mother,
who was called Nun, or Melaria, was a daughter
of the Brythan princes ruling that region we
now call Brecknockshire. His birth and baptism
are said to have been honoured by miracles.

For example, it is related that a tyrant of
D im eta planned the destruction of David at the
time of his birth. This wicked man had learned
from the British magi that the whole country
around must one day become subject to that

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infant; they even pointed out the exact place
where his mother would live at the birth of this
highly-favoured child. The tyrant and his
associates devised means to ensnare the babe.
The Almighty, however, protected the mother
and child, and frustrated the designs of .their
enemies ; for, at the very moment of St. David’s
hirth, a fearful tempest, mingled with lightning,
thunder, hail, and rain, swept over the country.
This frightful storm so interfered with their
wicked plans, and so terrified them, that they
abandoned the whole scheme.

Furthermore, the ancient legends tell us that
the birth of David was revealed to St. Patrick by
an angel, after the manner in which the birth
and mission of John the Baptist was revealed to

The future apostle of Ireland was staying in
the valley of Glyn-Rosin, near or in the present
town of St. David. He had laid out the plan of a
monastery in that place, and was beginning, with
the earnestness peculiar to the monks, to carry
out the buildings, when an angel appeared to
him and said : — “ Patrick, God has not appointed
this place for thee, but has reserved it for a
child, not yet born, nor to come into the world
till thirty years are past.”

St. Patrick felt somewhat displeased, not to
say disheartened, for the angelic message produced
the impression on his mind that Almighty God,
whom he had served from his youth, had thrown

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him aside, as a useless servant, while He
preferred to bestow His favours upon a child not
yet born. In the eyes of St. Patrick this seemed to
he very bad usage. However, the angel bade him
to cheer up, and, pointing to the west, set
before his eyes a beautiful panorama of Ireland,
with its bays, mountains, and plains. “That
island, Patrick,” the heavenly messenger added,
“ is to be the theatre of thy future labours. It
was the land of thy captivity in thy younger
days; there, for six years, thou didst tend the
cattle of Milcho ; there, for the remainder of
thy career, thou art to be the guide of kings and
princes, and the instrument of God for the
salvation of thousands. Begrudge not this land
to the unborn child.”

In the event of this vision having taken place
about the time of his appointment to the Irish
Missions, we find at once the exact date of
St. David’s biith; for St. Patrick began his
mission in Ireland in 432 ; thirty years more, and
we have 462 as the year St. David was born. But
there is no conclusive evidence that St. Patrick
was favoured with this vision at the time of his
departure for Ireland. As we read previously,
he had visited Britain several times.

„ Our saint received his education at the college

St. David # # °

atLantwit- 0 f Illtyd, at Lantwit-Major, and it was in this

Major and *

at Ty- religious house that he, very probably, embraced

gwyn ar D

Tat religious life, and took the several grades of holy
orders up to the priesthood.

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When the son had thus chosen a settled life,
the mother emigrated to Brittany, in which
country she spent the remainder of her life,
weeping over the fault she had committed in her
younger days. That fault was this : Melaria, or
Nun, had consecrated herself to Almighty God
in her youth ; but, unfortunately, her beauty
was so great that she fascinated Sandle, the
Cardigan prince, and thus became the mother of
St. David. Subsequently, when her duties as a
mother no longer detained her in the world, she
resolved to fulfil her promise to God and the
Church, and to return to the kind of life she had
chosen in her maiden days. She embarked for
Brittany, and there ended her days in a convent.
Her biographers have pinned to her name the
epithet of “ penitent.” The people of Armorica
for centuries pointed out to visitors the rocks on
which she used to pray and weep . 1

In the “ Lives of the Cambro-British Saints ”
mention is often made of Ty-gwyn ar T&f, or
Whitland, in Carmarthenshire, as a seminary
for higher studies. Paulinus, a disciple of St.
Germanus, founded and governed this college,
supposed to have been situated in a narrow but
beautiful vale, formed by hills, about a mile
from the present Whitland railway station . 2 St.
David resided ten years in this locality as a

(1) Lobineau. “Vies des Saints de Bretagne.”

(2) Several ancient historians have erred in making Whitland the Isle of
Wight Whitland, or White Land, is the English name for Ty-gwyn ar
Taf, or the White House on Taff.

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member of tbe community. St. Teilo, the
second Bishop of Llandaff, amongst many others,
was his companion in this solitude. Several
incidents connected with the life led at the
White Souse have already been related in the
biography of St. Teilo, to which we must refer
the reader.

st. David During the residence of David in this locality

restores , " 9

sight to h« an event took place which powerfully brings
forth the humility of St. Paulinus. It also shows
the confidence he had in the prayers of holy
youths who had been brought up from their
infancy in the love of God, and some of whom
had, perhaps, never lost the innocence of their

The aged principal had so far lost his sight
that it was difficult for him even to celebrate the
holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Aware that his
disciples were holy youths, and confident that, as
such, their prayers were powerful in heaven, he
called them all in turn to make the sign of the
Cross over his eyes, that they might enable him
to again put his soul in external communication
with the visible works of God. They complied
with the wishes of their master, but obtained no
result until David came, last of all. Paulinus
said to him, “ Look at the state of mine eyes. I
cannot see, and they pain me so much that it is
with the greatest difficulty I celebrate the holy
Sacrifice of the Mass.” The young priest replied,
“ We are now ten years together, and never yet

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have mine eyes met thine.” Paulinus, struck by
the religious habit which this evinced, said to
David, “ Well, since it is so, as thou art a dear
friend of God, make the sign of the Cross on
mine eyes and I shall be cured.” David obeyed,
and Paulinus recovered his sight.

It is no easy matter to place in a proper
chronological order the various events connected
with the life of St. David. The ancient MSS.
are not very particular in this respect ; so it is
rather difficult to state at what period of his life
he visited Jerusalem. According to the “ Liber
Landavensis” (Life of St. Teilo), it would seem
that David, Padarn, and Teilo started on this
pilgrimage during their stay with Paulinus.

We have already spoken of this pilgrimage to
the Holy Land, and of the reception given to the
three British pilgrims, and have seen how they
strengthened the wavering faith of the East by
their preaching to the heretics, and even to the
Jews. Among the presents given by the
Patriarch to St. David was a portable altar on
which he consecrated the body and blood of our
Lord. David afterwards presented it to the
church of Glastonbury.

David, who had been in thd earlier part of his
life a persevering student and an edifying
religious, proved also to be a hard-working
missionary, when once launched into public life.
His start in this new course was thus brought
about : —

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St David



After the saint had spent ten years in the
forest of Whitland, an angel appeared to him and
said, “ Beloved of God, it is now time to turn to
account, for the salvation of souls, a talent
entrusted to thy care.” The subsequent works
of David prove how he corresponded with the
call of heaven. Monastic institutions all over
South Wales, from Baglan, not far from the
river Wye, to St. David’s, in Pembrokeshire, bear
testimony to his zeal and energy of thought and
act. He built twelve monasteries in his lifetime.

The first place we find him at work in, is
Glastonbury, the cradle of Christianity in
Britain, termed by our ancestors “the first
ground of God ” in England. It was there, as
we have seen, that Joseph of Arimathea and his
companions erected the first Christian temple to
Almighty God . 1

The building already there was small in
dim ensions and simple in structure. It was
made of timber, roofed in with reeds or rushes.
The palisades that supported this simple roof
were decorated with the bark of trees, more or
less artistically arranged. This modest chapel of
the first apostles of the Britons seems to have
been at times somewhat neglected. Although
repaired at different periods, it was no more than
a ruined edifice when St. David went to
Glastonbury. The saint’s first idea was to pull
down the whole fabric and build a new church

ll) “ Cam bro-British Saint*/' p. 63. Sammea. Cambden.

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altogether ; but a religious respect for the past,
and a warning from an angel, bade him leave
intact as much as possible the work of the first
missionaries of Britain. However,, as the place
was becoming every day too small for the
religious requirements of Glastonbury, David
added a new chancel, forty feet in length ; and
in order that future generations might not forget
the church of St. Joseph, he placed a column in
the centre, which pointed out the limits of the
old church and the additions he had made. This
chancel was dedicated to “Mary, Virgin, and
Mother of God.”

The temple thus enlarged did not reach the
dim ensions which , Gothic cathedrals were to
attain at a later time under the genius and
energy of the monks of the Middle Ages.

The structure of Joseph of Arimathea was
sixty feet by twenty-six or thirty feet ; and the
forty feet more added by St. David, with a
proportionate width, covered a respectable area
for those days — namely, about one hundred feet
by thirty feet. Considering the little comfort
people of those times required in their homes or
their places of worship, the church could
accommodate hundreds.

Particular mention is made of the great care
David took in the decoration of the altar. In a
Catholic church the altar is the chief ornament ;
for on it is immolated the Lamb of God for the
sins of mankind. The stone of this altar was a

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present David had received from the Patriarch
of Jerusalem. We are also told that the
tabernacle was beautifully decorated, and even
inlaid with sapphires of the greatest value,
procured by the zeal of Glastonbury’s restorers.

The connection of David with Glastonbury
brought this cradle of Christianity once more
prominently before the minds of the Britons.
King Arthur, on his death-bed, wished to be
buried in this locality ; and his tomb there was
brought to light by the excavations carried out
by Henry II., King of England. A stone, in the
shape of a rude cross, was discovered, with the
following inscription : —

“ Hie jaoet sepultus inclytus rex.

Arthur IV. Insula avaloni.”

When the Anglo-Saxon race was converted to
Christ Glastonbury showed forth a brighter lustre.
King Ina, in the year 698, pulled down the old
church, and in its place erected a stately temple,
dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. He also
built a college for the education of English
youths, and brought over from Ireland celebrated
professors. To defray all these expenses he laid
a tax of a penny on every household. 1

Glastonbury was made by St. David the great
dep6t in which he trained his first disciples, and
out of which, in the course of his wonderful
career, he took the various subjects who were
to aid him in establishing so many religious
institutions throughout Wales.

(1) Sammcs, p. 212.

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The monastic establishment of Glastonbury®® 1 ^®
placed on a good footing, David thought of David *
establishing branches of his order in other
localities. He went to Bath, and there placed
some of his brethren. Everybody knows that
Bath is a fashionable resort of the aristocracy in
our modern times, and that it is much frequented
by rich invalids. The ancient legends tell us
that the springs of Bath, which are now so
popular, were once deleterious to health, but
through the prayers of St. David they became
most salubrious to persons who washed in their
waters . 1

From Bath our saint crossed the Severn Sea,
which we now call the Bristol Channel, and
took a northern direction. The regions now
known as Radnorshire and Herefordshire felt
the beneficial result of his zeal. Monasteries
and churches rose from the ground under his
energetic will. Leominster heard, at night, the
sweet accents of Matins and Lauds chanted by
his brethren. Then he came to Raglan, in
Monmouthshire, and there established another
religious community.

We find him next directing his steps towards
his native shores in the west. However, on his
way to the present Pembrokeshire, he stopped
at Llangyvelach, in the district of Gower, not
far from the present town of Swansea. There
he marked out a new camp for the soldiers of

(1) “ Co mbro- British Saints,”

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Christ. Then he continued his journey to the
extremity of Wales, to Glyn-Rosin, which has
since lost its name and taken that of St. David.

Anyone who knows anything about religious
institutions, the work they entail, the confidence
they inspire, marvels how a single man could
have wrought such wonders. A religious
community, especially in the fifth and sixth
centuries, contained a great number of men, all
trained to follow a severe rule distasteful to
flesh and blood, and all fully persuaded that
the life they led was the best fitted for the
salvation of their souls. Everyone in these
institutions was there by his own free will ; no
compulsion was used to force him to embrace
this severe mode of living. Yet hundreds upon
hundreds, taken from every rank of society,
noblemen and bondsmen, clergy and laity, rushed
with enthusiasm after St. David, fascinated by his
virtue and eloquence, and consecrated themselves
to God under his direction, confident that he was
a safe master of spiritual life.

Irishmen crossed the sea and came over to
Wales to serve God under the guidance of St.
David. Princes left the world and put on the
monastic dress. Amongst others, mention is
made of Constantine, the Cornish prince so
severely rebuked by Gildas.

The rule These various monasteries followed one

David, common mode of living. The rule was much
the same as that of St. Martin of Tours, and of

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St. Patrick, with such alterations as were
required by climate and customs.

Every monk was to earn his daily bread by
the sweat of his brow. “ He that does not work,
let him not eat ” was a favourite maxim of David.
Labour screens man from many temptations,
such, for example, as impure thoughts.

Everything was to be common — no mine nor
thine. He required no dowry, nor would he
allow any presents to he received. There was
plenty of uncultivated ground about Wales that
would supply their wants.

Contrary to what he had seen practised at
Lantwit-Major by his master, Illtyd, who made
use of oxen and horses in cultivating the
country, David wished that the land of his
monastery should be tilled only by the spade.
During work, on the road to or from the fields, a
strict silence was kept, much the same as
amongst the Trappists in our days.

The time marked out for work over, the
brethren returned home, and spent whatever
time remained either in studying, writing, or
prayer. In the evening they all went to the
church. Then came the time of supper ; after-
wards evening prayer and rest. At cock-crowing
they rose for Matins and Lauds.

Their diet was simple and wholesome, and
much like that of the poorer classes. It consisted
of bread and vegetables, cooked according to the
custom of the time ; water and milk were their

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only beverages. However, in case of old age
and infirmity, the rule became indulgent — a
better fare was allowed, and animal food could
be served.

The partisans of vegetarianism find in this
kind of life a strong argument in favour of their
system. These ancient monks never tasted
animal food, except in case of sickness, and yet
sickness and infirmities were rare things amongst
them, and most of them died, if not centenarians,
at least nearly so.

The brethren were expected to disclose their
inward thoughts and temptations to their

When a postulant knocked at the door of a
monastery, instead of being cajoled into becoming
a novice, he was, on the contrary, to be tried in
humility and sincerity of purpose. For ten days
.he was kept at the door, and dealt with in such a
manner as to bring down his pride. When he
stood the trial, he was handed to the master of
novices, to be trained to spiritual life and broken
in to the customs of religion, till such time as he
was qualified to be admitted as one of the

This ancient rule for the admission of new
members into a religious order closely resembles
that used in our own days. There is a time of
probation, in which the order tries the postulant,
and the postulant tries the order. This probation
in our modem times lasts about two years, or

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even thirty months. Would it not he desirable
that persons entering the marriage state should,
in like manner, take time to consider ?

David himself, the founder and ruler of these
religious houses, was the first to show them good
example. Among other evidences of the fact, we
read that, not satisfied with the keeping of these
rules, already severe enough, he was in the habit,
like Illtyd, of plunging his body into cold water,
usually about midnight, the better to subdue his
passions. His days were spent in reading,
teaching, and in the government of his brethren.

Divine love burnt so strongly in his heart as to
become reflected on his countenance, especially
when, at the altar, he offered up the holy
Sacrifice of the Mass. In prayer, he seemed to be
speaking with the very angels, and at times tears
bedewed his cheeks. The passion of our Lord,

His love for mankind, and the ingratitude of the
world, the sins of his own countrymen, so power-
fully denounced by one of his contemporaries and
fellow-Briton, called these tears from his eyes.

The Council of Brefi, in Cardiganshire, was the The
most celebrated ecclesiastical congress ever held btoT 11 °*
in Wales, as it laid down a code of Church laws
and religious customs which for ages remained
deeply engrafted in the minds and customs of a
people naturally conservative. When Howell
Dda, about four centuries later, endowed his
country with a code, he religiously respected the
canons of Brefi and Caerleon.

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The council was held in the year 619,
Hormisdas, the fifty-fourth Pope, occupying the
chair of St. Peter, and Justin being the Emperor
of the East. 1 The errors of Pelagianism, not
then uprooted in the west, were the immediate
cause for the assembling of this council. We
have already seen that Pelagius and his false
doctrines on grace were triumphantly refuted in
Wales by Germanus and his companions, and we
have also seen that a sound education was
imparted to the Cambrian youth at Llancarvan
and Lantwit-Major. They were less fortunate in
the west, where some of the old clergy and a
large proportion of the laity continued for a long
time to be infected with the heresy.

Before leaving the world, Dubricius, then
residing in Caerleon, thought it advisable, in the
interests of religion, to call together, in a national
council, the clergy and people, with the double
object of confirming Welshmen in the true
Catholic faith, and of reforming relaxed morals,
by enforcing the ecclesiastical laws already in
existence, or enacting such as were demanded by
the times ; for continual wars and the incessant
irruptions of the Saxons had partially obliterated
the laws of the Church.

It was, no doubt, a noble task on the part of
Dubricius and his clergy to use their utmost
endeavours to bring their flock to the observance
of the Gospel, and to restrain, by ecclesiastical

(1) O’Hanlon.

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means, the uncontrollable passions of the people,
and especially of the princes, then all-powerful.
Letters of convocation were addressed by
Dubricius, as archbishop, to all bishops, abbots,
clergy, and laity, to assemble at Bred at a
specified time, probably about Whitsuntide.

The geographical position of Brefi, or
Llandewi Brevi, as it is now called, rendered it
a most suitable place for the council. Three
counties border it. A traveller starting from the
present town of Lampeter cannot fail to reach
the spot by following a good road along the river
Teify. The valley throughout is picturesque and
well cultivated. After eight miles’ walk he will
reach the Cwm Brevi Mountains, at the foot of
which runs the river Brefi, on whose banks the
church of St. David, standing on a raised plateau,
points out the very spot where the council was

Shortly after the opening of the council the
solitary valley was changed into an immense
encampment, and a visitor could best obtain a
just idea of the scene by climbing the mountains
behind the river Brefi, whence his eye could
command a view of what was going on below.
The valley and the slopes of the hills were
covered with tents, the respective occupants of
which it would take too long to enumerate. A
larger tent than the rest indicated the temporary
chapel, in which the holy Sacrifice of the Mass was
offered up before opening the business of the day.

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The council lasted several weeks, and led to the
neighbourhood an immense concourse of human
beings ; people were coming and going in crowds.
Some stayed at Brefi a few days, and then
returned home, but their places were soon filled
up by fresh comers. Our modern exhibitions
may give us an idea of the scene. There were
prayers, singing, and daily instructions to the
people on the necessity and manner of serving
Christ. The unity of faith was the leading
theme of the discourses. The fall of man, the
necessity of grace, the institution by Jesus Christ
of seven Sacraments as channels of grace,
occupied a great portion of the time, and were
proved by Scripture and by the traditions of past
ages. Particular sessions were held by the'
clergy and leading laity, in which measures for
the reformation of morals were proposed,
discussed, and finally , adopted or rejected.

Eor some time little progress was made in
communicating to the crowd that enthusiasm
which softens the heart and renders it fit to take
in religious truth. The clergy felt they wanted
a speaker who should become the mouthpiece of
the Council. There were thousands present, but
not one priest endowed with a voice that could
penetrate through the crowds. They wanted a
human trumpet, whose stentorian tones would
thrill the masses. David was not present. Old
Paulinus ( alias Illtyd) solved every difficulty by
the following suggestion, which was at once

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adopted by the bishops : — “ There is in the
country,” he said, “ an apostle and a bishop, who
is not present. It is David of Glyn Rosin
(Menevia). He should have been here; hut his
humility and love of solitude keep h i m away. A
disciple of mine for many years at Ty-gwyn ar
Taf, I know him to he sound in the faith, well
versed in Holy Scripture and in the Fathers.

Nature has gifted him with eloquence and a
stentorian voice. He has preached the Gospel
throughout Britain, and even at Jerusalem, in
which place he was consecrated bishop.”

Messengers were despatched to Menevia, David
conveying to the abbot the general wish of the the** 1 *°
Council, and requesting his presence. David CounciL
declined the first two or three invitations “ Who
am I,” he said, “ that so much should he thought
about my capacity? If the leading clergy of
Wales have failed, as you say, in electrifying the
people, is the Monk of Menevia so proud as to
think that he can succeed better than a Teilo of
Llandaff, or a Daniel, or many other members
amongst the clergy.” However, at last, called
upon by Dubricius and Daniel, he could no longer
refuse, so he departed, recommending himself
to the prayers of his brethren. The ancient On his
chroniclers relate that, when not far from Brefi, council *
and on the banks of the river Teify (perhaps in the dead
the valley between Lampeter and the spot on ^“. the
which the Council was held), the curiosity of
David and of the deputation was excited by

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cries and lamentations coming from a cottage
not far distant. The saint’s heart was touched ;
here people were in sorrow, and he must see
whether any consolation could be given them.
The deputation objected to any delay on the road,
as the bishops and people were anxious for his

“Go,” said David, “before me, and inform
them of my coming ; I must meanwhile relieve
my suffering neighbour.” On arriving at the
cottage, he found a mother, surrounded by
women, weeping over the corpse of her only dear
son. The mother besought the bishop, in the
name of God, to bring her young boy to life
again. The servant of God, full of faith, knelt
on the ground and humbly asked Almighty God
to display His power by restoring life to the
dead. His prayer was granted, for the youth
was restored both to life and health. And the
mother, transported with joy, exclaimed, “ My
son that was dead, through God’s favour and
yours, is now alive.” David then departed for
Brefi, accompanied by the same youth whom the
power of God had raised from the dead.

His reception at the Council was respectful ;
and, as all the trouble taken to bring him to
Brefi was chiefly on account of the popular
eloquence he was gifted with, the bishops soon
induced him to exercise his talent in preaching.
The legends narrate several prodigies that took
place on the occasion. As we do not see any

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reason why we should call in question the
narrative of our ancestors, or doubt that the
power of God is displayed at suitable times, we
will mention some of them. On a certain
occasion, when he rose to preach in the presence
of the multitude, a snow-white dove seemed to
come down from heaven and at length to alight
on the shoulder of David . 1 Again, it is said that
the mound on which the present church of St.
David stands, at Llandewi Brefi, rose under his
feet so as to form a miraculous platform, from
which he could effectively address his audience.
When a visitor to Llandewi Brefi looks at this
ground he sees it to be about an acre, on the
hanks of the Brefi, forming a mound, at some
places fifteen or twenty feet above the rest of the

The eloquence, the fine countenance, and the
stentorian voice of David, resounding like a
trumpet through the crowds, soon captivated the
audience. He quickly reduced to their proper
level all the arguments of heresy, and brought
forth in the brightest light the truths of the
Catholic Church.

By the preacher stood a young boy, who
carried the Gospel and acted as acolyte to David.
His history soon spread about, and when it
became known that the boy had been dead and
was called to life by the man of God, the
veneration of the people knew no bounds.

(1) Rev. O’Hanlon.

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Previous to this communication, David stood
before them as a wonderful orator, but now he
was also a living saint. Erom that moment the
words of the preacher were to all present as pure
Gospel. Had an angel came from heaven, he
could not have exercised a greater influence.
Pelagianism, with its subtilities, appeared to all
in its falsehood, and was for ever rejected by the
people. As we have already mentioned, several
resolutions for the reformation of morals were
adopted at Brefi, and David was requested to put
them in canonical form.


At the end of this council Dubricius, far
advanced in years, abdicated, and sailed for the
island of Bardsey, there to end his life in solitude
and prayer. David was unanimously elected by
the nation to fill up the vacancy. He tried in
vain to decline the position, hut, willing or
unwilling, he was made Archbishop of all
Cambria. Settled in Caerleon, the metropolitan
See, he wrote with his own hands the ecclesiastical
laws agreed on at Brefi ; and when the work was
completed he called a second synod, in the City
of the Legions, on the river Usk, and there
submitted the canons to the assembled clergy.
This Council is called in history the Council of
Victory, no doubt from the fact that it crowned a
double work — the destruction of Pelagianism and
the reformation of manners. The Council of
Brefi and its consequent of Caerleon, or Victory,
fixed, as we have already seen, the religious

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customs and discipline of the Church in Wales.
That of Brefi was held in 519, Hormisdas being
then Pope. It is not easy to ascertain the precise
year in which that of Caerleon was held, but the
time probably was not long after that historically
assigned to the first.

The old manuscripts are particular about
remarking that these decrees were sent to Borne,
and there approved and confirmed by Papal
authority. 1 We do not record this fact as indicat-
ing an extraordinary line of conduct. The Britons
practised the Catholic religion, and, as a matter
of course, were in communion with Borne, where
the Jiead of the Church resided. Even Howell
Dda, who was not a priest, and who did not
legislate in that capacity, thought it his duty to
submit his code to the Pope of Borne, lest it
should contain anything militating against the
laws of God or the Church.

A copy of the decrees of these two Councils
had been for a long time kept in the archives of
St. David’s Cathedral, but was at last destroyed
by pirates. 2 In fact, most of the ancient records
of Britain’s history have been thus destroyed by
the flames, which generally followed the track
of war in times past. In how many articles or
canons the decrees of Brefi were embodied it is
now hard to tell. In spirit and form they were
like other councils that had been held in Ireland,
Brittany, and Gaul about the same time.

(1) “ Cambro-British Saints,” p. 443.

(2) Rees’ " Lives of the Welsh Saints."

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The spirit of these ecclesiastical laws is
reflected in the “ Liher Landavensis,” or the
Register of Llandaff, and may be thus summed
up :

I. All ecclesiastical matters, such as doctrine
of faith, discipline of the clergy, had to be
settled hy the Church. No ecclesiastic was to
appeal to the civil power; if guilty of any
misdemeanour he was to he judged hy the bishop
and his court. The bishops were to meet once a
year on business connected with the Church.

II. The right of refuge was granted to
churches and monasteries — there the sword was
not to strike. These territories were consecrated
to the religion of Jesus Christ, and the children
of Jesus Christ were safe as long as they remained
within their limits. The privileges of refuge
thus granted to St. David hy the National
Council of Brefi were almost boundless, as we
have already seen.

III. The relations between the ecclesiastical
and civil powers were also defined. In case of
quarrels between chieftains, the bishop was to
use his best endeavours to bring them before the
altar, and there, in the presence of God, the
clergy, and nobility, to exact a promise that they
would settle their differences amicably, and live
in peace like brothers. If any one of them
broke his promise, he was excommunicated, and
often forced to abdicate. Several such instances
occurred during the life of Oudoceus, third

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Bishop of Llandaff, which the reader will find in
his biography. In such cases Church and people
worked hand in hand — a council settled all their

IV. From the Iolo MSS. we may infer that
the canons of St. David strongly urged the
chieftains to lessen the horrors of war, and to
procure security in judicial matters ; for we find
that Morgan, King of Glamorgan, who reigned
shortly after the Council of Brefi, issued orders
that an enemy should not be killed except when
it could not be helped. He also gave orders that
any man accused of a crime should be judged by
twelve persons. In the laws of Howell Dda we
likewise find the judge surrounded by twelve
officers. Wales, for generations, had reason to
be grateful to her clergy, and particularly to St.
David, for what was done at Brefi. To com-
memorate the event, the old Cambrians built a
church on the spot on which St. David preached,
and, later on, a monastery. By the west door of
the church stands a pillar, eight feet high and
twelve inches square, to commemorate the patron
of Wales. The natives call it the staff of David.
To this day the language used by Dubricius,
David, and others at the Council of Brefi is the
vernacular of Welshmen in the valley and
neighbourhood. Unfortunately, it conveys no
longer the same religion — one, holy, catholic,
and apostolic. The present vicar restored the
church, but a Catholic who visits this ancient and

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The Archi-



to St.

venerable spot laments the absence of the
Catholic altar for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Formerly the Church of Llandcwi Brefi had five

Caerleon, since the second century the
Metropolitan of the West, witnessed the Archi-
episcopal See transferred to Llandaff for a few
years, and then obtained the residence of
Dubricius within its walls. St. David was
destined to be the last Archbishop of Caerleon.
After residing some time in that city, he resolved
and obtained leave from King Arthur to transfer
his See to the Monastery of Menevia, in Pem-
brokeshire, where he was to die and he buried.

St. David, whose sphere of action became
widened as archbishop, continued through life to
work hard in the vineyard of the Lord. His
monasteries thrived more than ever throughout
the country. “ Everywhere,” as Bicemark, one
of his biographers, remarks, “the sounds of
prayer were raised to the stars ; everywhere good
deeds were, on unwearied shoulders, carried to
the bosom of the Church, and gifts of charity
were, with powerful hand, distributed to the
poor. ... To the student he was lear n i n g ;
to the poor, life ; to the orphans, nourishment ;
to the widows, support ; to the country, a head ;
to the monk, a rule . 1

God glorified David even during his mortal
career, by bestowing on him the gift of perform-

(1) Ricemark’s “ Cambro-British Saints.”

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mg miracles. While yet he lived he is said to
have restored sight to a Welsh chieftain; and
we have already seen how, on his way to Brefi,
he raised the dead to life. David’s name is also
connected with many of the sacred wells of
Britain. On a certain day the brethren came to
David, complaining sadly of the want of water
in the fields they were cultivating; a rivulet
passed not far off, and in winter was full of
water, but in summer it nearly dried up. Man,
beast, and vegetation suffered greatly. David
had recourse to his usual mode of proceeding
whenever he wanted to obtain a favour — prayer.

An angel came down and pointed out a spot in
which water would be found. The saint knelt,
and, with out-stretched hands, asked of Almi ghty
God to grant him what was wanted. As he
prayed, a fountain of most clear water flowed.

A farmer, finding himself in the same predica-
ment as the monks, and having heard how St.

David had given them a plentiful well, went to
the saint, requesting that he would render him
the same service. He was a hard-working man,
and lived with his family on the produce of his
land. David accompanied him to his village;
there, with the point of his stick, he opened the
surface of the ground, and a clear stream of
water bubbled forth. These wells were visited
by the sick and infirm, many of whom were
cured, through the intercession of St. David.

The precise year in which David departed this Hie death.

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life, and the number of years he had lived on
earth, have given rise to some difference of
opinion. David probably died in 544, at the age
of ninety-seven. Some think he reached the
extraordinary age of one hundred and forty-
seven years.

His last days were visited by extraordinary
graces. On the eighth of the Kalends of March,
corresponding with the twenty-second of
February, the old servant of God was in the
choir with his brethren, at the Night Office,
when he fell into an ecstasy, and his countenance
beamed with a Divine light. An angel stood by
him, and said.: “ The hour thou hast sighed after
is now at hand.” This was a welcome communi-
cation to the venerable bishop. In a transport
of joy, he replied, like old Simeon in the Temple,
“ Now, O, Lord, take thy servant in peace.”

The monks, hearing this Divine colloquy,
stopped the singing of the Office, and fell on'
their knees. David spoke a second time in an
audible voice, and said, “Lord take my soul,
and leave me no longer in this world of misery
and danger.” The angel spoke a second time,
and told the servant of God to be ready for the
first day of March, for on that day the angels
would come and take his soul to heaven. This
extraordinary apparition soon got abroad, and
people rushed to Menevia, anxious once more to
have a glance at the holy bishop.

From the time of the angelic vision to that of

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his death he continued in the church, instructing
the people and praying. During this time, like
St. Paul, he seems to have been lifted up in
mind, and shown the state of Britain and Ireland.
On the Sunday following, he celebrated the holy
Sacrifice of the Mass, blessed the congregation,
and exhorted them to keep the laws of God and
of the Church. “ On Tuesday next,” he said, “ I
am to depart from this world. I leave you to
the guardianship of the Lord Jesus, who will
strengthen you in keeping what I have taught.”
Tuesday had dawned, when the whole city was
roused from slumber by angelic voices, which
resounded through the air with heavenly
harmonies, and delicious odours filled the
atmosphere. David had departed from this
world, and his soul was then on its way up to
heaven . 1 The monks, when they assembled to
sing Lauds, felt, as it were, a foretaste of heaven
and gathered new strength in the service of God
full of what they had heard. At the same
time, the intimate friend of David, St. Kentigem,
living at St. Asaph, in North Wales, was favoured
with a vision, in which he saw the holy bishop’s
soul taken up to heaven.

(1) These wonderful phenomena which sometimes occur at the death of
a saint, extraordinary as they may seem, are not to be looked upon as
legendary inventions, used with the view of embellishing the narrative,
xhey are often facts, well attested by thousands of witnesses, and are not
confined to one particular saint, country, or race. We find them mentioned
in the history of the Church from the earliest centuries to the present.
When the soul of the great St. Martin of Tours departed from this world,
many — and amongst the rest Severinus, Bishop of Cologne — heard a chorus
of the most harmonious melodies : it was the solemn, angelic procession
leading it to glory. An angelic choir was heard in the air, chanting over
the body of St. Samson when it was committed to the grave, as we shall

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St. David was buried in Menevia, and the
ceremony was solemn and imposing. His body,
like those of St. Anthony and Martin of Tours,
was followed to the grave by thousands of his
countrymen of every class of society, and by
hundreds of his monastic brethren. Nor was his
memory to be ever forgotten; his tomb for
centuries afterwards was visited by pilgrims,
the afflicted in mind or body. Indeed, this
veneration so grew that in the course of time St.
David’s, in Menevia, became the most general
pilgrimage in the West of Britain. A visit of
devotion to the saint’s shrine was deemed holy ;
a journey to the tomb of the patron of Wales
came to be generally looked upon as highly
meritorious ; hence the saying that “ Two
pilgrimages to St. David’s equalled one to Rome.”
Even the kings of England visited the tomb of
St. David.

The confidence of his countrymen in his
intercession in heaven was unbounded. Soldiers
on the battle-field, sailors on the sea, appealed to
his protection in time of danger. Thus, we read ,
of a certain Welshman, belonging to the diocese
of Menevia, who was captured by the Saracens,

see in the next chapter. The body of St. Didacus (whose feast occurs
Nov. 13th) exhaled the sweetest fragrance after death, and that for
months ; for the crowd of pious visitors to his mortal remains was so great
that the authorities were prevented from burying him for some time. It
is useless to endeavour to explain such phenomena by natural causes ; they
are only to be understood in supernatural agency — or, in other words, they
are the work of God. The sacred harmonies resounding in the air over
the death-bed of a saint were chanted by angels ; the sweet odours
perfuming the room or the air were not the effects of aromatic drugs used
by affectionate friends ; no human perfumer was called upon to exercise
his skill. We beg to refer the reader for more particulars to such wi iters
as Gorres, or Migne’s “ Mystique Chretienne.”

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and bound with iron chains . 1 In his distress, he
cried day and night, “Dewi wareth” (David,
help me). In a short time he obtained his
liberty, and returned to his country, proclaiming
that he had been delivered by the intercession of
St. David. A German, his companion in
captivity, had so often heard the words “ Dewi
wareth,” that he also repeated them incessantly.
Suddenly he was restored to his country, in a
manner he could not explain. Later on, in
Paris, he met with Welshmen, and asked them
the meaning of “ Dewi wareth.” It was
explained to him. He returned thanks to
Almighty God, and resolved to set out on a
pilgrimage to the shrine of his deliverer in
Menevia. There he met his companion in
captivity, and both acknowledged that they
owed their deliverance to St. David.

When a plague broke out in the country, it
was not unusual to invoke St. David, expose his
relics, and appeal to his intercession. The faith
of the people was often rewarded by the cessation
of the scourge.

In Catholic times, St. David held, in the
estimation of Welshmen, the same position as St.
Patrick in that of Irishmen. In their mind the
country had never produced a more eminent
servant of God. His name was and is, as we
have repeatedly said, the popular one in Cambria.
His festival, kept on the first day of March, was

(1) O’Hanlon.

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a feast of obligation all over the country ; nay,
the first three days of March were marked in the
religious annals of Cambria as sacred. The first
day of March commemorated St. David; the
second, his mother ; and the third, St. Lili, called
in the old Celtic language “ Gwas Dewi ” (the
man of David), he being his favourite disciple.

Ireland and Brittany erected churches to the
memory of the patron of Wales, and in both
these countries parishes are called after him .
But the grandest church ever erected to St.
David is that which rose over his grave in
Menevia. It is the noblest temple huilt to the
honour of God in the whole Principality. King s,
princes, and nobles contributed to its erection.
The structures at St. David’s Cathedral, College,
and Bishop’s Palace hear witness to the deep
veneration of the Cambrians for their patron
saint. The country in itself offers little
attraction, except by its bold cliffs, so dreaded by
mariners. The few trees a traveller from
Haverfordwest to Menevia meets on his road are
stunted and hent to the east, and the branches to
the west are stopped in their growth, an evident
sign that strong winds from the Atlantic often
rage on these shores. Great difficulties had to
he surmounted to erect such stately buildings in
the remotest corner of Wales ; yet the college, if
restored and transported to Oxford, would stand
pre-eminent by the side of the stately halls of
the first university of Britain. The cathedral

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has often been described. Bangor and Llandaff
Cathedrals stand in deep hollows, showing the
predilection of Welshmen in choosing valleys for
their churches ; St. David’s Church, in Menevia,
is, in like manner, built between two hills, and
is not seen till you come close to it.

The writer visited it in August, 1876, and, like
most visitors, was struck by the grandeur of the
place. Here, as everywhere else in England,
the work of restoration is carried on with activity
and skill. Money is not spared, and the best
architectural talent is employed. As a Catholic
priest, he could not but regret to see two altar-
slabs — one with five crosses, the other with only
three or four — used as paving-stones. It was on
such an altar that St. David, on the last Sunday
of his life, celebrated the sacred mysteries of the
body and blood of our Lord. Some time after
the Reformation, the Protestant bishops sent
orders to their clergy to take down the altar-
stones and have them trampled upon. In our
days of the revival of Catholic ideas, several
clergymen, who begin to realise the holy Sacrifice
of the Mass, and the sacredness of an altar on
which the Saviour of the world condescends to
be offered as a victim, have taken away these
stones, thinking it is not proper that they should
be trodden upon.

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Saint Samson, Archbishop of D6l, Brittany. 1

Between the years 461 and 468, when Pope
Hilary ruled the Church, and Leo I. the Empire,
Dubricius being Archbishop, and Illtyd Ahhot of
Lantwit-Major, there lived in Britain two noble
Sam8on- families formed by the intermarriage of two
brothers with two sisters, whose history is
interesting, not only for giving illustrious saints
to the Church, but also for the remarkable
occurrence that, having first knelt before the
altar and vowed to share together the blessings
and the trials of married life, they, later on,
again presented themselves at the sacred shrine,
when the two husbands received the habit and
tonsure of religion, whilst the two wives took
the veil as nuns. They did this at the suggestion
of a son, or nephew, named Samson, who was a
young ecclesiastic, then residing at Barry Island.
The two brothers, Amon and Umbrafel, were
probably of Armorican descent ; hut the sisters,
Anna and Affrella, were pure Cambrians, being
daughters of Meurig, King of Glamorgan.

(1) This Life is compiled from the “ Liber Landavensis,” from the work
of Albert le Grand, “ Vies des Saints de la Bretagne- Armorique,” and
from Lobineau’s “ Vies des Saints de Bretagne.”

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Amon married the elder sister, Anna, and his
brother Affella, the younger. The last-named
pair were blessed with offspring, whilst the
others were for a long time childless, which was
a great grief to both. They longed for little
ones to play around them, and inherit their name
and their possessions. Being endowed with
strong faith, they earnestly implored of God to
bestow upon them the much-desired gift, and
they entreated Dubricius and Illtyd to unite with
them in praying for the same intention. They
also gave abundant alms to the poor, and
contributed largely to the building of churches,
with the hope of moving God to grant their
petition ; they even promised that, in the event
of a child being born to them, they would
consecrate him, like the young Samuel, to the
service of the Lord.

We read that both husband and wife under-
took a long journey northward, to visit a hermit
who was looked upon as a saint, being confident
that such holy prayers would storm heaven in
their behalf. Nor were they disappointed . 1 The
hermit had a vision, in which he beheld a knight
and a lady toiling as pilgrims over hills and
through valleys, until at last they reached his
cell. The saint inquired who they were, and
what was their object in seeking his solitude, and
was told, in answer, that the pilgrims were a
husband and wife whose marriage had not yet

(1) “ Liber Landavensis.”

Samson a
child of

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been blessed by children, though for years they
had importuned heaven to grant them this
favour ; and that now they had journeyed to his
cell to solicit his intercession. The hermit was
commanded to inform his pious visitors that
heaven had made known to him the purport of
their visit, and that they were to return home
and give thanks to God, for their request was

When the saint had delivered this message,
the pilgrims retraced their steps, greatly consoled.
Anna herself was also favoured with a vision,
which confirmed that of the hermit; and she
was distinctly told that the child she had prayed
for and obtained was destined to he a powerful
instrument in the hands of God for the propaga-
tion of the Gospel.

^ In the following year Anna brought forth a
child, who was baptised by St. Illtyd, receiving
at the font the name of Samson. This event
took place either in 490 or 496. 1

The chieftain and his wife were subsequently
blessed with several other children, most of
whom were remarkable for exemplary lives.
One daughter, however, proved an exception to
this rule, and was the cause of grievous trouble
to father, mother, and relatives, through a
dissoluteness of life from which she could not be
reclaimed either by religion or duty,
gw It was the custom of the British nobility to

arrives at

Lantwit- (1) “ Britaunia San eta.” Butler’s “ Lives of the Saints.”


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send their children at an early age to a monastic
school. Amongst the numerous scholastic
institutions of South Wales, that of Lantwit-
Major was held in the highest estimation; for
Illtyd, the principal, had not his equal in Britain
in the science of education. He was also a
particular friend of the family, and to him,
therefore, was the early training of Samson

On the arrival of the child with his parents at
Lantwit-Major, Illtyd seems to have been
inspired, like Simeon of old, in the Temple of
Jerusalem. “ Let us return thanks to heaven,”
he said, “ for the great mercy which has been
vouchsafed to our country. This child, born
within our shores, is destined to become a great
light, whose rays will illumine many people,
both in this island and beyond the seas. He will
open heaven to thousands of souls. You see
before you the future doctor of many nations,
the spiritual father of many saints, the glory of
the Church and of Britain.”

Chroniclers have handed down to us a few
circumstances connected with the early life of
Samson, when at the college of Illtyd, which
afford us an insight into the customs of that
monastic seminary, and supply us with evidence
that the course of education followed there in
those old times was as complete as it is at present
in the best managed of our modern colleges.

Classics, rhetoric, mathematics, and natural

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history were taught by the most competent
masters ; but preference was given to the study
of Holy Scripture. Manual labour is discarded
in our day ; then, far from being disdained, it
seems to have formed a part of the education.
The teachers were all monks, and spent a part of
the day in the fields or in the workshops. The
scholars, therefore, naturally, looked upon
physical labour as a noble occupation. When
they saw a Doctor of Science equally expert with
the spade or axe as with the pen, they felt no
shame in engaging in similar works ; therefore,
all scholars, whether rich or poor, the sons of
the Kings of Glamorgan, of Gwent, or of any
other chieftain, were ordered to take their turn
in the fields, to weed barley, oats, or wheat, to
drive away deer or birds, or to tend sheep or
cows on the high cliffs which border the Bristol
Channel at Lantwit.

The old Welsh legends, delighting as they do
in the marvellous, take particular pleasure in
depicting the boy Samson in the fields at
Lantwit-Major, with a sling in his hand and some
stones in his pocket, driving away sparrows and
other birds. The little winged creatures were no
sooner driven off than they again returned, thus
testing the patience of the young guardian, until,
worn out, he calls upon the birds, in the name
of God, to gather round him ; then, when they
have obeyed, he shuts them up in a barn, and,
lying down upon the ground, falls asleep.

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On one summer day, in harvest-time,
most of the community of Lantwit-Mgjor
were in the fields, either cutting com or
binding sheaves. A serpent, being disturbed,
suddenly glided from a hush and bit one
of the brethren. The poison in a short
time took effect, and all hope of his
recovery was given up. Samson sought the
Abbot, and asked his permission to cure the
dying brother.

“ I know,” he said, “ of an infallible remedy,
which I learnt from my Father. It is simple,
and consists but of a few ingredients and a few

The Abbot replied, somewhat abruptly,
“ Do you say you learnt it from your
father? Was he a magician? Did he teach
you sorcery ? ”

“ The father I spoke of,” replied the youth,
“ is He of whom the Scripture says, ‘ Thy hands
have made me, and have compassed me on all
sides.’ ”

The Abbot, struck by the lively faith of the
student, bade him go to the suffering brother,
saying, “ May your Father and mine restore him
to health.”

When Samson came to the dying man, he
made the sign of the Cross on the wound, and
washed it with water mingled with oil, in the
name of the Holy Trinity, and the man
immediately recovered. On beholding this

faith of

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miracle, Samson blushed, and retired as fast as

We consider it due to truth not to omit
mention of this miracle attributed to St. Samson,
and recorded in three different Lives of the saint.

Faith is strong enough to move mountains,
and, as a missionary priest for twenty years, both
in and out of Europe, the writer of this biography
feels bound to bear witness of having several
times received convincing evidence of the benefit
resulting from confidence in the sign of the Cross.

Frequently a poor working-man will visit his
priest, entreating him, in the name of God, to
make the sign of the Cross over some hideous
wound. He cares not if the world smiles at the
simplicity of his faith, but trusts that the
invocation of the Holy Trinity may benefit him
both in soul and body. The power of faith is
the same in the nineteenth century as in the first . 1

Our forefathers were eminently men of faith,
and experienced the benefits thereof. It is
related that whenever St. Samson met with any
obscure passages of Holy Scripture, he always
betook himself to prayer, and found it the best

(1) The sign of the Cross is an outward expression of our deep confidence
in the Holy Trinity, and in the power of redemption. In the hands of
Christians, it became a great instrument for performing miracles, as fully
evidenced by hagiographers. Thus, St Macrina the younger, when eaten
up by cancer, was cured by the sign of the Cross. St Edward the Con-
fessor, King of England, by the sole use of the sign of the Cross healed
wounds otherwise incurable. By the same holy sign Pope St Leo IV.
extinguished a fire which threatened the ruin of the Church of St Peter.
It was by the virtue of the sign of the Cross that the first Christians — the
hermits -^-delivered those possessed by the devil. ‘ ‘ In the name of God
crucified/’ said St. Anthony, the great hermit of the East, “ we put the
devils to flight.” Where the sign of the Cross is made, magical art
becomes powerless, and poisonous draughts cannot hurt — Mights’ 8 “ La
Mystique Chretienne.”

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of teachers, whereby he was enabled to elucidate
the verses which were most abstruse.

When Samson had completed his studies, and
attained the age of twenty-one or twenty-two,
his father wished him to return home. The
chieftain was, naturally, proud of his son, who
was now an accomplished youth, endowed with
great physical strength, and highly cultivated in
mind. Amon pictured for him a glorious career,
as a valiant commander in the battle-field and
wise governor of his subjects; and, indeed, he
seemed to have quite forgotten that he had
devoted this child of prayer, so long desired, to
the service of the Church even before his birth.

Far different were the views regarding him
which were now entertained by the chieftain.

Samson, however, soon dispelled these dreams,
by informing his father that he felt himself .

v # religious

called upon to embrace the religious state, and We.
had, consequently, made up his mind to do so
without delay.

This communication was at first far from
pleasing to his parents ; but they could not help
remembering the time — now upwards of twenty
years gone by — when, in praying to be blessed
with a son, they had promised to consecrate the
child to God if he himself felt called to that
Divine service. They also recalled to mind the
prediction of Illtyd concerning their son — that
he would become a luminary of the Church —
and, feeling convinced that the step he was

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about to take was the inauguration of the future
career which had been foretold, they could no
longer resist the force of circumstances, and,
withdrawing their opposition, they blessed
Samson, and consented to his following his

The young man at once returned to Lantwit-
Major, where he received the religious habit,
and was gradually promoted to holy orders.

All the biographers of Samson concur in
stating that whilst he was being ordained deacon,
Dubricius, the Bishop, and the Abbot, Illtyd,
beheld a heavenly dove hovering above him
during the whole time of Mass, and when the
Bishop lifted up his hand over him the dove
alighted upon his shoulder ; and, later on, when
the young deacon was promoted to the priest-
hood, the same vision re-appeared. This
miraculous dove thus present at the ordination
was a clear indication to Dubricius and to Illtyd
that the young ecclesiastic was pure of heart,
undefiled in conscience, and a friend of God.

We are told that at Lantwit-Major the new
religious proved an example to his brethren. It
would seem to have been a custom of the house
that when any aspirant was about to be promoted
to holy orders, the opinion of the community
was consulted. In the case of Samson, the
monks were unanimous in declaring him to be a
model to them all. Indeed, we are informed
that, not satisfied with observing the ordinary

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rules, he imposed upon himself penances, such as
fasting, long prayers, and watches during the
night. He slept upon the hare ground, and his
diet consisted of vegetables, discarding altogether
the use of animal food. His fasts were so
extraordinary as to attract the attention of
Hltyd, who at times deemed himself hound to
restrain the young monk in his mortifications . 1

We regret to be forced to chronicle the
criminal conduct pursued by two nephews of
Hltyd towards the saintly religious. These nephews
young men did not possess a spark of monastic
spirit. Under the mask of h umili ty, they
concealed within their breasts unbounded
ambition. At Lantwit-Major a general opinion
prevailed that Samson would probably be the
successor of Illtyd. His two nephews thought,
as they were near relatives of the Abbot, one of
them should succeed him in the direction of the

Samson stood in their way, and they allowed
envy and hatred to gain such mastery over them
that, instigated by these dreadful passions, they
went so far as to make an attempt to get rid of
him by poison. The saint was warned of their
designs by an inward inspiration, and, through a
miracle, escaped their machinations. One of
these enemies he won over to repentance ; the
other was visited by the judgment of God, and

(1) Sectione litterarum to tain noctem ducebut insomnem ; et si quando
quiescere opus easet seipsum parieti aut alicujus rei firmamento inclinans
nunquam inlecto dormitabat nunquam alicujus animalis carnem in tota
vita gustavit.

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at Barry

became possessed by the devil after partaking
of the body and blood of our Lord at Holy

Shortly after his ordination as priest, Samson
left Lantwit-Major, and settled in. Barry Island , 1
which lies about midway between Lantwit-Major
and Cardiff, and is separated from the mainland
hy a narrow channel, dry at ehb tide. The little
island contains three or four hundred acres of
land, and is guarded by cliffs both on the east
and west, which give it a picturesque appearance.
On the highest point of ground there is a spring,
or rather a holy well, said to possess curative
properties. An hydrologist will at once conclude
that its water comes from the mainland, under
the sea. It is now a dreary and uncultivated
spot, hut in former times produced com, grass,
and timber.

By the ancient hagiographers this place is
sometimes called Enes Peiro (the Island of Peiro),
and at others the island near Lantwit.

The following circumstances, which are
mentioned in the “ Life of St. Cadoc,” were the
occasion of giving to it the definitive name which
it retains to this day : —

The founder of Llancarvan Monastery, during
one of his annual visits to the island of the
Bristol Channel, for the purpose of making a

(1) The writer thinks that the island near Lantwit, as it is called, is
Barry Island. There is no other in the Bristol Channel capable of afford*
ing shelter to a religious community of any importance. Flat Holms, it
is true, is reported to have been inhabited by some few monkB and hermits,
but not by a regular community ; and it could not be called the island
near Lantwit.

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spiritual retreat, found on landing at Barry
Island that he had forgotten his Enchiridion, or
Breviary, at Flat Holms. Two of the brethren
sailed hack for the book, so indispensable in the
recital of the Divine office. On their return
they were caught in a gale, their boat capsized,
and the two brethren drowned. The body of
one, whose name was Baroc, was washed ashore
on the little island, where it was honourably
buried, and the place ever afterwards bore his

Peiro was Abbot at the time Samson joined
this religious colony. Shortly after his arrival
at his new home, he was called away for a time,
under the following circumstances : —

Amon, his father, had an illness, which was sa&uon
considered so dangerous that he was strongly blather,
advised to lose no time in making his confession ^ o mduoes
and receiving Holy Communion and Extreme to
Unction, for the purpose of preparing his soul r^gioua
for eternity. “ No,” exclaimed the sick man, as Ufe-
if inspired. “ I shall not die yet, and there is
no need at present to fortify my soul with the
last Sacraments. I want to see my son, Samson ;
send for him. He is a true servant of God ; his
heart is as pure as running water, and the Holy
Ghost dwells within him. I know that when he
comes he will cure both my soul and my body,
for I have received assurance of it in a vision.”

Messengers were, in consequence, despatched
to Barry Island to request the immediate

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attendance of Samson. At first he' declined, on
the plea that he could he of no use, and that he
had left father and mother for ever in this world,
to meet them hereafter in heaven.

Peiro, the Abbot, however, represented to him
that filial duty was a virtue, and, if ever its
practice was necessary, it was so in the present

Samson obeyed, and set out, accompanied by a
deacon, it being probably the rule that no monk
should travel alone. Great was the joy of his whole
family on his arrival at the paternal mansion.
Amon soon recovered his health, and felt that a
great change was taking place in his mind.

The young priest exercised a fascinating
influence over all by his holy life and by his
eloquence. He so forcibly set forth the
immeasurable advantage which the service of
God possessed over that of the world as to
produce the deepest impression on all. He
assured them that his own life as a monk was
infinitely preferable to that which they had
followed up to the present. Chieftains, as a rule,
trifled away their existence in follies, hunting
deer or wolves, or, more criminally, in useless
wars, where hundreds of lives were sacrificed on
the most flimsy pretexts. The religious , on the
contrary, passed their lives in prayer and labour,
fed the poor, and consecrated their time to the
conversion of Christian sinners or unbaptised

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It is related of Amon that he was not alone
sick in body, hut in soul as well. Guilty of some
grievous sin, he could not summon up courage
enough to confess it, and in consequence his
conscience was disturbed by the most hitter
reproaches. An inward voice ever whispered,
“ Amon, thou didst not fear to commit sin, hut
now thou art too great a coward to acknowledge
thy fault.” The arrival of his son, Samson,
however, set all to right, for, with a contrite
heart, he made a sincere confession.

Nothing under the sun can be more useless, in
many instances, than the lives of the rich. In
the Day of Judgment, how many will mourn
that theirs had not been the lot of Lazarus rather
than that of Dives. God, in His mercy, bestowed
this grace of light on the two brothers who had
wedded the two sisters, and also on their wives.
They all became impressed with the necessity of
changing their lives, and, finally, all came to the
resolution of following their son and nephew
along the path traced out by the Evangelical
Counsels. Father and mother, uncle and aunt,
by mutual consent determined to separate, and
lead henceforth a life of continency. Having
made a settlement of their temporal affairs, they
retired from the world; the men accompanied
Samson to Barry Island, and the ladies entered a
convent; and so, on the return of the saintly
young priest and the deacon to their monastery,
the boat which bore them to their sea-girt home

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contained also two more aspirants to religious

Dubricius happened at that time to be on the
island, and when Bishop, Abbot, and community
learnt that the two strangers who had arrived
were not only noblemen, but also the father and
uncle of Samson, and that they had come, not as
visitors, but with the fixed purpose of sharing
the monastic life, joining the sacred' psalmody,
and assisting in the cultivation of their farm, so
great was the admiration excited by this self-
devotion that it instilled fresh fervour into the
whole community.

We next find Samson occupying the position
of Procurator to the Monastery, very much to the
benefit of the surrounding poor. Every religious
house, in those days, was a public hospital for the
indigent, and a free hotel for the traveller.

The new Procurator seems to have expended
a larger amount in alms than his predecessor in
the office, for' complaints were made to Dubricius
that Samson’s extravagance in this respect had
the effect of bringing all the vagabonds of South
Wales to Barry Island. His saintly superior,
however, instead of checking, entirely approved
of his conduct.

On the death of the Abbot, our saint was
unanimously chosen to be his successor , 1 and,

(1) The account given by Lobineau of Peiro is not very flattering.
According to this author, the Abbot possessed more external than real and
solid virtue. He understood how to rule a religious community, but
could not govern himself ; and however regular his conduct in public
might be, in private he was not to be admired.

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according to the “Liber Landavensis,” ruled that
community for three years and a half.

During the interval he sailed for Ireland, in
company of some Irish monks, who, as they
were returning from a pilgrimage to Home,
visited Barry Island. Finding that they were,
comparatively, better versed in Holy Scripture
and theology than his brethren at home, he
sought improvement by spending some time in
their society. His stay in Ireland, however, was
of short duration. Whilst waiting at a certain
seaport for a vessel to carry him back to Britain,
he became a guest at a monastery on the shore,
the Abbot of which was tormented by the devil.
He commanded the evil spirit to depart and
leave in peace a servant of God, a soul
consecrated to Him not only by baptism, but also
by religious profession. The devil obeyed, and
the Abbot became so much attached to his
deliverer that he determined to live under him
for the rest of his days. Accordingly, he resigned
his dignity, and followed Samson to Barry

The Irish community were not slow in
appreciating the great merit of the Cambrian
saint. They regarded bim as a master of
spiritual life, and thought that those over whom
he ruled would be wisely governed. They would
have made him their Superior had it been
possible ; but as he could not comply with this
request, they begged him, on his return to

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Britain, to send one of his brethren to be their
abbot, so entirely did they rely on his prudence
and wisdom.

On his arrival in Wales, Samson had the
satisfaction of finding that his religious brethren
lived up to the spirit of their profession. His
father and uncle gave general edification by
their regularity in following the path of
monastic perfection, in which the latter excelled
all others, and had in consequence been ordained
priest by St. Dubricius.

When Samson, mindful of his promise to the
Irish monks, looked about for some religious
qualified to become their ruler, he could find
none more adapted for the position than
Umbrafel, his uncle, and, accordingly, directed
him to lose no time in proceeding to Ireland for
the purpose of undertaking the direction of the
monastery, and exhorted him to prove himself,
by his wisdom and conduct, deserving of the trust.

Samson himself then followed the inclination
which always impelled him to seek solitude, and
left Barry Island, in company with his father,
Amon, the late Irish Abbot, and another priest 1
They followed the banks of the Bristol Channel
eastward, in the direction of Gloucester, until
they came to a hut, built in the vicinity of a
clear fountain. Some lover of solitude had, no
doubt, once tenanted it. There Samson left his

(1) “Liber Landavensis. ” Lobineau says that Amon followed hia
brother, Umbrafel, to Ireland. He may have done so, and after a while
returned to Wales.

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three companions, and, urged by the spirit of the
Eastern hermits, pursued his way until he
discovered a secret cavern, where he decided
to fix his abode, for he looked upon it as a spot
prepared for him by the hand of God. He felt
happy ; for here worldly pre-occupations could
no longer intrude or interfere with his soul in its
upward flight into the regions of heavenly con-
templation, and his only companions would he
God and His angels. Every Sunday, however,
he left his solitude and proceeded to the hut
beside the well, to join his brethren for the
celebration of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
after which he spent with them some part of the
day, and then returned to his hermitage for the
remainder of the week.

If Samson fled from the world, the world
pursued him ; for we find his solitude broken in
upon, and the saint forced to abandon it. At a
synod held in the neighbourhood, probably at
Caerleon, the leading members of the clergy
made earnest inquiries about him, and a
deputation was appointed to wait upon and
request his attendance at the synod. His brothers
of the priesthood gave it as their opinion that,
although ' the mode of life he had adopted was
undoubtedly edifying, still it was not fitting that
such a light should be hidden under a bushel,
and that God having gifted him with a variety
of talents, they must be turned to account for
the benefit of the Church. He was, therefore,

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ordered to give up the solitude which was
beneficial to himself alone, and resume his
community life, where he would be useful to
others also ; and, to hasten matters, he was at
once placed at the head of a monastery, said to
have been founded by St. Germanus.

The Synod also decreed that Samson should
give a course of spiritual instruction for their
edification before adjourning, a duty which the
saint discharged to the satisfaction of all present.

Let us now proceed to examine the episcopal
career of St. Samson. The hand of God again
becomes apparent in the election of His servant
to this dignity.

An ancient custom which existed in the
Cambrian Church was never to consecrate less
than, three bishops at once. According to the
canon law, three prelates were to assist at any
consecration, and on three priests the British
bishops conferred the plenitude of the priesthood,
but on no lesser number without grave reasons . 1
Samson Dubricius was in want of bishops to fill up
todBhihop e pi SC 0 P a l vacancies. Two priests, already
elected, had arrived at Caerleon, and were lodged
in Samson’s monastery, along with the conse-
crating prelates. A third was still required, the
choice of whom was to he decided upon at the
episcopal meeting.

We do not read that the Archbishop and his
colleagues had ever thought of Samson, or, at

(1) Lobineau. “ Libtr LandavenKis.”

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least, arrived at any conclusion as to his election.

The appearance of an angel relieved them
from all anxiety on the subject. The heavenly
messenger intimated to Dubricius that it was the
will of his Divine Master that Samson should he
consecrated. When the Archbishop communi-
cated this vision to his colleagues, they at once
replied : “ Heaven has spoken ; we have nothing
to do but obey.”

The designs of God were made clearly manifest
to Samson also ; for during the night, when at
prayer, the supernatural world had been opened
to him, and he beheld himself surrounded by a
great number of persons clothed in white, and
saw amongst them three bishops, radiant with
sanctity. He inquired who they were, and for
what purpose they visited his cell. The leader
replied : “ I am Peter, the Prince of the Apostles,
and these are James and John the Evangelists.
We were sent to consecrate thee.” Having said
this, the vision disappeared . 1

During the ceremony of consecration God was
pleased to again glorify His servant. A dove,
the symbol of the Holy Ghost, hovered above his
head ; and afterwards, when he celebrated the
holy Sacrifice of the Mass, streams of light were
seen to proceed from his mouth.

A certain amount of obscurity veils the earlier
part of the episcopal life of our saint. Some of
his biographers incline to the belief that he

(1) “ liber Landavensia.**

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became Archbishop of York. In the Breton
Manuscripts he is mentioned as such, and the
invasion of York by the Saxons is the reason
assigned for his emigration to Brittany.

Other authors, on the contrary, hold to the
opinion that Samson remained in his monastery
and acted as coadjutor to St. Dubricius, who was
far advanced in years, until he felt himself called
upon to consecrate the remainder of his life to
evangelising the Armoricans.

In the designs of God a new field awaited the
zeal and intelligence of Samson on the western
shores of Gaul. As he knelt before the altar,
one Saturday in Holy Week, his guardian angel
again appeared, and said : “ Servant of God,
depart from thy country and cross the sea to the
shores of Armorica. There thou shalt labour to
evangelise the people of thy race, who speak thy
native language.”

Samson consulted St. Dubricius, and, having
obtained his approval and consent, at once
prepared for his departure. The Easter
solemnities being over, he left his monastery to
pay a parting visit to his old master, St. Illtyd,
to his religious brethren at Barry Island, and to
his mother. His relatives, as we have seen, were
scattered. His father led an obscure life as a
monk, his uncle ruled a religious community in
Ireland, and his mother and aunt were secluded
in convents. He visited the latter, and had
great consolation in finding both ladies fervent

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in the practice of the Evangelical Counsels. His
mother had huilt a church, and on seeing her
son, now a bishop, she reminded him of a
conversation which had passed between them
years before, when, acting on his advice, she
had resolved, together with her husband, to enter

“ You remember,” she said, “ how, at that
time, you exhorted me to erect a church. I
promised to follow your counsel, and said that a
day would come when, as a consecrated bishop,
you would bless my work. Now the church is
finished and ready to be opened for Divine
service. Now, too, my son, you, by the grace of
God, are a bishop, and will consecrate my church
before you embark for Brittany. My words at
that time were uttered without much reflection,
and I did not count on their being literally
realised. It seems I was a prophet without
knowing it.”

During this visit Samson learnt, with great
satisfaction, that his brothers and cousins led
Christian lives and kept the commandments of
God. The conduct of his younger sister,
however, saddened his heart. She had none of
the piety of her relatives, but was vain, and light
in her conduct. She was, in fact, a scandal to
the country ; and, to have greater freedom for
her sinful pursuits, she lived alone ; indeed, no
virtuous mother would allow her to associate
with her daughters. In vain had her own

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mother, her aunt, brothers, and cousins,
endeavoured to reform her. Even Samson, who
thought his position as bishop might exercise a
beneficial influence over her, failed to make any
impression. Thus, in the most carefully tended
flock we sometimes find a black sheep.

Delayed in Having paid these visits, Samson departed for

liis voyage. 0 A 4 m

Armorica, accompanied by many religious, who
were willing to share his future lot. Being
short of provisions and water, the expedition
landed on some part of the coast of Britain,
where they were hospitably received in a
monastery called Dochori . 1 The Prior, on being
informed of Samson’s destination, inquired into
the motives which induced him to leave his
country. The Bishop answered that his purpose
was to preach the Gospel to his neglected
countrymen in Armorica. The Prior then said,
“ If, as I believe, you seek sincerely the service
of the Church, you need not travel as far as
Brittany. In this country there is an extensive
field for the exercise of your zeal. This province
is still far from being cleansed from idolatry;
thousands within it retain pagan customs,
mingled with a weak mixture of Christianity, to
this day. Before you extends a vast, uncultivated
vineyard, if you be willing to labour in it.”

This communication, which appealed to his
zeal for souls, induced Samson to delay the
completion of his voyage. He dismissed his

(1) Lobineai'

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ships, and he and his companions devoted them-
selves to the evangelising of that province, half
Christian and half pagan.

One day, when passing through a certain town
or village, he found the inhabitants celebrating a
pagan festival. They carried in procession a
hideous idol, singing and dancing around it. The
chieftain of the place presided over these
ceremonies. The Bishop remonstrated, and
strongly denounced the sinful and foolish act of
worshipping a dumb idol. The chieftain replied
that he and his people were deeply attached to
the customs of their forefathers; that the god
whom he, a stranger, denounced, was the god
worshipped by their ancestors, and they would
adore no other divinity.

This short speech was loudly applauded, and
Samson saw that at that moment further
argument would be of no avail. The games were
carried on with greater enthusiasm than ever.
A young boy, who attracted general attention
from the spirited manner in which he rode
round the idol, was thrown from his horse,
broke his neck, and died on the spot.
This accident saddened the people, and put a
stop to their mirth. Samson then made his way
through the crowd, and thus addressed the
multitude : —

“This young man is, unfortunately, dead.
Can your god restore him to life ? Destroy that
idol, and worship the only true God ; for by

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calling on His sacred Name I , will cause the
dead to arise.”

The people agreed to this proposal, and the
Bishop, kneeling down before the corpse,
remained for two hours in prayer. At the
expiration of that time the young man again
returned to life.

This miracle produced the desired effect. The
idol appeared in its real colours to the people — a
dumb and useless piece of clay — which they
rushed upon and broke into fragments.

From that moment the instructions of the
Bishop were attended to, and pagan customs
were discarded and replaced by those sacred to

To give permanence to his work, the saint
built a monastery, in which he left some of his
brethren, under the guidance of his father,
Am on, whom he exhorted to spend the remainder
of his life in working for the conversion of that
district. Then, having received the blessing of
his aged parent, he engaged a vessel and set sail
for Brittany, where the providence of God had
already prepared a new home for him and his

Privatus, a rich nobleman of Armorica, was,
as we have already mentioned, much afflicted in
his family, his wife and daughter both suffering
from disease pronounced incurable. The prayers
of the husband and father had been offered up a
thousand times to obtain from God the favour of

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a cure for those so dear to him, and for whom all
human skill was unavailing. In the end, his
prayers were heard, and he was favoured with a
vision, in which he was told that within three
days they would he restored to health hy a
stranger from beyond the sea. Privatus passed
these three days walking along the sea-shore,
and anxiously watching every sail as it was
wafted past. At last a boat drew near the place
where he was standing, and a party of monks
landed. On hearing they came from Britain,
he accosted their leader, Samson, and related to
him his tale of sorrow. The bishop followed the
chieftain to his house, and hy his prayers restored
health to both the sufferers.

Samson and his brethren passed their first
night in Brittany under the roof of this family.
Privatus, in gratitude to his benefactor, begged
him to remain on his territory, and offered to
place at his disposal any land he might , choose
for the formation of a settlement. Samson
accepted this offer, and spent part of the night
in prayer and thanksgiving to Almighty God for
His provident care of him and his brethren.

On the following day the British monks set out
to explore the country, and on coming to an old
pit, situated in the midst of a level and swampy
plain, selected that as a site whereon to erect
their monastery. Being unwilling to cause any
inconvenience to their kind entertainers, they at
once set to work, and, as a temporary shelter,

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constructed a hut, which they covered with reeds
and rushes; and under this humble roof they
passed their second night, bundles of straw
serving them as beds. Here they were satisfied
to remain until, by the work of their hands, they
had provided themselves with a better habitation.
Such, in a few words, was the humble foundation
of the Archbishopric of Dol.

The British colonists spent some years in
constructing their church and monastery.
Agricultural labour, however, was not neglected,
for, according to an invariable rule of monastic
life, the necessaries of life must he produced from
the ground belonging to each foundation.
Meanwhile, the spiritual wants of the surround-
ing district were attended to by the clerical
members of the community.

The next event of importance mentioned in
connection with the life of our saint is his
journey to Paris, and his relations with
Childebert. Brittany was not altogether inde-
pendent of the King of the Franks, and, living
on the frontiers of a powerful neighbour, the
Bretons naturally felt the influence of a stronger
nation over a weaker.

In visiting the French Court, St. Samson was
influenced by two motives. The first was to
secure, by a clearly-defined charter, the terri-
tory granted to him by Privatus on the plains
of D61; the second, to claim protection for the
son of Hoel II., King of Armorica, who had

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8T. SAMSON. 507

been his fellow-student at Lantwit-Major,

Comorre, Count of Cornouaille, an ambitious st,sam*on
and unprincipled man, had treacherously g°n e th e
assassinated his king, Hoel II., whilst hunting.

Not feeling safe as long as Judwal, Hoel’s son,
was alive, the murderer of the father thirsted for
the blood of the son. The young prince sought
shelter in the monastery of Eleonor, his uncle,
where he was willingly received ; but the Abbot,
being aware that the tyrant had no respect for
the laws either of God or man, judged it prudent,
after a time, to place his nephew on board ship
and recommend him to make his way to Paris
and claim the protection of Childebert. In
Brittany, meanwhile, Comorre was imprisoning
the nobles, plundering the peasantry, and per-
petrating every kind of wickedness.

At the Court of Childebert St. ^Samson
denounced the crimes of Comorre, and asked the
Frank King to help the country against an

Childebert gave ear to the appeal of Samson,
and, furnishing the injured prince with men and
money, advised him to levy an army and attack
the usurper. The Bretons, rejoicing at the
prospect of escaping being murdered and
plundered by Comorre, flocked to the standard of
their lawful king, and the tyrant was driven
from the country, together with the Danes and
Normans by whose assistance he had maintained

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his usurpation. The power of God continued to
follow St. Samson during the whole period of his
residence amongst the Franks.

Gaul had produced wonderful saints, venerated
all over the world, such as St. Martin of Tours
and St. Germanus, the great champion of
orthodoxy. These holy men had wrought
miracles — cured the sick, summoned the dead
from their graves, stilled tempests at sea and
calmed the storm-tossed waves. Devils, also,
had, trembled and fled before them.

In the person of Samson, God gave convincing
proofs to the Franks that the island of Britain
could also boast of having given birth to men
endowed with supernatural powers, for, during
his journey through Gaul, the British Bishop
gave sight to a man who had been horn blind, by
making the sign of the Cross over his eyes.

One of the chief officers of Childebert, who
was possessed by a devil, implored Samson to
deliver him from this infernal obsession. The
saint, in the name of God, commanded the demon
to depart and leave in peace a soul stamped with
Divine grace by the Sacrament of baptism. In
obedience to this command, the devil vanished.

All these events caused the name and fame of
Samson to be celebrated throughout Gaul, and he
was regarded by all as a man of eminent sanctity.
Childebert appreciated his talents and virtues,
became his protector, and bestowed upon him the
islands of Jersey and Guernsey.

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Albert le Grand states that the Bishops of
Armorica, who, with the bulk of their flocks,
were of British origin, urged Childebert and
Judwal to exert their influence for obtaining the
dignity of Archbishop for Samson. They repre-
sented that in Britain he held that position, and
insisted that no less was due to him in Armorica.

In order to form a See worthy of this title, they
agreed that a part of their respective dioceses
should be ceded to the future Archbishop. To
further the final settlement of this affair, an
embassy was despatched to Pope Pelagius, at

The messengers were successful in their
mission ; the Pope acceded to the request of the
ALrmorican Church, and D61 was erected not only
into an episcopal but a metropolitan See, in the
year of our Lord 555.

The installation of Samson, consequent on this
decree, took place in the Abbey Church, in the
presence of the suffragan bishops and of King
Judwal. The crowd assembled to witness the
ceremony were struck with amazement at the
humble appearance of the saint; for the new
Archbishop, dispensing with the pomp usual on
such occasions, walked barefoot to the church,
and on approaching the altar devoutly prostrated
himself on the pavement of the sanctuary.

This new creation caused some disagreement dm and
between the Metropolitan See of Tours and the Tours ‘
Bretons, the former claiming jurisdiction over

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the Armorican dioceses. About ten years later,
in 566 or 567, we find a canon forbidding the
consecration of any bishop in Armorica, whether
he he Gaul or Breton, without the previous
consent of the Metropolitan of Tours and his
suffragans. 1

On the other side, the Bretons, forming a
different nationality from the Gauls and Franks
in civil administration, and being governed by a
king of their own race, claimed to he ruled in
ecclesiastical matters also by a prelate of the
same stock and speaking their native tongue, as
only fair and appropriate. This controversy
occupied the attention of several Popes — Innocent
III. and Alexander VI. amongst others. In our
days (1877) Brittany prides herself on possessing
an Archbishop and Cardinal.

We all know that the difference between the
native country of St. Samson and St. Augustine
arose chiefly from a similar question, the Britons
being unwilling to yield submission to the
Metropolitan of the Saxons.

When Divine Providence had thus opened to
our saint a field whereon to exercise his zeal, he
began the work at once and in earnest. He
made visitations through his diocese with
regularity, and carefully studied its needs.

(1) L’Archevoihe de Dol date du regne de Judual. “Lea Bretons
voulurent alors se donner un Archeveque, comme ils venaient de se donner
un nouveau roi ; cequi fit a l’Eglise de D61 s’ el ever contre celle de Tours,
& cause du bienheureux Samson Archevdque d’York, qui pendant qu’il
6tait exil6 en Bretagne, avait gouveme 1’Eglise de D61 avec les Marques de
la dignitd Archiepiscopale.” Ce sont les tenues de l’Eglise de Tours dan*
son fameux proces contre celle de D6L — Note* in Albert le Grand,

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Several churches had been burnt down during
the war ; these he rebuilt, and founded at D61 a
seminary for the education of young men
designed for the priesthood. 1 Once a year —
according to the canon laws — he met his
suffragans, to discuss with them a plan of union
for the spiritual working of the province. These
conferences were generally opened on the first
of November.

We also find St. Samson assisting at Councils
which were not within his own province, and
appending his name in the following terms to
one of those held at Paris : — “ Ego Samso,
peccutor adscripsi ” — (I, Samson, a sinner, have

In the Channel Islands ceded by Childebert to
the holy Bishop, Paganism was not yet extinct,
and many idolatrous customs were still retained
by the people, which were the more cherished
because they pandered to the sensual pleasures
of corrupt nature. St. Samson visited these
islands for the purpose of evangelising their
half-pagan half-Christian inhabitants; and to
accomplish this he spared neither fatigue nor
expense. He began with the children, and in

(1) A hymn to St. Samson thus alludes to this subject : —

“ Barbaro late populata ferro
Templa consurgunt, reparantur ante
Quas furor stravit, pietas vicissim,

Eregit cedes.

“ Erudit, vit& proceunte, Clerum.

Legibus sacris populum coerce t ;

Quas deus dotes dedit ad salubrem
Applicat usum.

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order to attract them, presented each with a gold

Before returning to the mainland he erected
parishes, over which he appointed rectors, and
left several priests to assist them in carrying on
the good work.

Samson ended his life at D61, on the twenty-
eighth of July, probably in the year 565. Before
his death he exhorted his numerous religious
brethren to keep up to the spirit of the monastic
rule of life.

God, who glorified his servant during life,
shed additional lustre over his grave, which
testified to his sanctity in a variety of ways.
Several of his brethren were favoured with
supernatural visions, in which they beheld the
soul of their Bishop borne upwards to the
Throne of God.

His body was interred in the sanctuary of his
cathedral, at the Gospel side of the altar. When
the remains were placed in the vault, a heavenly
melody was heard in the air, which rose above
the voices of the clergy who were chanting the
funeral service, and after the grave had closed
over the saint the tomb was for a time surrounded
by supernatural light, and the air perfumed with
the sweetest odours.

St. Samson holds a conspicuous place amongst
the British saints of the sixth century, and was
regarded with great veneration both in his native
island and in the western provinces of France.

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Hagiographers vied with each other in recording
his life, for one of them — Lobineau — tells us
that in his days fourteen different biographies of
Samson were preserved in the Royal Library of

Crowds of pilgrims from Gaul and Britain
visited his tomb, confident that their afflictions of
body or of mind would be relieved through the
holy bishop’s intercession with God.

Glancing over the life of St. Samson, we
cannot but remark the especial care with which
his Divine Master watched over his whole career.
An angel guarded his footsteps, as Raphael did
those of the young Tobias. His birth was an
answer to repeated prayers, and announced by an
angel to his parents. And we may in this place
observe, that when this same child of prayer
grew up to be a priest and a bishop, married
persons who were childless used to visit and
entreat him to obtain for them by his prayers
the blessing of offspring.

In the earlier period of his monastic life, when
a conspiracy, the result of jealousy, threatened
his life, he was warned of the danger by his
guardian angel ; and in a heavenly vision he was
commanded to be in readiness for his consecration
as bishop, and it was again an angel who directed
him to cross over to Brittany.

At whatever place he fixed his dwelling,
whether in Britain, Armorica, or at the Court of
the Frank Kings, the power of working miracles

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followed him. Some of these we have placed
before the reader ; others may he found in the
works of Albert le Grand, the “ Liber
Landavensis,” &c.

In two or three instances we find the name of
Samson in connection with dragons. The
narrative of conflicts between saints and such
monsters are often mentioned in the lives of
these holy men, and are occasionally coloured
with fiction and exaggeration.

During his visit to Childebert, that prince
informed Samson that a certain place on the
banks of the Seine was frequented by a huge
dragon, which was the terror of the neighbour-
hood, and carried away to his cavern both men
and beasts. No one dared to do battle with this
monster. Knights and warriors were powerless
for such a conquest. It was a feat reserved for
the servants of God. The King, therefore,
begged of St. Samson, in the name of his Divine
Master, to deliver the country from the ravages
of this horrid reptile. The Bishop complied
with the King’s request, and approached the lair
of the savage with the greatest confidence, and
in the name of the King of kings and Master
of heaven and earth, commanded the dragon
to depart from the land and never again to
appear. The serpent obeyed, and was seen no

This episode in the life of our saint is not to be
regarded as a pious narrative of the legendary

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form, which delights in marvellous events,
whether authenticated or otherwise ; for Childe-
bert, in order to testify to the expulsion of the
dragon, ordered a monastery to be built on the
spot, as a commemoration of what had there
taken place. This monastery was called
Pentall, and was a kind of priory, a dependence
of D61.

It would he no easy task to count the disciples
of the Archbishop of D61. Few saints ever
possessed a more fascinating influence over souls.
St. Bernard, in the twelfth century, left the
world at the age of twenty-two, and persuaded
his father, his uncle, and his many brothers to
follow him to the cloister. Samson also, as we
have seen, instilled into the souls of his numerous
relatives — father, mother, uncle, aunt, brothers,
and cousins the love of the monastic life which
was so deeply rooted in his own. He possessed
the gift of imparting to others the religious
enthusiasm that filled his own soul. Amongst
his disciples, besides Amon, his father, and
Umbrafel, his uncle, we may mention Maglorius,
his cousin ; St. Similian, Abbot of Tourai ; St.
Ethben, St. Guennole the younger, and St. Meen,
Abbot of Gael.

In the ancient English Litanies the name of
Samson is the first invoked amongst the British

His feast is kept on the twenty-eighth of July,
and also his Office in the Breviaries of D61, Leon,

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and St. Brieuc, which contained nine lessons,
whilst that of St. Meen included twelve.

The memory of St. Samson is celebrated also
in the Breviaries of the dioceses of Nantes,
Quimper, Rennes, Treguier, and Orleans . 1

(1) Lobineau.

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Saint Paulus Aurelianus ;


St. Paul de Leon . 1

Paulus Aurelianus (in Breton, P61 de Leon),
son of Porphirius Aurelianus, as indicated by his
own name and that of his father, was descended
— at least on the paternal side — from a Roman
family which had settled in Britain. We cannot
discover any mention of his mother’s name, but
as it is stated that he was cousin to St. Samson,
this lady must have been of purely Celtic blood,
and a daughter of Western Britain.

Paul, according to general opinion, was horn
in the year of our Lord 492, at a place called
Pen O’chen. Whether this was situated in
Cornwall or in Cambria we have not sufficient
evidence to certify. 2

It is related by his biographers that Paul was
the favourite child — in fact, the Benjamin of his
father’s house — where he was more beloved than
his brothers and sisters.

(1) Compiled from the Breton MSS. } as found in the works of Albert le
Grand and Lobineau.

(2) The ancient name of Cowbridge, near Cardiff, was Penohen, but
other localities may have been similarly called.

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The first rudiments of education were imparted
to him, not at Lantwit-Major, but at some other
school. It seemed as if Porphirius had dreaded
the well-known magical influence exercised by
St. Illtyd in infusing into the minds of his young
students a hatred of the world and a love for the
religious life. His parents wished the boy to
receive an education such as would fit him for a
worldly career, and his masters were strongly
urged to practise him, as far as his age allowed,
in the use of arms and in all such exercises as
would tend to develope physical strength.

Eirly The hoy, however, used candidly to declare
tendency that these accomplishments would be of no avail
i»f e - to him. A day would, indeed, come when he
would enlist as a soldier, but the standard under
which he meant to fight would he that of the
King of kings. With the simplicity peculiar to
children, he often communicated his inward
feelings to his parents.

Such sentiments as these being frequently
repeated by the child, caused everyone to remark
that he would one day enter religion, because the
grace of God was working within his soul in
that direction. This at last induced his father
and mother to alter their views with regard to
Lantwit-Major, and they determined to confide
the education of Paul to the well-known zeal
and piety of St. Illtyd.

During his residence at this celebrated
seminary, the young Aurelianus became

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thoroughly enamoured with the ascetic life.
He communicated to his saintly preceptor the
strong attraction he felt for solitude. What he
had heard and read of St. Paul the Hermit, St.
Anthony, and other Fathers of the Egyptian
deserts, and also of solitaries in his own land, so
deeply impressed his mind that his only desire
was to retire to some lonely spot and there give
himself up solely to heavenly contemplation.

The Abbot at first thought that such a form of
life was not suitable for a youth at the early age
of sixteen. It was not without danger, nor
altogether screened from the temptations of the
devil. However, on reflection, he came to the
conclusion that this inclination on the part of
his pupil was the result of Divine grace, and,
blessing Paul, consented to his wishes. The
young .lover of solitude left Lantwit-Major, and,
returning to the place of his birth, chose as his
retreat a secluded spot on the estates of his

To this solitude he was followed, if not
immediately, at least some time after, by twelve
companions. These young recluses, according to
monastic custom, built an oratory, and erected
around it twelve separate huts, in which each
dwelt in solitude, meeting only in the church for
the purpose of singing the Divine Office. In
fact, they followed very much the same mode of
life as was afterwards adopted by the Carthusians.

On the Sundays of each week, however, and

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models of

also on the great festivals of the Church, the
thirteen hermits sat down at the same table, and
on these occasions the severity of the diet was
somewhat relaxed.

At these general meals Paul took some fish,
but never touched animal food. His ordinary
diet was limited to bread and salt, and water
from the spring was his only drink.

In reviewing the lives of the British saints, we
cannot fail to he struck with the great example
of temperance they present to us. Gildas was
surnamed Aquarius (the water drinker) ; David,
in his rule, permits no other drink. Yet these
men hardly knew what sickness was, worked in
the fields, and often lived to he centenarians, or
not far from it. In the present day intemperance
is the sin of Britain. It invades the palaces of
the great and the homes of the working classes.
It ensnares victims in every stage of life. The
young and the old, the matron and the maiden,
are often drawn to destruction by this degrading

During the fifth and sixth centuries this
country was, as we learn from Gildas, by no
means free from the sin of drunkenness, and this
fact, no doubt, greatly influenced the British
saints in their total abstinence from intoxicating
stimulants. Though they acknowledged them
to be gifts of God, which might he used in
moderation, yet, partly in the spirit of penance,
partly to give good example to a race addicted

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to intemperance, they restricted themselves
solely to the use of water.

When Paul had attained the canonical age —
having already received the various minor orders
— he was ordained priest, as were also the young
companions of his solitude, who, like himself,
were highly educated.

The members of the little community were
now in a position to be useful in the service of
the Church, and, on an appeal being made to
their zeal for the salvation of souls, they quitted
their solitude.

A certain Prince named Mark, the place of Beginning
whose abode is not indicated, invited Paul and miimonary


his companions to visit his territory, for the
purpose of preaching the Gospel to his people.

The young priests consulted together, and
unanimously agreed to accept the vineyard
offered for their cultivation, and started at once
for their new mission.

They commenced their work at the court of
the Prince, where they succeeded in evangelising
him and all his household. They then spread
themselves over the country, leaving everywhere
permanent traces of their zeal and labour.

Paul endeared himself to all wherever he
went, and the people, fearing to lose their
apostle, petitioned the King to take measures to
secure his being consecrated bishop, as such a
step, they thought, would bind him to the

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It was very difficult to overcome the
determined opposition with which Paul met this
proposal. He declared that he would rather
stem the roughest waves and winds, and spend
his life in navigating stormy seas, than be loaded
with the heavy burden of the episcopacy.

On reflection, however, his mind became
disturbed with the fear of resisting the will of
God. The well-known motto, “ Vox populi vox
Dei” resounded in his ears. In this perplexity,
he betook himself to prayer to obtain light to
direct him in the fulfilment of the Divine

First One day, whilst thus engaged, an angel
appeanmee a pp eare( j and said, “ Paul, this country is

bidding n °t to be the field of thy labours. Depart from
Armorica, hence, and i 11 due course God will lead thee to
the land thou art to evangelise.”

Having communicated this vision to his
brethren, he visited Mark, in order to inform
him of what had taken place. The Prince used
every argument to induce the missionaries to
remain in his kingdom. Paul replied that no
choice rested with him in the matter ; he must
obey the will of God, which had been manifested
to him by the angel; and this being
unanswerable, the Prince was forced to yield.

Abraham was commanded to leave his country
and his kindred in the following words : — “ And
the Lord said to Abraham, Go forth out of thy
country and from thy kindred and out of thy

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father’s house, and come into the land which I
shall show thee.” 1 The country appointed to
be his future abode was not named. Whether
the Patriarch formed any idea of the land which
was to be his new abode, or whether he was in
perfect ignorance on the subject, is not stated.
Commentators are divided in their opinions.

After this heavenly visitation Paul found
himself for a second time in a state of perplexity.
That he was to leave his native shores he could
have no doubt, but his future destination had not
been distinctly revealed to him. However, he
set forth from the territories of Mark, confident
that all obscurity would soon disappear and the
path he was to follow be clearly indicated.

He commenced preparations for his departure
by visiting his sister, who, like himself, had
entered religion, and been elected by the sister-
hood abbess of the community. The convent
seems to have- been situated on the English
Channel, probably in Cornwall. Paul and his
companions remained in the neighbourhood for
some time, exhorting the nuns to live up to the
spirit of Jesus Christ, whom they had chosen for
their spouse.

Preparations were meanwhile being made for a
sea voyage. Vessels were engaged, sailors secured,
and ordered to be ready as soon as possible. The
night before his departure was spent by Paul
in prayer and communion with heaven. There

(1) Genesis.

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arrival at

is no record of what passed, or whether
another angelic manifestation was vouchsafed to
him ; but in the mor ning the little community
set sail.

The sailors wondered at the eccentricity of
their passengers, for, on inquiring in which
direction they were to steer, they were told
simply to unfurl the sails and allow the ship to
be guided by the winds and by the providence of
God, who would be their pilot.

The first land they approached happened to be
the island of Ouessant, not far from the entrance
to the Bay of Brest. This is a spot unfortunately
hut too well known to seafaring men, for scarcely
a year passes but some ships are wrecked on its
shores. At the present time it contains a
population of about two thousand three hundred
souls, but what number of human beings dwelt
upon its soil in the days of Paul cannot now be

Ouessant and the neighbouring little islands
scattered here and there in its vicinity were even
then celebrated in Celtic tradition. According
to the general Pagan opinion, they were peopled
by phantoms.

Saturn was still Worshipped in these lonely
isles, and vestals consecrated by vow, like those
of Rome, to perpetual virginity, were believed to
be endowed with power to raise a tempest or bid
the waves he still. They professed to he able to
foretell future events, and delivered their oracles

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to such as were bold enough to row over to their
almost inaccessible abode.

As Montalembert observes, along these coasts
wander the skeletons of the shipwrecked, seeking
a shroud and a grave. This is a tradition which
. lasted until the end of the sixth century. Even
during the reigns of Clovis and his successors,
the fishermen who frequented the shores of these
islands were exempted from the service of war
and from the payment of tribute, because they
were obliged to convey to Great Britain the souls
of the departed.

“ Towards midnight,” says Procopius, “ a
knock is heard at the doors of the fishermen, and
a low voice calls upon them. They arise and
hasten to the shore; there they find strange
boats awaiting them. These they must row
across the sea, and though no one is to be seen,
the boats are so full of invisible passengers that
they seem in danger of sinking, and are scarcely
a finger’s breadth above the level of the water.
The journey is accomplished in less than an
hour, although with their own boats it would be
difficult to complete it in a night. On arriving
at their destination, the vessels are so entirely
emptied that their keels can he seen. Nothing
is visible, but the sailors hear a voice which calls
the spiritual voyagers one by one, addressing
them by the same titles they bore during life.
To this is added the father’s name in the case of
a man, the husband’s in that of a woman.”

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This small British colony was destined, even
in the lifetime of its first founders, to win over
these fishermen to the faith of Christ Indeed,
the day was not far distant when a Frank King
was to bestow the island of Ouessant on Paul and
his diocese in perpetuity.

The following description of the fishermen of
Ouessant was written a few centuries back: —
“ The island converted by St. Paul was called by
him Done Sant, in French Dieu Saint. He
destroyed the pagan temples, or converted them
into Catholic churches. From that time the
golden era seems to have reigned over this small
corner of the earth. Religion had created a
brotherly union amongst its inhabitants. Honesty
in business and purity of life prevailed through-
out the island, and any person who did not
possess these two virtues was immediately
expelled. A lawsuit or a lie were equally
repudiated. If any contention arose it was
settled at the door of the church, after Mass, by
the first man of position who came out, and his
judgment was never appealed against.” 1

For what period of time the British monks
remained in the island is not stated. They seem
to have resumed their monastic life, and built
temporary huts around an oratory ; but they do
not appear to have regarded this as their land of
promise, although its seclusion was admirably
adapted to their love of solitude.

(1) Albert le Grand.

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Paul, as usual, sought to know the will of ^^8“
Heaven as to his future course, and the angel
again appeared to him and pointed to the
continent whose shores were visible from the
island, to indicate that there lay the held of their
future labours. They at once set forth, and,
passing by the small island of Molene, at the
entrance of the port of Brest, they landed, and
encamped for a time; then, crossing to the
continent, disembarked on the shore between
Brest and Morlaix.

The district where they first settled is called to
this day by the name of our saint, Lampaul
(Llanpaul). There, as was their wont, they
constructed an oratory and temporary huts, and
there, for the fourth time since their departure
from the territory of King Mark, they fixed a
new abode. It is likely they did so without
reference to the ownership of the ground, and
expected to be called to account by its possessor ;
so they did not yet look upon it as the spot
chosen for them by Heaven, but resolved
patiently to await the course of events. Although
Lampaul did become the head-quarters of the
colony, many of its members scattered them-
selves here and there, each choosing for himself
such place as best suited his love of retirement
and solitude.

The legend relates that whilst in this locality
one of the brethren, who had built his hut
beside a clear fountain in the vicinity, came to

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Paul and complained of the annoyance he
received from a wild buffalo. This animal
showed his displeasure at the intrusion of a
stranger into his favourite haunts by one day
driving his horns through the walls of the hut,
throwing it down, and breaking it to pieces.

Paul visited the scene of devastation, and on
the buffalo making his appearance, commanded
him, in the name of God, never again to disturb
the abode of a Christian, or pass beyond the
limits of the surrounding forests to disturb the
peace of a servant of Jesus Christ. The animal
at once turned, disappeared into the woods, and
was seen no more.

Montalembert justly observes that by none of
the apostles of Brittany, was Paul of Leon
surpassed in the power which he possessed over
wild beasts. On another occasion he tamed and
reduced to a state of domesticity a ferocious she-
bear and her cubs, whose race was long marked
and preserved by the country people. Then,
again, an enormous bear drew back before him
until she fell into a ditch and broke her neck.

As we have remarked, the missionaries did not
feel that Lampaul was a secure settlement. The
land was not their own, and they could be
disturbed at any moment, as they did not know
whether its owner was a Christian or a Pagan — a
man disposed to favour monks, or their deadly
enemy. It was, therefore, out of the question to
think of erecting a monastery whilst in this

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uncertainty. Once more they betook themselves
to prayer to ascertain the Divine will; once
more an angel appeared to St. Paul, and directed
him to seek an interview with the Prince of the
country, who would provide for them a per-
manent home.

Rejoicing in the idea that they had at last
come to the end of their wanderings, they again
took to their boats, sailing from west to east, and
keeping as near to the shore as possible. Their
supply of water being exhausted, they landed,
but could find no spring. Then Paul, with the
confidence of Moses, called upon the Lord, and
forthwith a miraculous fountain hurst forth.

Whilst resting beside these waters, they
descried in the distance a large herd of cattle,
which was being driven by a shepherd. They
approached, and made inquiries about the Prince
of the country and his place of residence, and
requested the peasant to direct them to some
inhabited spot whereon they could settle.

The shepherd informed them that the Prince visit to
was his own master, and offered to conduct the wti^r.
strangers to his place of abode. As they travelled
along, he told them that his lord was very kind-
hearted, and at his court they would surely
obtain the grant of a district suitable to their
purpose, as the Prince never refused hospitality
to strangers or emigrants. Following the
shepherd, they came at last to Roscoff, and from
that place were obliged to cross over three miles

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of sea in order to reach the island of Batz, where
Withur resided.

This Prince possessed many accomplishments.
He was, in the first place, a good Christian, was
highly educated, and fond of religious study, and
was also a man of business, to which he attended
with the greatest regularity.

The strangers from Britain found him, on
their introduction, in the act of copying, with
his own hands, the four Gospels.

It is said that he recognised Paul at once,
having met him in Britain during his residence
there, either as a traveller or as a student. The
country he ruled over had been bestowed upon
him by the Erank King, whose wise policy it was
to encourage colonists to settle in a district very
thinly populated.

Aurelianus made Withur acquainted with the
place whence he came, the object he had in view,
and the circumstances connected with it. He
said that his wish was to obey the Divine will ;
that an angel had appeared to him in the island
of Britain, at Ouessant, and again when he
landed on these shores, and had commanded him
to seek out the sovereign of the country, because
near him he would find a permanent home;
that it was obedience to a Divine voice which led
him to his presence. Withur listened with
wonder to these details, which were narrated
with all the conviction of truth.

In consequence of the Armorican Prince’s

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charity to the poor, there was a constant coming
and going of persons in distress from the main-
land to the island, for seldom did anyone in
misery return unrelieved. God at this time
glorified his servant Paul in sight of all the
people. Amongst the poor travellers he met on
the road he restored sight to three blind men,
the faculty of speech to two who were deprived
of it, and the use of his limbs to a paralysed

Withur, recognising the providence of God in
sending him such a Thaumaturgas, resolved to
make the most of his services. The inhabitants
of the country had been terrified, and great
devastations committed, by a huge serpent or
crocodile, and the Prince besought Paul to
deliver the land from this monster. The saint,
in the name and power of God, acceded
to this request, and the reptile was seen no

The Armorican Prince was rich, and Settlement
naturally generous. The candid narrative “w of
of his visitors, and the wonders he had Batz "
witnessed, pre-occupied his mind. An inward
voice whispered to him that he had been
chosen as an instrument to secure for his
country the services of these servants of
God and provide for them a home. Without
hesitation, therefore, he presented Paul and his
companions with his own house, together
with all he possessed in the island of Batz,

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used to
make him

including the Books of the Gospel which he had
written out with his own hand . 1

This donation was thankfully accepted by the
little community, and all recognised the kind
providence of God in what had taken place, and
now, indeed, felt they had gained the promised
land to which the angel had directed them.

They lost no time in making such changes in
their new abode as were suitable to the monastic
life, and as soon as possible laid the foundations
of a large church. -

The saintly lives led by the monks who had
lately arrived from Britain edified the Armori-
cans, many of whom presented themselves as

Paul, in particular, attracted the admiration of
all, and the people manifested a desire that he
should be consecrated bishop ; but even this
general wish could not overcome the opposition
of our saint. In his native Britain he had
determinedly declined the episcopal dignity, and
he saw no reason to deviate from his former
resolution in Armorica. In his humility, he
considered that his elevation to the episcopacy
could neither benefit his own soul nor the souls
of others.

Withur, however, backed as he was by public
opinion, strongly expressed, was determined not

(1) The island of Batz contains at present a population of 1167
inhabitants, who are under the spiritual care of two priests. The old
church is dedicated to St. Paul. On an eminence facing the cemetery
stands a cross, the base of which is fixed in a Druidical stone — the Celtic
dolmen, or stone table. The Gospel of Prince Withur was preserved in
the Cathedral of Leon down to the last century.

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to be beaten, and, after many plans, at last
resorted to the following stratagem : —

He visited Paul, and, in confidence, informed
him that he besought a particular favour from

“ I am,” he said, “ greatly indebted to Childe-
bert, King of the Pranks. Prom him I received
the large territory over which I reign. I am
sorry to say, I never properly recognised the
kindness of the King ; for since my settlement
in this country I even neglected to send
ambassadors to my benefactor, as I was bound
to do, both by custom and gratitude.

Besides this duty of etiquette, I have business
of the greatest importance to transact with the
Prank King, and my request is, that you will go
to Paris and represent my interests at Court.
You will, at the same time, be able to obtain the
signature of Childebert to the charters by which
I have granted you land for the service of
religion ; because in this country we are not
altogether independent of the Pranks. On being
presented to the King, you will hand him these
letters. They are stamped with the seal he
presented to me at our last meeting, and which
he will at once recognise. Then attentively
consider what he says, and report it to me.”

As it was impossible to refuse a service asked
of him by his benefactor, Paul accepted the
mission, and prepared for immediate departure.
On arriving at the Court of Childebert, the

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British monk presented the letters which had
been committed to his charge. One of these was
worded as follows : —

“ On receiving this, my epistle, my Lord and
King, be it known unto you that I, your servant
Withur, forward it by the hands of the man of
God called Paul, whose consecration as bishop
we earnestly entreat you to procure, notwith-
standing his own strong opposition. He is most
worthy, and admirably suited to the dignity, but,
when more than once strongly urged to accept it,
he has invariably declined. I can certify that
there does not live in our country a priest more
highly qualified than he for the episcopal charge,
both by exemplary life and depth of learning.”

Childebert, on reading this letter, entered
heart and soul into the stratagem. He com-
municated it to Judwal, the exiled King of
Brittany, and requested his assistance in carrying
out the wishes of Withur and his people.

In his frequent interviews with Paul, the
Frank King dwelt on the duty which devolved
upon a priest of giving his services where they
would tend to most advantage in the vineyard of
the Lord, and represented that a man who had
been endowed with so many gifts and accomplish-
ments as he possessed, should not confine them
within the seclusion of a monastery, and the
King enforced his opinion by instancing the
Gospel parable of the servants to whom talents
were entrusted being required to expend them in

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that manner which would ensure the greatest
amount of interest, and begged the Abbot to
reflect whether he might not draw down upon ,
himself the reproaches addressed to the servant
who had hidden the treasure committed to his

These last words cut Paul to the heart. He
threw himself on his knees before Childebert,
and professed himself an unprofitable servant.
The King raised him, and, borrowing an ivory
crosier from a bishop who was present, he handed
it to Paul, saying, “ Receive, then, Father, the
episcopal dignity, and thus extend the sphere of
your usefulness.” Three bishops visited the
Frank Court to officiate at the consecration of
Paulus Aurelianus.

Childebert was thus the means of giving a
saintly bishop to Brittany. The Frank Kings
were, however, in the habit of unduly interfering
in the election of the Armorican bishops, and
were, in consequence, publicly censured by the
Metropolitan of Tours in a provincial Council.

The admiration of Childebert for the noble
soul of Paul continually increased as he became
more intimately acquainted with him, and on
his taking leave, the King not only ratified the
charters of Prince Withur in connection with his
donations to the British monk, hut, with royal
munificence, himself bestowed on the new bishop
the island of Ouessant and all other territories in
his possession in the country of Occismor.

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The new prelate was received on his arrival in
his diocese with general rejoicing, which took
the form of a national demonstration. His
people were not only triumphant at seeing Paul
return as their bishop, but were also proud of
the honourable reception accorded to him at the
Frank Court as their ambassador.

Prince Withur met Paul at Morlaix, several
miles beyond his capital, and as they proceeded
thither in company, the procession, already
imposing, was increased by the numerous parties
who continually joined in as it passed along.
Indeed, the whole scene, recalled to min d the
triumphal march of a Roman general on his way
to the Capitol after the conquest of distant regions.

The Bishop was installed in the cathedral
church of Occismor, instead of at Batz.

The former town was chosen by Conan
Meriadec, the founder of the ^British settlement
in Armorica, at the end of the fourth century
(384-385), as the capital of his new dominions.
Previous to that event it was a flourishing town,
built by the Roman colonists, and is believed to
have contained a community of Christians in all
the religious fervour of early times. This place,
the cradle of the British race in Armorica, no
longer exists ; even its position cannot now be
traced with certainty. In God’s providence it
was destined to be supplanted by another capital
— St. Paul de Leon — which was to last for

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The Britons who settled in that part of
Armorica were Christians — at least in name —
and were followed to their new country by their
own priests. Hence the first bishops and monks
were, almost without exception, of British or
Irish birth. The land was not, however,
altogether free from Paganism. Heathen super-
stitions, rites, customs, and ideas, condemned by
the Christian religion, prevailed in certain
localities. Satanic rites and bloody sacrifices
upon the Celtic Dolmen were not entirely
forgotten, and even in those times Pagan temples
and sacred groves were to he seen.

The new bishop commenced his work with all
the earnestness of an apostle. He erected
parishes throughout his diocese, both on the
mainland and the adjacent islands. Ouessant, the
largest amongst them, was endeared to Paul and
his companions as their first resting-place after
their exodus from Britain, and was not forgotten.

The bishop divided his diocese into three arch-
deaconries — Leon, Ock, and Kimilidily. Besides
his monastery at Batz, he founded several others
— Kerlouan (named Kerpaul), at Plougar, and
Lanpaul. Nor had he much difficulty in filling
these religious houses with aspirants to the
cloister. Novices from all parts of the country
sought admittance into these holy institutions,
which became the nursery of a well-trained
clergy. Amongst these we may specially notice
Gwevrod, Tanguy, and Jouva.

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St. Paul
and the

On one of his episcopal visitations, when
passing through the present parish of Ploudaniel,
St. Paul was told that a holy hermit, a native of
Britain, like himself, led an edifying life in a
wood not far distant. On visiting him, the
hermit related that he had come over from
Britain with Tugdual (most likely from the west of
Britain), that he had been elected Abbot of Loc-
Kirec Monastery, but had resigned that dignity
in order to follow his inclination for solitude.
Paul, recognising in the solitary great talents for
missionary work, advised him to leave his retreat
and labour for the conversion of souls in his
diocese. He told the hermit how he himself had
so much loved solitude that at the age of sixteen
he had left Lantwit-Major, with the consent of
St. Illtyd, to follow this vocation; but when
summoned by Mark to preach the Gospel to his
subjects, he had regarded it as a call from
heaven; and had, later on, at the bidding of an
angel, forsaken his native land and come to
Armorica to work for the conversion of souls in
that land ; and that, being constrained to accept
episcopacy, he consecrated his life to the welfare
of his flock, although at all times much prefer-
ring solitude. “Now, as your Bishop,” added
the saint, “I invite you to help in gaining
souls to Jesus Christ. You cannot decline my
request. You are a priest of the Church of God;
assist me, therefore, to extend her doctrines and
her practices throughout this land.”

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The hermit at last yielded, followed his bishop
to Occismor, was appointed Vicar-General, and
became very useful.

It is related of Gwevrod that, on a certain
Sunday, as he was passing through the country,
he met a man who was cutting thorns with which
to fill up a gap in the fence of a corn-field. The
Vicar-General remonstrated with him for break-
ing the law of the Christians by thus working on
a Sunday. The man only laughed, and went on
with his work, and the priest continued his
journey. The man found, shortly afterwards,
that the axe was fastened to his hand. He tried
in vain to wrench it off, but all his efforts were
without avail. Terrified and repentant, he
hastened to Occismor, and, in presence of St.
Paul and his Vicar-General, confessed his sin
before the altar, and, prostrate upon its steps,
received absolution.

On another occasion a similar transgression
was also punished. The Alter Ego of St. Paul, ,
whilst passing through Occismor one day, observed
a young woman busy washing at the door of a
house. It was a Feast of our Lady, and the
priest stopped to remonstrate against this
violation of the law of the Church. The young
woman said people must eat whether it he
Sunday or Festival day, and she could not see
any reason why she should not earn her bread
on these days as well as on others. Not long
after she was struck with paralysis both in her

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St. Paul



hands and in her feet, and at once recognised in
this the hand of God. She fasted for a week,
and entreated Gwevrod to make the sign of the
Cross upon her. He did so, and she was cured.
The church of Creiz-Caer, the spire of which is
the finest in Brittany, was huilt and dedicated to
our blessed Lady, to commemorate this miracle,
on the very spot where it took place.

On a certain day, a young nobleman, with
remorse and affliction stamped upon his
countenance, came to St. Paul to seek his advice
as to the best way of making satisfaction for a
terrible crime he had committed — the murder of
his own sister.

“ I am the son of Galonus and Florence of
Tremazan,” said the unhappy young man.
“ My mother died young, leaving two children
— my sister Haude and myself. My name is
Gurguy. Shortly after our mother’s death, our
father — to our great grief — married a British
lady, who was richly dowered, but infected with
the Pelagian heresy. She soon acquired
unlimited influence over our father, and reigned
supreme in the house. The day she entered
under our roof was the dawn of a life of trial
and misery to us children. Like most step-
mothers, she did not love either the son or
daughter of her husband’s first wife, but, on the
contrary, manifested her hatred of them both by
word and action.

Having grown to manhood, after eight years

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of long and intense suffering, I could no longer
brook this tyranny and ill-treatment, and
thought of leaving home to try my fortune at
the Court of Childebert; but for love of my
sister I delayed my departure for some time,
feeling certain that the persecution would
increase in my absence. When I communicated
my plans to Haude, she wept and entreated of
me not to leave her unprotected. However, on
a certain day, having been grossly insulted by
my step-mother, I could endure it no longer,
and left my father’s house.”

It appeared that Haude had reason to oppose
the departure of her brother, for soon after she
was subjected to additional cruelties. The poor
young lady was treated like a servant, deprived
of her companions, shut out from the chapel at
whose altar she was wont to seek consolation,
and at last turned away from her father’s home
and sent to live in a farm-house. There she felt
happy, and lived like a nun in a convent.

Several years elapsed, during which the young
nobleman made his way at the Court of Paris ; but
neither distance nor the dissipations of a royal
city could make him forget his dear sister,
though all correspondence between them was
prevented by their step-mother. But some
persons from his country, who were visiting
Paris, gave him details of the cruel treatment
which Haude was undergoing. This determined
him to see with his own eyes what foundation

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there was for these reports. With this purpose
he left Paris, and presented himself, in disguise,
at the castle of his father. The illustrious guest
from the Frank Court inquired after the Lady
Haude, whose praises, he said, were on the lips
of everyone who came to Paris from Brittany,
and he expressed a great desire to make her

The cunning step-mother took him aside, and,
affecting deep interest in the stranger, informed
him, in the strictest confidence, as she stated,
that her husband’s daughter, of whom, he had
heard so favourable a report, was, she grieved to
say, a hypocrite, and a girl of such light
behaviour that, for the honour of the family,
they had been forced to remove her to a farm-

Haude’s brother, unfortunately, allowed him-
self to be deceived by this calumny, and became
indignant at the supposed shameful conduct of
his sister. He went to the farm, where he was
informed that Haude was washing linen in the
brook. He proceeded thither, and found her
busily occupied at this work. On hearing her
name called aloud, the young maiden looked up,
and, not recognising her brother, fled away in
alarm. This, unfortunately, seemed to him a
confirmation of his step-mother’s calumny, as he
attributed her flight to the consciousness of guilt,
which rendered her unable to bear the shame of
meeting him. Acting under this false conclusion.

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and. inflamed with rage, the unfortunate young
man drew his sword and pursued the fugitive,
with the determination of washing away the stain
she had brought upon the family in her blood.
He soon overtook her, and, terrible to relate, ran
his sword through her body and afterwards cut
off her head.

No sooner was the crime effected than a sense
of its enormity rushed upon the mind of the
fratricide. He burst into tears, groaned like a
man in despair, and fell on his knees beside the
lifeless body of his once dearly-loved sister.

The people of the neighbourhood hastened to
the spot, and, as they reverently removed the
remains of Haude, loudly lamented the sad end
of this long-persecuted angel.

As soon as the unhappy brother recovered
from the swoon into which he had fallen, he
learned, with terrible anguish, the shameful
conduct of his step-mother, and the innocence of
the victim of her malice and of his own
unrestrained passion.

Gurguy, having poured forth his tale of horror
and remorse into the compassionate heart of the
holy priest, added, “ Life has become a burden
to me. Ever freshly to my mind recurs the
remembrance of that murder, because if any one
deserved to fall under my sword it was my
wicked, crafty step-mother, and not my innocent
sister, who was as pure as an angel. I refrained
from vengeance, however, and God’s judgment

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has overtaken our persecutor, who suddenly
dropped dead. To you, father, do I now appeal.
Tell me, I implore you, how I can make satis-
faction for the murder of my sister ? ”

The Bishop was deeply grieved as he listened
to this narrative and saw before him the noble-
hearted young man who had been deluded into
committing a most abominable crime.

“ My son,” he said, “ family pride, a worldly
spirit, which could not leave vengeance to the
Lord, and an uncontrolled temper which robs the
soul of reason and reflection, were the causes of
this crime. May God forgive your hastiness and
anger! You travelled from Paris to protect
your sister from your step-mother, and yet
believed her calumnies against this persecuted
angel, and did not even give your victim a
chance of explanation. Go now for forty days
into solitude. Pray and weep for your sister,
and implore the forgiveness of heaven. After
that time return to me.

After the expiration of the alloted time, the
young nobleman presented himself before the
bishop, as he had been commanded, told him that
he had performed his penance, and begged admit-
tance into one of his monasteries ; for in the ,
solitude of the woods God had visited his soul,
enlightened him with new ideas, and turned his
heart altogether against the world. St.> Paul, and
several priests who were conferring with him on
ecclesiastical business, were startled when, on

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the entrance of Gurguy, they beheld a sort of
halo surrounding the head of the penitent
murderer, in the form of a supernatural crown.
The young knight, perceiving surprise depicted
on every countenance, attributed it to the horror
which guiltless men must experience at the sight
of an assassin. Prom that day his baptismal
name of Gurguy was changed for that of Tanguy,
or the wreath of fire.

Having assured St. Paul of his irrevocable
determination to leave the world, Tanguy begged
of him the favour of admission into his monastery
of Batz. His request being granted, be edified
the brotherhood by a most exemplary life.
Later on, St. Paul sent him to found a monastery
at Belec, nine miles from Morlaix, and another
at St. Matthew, at the entrance of the roads of
Brest, where he had inherited from his father a
large tract of land, which the town of Brest and
its environs now nearly covers.

The greatest friendship existed between St.
Paul and Tanguy. On a certain day, long after
the events we have mentioned, when they had
met to converse on spiritual matters, and to
ensure solitude had retired into a forest, an angel
appeared, and said, “Be of good heart, for in a
short time both of you will be taken from this
valley of tears to your home in heaven.” The
scene of this apparition has ever since been called
“ Coat-eles,” or the Porest of the Angelic Vision.
The prophecy was realised, for Tanguy and his

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St. Paul
and his

Bishop departed this life on the same day, being
the twelfth of March.

Jovin, the nephew of St. Paul, enlightens us
as regards the power of performing miracles
granted by heaven to his uncle. Jovin, or Jaoua,
was horn in Ireland, his mother being sister of
Paulus Aurelianus. He was educated in England,
where he learned to appreciate the virtues and
talents of his uncle, and even entertained ideas
of embracing the religious life.

His family having, probably, some notion of
h is designs, recalled him to Ireland, where they
supplied him with horses and hounds and every-
thing else deemed suitable for the position of a
young nobleman.

To satisfy his parents, he entered into their
views, and joined in all the national sports, not
losing, however, his desire for entering religion.

Letters from Great Britain announced that
Paul and twelve other priests had sailed for
Armorica and landed safely at Ouessant. Jovin
suddenly resolved to join his uncle, and, to
prevent opposition, decided on leaving home
secretly. Having procured a ship, he directed
the sailors to steer for Ouessant, but contrary
winds drove them into the Bay of Brest.

After remaining for some time in the
Monastery of Landevennec, the young aspirant
succeeded in joining his uncle, was ordained
priest, and sent to evangelise the inhabitants of
Braspars and its neighbourhood, in the district of

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Cornouailles, which is only divided from Leon by
a ridge of mountains. There he began to preach
the Gospel, a part of the people being still
plunged in the darkness of Paganism. He, like
every other apostle, met with friends and
enemies ; some who listened to the precepts of
Jesus Christ, and others opposed to Christian

Amongst the latter was a nobleman who hated
the preacher of the Gospel, for the simple
reason that many of his dissolute companions
were won by him to abandon their sinful way of
life. This wicked man heartily cursed those
priests from beyond the sea who, according to his
report, disturbed the country and interfered with
old customs and modes of life. More than once
he was heard to say it was a pity the ocean had
not swallowed them on their voyage.

On a certain day an ecclesiastical conference
was held not far from the residence of this
impious man, who looked upon this as a favour-
able opportunity of getting rid of the men of
Christ. He collected a band of ruffians, and,
placing himself at their head, approached the
place of conference. Finding the door of the
church closed, he burst it open, put the
congregation to flight, and, rushing to the altar,
slew the priest who was celebrating Mass, and
had reached that part of the Canon where Nobis
peccatoribm is said. Jovin and the Abbot of
Landevennec escaped. The latter, however, was

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overtaken and put to the sword by the sacri-
legious assassin.

Divine vengeance soon overtook this murderer
of monks. He became possessed hy the devil,
and there was much difficulty in restraining him
from doing violence on himself and others, and
the country was also visited by a scourge in the
shape of a huge dragon, which spread terror and
devastation all around.

The people laid their grievances before St.
Paul, and implored him to come to Paou and
deliver them from the terrible visitations of the
devil and the dragon.

The Bishop promised to comply with their
wishes, and dismissed the messengers, reccom-
mending the performance of penance, in order
to obtain the mercy of God, who is ever ready to
forgive those who repent.

When on his way to fulfil his promise, in
company with some of his brethren, they stopped
at a place called Mousterpaol, to recite the
Divine Office. Whilst thus engaged an angel
appeared to Paul, and consoled him with the
assurance that God would bless his mission.

On arriving at the village, the saint soon
collected the scattered inhabitants around him,
and at once commenced instructing them in the
Christian doctrine. One day he thus addressed
them : —

“ In order to convince you of the truth of the
Gospel, and on the formal promise that you will

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renounce all your superstitions and do penance,
I will deliver you from the dragon, in the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The people with one voice promised to do all
that was required of them. Then the Bishop
directed Jovin to prepare the altar for the holy
Sacrifice of the Mass, and after its celebration he
left the church, in procession, and commanded
the serpent to come forth from wherever he
might be, without doing harm to anyone. The
monster obeyed, slowly advanced towards the
saint, and lay down at his feet. The Bishop
bound his stole round his neck, and, plunging a
stick into the ground, tied the serpent to it,
ordering him not to move from that spot until
desired to do so . 1

This being done, Paul visited the residence of
the murderer of the two abbots, and, by the sign
of the Cross, drove away the evil spirit. Then he
instructed him in the Christian religion, and
administered the sacrament of baptism, bestowing
upon him the name of Paul.

(1) L’Abbe Gaume, in his learned treatise, “ Du St. Esprit,” shows at
length how Satan, in his relations with mankind, evinces a great
partiality to the serpent. Clothed in the body of that reptile, he tempted
our first parents in the terrestrial paradise. In Holy Scriptures the king
of the City of Evil is often called the dragon — “ Draco Magnus ,” the
serpent. At all times, everywhere, in Egypt, amongst the Babylonians,
he wished to be worshipped amongst the Pagans under the form of a
serpent. The supreme god of the Persians, Medes, Phoenicians, and others
was the serpent, with a hawk’s head ; so much so, that the temples of
many nations went by the general name of Dracontia. Amongst the
refined Greeks, the only irrational animal admitted into the ranks of the
gods was the serpent. The duties of the Roman vestals consisted not only
in keeping alive the sacred fire, but also in feeding the serpent associated
to the numerous gods of that Pagan empire. In China they worship to
this day the great dragon ; the seal of the Celestial Empire is a dragon.
In India this reptile is publicly worshipped. The Indian women and
children wear silver serpents round their ankles and wrists. In Africa,

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The people followed the example of their
ruler, and were received into the Church.

Like most of the Welsh saints whom we have
introduced to our readers, Paul, as he advanced
in life, seemed to yearn after the solitude of his
early years, and relied in a great measure on his
disciples for carrying on the work of his diocese.
He particularly esteemed Jovin, whose consecra-
tion as hishop he is believed to have obtained
from St. Samson, Archbishop of D61. After this
event he retired to his monastery of Batz.

The newly-consecrated bishop died on the
second of March, and was succeeded by
Tiernomallus, who also, after a short period,
departed this life.

Paul came to Occismor to assist at the funeral
of the late prelate, and at a conference of the
clergy which took place on the occasion, the
necessity of his again undertaking the adminis-
tration of the diocese was so strongly urged that
he was compelled to yield to the general wish,

temples are erected to this hideous reptile, a priesthood do duty in the
said temples, and feed its divine tenant. Amongst the ancient Pagan
nations of Europe we aiso notice the same false notions. We are not,
then, to wonder that the zealous British missionaries, founders of Christian
churches amongst the Pagans, should have met in the serpent or dragon a
sworn enemy. The struggles of St. Armel, Tugdual, Efflam, and Paul of
Leon with the dragon are explained in the light of faith. It is a battle of
principles between Christianity and Paganism. It is the Christian man
not surrendering himself, like our first parents, to Satan disguised into a
serpent, but battling, in the name of the Redeemer, against the seducer of
his race. The description given of these drag 3ns, their wonderful size,
agility, strength, and horrid appearance, is somewhat extraordinary. But
modern science, represented by such men as Cuvier, in France, and
Buckland, in England, who have carefully studied the fossils brought to
light by excavations, leave no doubt that huge animals, of the most
extraordinary size, have existed. We find these fossils embedded in the
bowels of the earth, and such as have been disinterred may be seen in our
public museums. — ( Vide Abbe Gaume, “ Traite du St. Esprit.” Vol. 1.}.

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and once more resumed the pastoral duties ; but
after a few months, feeling that his age and
infirmities rendered him unequal to the task, he
entrusted the diocese to the charge of one of his
monks, called Cetomerinus, whom he consecrated
bishop a.d. 556, in the presence of Judwal,
Prince of Brittany.

During the ceremony, a voice from the crowd
was heard imploring the venerable bishop to
pity his misery and pray to God on his behalf.
It was a blind man who thus interrupted the
sacred function. St. Paul touched his eyes, and
he at once recovered his sight. Judwal was so
much impressed by this miracle that, to testify
his admiration of it, he conceded a large tract of
land for the service of religion. The place was
ever afterwards' called Menesty, or Menishty, the
House of the Monk — that is to say, the Refuge of
St. Paul.

Once more could the saint return without
scruple to his dear solitude, confident that the
spiritual wants of his flock would be attended to.
In his little island he gave himself up unre-
servedly to contemplation, and lived for many
years in great austerity, and, though worn out
by penance and by age, always presented to his
brethren the example of monastic perfection.
When in prayer, he seemed to hold commune
with the angels, and, like Daniel, was favoured
with the gift of prophecy. He foretold that, in
times to come, his monastery would be entirely

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destroyed by the Normals, and that war, with
all its train of misery, would for a long period
spread devastation through the country. He
also foretold that after his death great contention
would arise between the inhabitants of Batz and
his brethren and the clergy and people of
Occismor as to the possession of his body. In
order, if possible, to avoid this dissension, he
expressed a wish to be interred in his cathedral
church ; but this proved of no avail in averting
what he dreaded.

We have already mentioned that St. Paul and
Tanguy, whilst praying together, had received
intimation that their departure from this world
would be proximate.

But towards the end of his career the saint
received a further warning on the same subject.
In order not to inconvenience his brethren, he
lived in a small house which he had constructed
close to the monastery. On a certain night, the
greater part of which he had spent in prayer, he
was about to fall asleep when he felt hims elf
gently shaken ; he beheld the room illuminated,
and an angel standing beside him . “ Paul,” said
the heavenly messenger, “ thou hast fought
valiantly, and run thy career nobly. It is now
meet that the Just Judge give thee thy reward.
Prepare thyself for thy departure from this
world on next Sunday, for on that day thou shalt
enter into the glory of thy Lord.” The angel
having spoken these words, disappeared, but the

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heavenly radiance still continued to illume the

On the following morning the saint celebrated
the holy Sacrifice of the Mass with extraordinary
devotion. It was, perhaps, for the last time.
Then he called together his monastic brethren,
and communicated to them the celestial vision
with which he had been favoured on the
preceding night. His countenance gleamed with
a supernatural light. The faithful servant was
at last about to be united to his heavenly Master,
never again to be separated from Him. After
urging his brethren to act up to the spirit of the
religious life, he assured them that the Pastor of
the vineyard would give to them a holy bishop
who would carry on the work of the Church
with zeal and discretion.

Having spoken thus, he was obliged to rest
upon his bed, which he never again was able to
rise from. On the following Sunday he requested
Bishop Cetomerinus to administer to him the
Sacraments of Holy Communion and Extreme
Unction. Shortly after he spoke a few
encouraging words to those around him, and
concluded by blessing them in the following
words : —

“ My children, may the blessing of God, whom
we adore, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, descend
upon you, and ever remain with you.” Whilst
the recipients of this benediction were in the act
of answering “ Amen,” the saint gave up his soul

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to his Creator, without the least struggle.
According to Albert le Grand, he was then one
hundred and two years of age . 1

As the holy bishop had foretold, a great
dispute arose amongst the people as to his place
of burial. The body lay in state in the church
of the Monastery of Batz, and was visited by
crowds from all parts of the country. The sea
was literally covered with the fleets of boats
which were employed conveying people to and
from the island.

On the day appointed for the funeral, the
Bishop arrived to remove the body to Occismor,
but the islanders opposed his being transferred
from Batz. As in the case of St. Teilo, second
Bishop of Llandaff, each party looked upon its
own claim as undeniable:

The islanders urged that it was upon their
island he had first settled on his arrival from
Britain, that he had passed a great part of his
time amongst them, and had there died; and
sought thus to prove themselves entitled to the
possession of his remains. The canons of his

cathedral, together with the rest of the
inhabitants of his diocese, maintained that a
bishop should be buried in his metropolitan
church, and that such was the wish of the
deceased prelate, as plainly stated in his last
moments. Neither party would yield, and the

(1) The exact date of St. Paul’s death cannot be clearly ascertained.
Some place it in the year 578, and others in 597. The new Breviary of
Quimper assigns 570, and M. de Freminville 594. — Lobinbau.

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altercation became so warm as to degenerate into
a general contention.

Bishop Cetomerinus at last proposed a plan of
settlement which was accepted by all. He
ordered bullocks to be yoked to two carts, with
their heads turned respectively towards the
monastery and towards Occismor ; the body was
so placed as to rest half on one cart and half on
the other ; the bullocks were then started, and
the cart on which the coffin remained was to
decide the place of burial. The cart directed
towards Occismor was the favoured one, and the
departed bishop was accordingly buried in his
own cathedral.

If at the present day a Breton, dwelling on
the shores of Armorica, between Brest and
Morlaix, were asked to point out Occismor, he
would answer that no such town existed in the
Departement , and in making this statement he
would neither tell an untruth nor indicate
ignorance. The name of the capital of Conan
Meriadec has long since disappeared. But any
native of Brittany will be quite ready to inform
the traveller of the position of St. Pol de Leon,
or Castel Pol. In such veneration did the
inhabitants of his diocese hold their first bishop,
that they called his episcopal see hy his name,
and that of Occismor became merged into Castel
Paul, or St. Pol de Leon, which place is well
known wherever the Breton language is

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The diocese has been united to that of Quimper,
hut it is proposed to restore it to its original
dignity. The cathedral erected over the grave
of St. Paulus Aurelianus is one of the finest in
Armorica, and the spire of the Church of
Creisker, in the same town, is unsurpassed by
any other in France.

Visitors to Coventry admire its lofty and
beautiful towers, hut those who have seen the
spire of St. Paul de Leon incline to give it the
preference. The Bretons are so proud of this
Clocher that it holds a distinctive place in the
national songs of the country. It is a bold and
highly-finished tower, which stands on four
pillars, nine feet in diameter, and is altogether
disconnected from the walls of the church. One
would almost imagine it to he a magical con-
struction, so airily is it poised.

The Bretons have reason to be proud of their
churches and spires. The Departement of Finistere
is neither rich nor poor ; it contains a population
of more than six hundred thousand inhabitants ;
but one would have to travel far to find churches
and towers so beautiful. The spire and
sculptured Calvary are special to the diocese of
Quimper, and draws the particular attention
of architectural travellers through Lower
Brittany. From the chain of mountains
which divides Leon from Cornouailles scores of
magnificent spires are visible, which seem to rise
in the air like gigantic needles. These fanes

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constructed by our ancestors might be kept in
better order.

What heaven-inspired architects our fore-
fathers were, as they manifested through these
magnificent erections their faith and their zeal
for the glory of the house of God ! St. Paul de
Leon is the first of these remarkable churches,
but Landivisian, St. Thegonnec, Lanpaul, and
many others may be instanced as fine specimens
of Gothic architecture.

Modern towns, such as Brest, have arisen in
the diocese of St. Paul and neighbourhood; but
how inferior are the churches, even in a naval
town numbering eighty thousand inhabitants,
when compared with the noble old temples in
the surrounding villages. The peasant of
Brittany, when he visits Brest, may be struck
with the appearance of the stately fleet of men-
of-war, but when he returns to his own hamlet
will remark, with a feeling of pride, that the
large town does not possess a single steeple the
spire of which approaches in beauty that of his
village church ; and this is perfectly correct, for
no churches in Brest, Lorient, etc., can match
those of Hennebon, Pont Croix, Quimper, or
Locronan. As the order of faith has waned, the
art of erecting befitting temples to Almighty
God seems also to have decreased.

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, caught in a
storm on those shores, made a vow that, if saved
from wreck, she would erect a church on or near

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the spot she should reach, in thanksgiving for her
safety. Her vessel was driven into Roscoff, a
few miles from St. Paul de Leon. The walls
and other portions of the church erected in
fulfilment of her vow are still in their position.

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St. Gildas, Abbot . 1

Gildas — surnamed the Wise, by some, the
Historian, or Badonicus, hy others — was one of
the celebrated scholars trained by St. Illtyd at
Lantwit-Major. Of his collaborators in the
vineyard of the Lord — than most of whom he
was somewhat younger — we have already spoken
in the preceding chapters.

Britain, Scotland, and Brittany each claim to
this day the honour of being the birth-place of
St. Patrick ; Dumbarton, on the Clyde, in
Scotland, and Bath, in Somersetshire, assert alike
the privilege of numbering Gildas amongst their
most illustrious sons.

The surname of Badonicus, which succeeding
generations superadded to his own, indicates the
fact stated by Gildas himself, that he was born
during that year of our Lord in which King
Arthur inflicted a crushing blow upon the Saxons

(1 ) Compiled from the “ Britannia Sancta,” Albert le Grand, “ Vierdes
Saints de Bretagne- Armorique,” Lobineau. The “ Britannia Sancta”
states that the life of Gildas is compiled from John of Basco, and derived
from an ancient manuscript in the library of Fleury, and collated with
that of Caradocus of Llancarvan and hid Acts in Capgrave. The Breton
writers availed themselves of the MSS. of their own country, and consider
Mab billon’s Life more correct than any other.

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by defeating them on Mount Badon, in the
vicinity of Bath. This memorable event,
according to the general opinion of historians,
took place in the year 493.

Like St. Cadoc of Llancarvan, St. David, and
St. Teilo, Gildas was of illustrious birth, and
descended from a family not only Christian in
name, but distinguished for strict observance of
the laws of God and of the Church. Several of
his relatives had forsaken the world and its
vanities and devoted themselves to the service of
God in the cloister. 1

Amongst the students of Lantwit-Major a
custom existed which is not uncommon in our
modern colleges, of affixing an adjective to the
names of scholars, which served to denote some
striking peculiarity either in their physical
appearance, temperament, or habits. In
accordance with this custom, Gildas was
surnamed “ Aquarius,” or the Water-drinker (in
Welsh, Dwr Ifur), 2 because he never drank any
kind of fermented beverage, and during his
whole life sacredly observed this total abstinence.

As soon as he had attained a sufficient age, his
parents committed Gildas to the care of St.
Illtyd, and at Lantwit-Major his capacity for
learning was soon discovered. As he advanced

(1) Armorican writers, in the notes appended to Albert le Grand,
observe : — “ We must not confound Gildas the Abbot of Rhuys with
Gildas the Albanian monk of Glastonbury. The latter was son of Conan
Meriadec, the founder of the British colony in Armorica, who married
Derereu, sister of St. Patrick.

(2) In Breton, Dour ever.

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in years the Holy Scriptures became his
favourite study, and those who read his writings
will at once perceive there was scarcely a verse
of sacred writ which was not stamped upon his
memory. Early meditations on such subjects
enlightened his faith and kindled within his
heart the fire of Divine love, and decided him on
withdrawing altogether from the empty world to
consecrate his life to the service of God.

"When his studies at Lantwit-Major were
completed he crossed over to Ireland, there to
perfect his e4ucation and learn from the disciples
of St. Patrick that ascetic science in which the
Irish were so proficient. In that country Gildas
sought instruction in Divine and human
knowledge from the most celebrated masters,
and, like an industrious bee, gathered from
every flower, for his own benefit and that of his
neighbours, the honey of virtue and science. 1

"When ordained priest, we find our saint
actively engaged in missionary works, both in
Britain and Ireland. He preached the Gospel to
pagans and heretics, for in his time many
Christians were still infected by the Pelagian

God bestowed a wonderful blessing on the
labours of the young priest, for great was the
number of unbelievers whom he converted to
Christ. He was endowed with the power of

(1) Tanquam apis prudentisima diversorum florum succos collegit atqua
in alvee matris Eccleaiae reoonditifc ut intern pore opportuno melliilua
evangelii verba in populo effunderet,— “Acts ” Gildas.

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working miracles, which added weight to his

Crowds gathered around him, and through his
teaching Pagans embraced Christianity and
were baptised, and those who were separated
from the Church by Pelagianism hastened to
seek reconciliation with that loving mother. His
fame as an orator and a saint was echoed across
the Irish sea, and at the repeated request of one
of her kings he returned to that island. He
there continued the same work — built churches
and monasteries, regulated the Liturgy, and
taught for some time in the famous school of
Armagh . 1

It is remarked that the young apostle, though
indulgent to others, was severe towards himself.
He failed not to chastise his own body, so as to
bring his passions under subjection, lest, with all
his learning and his teaching of others, he should
himself become a castaway. It is stated that
from the age of fifteen to the end of his life he
took nourishment but on three days of the week.
Perhaps, like St. Samson, his physical strength
was miraculously sustained by the holy Eucharist.
A hair shirt covered his body, the bare ground
was his bed, a stone his pillow. So great were
his mortifications that his existence under them
was looked upon as a miracle. Perhaps strong
natural passions, which he was determined to
subdue, demanded this austerity of life.

(1 ) “ Britannia Sancta.”

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Between the years 527 and 530 Gildas left
Britain, and passed over to Armorica. It is
recorded in his Acts that this step was taken
Jussd Dei, or by the order of God, which, no
doubt, implies that he, like St. Samson, had been
visited by an angel, who, in the name of his
Master, commanded him to spend the remainder
of his life amongst his brethren and countrymen
in Armorica.

Gildas was at that time in the prime of life —
between thirty and forty years of age. But,
though still young, he had great experience of
mankind, and of affairs of all sorts, having from
the time of his ordination been actively engaged
in missionary life, both in Britain and Ireland.

However, on crossing to Armorica, his mind Gildas in
seems to have been made up to change his busy Bnttau>-
life for one of solitude, for he selected as his
abode one of those small islands which lie
between Belle Isle and the southern part of
Morbihan. This little island of Houat sheltered
Gildas from the world for a few years, for in
that narrow home he had no other companions
but God and his angels, and a few poor fisher-
men, whom he instructed in the Christian

But these mariners, who daily sailed to the
mainland to dispose of their fish, revealed the
retreat of the hermit, and told wonderful things
concerning his way of life. His solitude was
soon disturbed by crowds of visitors, some

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Gildas and

prompted by curiosity, others desirous of advice
from a master of the spiritual life.

Many, indeed, remained in the island to share
his mode of living, and their number gradually
increasing, the saint was forced to look out for a
more spacious retreat on the opposite shores.

A neighbouring prince, who had probably been
his fellow-student at Lantwit-Major, together
with his two brothers, Tugdual and Eleanor,
presented him with a castle on the seashore.
Gildas changed this into a regular monastery,
which was soon filled with a great number of

The sick and the afflicted of the neighbouring
counties flocked to the peninsula of Rhuys,
confident of being cured by the servant of God.
The crowds became so great that Gildas quitted
the monastery, and hid himself in a neighbouring
cavern. He thought no one