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version of Constantine; but before the end of the fourth century it was not uncommon.
It has been observed that no church in Wales bears the name of Owain ab Macsen; the same may be said of his brother, Ednyfed, who is also included in the catalogue of Saints. The church of Llanbeblig near Carnarvon is called after Peblig, another brother of Owain; and this is the first instance of a church in Wales bearing the name of a Saint not admitted into the Romish Calendar. The circumstance of the name may, therefore, be attributed to the supposition that he was the founder, having previously consecrated the place by the performance of certain religious exercises, after the manner which Bede describes as customary among the Christians of North Britain.* It is necessary, however, to suppose that this church was founded after the expulsion of the Irish, and it would not require that Peblig should be more than sixty years age to extend his life down to the time; since Maximus left Britain in 383, and the Irish were driven from North Wales before A. D. 430. The first churches would naturally be erected in towns, where the greatest population was collected; an opinion which ecclesiastical writers in general maintain. Llanbeblig is the parish church of Carnarvon, but it is not situate in that town, nor at the neighbouring Roman station of Segontium. The Romans had quitted the country, and whatever buildings were left at Segontium were likely to have been destroyed by the Irish. Carnarvon, on the other hand, is of later origin, though of very ancient date. The inference drawn is, that Llanbeblig was founded before the existence of Carnarvon. But another circumstance which might have contributed to the foundation of this and other churches in the age of Peblig, was the visit of St. Germanus to Britain in 429, and that he visited Carnarvonshire is pro
* See page 60 of this Essay.
bable from the traces of his name which still remain in that county.*
The chapels subject to Llanbeblig are, St. Mary's, or the present church of Carnarvon; and St. Helen's, which formerly existed in that town. The author of Mona Antiqua supposes the latter to be dedicatedt to Helen, the wife of Maximus, and the conjecture is supported by the circumstance that she was also the mother of Peblig. The coincidence might be thought sufficient to determine the question, if it could be shown that the wife of Maximus has ever been considered a Saint; and the cause of doubt is increased by the equally plausible conjecture, supported by similar local reasons, that the person intended was the elder Helen, whose saintship is undisputed. A belief, though founded on insufficient grounds, is known to have existed so early as the time of Nennius, that either Constantius, the emperor, or his grandson of the same name, was buried at Carnarvon; and, in proof, it was alleged that a stone with a certain inscription pointed out the place of his grave. I This, however, is contradictory to the testimony of classical writers, who state that the first Constantius was buried at York, and the second at Mopsuestia in Cilicia; but
Llanarmon (St. Germanus) chapel to Llangybi; and Bettws Garmon, subject to Llanfair Isgaer, all in Carnarvonshire.
+ The editor of the Beauties of North Wales, carrying the popular opinion too far, states that this chapel was founded by Helen. Had this been the case, according to the principles laid down in the first Section of this Essay, it would, at the time of the institution of tithes and the division of parishes, heve received its separate endowment; but, being founded after that time, no means remained for its maintenance except as depend. ent upon the church of the parish in which it was situated.
# Nennius, who flourished in the vinth century, says that the person commemorated was Constantius, the son of Constantine ; while Matthew of Westminster states that A. D. 1283 the body of Constantius, the father of that emperor was found by digging, and was, by order of Edward the First, honourably interred in the adjacent church. See also Hanes Gruff. udd ab Cynan, Myv. Archaiology, Vol. II. 595.
as the words of the words of the inscription have not been preserved, and as the name Constantius can be proved to have been common in Britain for some time after the retirement of the Romans, the stone probably commemorated some other person, who was afterwards mistaken for the emperor.
As Mor, the son of Ceneu ab Coel, was a Saint contemporary with Cunedda and Peblig, he may be considered the founder of the churches of Llannor or Llanfor in Carnarvonshire, and Llanfor in Penllyn, Merionethshire. The first of these may claim a higher antiquity than the town of Pwllheli, which is situate at the distance of three miles in a subordinate chapelry.* Had the town existed first, the probability is that the mother church would have been built in it. Llanfor in Merioneth is said by Browne Willis to be dedicated to St. Deiniol, and the names of both these churches have been thought to be corruptions of Llan-fawr, anglicè “ the great church;” but to set aside etymological conjectures, both of them were known by the name of Llanfor as early as the time of Llywarch Hen, a Bard who died about A. D. 660, and the verses in which he speaks of them may thus be translated:t
Trust not Bran, trust not Dunawd,
There is a Llanfor beyond the tide,
* The chapel of Pwllheli, alias Denio, is dedicated to St. Beuno, who flourished A. D. 580.
+ The following is the original, from the Myv. Archaiology, Vol. I. page 120,
NA chred Vrán na chred Dunawd
Yssydd Lanvor dra gweilgi
There is a Llanfor, towering aloft,
Here three churches are mentioned together in such a way that their enumeration may best be attributed to the circumstance of their being founded by the same Saint, since the descriptive term—“great church”—was not likely in those days to have passed for a proper name. The Bard spent the latter part of his life at Llanfor in Merionethshire, where he died, and in these stanzas he appears to warn his spiritual instructor against some impending danger. Situated where he was, unless he was a good topographer, he could easily conceive that the upper part of Cardigan Bay intervened between him and Llanfor in Lleyn Carnarvonshire, the parishioners of which place are near enough to the sea to hear the music of the waves. The Bard mentions also another church which is conceived to be Llanynys* in Denbighshire, the name of which, in English “the church of the island,” is descriptive of its situation between the rivers Clwyd and Clywedog. This church has been ascribed to St. Saeran from the circumstance of his having been buried there ;t but as Welsh churches are sometimes found to claim the honour of two Saints, this will interpose no difficulty, since the oldest Saint may
be allowed to be the founder, and the younger may have
Yssydd Llanvor tra bànawg
Heis Dyvyrdwy yn ei thervyn
Bugail lloi Llapvor llwybryn.
The two Saints are rather a proof that there was no formal dedication, and that the church was called after the name of the person whose me. mory was most associated with it.
been a distinguished minister, or one who increased the privileges of the church. In the last stanza, the Bard returns to his own parish; and the Dee, Meloch, and Traweryn, are rivers in that neighbourhood which still retain those names.
About this time (A. D. 420 to 430) it is said that the Church in Britain was infected with the Pelagian heresy; and that the orthodox clergy, being unable to stem its progress, sent to Gaul desiring assistance. Upon which it was determined in a full synod of the Gallican Church, that Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus, Bishop of Troyes, should be sent to Britain to confute the heretics. The date assigned to this event by Prosper, a contemporary writer, is A. D. 429; but he speaks of Germanus only, who, he says, was sent by Pope Celestine at the suit of Palladius, the Apostle of Scotland. Constantius of Lyons, the biographer of St. Grrmanus, who wrote while several persons who had been acquainted with that Prelate were living, relates the affair differently; and his words may be rendered as follows.*—"At that time a deputation, direct from Britain, announced to the Gallican Bishops, that the Pelagian heresy was gaining an extensive hold upon the people in that country; and that assistance ought to be given as soon as possible to the Catholic faith. For which reason a large synod was convened, and with one consent the prayers of the whole assembly were directed to those bright luminaries of religion, Germanus and Lupus, Apostolic priests, who while their bodies were on earth had their minds fixed on heaven. And inasmuch as the necessity appeared the more
* The original, as given by Archbishop Usher, is—“Eodem tempore ex Britanniis directa legatio Gallicanis Episcopis nunciavit, Pelagianam perversitatem latè populos occupâsse, et quamprimum fidei catholicæ debere succurri. Ob quam causam Synodus numerosa collecta est: omnium. que judicio duo præclara reli lumina universorum precibus ambiuntur, Germanus et Lupus, Apostolici sacerdotes, terram corporibus, cælum meritis, (seu mentibus) possidentes. Et quanto necessitas laboros