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Brychan is computed to have reigned, such is the term, from A. D. 400 to A. D. 450.* The computation may, however, be altered so far as to bring down the commencement of his reign to about A. D. 410, in order to allow a sufficient interval, after the departure of Maximus in 383, for the marriage of his mother with an Irish adventurer, as well as for his own growth to manhood. That he commenced his reign later than A. D. 410 is not likely from the chronology which it is necessary to give to his descendants. His grandfather and mother must have lived in the Roman time, and therefore in a state of dependence, if not of obscurity; for, that Brychan attained to power not possessed by his ancestors is probable from his having given his name to the district where he exercised his authority ;t and the date here assigned to his accession agrees well with the time in which, according to Zosimus, the Britons threw off the Roman yoke.
A fourth chieftain, contemporary with the preceding, was Cystennyn Gorneu, the founder of a family in Cornwall. No further particulars are known respecting him; but the pedigree of his descendants, which includes several Saints, is given as follows.
A fifth chieftain of this time was Cadell, who is often confounded with Cadell Deyrnllug. From the pedigree of his
* Jones's Brecknockshire, Vol. I. Chap. III.
+ The names “Brecon and Brecknock” are but English modifications of “Brychan and Brycheiniog."
family it may be concluded that his territories lay in Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire.
Gwynllyw Filwr of Gwynllwg Cattwg Cammarch Glywys Cerniw Hywgu Maches Cynfyw'or Cyfyw Gwyddlew Ddoeth Gwodloew Beuno
Cadrod Calchfynydd is the last that may be mentioned of this early date. His territories were situated about the middle of England.
Of these contemporary chieftains there are reasons for adjudging the seniority in respect of age to Cunedda.* But he is deserving of notice more especially, as the Triads record that he was the first who gave lands and privileges to God and the Saints in the island of Britain ; by which may be understood that this was the first time the Church received temporal possessions and endowments in this country. It is not stated what particular churches were thus endowed by Cunedda, but they probably existed in his northern territories, or in England, and subsequent revolutions have swept away every trace of them. Before this time the British chieftains were not in a condition to give lands to the Church, and perhaps the practice did not commence elsewhere before the con
* An elegy on the death of Cunedda is printed in the Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, Vol. I. p. 71, from which his character as a warrior and some particulars of his history may be collected. It was composed by a Taliesin, older than the Bard usually known by that name, and is perhaps the earliest specimen of 'Welsh poetry extant. An English translation of it is given in Davies's Claims of Ossian, Section I, accompanied by several interesting and appropriate remarks.
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 of 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. 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 ninth 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.
Na chred Vrân pa chred Dunawd
Yssydd Lanvor dra gweilgi