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ceeding is the fact that the bones of the saint were discovered with great difficulty. Inquiry was made into the monuments of the past, and the oldest writings were searched in order to ascertain where his body had been deposited; by whom, how, and at what time it was buried. The passage of the Book of Llandaff, which records these particulars, though written when the Romish religion was at its highest ascendency, has therefore, in making this admission, betrayed the inference, that in whatever esteem the Britons of the primitive Church might have held the memory of their holy men, they could not have worshipped their relics. The body of the great archbishop of Caerleon, whose reputation for sanctity was almost equal to that of St. David, lay unenshrined for six centuries. His example, however, in retiring to close his life in Bardsey, was so extensively followed, that according to the exaggerations of after ages, no less than twenty thousand saints were interred in the island, the entire surface of which was covered with their ashes; but his remains were so little regarded that other bodies were buried over him, and how his relics were afterwards distinguished from the general heap is a problem which the author of the record has left unexplained.* His death was commeniorated on the fourth of November, and his translation on the twenty ninth of May.
The most eminent saint of Wales must now be introduced to the reader; David, or, as his countrymen call him, Dewi, was the son of Sandde ab Ceredig ab Cunedda, by Non, the daughter of Gynyr of Caergawch. To repeat all the fabulous legends invented respecting him, would be to heap together a mass of absurdity and profaneness; for the monks, in the
*“Quod vero postmodum investigatum est, et adquisitum monumentis seniorum, et antiquissimis scriptis literarum, quo loco sepultus est infra sepulturam sanctorum virorum Enlli ; quoque situ firmiter humatus est; et a quo, et qualiter, quorumque principum tempore.”—Lib. Landav, MS. as quoted in Roberts’s Chronicle of the Kings of Britain, p. 338.
excess of their veneration, have not scrupled to say that his birth was foretold thirty years before the event, and that he was honoured with miracles while yet in the womb. But to pass by these wretched imaginations of a perverted mind, it will be sufficient to notice only those statements of his history which have an appearance of truth. It is said by Giraldus that he was born at the place since called St. David's, and that he was baptized at Porth Clais in that neighbourhood by Alveus, or rather Albeus, bishop of Munster, " who by divine providence had arrived at that time from Ireland.” The same author adds, that he was brought up at a place, the name of which, meaning "the old bush,” is in Welsh “Hen-meneu,”* and in Latin “ Vetus Menevia.”—The locality of Hen-meneu is uncertain, and a claim has been set up on behalf of Henfynyw in Cardiganshire,+ which answers to the name, and its church is dedicated to the saint; but it is clear that Giraldus and Ricemarchus, from whom the information is derived, intended to designate some spot near the western promontory of Pembrokeshire, possibly the Roman station of Menapia, for the latter writer intimates that the “ Old Bush,” as he calls it, was the place where Gistlianus resided before he removed to the valley of Rosina.
St. David is reported to have received his religious education in the school of Iltutus; and afterwards in that of Paulinus at Ty-gwyn ar Daf, where he is said to have spent ten years in the study of the Scriptures, and where Teilo, the second bishop of Llandaff, was one of his fellow-students. It would appear from Giraldus that he was ordained a presbyter before he entered the school of Paulinus, and the same author states that
* His etymology of the word is borrowed from two languages, hén being the Welsh for old, and muni, as he says, is the Irish term for a bush,
+ Carlisle's Topographical Dictionary of Wales, voce Hensynyw.
# Various readings to Giraldus, in Wharton Vol. II.-See also page 162 of this Essay.
David, Padarn, and Teilo, visited Jerusalem together, where they were consecrated to the order of Bishops by the Patriarch. Whether this event should be considered to have happened before, or after, the time that David became principal of the monastery in the valley of Rosina is of little consequence, as the story is so improbable that it may be rejected entirely. From its construction it appears to have been borrowed by Giraldus from one of the lost Triads, and it was probably invented by some bard who wished to show that the Welsh bishops traced their consecration to higher authority than that of the Pope. It is, however, admitted that St. David founded or restored a monastery in the valley of Rosina,* which was afterwards called Menevia ; and as the abbots of similar religious societies were in those days considered to be bishops in the neighbourhood of their respective communities, St. David enjoyed the dignity of a Chorepiscopus before his elevation to the archbishoprick of Cambria. In the retirement of Menevia, he appears to have lived with his disciples, practising those religious austerities which were sanctioned by the superstition of the times. He denied himself the enjoyment of animal food, and his only drink was water. Except when compelled by urgent necessity, he rigidly abstained from every interference in temporal affairs, all his time being devoted to prayer and spiritual contemplation. It is not stated how long he continued to practise these exercises ; but he is said to have experienced considerable molestation from a chieftain of the Gwyddyl Ffichti, named Boia,+ who with a band of followers had occupied the surrounding district. Such, however, was the patience with which David and his associates endured this persecution, that the chieftain relinquished his hostility, and was at last converted and baptized.* St. David was first roused from his seclusion to attend the synod of Brefi in the manner already related. It is recorded that he accepted the archbishoprick with reluctance; but after his entrance into public life he was distinguished for his activity. As the Pelagian heresy was not entirely suppressed, he convened another synod, which it would appear from the Annales Menevenses was held at Caerleon. His exertions upon this occasion were so successful that the heresy was exterminated, and the meeting has been named, in consequence, “ the Synod of Victory.”
* Its Welsh name is Rhồs, and Giraldus, who occasionally indulges in a pun, says there were no roses in the valley,—rosina non rosea.
+ Ricemarchus calls him a Scot; Galfridus, a Pict; and Gwynfardd intimates that he was an Irishman (Gwyddyl;) the name Gwyddyl Ffichti is adopted above, as being applicable to the three in common.
After these councils he is said to have drawn up with his own hand a code of rules for the regulation of the British Church, a copy of which remained in the cathedral of St. David's until it was lost in an incursion of pirates. Under his presidency the cause of religion attained to great prosperity, and, to use the words of Giraldus:-“In those times in the territory of Cambria the Church of God flourished exceedingly, and ripened with much fruit every day. Monasteries were built every where; many congregations of the faithful of various orders were collected to celebrate with fervent devotion the sacrifice of Christ. But to all of them, Father David, as if placed on a lofty eminence, was a mirror and a pattern of life. Heinformed them by words, and he instructed them by example ; as a preacher, most powerful through his eloquence, but monks, and a path to seculars, becoming all to all, that he might gain all to God.”—This character is, of course, overcharged; but it is recorded in the Triads that the three blessed visitors of the Isle of Britain were Dewi, Padarn, and Teilo.
so in his works. He was a doctrine to his hearers, a guide to the religious, a life to the poor, a support to orphans, a protection to widows, a father to the fatherless, a rule to
* Life of Teilo by Galfridus. Giraldus's version of the story is, that Boja, attempting to molest the saints, suffered the vengeance of heaven, being himself affiicted with a fever, and his cattle perishing by disease; upon which he solicited the peace of the holy men, and through their intercession obtained a removal of the judgment, his cattle being restored to life; but his wife, making a second attempt at molestation, was deprived of her reason, and Boia was soon afterwards slain by an enemy.
“ They were so called because they went as guests to the houses of the noble, the plebeian, the native and the stranger, without accepting either fee or reward, or victuals or drink; but what they did was to teach the faith in Christ to every one without pay or thanks. Besides which, they gave to the poor and needy, gifts of their gold and silver, their raiment and provisions."
After his elevation, St. David appears to have resided for a while at Caerleon, the proper seat of the primate ;* but his stay was not of long continuance before he obtained the permission of Arthur to remove the see to Meneyia. No reason is alleged for this proceeding, and probably it arose from the mere desire of dignifying a place to which he had become attached from early associations.t The churches founded by him have been enumerated already, and the list is worthy of another consideration as it serves to point out the country which, though archbishop, he held under his peculiar jurisdiction. It is generally agreed that Wales was first divided into dioceses in his time, and local indications are exceedingly valuable wherever they are sufficiently numerous to establish an inference upon inductive principles. The diocese of St. David, therefore, as may be judged from the foundations at
* Triad 7, First Series.
+ The Latin copy of Geoffrey says that he loved Menevia above all other monasteries of his diocese, because St. Patrick, by whom his birth had been foretold, had founded it! Bp. Godwyn suggests : “ It seemeth he misliked the frequency of people at Caerlegion, as a meanes to withdraw him from contemplation, whereunto that hee might be more free, hee made choice of this place for his See rather than for any fitness of the same otherwise."
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