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tributed to him, extended over the entire counties of Pembroke and Carmarthen; its northern boundary in Cardiganshire included the parishes of Llanddewi Aberarth, and Llanddewi Brefi; from whence it seems to have followed the course of the Irfon through Brecknockshire,* and in Radnorshire it included the parishes of Cregruna and Glascwm. North of this line was the diocese of Llanbadarn, in which there are no church-foundations attributable to St. David; and the three chapels dedicated to him, as mentioned before,† date in all probability subsequent to the time when this diocese merged into that of Menevia. From Glascwm the boundary of St. David's seems to have passed southwards to the Wye, and to have followed the course of that river to its junction with the Severn, including the districts of Ewyas and Erchenfield in Herefordshire, and the whole of Monmouthshire with the exception of the lordship of Gwynllwg. The southern boundary seems to have commenced, as at present, between the rivers Neath and Tawe, and afterwards to have passed along the hills which naturally divide Brecknockshire from Glamorganshire, as far as Blaenau Gwent; from this point it followed the present limits of Gwynllwg to the mouth of the Usk. South of this line was the original diocese of Teilo; in which the only edifices, dedicated to St. David, are the chapels of Laleston‡ and Bettws, subject to Newcastle, Glamorganshire, and Bettws, subject to Newport, Monmouthshire; but they appear to be of modern origin. The Lordship of Gwynllwg was co-extensive with the present deanery of Newport, and until the Union of England and
*There were formerly not less than six churches and chapels ascribed or dedicated to St. David in the Hundred of Builth, Brecknockshire, and it is remarkable that they were all on the south side of the Irfon. Five of them still remain.
+ Llanddewi Ystrad Enni, Heyop, and Whitton.
Built about A. D. 1110, by Lales, architect to Richard Granville, Lord of Neath.
Wales it was considered a part of Glamorgan.* It is singular that the parishes of Caerleon and Llanddewi Fach, though west of the Usk, do not form part of this district; and they remain to this day a confirmation of the arrangement which would place them in the diocese of St. David's. They are at no great distance from the town of Llandaff, but David might have weakened his authority, as archbishop of Menevia, had he surrendered the place from which he originally derived the title of Metropolitan; and he is, by some writers, called archbishop of Caerleon to the time of his death.
As it was the custom in the early ages of Christianity for the bishop to receive a share of the offerings presented in all the churches under his superintendence, the boundaries of his diocese would soon be determined with considerable precision; and he could not intrude into the diocese of another without an infringement of rights. The tract described includes all the churches, named after St. David, in Wales and the adjoining counties. There are, however, three churches and a chapel in Devon and Cornwall, of which he is considered the patron saint:† and though none of his ancient biographers have noticed that he passed any portion of his life in that country, the circumstance that he visited it, probably in the early part of his life, is intimated in the poetry of Gwynfardd,‡ who says that he received ill-treatment there at the hands of a
He endured buffetings, very hard blows,
From the hands of an uncourteous woman, devoid of modesty,
He took vengeance, he endangered the sceptre of Devon,
And those who were not slain were burned.
Myv. Archaiol. Vol, I. p. 270, and Williams's Pelagian Heresy.
female, on account of which the inhabitants suffered his vengeance. The edifices alluded to are the following.—
Tilbruge, alias Thelbridge, R. Devon.
Ashprington, R. with the chapelry of Painsford, Devon.
Some of these were possibly founded by the saint; but they may, at least, be thought to confirm the tradition of his presence, which is further strengthened by the existence, in the same quarter, of the following, dedicated to St. Non, his mother.
Bradstone, R. Devon.
Plenynt, alias Pelynt, alias Plint, V. Cornwall.
Alternon, V. Cornwall,
There are three religious edifices dedicated to St. David in the rest of England,* so few and far between, that no historical inference can be deduced from them, except that they were consecrated to his memory long after the conversion of the Saxons. The county of Devon remained in the possession of the Britons so late as the year 900.
Geoffrey of Monmouth states that Dewi, archbishop of Caerleon, died in the monastery which he had founded at Menevia, where he was honourably buried by order of Maelgwn Gwynedd. This event is recorded by Geoffrey as if it happened soon after the death of Arthur, who died A. D. 542. According to the computations of Archbishop Usher, St. David died A. D. 544, aged eighty two, which is certainly more probable than the legendary accounts of Giraldus and others, who assert that the saint lived to the patriarchal age of a hundred and forty seven years, sixty five of which he presided over his diocese. But it must be allowed that the dates
* Barton David, V. Somersetshire; Moreton in the Marsh, a chapel to Bourton on the Hill, Gloucestershire; and Armin, a chapel to Snaith, Yorkshire.
quoted by Usher are very uncertain, and depend upon the authority of writers who lived many centuries after the events which they record. The order of generations, and the names of contemporaries, render it necessary to place the birth of David about twenty years later than it is fixed by Usher; and his life may be protracted to any period short of A. D. 566, to which year the death of Maelgwn Gwynedd is assigned in the Annales Menevenses.*
He was canonized by Pope Calistus about A. D. 1120, and his commemoration was held on the first of March, the anniversary, according to Giraldus, of the day on which he died. It has been lately observed, that the reputation which he has acquired of being the patron saint of Wales, is of modern introduction; and the observation is certainly true in the sense of the words "tutelar saint," as understood by those who compiled the romances of the "Seven Champions of Christendom." It may also be said that the story of the leek, and its adoption as a national emblem, is not noticed by his early biographers. But these remarks should not be made with a view to disparage his memory. He has long maintained the highest station among the saints of his country; and whether the number of churches attributed to him, or his exertions in the overthrow of Pelagianism, be considered, he professes the fairest claim to such a distinction. Since the twelfth century his pre-eminence has been undisputed; and the poem of Gwynfardd, written in that age, lauds him in terms as if he were second only to the Almighty. So famous was his shrine at Menevia, that it attracted votaries, not only from all parts
* Lives of St. David have been written by Ricemarchus about A. D. 1090, a copy of which is preserved in the British Museum, Cotton MSS. Vespasian A. XIV; by Giraldus Cambrensis about A. D. 1200, published in Wharton's Anglia Sacra; by John of Teignmouth, a contemporary of Giraldus, inserted in Capgrave's collection; and by Leland, in the reign of Henry VIII, which is published in his "Collectanea." There is also an ancient Welsh Life in the British Museum, Cotton MSS. Titus D. XXII.
of Wales, but also from foreign countries; and even three of the kings of England* are recorded to have undertaken the journey, which when twice repeated was deemed equal to one pilgrimage to Rome.t
To take a short notice of temporal affairs; the Gwyddyl Ffichti, who were conquered by Clydwyn, the son of Brychan, are in this generation found to be independent. According to an authority, cited in Jones's History of the county of Brecon, Dyfnwal, a Pictish or Caledonian prince, had exterminated the race of Clydwyn and assumed the soveignty. In consequence of which, Caradog Fraichfras, the son of a granddaughter of Brychan, appears to have marched westward from the Severn, and to have recovered the principal part of Brecknockshire, which he transmitted to his descendants. The Irish were also in possession of Carmarthenshire, and the names of Liethali, and Ceing or Ceianus, two of their chieftains in that county, have been recorded ;§ but about the same time, Urien Rheged, whose father, Cynfarch Oer,|| had been obliged to leave his territories in North Britain and seek a refuge in Wales, undertook to clear the country of these foreign settlers. He was successful; and accordingly was allowed to take possession of the district lying between the rivers Towy and Neath, which his descendants continued to inherit after him. These events took place in the early
* William the Conqueror, Henry II, and Edward I; the latter of whom was accompanied by his queen, Eleanor, Nov. 26, 1284.
This opinion was expressed by the monks in the verse,
"Roma semel quantum, dat bis Menevia tantum.”
and more especially in the following couplet;
"Meneviam si bis, et Romam si semel, ibis,
Merces æqua tibi redditur hic et ibi."
Harleian MSS. No. 6832.
§ Gunn's Nennius; Camden's Britannia.
|| Of the line of Coel Godebog.