« PrejšnjaNaprej »
part of this century, and they seem to have afforded to St. David the opportunity of establishing a number of churches in the country thus recovered,* in which none are found of older date, except those which were dedicated to the children of Brychan. Urien, after performing these services in Wales, appears to have proceeded to North Britain, where he regained his father's dominions; and with the assistance of his sons, supported a long and well contested struggle with Ida, the king of the Angles. His exertions against the invaders in this quarter, which entitle him to be considered one of the most illustrious Britons of his age, would have succeeded in their expulsion, had he not been embarassed with the dissensions of his countrymen; and he was at last treacherously slain while besieging Deoric, the son of Ida, in the island of Lindisfarne.† It has been said that he was a saint of the congregation of Cattwg, but the assertion is inconsistent with his character as a warrior, which he maintained to the close of his life. He was the patron of the bards, Llywarch Hên, and Taliesin; and his heroic deeds have been celebrated in some of the best effusions of the Welsh muse.
"North Britain" is here used indefinitely for any part of the country reaching from the Humber to the Clyde, as the writer is unable to determine the location of its princes. This tract was occupied by the Cymry, or Britons of the same race as those who now inhabit the Principality of Wales, and whose name may be traced in the modern appellation of
* That it was not originally under his jurisdiction is strongly implied in an abrupt passage in his Life by Ricemarchus, which says that Boducat and Maitrun, two saints of the province of Kidwelly, submitted themselves to him. “Duo quoque Sancti, Boducat et Maitrun, in provinciâ Cetgueli, dederunt sibi manus."
+ Nennius, and Poems of Taliesin and Llywarch Hên.
Urien Rheged is the Sir Urience of the romances of Arthur, and Caradog Fraichfras is Sir Carados bris bras.
the county of Cumberland. Their history, though involved in obscurity, is capable of investigation; and it is to be hoped that the Welsh traditions, which throw light upon the subject, will not long be left unexamined. Meanwhile the following extracts from the pagest of a living historian, having reference to this people at a later period, may be read with interest.— "The Britons of Cumbria occupy a tolerably large space on the map, but a very small one in history; their annals have entirely perished; and nothing authentic remains concerning them except a very few passages, wholly consisting of incidental notices relating to their subjection and their misfortunes. From the Ribble in Lancashire, or thereabouts, up to the Clyde, there existed a dense population, composed of Britons, who preserved their national language and customs, agreeing in all respects with the Welsh of the present day. So that even in the tenth century, the ancient Britons still inhabited the greater part of the western coast of the island, however much they had been compelled to yield to the politiof the Saxon invaders. cal supremacy * * *The Regnum Cumbrense' comprehended many districts, probably governed by petty princes or Reguli, in subordination to a chief Monarch or Pendragon. Reged appears to have been some where in the vicinity of Annandale. Strath-Clyde is, of course, the district or vale of Clydes-dale. In this district, or state, was situated Alcluyd, or Dunbritton, now Dumbarton, where the
* The portion of Britain to the south of the Humber and east of the Severn, was inhabited by another race of Britons called "Lloegrwys." The name by which the Welsh have invariably called themselves in their own language is "Cymry."
+ Sir Francis Palgrave's History of the Anglo Saxons; a work which displays great research, and is illustrated with maps of the territories of the Britons and Anglo-Saxons at different eras.
The word strath is still universally used over all Scotland, highland and lowland, for valley. (Palgrave.) The corresponding word in Wales is ystrad.
British kings usually resided; and the whole Cumbrian kingdom was not unfrequently called 'Strath-Clyde,' from the ruling or principal state.-Many dependencies of the Cumbrian kingdom extended into modern Yorkshire, and Leeds was the frontier town between the Britons and the Angles; but the former were always giving way, and their territory was broken and intersected by English settlements. Carlisle had been conquered by the Angles at a very early period; and Egfrith of Northumbria bestowed that city upon the see of Lindisfarne. *** The Britons of Strath-Clyde, and Reged, and Cumbria, gradually melted away into the surrounding population; and, losing their language, ceased to be discernible as a separate race. Yet it is most probable that this process was not wholly completed until a comparatively recent period. The 'Wallenses' or Welsh, are enumerated by David the Lion amongst his subjects, (A. D. 1124-1153;) and the laws or usages of the Brets or Britons continued in use until abolished by Edward I. at the period when Scotland, by his command appeared, by her representatives, in the English parliament at Westminster; (A. D. 1304.) In the bishoprick of Glasgow, comprehending the greatest portion of the ancient Cumbrian kingdom, the barbarous' British speech generally gave way to that dialect of the Saxon English, which is usually called lowland Scottish, about the thirteenth century; but in some secluded districts the language is thought to have lingered until the Reformation, when it was possibly destroyed by the ministration of the Protestant clergy. In our English Cumberland and the adjoining Westmoreland, a few British traditions yet survive among the people. Pendragon Castle reminds the traveller of the fabled Uther. Some of the mountains which adorn the landscape retain the appellations given them by the original population; and 'Skiddaw' and 'Helvellyn' now rise, as the sepulchral monuments of a race which has passed away."
One of the chiefs of North Britain, contemporary with Urien Rheged, was Dunawd or Dunod Fyr,* the son of Pabo, of the line of Coel Godebog. He appears to have gained some distinction as a warrior, and in the Triads he is called one of the three pillars of his country in battle. It is uncertain whether he accompanied his father, whose retreat to Wales has been already described; but in this generation he is found engaged in the north, where he disgraced his arms by fighting against the sons of Urien.† A reverse of fortune, however, obliged him to leave his territories, and to place himself under the protection of Cyngen ab Cadell, the prince of Powys, who had afforded his father an asylum. He afterwards embraced a life of religion; and under the patronage of Cyngen, he became the founder, in conjunction with his sons, Deiniol, Cynwyl, and Gwarthan, of the celebrated college or monastery of Bangor Iscoed on the banks of the Dee in Flintshire. This institution, over which he presided as abbot, was one of the most eminent in the island; and, according to Bede, such was the number of its monks, that when they were divided into seven classes under their respective superintendents, none of these classes contained less than three hundred persons, all of whom supported themselves by their own labour.§ It furnished a large proportion of the learned men, who attended the Welsh bishops in their conference with St. Augustin, at
*Sometimes called "Dunawd Fawr" and "Dunawd Wr;" but it is uncertain which of the three epithets is the right one. The Latin name is "Dinothus ;" and in Bede, "Dinoot Abbas."
† Poems of Llywarch Hên.
Achau y Saint, Silurian copies. The monastery has often been styled, Bangor in Maelor, from its situation in a district of that name; and Bangor Dunod from its founder.
§"Tantus fertur fuisse numerus Monachorum, ut cum in septem portiones esset cum præpositis sibi Rectoribus Monasterium divisum, nulla harum portio minus quam trecentos homines haberet, qui omnes de labore manuum suarum vivere solebant."-Hist. Eccl. Lib. II. Cap. 2.
which time Dunawd was still its abbot, though he must have been far advanced in years, for the earliest date assigned to that event is A. D. 599. The destruction of the monastery by Ethelfrith, king of Northumbria, soon followed, and it was never afterwards restored. Dunawd is the patron saint of the present church of Bangor in Flintshire,* and his festival was held on the seventh of September. His wife, Dwywe, the daughter of Gwallog ab Llenog, has been classed with the saints, but there are no churches which bear her name.
Cyngen, the son of Cadell, in whose territories the monastery of Bangor Iscoed was situated, is said to have endowed it with lands, for which he has had the reputation of sanctity, and there was once a church, dedicated to him, at Shrewsbury. One of his sons, Mawan ab Cyngen, whose life belongs to this generation, has also been deemed a saint, but nothing further is known respecting him.
Sawyl Benuchel, the brother of Dunawd, is described as an overbearing prince; and on account of his oppression, his party joined alliance with the Saxons, with whom they became one people. He afterwards devoted himself to the service of religion. which appears to have been the common practice of the British chieftains upon the loss of their dominions, and the growing superstition of the age was favourable to such a custom. He closed his life in the monastery of Bangor Iscoed, and is the patron saint of Llansawel, a chapel under Cynwyl Gaio, Carmarthenshire.
Carwyd, another brother of Dunawd, was also a saint, and an inmate of Bangor Iscoed, where he likewise ended his days.
Arddun Benasgell, the sister of Dunawd, was married to Brochwel Ysgythrog, a son of Cyngen ab Cadell. The Cam
* Chapels to Bangor,-Worthenbury (St. Deiniol ab Dunawd,) and Overton or Orton Madoc (St. Mary.)
+ Triad 74, Third Series.