Slike strani

vid's, Llandaff, Llanbadarn, Bangor, and St. Asaph. To these may be added Gloucester, where according to the Welsh genealogies a British bishop resided about this time. The seventh must be left to conjecture ; but as the Cornish or Western Britons must have had several native prelates in this age, and it has been asserted that there was a British bishop in Somerset so late as the reign of king Ina,* the distance of their country from the place of meeting is not too great to suppose that some one of them was present. The most probable date of the two Councils, for both are believed to have been held in the same year, is 603. Augustin died in 605; and the battle of Chester, or as the Welsh have named it “the battle of the Orchard of Bangor,” appears to have been fought in 607. Several modern commentators have charged Augustin with instigating the inhuman slaughter of the monks which ensued upon the last occasion, and to minds impressed with this idea it would seem as if the assertion of Bede, that he was dead long before,+ arose from a solicitude to clear the archbishop from a suspicion which that author knew was attached to him. But the text warrants no such uncharitable inferences. The solicitude of Bede, who does not regard the slaughter of the monks as a crime, but rather applauds it as the just judgment of heaven, was merely to establish the credit of Augustin as a prophet, by proving that he was not a party to the fulfilment of his own predictions. The threat of the archbishop was only the ebullition of disappointment; the invasion of Wales

* A. D. 688 to 725.-The authority for this statement is a Chronicle of Glastonbury quoted by Usher, who says it was written in 1259.—Brit. Eccl. Primordia, Cap. V.

+ “Ipso jam multo ante tempore ad celestia regna sublato."'-As there is nothing answerable to these words in King Alfred's Anglo-Saxon translation it has been conjectured by some that they are an interpolation; but Dr. Smith, the editor of Bede, observes they are to be found in all the Latin MSS. extant, and that the work of Alfred, being a paraphrase, has other similar oinissions.

by Ethelfrith was one of the casual operations of war; and the massacre of the monks was owing to the accident of their appearance on a neighbouring hill; for had the invasion been made for the purpose of exterminating them, would Ethelfrith have inquired ignorantly who they were, and what were they doing ? He then puts them to the sword, because they were praying to their God for his defeat. Ethelfrith was a pagan, and therefore could feel no interest in a religious controversy between Christians; he was a Northumbrian, and came from a province of the Anglo-Saxons the most remote from the influence of Augustin ; in short, he was the chief of the only province in the nation which refused to acknowledge the sovereignty of Ethelbert,* the patron of the archbishop:

The destruction of the monastery of Bangor Iscoed followed the massacre of its members, and the calamity must have caused a great diminution in the number of the Welsh Saints; but the national Church soon afterwards underwent a more general depression owing to the conquests of Edwin, who for a short time reduced the whole of the Britons under his sway;t and Wales, which had so often afforded an asylum to the religious of other parts, was in turn exposed to the ravages of the Saxons. From these the re-appearance of Cadwallon procured a short respite, but the interval was spent in retaliation, and little attention appears to have been paid to the duties of religion and peace. The few holy persons of this generation, whose names have reached posterity, must now be noticed.

Grwst, the son of Gwaith Hengaer ab Elffin ab Urien Rheged, and Euronwy the daughter of Clydno Eiddin ; he is the

* This fact, which Bede (Lib. II. Cap. V.) discloses without reference to the disputed question, overthrows the assertions of Walter and Geoffrey that Ethelbert was the person who influenced Ethelfrith to invade and murder the British ecclesiastics.

+ Bede, Lib. II. Cap. V. & IX.

reputed founder of Llanrwst, Denbighshire, and his festival has been held on the first of December.

Nidan, the son of Gwrfyw ab Pasgen ab Urien, was an officer in the college of Penmon, Anglesey; and the church of Llannidan in the same county was named after him. * Festival, Sept. 30.

Cadell, the son of Urien Foeddog ab Rhun Rhion ab Llywarch Hên; a saint to whom Llangadell, a church formerly in Glamorganshire, was dedicated.

Dyfnog, the son of Medrod ab Cawrdaf ab Caradog, was probably the second saint of Dyfynog, Brecknockshire, which was originally founded by Cynog ab Brychan. Festival, Feb. 13.

Cynhafal, the son of Elgud ab Cadfarch ab Caradog Fraichfras and Tubrawst daughter of Tuthlwyniaid ;t he was the founder of Llangynhafal, Denbighshire, and has been commemorated on the fifth of October.

Gwenfrewi, or St. Winefred, owes her celebrity more to the well that is called after her name than to any thing that is said of her in Bonedd y Saint ; for even her parentage is not mentioned in the Welsh accounts, and the time in which she lived is ascertained only from the names of her contemporaries which occur in her legendary Life. The Legend says that

Theuith,” a powerful man, the son of “ Eluith,” gave Beuno a spot of ground for the erection of a church, and appointed him to be the religious instructor of his only daughter, Winefred. Caradog, the son of Alan, a neighbouring chieftain, endeavoured to force the chastity of Winefred, upon which she Aed towards the church of Beuno. In her flight, however, she was overtaken, when—" the young man mad with lust and rage presently strook of her head : and immediatly in the place where it fell to the earth a most pure and plentifull

* Cambrian Biography.

+ Bonedd y Saint. Literatim from Cressy.


Spring gushed forth, which flowes to this day, and by the Holy Virgins merits gives health to a world of diseased per

It being in the steep descent of a hill where the Virgins head was cutt of, it lightly rouling down to the bottom, slidd into the Church: whereas the body remaind in the place where it first fell. The whole congregation there attending to Divine Mysteries were wonderfully astonished to see the Head tumbling among their feet, detesting the crime of the murderer, and imprecating divine vengeance on him. But the parents of the Virgin broke forth into tears and sad complaints. They all went out, and found the murderer near the liveles body, wiping his sword on the grasse.”—Beuno takes the head of the Virgin in his hands and pronounces a curse upon the young man, who immediately gives up the ghost and his

corpse vanishes out of sight.—“But the man of God often kissing the head which he held in his hands could not refrain to weep bitterly. Afterwards ioyning it to the body, and covering it with his mantle, he returned to the Altar, where he celebrated Masse.”—He then preaches a sermon over the body, and intreats the congregation to unite with him in prayer for the restoration of the Virgin.—"This Prayer being ended, to which all the people cryed aloud, Amen : the Virgin presently rose up, as if from sleep, cleansing her face from the dust and sweat, and filled the Congregation with wonder and ioy. Now in the place where the head was reioyned to the body there appeared a white Circle compassing the neck, small as a white thread, which continued so all her life, shewing the place where the Section had been made. And the report in that countrey is that from that white circle she had the name of Winefrid given her, whereas at first she had been called Breuna: For in the British language Win signifies White. And moreover the Tradition is, that after her death whensoever she appeared to any, that White mark was always visible. The place where her blood was first shed was not much distant from a Monastery in North Wales calld Basingwerk: The name of it formerly was, The dry vale, but after her death to this day it is called Saint Winefrids Well. The Stones likewise, both where the spring gushes forth, and beneath in the Current, having been sprinkled with her blood, retain the rednes to these times: which colour neither the length of so many ages, nor the continuall sliding of the water over them, have been able to wash away, and moreover a certain Mosse which sticks to the said stones, renders a fragrant odour, like Incense.”*— The Legend proceeds to relate her interviews with Diheufyr, Sadwrn, and Eleri ; and to say that she became abbess of a convent at “ Witheriacus” (Gwytherin in the county of Denbigh,) where she died and was buried near the graves of the saints Cybi and Sannan. The eldest authority for this nonsensical fable is Robert, Prior of Shrewsbury, who says that the body of “ Wenefreda” was translated from Gwytherin to the church of St. Ægidius at Shrewsbury in the reign of King Stephen.t But it is remarkable that in the survey of Domesday Book, which includes the county of Flint, neither church, chapel, nor well of St. Winefred are mentioned, affording a presumption that the story and celebrity of the saint are of a later date than the Norman Conquest. * Festival, Nov. 3.

Enghenel, grandson of Brochwel Ysgythrog ; a saint to whom Llanenghenel under Llanfachraith, Anglesey, is dedicated.

Usteg, the son of Geraint ab Carannog, of the line of Cadell Deyrnllug, is said to have " officiated as dean of the college of Garmon..”S

* Cressy.

+ Leland, Vol. IV. Appendix. This argument, the want of ancient testimony, did not shake the faith of Cressy, who says--“It ought not to be esteemd a preiudice or ground of suspicion of the Truth of these Gests of Saint Winefride, that Saint Beda and some other of our ancient Saxon Historians have not mentioned her among the other Saints of this age ;''-for no intercourse passed between the Britons and Saxons who were continually at war. § Cambrian Biography.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »