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Edwen, a female saint of Saxon descent, who has been allowed a place among the saints of Wales. She is said to have been a daughter or niece of Edwin, king of Northumbria; and the statement derives probability from the circumstance admitted by the English historians, that Edwin was brought up in the court of Cadfan, king of North Wales, at Caerseiont or Carnarvon.* Llanedwen in Anglesey is dedicated to her, and her festival has been kept on the sixth of November.
* Bonedd y Saint. Myv. Archaiology.
The Welsh Saints from the Death of Cadwaladr A. D. 664 to the End of the Seventh Century, including those of uncertain date.
LITTLE is known of the history of this time, and it forms almost a blank in Welsh tradition. The nominal sovereigns of Wales were successively a son of Cadwaladr, named Idwal Iwrch, and Hywel ab Cadwal,* the latter of whom was succeeded by Rhodri Molwynog in 720.
The saints who may be assigned to this generation are:
Egryn, the son of Gwrydr Drwm ab Gwedrog of the line of Cadell Deyrnllug. He was the founder of Llanegryn, Merionethshire.
Cwyfen, the son of Brwyno Hên ab Dyfnog; a descendant of Caradog Fraichfras, and the founder of Llangwyfen, Denbighshire. Tudweiliog, Carnarvonshire, and Llangwyfen a chapel under Trefdraeth, Anglesey, are dedicated to him. His mother was Camell of Bodangharad in Coleion, Denbighshire. Festival, June 3.
"Baruck," a saint who is not mentioned in the Welsh accounts, but according to Cressy he was-"a Hermite, whose memory is celebrated in the Province of the Silures and region of Glamorgan. He lyes buried in the Isle of Barry, which took its name from him.”—“In our Martyrologe,” adds that author, "This Holy Hermit Baruck is said to have sprung from the Noble Blood of the Brittains, and entring into a solitary strict course of life, he at this time (A. D. 700) attained to a life immortall." Festival, Nov. 29.
* Kyvoesi Myrdin. Myv. Archaiology, Vol. I. P. 140.
Degeman, in Latin Decumanus, a holy person, of whom Cressy says that he was "born of Noble parents in the SouthWestern parts of Wales, and forsaking his countrey the more freely to give himself to Mortification and devotion, he passed the river Severn upon a hurdle of rodds, and retired himself into a mountainous vast solitude covered with shrubbs and briars, where he spent his life in the repose of Contemplation, till in the end he was slain by a murderer.”—According to Camden, he was murdered at a place called St. Decombe's in Somersetshire, where a church was afterwards raised to his memory. He is the patron saint of Rosecrowther in the county of Pembroke; and of Llandegeman, an extinct chapel in the parish of Llanfihangel Cwm Dû, Brecknockshire. He died A. D. 706, and has been commemorated on the twenty seventh of August.
The Primitive Church of Wales continued to maintain its existence, but the above are its last saints of whom any account has been preserved. In the latter part of the next century the Welsh were forced to adopt the Catholic computation of Easter, and thereby to join in communion with the church of Rome. Since that time, only five Welshmen have obtained the honours of sanctity, including Elfod or Elbodius, the prelate through whose exertions the change alluded to was effected. The other four were:-Sadyrnin, bishop of St. David's, who died A, D. 832; his name is borne by the church of Llansadyrnin in Carmarthenshire :-Cyfelach, bishop of Llandaff from about the year 880 to 927; he probably gave his name to the church of Llangyfelach, Glamorganshire, the original founder of which was St. David:-Caradog, a hermit of Haroldston East, Pembrokeshire, and patron saint of Lawrenny in that county; he was canonized by the Pope at the solicitation of Giraldus Cambrensis: +-Gwryd, a friar, who
*See page 66 of this Essay.
+ Wharton's Anglia Sacra, Vol. II.
lived about the end of the twelfth century and has been commemorated on the first of November.* There are, however, several saints whose genealogy is lost or imperfect, and therefore their era cannot be determined; but it may be presumed that they belonged to the Primitive rather than the Catholic Church, as the names of only two Welshmen, who can be proved to have lived after the conversion of their country to Catholicism, have been given to religious edifices on the score of saintship; Lawrenny does not appear to have borne the name of St. Caradog, though dedicated to him, and no churches have been called after Elbodius and Gwryd. The following is an alphabetical list of the saints of uncertain date, with their churches and festivals.t
Aelrhiw; Rhiw, Carnarvonshire; Sept. 9.
Amo or Anno; Llananno, Radnorshire; and Newborough, anciently Llananno, Anglesey.‡
Bach ab Carwed, a chieftain; reported to have been the founder Eglwys Fach,§ Denbighshire.
Caron, a bishop; Tregaron, Cardiganshire, March 5.
Cedol; Pentir chapel, alias Llangedol, subject to Bangor, Carnarvonshire, Nov. 1.
Celer, a martyr; Llangeler, Carmarthenshire.
* Cambrian Register, Vol. III. p. 221; where it is said that he relieved Einion ab Gwalchmai of some oppression, probably mental, which had afflicted him for seven years. Einion ab Gwalchmai was a bard who flourished between A. D. 1170 and 1220.
+ Some of the names in the Myvyrian Archaiology, which are not supported by a reference to MSS. but seem to be conjectured from the names of churches, are omitted in this list. Some of the names in the Cambrian Biography are also omitted, which appear to be various readings of MSS. through the carelessness of transcribers.
Myv. Archaiology, Vol. II. p. 28.
§ The compiler of Bonedd y Saint in the Myvyrian Archaiology adds"if the story be true" (os gwir y chwedl;) the obvious signifiation of Eglwys Fach is "the small church."
Ciwa; Llangiwa, Monmouthshire.
Cofen; Llangofen, Monmouthshire; and St. Goven's chapel, Pembrokeshire.
Curig Lwyd, a bishop, probably of Llanbadarn Fawr ; he was the founder of Llangurig, Montgomeryshire, and his crosier was preserved in the neighbouring church of St. Harmon's in the time of Giraldus Cambrensis. There was another Curig or Cyrique, a saint of Tarsus in Cilicia, who was martyred while an infant at the same time with his mother, Juliet or Julitta. Llanilid a Churig,* Glamorganshire, and "Capel Curig a'i fam Iulita,"+ Carnarvonshire, are dedicated to Juliet and Cyrique together. Juliet is also the saint of Llanulid under Dyfynog, Brecknockshire. It is uncertain to which of the persons named Curig, the churches of Porth Curig, Glamorganshire, and Eglwys Fair a Churig, Carmarthenshire, are dedicated. The festival of Juliet and Cyrique is June 16.
Cwyfyn, the son of Arthalun of the vale of Achlach in Ireland.
Cynfab; Capel Cynfab formerly in the parish of Llanfair ar y Bryn, Carmarthenshire. Nov. 15.
Cynfarwy; the son of Awy ab Llênog, a prince of Cornwall; Llechgynfarwy, Anglesey. Nov. 7.
Dwyfael, the son of Pryderi ab Dolor of Deira and Ber
Enddwyn; Llanenddwyn, Merionethshire.
Eurfyl; Llaneurfyl, Montgomeryshire. July 6.
Gartheli; Capel Gartheli, Cardiganshire.
Gwenllwyfo; Llanwenllwyfo, Anglesey.