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The almost uniform disposition of these churches in clusters is too remarkable to be the effect of accident. From the analogy of other cases, there is reason to suppose that the parishes of each cluster formed originally a single endowment, in support of one, or perhaps two churches, to which the rest served as so many chapels; and the supposition is confirmed from the analogy of Glascwm, and other districts, where the chapels are dedicated to the same Saint as the mother church. But great light may be borrowed from the testimony of Gwynfardd Brycheiniog, a Bard, who is stated to have lived between the years 1160 and 1230. In a poem composed by him in honour of Dewi, or St. David, and inserted in the Welsh Archaiology, Vol. I. page 270, occurs a passage, which is thus translated by Williams in his “ Dissertation upon the Pelagian Heresy."
“Dewi* the great of Menevia, the wise sage ;
* The following is the original, adapted by Williams to the orthography now current in the principality
“Dewi mawr Mynyw, syw Sywedydd,
A Bangor Esgor ; a Bangeibyr Henllan,
Llanarth, Llanadneu, churches of the Patron Saint;
In these verses, the Bard considers St. David to be “ the owner" of twenty churches, fifteen of which are ascribed to him in the foregoing list. But as not one of those enumerated happens to be a chapelry, it is probable the Bard mentions such out of every cluster as were endowed at the time the poem was written, and the rest, being chapels, are omitted. Thus the Cathedral church of St. David's, then called Mynyw or Menevia, is mentioned without Whitchurch and Brawdy; Llanddewi Brefi without its chapels; Maenor Deifi without Bridell; Abergwyli without its chapels; and Henfynyw without Llanddewi Aberarth. In the Brecknock cluster, the churches are more numerous; and there are two in the cluster of Radnorshire. But what is most remarkable is the fact, that with the exception of Brecknock, his native district, the Bard mentions nothing of the churches of those parts which, in that or the preceding generation, had been occupied by the En
Llanarth, Llan-adneu, llannan llywydd; A Thrallwng Cynfyn ger y dolydd ; Llangadawg, lle breiniawg rannawg ri. A Llanddewi y Crwys, Llogawd newydd ; hydd ;
A Glascwm a'i eglwys ger glas fynydd, Nis arfeidd rhyfel Llanfaes, lle uchel ; Gwydd-elfod aruchel, nawdd ni achwydd; Na'r llan yn Llywel, gan neb lluydd; Craig Furuna deg yma, teg ym mynydd ; Garthbrengi, bryn Dewi, digywilydd ; Ac Ystrad-fynydd, a'i ryddid rydd.”
glish, Normans, and Flemings ;-were they destroyed, or did he omit them from patriotic indignation, because Dewi was not then the owner of them? The multiplied number near Brecon may be due to Bernard Newmarch, who, according to the usual mode, may have subdivided the endowment, and converted the chapels into churches; and even the Bard alludes to certain circumstances of hostility, from which he either hopes, or predicts, that the churches of Llanfaes and Llywel should be spared. Gwynfardd ascribes also to St. David the churches of Llangyfelach, Glamorganshire, Llanarth, Cardiganshire, and Llangadog, Carmarthenshire; but if any dependence can be placed on the names of these churches, the first and last must have had a double dedication. With respect to Llangadog this is highly probable, as there is a place in the parish called Llwyndewi; but there is evidence to the fact in the “Greefes of Rees Vachan of Stratywy," printed in Latin and English at the end of Warrington's History of Wales, in which occurs the following passage:
“In the church of S. Dauid, which they call Lhangadoc, they made stables,
* * * * and took awaie all the goods of the said church, and burning all the houses, wounded the preest of the said church before the high altar, and left him there as dead.”
Cyfelacht was the name of the twenty second Bishop of Llandaff, but whether Llangyfelach is so called from him, or from another person, is doubtful, as he lived about three centuries after the era in which nearly all the Welsh Saints flourished; it is possible, however, that he either rebuilt the church, or enlarged its privileges: but the connexion of St. David with that place is more certain, for it is recorded by Giraldus Cambrensis, and Ricemarchus, * a still older authority, that he was the founder of the “Monastery of Llangyfelach in Gower.” Browne Willis attributes Llanarth to St. Vystygy, which is, perhaps, an error, as the name does not occur elsewhere.t For the “Llanadneu” of Gwynfardd may be read Llanarthneu from Ecton's list, as it harmonizes admirably with the preceding word in the original, according to the laws of the metre; and there is no place in the Principality which bears the name of Llanadneu. By Henllan in Gwynfardd may be understood Henllan Amgoed, and not the chapel of that name subject to Bangor. Llanddewi y Crwys is Llanycrwys in Carmarthenshire, which, in the Charter of the Abbey of Talley, is called “Landewicrus." The rock of Vuruna, or Craig Furuna, is Cregruna in Radnorshire; and the order of succession would lead to the supposition, that by Ystrad Fynydd is meant the cluster in the neighbourhood of Builth. The cluster of Llanuchllwydog, being in the territory of the Lords of Cemmaes, is omitted. The clusters of Hereford and Abergavennyi were at that time subject to the Lacies, Lords of Ewyas, and the cluster of Trostreyf was probably in a similar situation.
* Rees Vachan, or rather Rhys Fychan, was a chieftain of the Vale of Towy, who, in the reign of Edward the First, presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury a statement of grievances, or acts of oppression committed in his territories by the English.
+ See Godwin, De Præsulibus Angliæ, who calls him “Cimeliauc," and states that he died A. D. 927. A chronicle in the Welsh Archaiology (Vol. II. page 473,) states that he was killed in battle at Hereford A, D. 754; but this assertion is probably a mistake, as it is unsupported by the testimony of three other chronicles in the same collection.
* Ricemarchus, or Rhyddmarch, was Bishop of St. David's from A. D. 1088 to 1098. A Life of St. David by Giraldus, and fragments of another by Ricemarchus, are printed in the second volume of Wharton's Anglia Sacra.
+ It has been remarked that modern fairs have, in many instances, succeeded to wakes or festivals; and, in support of the testimony of Gwynfardd, it may be stated that a fair is held at Llanarth on the twelfth of March, or St. David's Day, Old Style.
#Qu. Was not the circumstance of their being included in the Diocese of Llandaff, the reason of their omission ?
The list compiled from Ecton is very imperfect, and use has been made of it in order to shew that the inferences of this Essay are drawn from premises generally acknowledged. The list, as proposed to be amended, is as follows.
The Cathedral of St. David's.
Whitchurch, V. (St. David.) Brawdy, V. (St. David.) Capel Gwrhyd ;* Capel Non (St. Non.) Capel Padrig (St. Patrick.) Capel y Pistyll, Capel Stinan (St. Justin
ian.) Llanuchlwydog, R.
Llanychaer, R. (St. David.) Llanllawen chapel. Maenor Deifi, R.
Bridell, R. (St. David. Cilfywyr chapel. Llanddewi Brefi, C.
Llanycrwys, C. (St David.) Blaenpennal chapel (St. David.) Capel Bettws Lleicu (St. Lucia.) Capel Gartheli
(St. Garthieli.) Capel Gwenfyl (St. Gwenfyl.) Bangor Esgor, R.
Henllan chapel (St. David.) Henfynyw, C.
Llanddewi Aberarth, P. (St. David.) Llanarth, V.
Llanina chapel (St. Ina.) Capel Crist (Holy Cross.)
Eglwys Fair a Churig (St. Mary & St. Curig, or Cyrique.)
parish of Llanddewi. Meidrym, v.
Llanfihangel Abercywyn, C. (St. Michael.) Llanarthneu, P. & V.
Llanlleian chapel ; Capel Dewi (St. David.)
Llanpumsant (Sts. Celynin, Ceitho, Gwyn, Gwynno, and
Llanddeusant, (St. Simon & St. Jude.) Capel Gwynfai;
Capel Tydyst. Llangyfelach, V.
* The chapels printed in Italics are decayed or extinct.