Slike strani

Ffagan, Medwy, and Elfan, were sent him by Eleutherius, Bishop of that See. This is all the account the Welsh authorities give respecting a person about whom so much has been written under the name of Lucius, or Lles ab Coel. Not content with these statements, Walter de Mapes, and Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose authority, as observed, is not Welsh but Armorican, must make him the king of all Britain; and gravely relate, that by a decree of his sovereign power he converted all the heathen temples in the kingdom into churches, that he transformed the Sees of twenty eight Flamens and three Archiflamens into so many Bishopricks and Archbishopricks, and in fact established a national religion more complete in its provisions than that which is the pride of England at this day. But this was not sufficient to satisfy come Catholic writers; they must needs add, that after he had Christianized the whole of his dominions, he laid aside his crown; and, in company with his sister, St. Emerita, he toiled his weary way, as a missionary, through Bavaria, Rhætia, and Vindelicia, until at last he suffered martyrdom near Curia in Germany.*

After this extravagance of fiction, it can be no wonder that some modern writers have denied altogether the existence of Lucius; and it must be admitted that his history, though upon the whole better attested than that of Bran, is, with its most confined limitations, involved in uncertainty. The Welsh accounts authorize no further supposition than that he was the chieftain of that part of Siluria, which was afterwards known by the joint names of Gwent and Morganwg. But even these accounts must be received with caution. The second Triad, just quoted, as it would appear from the remainder of its contents, is of no higher date than the seventh century; and some of its statements are so manifestly inaccurate that it must be rejected entirely. The statement of the

* Cressy's Church History of Brittany.

+ It speaks of the Archbishopricks of Canterbury and York: the latter, as a Saxon church, was not founded till A. D. 625.

first Triad is not incredible, only that the privileges, which could have been granted by a chieftain retaining his patrimony under the Roman jurisdiction, must have been limited. As for the mission to Rome, the Welsh authorities make no mention of an alleged epistle of Eleutherius, still extant; and it may be observed that the four names Dyfan, Ffagan, Medwy, and Elfan are not Roman, but British. Some accounts* state that Medwy and Elfan were Britons, and that being sent to Rome with the message, they brought Dyfant and Ffagan with them on their return. Amid these doubts and contradictions, the reader must exercise his own judgment, and perhaps he will reject the idea of a mission to Rome as a monkish fabrication. There are, however, local indications in the neighbourhood of Llandaff which support the belief of the existence of these persons. Four churches have been called after the names of Lleurwg, Dyfan, Ffagan, and Medwy; and their locality not only determines the situation of the patrimony of Lucius, but, in some respects, the confined sphere to which the labours of these Christian teachers were limited; for in no other part of Wales has a tradition of their presence remained, a fact inconsistent with the notion that they evangelized the whole of Britain.

Lleurwg was also called “Lleufer Mawr," or the Great Luminary, which probably was an epithet bestowed upon him at at a later age in consideration of his having promoted the cause of Christianity. The Latin name corresponding to this epithet was Lucius from Lux. Lles, on the other hand, first occurs in the fabulous chronicles, and is perhaps due to those later authors who formed a Welsh imitation of Lucius. Geoffrey of Monmouth also gives him a different pedigree to that

* The Latin Book of Llandaff, and the Life of St. Dubricius in John of Teignmouth and Capgrave. (See Usher de Primordiis, pp. 49, 50.)

+ If any dependence could be placed upon the genealogies of this period, it would appear that Dyfan was a Briton by descent; his pedigree is given under his name in the "Cambrian Biography."

in Achau y Saint and the Triads; for he makes his grandfather to be Meirig, King of Britain, instead of Cyllin, the Saint; and thus carries his genealogy to Brute and the Trojans. As for the time in which he lived, Archbishop Usher* has cited above fifty Latin authorities with a view to ascertain the year of his conversion, a few only of whom agree together; and even the name of the Bishop of Rome with whom he is said to have corresponded is differently mentioned, some saying it was Euaristus, while a more numerous party maintain it was Eleutherius. But most of them agree in saying that Lucius flourished in the latter part of the second century, which is rather later than the order of generations in the Welsh account from the known date of Caractacus. If the Welsh computation be correct, he must have flourished about the middle of the second century, in the reign of either of the two Antonines, whose edicts in favour of the Christians would give him the opportunity of promoting the new religion. That a native chieftain was allowed to exercise some degree of power, is probable from the known policy of the Romans in Britain and elsewhere. And Tacitust indeed relates that such was their conduct in this country in the time of Ostorius, the captor of Caractacus.

Under these circumstances it is certainly possible, if it be not probable, that, according to the first of the two Triads last quoted, some place might have been set apart for the purposes of religious worship by Lucius at Llandaff. But the declaration of the second Triad, that he gave lands to the faithful, cannot be admitted. According to the general testi

* De Brit. Eccl. Primordiis, Cap. III.

+ His words are-" Consularium primus Aulus Plautius præpositus, ac subinde Ostorius Scapula, uterque bello egregius: redactaque paulatim in formam provinciæ proxima pars Britanniæ, addita insuper veteranorum colonia; quædam civitates Cogiduno regi donatæ, vetere ac jam pridem recepta populi Romani consuetudine, ut haberet instrumenta servitutis et reges." Life of Agricola, Cap. XIV.

mony of ecclesiastical historians, endowments for the maintenance of religion did not commence until several generations afterwards; and from another Triad* in the same collection is seen that they did not commence in Britain until about the end of the fourth century. If any reliance can be placed upon Welsh traditions which relate to so early a period, it will be sufficient to acquiesce in the testimony of the first Triad, which implies no more than that he built a church, said to have been the first erected in Britain. That Llandaff was one of the oldest churches in this country is not improbable, as the circumstance would afterwards be a reason for the selection of the place to be the seat of a Bishoprick; but, whether true or false, in the simple statement of the Triad may be recognised the germ of that story which afterwards grew to be the wonder of Christendom.†

As for the other four churches which have passed under the names of Lleurwg, Dyfan, Ffagan, and Medwy, there is nothing in the present state of their endowments from which they may be judged to belong to the most ancient class. It might be said that in this age places of worship were supported by the voluntary contributions of the people; and though there is every reason to believe that such was the fact, still had these churches existed at so early a period, the veneration attached to their antiquity would, in some way or other, have distinguished them from their neighbours; but there are not any traces of pre-eminence to be observed. That they were built long after the time of the persons whose names

* Triad 18, Third Series. Archaiology of Wales, Vol. II.

+ In the Catholic Church, the anniversary of the Baptism of Lucius was celebrated May 26, and that of his martyrdom Dec. 3. The festival of Dyfan was held April 8, and of Ffagan August 8; they were also commemorated together May 24. The Saint's day of Elfan was held Sept. 26; that of Medwy is unknown, except it he identified with the festival of Medwyr, which according to some Calendars occurred Jan. 1. (Cressy.— Sir Harris Nicolas's Chronology of History.)

[ocr errors]

they bear is evident in the instance of Merthyr Dyfan, the designation of which implies that it was a martyrium, and the erection of places of worship of this description did not commence before the fourth century. Ecton, or rather Browne Willis, asserts that the patron Saint of Merthyr Dyfan was Teilo; it is not known upon what authority he gives the name, but if he were correct, it might be said that the church was founded in memoriam martyris Duviani by Teilo in the sixth century. The most safe conclusion is that these four churches were built at a later age to the memory of the persons whose names they bear, and in situations which tradition reported to have been the scene of their labours.

The monkish historians mention that Elfan was the second Bishop of London; and, according to the authors of the Latin account of the origin of the church of Llandaff, it would appear that he was ordained a Bishop at the time of his visit to Rome, while his companion Medwy, was created a Doctor. Upon these points the Welsh authorities are silent; and all that is related of Elfan is that he presided over a congregation of Christians at Glastonbury; but this allusion to the church founded by Joseph of Arimathea savours of a monkish origin. The monks are also prolix in their detail of the acts of Dyfan and Ffagan in various parts of Britain; but setting the legends aside, it will be sufficient to add, to the little information to be gleaned from the Welsh historical remains, the supposition that the former suffered martyrdom at the place now called "Merthyr Dyfan ;" and as for Ffagan and the rest, the conjecture may be hazarded that they lived and died in Glamorganshire, as in this county alone they seem to retain traces of

"A local habitation and a name."

« PrejšnjaNaprej »