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parish of Llandyfaelog, Carmarthenshire, near to which is a hill called Mynydd Cyfor; and the other is perhaps the saint of Lloughor, or, as it is vernacularly called, Casllwchwr, Glamorganshire, the church of which place is generally understood to be dedicated to St. Michael. Upon this authority they may both be regarded as belonging to the family of the Brecknockshire chieftain ; and Llewelyn Offeiriad, who calls the former “Rhyneidon of Cydweli,” says she was his daughter,
To such a length has the practice been carried of ranking all the members of this tribe as the immediate offspring of its founder, that in a short list of Saints, published in the Cambrian Register,* two sons, Gwynau and Gwynws, and two daughters, Callwen and Gwenfyl, are added to the number. It is quite enough to suppose they were descendants without enquiring into the degree of their descent. The festival of the first pair is Dec. 13, and that of the second Nov. 1. Gwynws is the saint of Llanwnws, Cardiganshire, and may be deemed its founder; a chapel, now extinct, subject to Llanddewi Brefi in the same county, bore the name of Gwenfyl; and another in the parish of Defynog, Brecknockshire, is dedicated to Callwen.
Cressy, the Catholic writer, treats his readers with a wondrous tale of “St. Keyna the daughter of Braganus," evidently the same person as Ceneu, which appears in some of the lists, but her identity with Ceinwen already mentioned is doubtful. He relates that “when she came to ripe years, many
nobles sought her in marriage, but she utterly refused that state ; having consecrated her virginity to our Lord by a perpetual vow; for which cause she was afterwards by the Britons called Keyn wiri,t that is Keyna the virgin: at length she determined to forsake her country and find out some desert place, where she might attend to contemplation. Therefore
directing her journey beyond Severn, and there meeting a woody place, she made her request to the prince of that country, that she might be permitted to serve God in that solitude. His answer was, that he was very willing to grant her request, but that the place did so swarm with serpents that neither man nor beast could inhabit it: but she constantly replied, that her firm trust was in the name and assistance of Almighty God to drive all that poisonous brood out of that region. Hereupon the place was granted to the holy virgin, who presently prostrating herself to God obtained of him to change the serpents and vipers into stones; and to this day, the stones in that region do resemble the windings of serpents through all the fields and villages, as if they had been framed so by the hand of the engraver.”—From the appearance of the fossils, called by geologists, " Ammonites," Camden identifies the place with Keynsham in Somersetshire, and describes a specimen from that neighbourhood which he had seen.—It is related afterwards that “her nephew St. Cadoc, performing a pilgrimage to the Mount of St. Michael, met there with his blessed Aunt St. Keyna, at whose sight he being replenished with joy, and being desirous to bring her back to her own country, the inhabitants of that region would not permit him; but afterwards, by the admonition of an angel, the holy maid returned to the place of her nativity ; where, on the top of a hillock, seated at the foot of a high mountain, she made a little habitation for herself, and by her prayers to God obtained a spring there to flow out of the earth, which by the merits of the holy virgin affordeth health to divers infirmities. She is said to have departed this life on the eighth day of the Ides of October, A. D. 490, and to have been buried in her own oratory by her nephew St. Cadoc.”—The latter part of the story has reference to certain places on the borders of the Principality. The Mount of St. Michael is the name of a hill near Abergavenny, which still maintains its sacred character. In the same neighbourhood is the parish of Llangeneu, in which, according to Mr. Theophilus Jones, is to be found the well of the saint, and the situation of her oratory may yet be traced. The St. Cadoc here mentioned was Cattwg, the son of Gwynllyw Filwr and founder of Llangattock Crickhowel, of which Llangeneu is one of the subordinate chapelries. From the omission of Ceneu in several of the lists, it may be inferred that she was a grand-daughter, and in that case Cattwg would be her sister's son ; but if she were a daughter of Brychan, and Cattwg were her great nephew, it would by no means violate the unity of the story ; and it is obvious that Cadog, the son of Brychan, was not the person intended, as he must have been either the brother or uncle of Ceneu, and not her nephew, The oratory alluded to was situated on a hill at some distance from the present church of Llangeneu ; and if it were founded by the saint herself, as the legend would imply, its subordinate condition, for its modern representative is only a chapelry, would seem to violate the principle laid down in the first section of this Essay, namely, that upon the institution of tithes, and consequent division of the country into parishes, every primitive religious edifice received a separate endowment. It is clear, however, that the legend is a fabrication, for it does not appear why an oratory, of such high antiquity and honoured with so many sacred recollections, should afterwards be neglected, and its very name transferred to a church in another situation; but the following passage from the tale, in the words of Cressy, will explain that it was of late erection, and built by some foreign devotees who pretended to discover the burying-place of the saint.--"Some time before her death she had a prospect of her eternal happiness in a future world in a vision, being ministered to and comforted by angels, when she thus prophesied to her nephew St. Cadoc ;—this is the place of all others beloved by me, here my memory shall be perpetuated, this place will I often visit in spirit if it may be permitted me, and I am assured it shall be permitted me, because the Lord hath granted me this place as a certain inheritance. The time will come when this place shall be inhabited by a sinful people, which, notwithstanding, I will violently root out of this seat. My tomb shall lie a long time unknown, until the coming of other people, whom by my prayers I shall bring hither; them will I protect and defend, and in this place shall the name of the Lord be blessed for ever.”
According to Jones's Brecknockshire, Ellyw or Elyw, whose name is not mentioned in any of the lists, was a grand-daughter of Brychan. With her may have originated the establishment of Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, subject to which are Llangennech and the extinct chapels of Dewi, (St. David,) Ifan, (St. John,) and Berwick or Dyddgen chapel. The church of Llanelieu, Brecknockshire, is called after her; and she is also the patron of Llanelly, subject to Llangattock Crickhowel in the same county, where her wake is held on the Sunday next before the first of August 0. S. and renders it probable that her name is only an abbreviation of Elined, already noticed, upon whose festival the wake depends.*
The legendst relate that the spiritual instructor of Brychan was Drichan or Brynach, who is called in the Triads Brynach Wyddel or the Irishman, and is said to have married Corth or Cymorth, one of the daughters of Brychan, by whom he had four children already mentioned. He is considered to be the founder of Llanfrynach, Brecknockshire, Llanfrynach alias Penllîn, Glamorganshire, Llanboidy, Carmarthenshire, and Llanfernach, Dinas, and Nefern, Pembrokeshire. It may also be inferred, from the analogy of similar cases, that Henry's Moat, and Pontfaen, in the neighbourhood of the three latter, which Ecton ascribes to St. Bernard, should be
* History of Brecknockshire, Vol. II. p. 473.
+ The Cognacio, and an English legend cited in the History of Brecknockshire, Vol. I.
Eglwys Fair Lan Tâf. (St. Mary,) chapel to Llanboidy; and Cil. gwyn, (St. Mary,) chapel to Nefern.
attributed to Brynach, whose parishes would thus form a continuous endowment which was afterwards disturbedby the Norman Lords of Cemmaes. The parish of Clydai, and the localities of Cymorth and Cenedlon, are inimediately adjoining, if not partly included in, the district. Cressy states that “St. Bernach” was an abbot, and that he is commemorated in the Church on the seventh of the Ides of April.
According to the Cognacio, the spiritual instructor of Cynog, the eldest son of Brychan, was a holy man named Gastayn, to whom the same document attributes the church of Llangasty Tal y Llyn, Brecknockshire. This name may conclude the connexions of a family of saints, which for its celebrity has been styled the third holy family of Britain.
It is stated in the Triads that Brychan educated his children and grandchildren to qualify them "to show the faith in Christ to the nation of the Cymry where they were without faith ;"** and upon this statement an argument has been grounded to show that there were parts of Wale ch had not yet embraced Christianity. Evident proofs remain that the Britons had not entirely emerged from heathenism, and Druidical superstitions were rooted in the minds of the people until late in the following century, which the foundation of churches about this time must have tended mainly to eradicate; still the allegation, that the Welsh race should have been converted by missionaries from a family whose origin was Irish, is so singular as to demand some inquiry into the correctness of the original assertion. The question may be determined by considering the districts in which the churches and chapels dedicated to the family of Brychan, including those of Brynach and Gastayn, are distributed. They are about fifty five in number, out of which twenty two are in Brecknockshire, or
*“Brychan Brycheiniog, a ddug ei blant a'i wyrion ar ddysg a bonedd, fal y gallent ddangos y Ffydd yng Nghrist i Genedl y Cymry, lle ydd oeddynt yn ddiffydd.” Triad 18, Third Series.