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to would be thought incredible, if it were not for the authentic testimony of Bede, who flourished about a century after the destruction of the monastery of Bangor Iscoed. That author, whose accuracy is universally admitted, says that the number of its monks was two thousand one hundred, who were divided into classes, of three hundred each, under their respective superintendents; and, that his readers might not be ignorant as to the manner in which so vast a society was supported, he adds that they all lived by the labour of their own hands.* Compared with this, the assertion that Dubricius had upwards of a thousand pupils at Henllan,t will will not appear strange; and it is said that Cattwg, who retained a part of his father's territories for the purpose, was wont to maintain a hundred ecclesiastics, as many paupers, and the same number of widows, besides strangers and guests, at his own expense. The traces of extensive ranges of buildings still observable at Bangor Iscoed and Lantwit Major confirm the asseverations of ancient writers; and an old manuscript, extant in the reign of Elizabeth, affirmed that the saints at the latter place had for their habitations seven halls and four hundred houses. $ The abbots of these institutions are sometimes styled bishops, and it is not improbable that they exercised chorepiscopal authority in their respective societies; but it is agreed that they were all of them subject to the bishop of the diocese; and there is an instance on record of St. Dubricius interfering to correct certain abuses and jealousies which had broken out at Lantwit Major.|| Some of these
* Eccl. Hist. Lib. II. Cap. 2.
“ Vir beatæ memoriæ Dubricius visitavit locum Sti. Ilduti tempore quadragesimali, ut quæ emendanda erant corrigeret, et servanda consolidet, ibidem enim conversabantur multi sanctissimi viri, quodam livore decepti.”—Liber Landavensis, as quoted in the Horæ Britannicæ.
establishments were not of long continuance, and appear to have declined upon the death of their first abbot; while others, which were endowed with lands, remained for a longer time, but even these dwindled away, or were re-modelled upon the introduction of monasteries of the regular orders in the middle ages. The primitive British institutions followed no uniform rule, and may in some degree have resembled the monasteries of Gaul before the adoption of the rule of St. Benedict; but in borrowing analogies from the continent, to supply the lack of positive information, allowance must be made for the secluded situation of the Britons, and their more partial advance in civilization. The monasteries of Wales appear to have borne a closer resemblance to those of Ireland,* for which reason the writings of Irish historians may be consulted with advantage by the Welsh antiquary.
The abbots of Llancarfan and Lantwit exercised great influence in the diocese of Llandaff; and the records of that see associate with them a third dignitary, the abbot of Docunnus, but the situation of the monastery of that náme is at present unknown. It is said to have been founded by Cungarus, who is also called Docwinus ;t and in Achau
Saint it is stated that Cyngar founded a congregation at a place in Glamorgan which, in the time of the compiler, was called Llangenys. But wherever this place may be situated, there is some uncertainty in the accounts which have been received respecting the founder of the community, as in the pedigrees there are two persons of the name of Cyngar; and both of them are distinguished from Dochdwy, who might be thought to be the same person as Docwinus.
Tewdrig ab Teithfallt has been considered a saint, and is classed with Gwrthefyr and Cadwaladr as one of the three
* The monastery of Beanchor in Ulster is reported to have contained three thousand monks under the care of St. Comgallus.
+ Capgrave in Vita S. Cungari.
x canonized kings of Britain. The history of this person and
his family is involved in confusion. One account identifies him with an ancestor of Brychan Brycheiniog, while others make him contemporary with St. Oudoceus about the close of the sixth century; but the only position, that can be assigned him consistently with his genealogy, would show that he flourished between A. D. 440 and 470; and this arrangement is the one best supported by collateral testimony. It is said that in his old age he resigned the government of Glamorgan into the hands of his son, Meurig, and retired to lead a religious life in the solitude of Tinteyrn, Monmouthshire. He was afterwards induced to appear once more in defence of his country against the Saxons, and, receiving a wound in battle which he expected to be mortal, he requested that a church should be raised upon the spot where he should expire. His request was performed accordingly. The church was called from the circumstance Merthyr Tewdrig, and is now known by the name of Mathern.*
Meurig ab Tewdrig, by whom the church just mentioned was built, was also the prince under whose protection the bishoprick of Llandaff and the monastery of Llancarfan were founded. If reliance can be placed upon certain records of Llardaff, he endowed that see with lands and churches, from the situations of which it would appear that he held paramount authority over a tract forming the principal part of the present county of Glamorgan, the whole of Monmouthshire, and so much of the county of Hereford as lies to the south-west of the river Wye. Citations from grants securing these endowments, and other privileges and immunities, to
* “His bones lie entoombed, uppon the North side of the sayde Church, And his sonne not contented therewithall, gaue moreouer the lands and territory adiacent unto the same to the Bishoppe, whose Successors in processe of time built a house there, to witte at Mertherne or as now we tearme it Matherne, beeing the only mansion house now left unto him.". Godwin, Bp. of Llandaff in 1615.
the bishop and his successors, are still extant.* But whatever may be the antiquity of these documents, they certainly do not belong to the fifth century, and seem to describe the diocese of Llandaff and principality of Gwent at a later era. They should not, however, be rejected without examination, as they supply important links of history, which would otherwise have been wanting; and it should not be forgotten, that such grants and charters as were fabricated in the middle ages, were, in every practicable case, palmed upon real personages in order to obtain credit for genuineness.
A proposition has been advanced in the Cambrian Biography, which has been copied into other publications, that the real Uther Pendragon, the father of Arthur, was no other than Meurig ab Tewdrig.t It is, however, no more than a genealogical mistake, arising from the supposition that Arthruis, or Arthwys, a son, and Anna, a daughter of Meurig, were the same persons as Arthur and Anna, two of the children of Uther. The history and connexions of both the families are so different as to render it surprising that such an error should have been committed, were it not for the fact that Meurig and Uther were contemporaries, and that Arthur is reported to have held his court at Caerleon in the territories of the Silurian chieftain. From a comparison of the most ancient authorities extant upon the subject, including the oldest of the Welsh remains, it may be collected that Arthur was a native of Devon or Cornwall, and that his connexion with the Cymry of Wales and North Britain was almost entirely of an intrusive kind. He appears, indeed, to have obtained the chief sovereignty of the Britons, but it was by usurpation, and he was
* Wharton's Anglia Sacra, Vol. II. and Godwin's Bishops.
Registrum Landavense, and Godwin's Bishops. He is called “ Andros” in the Cambrian Biography, page 40; and “ Adras” in Triads 113 and 118, Third Series.
more often engaged in conflict with his own countrymen than with the Saxons. The documents,* which exhibit Meurig as the paramount ruler of Gwent, imply that there were several chieftains subordinate to him. He was succeeded by his son, Arthruis, who was the father of Morgan Mwynfawr ;t but the acts and territories of the family are on a scale too small, even for the limited description of Arthur which may be drawn from Nennius and the poems of the Welsh bards. I
The name of Gwrtheyrn, or Vortigern, is more implicated with the Welsh genealogies than that of Arthur ; and it is recorded that Edeyrn, one of his sons, who was a saint of the congregation of Cattwg, established a religious community of three hundred members at a place in Glamorganshire which was afterwards called Llanedeyrn. Two others of his sons have obtained the reputation of sanctity in the same county ;Aerdeyrn, to whom it is said there was a church dedicated in Glamorgan; and Elldeyrn, who is the patron of Llanelldeyrn or Llaniltern, a chapel under St. Fagan's. Nennius, who does not mention the three preceding, relates that Faustus, one of his sons, built a large place on the bank of the river Renis, which remained till the time in which he wrote. No further mark of locality is added, and as the Welsh name of Faustus is unknown, it has been conjectured that he was the same person as Edeyrn, and that the Rhymni which passes by Llanedeyrn is the Renis.ß Faustus was born in his father's old age ; which it is presumed was the case with the other two, or it
may be three, persons, as they are not noticed in the current
* The records of Llandaff.
| This question is discussed by Mr. Sharon Turner in his “Anglo-Saxons,” Book III. Chap. III. and by Mr. Ritson in his “Life of King Arthur;" but it is to be lamented that the latter person, with all his erudition and talent, should, in his desire to maintain a favourite position, deform his work with unfair criticism and reckless abuse.
$ Notes to Gunn's Nennius,—and Usher, p. 1002.