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Cæsar, to a share of the Imperial government. The opinion of Archbishop Usher is to the contrary,* but it is surprising that the learned Primate should not have examined the subject with his usual chronological skill. Constantine was of full age A. D. 306, when he was proclaimed Emperor upon the death of his father ; indeed Usher produces authorities to show that he was created Cæsar before that time. Now Constantius visited Britain, for the first time, in 296; and allowing that Constantine was born that year, he could only have been ten years old at the time of his accession to the empire; he was, therefore, not born in Britain, Besides, Helen was the wife of Constantius's younger years, and, as she was divorced by him as early as A. D. 286, ten years before his arrival in this country, she was not likely to have been a Briton. But chronology and the monkish historians are always at variance, and the attempt to reconcile them would be a fruitless undertaking. A modern writert asks, how has it happened that such a tradition, as that of the British parentage of Constantine, should become perfectly national? To this it may be replied, that in all the works of the earlier Bards, the catalogues of Saints, the older pedigrees, and all the Triads, except one, there is not the slightest allusion to the circumstance ;£ and the omission of a fact, which would have gratified the national pride of the Welsh, is a presumptive proof that they were not acquainted with it. When the story was communicated to them by the monks in the middle ages, they received it with avidity. The solitary Triad to the contrary is No. 6, second series, in the Myvyrian Archaiology ; but a single reading of it will discover its monkish origin. The only Triad besides, in which even the name of Constantine is mentioned, is the Triad respecting Archbishopricks,* which may
it is sufficient to say that Eumenjus describes the accession of Constantius, the father of Constantine, in similar terms.
* De Brit. Eccl. Primordiis, Cap. VIII.
# It appears to have been unknown to Bede, to the author of the composition ascribed to Gildas, and to the compilers of the Saxon Chronicle translated by Dr. Ingram.
also be referred to the same manufactory. Helen and Constantine were canonized by the Romanists; but the name of the latter does not occur in any Welsh list of Saints, and that of the former is omitted in almost all the existing catalogues. There is a church in Glamorganshire, called Eglwys Ilan, which is supposed by Browne Willis to be dedicated to Helen; and to render the dedication more complete, the subordinate church of Llanfabon, despite the name it bears, is attributed to Constantine. Another church, in Cardiganshire, is called Tref Ilan; but the identity of Ilan with Helen is, at least, questionable, as in all the current stories respecting the latter the name is never corrupted. A church in Monmouthshire is called distinctly Llanelen; but not to lay too great a stress upon names, it may be allowed that these churches, as well as a chapel of St. Heleng which once existed at Carnarvon, were dedicated to her in the middle ages;
and if the story of her British origin were true, it would be surprising that such dedications were not more numerous. A church in Carnarvonshire, called Llangystennyn,|| is perhaps dedicated to Constantine the Great; but this must be uncertain, as soon after the departure of the Romans there was a sainted king in Britain, called Cystennyn Fendigaid, or Constantine the Blessed.
* No. 62, Third Series, Myv. Archaiology.
+ It is mentioned in only two of the MSS. cited in the Myvyrian Archaiology
| Llanfabon is called after Mabon, the brother of Teilo, Bishop of Llandaff; and Eglwys Ilan may derive its name from a Welsh Saint, of whom all other memorials have perished.
Rowlands's Mona Antiqua, Section XI. || This church does not appear to be ancient, as in the time of Edw. I. it was a chapel under Abergele (St. Michael.)
During this vacuity of Welsh tradition, which later legends have endeavoured to occupy with fable, it is gratifying to learn, from testimonies of another kind, that Christianity must have made considerable progress. Of this the most irrefragable proofs remain in the fact on record, that there were British Bishops present at the Councils—of Arles in Gaul A. D. 314, of Sardica in Illyria A. D. 347, and of Ariminum in Italy A. D. 359. The Council of Arles was convened by Constantine for the sake of suppressing the heresy of the Donatists; and it is satisfactory to know that at that time, seventeen years before the general edict in favour of Christianity, there were at least three Bishops in Britain. The names of those who attended upon that occasion, as given by Usher, and Spelman, were:
“Eborius Episcopus, de civitate Eboracensi, provinciâ Britanniâ.
Restitutus Episcopus, de civitate Londinensi, provinciâ suprascriptâ.
Adelfius Episcopus, de civitate Coloniâ Londinensium : exinde Sacerdos Presbyter, Arminius Diaconus.”
None of these Bishops are mentioned in any catalogue of Welsh Saints, unless it be admitted that Adelfius is identical with Cadfrawd, for the names are almost a translation of each other.* The British rendering of Eborius and Restitutus would be Efrog and Rhystyd, both which names were in use in Wales a few generations later. Colonia Londinensium is evidently an error, as there was no place place known by that name in Britain, and the Bishop of London is already mentioned. Stillingfleet proposes, therefore, to read "Legionensium” for Caerleon upon Usk; Urbs Legionis being the name by which that town was known to Latin writers in the middle ages. The same place was also in the Roman division of the country* the capital of the province of Britannia Secunda, as London was of Britannia Prima, and York of Maxima Cæsariensis. Welsh tradition has always reported it to have been a Bishop's see from the earliest times; and the importance of these three places enabled their Diocesans in a subsequent age to assume the title of Archbishop. No further information can be gleaned respecting Sacerdos and Arminius, but they attended probably as representatives of the different orders of priesthood.
* Adelfius appears to be formed from the Greek word ’Adelpos, a brother;* and the Welsh Scholar will recognise Brawd in the composition of Cadfrawd.
The list of the Bishops, who subscribed the articles of the Council of Sardica, is not preserved; but it is asserted by Athanasius that Bishops from Britain were present, and that they joined in the condemnation of Arius and vindication of himself. In a few years afterwards, Hilary, Bishop of Poictiers, in an epistle from Phrygia, congratulates the Britons, amongst others, on their freedom from heresy.t
The Council of Ariminum was convened by Constantius, the son of Constantine, to decide, like the preceding, upon the Arian heresy, to which the Emperor himself was favourable. Sulpitius Severus relates that more than four hundred Bishops of the Western Church were assembled together upon the occasion, and adds—"unto all of whom the Emperor had ordered provisions and apartments to be given. But that was deemed unbecoming by the Aquitans, Gauls, and Britons; and refusing the imperial offer, they preferred to live at their own expense. Three only from Britain, on account of poverty, made use of the public gift, after they had rejected the contribution offered by the others; considering it more pro
*“It plainly appears that the Church was divided into Dioceses and Provinces much after the same manner as the Empire, having a Metropolitan or Primate in every Province.”—(Bingham’s Antiquities, Book IX. Chap. I.)—Under each of these provincial Bishops were several Chorepiscopi or Suffragans.
+ Usher de Brit. Eccl. Primordiis, Cap. VIII.
per to burden the exchequer than individuals. *”—This passage has been, by a mistake, adduced to show the poverty of the Bishops of Britain in general, when it states, that such was their sense of propriety that they had rather defray their own costs and charges than subsist upon the Emperor's bounty. The three, who did partake of it, are mentioned only as an exception, as if the independent Bishops were the more numerous party. Out of four hundred, which number included only those of the Western Church, a proportion of ten or upwards may well be allowed for Britain, whose distance from Italy must have added greatly to the expense of their journey. The prelates assembled at this Council were forced to submit to the doctrines of Arius through the undue influence of the Emperor; but in the year 353, Athanasius describes the churches of Britain, and other churches in the west, as adhering to the faith of the council of Nice.t
Besides Cadfrawd, already mentioned, the period just passed over includes Gwerydd and Iestyn, brothers, and Cadgyfarch and Gwrmael, sons, of Cadfrawd; all of whom are said to have been Saints, but their feast-days are unknown, and no churches have been dedicated to them.
Coel Godebog was a chieftain who flourished in the former part of this century. He married Ystrafael or Stradwen, the sister of Cadfrawd, by whom he had a son, Ceneu, whose name appears in the catalogues of Saints, and a daughter, Gwawl, who married Edeyrn, the father of Cunedda Wledig. According to the fabulous chroniclers he had only one child, a
* The original words are these,—“Quibus omnibus annonas et cellaria dare Imperator præceperat. Sed id Aquitanis, Gallis, ac Britannis indecens visum; repudiatis fiscalibus, propriis sumptibus vivere maluerunt. Tres tantùm ex Britanniâ, inopiâ proprii, publico usi sunt, cum oblatam a cæteris collationem respuissent; sanctius putantes fiscum gravare, quam singulos.”-Sulpitii Severi Sacræ Historiæ, Lib. II. Cap. LV.
+ Usher, de Brit. Eccl. Primordiis, Cap. VIII.