Wednesday, February 13, 2008

St Teilo's Day-Relic in Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff

Alright, I know that Llandaff is not in Monmouthshire, however, when Tewdrig's son Meurig become King he made huge grants of land to Llandaff in memory of his father and was one of the great Christian Kings of early times. Meurig granted the land to Odoceus (Oh doh kay us) which is still easier toe say than the Welsh version Euddogwy (Oi thog oo ee!)

Odoceus was the bishop at the time. Teilo succeeded Dubricius as bishop of Llandaff and by then the 'archbishopric' at Caerleon had gone to St David's in Pembroke (Menevia) by then.So Teilo, although a North Wales Saint is the missing bishop.

On Tuesday I went to see Llandaff Cathedral. The new car went well and very much enjoyed the trip because the weather was fabulous for February and I drove down through the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean. I got to Llandaff at about 11.30am and was able to park close to the Cathedral. It seemed large and imposing from the car park, but in truth,much smaller than St David’s and there was extensive rebuilding because of a bomb having been dropped in the Cathedral precinct I 1941 I think.

There were no transepts, so it was not cruciform and therefore perhaps plainer than many cathedral (or as it was Abbey designs) It was an Abbey before the sixteenth century. There was a large preaching cross outside, though not the original one, where Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury had preached for the crusades in 1188, when accompanied by Gerald the Welshman. It was on the same spot, however. There were gargoyles on the tower and many mediaeval Welsh saints, but also a statue of St Peter on the tower.

Inside was a large, quite light cathedral, with a big nave. I am not a huge fan of contemporary sculpture, but in the centre a large cylinder of concrete resting on four supports with an enormous figure of Christ sculpted on it-very expertly. I felt he looked quite scary, however I am not a connoisseur of such things and no doubt it is very good craftsmanship.I always thought Christ looked like us and was not so scary. There were various people looking after the cathedral who were lovely. And after buying a guide book I shot off. There were many treasures here, which I will describe in the podcast. There are a few videos on Facebook ‘MaryinMonmouth’ group as well. The parts I liked most were the Lady Chapel and the Dyfric/Dubricius Chapel. Which I thought was the St Teilo Chapel. This was to the right of the altar. I understand the original Abbey Church had quite a few chapels. Biggest thrill was they opened the locked St Teilo relic for me to see. This had quite a chequered history, but was beautifully kept. I was only sorry there was no candle stand or candles or prie-Dieu there so you could spend some time looking at it.It was so extremely kind of the lady and gentleman verger to open it for me to see. The relic has literally been around the world, inlaid with gold.The skull was the part kept in Llandaff. I am doing a separate podcast on Welsh relics. These precious souvenirs of saints of old were often destroyed during the sixteenth century in Britain, so we are fortunate to have kept some. Evidence of Oliver Cromwell using it as a tap room, place for their horsesand defacing so many ancient monuments is all around us . (The evil that men do lives after them-Hamlet) The details of the visit can be heard on the podcast, although I am too close to the microphone.

I am currently having a bit of trouble installing my new equipment.An improved microphone and mixer facility which should improve sound quality, but I can’t hear what I am recording through the ear phones and need to take advice at the moment so any day now-when the penny drops I’ll get it up there on iTunes! Not aving had a car for some days has worsened the problems, but I’ll have the Two Tewdrig programmes up very soon!

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