Monday, March 24, 2008

Home again! Back to the grind from the lovely land of Cornwall

Due to school terms being so peculiar this year, we sadly had to come back today and arrived on the m5 on our holiday so that our son could go back to school tomorrow. The weather had been variable and downright icy at times, but it was mainly the wind and generally was not too bad.I managed to find a Church of St Cadoc in a Cornish Book of Saints and found the following information about St Cadoc, son of Gwynlliw and Gwkadys mantioned below and supporting the contention there was a cell of St Cadocs on the site of the present Parish (Anglican ) church at Caerleon. This was originally a basilica and Temple of Jupiter.

Enya Kennerly writes:

The life of Saint Cadoc or Cadog has come down to us in a legendary form. The historians agree however that he was a real person, the son of Gwynllyw, a Welsh prince, and of Gwladus, the daughter of Brychan of Talgarth. He lived a hermit's life, as befitted a Celtic monk, but later started missionary work, preaching in a large area in Wales and Brittany. E. G. Bowen has pointed out that the word saint in the Celtic areas really meant a hermit or monk, not necessarily a saintly one. So, we do not know any facts about Cadoc's character. He founded the monastery of Llancarfan in Glamorganshire, which became the centre of satellite houses or cells. It was usual in Wales of that period that founders of religious communities were sons of princeling or chieftain families and that this kind of foundation stayed in the hands of the same families for quite long periods, the leadership becoming hereditary.

"The family of Llancarfan", as J. Conway Davies calls it, exerted its influence in Glamorgan and Gwent in both religious and political matters. The members of the family had special relations with the chief Welsh lords of Glamorgan. One of these was Iorwerth ab Owen, lord of Caerleon, who married Angharad, daughter of bishop Uthryd of Llandaff (1140-48) who most probably belonged to the Llancarfan family. This relationship may have led to the founding of the Abbey of Caerleon and here we may also have the basic reason for the building of a memorial church to Cadog in Caerleon-even if a cell had existed already in the lifetime of the saint, six hundred years before.'

Nevertheless archeological evidence for this Abbey is problemmatical. Cadoc was a very potent Saint and made seven pilgrimages to Rome and also to Jerusalem. It is possible St Julius Julanus Church was based on the South side of the river and St Aarons on the Llanhennock road where it comes into Caerleon. However, it is possible that this small chapel of St Cadoc becme the centre ofthe ancient monastery of Caerleon as there is speculation that Gwynlliw and Gwlady's base was in this magnificent Roman city, and there was a big church in Caerleon at the time when Dubricius/Dyfrig was senior bishop. Nevertheless, this is something for a detailed study, but interesting to find St Cadoc sites in Cornwall!!

Tomorrow I will write about St Nectan. His waterfall has recently been reopened where he is buried and he is another of these Celtic hermits. The waterfall, though a climb is very much worth while.

1 comment:

Al said...

It's possible that Gwynllyw had his base in Caerleon. But is reconed that Gwynllyw originally went on cattle raids to St. Tathyw's kindom in Caerwent, so I doubt they would have lived THAT close to each other. When Tathyw caught Gwynllyw stealing his cow, he turned up at Gwynllyw's court,and demanded it back. Gwladys talked Gwynllyw into giving it back, on the condition that he baptised Cadoc. Cadoc later went off to Tathyw's monastery in Caerwent to be taught.

I always thought Gwynllyw's "fort" was on Allt Wynllyw on Stow Hill (before he founded his church there).

Interestingly, according to this:

http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/cadogdgg.html

Cadoc was born in Gelligaer, at the site that is now known as Capel Gwladus. So they must have lived up there for a time (Gwladys returned to Gelligaer towards the end of her life and was buried there).