Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Information from another Blogger-Thank you!

I don't have a photo of the area, but this is an Irish stone church of the same period, and although unusual as it is stone, neverthe less some people did have them/ Below is an old Welsh style monk from the Book of Kells.

Al Iguana another blogger from Maesycwmmer has very kindly sent all sorts of extra details. I did not have the source, but there obviously is one. He gives more details.We mentioned the Old Welsh monastery of Mud and wattles and in addition
her home included a hospice, outhouses and a scriptorium. There she lived quietly, bringing hope and support to the people of the Taff valley.

We also learn there was another daughter with a monastery south of Merthyr-Tangwstl, who may have perished at roughly the same time.

In his old age, King Brychan decided to visit his children one last time. He took with him his son Rhun Dremrudd, his grandson Nefydd and Nefydd's own son, along with servants and warriors. They visited his third daughter, Tanglwstl, at her religious community at Hafod Tanglwstl, what is now known as the village of Aberfan, south of Merthyr Tydfil. Brychan wanted to linger with his daughters a little longer, so he sent most of his warriors and Nefydd on ahead, along the homeward journey. The king went on to Tydfil's home while Rhun and Nefydd's son were still at Hafod Tanglwstl.

Al Iguana outs the blame on the Irish rather than the Saxons however, although the more usual story is of Saxons, but it it is known that the Irish frequently raided Wales:

So the party was spread out along the Taff Valley; a distance of about seven miles and all uphill. Wales at this time was suffering from raids from the Irish, free to roam around now that the Romans had long gone. Some had even settled at South Radnorshire, near Brychan's kingdom. Perhaps the news of the king's absence had reached the Irish settlement and they decided to take advantage of the king's vulnerability. In retrospect, Brychan would appear to have made a very foolish decision in allowing his party to split up. But he must have known that, being so old, he was unlikely to ever see Tanglwstl and Tydfil again.

Rhun Dremrudd was attacked by an Irish raiding party, a mile from Hafod Tanglwstl and he died defending a bridge over the river at what is now the village of Troedyrhiw (the bridge is still called Pont Rhun). The bridge gave the Irish free access to the King's party and Rhun Dremrudd put up a good fight. The Irish then split into two groups: one devastated the Hafod Tanglwstl community and the other pursued the king.

The king and his followers were robbed of their jewellery, money and clothes. Servants and family; they were all cut down. While the others ran and fought and panicked, Tydfil knelt and calmly prayed, before she too was brutally slain. Then the Irish retreated over the Aberdare mountain. By then, Nefydd and his warriors caught up with them and avenged the deaths of his family at "Irishman's Hill". Then they returned to bury their dead.

Tydfil was buried within the church she founded, amongst the people she had cared for. A Celtic Cross was put up in a clearing near the Taff which became a meeting place for the people of the valley. In the 13th century the cross and wattle and daub church were replaced by a stone church dedicated to Saint Tydfil the Martyr, which was itself replaced in 1807, and rebuilt again in 1894. The church still stands, at its place by the River Taff and is one of the first things the tourist sees as he enters the town centre from the south side.

Any pictures? Al Iguana .You can email me at maryinmonmouth@googlemail. com. Thank you for all this super extra information about the visit of Brychan and the locations. Not being a Glamorgan girl this is fascinating. I hope you join the Mary in Monmouth Group on Facebook.You will see a MAri Lwyd video and also there was a podcast about the Mari at Christmas as it went out at Henllys, Cwmbran and Newport at Chrstmas. Thank you so much for all this detail.I don't think we will ever find out whether it was the Irish or the Saxons-certainly not the Picts anyway.These are such interesting stories. Was Tangwstl martyred do you know?

Senator Syvret and Haut de la GarenneMore Sad finds and discoveries!
Haut de la Garenne
As police search for bodies in the house and grounds, some former residents claimed to have been raped and assaulted.Others say solitary confinement and other 'dubious practices' were among the appalling hardships endured by children in desperate need of care. Last night one local described the alleged abuse as the 'worst thing that has happened on the island'.Senator Stuart Syvret, Jersey's former minister for health and social services, tried to reaise the issue but was dismissed. He believed violent and sexual abuse in the children's homes had been going on for 60 years and it had been covered up by everyone concerned. Senator Syvret says he has spoken to two alleged victims of assault at Haut de la Garenne and they knew of others who claim to have suffered sexual abuse. He said: 'I have seen documents that show children were kept in solitary confinement for days and sometimes weeks on end and one child was kept in solitary for two months 'I have spoken to two victims from Haut de la Garenne, they told me of being flogged by canes, locked in cells in solitary confinement and I have been told of sexual abuse at that home.'

He had been a graduate social worker during the Eighties at a home on Jersey looking after youngsters who had lived at Haut de La Garenne before it closed. He said the Home was'monolithic' and run by 'mainly untrained, unqualified staff'. He said: "There, solitary confinement, corporal punishment and many other dubious practices were rife. "On its closure, young people deemed 'workable' were farmed out, leaving us with damaged, institutionalised adolescents."


Al Iguana said...


I can't remember where I got that account of St Tydfil from, I have notebooks full of stuff like that. If I find the source I will tell you and you can credit it.

I find local legend to be fascinating, and often more accurate than "official" accounts. Although they should be taken with a pinch of the proverbial salt, and a lot of reading between the lines. For example, there is a "Pont Rhun" at the place where Rhun (Rhain Dremrudd) is supposed to have battled the raiders, so you get the connection.

If I find out anything else that confirms or contradicts the tale I'll let you know. This period in Welsh history is very fascinating but VERY complicated.

(btw, I've been listening to your podcasts for a while. While I'm not a Catholic, or even a Christian, I think it is good that someone is covering and remembering these people. They are worth remembering)

Mary in Monmouth said...

tcgHi al Iguana,
Glad you like the podcasts, yes they are worth remembering. Problem is somehow all these people who worked so hard for the betterment of the people around them have been forgotton and yet they are an inspiration to everyone to be a positive force for good in the world.Tudfal Tecla and Tedfedd all were wealthy and high born and could have taken it easy and yet chose the Christian way.
Interesting was also that the men and missionaries Cadoc, Teilo Padarn were well known in the church at large. David was a giant as he defended the Church's teaching at a difficult time.Jesus said there would be false prophets and David was a man of great holiness and even consecrated bishop in Jerusalem.I feel the whole thing was not really a dark age. As you say complicated because people handed on accounts, which may have been slightly skewed but nevertheless are not neccessarily false. For example there really was an Arthur, a Christian Chieftain who battled the Saxons and was buried at Glastonbury but he seems to have become a new Ager. I have read some books about Druidism and you can see elements of these tales, and while not Christian are, neverthless part of our history and culture and very interesting.

The way things are set our are confusing but I think the intrinsic truth of what happened there. Do you have any digital photos of Pont Rhun or perhaps St Tegfedds? There might be some stained glass worth photographing inside. My brother in law is from Merthyr but abroad at the moment.I found 'The Lives of the Cambro British Saints' Account of Brychan Nrycheiniog but it dedn't mention your details and I wondered if it was from another Welsh source. Keep in touch at
Thank you for the feedback

Al Iguana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Al Iguana said...

sorry, I tried to send you a link but I messed it up

I've started plotting these places out on a Googlemap, to try to get a sense of the scale of this: