Thursday, May 22, 2008

Arthur at Tredunnock near Usk with Teilo, Oudeceus and David meet at the ford.

Some of the tales of Arthur show his flaw. He was clearly a strong leader but sometime could be unreasonable and arrogant, yet when faced by the power of God he did relent. In the story below about him, you can see these traits, but Cadoc deals with him and his foster brothers Cai and Bedwyr with unfailing kindness and prayer, refusing to be intimidated by him.The meeting clearly took place at the Newbridge, where the bridge now spans the river and where we swam as children in those long glorious summer afternoons, and the river is low enough to be crossed on foot. We know-we did it. this story about the real Arthur is from the Life of Cadoc.

Of the Dispute between Saint Cadoc and Arthur respecting the reconciliation of a certain person at Tredunnock.

Ligessawc Longhand had killed three of Arthur’s officers and Arthur lost no time in hunting him down, leaving no stone unturned. Ligessawc was unhappy with what he had done and eventually arrived at Cadoc’s monasterery in Gwent , probably at Caerleon or Trevethin. We are not told which of these monasteries but these seem the nearest foundations to where they subsequently met Arthur. He craved sanctuary after running for his life and remained at one of these institutions for seven years, we are told, because Ligessawc was protected , worked hard and confessed his crime and will have done penance.

Eventually his whereabouts were betrayed to Arthur.Cadoc did not fear Arthur and he trusted in God, saying ‘Fear not those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul but rather fear him who can kill the body and the soul in hell’.

Arthur arrives at Tredunnock on the Banks of the Usk

Eventually Arthur arrived with a large body of men at the River Usk, and wanted to appeal for a trial at law, because he dared not challenge Cadoc, a saintly man of God.So Cadoc sent ambassadors to Arthur asking him whether he would refer the matter to three skilful judges and to this Arthur agreed. Cadoc sent to different parts of what was now Wales to get three different judges David, Teilo and Oudoceus and also Cynydir (Gwynlliw’s son) and Aidus and with all sorts of clergy and senior judges of all Britain and they all met together on the banks of the River Usk near the Chapel, with Cadoc leading them.They both disputed their points from both sides of the river ‘with bitter words’ and argued a long time. When they were exhausted they had a rest and the judges said that Arthur ought to get three good oxen as compensation for each of his good men-a sort of Wergeld. Others decided that one hundred cows should be given for every man killed. From the earliest times, even before the Saxons the judgement was of this type and the price was decided by the chieftains and the leading officers. This was then decided but Arthur in a very arrogant manner refused cows of one colour, but wanted those of two colours –red brown at the front and the back white and with a lot of wrangling demanded these. The judges and clergy were ignorant of where such cows could be find and were in doubt as what they should do respecting them. Therefore Cadoc in the Name of the Trinity ordered the nine young men of the gathering to bring him 100 cows of whatever colours , and when they did this ,and brought them to the judges, they were ‘because of the perverse desire of Arthur’ turned into he colours he wanted.

The Miracle-and another miracle!

All the clergy and judges and men rejoiced at the miracle and glorified God. Cadoc discussed what should happen . They were told by some of the judges that it was right that he should drive the herd into the middle of the ford. He did this and drove them into the river until Arthur, Cai and Bedwyr (Bed-oo-eer) met them, with others siting on the side of the river. Cai and Bedwyr really wanted the cows and tried to drag them by their horns to he side of the river, but while these were in their hands, but we are told that by the direction of God the cows were changed into bundles of ferns.

Arthur begs Cadoc for forgiveness

God notices the hand of God in this miracle and Arthur humbly begged Cadoc forgive him for the injury and lack of respect shown to him.Cadoc generously absolved him from his sin bearing in mind ‘forgive and you shall be forgiven’. So Arthur discussing all this with his army, allowed the amn refuge for another seven years, seven months and a week.

Arthur changes his behaviour to strangers and sanctuary-claimers

If any stranger in some appointed time should leave the town of Cadoc wanting to sail to some distant part of the world , and by chance through the force of storms, or by contary wind in a storm, be driven into a barren harbour and again return return to his former refuge or place according to the tradition of the elders, he is to be attended with service and readily received to the last term of his life. This Arthur and all his soldiers corroborated and said ‘ We also in the earing of you all, bear witness to the words of this decree , whoever will transgress them, may God add to him all the plagues in the old and new law and may his name be blotted from the book of life. But whoever will keep them, may he be filled with all the blessings of the Old and the New Testament, and may they descend and remain upon him, and also may his soul be settled in eternal glory’. The council being finished, all the cows which had been changed into ferns were found safe in the stalls of their owners, and from that day, that town in the British language is called TREDUNNOCK (Trefredinowck)The Town of Ferns. All persons returning peaceably from the trial, Saint Cadoc gave three villages to the said nobles,one to David,Llandewi Penybei another toTeilo (llandecmed)and one to Oudoceus. (Landubriguir-Landogo)

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