Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coedkernew-The Woods of St Pedrog ap Glywys the Cornishman

Coedkernew Church

I visited this Church in November 2009 but found it with great difficulty. Coedkernew is a small parish four-and-a-half miles from Newport, on the Cardiff road, and two miles from Marshfield station, The Church is dedicated to All Saints, and contains 130 seats, and annexed to it is that of St. Bride's, Wentloog. The registers date from the year 1733. Early llan, though it is and a hermitage in his wood , and St Pedrog ap Glywys being the son of two saints-Gwynlliw and Queen Gwladys, I found it had become a gated private dwelling.

The Church had obviously been sold to a private person – which is better than falling into disuse, but the house was so private it was difficult even to see the outline of the church. Trees disguised the shape of the tower and the wood completely surrounded it, so it could not even be photographed any longer. I therefore put before you an early sketch of the church, much as it looks today but covered over with trees and shrubbery and a very large gated fence.

So who founded the church of All Saints? The present building seems to be a Victorian rebuilding of the original mediaeval church, which was administered by the Clunaic monks of St Mary’s, Glastonbury along with St Bride’s Wentloog, which appears to have been a kind of grange or even priory of this abbey, as the heads of the monks can be seen in the 13th century nave. Somewhere, no doubt pictures exist of the inside of Coedkernew Church , and if anyone knows of anyone who has them , please send me some to put up here. So where did Coedkernew get its name?

St Pedrog ap Glywys Cernyw

Coedkernyw was given its name from a llan or hermitage of St Pedro gap Glywys the son of Gwynlliw Filwr,ab Glywys ab Tegid by St Gwladys, Daughter of the saintly King Brychan Brycheiniog. He was thus a brother of St Cadoc (Cattwg).He is mentioned as an ‘honoured saint’.

To him is said to have been formerly dedicated the church at Coed Cernyw, the ‘Cornishman’s wood’ now on the site of All Saints’ Church,Coedkernyw. He appears to have died a martyr as ‘Merthyr Gluis’ is mentioned in the book of Llandaff, the name which is preserved at Clivis, in Newton Cottage, Glamorgan.

The Cornish Church of St Gluvias is also probably dedicated to Glywys.There was a chapel in Lanherne (see my article on Lanherne Friars) dedicated to St Gluvias and the farm by it, the descendant of the little monastery of St Glywys.His Feast was on the first Sunday in May.(not officially commemorated nowadays) In the Domesday Book this was called St Guillant and in the Exeter transcript Sain Guilan.

Glywys was quite out of the region except from Gwentian settlers, but Glywys belonged to a later generation and hence did not come into Cornwall until the settlement in the North was a ‘fait accompli’and the excitement and resentment of the Gwentian invasion had subsided, which is why his church is found on the ‘Fal’. St Clenzen is another variant at Treguier, Cornwall, and he was replaced by St Cletus, Pope, and it may have been Glywyz, then Cleuzen. In the parish, however, there is a church dedicated to his brother, St Cadoc.

His grandfather, Glywys ap Tegid founded the church at Machen (now St Michael), but there is no evidence of his canonisation by acclamation.Glywys gave his name to the [rincipality of Glwysing (lower courses of the Usk and the Towy) but did not include all of Glamorgan.In the preface to the life of St Cadoc, he is said to have had ten children, between whom Glwysing was shared upon his death but Pedrog (St Glywys Kernyw) gave up his inheritance and left for Cornwall.(gave up a ‘transitory for perpetual inheritance’)

Since Coedkernew lies so closeo Peterstone,it may be that Pedrog was also the inspiration for the foundng of this. Pedrog meaning 'Peter'.

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