The story of Llanveynoe begins in the area of Newport and St Woolos (known to all as St Gwynlliw's).Bugi ap Gwynlliw was the last of the children of St Gwynlliw, the 'pirate' saint of what is now 'Stow Hill' and the Saintly Gwladys, daughter of the great King Brychan Brycheiniog, who had been carried off by Gwynlliw, when he was sick for love of her and had the whole court of Brychan chasing after him. Battle was avoided when Gwynlliw married her,and according to the will of God, her children were like her, great saints of Gwent. The 'Baby' of the family, her youngest and adored son, Bugi, was educated, like his elder brother Cadoc at Caerwent with St Tatheus. Bugi was also, in Welsh known as HYWGI and was one of the four patron saints of the monastery of LLANGWM near Usk, where he may have done his formation as a monk and priest.
When he was old enough to marry, he took for a wife Princess Peren, daughter of the King of Llawden, and then went up to Powys to be nearer to Bugi's grandfather's court.It seems that Peren became a mother to their only son late in life a son, called BEUNO and this son too, was educated at Caerwent with St Tatheus and taught the Christian faith. Since Tatheus was inspirational, particularly to St Cadoc and a father figure to them all
Beuno, like his uncle Cadoc decided
The land at Ewias was given to him by King Ynyr Gwent King of Gwent (husband of St Materiana of Cornwall who observed Beuno was 'humble, chaste and generous and in every respect keeping the commandments of God.
Beuno was also a kinsman of St Kentigern,(Mungo).It was more likely the land given to him was by Iddon, son of Ynyr, however, as a devastating raid on their camp near Chepstow by Saxons, killed Ynyr, 'torched' the camp and sent his mother (Madryn-St Materiana) and brother St Ceidio to Boscastle in Cornwall on their White Martyrdom.
The other lands were Ewyas Leol, and Ewyas Harold and the llan of St Clydawg was nearby. The pictures nearby testify to the importance of this site.
The County archeologist Dr Keith Ray, has found the remains of the llan below the west wall of the churchyard, which appears to have been conformed in later times to a square wall.The original church was almost certainly on the
circular llan mound, under the present church. No doubt that this was a monastery settlement of this Welsh saint.
The antiquarian founder of 'ley lines' wrote a book 'The Old Standing Crosses of Hereford-shire and it must not be forgotten this was still Wales at this time. This was Alfred Watkins. He describes one of these crosses in Llanveynoe Church as depicting an early type of Crucifixion image (which may be gathered from the scene)The other cross shows the early symbols of Christ XPC (from the Chi Rho image)and the IHC from the Greek words for Christ and Jesus. He thinks the third symbol represents the OMEGA(I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the End-alpha and Omega being the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.)The remainder of the inscription reads: HAES:DUR FECIT CRUCEM ISTAM or HAESTUR MADE THIS CROSS.
Aberffraw and Trefdraeth in Anglesey.
Establishing a Christian llan meant a basis for orthodox Christianity in a whole region, where young monks and priests could sstudy and grow up in the faith,
Whilst at Llanfeuno, Prince Bugi (Hywgi) became terminally ill and sent for his beloved and only son to give him his blessing. Beuno said to his fellow monks Let three of you remain in this place and I will go to my father, who is very ill' and departed. St Beuno commended them to the King and the people of the country. He then went to his parents' llan and Mass was said in Prince Hywgi's sick room and he received his 'Viaticum' (the 'food for the journey')and made his last confession. His end on this earth was deemed to be 'perfect'.
Beuno planted an acorn by his father's grave. It grew into a great tree . One branch curved down to the ground and then rose again "and there was a part of this branch in the soil, as at present; and if an Englishman should pass between this branch and the trunk of the tree, he would immediately die; but should a Welshman go, he would in no way suffer." Thus the saint's involvement with Llanfeuno ended.
The llan continued for some hundreds of years until the area was overrun with Saxons and the Church first sacked and looted was rebuilt in stone and finally in Norman times rebuilt on its old site as a stone church , now to be a daughter house of St Clydawg at nearby Clodock (no doubt its association with a miracle worker being the reason the British name was retained)Llanveynoe (the anglicised place name, still giving the real clue to its original founder) was renamed St Peter, although later St Beuno was reinstated.
The Church itself is unremarkable and simple with its sanctuary now an undivided chancel, Nave and bellcote built of local sandstone. The eastern wall has two windows which appear to be modern, and also the north wall. Between the two windows is a blocked 13th century lancet window. In the south wall are two more mmodern windows and there is a much restored doorway to the vestry and west of that is a modern doorway and porch.In 1675, Jane Gunter, possibly a Catholic of the famous Catholic Abergavenny Gunter family left 5 shillings' for the glazeing of the North Wyndow of the Chapelll of Llanveynoe'.
I am grateful to Priscilla Flowers-Smith of the parish for her guide notes at Llanveynoe Church.
The pictures to the left, show details of thhe crosses of this important monestary and also the land on which the original monastery buildings would have been erected.
In common with the Desert
'At y Heul' Towards the Sun.
It should not be forgotten also that the entire area was not far from Capel Dewi itself, the original cell of St David at Llanthony