St Cladawg-eldest son.
< This picture of a statue in Cil Pedic's Church (Kilpeck) could be (British tonsure) St Clydawg, except he is not depicted with a crown-but does have a martyr's palm. It may also ,of course be St Pedic.Whether in statues of this period a crown may have been shown is another matter>
ECCLESIA DE SANCTO CLADOCO
(In the Welsh Primers of 1546, 1618, 1633, Cotton Manuscripts , Welsh Almanacks . Alwydd Paradwys gives the date as August 19. Also other sources favour this date.)
The story of St Clydog was first written down from the oral tradition of the Bards in the twelfth century in the Book of Llandaf. His life story is also told by John of Tynemouth in the thirteenth century, which was a transcript of the Liber.
Clydog was the son of Clydwyn, who was a son of Brychan. Clydwyn was himself a saint from the Cognatio de Brychan. It is stated that he ‘invaded the whole of South Wales or ‘conquered Deheubarth,’ and that he was the father of Clydog and Dedyw and both of them ruled here. There was also a daughter ,St Perdita, that has been ascribed to him. It is probably not true that he conquered the whole of South Wales. All the genealogical lists make him son of Brychan, but also that he may have been King of Ceredigion and Dyfed Clydwyn also had a daughter, aside from his two sons, named Gwledyr. He shares a feast day with his father St Clydwyn. A place called ‘Cruc Cletwyn’ (his mound’) is mentioned in the Talley Abbey Charter of 1331.Hid aunt was St Clydai the Virgin. Was married three times to Prawst(1), Ribrawst(2) and Roistri (3) and his other brothers were Arthen,Papay,St Cynon (of Abercynon near Penrhys),Dingat (of Llandingat (Dingestow),Pasgen, St Cynlefr the Martyr,(Merthyr Gynlefr), St Berwen (llan in Cornwall)Cydoc or Iddog (Llan in Britanny-Ton Ridoch)The Sepulchre of Brychan was on the island called Ynys Brychan and is near the Isle of Man. Another source (Cott manuscript) says Brychan had thirteen sons and twenty four daughters!
He was King here in Ewyas (partly in Monmouthshire and partly in Herefordshire-the old Welsh Kingdom of Ergyng) He was one of the king-saints, ruling with justice, peacefully and with holiness.His early formation as a Catholic priest was at Llancarfan under the glorious Saint Cadoc, son of St Woolos(Gwynlliw) of Newport. He and his brother studied theology and philosophy, Latin and Greek there and were ordained. Cadoc himself was a prince. They spent a great deal of time there and worked with him in Cadoc’s own foundations in Monmouthshire and Glamorgan.
On his return to Ewias, acertain woman, the daughter of a nobleman, fell in love with him and would marry no one else. One of Clydog’s nobles, a Saxon, his eye having fallen upon the woman, decided she should be his and no one else’s. The following day whilst the holy and noble King, after having attended the Mass, went out hunting and whilst taking aim at a stag, was shot and killed by his erstwhile friend. The body was placed on a cart and driven towards a river, where there was a ford. This is the bridge area at the stream below the present church, where the water is very shallow. The river Monnow, which also flows through Monmouth, was a barrier and the yoke carrying the cart broke and the oxen would not be driven further. There the great king died and was buried. A great fire was seen to be burning over the grave that night and the Bishop (probably Teilo) ordered that there be built a Martyrum or Martyr’s Chapel over the place of his grave. His sorrowing people, who had loved their wise and saintly king did so. This is Caer Gledog, now in England (Loegr) Probably nearby Longtown was meant by this , where there was an ancient British Camp. (Caer)The Book of Llandaff (Cardiff area) affords proof that Brychan’s rule extended into this area.
There was a further story that two men who had been at loggerheads for a long time vowed upon the tomb of St Clydog to be reconciled. On their way back from the church ,one turned on the other and treacherously murdered him, but immediately afterwards, stricken by a guilty conscience, he fell upon his spear and died miserably.
St Clydawg’s church, emulating the spirit of ‘mercy’ for fugitives contained a sanctuary ring which a ‘criminal’ could grasp to ask for refuge ,so Clodock church was chartered as a 'place of refuge' for those escaping from their enemies.The door itself could also be secured with an oak bar. The criminal could remain for forty days, and would have to be provided with food by the congregation .After that time, he would have had to ‘abjure the realm’, that is walk directly to the coast and take the first available boat abroad and never come back. Alternatively, he could give himself up for trial, and with luck, after forty days, those investigating the crime may have come to a different conclusion.
The Welsh Border runs alongside the mountain and there was much rivalry between the Border people, hence the strong solid door dating from around the l5th century. The church is full of history, with faded wall paintings, coats of arms and a Decalogue. It has a memorial stone which is thought to date from around AD 750-850, 'To the dear wife of Guinndo, a resident of this place. In fact there are more memorials to local people than images of the saints and angels of God.Much would have been lost in the restorations.
The Englishman Whytford gives on November 3rd however:
St Clydog should be represented holding a sword in one hand and a lily in the other and crowned as a prince,in Norman times.
The Twelfth century church had the following boundary from the Book of Llandaff:
Merthyr Clitauc-‘Clodock’ Its boundary is the sone in the Waun Fraith on the cecin,North end of Hetterall (at yr Haul-to the sun) Hills, along it to Rhiw Gwrw, to the stone on the Cecin of the allt, along the Cecin on the edge of the Brec. Black mountain upwards as far as the stones opposite to Nant Trinant , the Turnant , along it, downwards as far as into the Olchon , along it, the Olchon, downwards as far as Ynys Alarun at its top end , to the Maen Tyllog to the crug to the Monnow , across the Monnow to Aber Nant Cwm Cinreith, the nant throught its length as far as the Mynys Ferfun (anglicised later to Money farthing-trans ‘Fersun’s Hill’)along the Mynys Ferfun to the Loch of Fer un, along the mountain to the source of the Hilin, along the Hilin as far as the Monnow. Along the Monnow downwards as far as Aber Ffynon Bist, along Ffynon Bist as far as its source, From its source to the Cecin straight upwards making for the Waun Fraith (Wine vryth)on the Cecin on the Mountain, as far as the stone where the boundary began.'
It was served by The Abbey of John the Baptist at Llanthony, who were its patrons. Its dedication was to St Clodock. In Rome, in the Taxatio of Pope Nicholas where Clydag is referred to in various Latin forms ST CLEODICUS ST CLYDOG ST CLODOCH ST CLADOCUS( as in evidence of 1517). It was valued in the taxation at the enormous sum of £20, so must have been quite a rich church.It is given as being the Diocese of St David. Since the whole area was overrun by Saxons around 600AD it is likely the Saxons, when they became Christianised, improved the church and it was this church which was rebuilt in Norman times and became attached to the nearby Priory of Augustinian Canons in nearby Llanthony.
My Visit 5th October 2010
No one could imagine a lovelier setting for the church and it is quite clear this was a wonderful part of Clydawg’s kingdom.The mountains all around looking down on it and a fast flowing stream and holy well on the south bank of the river.A Norman tower looks down and a tri partite structure shows. The chancel area in the front was probably the original Welsh/Saxon site and then the nave and tower added in Norman times. Interestingly there is an arched recess in the chancel.
One splash of colour, a beautiful stained glass window!
When I entered the church, I was, I have to say, that in spite of the awe inspiring scale and height of this church of pilgrimage, it seemed totally devoid of the colour and charm of a Norman Church. Little pictures peeped out like an enchanting cherub over the pulpit and part of an annunciation(oh please let it be restored!), even a coloured fresco of the Blessed Virgin,in the window splay near the pulpit but for me, the building seemed dominated by its dark brown boxed pews , oak choir stalls and an absolutely enormous three decker pulpit and sounding board, which made it ‘feel’ more like a Non conformist chapel, the altar being a simple wooden table. One wonders, as in so many churches, whether the original Norman altar complete with consecration crosses may be interred under the present table dated about 1650, in the height of the Cromwellian period, with Laudian rails and Housel bench, part of the changes ordered by the Anglican Archbishop Laud. The table is surrounded with rails, allowing the Communicants to gather around it. Some of the choir stalls are beautifully carved with flowers and dragons, but the overall effect quite cold with its brown and white.