Monday, June 17, 2013

Madrun, Queen of Gwent and Saint of a heavenly valley in Cornwall Part One In North Wales

 It has been a while, since I have visited the topic of Queen Madrun of Gwent, wife of Ynyr.She is far from the 'legendary figure' in the guide books of the church, nor is she obscure.After doing some considerable study on the Queen as part of a degree in this period of history, I new have some new information, which I am sharing with my blog readers.

Madrun was born into a pagan family. The name Madrun itself is similar to the Roman goddess Matrona. Her grandfather was the pagan king named in English as Vortigern, at first married to the Roman Sevira, who was descended from the British Roman Emperor and pretender, Maximus or Macsen Wledig. Their child , Vortimer came to greatly disagree with his father's way of dealing with the Picts-that is, by inviting in Saxon mercenaries. This was a disastrous policy and as the young child Vortimer (Gwytherin Fendigaid in Welsh) grew up, he counselled his father against this policy. His mother brought him up in the universal Christian faith, and Vortimer started to join his fathers' opponants fighting against the Saxons. He married, though we don't have the name of his wife, yet his Children were two girls Madrun and Anna, who were brought up on the Lleyn peninsula near Nefyn in North Wales.

The scenery at Lleyn is wonderful, especially with Bardsey Island, the 'Island of Twenty Thousand Saints' before them. In fact she and her maid Annwn visited the island, and whilst they were there, they had a dream, in which the Virgin told them both to build a church on the mainland, when they slept on the Island overnight.

This church was founded by the teenage girl at Trawsfynydd and later became the  church of Father John Roberts a Catholic priest and saint, who was executed in the time of persecution.

Vortimer, Madrun's father was blessed by St German and was always called 'Gwytheryn Fendigaid) Vortimer the Blessed after that. When the ageing Vortigern married his second wife, he chose Rowena, daughter of Hengist as his bride and she is reputed to have poisoned the saint. The British were furious and rose up  in rebellion. Vortigern and his family fled to Tre'er Ceiri, a hillfort near Neven, and Madrun, by now married Baring Gould and Fisher allege a first marriage of Madrun to Gwgon Gwron ab Peredur ab Eiffer Gosgorgg fawr(!!) However we hear no more of him. Aurelius a war commander of Roman extraction, possibly the true identity of 'Artur' as he ticks all the boxes.

Vortigern was also very unpopular with Saint German, Bishop of Auxerre, because he had committed incest before marrying Sevira and 'marrying' his own daughter, Catteryn. This child, who went on to be the saint Faustus, was taken back to Brittany with St German to be a monk. Vortimer was furious, refused to confess and all the clergy of Britain took against him for this evil. In fact, it is believed St German himself was behind
the attack on Tre'r Ceiri, the hillfort near Neven, where Madrun and Anna lived. St German did pray for the soul of Vortigern for forty days and nights, but Vortigern would not relent.

Aurealanus attacked the fortress with a combination of Britons, from Ynyr Gwent to a variety of Vortigern's friends, anxious to avenge him.  Vortigern Rowena, Hengist and Horsa were all killed and seemingly also Madrun's husband. She fled from the burning hill fort with Madryn and her son Ceidio and took refuge in different places. Because of the Pictish ancestry of the Vortigern Family, it was Madrun and Anna who became the heiresses of the lands of Vortigern. His property in Powys was seized by the Usurper Benadyl and land in Ceridigion (Carmarthen) went to Anna, and the lands in Gwent and Glamorgan went to Madrun. Knowing she was a Christian princess and that Ynyr Gwent was a strong warrior, St German  brokered a marriage between Madryn and Ynyr which turned into a successful love story. Both welcomed St Tathyws from Ireland  when his boat landed on the beach at Sudbrook (Porth Esgewin) and helped him to build his monastery .

Tomorrow the story goes on about her family life in Caerwent.

    This is St Merthiana's Church in Minster, Boscastle.

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