Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Miracle of Mamhilad.

The Life of St Illtud, now in the British Museum in the Cott Manuscript mentions he was Breton and a great nephew of the holy Saint Germanus of Auxerre. (Vespasiab A XIV) \He was known to be very warlike and physical and heard a lot about Britain from his British mother. He resolved to go there and to join a war band, possibly of his kinsman Athrwys,He was given an excellent education in all seven sciences , was baptised and catechised and studied elementary science , but then he decided to go to war and break of his studies, appearing in Britain at the court of the chieftain Paulinus Paelin, and his war leader, Arthrwys.They treated him well, as he was a good companion , learned and a good governor. He was one of the most intelligent of all the solders and became a leader in King Paulinus' household.

One day King Paulinus took the royal household to hunt over the land belonging to St Cadoc, and he was rude enough to send a message to the Holy Abbot Cadoc, that if he did not provide them all with dinner, he would take it by force. Cadoc was surprised at the tone of the request, but nevertheless sent them all dinner. The household sat down to dine, but because of the sacrilege of their request, they were all taken ill and left but Illtyd escaped . He was far away with a hawk and knew nothing of it. Seeing the effect of the Kings disappearing household, Illtyd went to Cadoc to ask what had happened. St Cadoc told him to take of his secular dress and but on a clerical habit, and required that he serve the Creator God all his life so he could do penance for the misdeeds of his household, do God would deal leniently with him at the Judgement. Illtyd returned to King Paulinus and withdrew himself from secular services after that. He left the area and came to the River Daw in Glamorgan and left his wife after an angel commanded him to serve the King of kings, and he realised that he had to devote himself to God and gave up his wife in atonement for all those he had killed as a soldier.

He retired to the Hodnant valley. which was either at Llantwit on the sSevern or at Llanthony, named after the Hodnant in the Welsh.He became a great saint, and ended his days in Llantwit Major (Llanilltyd Fawr) This is a very interesting Church to visit, showing much early history.There is a project afoot to restore the Galilee Chapel from a ruin, to which it was reduced under Henry VIII. The land St Cadoc owned and had founded was based on his teacher , Tatheus (Meuthi-the Hermit) as Tre-feuthin-the Homestead of the Hermit.

Some time after the death of St Cadoc, he was returned to his principal monastery of Llancarfan, where his relics were revered and honoured by his sorrowing brothers.There were thirty six canons at llancarfan, like Llantwit Major a huge monastery and there were vast numbers of gardeners and also other lay brothers and sisters in his llan.

Llifris writes:
No one can relate the miracles performed by St Cadoc
It is because he is not here with his mode of speaking
Christ the Creator of the World will grant pardon
To him who write a Life with faults, named Llifris.

A powerful Saxon leader came from England, with a large body of men, intent on despoiling and pillaging in Wales . He arrived at the coast in a ship, but the clergy of Llancarfan, fled the monastery taking their treasure with them and fled from there with the reliquary of the Holy Man, and other relics , which they prayed would protect them from their pursuers and they hid themselves in a llan of St Illtyd, which readily gave protection and shelter to the followers of this holy saint. The name of the llan was St Illtyd's , in a place which became known as Mamhilad trans:The Place where the Coffin was Brought)When they had been there a short time, the Saxon raiders were also joined by Danes who had heard there were rich pickings in store.

When they saw the coffin with the Holy Saint in it at Mamhilad, they tried to lift it, first four men, then in the end many many men tried to lift it, but it would not budge, They were not able to move it at all. Then they became angry and one, more enraged than all the others, ran forward quickly and struck the coffin hard, and on being struck, it produced a loud bellowing noise like a bull, and greatly frightened the whol.e army and there was a great earthquake at Mam hilad. The coffin was deserted, the enraged soldier, induced by greediness cut of a gold pinnacle from the coffin of the Holy Man, which fell into his lap and immediately he felt as if fire was buirning his chest. Stupified and excited by the pain of the heat, he put the pinnacle back, and it firmy affixed to where it had been cut off, as if it had been soldered on safely. When he had done this the unhappy violator of the coffin died in front of the coffin, seemingly melting into the ground and the foreigners fled, and cceased to worry them.

The brothers decided to take Cadoc over the mountain to his old llan at Tre-Feuthin and here ie was safe from the maraudoing Saxons.Cadoc was lad to rest with great honour at the early site. Later many people were trained at his monastary.

 St Illtyd and St David, appear in Stained glass in this ancient church.
 The sanctuary area as seen from the nave. Originally the screen would have been erected over the arch, the rood (Crucifix would have been up there, with Blessed Mary and St John, and parishioners would have said their confessions before Easter under the rood.
Priest's entrance into the former Sanctuary at St Illtyd's Church at Mamhilad/

Entrance to porch at Mamhilad Church

The ancient font at St Illtyd's  
 The nave and Sanctuary at St Cadocs

Ancient print of St Illtyd's
 The Ancient and beautiful rood loft, which was saved from Cromwell and the Tudor wreckers. Such screens were very expensive and usually donated by a wealthy parishioner. The screen has been put at the rear of the church

St Cadoc, ddoth. Born at Newport and trained and educated at Caerwent with St Tatheus, who retired to a hermits life at Tre-feuthin. St Cadoc was the son of  King Gwynlliw and Queen Gwladys, daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog. Both his parents took Holy Orders in Old Age. Cadoc's white martyrdom took him all over Britain, even to Scotland and to Southern England and South Wales,and he even went to France during the plague known as the Yellow Fever. St Cadoc is well known in France, where an island is named after him.