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St David of Wales: Cult, Church and Nation

St David of Wales: Cult, Church and Nation

J. WYN EVANS
JONATHAN M. WOODING
Volume: 24
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 408
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt81m2d
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  • Book Info
    St David of Wales: Cult, Church and Nation
    Book Description:

    The cult of St David has been an enduring symbol of Welsh identity across more than a millennium. This volume, published to commemorate the fourteenth centenary of the death of the saint, traces the evidence for the cult of St David through archaeological, historical, hagiographical, liturgical, and toponymic evidence, and considers the role of the cult and church of St David in the history of Welsh society, politics, and landscape. The collection includes a new edition and translation of the ‘Life’ of St David by Rhygyfarch, based on the text in British Library Ms. Cotton Vespasian A.xiv, as well as new evidence concerning the relics of the saint enshrined in St Davids Cathedral. J. WYN EVANS is the Dean of St Davids Cathedral. JONATHAN M. WOODING is Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion in Celtic Societies at University of Wales Lampeter. Contributors: JULIA BARROW, JANE CARTWRIGHT, FRED COWLEY, JOHN REUBEN DAVIES, OWAIN TUDOR EDWARDS, J. WYN EVANS, G.R. ISAAC, DANIEL HUWS, DAVID HOWLETT, T.F.G. HIGHAM, HEATHER JAMES, JOHN MORGAN-GUY, L.D.M NOKES, HUW PRYCE, C. BRONK RAMSEY, MARK REDKNAP, RICHARD SHARPE, BERNARD TANGUY, +GLANMOR WILLIAMS, JONATHAN M. WOODING, W.N. YATES.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-596-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-x)
    Jonathan M. Wooding and J. Wyn Evans
  5. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. 1 THE FIGURE OF DAVID
    (pp. 1-19)
    Jonathan M. Wooding

    It is around fourteen hundred years since the death of St David (Dewi Sant), notable early holy man, monastic founder and patron saint of Wales. The fourteenth centenary was marked by commemorations at Lampeter and St Davids which, in default of a more certain date, were held to coincide with the 175th anniversary of the opening of St David’s College Lampeter; these in turn inspired the present volume.¹ Our calibrations of St David’s obit lack certainty to the extent that we might have celebrated the fourteenth centenary in 1989 or 2001, or, if we move beyond the witness of the...

  8. 2 TRANSITION AND SURVIVAL: ST DAVID AND ST DAVIDS CATHEDRAL
    (pp. 20-40)
    J. Wyn Evans

    The most eminent saint of Wales … David, or, as his countrymen call him, Dewi, was the son of Sandde ab Ceredig ab Cunedda, by Non, the daughter of Cynyr of Caer Gawch:¹ To repeat all the fabulous legends invented respecting him, would be to heap together a mass of absurdity and profaneness; for the monks, in the excess of their veneration, have not scrupled to say that his birth was foretold thirty years before the event, and that he was honoured with miracles while yet in the womb. But to pass by these wretched imaginations of a perverted mind,...

  9. ST DAVIDS:: FROM EARLY COMMUNITY TO DIOCESE

    • 3 THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE CULT OF ST DAVID: A STUDY OF DEDICATION PATTERNS IN THE MEDIEVAL DIOCESE
      (pp. 41-83)
      Heather James

      The works of E.G. Bowen on the distribution of dedications to Celtic saints and the role of the western seaways, despite their many controversial points, have not ceased to inspire scholarship.¹ Indeed, in Cunliffe’s recent work, Bowen’s ‘western seaways’ have a new proponent.² Bowen himself, especially in his later work, did accept that the surviving pattern of dedications and place-names reflects the latest extent of the cult, rather than (necessarily) the missionary activities of the saint and his followers, though he maintained that from a geographical perspective it was not a crucial distinction. He recognised the phenomenon of ‘re-culting’ of...

    • 4 ST DAVIDS AND A NEW LINK WITH THE HIBERNO-NORSE WORLD
      (pp. 84-89)
      Mark Redknap

      The most extensive evidence for early medieval activity at St Davids takes two forms. The first is documentary;¹ the second is provided by stone sculpture. The Welsh annals record eleven raids by various groups on St Davids between 907 and 1091, which reflect its position as a centre of wealth and power by this time, and point to a wide recognition of both its prestige and the likelihood that it housed portable wealth in the form of precious objects and potential hostages. Viking raiders are specified (‘heathens’, ‘pagans’ or by name) in 982, 988, 999 (when Morgenau, bishop of Menevia,...

  10. THE LIFE OF ST DAVID

    • 5 WHICH TEXT IS RHYGYFARCH’S LIFE OF ST DAVID?
      (pp. 90-106)
      Richard Sharpe

      Rhygyfarch ap Sulien (1056/7–1099) belonged to the family that controlled the clas of Llanbadarn in the eleventh century.¹ His father Sulien was bishop of St Davids, and Rhygyfarch’s Life of St David has always been in some sense a well-known work. He identifies himself as the author in the concluding chapter, where he modestly asks his attentive readers to pray ‘for me, who am named Rhygyfarch and who rashly applied my inadequate talent to this subject’. This sentence is included in two versions of the text, however, and at different periods now one, now the other has been accorded...

    • 6 RHYGYFARCH’S LIFE OF ST DAVID
      (pp. 107-155)

      The text reflects the text-historical argument set out in Chapter 5. It is based on BL MS Cotton Vespasian A. xiv (V), the only complete witness to the original Latin text of Rhygyfarch’s Life. The text published in J.W. James’s edition, referred to as the Nero–Digby version, represented an attempt to restore the reading of a shortened version prepared, it is argued, for Bishop Bernard in the 1120s. Since this was based on a copy of the complete text far earlier than V, and possibly earlier than the exemplar of V, it provides a means to restore original readings...

    • 7 SOME OBSERVATIONS ON THE ‘NERO’, ‘DIGBY’, AND ‘VESPASIAN’ RECENSIONS OF VITA S. DAVID
      (pp. 156-160)
      John Reuben Davies

      Richard Sharpe has made the case for the primacy of the ‘Vespasian’ (V) recension of Rhygyfarch’s Vita S. Dauid over the ‘Nero’ (N) and ‘Digby’ (D) versions, on editorial grounds.¹ Here, I shall offer some observations on the Latin style of V compared with ND, and the content of the different recensions, in order to reinforce the case for V’s primacy; I shall also suggest a date for the composition of the Life.

      One of the most notable features of V, which is the basis for our edition, is that it contains features of the pretentious ‘hermeneutic’ style of Latin....

  11. THE CULT OF ST DAVID

    • 8 ARMES PRYDAIN FAWR AND ST DAVID
      (pp. 161-181)
      G.R. Isaac

      Armes Prydain Fawr ‘The Great Prophecy of Britain’ (APF henceforth), dated to the second quarter of the tenth century,¹ is a vaticinatory poem of 199 lines, preserved in NLW Peniarth MS 2,² known informally as ‘The Book of Taliesin’. An edition, a translation and an analysis of the thematic structure of the poem will all be presented below. The poem expresses, in the form of prophecy, dissatisfaction with the interference of the English king Aethelstan (apparently)³ in Welsh affairs, principally by means of a tax. This implies simultaneously protest against the policies of Welsh rulers, most prominently Hywel Dda, to...

    • 9 THE CULT OF ST NON: RAPE, SANCTITY AND MOTHERHOOD IN WELSH AND BRETON HAGIOGRAPHY
      (pp. 182-206)
      Jane Cartwright

      St David’s mother, Non, the daughter of Cynyr of Caer Gawch, is a somewhat unusual saint, since, unlike the vast majority of the Welsh female saints, her popularity was not confined to one particular locality. She was commemorated at several different locations in south Wales, and her cult was also transferred to Brittany, Ireland, Cornwall and Devon. In Wales her feast was celebrated on 3 March and it is listed in most medieval Welsh calendars.¹ In Brittany Non’s principal pardon is celebrated on the Sunday following the octave of Corpus Christi and a minor pardon is held in her honour...

    • 10 THE CULTS OF SS. NONNE AND DIVI IN BRITTANY
      (pp. 207-219)
      Bernard Tanguy

      In Brittany there are relatively few saints who are only honoured in a single location. St Nonne is one of these, inasmuch as her cult is only attested at Dirinon, in a parish which also honours her son Divi. St Nonne is the patron saint of a chapel and a fountain located just over a kilometre to the south of the market town. Although the cult of Divi was introduced in a number of other locations, there was not a similar veneration for his mother in Brittany.²

      It has been suggested that the saint should be seen as the eponym...

    • 11 ST DAVID IN THE LITURGY: A REVIEW OF SOURCES
      (pp. 220-232)
      Daniel Huws

      Coming across an article, an excellent recent article, on ‘The cult of St David in the middle ages’, and unaware that the author was an archaeologist, some readers might be disappointed to find in it nothing about liturgy.¹ Its one passing reference to liturgy is however a precious one, from the letter written to Thomas Cromwell by Bishop Barlow in 1538. William Barlow, the radical Reformer, complained that ‘the people’ (meaning no doubt the good folk of his chapter) wilfully solemnized the feast of St David and ‘set forth relics in defiance of his admonition and the King’s injunctions’. The...

    • 12 THE OFFICE OF ST DAVID IN PARIS, BIBLIOTHÈQUE NATIONALE, MS LAT. 17294
      (pp. 233-252)
      Owain Tudor Edwards

      Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, shelf mark MS lat. 17294 is a remarkably beautiful book. It is an early fifteenth-century breviary, and it happens to contain liturgical material for the celebration of St David’s Day. The most obvious characteristic of the book is that it is richly decorated on every folio. Art historians have naturally examined it and Victor Leroquais and Eleanor Spencer have written about it, but other than that it has been recognized as being of Sarum use, its liturgical features continue to require further investigation.¹ As observance of the feast of St David on 1 March was made obligatory...

    • 13 A TRIAD OF TEXTS ABOUT SAINT DAVID
      (pp. 253-273)
      David Howlett

      In honour of the patron saint of Wales, who is also my namesake, let us consider three texts about Saint David, first the Vita S. Dauid published by Rhygyfarch ap Sulien in A.D. 1081, second Trucidare Saxones, a Cambro-Latin martial poem published perhaps on Saint David’s Day, 1 March 1200, third the Office for Saint David’s Day, composed after 1220 and extant in a manuscript written during the period 1320–1390.

      Sulgenus Sapiens, Sulien the Wise, twice Bishop of Saint David’s, once 1072/3–1078 and again 1080–1085, had four sons, Rhygyfarch, Arthgen, Deiniol, and Ieuan.¹ From the family home...

  12. THE RELICS OF ST DAVID

    • 14 THE RELICS OF ST DAVID: THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
      (pp. 274-281)
      F.G. Cowley

      The appointment of Bernard as bishop of St Davids in 1115 brought to an end one of the most disruptive and destructive periods in the history of the see. The entries in the Annales Cambriae and the associated versions of the Brut y Tywysogion present a catalogue of the calamities in which the cathedral and see were involved in the last quarter of the eleventh century: a succession of Norse raids, the virtual destruction of the cathedral on three occasions (1071–1073, 1078 [1080] and 1090), a dynastic conflict involving Norse, Irish and Welsh which culminated in the battle of...

    • 15 AMS RADIOCARBON DATING OF BONES FROM ST DAVIDS CATHEDRAL
      (pp. 282-285)
      T.F.G Higham, C. Bronk Ramsey and L.D.M Nokes

      In 1866, during restoration work at St David’s Cathedral overseen by Sir Gilbert Scott, a number of bones were discovered in a niche behind a wall behind the High Altar in the Holy Trinity Chapel.¹ Some cathedral authorities suggested that the remains might be associated with St David, or perhaps St Justinian, both of whom are said to have been enshrined on the northern side of the Presbytery in A.D. 1275.² St David is thought to have died in the late sixth century A.D. An oak casket was constructed in 1921 to house the bones and this was placed in...

    • 16 SHRINE AND COUNTER-SHRINE IN 1920s AND 1930s DEWISLAND?
      (pp. 286-295)
      John Morgan-Guy

      C.H. Morgan-Griffiths, the wealthy Carmarthen solicitor and diocesan registrar, by his own account first conceived the idea of building a Roman Catholic chapel in the vicinity of St Davids around 1928, about the time that work began on the construction of St Non’s House.¹ The original intention was to build at Whitewell Field, the site of one of the medieval chapels closely associated with the cathedral and the cult of St David, but as work advanced on the building of St Non’s House as the Morgan-Griffiths’ summer residence in 1929, it was decided to relocate the chapel on an adjacent...

  13. THE DIOCESE OF ST DAVIDS

    • 17 THE ARCHBISHOPRIC OF ST DAVIDS AND THE BISHOPS OF CLAS CYNIDR
      (pp. 296-304)
      John Reuben Davies

      In the last decade of the eleventh century, Rhygyfarch ap Sulien of Llanbadarn Fawr described in his Vita S. Dauid how the Patriarch of Jerusalem advanced David to the ‘archbishopric’; later, at the synod of Brefi, David’s ciuitas is ‘declared the metropolis of the whole country, so that whoever might rule it should be regarded as archbishop’.¹ Rhygyfarch’s literary efforts to promote the cult of St David and the dignity and privileges of the bishopric were a prelude to the sustained, and ultimately unsuccessful, campaign for metropolitan status begun in the 1130s by Bishop Bernard and continued into the thirteenth...

    • 18 THE DYNASTY OF DEHEUBARTH AND THE CHURCH OF ST DAVIDS
      (pp. 305-316)
      Huw Pryce

      The Norman conquest of Dyfed that followed the killing of Rhys ap Tewdwr, king of Deheubarth, in 1093 had profound consequences for the church of St Davids. There are hints that Rhys’s relations with St Davids had been close: Historia Gruffudd ap Cynan describes him as taking refuge at the church before the battle of Mynydd Carn in 1081,¹ while a note added to the C-text of Annales Cambriae or the Annals of St Davids in British Library, MS Cotton Domitian A.i states that Rhys gave Pebidiog, the cantref in which St Davids is situated, to the church the following...

    • 19 THE STATUTES OF ST DAVIDS CATHEDRAL 1224–1259
      (pp. 317-329)
      Julia Barrow

      In the thirteenth century the bishops of St Davids began to issue statutes for their cathedral chapter. In doing so they were taking part in a wider European trend, as bishops of the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries started to issue statutes for their cathedral chapters, and, quite often, cathedral chapters themselves made compilations of their regulations for future canons to observe. The thirteenth century was a legislative age, not least in the church, and part of the aim of this paper will be to show how wider European patterns, especially in the wake of the Fourth Lateran Council, made...

    • 20 THE CRISIS OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
      (pp. 330-338)
      Glanmor Williams

      Throughout the middle ages there existed a close and lively connection between Rome and St Davids. In the written and oral traditions of the saint himself, much was always made of that unforgettable pilgrimage to the Eternal City reputedly undertaken by David, Teilo and Padarn, in the course of which the bells of Rome were claimed to have rung of their own accord to greet Dewi Sant.¹ Centuries later, some time between the years 1119 and 1124, Pope Calixtus II was formally to recognize the cult of Dewi, the only Welsh saint ever to achieve such distinction at the hands...

    • 21 THE DIOCESE OF ST DAVIDS IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY: A REAPPRAISAL
      (pp. 339-350)
      W.N. Yates

      In a sermon preached in 1879, and subsequently published under the title ‘Why are the Welsh people alienated from the Church?’ Dean Edwards of Bangor put the blame firmly on the actions of the British government during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the appointment by them of non-Welsh bishops:

      In 1715, with the exception of thirty-five separatists’ congregations, the entire people of Wales adhered to the Church. But after that date, for more than a hundred and fifty years, the rulers of the state, in pursuit of a worldly policy, sent into Wales chief pastors ignorant of its language...

  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 351-374)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 375-392)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 393-395)