name=Saint Gwynllyw Milwr
death_date=c. 500 or 523
Roman Catholic Church; Anglican Communion
death_place="Stow Hill, Newport"
attributes=crowned warrior, carrying spear sometimes accompanied by an ox
Newport; pirates; soldiers
major_shrine=St Woolos Cathedral (destroyed)
issues=place of death (see text)
Saint Gwynllyw Milwr or Gwynllyw Farfog, pronounced "G-win-th-loo", known in English in a corrupted form as Woolos the Warrior or Woolos the Bearded ( _la. Gundleus, Gundleius or Gwenleue) (c. 450 – c. 500) was a Welsh king and religious figure.
He was King of
Gwynllwgin South Walesand is the legendary founder and patron saint of the City of Newportliving around the 5th century. According to medievaltradition he was a feared warlord and raider who knew King Arthur, but later found religion and became a hermitfounding St Woolos Cathedral in Newport. He was the father of one of the most revered Welsh saints, Saint Cadocthe Wise.
The medieval lives of Saint Cadoc (c. 1100) by
Lifris[Lifris, "Vita sancti Cadoci"," Vitae sanctorum Britanniae et genealogiae", ed. and trans. A. M. Wade-Evans (1944), 24–141] and of Saint Gwynllyw (c. 1120) ['Vita sancti Gundleii', Vitae sanctorum Britanniae et genealogiae, ed. A. W. Wade-Evans (1944), 172–93 ] preserve legendary details of Gwynllyw, though details frequently differ. He is also noted in Welsh king lists. The saint’s lives note that his deeds were celebrated by Welsh bards, indicating he had a widespread popular following. Although saints' lives frequently exaggerate it does seem likely that a monarch of this name existed and a core element in the lives may contain some true details. Gwynllyw was the son of King Glywys, whose powerful kingdom of Glywysingwas centered on Glamorgan, and supposedly extended as far as east as the River Towy. He was a descendant of Macsen Wledigaccording to some accounts, while his mother Guaul was equally distinguished, being the granddaughter of Cunedda. The kingdom was split on Glywys' death amongst his sons, of whom Gwynllyw was the eldest and most powerful, and he was overlord over the others. The central area of his rule consisted of the cantref Gwynllwgthat was named after him and later known in English as Wentloog hundred. One of his Gwynllyw's brothers was Saint Petroc, an important Cornish and Breton saint.
The saints' lives portray King Gwynllyw as an active and merciless warrior who attacked and raided nearby kingdoms. The "Life of Saint Cadoc" describes him as "very partial to thieves, and used to instigate them somewhat often to robberies" but the "Life of Saint Gwynllyw" insists he was a just and fair ruler. [Lifris, 'Vita sancti Cadoci', Vitae sanctorum Britanniae et genealogiae, ed. and trans. A. M. Wade-Evans (1944), 24–141] These raids included attacking his northern neighbour
Brycheiniog. In one such raid described in "Life of Saint Cadoc" Gwynllyw accompanied by 300 men abducted Gwladys(Gladys) the beautiful daughter of King Brychanof Brycheiniog, as Brychan had refused to let him marry her. She was one of Brychan's famous twenty-four children. A pitched battle occurred which was only stopped by the intervention of King Arthurand Cai and Bedwyr who supported Gwynllyw and his warband in the battle. This tale of abduction seems similar to elements in the tale " Culhwch and Olwen" and other Arthurian stories indicating it originated in bardic stories. This is the earliest reference to Arthur in a Saint's life. According to the "Life of Saint Gwynllyw" this battle never occurred and the marriage was actually accomplished peacefully.
Gwaldys soon had a son, the famous saint
Cadoc. To celebrate his son's birth Gwynllyw went another raid stealing cattle from Caerwent. When Saint Tatheuscame courageously to demand the return of a cow, the King was so impressed he decided in return to send his son to Tathyw at Caerwent to be educated. Gwynllyw supposedly had other children also saints Cynidr, Bugiand Egwine. Bugi was married to Peren verch of King Lot/Llawdden/Greidal ap Arthwys.
Once grown Cadoc was deeply religious and according to some sources it was his example and preaching that persuaded Gwynllyw to abandon his life of violence and seek forgiveness for his sins. King Gwynllyw then had a dream in which an angel spoke to him and he saw a vision of a white ox with a black spot on its high forehead. Gwynllyw went forth and when he saw the same ox as in his dream he founded a hermitage there on what is now
Stow Hillin Newport, South Waleswhich he built out of wood. Gwynllyw said of the spot: "There is no retreat in the world such as in this space which I am destined now to inhabit. Happy therefore is the place, happier then is he who inhabits it." ['Vita sancti Gundleii', Vitae sanctorum Britanniae et genealogiae, ed. A. W. Wade-Evans (1944), 172–93 ] Gwynllyw's decision to abandon his kingship and retire to a religious life seems to have been a common theme amongst Welsh saints and even his violent past was not unusual, being shared by Saint Illtydamongst others.
Gwladys accompanied Gwynllyw into a
hermits life and for a while they lived together on Stow Hill, fasting, eating a vegetariandiet, and bathing in the cold waters of the Usk to prove their piety. A miraculous fountain started on the hill when Gwynllyw prayed for water. Later they moved further apart, Saint Gwladys founding her own hermitage at Pencarn.
When Gwynllyw was dying he was attended both by his son
Cadocand Saint Dubricius, who administered the last sacrament to him. The traditional date for his death is 29 Marchis the day dedicated to him. The year of his death is uncertain, suggestions include 500 and 523. Following his death his hermit cell became an important shrine and a churchwas built there. This is now St Woolos Cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of Monmouth. In the 9th century Gwynllyw's church was rebuilt in stone. This indicates his importance and the wealth of his shrine as stone buildings were unusual in Wales at this point. Part of this building is now incorporated into St. Woolos Cathedral as the Galilee chapel. [ [http://www.stwoolosrescue.org.uk/page2.html St Woolos Rescue - page 2 ] ]
The cult of the saint according to his life grew as a series of
miracleswere attributed to him. His fountain healed those who drank from it and angels were seen near his tomb. Later miracles included the protection of a bardfrom flood waters, and the destruction of a Vikingfleet at sea after they plundered the church which was full of rich offerings made to the saint. The defeat of King Harold Godwinsonat the Battle of Hastingswas attributed to the vengeance of Saint Gwynllyw because he and his troops had plundered Gwynllyw's church recently while attacking the nearby kingdom of Gwent. Gwynllyw also drove a man mad who stole from his church. ['Vita sancti Gundleii', Vitae sanctorum Britanniae et genealogiae, ed. A. W. Wade-Evans (1944), 172–93 ] Descriptions of the attacks on the church do coincide correctly with periods of warfare in the area so they are probably based on fact, whatever the truth of the miracles might be. The saint’s cult obviously became deeply revered, not only by the Welsh, but by Saxons and Normanswho came to live in the Newport area and the Norman Lords of Newport continued to enlarge the church – a process that has continued up to the present day.
Stories of Gwynllyw's dark past later included tales of piracy and claims that his ships, based in the Uskside parish of
Pillgwenllythat bears his name, caused terror across the Bristol Channel. [Robin Gwyndaf, Welsh Folk Tales (National Museum of Wales, 1989), p. 96] One tradition asserts that this background meant Gwynllyw was the patron saint of choice for Welsh pirates and smugglers including Sir Henry Morgan. Certainly the many sailors based in Newport would have known of him. Another local story claims that Gwynllyw forcibly baptised the population of Gwynllwg by the sword. [ [http://newporttownpoet.blogspot.com/2006/01/bringing-world-to-wisdom.html Goff Morgan - Adventures In Hack Poetry: Bringing the World to Wisdom ] ]
In 1949 St Woolos Church became a full cathedral and, besides churches, the saint is remembered today through
St Woolos Hospitaland in 1988 a Welsh languageschool Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllywwas set up in Pontypool. The vision of an ox inspired the sculpture by Sebastien Boyesencalled "The Vision of Saint Gwynllyw" or "The Bell Carrier", finished in 1996 and found in central Newport today.
* [http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/gwynlfgg.html Early British Kingdoms: St. Gwynllyw Farfog]
* [http://www.stwoolosrescue.org.uk/ St Woolos Cathedral]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw — cy. Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw (English: St Woolos Comprehensive School ) is a Welsh medium comprehensive school located in Trevethin, Pontypool in Torfaen, Wales and named for Saint Gwynllyw. History The school was founded in 1988 as the first Welsh… … Wikipedia
Gwladys — Infobox Saint name=Saint Gwladys birth date= death date=c. 500 or 523 feast day=29 March venerated in=Roman Catholic Church; Anglican Communion imagesize= caption= birth place=traditionally Brycheiniog death place= titles=Queen beatified date=… … Wikipedia
Newport Cathedral — Newport Cathedral, Woolos, King Confessor St Woolos Cathedral south face Location Newport Denomination Anglican … Wikipedia
Pillgwenlly — Infobox Newport electoral ward Ward = Pillgwenlly Population = 5,333 (2001 census) GridReference = ST315875 Constituency = Newport West PostCode = NP20 2 DiallingCode = +44 1633 Savoy exchange Pillgwenlly ( cy. Pillgwen lli) is an electoral… … Wikipedia
Newport — This article is about the city of Newport in Wales. For the city in Rhode Island, see Newport, Rhode Island. For other uses, see Newport (disambiguation). City of Newport Dinas Casnewydd Principal area City … Wikipedia
Torfaen — ( cy. Tor faen) is a county borough in Wales. Formerly in the west of Monmouthshire, between 1974 and 1996 it was a district in the preserved county of Gwent.EducationSecondary schools in the area are: St Albans RC High School, Pontypool West… … Wikipedia
Gwynllwg — Gwynllŵg was a kingdom of mediæval Wales and later a Norman lordship and then a cantref. Location It was named after Gwynllyw, its 5th century or 6th century ruler and consisted of the coastal plain stretching between the Rhymney and Usk rivers.… … Wikipedia
Penychen — was a possible minor kingdom of early mediæval Wales and later a cantref of the Kingdom of Morgannwg. Penychen was one of three cantrefs that made up the kingdom of Glywysing, the other two being Gwynllwg and Gorfynydd. The cantrefi were created… … Wikipedia
Saint Cado — Saint Cadou Sculpture représentant Saint Cado (Belz) Cado(u) ou Cadoc ou Catuod ou Catoc ou Cazout ou Cadochus serait né en 522 dans le Glamorgan (ou Powys) au Pays de Galles. Il serait le fils de saint Gwynllyw et sainte Gladys. Il est mort… … Wikipédia en Français
Saint Cadoc — Saint Cadou Sculpture représentant Saint Cado (Belz) Cado(u) ou Cadoc ou Catuod ou Catoc ou Cazout ou Cadochus serait né en 522 dans le Glamorgan (ou Powys) au Pays de Galles. Il serait le fils de saint Gwynllyw et sainte Gladys. Il est mort… … Wikipédia en Français