death_date=c. 500 or 523
Roman Catholic Church; Anglican Communion
issues=place of death (see text)
Saint Gwladys ferch Brychan or St Gladys (
Latin- Claudia), was the beautiful Queen of Saint GwynllywMilwr and one of the famous saintly daughters of King Brychanof Brycheiniog. She was the mother of one of the most revered Welsh saints, Saint Cadoc'the Wise'.
mediævallives 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 this saint though details frequently differ. She is also noted in Welsh king lists.
Half Irish, we have the most details on her of all of Brychan's children. Her beauty won the admiration of King
Gwynllywof Gwynllwgin South Wales. According to "The Life of Saint Cadoc" (c.1100) when her father refused to allow their marriage Gwynllyw accompanied by 300 men abducted her from Talgarth. A pitched battle occurred which was only stopped by the intervention of King Arthurand Caiand Bedwyrwho supported Gwynllyw and his warband in the battle. This act only occurred after Cai managed to persuade Arthur not to abduct the beautiful Gwladys himself. This tale of abduction seems similar to elements in Culhwch and Olwenand 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
Cadocand other children also saints Cynidr, Bugi, Cyfyw, Maches, Glywys IIand Egwine.
It was the prompting of Cadoc and Gwaldys that led Gwynllyw to abandon his life of violence and seek forgiveness for his sins. A vision led him to found a hermitage on what is now
Stow Hillin Newport, South Wales. Gwladys accompanied Gwynllyw into a hermits life and for a while they lived together on Stow Hill, fasting, eating a vegetarian diet, and bathing in the cold waters of the Usk to prove their piety.
Later they moved further apart to prevent carnal sin. Saint Gwladys founding her own hermitage at Pencarn in
Bassaleg, supposedly the site is at Pont Ebbw. [Lifris, 'Vita sancti Cadoci', Vitae sanctorum Britanniae et genealogiae, ed. and trans. A. M. Wade-Evans (1944), 24–141 ] While there she bathed in the Ebbw Riverand the Lady's Well at Tredegarmay have been dedicated to her. It has been suggested that site of St. Basil church, Bassalegwas originally dedicated to her.
Later at the urging of Cadoc she moved yet further to Capel Wladus in
Gelligaer. Today her main church is St. Gwladys, Bargoed.
There is a supposed Burial place of St. Gwladys at Pont Ebbw.
* [http://www.britannia.com/bios/ebk/gwladys.html Saint Gwladys' life]
* [http://www.newportpast.com/gallery/whgreene/ Pictures of The Chapel of St Gwladys, Pont Ebbw, Near Newport, Mon]
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