who in A.D. 57 was accused of practising an illicit religion, and although pronounced guiltless by her husband, to whose domestic tribunal she was left, according to the practice of Roman law, spent the rest of her life in a depressed condition, by which Tacitus probably means religious retreat and abstinence from attendance at public games. This lasted for forty years, "non cultu nisi lugubri, non animo nisi maesto.” That she was a Christian is most probable. The Pomponii Bassi, another branch of the family, were ; that is shown by two inscriptions found in the catacomb of S. Callixtus ; and in the same catacomb was discovered by de Rossi a third inscription to Pomponios Græcinos, who consequently was akin to Pomponia Græcina.2

Now the house of Pudens was one of the first used in Rome for Christian worship, and over it was erected the church now known as Sta. Pudentiana. The house had been bought by Pudens from Aquila and Priscilla.

“ Short of actual proof it would be hard to imagine a series of evidences more morally convincing that the Pudens and Claudia of Martial are the Pudens and Claudia of S. Paul, and that they, as well as Pomponia, were Christians." 3

Claudia and Pudens were the parents of Novatus, Timotheus, Praxedes and Pudentiana, all of whom are numbered with the saints. It was she and Pudens who are said to have received S. Peter into their house. The Acts of S. Pudens, S. Praxedes and S. Pudentiana are extant, but they are quite untrustworthy.

After a long life spent in the exercise of Christian virtues, Claudia died at her husband's villa at Sabinum in Umbria, at the beginning of the second century. Her body was translated to Rome by her sons, and laid in the tomb of Pudens, beside her husband.

A good deal of wild conjecture 4 has been indulged in relation to Claudia Rufina, who has been supposed to have been the daughter of Caratacus who so bravely resisted Aulus Plautius and Ostorius Scapula. We know that finally Caratacus was taken, along with his wife and daughter, and that all were sent in chains to Rome. But the inscription at Chichester leads us rather to take Claudia


Pomponia Græcina insignis femina, A. Plautio, quem ovasse de Britannis rettuli, nupta ac superstitionis externæ rea, mariti judicio permissa. Isque prisco justitio propinquis coram de capite famaque conjugis cognovit et insontem pronunciavit. Longa huic Pomponiæ ætas et continua tristitia fuit.” Tac.. Ann., xiii, 32.

2 De Rossi, Roma Sott., ii, 360-4 ; Kraus, Roma Sotteranea, pp. 142–3. 3 Conybeare, Roman Britain, 1903, p. 257.

4 See, for instance, John Williams (Archdeacon), Claudia and Pudens, Llandovery, 1848.

to have been the daughter of Ti. Claudius Cogidubnus or Cogidumnos.

There is no mention of Claudia in Welsh tradition, and she has received no cult. She is included in no martyrology save only in that of Wilson, who, purely arbitrarily, gives as her day August 7.

Theophilus Evans, in his Drych y Prif Oesoedd, first published in 1716, gives her name under the Welsh form, Gwladys Ruffydd (ii, c. 1); but Gwladys could never represent Claudia.


S. CLETHER, Confessor

In the Life of S. Brynach (Cotton MS. Vesp. A. xiv) is mention of a certain lord of a district in Carmarthen where he was, called Clechre. But in John of Tynemouth's version of the story it is “ dominus loci illius, nomine Cletherus." He was surnamed the Aged, and he feared God.

Probably the Clechre of the Cotton MS. is a scribe's error for Cletherus, misreading the th as ch, possibly under the influence of the cognomen Senex,' which, if he had a Welsh original before him, may have read clairch,2 a decrepit old man.

Whether he was akin to Clydwyn, who had expelled the Goidels from Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, we cannot say; but the Brynach country is also the Clydwyn country. Clydwyn was a son of Brychan ; and when Clether went to Cornwall, it was into that part colonized by the Brychan family.

Brynach had come into the country, and squatted in a valley, and lighted a fire. In the morning Clether,or Clechre,saw the rising smoke, and summoned his twenty sons, and bade them see who had dared to intrude on their land, for to kindle a fire was an assertion of possession.

They came to Brynach, and discovered that he was the husband of the sister of Clydwyn, and if, as is probable, Clether was of the


Senex cognominabatur," Cambro-British Saints, p. 9. 2 Welsh clairch, Cornish cloirec, Med. Irish clérech, and Manx cleragh, are all derived from the Latin clericus.

Brychan stock, he would welcome Brynach as a kinsman by marriage. He received Brynach well, placed his sons under his tuition, and himself, inspired by the desire of, leading an eremitical life, departed for Cornwall," where, serving God, he gave up his happy soul to the Lord.” 1

The place in Cornwall where he settled was in the valley of the Inny under the lofty hog's-back of Laneast Down, that cuts off the winds from the Atlantic. Here igneous rocks project like horns above the grassy valley, forming rock shelters beneath them. Perhaps. he selected one of these, and put a screen in front to complete the shelter. Hard by a copious spring that never fails gushes out of the hillside. A sweeter spot could hardly have been selected ; blue as the sky in the spring with wild hyacinths, and in the bottom the glittering stream winding along with a gentle murmur. Here to this day is the sanctuary, or sentry, and one rude granite cross remains marking its bounds.

In the eleventh century, perhaps earlier, the parish church of S. Clether was built further down the valley, on a height. Bishop Bronescombe re-consecrated the church that had been rebuilt, on October 23, 1259; but it bears traces of earlier work.

The chapel of S. Clether, the original oratory of the Saint, was rebuilt in the fifteenth century, and the holy well reconstructed. The chapel is a building running east and west, and measures internally 19 feet 1 inch by 11 feet 4 inches. It possesses a door to the west, and another to the north. The holy well is situated 7 feet from the north-east angle of the chapel, and the water from it is conducted by a channel under the floor to the altar, beneath which it bubbled up, and then ran away and fell over a sill at the south-east end into a small (second) holy well, to which access was obtained from without.?

The idea was certainly taken from the description of the living waters in Ezek. xlvii, 1, 2. “He brought me again unto the door of the house ; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward ... and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side."

The existing building is of the fifteenth century, but it is possibly a reconstruction out of the material of the original chapel. No mortar


“ Pater vero senex valedicens, osculatusque omnibus, secessit in partes Cornubiæ, ibidem Deo serviens beatam Domino reddidit animam.” CambroBritish Saints, p. 9.

2 See S. Clether's Chapel and Holy Wells, by Rev. A. H. Malan, in Journal of the Royal Inst. of Cornwall, 1898, p. 541 ; and an article in The Cornish Magazine, Truro, 1898, p. 449.

[graphic][merged small]
« ForrigeFortsett »