part of the copyists in the genealogy of these brothers.1 The saint's own name is written Ael-, E1-, and Al-haiarn, and out of the number of forms his father's name assumes, Hygarfael appears to be the best attested. This Hygarfael was a son of Cyndrwyn, a prince of that part of ancient Powys which included the Vale of the Severn about Shrewsbury, and he is said to have been "of Llystin Wynnan (or Wennan) in Caereinion in Powys," probably to be identified with Llysin, a township in the parish of Llanerfyl, Montgomeryshire. The church of S. Aelhaiarn is by the same authorities said to be in "Cegidfa," i.e. "the hemlock-field," in Powys. The parish is called to-day in English, Guilsfield. It is near Welshpool.

Three other dedications have been given to this church—S. Giles (wrested from the parish name), All Saints (Browne Willis), and S. Tyssilio, the last from its having been from very early times a capella under the mother church of Meifod, as also from the fact that its festival, November 8, agreed with that of S. Tyssilio.

After Aelhaiarn was also named the ancient parish of Llanaelhaiarn in Merionethshire, which has for more than 350 years been annexed to the parish of Gwyddelwern. Its church or chapel is now extinct, but one of the townships still bears the name Aelhaiarn. It is given as " Eccl'ia de Lanhehaearn " in the Taxatio of 1291,2 and the instrument, "Unio capellae de Llanalhaern ad vie. de Gwithelwern," dated 1550, is preserved in the Red Book of S. Asaph.3

The dedication here is to be accounted for by Aelhaiarn having been a pupil of S. Beuno, and Beuno was for a while settled at Gwyddelwern; so also his foundation at Guilsfield is explained, as Beuno was near the Severn before he moved to Gwyddelwern. When the master quitted Powys altogether, Aelhaiarn left as well, and accompanied him into Lleyn.

To Aelhaiarn is also dedicated the important church of Llanaelhaiarn, under the dominating height of Tre'r Ceiri in Carnarvonshire, and near Beuno's monastery at Clynnog. Here, and at his Well, a little distance to the north, the pilgrims rested on their way to Bardsey, and paid their devotions. Locally the church is called Llanhaiarn, and is said to be dedicated to S. Elern, both corruptions. There is in the parish a large farm called Elernion (a name formed like Ceredigion and Edeyrnion), which is believed to be so named after him. Pennant, in his Tours, says the church is "dedicated to S. Aelhaiarn, or the Saint with an iron eyebrow, from a legend too absurd to relate. Near it is a fine well, once much frequented for its reputed sanctity." 4

1 Peniarth MSS., 16 and 45; Myv. Arch., pp. 418, 421-2, 424-5; Iolo MSS., p. 104; Cambro-British Saints, p. 267.

2 P. 286. * Fol. 2, collations section. * Ed. 1883, ii, p. 384.

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The legend is given by John Ray in his Itineraries. "We were told a legend of one St. Byno, who lived at Clenogvaur, and was wont to foot it four Miles in the Night to Llaynhayrne, and there, on a stone in the midst of the River, to say his Prayers; whereon they show you still the Prints of his Knees. His Man, out of Curiosity, followed him once to the Place, to see and observe what he did. The Saint coming from his Prayers, and espying a Man, not knowing who it was, prayed, that if he came with a good Intent, he might receive the Good he came for, and might suffer no Damage; but if he had any ill Design, that some Example might be shown upon him; whereupon presently there came forth wild Beasts, and tore him in pieces. Afterwards, the Saint perceiving it was his own Servant, was very sorry, gathering up his Bones, and praying, he set Bone to Bone, and Limb to Limb, and the Man became whole again, only the part of the Bone under the Eyebrow was wanting; the Saint, to supply that Defect, applied the Iron of his Pike-staff to the Place, and thence, that Village was called Llanvilhayrne. But for a punishment to his Man (after he had given him Llanvilhayrne) he prayed (and obtained his Prayer) that Clenogvaur Bell might be heard as far as Llanvilhayrne Churchyard, but upon stepping into the Church it was to be heard no longer; this the People hereabout assert with much Confidence, upon their own experience, to be true. The Saint was a South Wales Man, and when he died, the South Wales Men contended with the Clenogvaur Men for his Body, and continued the Contention till Night; next Morning there were two Biers and two Coffins there, and so the South Wales Men carried one away, and the Clenogvaur Men the other." 1

The story of the restoration of Aelhaiarn out of his bones, one small bone being missing, is an adaptation of a very ancient myth. It occurs in the Prose Edda of Thor on his journey to Jotunhein.2 It is found elsewhere. The duplication of the body of Beuno has its counterpart in the triplication of that of Teilo.

Browne Willis says, under Llanaelhaiarn, " Fanum Sancti Elhayarn Acolyti ut fertur Sancti Beunonis." s This will account, as already pointed out, for the juxtaposition of S. Aelhaiarn's foundations to those of S. Beuno—Llanaelhaiarn to Clynnog, Carngiwch, and Pistyll; the now extinct Llanaelhaiarn to Gwyddelwern; and Guilsfield to Berriew and Bettws Cedewain.1

1 Itineraries of John Ray, Lond., 1760, pp. 228-30. In Peniarth MS. 75 (sixteenth century) it is said that Aelhaiarn was one of seven persons whom Beuno raised to life again.

2 Thorpe, Northern Mythology, Lond., 1851, i, p. 57. Mallet, Northern Antiquities, ed. Bohn, 1847, P- 436

3 Survey of Bangor (1721), p. 273.

S. Aelhaiarn's Well is an oblong trough of good pure water, by the road side, in which the sick were wont to bathe, and there are seats of stone ranged along the sides for the accommodation of the patients awaiting the " troubling of the waters," when they might step in, full of confidence, in expectation of a cure.

This "troubling of the waters" is a singular phenomenon. At irregular intervals, and at various points in the basin, the crystal water suddenly wells up, full of sparkling bubbles. Then ensues a lull, and again a swell of water occurs in another part of the tank.2 The Well now supplies the village with water. It was walled round and roofed by the Parish Council in 1900, after an outbreak of diphtheria in the village. The entrance is now kept locked. S. Beuno's Well at Clynnog is similar to it in many respects; this latter is in a ruinous condition.

Rees gives November 1 as the day of S. Aelhaiarn, his authority apparently being Browne Willis.3 The Calendar in Cotton Vesp. A. xiv, however, gives the festival of "Aelhaiarn of Cegidfa in Powys" as November 2, but the entry is in a later hand than the original MS. So also the Welsh Prymer of 1633.

At Guilsfield, a mile and a half from the Church, is a Holy Well, in a lovely secluded dell, where still a concourse gathers to drink the water on Trinity Sunday.


This is a name given by Rees * in his list of saints of uncertain date, and to whom Rhiw church in Carnarvonshire is said to be dedicated, with September 9 as festival. No such saint, however, occurs among the genealogies of the Welsh saints. Browne Willis, in his Survey of Bangor* gives against the church " S. Eelrhyw, or Delwfyw. Sept. 9.

1 In Cardiff Library MS. 51 is mentioned a "Llech Alhayarn," apparently situated somewhere in Denbighshire (Gwenogfryn Evans, Report on Welsh MSS., ii, pp. 253-4).

2 This is locally called " the laughing of the water," and it is said in the place that the water laughs when any one looks at it.

3 Essay on the Welsh Saints, p. 275; Survey of Bangor, p. 273. 4 Welsh Saints, p. 306.

5 P. 274; Cambrian Register, iii, p. 224 (1818).

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