asked Beuno to accompany him to Aberffraw to support his demand for the restoration of the "horses and gold and silver," which the carpenter had carried off along with his sister.

Beuno agreed to this, and they went together to the court of Cadwallon at Aberffraw, but no sooner did Iddon set eyes on the gay young carpenter, than he drew his sword on him and would have killed him, but for the interference of those who stood by. The story goes that Iddon cut off the carpenter's head, but that Beuno replaced it, and he was none the worse. But this is an embellishment. Cadwallon demurred to the restoration of the goods, but Beuno insisted, and the king, afraid of incurring another curse, and perhaps seeing that the request was reasonable, gave way. He did more, he " gave to Beuno the palace in which is Aelwyd Feuno" (his hearth).1 Beuno returned to Clynnog, well content, and remained there the rest of his days.

"And as the lifetime of Beuno was ending, and his last day drew nigh, on the seventh day after Easter, he saw heaven open, and the angels descending and ascending again. And Beuno said, ' I see the Trinity, and Peter, and Paul, and David the innocent,2 and Daniel, and the saints, and the prophets, and the Apostles and the Martyrs appear. And I see seven angels standing before the throne of the most high Father, and all the fathers of heaven singing their songs, and saying, 'Blessed is he whom thou hast chosen, and taken, and who does for ever dwell with Thee.'"

He was buried at Clynnog, where his shrine and fountain were in repute for many centuries.

The Iolo MSS. state that Beuno, in his earlier clays, was a saint or monk of the Bangor of Catwg, his uncle, and that he afterwards became Pen rhaith Gwynedd,3 which implies that he exercised some sort of ecclesiastical supremacy there, but it merely means that he was Abbot of Clynnog, which was " great in learning and science "—indeed, " the most celebrated of all the Bangors of Gwynedd for knowledge and for piety." 4 The foundation is variously called Bangor Clynnog and Bangor Beuno in Clynnog Fawr in Arfon.5 Leland described it as being, in his day, " the fayrest Chirch yn al Cairarvonshire, as better then Bangor . . . almost as bigge as S. Davides, but it is of a new Worke. The old Chirch wher S. Bennow liyth is hard by the new."1 Pennant pronounced it " the most magnificent structure of its kind in North Wales." 2

1 P. 126 of the Anecdota Oxoniensia text. The Cambro-British Saints text is here (p. 20) corrupt, as generally.

2 The Cambro-British Saints text reads here Diudevirion, a meaningless bungle. The A nee. Oxon. text has duid wirion. The first word is a scribe's error for dauid.

3 P. 107. 4 Ibid., pp. 113, 130.

5 There is a beautiful old tradition about a devout monk of Bangor, Beuno, who slept for hundreds of years without waking in a wooded dingle hard by, called Llwyn y Nef, i.e. Heaven's Grove (Y Brython, i860, p. 11o; Cymru Fu, p. 183). It is a variation of "Yr Hen Wr o'r Coed" (the Old Man from the Wood) legend, the Welsh counterpart of the Seven Sleepers, etc. There is another legend connected with this grove. It is said that when the Bangor was being built a certain bird, to which the people to-day give the name of Y Durtur (by which is usually meant the turtle-dove), sang there with such sweetness that the workmen became spell-bound, and could not proceed with their work. In answer to Beuno's prayer the bird was removed, and was never heard there again. "The men of Clynnog had a tradition that S. Beuno caused the materials that were used in building the church to be landed on the shore just below it" (Browne Willis, Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 304). 1 Iiin., v, ff. 49, 13.

Capel Beuno, or as it is still popularly called, Eglwys y Bedd, the Church of the Grave or Shrine, is built on the south-west side of the church. It was here that S. Beuno was buried. There is nothing of the shrine now remaining, but a plain altar-tomb stood there, a little to the east of the chapel, in the latter part of the eighteenth century.* Its destruction is said to have been the result of a search for the saint's relics. The chapel is connected with the church by a narrow, dark cloister or passage of about five yards long. It is said that the glass in the large east window of the chapel formerly delineated the legends of SS. Beuno and Winefred. Another account, however, written in the beginning of the eighteenth century, says that it contained a figure of S. Beuno, but that his "miracles and history," as well as S. Winefred's, were to be seen in some fragments of glass in the windows of the church.4 There was a belief that scrapings off the pillars in the chapel, dissolved in water, were good for sore eyes.

Ffynnon Feuno, his holy well, is about 200 yards from the church, on the roadside, and is enclosed by high walls. Round the well are seats, and there are steps to go down into it. In the well were formerly dipped rickety and epileptic children, as well impotent folk generally, after which they were carried into the chapel and put to lie over night on rushes on the tombstone. If they slept it was believed their cure would be certain. Pennant saw on the stone " a feather bed, on which a poor paralytic from Merionethshire had lain the whole night," after having previously undergone ablution in the well.5

2 Tours, ed. 1883, ii, p. 384.

3 Gough speaks of it as being "whitened over" (Sepulchral Monuments, ed. 1796, ii, pt. i, p. exeii). For its destruction see the Gentleman's Magazine for November, 1793.

4 Browne Willis, Bangor, p. 299.

5 Tours, ed. 1883, ii, p. 385.

[graphic][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]

S. Bettno 21 JGored Beuno (his fish weir) is near the creek called Porth Clynnog. At ebb tide there are heaps of large stones still visible.

Leland, in his Collectanea,1 gives an account from the pen of John Ansters, Esq., Garter, of a custom that still prevailed at Clynnog in 1589.

"I went to the Place where it was reported that Bullocks were offered, that I might be an Eyewitnesse of the same. And upon Mondaye in Whitsonne Week there was a yonge Man that was carried thither the Night befor, with whome I had conference concerning the Maner of the Offerings of Bullocks unto Saints, and the yonge man touled me after the same Sort as I had hard of many before ; then dyd I aske him whether was ther any to be offered that Daye? He answered that ther was One which he had brought to be offered: I demanded of him where it was ? he answered that it was in a close hard by. And he called his Hoste to goe with him to see the Bullocke, and as they went, I followed them into the Close, and the yonge Man drove the Bullocke before him (beinge about a yere oulde). . . . And as the Bullocke dyd enter throughe a little Porche into the Church-yarde, the yonge Man spake aloude, The Halfe to God and to Beino. Then dyd I aske his Hoste, Why he said the Halfe and not the Whole? His Hoste answered. He oweth me the other Halfe. This was in the Parishe of Clynnog in the yere of our Lord 1589. . . . Ther be many other things in the Countrye that are verye grosse and superstitious; As that the People are of Opinion, that Beyno his Cattell will prosper marvellous well; which maketh the People more desyrous to buye them. Also, it is a common Report amongest them, that ther be some Bullocks which have had Beyno his Marke upon their Eares as soone as they are calved."

The custom fell into disuse only in the nineteenth century. Till a little over a hundred years ago it was usual to make offerings of calves and lambs which happened to be born with a slit in the ear, popularly called Nod Beuno, or Beuno's Mark. The "sacred beasts" were brought to church on Trinity Sunday, and delivered to the churchwardens, who sold them, and put the proceeds into Cyff Beuno, or Beuno's chest. Ear-marked calves are still highly regarded by the farmers of Clynnog.2 We are told that "multitudes of persons frequently resorted in procession, especially on Trinity Sunday," to make their oblations to the Saint, which were so great that the custom of

1 ii, p. 648; P.R.O., State Papers, Dom. Eliz., vol. ccxxiv, n. 74.

2 "Llyfiad Beuno," B.'s Lick, is the name popularly given by the farmers of the locality to the mark seen on the backs of cows when they are in good condition.

« ForrigeFortsett »