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Hast thou heard the saying of Beuno
An old tradition, which was intended to exalt him as one of the greatest of the saints, affirmed that during his lifetime he had raised six persons to life, and that he would some day raise a seventh. It is referred to by some of the mediaeval bards.1
In all the Welsh Calendars his Festival is given on April 21. He was arbitrarily inserted by Wilson in his Martyrologie, 1608, on January 14. Roscarrock gives April 21.
Pope Pius IX appointed April 21 as the day for his commemoration in favour of the Jesuit College of S. Beuno near S. Asaph. Beuno died on Low Sunday, falling, we may suppose, that year on April 21. There is no mention in his Life of any transactions with the successor of Cadwallon, who fell in 634. Low Sunday fell on April 21 in 642, 653, and 659. Probably the first of these is the date of Beuno's death, to allow of his association with Ynyr Gwent, who was married to Madrun, daughter of Vortimer, who fell in 457. Ynyr was an aged man when he placed himself in the college of Beuno, but the latter cannot then have been quite young. He was in favour with Cynan Garwyn, son of Brochwel Ysgythrog. According to the Breton life of S. Tyssilio there was a brief reign of two years after the death of Brochwel, and after that apparently Cynan succeeded. Tyssilio was about the age of Beuno we may suppose, and the former died about 650.
Beuno is represented on the open-air fourteenth century stone pulpit of the Abbey of Shrewsbury as an abbot with shaven head, but a ring of hair about it, with an abbatical staff in one hand, and a hare's head in the other. In stained glass at Penmorfa Church, near Tremadoc, he is mitred.
S. BIGAIL, or BIGEL, Confessor
The name is sometimes written Bugail, which in ordinary Welsh means a herdsman or shepherd. Nothing is known of this saint, and his name does not occur in any of the genealogies ; but he is generally identified with S. Vigilius—we presume the early fifth century martyr-bishop of Trent (Austria), whose festival is June 26. The identification, however, is highly improbable, for the Latin vigilia, treated in Welsh as a doublet, has yielded in the old Welsh period the form gwyl, and in the mediaeval period mywyl. He is the patron of Llanfigel in Anglesey, which is under Llanfachraeth. The church is now in ruins. Maen Bigel is the name given to a rock standing in the sea in Holyhead Bay, and also to another in the Sound of Bardsey. The West Mouse, a little island off the north-west coast of Anglesey, is called in Welsh, Ynys Bigel.1 Browne Willis 2 gives the patron of Llanfigel as S. Vigilius, with festival November 1. There was formerly a church, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Merthyr Mawr in Glamorganshire, which is called in the Book of Llan Ddv 3 Merthir Buceil. The Pembrokeshire parish-name Begelly seems to be a derivative from the name.
1 Their names are given in Peniarth MS. 75 (Evans, Report, i, p. 498), and see a poem by Dafydd Nanmor (fourteenth century) in Cefn Coch MSS., p. 268. 1 Myv. Arch., p. 419; Lewis Morris, Celtic Remains, pp. 37, 435. 2 Survey of Bangor, 1721, p. 279. 3 See the Index.
S. BLEIDDIAN, or LUPUS, Bishop, Confessor
Strictly speaking, the name Lupus should appear in Welsh as Blaidd. Bleiddian or Bleiddan means a young wolf, and is equivalent to Bleiddyn, which is common as a personal name. All that the Welsh authorities have to say about Bleiddian is to be found in the Iolo MSS. He is mentioned as a " saint and bishop, who came to this Island with S. Garmon in the time of Cystennin Fendigaid (or Llydaw) to renew Faith and Baptism." 4 One entry states that the "Cholirs" of Llancarfan and S. Illtyd were founded by SS. Garmon and Beiddan, whilst another states that S. Garmon "founded a choir near Caerworgorn (Llantwit Major), where he placed Illtyd principal and S. Bleiddan chief bishop." 5
But it must be remembered that the hagiological documents printed in the Iolo MSS. are late, being the compilations of Glamorgan antiquaries of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and they have been " edited" by Iolo Morganwg, but to what extent it is now impossible to say, as the originals from which he made his transcripts have practically all disappeared. Statements they contain must therefore be accepted with caution.
It is more than doubtful that S. Lupus of Troyes ever was in Glamorgan, and it is probable that the Bleiddian commemorated was an entirely different saint, a member of the Society of S. Illtyd, and lived considerably later than did Lupus of Troyes.
4 P. 132. On p. 107 it is said that they came hither in the time of Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu (Vortigern). 5 Pp. 130-2.
Two churches in Glamorganshire are dedicated to him, viz., Llanfleiddian Fawr (Llanblethian), but now generally to S. John Baptist, and Llanfleiddian Fach known as S. Lythan's. The latter, in the Book of Llan Ddv, is called Ecclesia Elidon, and Hen Lotre Elidon and Luin Elidon occur therein also as place-names.1 In the Taxatio of 1291 it is given as Eccl'ia de S'co Lychano (for Lythano).2 These forms, however, point to a distinct saint.
One of the Triads in the third or latest series mentions "Hyfaidd Hir, the son of S. Bleiddan in Glamorgan"; 3 but the glosser's pen is very visible, for the reading in the two earlier series is " Bleiddig in South Wales."«
One of "the Sayings of the Wise" stanzas runs—
Hast thou heard the saying of S. Bleiddan
His Festival is not given in any of the earlier Welsh Calendars.
S. BLENWYD, or BLENWYDD
This saint's name occurs in two lists of Caw's children, apparently as that of a son, given in the Iolo MSS., * and there only. He is credited by some 7 with being the patron of Coedana, in Anglesey, but see under S. Anef. Nothing seems to be known of him.
SS. BODA and BODFAN, Confessors
It is difficult to make out whether these names represent one or two persons, as the copyists appear to have got confused. The older lists give only Boda or Bodo.8 The two names occur among the sons of Helig ab Glannog.9 On the inundation of Tyno Helig, his territory, his twelve sons became saints, in the first instance, of the Bangor on Dee,
1 See Index to the book. 2 P. 279.
3 Mvv. Arch., p. 403. * Ibid., pp. 393, 399
5 Iolo MSS., p. 256. • P. 142.
7 Browne Willis, Bangor, p. 282; Lewis Morris, Celtic Remains, p. 39. 8 E.g., Peniarth MS. 16 (early thirteenth century) ; Hafod MS. 16 (c. 1400); Cambro-British Saints, p. 268, where the name occurs as Bodo.
• Myv. Arch., pp. 418-9, 426, 429; Iolo MSS., pp. 106, 124; Cambro-British Saints, p. 268.