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the whole of the southern plain. This was the beginning of a terrible time for the Ossorian royal family, and indeed for all the inhabitants of the central and southern plains. Lughaid, the prince of the Hy Duach, one of the septs of the Hy Connla, was, somewhat later, removed from Magh Reighna, and sent in banishment among the Corca Laighde, in the south-west of the county of Cork, or West Carberry.
Presently the Ossorians rose in a body, and, headed by such of their princes as were not detained in Munster, made a desperate struggle to recover their independence. They apparently met at first with some success, but very speedily Aengus Mac Nadfraich, grandson of Corc of Cashel, entered Magh Feimhin and swept through it to drive the Hy Duach out of the middle plain. At the same time a kinsman, Cucraidh, great-great-grandson of Corc, burst into Magh Reighna and Magh Airghet Ros from the north-west.
Aengus annexed the whole of Magh Feimhin, from which he expelled the Ossorians, and he peopled it with the Déisi, who were then settled in what we now call Waterford. As to Cucraidh, he was given all the remainder of Ossory, the two upper plains, as a kingdom under the overlordship of Munster. For seven generations this intrusive dynasty occupied upper Ossory.
Aengus had been baptized by S. Patrick in 470, and he fell in battle 489. We may set down this invasion and partition of Ossory as taking place about 460-480. We know that some of the Ossorian princes fled north, but what became of the people generally ? May we not suppose that it was at this time, when life was impossible in the Land between the Waters, that they took ship and crossed into Cornwall ? But it is not there only that we find them but in Brittany as well. It is certainly significant that among the saints of Western Cornwall and of Western Brittany we find so many Ossorian names. That the same sort of thing went on in Alba from Dal-Riada we know for certain. The Irish colonists and conquerors of the Picts gave their name to Scotland.
The Saints of Wales belong to eight great families.
1. That of Maxen Wledig, or Maximus the Usurper, 383–388. He is held to have married Elen, daughter of Eudaf, a petty prince in Arfon, and Aurelius Ambrosius probably claimed descent from Maximus. From the same stock came Rhydderch Hael, the prince who established himself supreme over the Cumbrian Britons ; also Ynyr Gwent, prince of Gwent, who resided at Caerwent. This family would seem to have represented the Romano-British civilisation. The pedigree has been disturbed by confounding Elen, the wife of
Maxen, with S. Helena, the wife of Constantius and mother of Constantine the Great.
2. That of Cunedda, which came from the North, from the defence of the Wall, and which had been seated in the ancient Roman Valentia. This family is said to have expelled the Gwyddyl from Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Môn, and to have also occupied Merioneth, Osweilion and Denbigh. From it proceeded the royal line of Gwynedd, which only came to an end with the last Llewelyn. From this family proceeded those important saints, Dewi and Teilo.
3. That of Cadell Deyrnllwg in Powys, which sent out a branch into Glywyssing. Cadell became prince of Powys with his seat at Wrox
eter or Shrewsbury, in the fifth century, in consequence of a revolt of the Romano-British and Christian subjects of Benlli against their prince, who favoured paganism. Cadell was grandfather of Brochwel Ysgythrog. This family died out in the male line in Cyngen, murdered at Rome in 854. It produced several saints, notably S. Tyssilio of Meifod; and its branch in Glywyssing afforded the still more illustrious S. Pedrog and S. Catwg.
4. That of Brychan, king of Brycheiniog. This was an Irish family. Anlach, father of Brychan, made himself master of Brecknock. The family produced an incredible number of saints, who are found not only in their native district, but also in North-east and East Cornwall.
5. That of Caw of Cwm Cawlwyd in North Britain. Caw, however, was son of Geraint ab Erbin, Prince of Devon. Owing to the inroads of the Picts, the family of Caw was forced to abandon Arecluda and fly to Gwynedd, where they were well received by Cadwallon Lawhir (v. Life of Gildas), and Maelgwn, his son, who gave them lands, mainly in Môn, but apparently with the proviso that they should enter religion, so as not to form any small principalities which might be politically disadvantageous to the interests of the crown of Gwynedd. To this family, which never after its expulsion from the North obtained any secular importance, belonged Gildas, the famous abbot of Ruys.
6. That of Coel Godebog. According to Skene, he was king in North Britain, and from him Kyle now takes its name. He was ancestor of a large and important family, of Llyr Merini, prince in Devon and Cornwall, of Urien Rheged, and of the poet Llywarch Hên. From him descended a great many saints, but none of any great importance. Pabo Post Prydynn, and Dunawd, and Deiniol of Bangor, are the most conspicuous.
7. That of Cystennin Gorneu, a stock that, like the family of Maxen Wledig, derived from an usurper of the purple, Constantine the Tyrant, 408-411. It was from this stock that issued the family of Caw, given above (5). It would seem to have supplied Domnonia (Devon and Cornwall) with princes, who were called either Constantine or Geraint. The saint of this family that proved most remarkable was S. Cybi, unless we prefer the notorious Constantine whom Gildas denounced for his crimes and immoralities, but who was afterwards converted,
8. That of Emyr Llydaw from Armorica. The Welsh pedigrees derive Emyr from Cynan, son of Eudaf and brother of Elen, wife of Maximus. But this is certainly imaginary. All that we really know about Emyr is that probably, on account of an usurpation
by one of his sons, the others had to fly from Armorica and take refuge in South Wales, where they were well received by Meurig, king of Morganwg, who gave to several of them his daughters in marriage. The Bretons pretend that this eldest son, who sent his brothers flying, was Llywel, or Hoel, “ the Great”. From Emyr proceeded some men of great mark, as S. Samson, S. Padarn, and, by a daughter, S. Cadfan and S. Winwaloe.
To the number may perhaps be added that of Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu, but it did not proceed beyond the second generation, and then only through daughters.
For centuries, due partly to the sneer of Bede, and partly to the proud contempt with which the Latin Church regarded all missionary work that did not proceed from its own initiative, the English Church has looked to Augustine of Canterbury as the one main source from whom Christianity in our island sprang, and Rome as the mother who sent him to bring our ancestors to Christ. That he did a good and great work is not to be denied ; he was the Apostle of Kent, where the Britons had all been massacred or whence they had been driven. But Kent is only a corner of the island. And it was forgotten how much was wrought by the Celtic Church, even for the Teutonic invaders, far more than was achieved by Augustine.
It was the Church in Wales which sent a stream of missionaries to Ireland to complete its conversion, begun by Patrick, a child perhaps of the Celtic Church of Strathclyde, though Professor Bury thinks of South Britain. It was from Ireland that Columcille went to Iona to become the evangelist of the Picts. From Llanelwy went forth Kentigern with 665 monks and clerics to restore Christianity in Cumbria, which extended from the Clyde to the Dee. It was from lona that the missioners proceeded who converted all Northumbria, Mercia, and the East Saxons and Angles. Honour to whom honour is due, and the debt of obligation to the Celtic saints in the British Isles has been ignored or set aside hitherto.
But they did more. To them was due the conversion of Armorica. Evidence shows that nothing, or next to nothing, was done for the original inhabitants of that peninsula by the stately prelates of the Gallo-Roman Church. They ministered to the city populations of Nantes and Rennes and Vannes, and did almost nothing for the scattered natives of the province. They were left to live in their heathenism and die without the light, till the influx of British colonists changed the whole aspect, and brought the people of the land into the fold of Christ.
In Wales, whenever the Norman prelates could, they displaced the Celtic patrons from their churches, and rededicated them to saints whose names were to be found in the Roman Calendar. The native saints were supplanted principally by the Blessed Virgin, but in a number of instances by S. Peter. To take a few instances from one diocese only, that of S. Asaph. Llanfwrog (S. Mwrog), Llannefydd (S. Nefydd), and Whitford (S. Beuno), have been transferred to S. Mary. Northop (S. Eurgain), and Llandrinio (S. Trinio) to S. Peter ; Guilsfield (S. Aelhaiarn), and Llangynyw (S. Cynyw) to All Saints. The two southern cathedrals have received rededications, S. David's to S. Andrew, and Llandaff to S. Peter. Bangor was rededicated to S. Mary, but S. Asaph has escaped.
In Cornwall, Altarnon has been taken from S. Non and given to S. Mary, S. Neot's at Menhenniot to S. Anthony, S. Finnbar at Fowey has been supplanted by S. Nicholas, S. Merryn by S. Thomas à Becket. At Mawnan, S. Stephen was coupled with the patron when the church was rededicated. S. Dunstan, on a like occasion, was linked with S. Manaccus at Lanlivery and Lanreath. S. Elwyn had to make way for S. Catherine, and S. Ruan for the apocryphal S. Christopher.
The same process has been going on in Brittany, as we shall see in the sequel.
The Celtic Saints may have employed methods which to us seem strange and uncouth, but they were in accordance with the spirit of their times ; they were not free from the legal conceptions prevalent in their race, and these coloured their procedure, and carried them to commit acts hardly in accordance with the Gospel, but they were whole-hearted in their devotion to Christ, and with a fervour of zeal in their hearts which was a consuming fire. They accommodated themselves to superstitions, only that they might divest these usages of their evil accidents and direct them into harmless currents. They sacrificed themselves, their comforts, their everything that makes life sweet and joyous, for the sake of their Divine Master, and to win a barbarous people to the precepts of Christ. They were but human, fallible and sometimes faulty, but what they undertook to do, that they succeeded in doing. The Spirit of God, ever present in the Church, calls to action in different ways according to the needs of the time, and the habits of those among whom work has to be done. “ There are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” 66 Spiritus ubi vult spirat ; et vocem ejus audis, sed nescis unde veniat, aut quo vadat : sic est omnis, qui natus est ex Spiritu.67