St. Seiriol’s Well

Seiriol lived in the 6th century, and, according to legend, regularly used to meet St. Cybi at a central rendezvous on Anglesey. As the story goes, Seiriol traveled with his back to the sun in the morning and returned with his face to the east in the afternoon, and thus became known as Seiriol the Pale, while Cybi became known as Cybi the Tanned. Seiriol himself was a younger brother of King Cynlas of Rhos and King Einion of Ll?n. His cell adjacent to the well is said to have been rebuilt by his brothers, as they didn’t think his humble residence was good enough. The well lies in a small chamber and the building adjacent to its remains might have once been part of the lower stone walls St. Seiriol’s church in the 6th Century. If so, this would make it the oldest remaining Christian building Read more…

St. Cybi’s Well

St. Cybi’s Well is one of many sacred wells in Wales. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this period of time in Wales is known as the Age of Saints. I also talked a little bit about how the church in the 6th century wasn’t organized in the same way as it is today. While there was officially only one ‘Church’, what we know today as the Catholic Church, the way people practiced Christianity in these early centuries after the death of Christ was different depending upon where they lived. Celtic Christianity, meaning Christianity in Cornwall, Brittainy, Wales, and Ireland specifically, developed its own, somewhat isolated, trajectory with small groups of people following the teachings of a ‘saint’, and the common people, who were Christian, worshipping in parish churches with possibly little connection to any other church. Even though Read more…

Ynys Mon (Anglesey) in the Dark and Middle Ages

Of all the places in north Wales/Gwynedd, the name for Ynys Mon was deliberately changed by the English/Norman invaders, but it belies the fact that Ynys Mon remains resolutely Welsh, with 7 out of 10 residents speaking Welsh.  Because of its location, the populace suffered greatly over the millenia from foreign invaders, culminating with the wars of 1277 and 1282, when it was conquered as a stepping stone to Eryri, the stronghold of the Welsh princes.  After this last war, Edward deliberately razed much that was Welsh to the ground, including Llanfaes Abbey, the gravesite of Princesses Joanna and Elinor and built Beaumaris over the top of it.  In the process, hundreds of Welsh were ‘resettled’ elsewhere and English people brought in. “Ethnic cleansing is not a new concept. When Edward I reached Llanfaes, he forced all the Welsh people to move Read more…

Boudicca’s Revolt

The Romans conquered Britain over the course of one hundred and fifty years.  Julius Caesar was the first to attempt it.  He established a beachhead in the east, but never got further into the country despite multiple expeditions. “His first expedition, however, was ill-conceived and too hastily organised. With just two legions, he failed to do much more than force his way ashore at Deal and win a token victory that impressed the senate in Rome more than it did the tribesmen of Britain. In 54 BC, he tried again, this time with five legions, and succeeded in re-establishing Commius on the Atrebatic throne. Yet he returned to Gaul disgruntled and empty-handed, complaining in a letter to Cicero that there was no silver or booty to be found in Britain after all.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/questions_01.shtml 100 years later, in 43 AD, the Emperor Claudius determined Read more…