Celtic and Old English Saints          6 November

* St. Illtud of Llantwit Major
* St. Edwen of Anglesey
* St. Efflam of Brittany
* St. Pinnock of Cornwall
* St. Winnoc of Wormhoult

St. Illtud, Monk and Founder of Llantwit Major Monastery, Wales,
Cousin of King Arthur
(Illtyd, Iltut, Illtut)
Died c. 505 (another source says 450-535); feast day formerly on July 7.

Illtud, clearly an outstanding figure and one of the most celebrated
Welsh saints, laboured chiefly in the southeastern part
of the country. His "vita" written circa 1140 has little historical
value; but the "Life of Saint Samson" (f.d. July 28), composed
about 500 years earlier, has some important references. This author
names him as a disciple of Saint Germanus of Auxerre (f.d. July 31), who
ordained him. It calls Illtud 'the most learned of the Britons in both
Testaments and in all kinds of knowledge,' and speaks of his great
monastic school.

This establishment was Llanilltyd Fawr (Llantwit Major in Glamorgan),
where other prominent saints besides Samson are said to have been
Illtyd's pupils. The monastery of Llantwit survived in one form or
another until the Norman conquest (1066).

The author of Samson's Life also describes Illtud's death, in
illustration of the saint's power of prophecy. The passage is an
impressive one, but it does not state where or when the death took

He was the son of a Briton living in Letavia, Brittany (some scholars
believe Letavia is an area in central Brednock, England, rather than in
Brittany), who came to visit his cousin King Arthur of England about

The later "vita" says that Illtud married Trynihid and then served in
the army of a Glamorgan chieftain. When one of his friends was killed
in a hunting accident, Saint Cadoc (f.d. September 25) counselled him to
leave the world behind.

Illtud and Trynihid took Cadoc's advice and lived together as recluses
in a hut by the Nadafan River until he was warned by an angel to
separate from her. He left his wife to become a monk under Saint
Dubricius (f.d. November 14), but after a time resumed his eremitical
life by a stream called the Hodnant. He attracted many disciples and
organised them into the Llanwit Major monastery, which, according to the
ninth-century "Life of Saint Paul Aurelian" (f.d. March 12), was
originally "within the borders of Dyfed, called Pyr," usually identified
as Calder (Caldey) Island off Tenby. The monastery soon developed
into a great foundation and a centre of missionary activity in Wales.

Many miracles were attributed to him (he was fed by heaven when forced
to flee the ire of a local chieftain and take refuge in a cave; he
miraculously restored a collapsed seawall), and he is reputed to have
sent or taken grain to relieve a famine in Brittany, where the place and
church names attest to some connection with Illtud.

His death is reported at Dol, Brittany, where he had retired in his old
age, at Llanwit, and at Defynock. One Welsh tradition has him as one of
the three knights put in charge of the Holy Grail by Arthur, and another
one even identifies him as Galahad (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney,
Doble, Walsh).

Troparion of St Illtyd Tone 6
O wise Illtyd, thou wast noble by birth and noble in mind/ and didst
train many saints in the way of holiness./ Pray to Christ our God to
raise up saints in our days/ to His glory and for our salvation.

12th century Life of Saint Illtud

Pictures of Saint Illtud's church and the Celtic crosses

St. Edwen of Anglesey, Virgin
7th century. The presumed patron saint of Llanedwen, Anglesey, Edwen is
described as having been a daughter of King Saint Edwin (f.d. October
12) of Northumbria (Benedictines).

St. Efflam of Brittany
Died 512. Efflam ( Inflananus) son of a British prince and an Irish
monk who settled in Brittany as a hermit in 480. Became Abbot of the
monastery which he founded and the site developed into the town of
St-Efflam. He is depicted in art protecting King Arthur by fighting a
dragon. (Benedictines).

St. Pinnock
A church in Cornwall is called Saint Pinnocks, but it is probable that
Pinnock is a corruption of Winnoc (f.d. today).

St. Winnoc (Winoc) of Wormhoult, Abbot
Died 717. Winnoc was of royal blood and, while probably of British
origin, was raised in Brittany. It is likely that, like many
others, his family fled to the Continent to escape the Saxons. He
became a monk at Sithiu under Saint Bertin (f.d. September 5), by whom
he was eventually sent with three companions to establish a new
foundation among the Morini at Wormhoudt near Dunkirk. He became its
first abbot and from that centre evangelized the whole neighbourhood.
Winnoc's name figures in many medieval English calendars; he is
apparently titular saint of Saint Winnow near Lostwithiel (Attwater,

Saint Winnoc is depicted as an abbot with a crown and sceptre at his
feet, turning a hand-mill. There is generally a church and a bridge
near him. Sometimes he is shown (1) in ecstasy while grinding corn, or
(2) with Saint Bertinus. Abbot of Wormhoult. Venerated at Sithiu
(Roeder). He is the patron of millers (Encyclopaedia).


Attwater, D. (1983). The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, NY:
Penguin Books.

Benedictine Monks of Saint Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.

Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket Dictionary of Saints, NY:
Doubleday Image.

Doble, G. H. (1944). Saint Iltut.

Encyclopaedia of Catholic saints, October. (1966).
Philadelphia: Chilton Books.

Walsh, M. (ed.). (1985). Butler's Lives of the Saints.
San Francisco: Harper & Row.

For All the Saints:

Icons of Western Saints

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