BEUNO (died 642?), patron saint

Name: Beuno
Date of death: 642?
Gender: Male
Occupation: patron saint
Area of activity: Religion
Author: John Edward Lloyd

He is widely commemorated in North Wales. Under his patronage are Aberffraw, Trefdraeth, Clynnog, Penmorfa, Carngiwch, Pistyll, and Botwnnog in Gwynedd, and Llanycil, Gwyddelwern, Berriw, and Betws Cydewain in Powys. Llanfeuno in Ewias Lacy alone represents him in South Wales. Of these foundations Clynnog (for Celynnog) was much the most important. The group of clergy who held it appear in the oldest manuscript of the Venedotian Code, under the name of 'clas Beuno,' as warranting (with Bangor) the legal privileges of the cantref of Arfon. According to tradition, the site was given by Gwyddeint, a cousin of Cadwallon, king of Gwynedd, and, therefore, about 630. A long list of other donors who enriched the community in later years appears in the records of the church; they made it one of the wealthiest foundations in north-west Wales. At Clynnog, the fame of the founder was perpetuated in many ways. 'Bedd Beuno' marked his resting place, 'Ffynnon Beuno' was his healing well, 'Cored Beuno' his weir, 'Cyff Beuno' his strong chest of solid oak, 'Nod Beuno' the notch on the ear of cattle dedicated to him, 'Llyfr Beuno' the repository of his claims.

Notwithstanding this wealth of local commemoration, history has little to tell of the saint. The only extant life is a brief Welsh summary of about 1350 contained in the Book of the Anchorite of Llanddewi Brefi (ed. J. Morris-Jones and J. Rhys, Oxford, 1894). This makes him a scion of the royal stock of Morgannwg, born on the banks of the Severn in Powys, educated at Caerwent, settled at Berriw (until driven away by the approach of the English), at Gwyddelwern, at Holywell (where he plays a part in the story of S. Winifred), and finally at Clynnog, where he ended his days on Low Sunday (British reckoning). As his festival was almost everywhere observed on 21 April, it may perhaps be inferred that this was the date of his death in 642.


Published date: 1959

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