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BRYNACH, saint (fl. late 5th century - early 6th century)

Name: Brynach
Gender: Male
Occupation: saint
Area of activity: Religion
Author: Hywel David Emanuel

The chief source for the Brynach legend is a 'life' composed probably in the 12th century and now preserved in B.M. Cotton Vesp. MS. A. xiv.

The wealth of local details makes it almost certain that the author was a native of Cemais in north Pembrokeshire. The 'life' reveals nothing of the saint's antecedents, but Welsh tradition remembers him as Brynach Wyddel (the Irishman). After a pilgrimage to Rome and a sojourn of some years in Brittany, Brynach landed at Milford in south Pembrokeshire. He moved thence to a spot on the river Gwaun, and then on to the banks of the river Nevern. His final settlement was made at the modern Nevern on the banks of the river Caman, a tributary of the Nevern. The lord of that country, whose name was Clechre, surrendered possession of part of the district to Brynach, and there the latter remained, leading a life of rigorous asceticism. The majority of his foundations were in this region of north Pembrokeshire, and a cross standing in Nevern churchyard is still known (apparently without justification) as S. Brynach's Cross.

His festival is observed on 7 April.


Published date: 1959

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