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

Name: Keyne
Parent: Brychan ap Anlach
Gender: Female
Occupation: saint
Area of activity: Religion
Author: Hywel David Emanuel

According to the 'The Situ Brecheniauc' Wade-Evans, vitae Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae, 313-5) and 'Cognacio Brychan' (op. cit., 315-8), Keyne was one of the saintly daughters of Brychan Brycheiniog.

Her legend is told in the summary 'Life' of S. Keyne, compiled in the mid 14th century by John of Teignmouth from an unknown original. S. Keyne, despising marriage and thus winning the appellation 'Cein-wyry' ('Keyne the virgin'), [often shortened to 'Ceinwr ' and 'Gaynor' - or again 'Ceinwen' i.e. 'Cain the holy'], departed from her native region and settled at a place, now Keynsham, in Somerset, where she lived a hermit's life. After many years, she returned to South Wales and established a monastery at a place not identified with certainty, but perhaps Llangeinor in Glamorgan. The 'Life' states that she was buried by S. Cadoc.

S. Keyne is the patroness of Llangeinor, and her name is remembered in Llan-gain and Capel Cain Wyry (parish of Talley) in Carmarthenshire, in Llangeinwen in Anglesey, and perhaps in Machen, Monmouthshire. Other churches named after her occur in Herefordshire, Somerset, and Cornwall. Her festival is celebrated usually on 8 October.

[Avoid confusing Keyne (Cain) with Canna, another female saint (The Lives of the British Saints ii, 69-71). Llan-gain Carmarthenshire derives from S. Keyne, but Llan-gan Glamorganshire and Canton (Cardiff) from S. Canna.]


Published date: 1959

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