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NONN, (NONNA, NONNITA), saint, fl. late 5th century

Name: Nonn
Gender: Female
Occupation: saint
Area of activity: Religion
Author: Hywel David Emanuel

Daughter of Cynyr of Caer Gawch in Menevia. The tradition about Nonn is contained almost entirely in Rhygyfarch's ' Life of S. David.' It is said that Nonn, though a nun, was violated by Sant (Sanctus), king of Ceredigion, and, as a result, became the mother of S. David. Gildas, when preaching in a certain church in the district, found himself bereft of speech because of the presence of the unborn David. A similar story is told also of S. Ailbe in the ' Life of S. Ailbe ' (Plummer, below). Further miracles are said to have occurred at the time of the birth of David. Rhygyfarch states that Nonn thereafter lived a chaste life but Irish tradition makes Nonn the mother also of Mor, mother of S. Eltin, and Magna, mother of S. Setna. Nonn is then said to have migrated to Cornwall, where several churches are dedicated to her. Doble (below) however prefers to regard the Cornish Nonna as a male, a monk who was a companion of S. David. Breton tradition remembers Nonn under the name Melaria. The Nonn ascriptions in Wales, always in close proximity to David dedications, are Llanerchaeron and Llan-nonn in Cardiganshire, and Llan-nnon in Carmarthenshire. There were also chapels bearing her name under Cregrina (Llanbadarn-y-garreg) in Radnor, and Ilston in Glamorgan. The festival of S. Nonn was celebrated in Wales on 2 March.


Published date: 1959

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