Friday, 13 January 2017

Was Saint Illtud a major twit?


Illtud was the founder of the Cor Tewdws seminary at Llanilltud Fawr (Llantwit Major) in the 6th century - one of Britain’s earliest educational establishments.
Illtud was the son of Bicanus, a Breton prince, and at first pursued a military career (some say he served with his cousin King Arthur). This explains why he is is sometimes called St. Illtud the Knight.
Saint Cadoc persuaded him to turn to the spiritual life after an incident where many of his colleagues disappeared on a hunt by being swallowed by a deep muddy bog.
He renounced his wife and became a hermit in the Vale of Hodnant in Glamorgan. Here he founded his monastery school which at its height had over 1000 pupils and schooled many of the great saints of the age, including Saint Patrick, Saint David, Saint Gildas and Saint Samson. Gildas called him ‘the most refined teacher in the whole of Britain’.
When Illtud heard of the plight of his native Brittany during a famine, he organised a trip to send relief supplies of grain. He landed on the west coast of Finistère where the Aberildut river and Lanildut (29) still carry his name. He also travelled southeast where he founded Ploërdut (56).Despite pleas for him to stay he sailed back to Wales.
He returned home to Brittany one more time and died at Dol-de-Bretagne. Landebaëron (22) claims to possess a portion of his skull as a relic.
The name of his village may have been corrupted in English to Llantwit Major but this venerable teacher was no twit, major or minor. 

But the person who designed the road sign (above) probably was.

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