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Beuno

(d. c. 640) holy man


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(6th century),

abbot in North Wales. The Life was written in the 14th century, but may contain genuine elements. He was supposed to have been born and educated in Herefordshire (where there is a village of Llanfeuno), but the main centre of this peripatetic monk's work was at Clynnog Fawr (Gwynedd), where he founded his principal monastery. Some of his many dedications may reflect his foundations, others those of his disciples. They are found in both central East Wales and in Clwyd, but the largest number is in the extreme north-west, including Anglesey and the Lleyn peninsula. He died and was buried at Clynnog Fawr. A stone oratory was built over his tomb; later the relics were translated to a new church (Eglwys y Bedd), where miracles were reported. He is often considered to be the most important local saint of North Wales.

His cult survived the Reformation. In the reign of Elizabeth (1589) there were complaints that lambs and calves offered at the saint's tomb were later brought back and were highly esteemed because Beuno's cattle ‘prospered marvellous well’. In 1770 this custom still survived; sick children too were bathed in his holy well and left all night in his tomb. Remains of the primitive oratory were excavated in 1914. Feast: 21 April.

A. W. Wade-Evans, Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae (1944), pp. 16–22; id., ‘Beuno Sant’, Arch. Cambrensis, lxxv (1930), 315–41;E. G. Bowen, The Settlements of the Celtic Saints in Wales (1956), pp. 79–86; see also Baring-Gould and Fisher, i. 208–21.

Subjects: Christianity.


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