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Brychan


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(no date),

legendary Welsh king with many saintly children who appear in varying forms in Celtic hagiology. One version stresses the connection of Wales with Ireland, while another claims Brychan was buried in Scotland. Several manuscript Lives of Welsh saints mention him, as do William Worcestre, Leland, and Roscarrock. The number of children attributed to him varies from twelve to sixty-three, the number most frequently encountered being twenty-four. The genealogy is obscure and saints most frequently claimed as his children (descendants through three marriages or several generations?) include Nectan, Endellion, Morwenna, Clether, etc. Most of them came from Brecon to Cornwall or Devon, where they were venerated.

A 16th-century stained-glass window at St Neot, Cornwall, depicts Brychan, seated and crowned, holding in his arms ten children. This, however, has been described by a standard modern guide as ‘God the Father with souls in his lap’. Roscarrock gives 6 April as his feast.

A. W. Wade-Evans, Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae (1944), pp. 313–17;Baring-Gould and Fisher, i. 303–31;William Worcestre, pp. 63–5.

Subjects: Christianity.


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