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Cadoc

(d. c. 560) founder and abbot of Llancarfan


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(d. c.560)

was a leading figure among the monks of South Wales and founder of the church of Llancarfan. He was probably the contemporary of David and Gildas and the master of Finnian, through whom he was known in Ireland. Dedications to him are common in S. Wales (fifteen), very rare elsewhere (one chapel in Cornwall). Over 500 years after his death two Lives were written by Lifris and Caradoc. Lifris of Llancarfan pieced together legends which revealed the past grandeur and the present power of Cadoc in a long, ill-digested mass. The purpose was to glorify Cadoc at all costs and show him as one who would always defend his property, his subjects, and his name. In both the Lives Cadoc ends as bishop and martyr in Benevento: no access is allowed for British pilgrims to his grave for fear they steal the relics! The difference between the two biographers is that Lifris transports Cadoc in a white cloud to Benevento and makes him a martyr, while Caradoc takes him there by road and makes him die a natural death. These extraordinary stories may be explained by the fact that the Welsh had hidden his relics, whereas both the biographers represent the Anglo-Norman conquest of Glamorgan, in which Llancarfan was given to St Peter's, Gloucester. This Cadoc is distinct from a Scottish and a Breton saint of the same or similar name. Feast: 25 September.

The Life by Lifris is edited by A. W. Wade-Evans, Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae (1944), pp. 24–141;the Life by Caradoc by P. Grosjean, ‘Vie de S. Cadoc par Caradoc de Llancarfan’, Anal. Boll., lx (1942), 35–67;critical assessment by C. N. L. Brooke, ‘St Peter of Gloucester and St Cadoc of Llancarfan’ in Celt and Saxon (ed. N. K. Chadwick, 1963).See also H. D. Emanuel, ‘An analysis of the…Vita Cadoci’, Nat. Lib. of Wales Jnl., vii (1952), 217–27;G. H. Doble, The Saints of Gornwall, iv (1965), 55–66.

Subjects: Christianity.


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