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Gudwal

bishop of St Malo


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(6th century), obscure Celtic abbot. He was an early pioneer of Christianity in Brittany, where the islands of Locoal and Guer (Morbihan) are the probable sites of his hermitage and monastery as well as the main centres of his cult. He is sometimes, but incorrectly, claimed as first bishop of Saint-Malo. During the Viking invasions his relics were moved to St Peter's, Ghent, whence presumably his cult came to England; he is patron of Finstall (Worcester) and Worcester celebrated his feast at a fairly high rank. The church of Gulval (Cornwall) is also claimed to be dedicated to him.

For long he was thought to have been British. Whytford described him as a bishop born of the noble blood of England, who resigned his bishopric and lived on a desolate rock where he built a monastery and gathered 188 monks ‘…he went to the sea at lowest ebb and charged it to keep that place and never flow nearer the monastery…he healed the sick, raised the dead and had revelations of angels’. It is possible, but not very likely that he came from Wales or Cornwall. Feast: 6 June (in Cornwall, 4 or 7 June).

From The Oxford Dictionary of Saints in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Christianity.


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