The Tour of Wales



Gallery: The Age of Saints
Even though we are very familiar with the names of the travelling evangelists who established Christianity in Wales from the fourth to the eighth century, we do not know much about their particular practices.

St David, the Patron saint of Wales, was one such evangelist

     One aspect more than any other distinguished their Christianity, its emphasis on common life: monasticism. But it was a monasticism which would not be recognised within the European mainstrean: members of the community were allowed to marry, and so families and children were part of life in a Welsh monastery or clas. It was a centre for education, both general and specifically for clerics, evangelists and missionaries. Under its spiritual head, the abbot who was very often also a bishop, it extended its care to those small communities of Christians that had been formed by the work of its missionaries. Clasau were found throughout Wales, among the most important being those at Llancarfan (Vale of Glamorgan), Llandeilo (Carmarthenshire), Llanbadarn Fawr (Ceredigion), Meifod (northern Powys), Caergybi (Holyhead, Ynys Môn) and Clynnog (Gwynedd). Nevern Cross

Nevern Cross
      Perhaps the most famous was the clas at Llanilltud Fawr (Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan). It was established by Illtud (c475-c525) who was described by an early historian as "the Briton most knowledgeable in the Scriptures and every branch of philosophy - poetry and rhetoric, grammar and mathematics: he was renowned for his wisdom and had the gift of prophecy." It is possible that the school he established at Llanilltud was the most advanced and strongest centre of learning flourishing in the Europe of his day, and all to the glory of God and the preaching of the gospel. Neath Abbey

Neath Abbey



  © Stephen Kingston