Sacred Places of Wales

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Llantwit Major

Llantwit Major is an anglicization of the older Celtic that was named after St. Illtyd (San-Ith-tid) a teacher and craftsman who arrived here from Britanny to preach the gospel in the sixth century. It was here that Illtyd, "the most learned of the Britons in knowledge of the scriptures" founded both a monastery and a school of divinity. The scholars included Gildas, the sixth century historian; St. Paul Aurelian; the bard Taliesin; St. Patrick (formerly Maewyn); and perhaps St. David, the patron saint of Wales. It was also here that St. Samson of Dol was educated, whose "Life" is the earliest of a Welsh saint and who became the most illustrious saint of the Church in Britanny.

The Dissolution took care of what was left of the monastery and the school didn't survive beyond the Norman invasions, but the remaining double-nave church is full of interest. One early Norman part was the parish church; the other late 13th century building served as the monastery church. A collection of Celtic stones and wheeled crosses is found in the earlier part; one of these is known as the Cross of St. Illtyd. Also of interest are the ancient curfew bell, effigies of medieval priests and an Elizabethan lady and child. In the later church are some fine murals with religious themes.

Continuing the pilgrimage to the Sacred Places of Wales, you will now travel westwards, to Swansea, from here, it is only a short distance to Oystermouth, where you will begin your tour of the Gower.

Next Stop: The Gower Peninsular
  

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