A Welsh saint remembered

Feast of the Welsh St Teilo, I remember wanting to visit the places he worked, especially the Church building at St Fagan’s.


Teilo, also known by his Cornish name Elud, lived in the sixth century, studying under St Paulinus at Llanddeusant and, as a monk, with St David at Mynyw. He founded his own monastery at Llandeilo Fawr where he probably died. A later tradition has St Teilo, accompanied by St David and St Padarn, make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He spent some years in Brittany. At Llandaff he is venerated as founder of the see.

An old tale is often told of how, while Teilo and Aeddan were reading in the cloister at Mynyw (St. Davids), they were called upon to replenish the monastery’s fuel stores. Annoyed at having been drawn away from their studies, the two monks took their axes off to the woods; but found their task much easier than expected when two tame stags aided them in carrying the wood home.


I like it that he is known in Wales as the patron saint of fruit trees and horses. Whilst in France, Teilo, St Samson and his followers are also said to have planted three miles of fruit trees.  Even today the fruit groves they planted are known as the groves of Teilo and Samson.

St Teilo’s Well at Llandyfan also became a place of pilgrimage. Pilgrims came from far and wide to drink the spring water at the well, which had a reputation for curing paralysis and similar ailments. Today the waters of the well have been diverted into a nearby reservoir but the well, used in the 19th century for outdoor baptisms, is still there next to the Victorian church built on the site.


GC Waldrep’s poem also came back to me.


Hymn to St Teilo


moisten the rivet
with the water of your left hand

think on the timed event

the bent knee cavitates
a ministry, a sluice, a (s)laughter


Teilo Church_at_St_Fagans





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