Home of St. Illtud
Church of St. Illtud at Llanilltud Fawr (Llantwit Major) was
established by that saint in about AD 520. Originally a warrior in the
employ of King Pawl of Penychen,
he turned to Christianity under the influence of St.
Cadog. He founded his collegiate church soon afterward with the
help of St. Dyrfig.
Llanilltud Fawr became the pre-eminent
centre of learning throughout Christian Britain. Royal children and saints
from across Wales were educated there. Amongst Illtud's many pupils were
SS. Samson, Pawl of Leon, Gildas,
Dewi, Leonorius, Tudwal
& Baglan. St. Illtud himself eventually died and was buried in the
Church at Llanilltud Fawr where his relics attracted pilgrims from across
Wales and the rest of Britain. The present building dates mostly
from the 13th and 15th centuries, although it contains a superb array of
early Christian memorial stones, showing it was also the burial place of
- The beautifully carved
disc-headed cross known as the 'Houelt Cross' bears the inscription, "In
the Name of God the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Houelt prepared this Cross for the Soul of Res, his Father".
It is a memorial to King Rhys ap Arthfael of Morgannwg who died around
AD 850. It was erected by his son, King Hywel ap Rhys.
- The 'St. Illtud' or 'Samson
Cross' was once a similar wheel-headed cross, though only the shaft
now remains. It bears the inscription, "Samson placed his
Cross here for his soul, for the soul of Illtud, Samson, Rhain, Sawyl
and Ebisar". It is possible that it was erected by St. Samson
himself in the 6th century.
- A pillar, commonly called the
'Pillar of Samson' is inscribed, "In the Name of the Most High
God begins the Cross of the Saviour which Samson the Abbot prepared
for his Soul, and for the Soul of Iuthahelo the King and of Artmail
and of Tecan". This is a memorial to King Ithel ap Morgan of
Morgannwg who died in about AD 745. It was erected by Abbot Samson II
of Llanilltud Fawr.