St. Cewydd
(Born c.AD 490)
(Latin: Cevitius; English: Kevid)

St. Cewydd was said to have been one of the many saintly sons of Caw of Prydyn, a Pictish king in the Strathclyde area of modern Scotland. With the rest of his family, he would have moved south to Edeirnion in Wales, around the early 6th century. However, this family relationship and dedails of his life-story are based on the unreliable Iolo MSS and must therefore be treated as highly suspect.

Iolo Morganwg claimed that Cewydd became a monk in St. Cadog's monastery at Llancarfan (Morgannwg) and there are places in South Wales named after him that could date from this time spent in the area. Llangewydd, near Bridgend, has lost its original church dedicated to him, now only traceable in the fieldname, Caer Hen Eglwys. Lancaut near Chepstow is also probably named for Cewydd; along with Cusop, near Hay-on-Wye, and the extinct Capel Cawey in Monachlog Ddu (Pembrokes). Perhaps he also took evangelical trips to Somerset, where Kewstoke is believed to derive its name from Cewydd.

Elsewhere, place-name evidence shows that Cewydd eventually settled in Elfael (Radnorshire) where he made a number of foundations. The churches of Aberedw and Disserth are both dedicated to him. Cewydd's Retreat, Cil Cewydd, appears in the adjoining parish of Llanfihangel Bryn Pabuan and his hill-slope, Rhiw Gewydd, is a mountain track above Llandilo Graban, possibly leading to his brother Meilig's home in Llowes. He probably died in this region on a date variously said to have been on 1st, 2nd or 15th July. The latter appears to have been the most widely accepted.

All three dates also have close associations with Cewydd's English equivalent, St. Swithun. Both were the 'Rain-Saints' of their respective nations and it seems likely that these particular days were originally pagan Celtic festivals, of some kind, related to the weather. It is popularly said that if it rains on St. Cewydd's day, it will rain for forty days and forty nights.

Records of St. Cewydd mostly date from the 18th century but earlier place-names and dedications suggest he was historic.


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