St. Endelienta
(Born c.AD 470)
(Welsh: Cynheiddon; Latin: Endelienta; English: Endellion)

St. Endelienta was one of the many daughters of King & Saint Brychan of Brycheiniog. She may be identical to his daughter called Cynheiddon or Cenheidlon in Welsh records. This latter lady lived at Llangynheiddon in the parish of Llandyfaelog near Cydweli (Kidwelly). From South Wales, Endelienta crossed the Bristol Channel to join her siblings in evangelising North Cornwall. Endelienta probably landed first on Lundy Island, where she founded a small chapel (later mistakenly rededicated to St. Helen), before moving on to stay with her brother, St. Nectan, at Hartland. She chose to settle at a place called Trenteny, just south-west of St. Endellion, but still used Lundy as a retreat for meditation. Up until the 16th century, a chapel dedicated to her survived at Trenteny and it was in an adjoining hermitage that she lived a very austere life, with only a cow for company and its milk and the water from her two wells for sustenance. Her sister, St. Dilic, did, however, come to live at nearby St. Illich and the two would often meet along a certain path whose grass would ever afterwards grow greener than elsewhere.

St. Endelienta's unfortunate cow was eventually killed by the Lord of Trenteny when it strayed onto his land. Word of this injustice soon reached the ears of  Endelienta's godfather, King Arthur, and he immediately sent his men to exact revenge from the reckless lord. Trenteny was killed, but Endelienta was not altogether pleased that a man should be murdered in her name and she miraculously restored him to life.

Years later, St. Endelienta had a vision of her impending death. So she called her friends together and instructed them in her last wishes. She asked that, after her death, her body be lain on a cart, yoked to two unguided bullocks and that they be left to take her wherever they liked. St. Endelienta died, apparently martyred - perhaps by Saxon pirates - on 29th April, sometime in the mid-6th century. The young beasts were set to work as she had instructed and they brought her body to rest amid a quagmire on the top of a nearby hill. There, she was buried and a fine church built over her grave, where the church of St. Endellion now stands.

St. Endelienta's shrine was a draw to pilgrims throughout the Middle Ages but, like all others in England, was destroyed during the Reformation. However, its base has survived and can still be seen in St. Endellion Church.

Records of St. Endelienta date back to the 12th century. He is generally considered legendary.


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