St. Decuman
(Died AD 706)
(Welsh: Degyman; Latin: Decumanus; English: Decman)

Decuman was born of noble parents in south-west Wales, probably at Llanddegyman (Rhoscrowdder) in Pembrokeshire where he is patron of the parish church. He also had a chapel at nearby Pwllcrochan. Decuman was instructed in Roman Catholic, rather than Celtic doctrine. Wishing to escape from worldly companions, he crossed the Bristol Channel on a hurdle of rods (possibly a coracle), and landed near the Royal Dumnonian refortified hillfort where Dunster Castle in Somerset now stands. At nearby St. Decumans, adjoining Watchet, he became a hermit, gaining sustenance from the produce of his single cow. He was eventually slain by an unsympathetic pagan, who cut off his head with a spade. Decuman's well there was an object of veneration well into the 16th century. He seems to have travelled around the West Country, for there was once a chapel dedicated to him at Degibma in Wendron (Kernow/Cornwall); but when he founded the now lost chapel at Llanfihangel Cwm Du in Brycheiniog is unknown. Decuman died on 27th August, traditionally in AD 706, although this seems rather late.

Records of St. Decuman date back to the 14th century. He is generally considered legendary.


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