St. Eleri, Abbot of Gwytherin
(Died c.AD 670)
(Welsh: Eleri; Latin: Hilarius; English: Hilary)

Prince Eleri was one of several sons of King Dingat - who ruled the old territory of the Selgovae tribe in what is now Southern Scotland - and his wife, St. Tenoi daughter of King Letan Luyddoc (of the Host) of Gododdin. The family was probably expelled from the region during King Edwin of Northumbria's reign of terror in the North around AD 620. They seem to have settled in the Bryn Buga (Usk) area of Gwent, when Eleri was still a young man. His father entered the church and his five sons were thus influenced to do likewise, although Eleri had started on this road several years before, having been sent to study at Llanelwy (St. Asaphs) in North Wales under St. Asaph.

It was probably after his father's death that Eleri moved on to found the church at Gwytherin in Rhufoniog (Gwynedd); for he took his, apparently widowed, mother with him. It was here that he welcomed his cousin's daughter, St. Gwenfrewy (Winifred), when she was trying to start up a nunnery in North Wales.  She soon  established a double monastery in the village, with St. Eleri as Abbot for the monks and St. Tenoi as Abbess for the nuns. Eleri survived Gwenfrewy by a number of years, having buried her at Gwytherin himself  in November AD 660. He died on 13th June, probably in the late AD 660s or early 670s.

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


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