EBK Activity Sheets


St. Gildas the Scribe
Writing in Arthur's Time.

Saint Gildas -  Nash Ford Publishing
  • St. Gildas is the earliest British writer whose writings are still around today.
  • He was a monk and a hermit and wrote a book called 'De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae' (The Ruin & Conquest of Britain). He wrote other books too, but they have not survived.
  • De Excidio was a religious book, although it does tell us some things about what was happening in Britain around King Arthur's time (early 6th century).
  • We don't really know much about St. Gildas. His life-story was written down a few hundred years later. We don't know how much is true. It said:
    • Gildas was born in Strathclyde (now in Scotland).
    • He went to school in Gaul (France).
    • He became a missionary, telling people about Jesus and the Bible in Wales and Ireland.
    • His family fell out with King Arthur when he killed Gildas' brother, Huail. Gildas later forgave him.
    • Gildas was friends with St. Cadog. He gave him his hand-bell. He also looked after his monastery at Llancarfan (Glamorgan) for a while.
    • He then became a hermit on Flatholm, an island near Weston-super-Mare (Somerset).
    • But he was attacked by pirates, so he moved to Street, near Glastonbury. He wrote his books there.
    • He negotiated (got two sides to agree to) the release of Queen Guinevere when she was kidnapped.
  • Gildas may have also gone to Brittany (North-West France), but this was probably a different saint called Gueltas.
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