ST. DAVID AND HIS MOTHER

ST. DAVID AND HIS MOTHER


St. David, everybody knows, is the patron saint of Wales, but few know
the unique little "village-city," the smallest cathedral city in the
United Kingdom, St. Davids, in the far south-west of Wales; and fewer
still the story of the holy David himself. This story really begins
with St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. As the old legends tell,
St. Patrick sailed on his mission to Ireland from the neighbourhood of
present-day St. Davids, and he liked the look of the country so well
that many years afterwards he established there a sort of missionary
college known as "Ty Gwyn," or the "White House," and here on the slopes
of Carn Llidi some of the earliest of the old Celtic holy men and women
were educated.

Among them, some fifteen hundred years ago, was a Welsh Princess named
Non, daughter of Cynyr of Caer Gawch, a powerful chieftain of the
district. Non was as pious as she was beautiful. There were few maidens
in the land who could compare with her.

But on what seemed to be an evil day--although it became really for
Wales a very lucky one--a barbarous chieftain from the north, called
Sant son of Ceredig, espied the rapturous Non picking flowers on a
lonely part of the hillside, and in the manner of those boisterous times
he decided to carry her off and make her his wife. And so despite her
struggles the unfortunate Non was kidnapped.

After some while she managed to escape from her fierce captor and
returned to live in a little cottage on the cliffs just south of St.
Davids, where subsequently a son was born to her. At the time of his
birth they say Non clutched at a stone in the wall of her cottage room,
and the marks of her fingers remained on it for ever. This stone was
seen by many people for years afterwards and was eventually placed over
her tomb.

The little son grew up and was baptised David by a kinsman of Non's,
one St. Ailbe. Like his mother, he was sent to the "Ty Gwyn" to school
and he became a very pious youth. Then he was sent away to the holy
St. Illtyd to be trained as a priest.

His grandfather Cynyr, who was by no means a holy man, growing
remorseful in his old age, was so much impressed by David's piety,
that for the good of his soul he made over to him all his lands, and
on this estate David founded a sanctuary for men of all tribes and
nationalities, and, to mark the privileged ground, he caused a deep
trench to be dug, and traces of this trench you may find to-day known
as "The Monk's Dyke."

Here in his sanctuary the holy David lived his pious, peaceful life for
many years, converting the heathen and performing miracles. And when
at last he died his sorrowing companions built over his grave a great
church to his memory, which years afterwards, when David had become
recognised as a saint, was replaced by the wonderful old building which
stands there now--St. David's Cathedral.

The remains of Non's old cottage on the cliff, which the monks
afterwards turned into a Chapel, may still be seen, and because of her
holy life she also became a saint. Near to the ruined Chapel you will
find, too, St. Non's well, or St. Nunn's well as it is sometimes called,
from which the holy woman drew her water when she lived her lonely life
at the time of St. David's birth.

Quaint little St. Davids lies far from a railway station, but a road
motor service will take you there in a two hours' journey across
magnificent country from Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, or you may
approach it along a wild, hilly road from Fishguard.

St. Davids is unique: it is literally both village and city. Situated
right by the coast of picturesque St. Bride's Bay on one side and
Whitesand Bay on the other, it occupies a position of peculiar beauty.
Good bathing, fishing and shooting abound; there is a golf course, and,
chief of its attractions, the glorious Norman architecture of its
jewel-like cathedral, its ancient monastic ruins, its old cross and all
the other relics of the careful work of the old ecclesiastical builders
in the far-away days.

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Główna Czytelnia Literatura Legendy ST. DAVID AND HIS MOTHER

 

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