St David

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Saint Of The Day

Monk. patron saint of Wales. Not a great deal is known about St David. The oldest written evidence about him come from Ireland, but there are legends about him as far afield as Brittany, Cornwall and Herefordshire. He was born some time in the 6th century, probably Henfynw in Cardiganshire. According to legend he was the son of a local chieftain and founded twelve monasteries from Croyland to Pembrokeshire. He is also said to have gone on pilgrimage to Jerusalem where he was consecrated bishop.

St David took part in two councils at Brefi in Cardigan and at Caerleon. His emblem is a dove. This is said to have originated because of his harmonising work at the Brefi meetings.

David was known traditionally as 'The Waterman', perhaps because he and his monks were teetotallers. The original of St David's day daffodil has been lost. The association of St David's day with leeks (in Shakespeare's Henry V) is another mystery.

There are over 50 ancient St David dedications and place names all in South Wales and many more in Devon, Cornwall and Brittany.

Several Irish saints are said to have been pupils of St David or to have come to visit him, and he seems to have had some influence on monastic developments in Ireland.