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Died c. 630; he has another feast on January 14. There is evidence that Beuno was a Welsh man of importance, founder of several monasteries. His story that has been handed down to us in a form written in 1346, but it may contain elements of legend. Beuno was the son of Beugi (Hywgi) and grandson of a Welsh prince. He was educated in Herefordshire, perhaps at Bangor Abbey, near which there is still a village called Llanfeuno.

Beuno was the uncle of Saint Winifred, who was restored to life after her suitor severed her head. Cadvan was king of North Wales, and had recently been victorious over King Ethelred of Northumberland, who, about 607, had massacred the monks of Bangor. Saint Beuno gave the king a golden sceptre, and the prince in turn assigned a spot for Beuno's monastery near Fynnon Beuno (Beuno's Well), in the parish of Llanwunda, of which he is titular saint. But as he was laying the foundation, a woman came to him with a child in her arms, saying that the ground was this infant's inheritance. Troubled by this, the holy man took the woman with him to the king and told him that he could not devote to God another's patrimony. The king refused to pay any attention to his remonstrances. So the saint left. But Gwyddeiant, the king's cousin, immediately went after him, and bestowed on him the township of Clynnog Fawr, his undoubted patrimony, where Beuno built his church about the year 616. King Cadvan died about that time; but his son and successor Cadwallon surpassed him in his liberality to the saint and his monastery.

It is related, among other miracles, that when a certain man had lost his eyebrow by some hurt, Saint Beuno healed it by applying the iron point of his staff: and that from this circumstance a church four miles from Clynnog, perhaps built by the person so healed, retains to this day the name of Llanael Hayarn, i.e., church of the iron brow.

His name is particularly associated with Clynnog in Caernarvonshire, where he may well have had a small monastery. There are many other foundations (including Aberffraw and Trefdraeth on Anglesey Island), both in central East Wales and in Clwyd, dedicated to him that may have been established by his disciples.

Beuno died and was buried at Clynnog Fawr, where a stone oratory was built over his tomb. Later his relics were translated to a new church (Eglwys y Bedd), where miracles took place. The beautiful stone church is large and magnificent as is Saint Beuno's chapel, which is joined to the church by a portico. In this chapel, the fine painted or stained glass in the large windows is much effaced and destroyed, except a large figure of our blessed Saviour extended on the cross. Opposite this crucifix, about three yards from the east window, is Saint Beuno's tomb, raised above the ground, and covered with a large stone, upon which people still lay sick children, in hopes of being cured.

Beuno's cultus survived the Reformation. During the reign of Elizabeth I, there were complaints that lambs and calves were offered at his tomb and later brought back because Beuno's cattle prospered marvellous well. Sick people were still brought to the grave towards the end of the 18th century, where they bathed in his holy well and spent the night in his tomb.

The ruins of his primitive oratory were excavated in 1914. In our age, Beuno's memory has been revived by the Jesuits' establishment of Saint Beuno's College in northern Wales (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Farmer, Gill, Husenbeth). In art, Beuno is shown restoring his niece's head (Roeder). He is chiefly venerated at Clynnog (Roeder).

Another Life:

Like St. John Baptist, Beuno was a child of his parents' old age, and he was sent to the school founded by St. Tathan at Caerwent, where he was ordained a priest, and so was able to communicate his father before he died. He established a religious foundation in his father's home town and planted an acorn by his father's grave, which grew into a mighty oak. From there he moved to Berriew, between Welshpool and Newtown, and there one day, as he was walking by the Severn, he heard an Englishman calling to his hounds, on the other side of the river. He told his disciples to collect their belongings, because they would have leave before the men of a strange language invaded their land.

After a short stay with Tyssilio on a spot near Corwen, given to him by Cynan, he moved on, having quarrelled with Cynan's nephews. He was in Flintshire for a little time, where the miraculous restoration of his neice, St. Winifred, took place, and then he accepted a gift of land from King Cadwallon, only to find it was not the King's to give. When Cadwallon refused to donate other land, Beuno cursed him, but Cadwallon's cousin Gwyddaint hastened to make amends and offered him a township on the North Coast of Caenarvonshire, on the Lleyn Penninsular, and there he built his church at Clynnog Fawr. This was to become his principal place of residence for the rest of his life, although he had a number of other churches, including two in Anglesey.

To this latter part of his life belongs the story of his healing of Tegiwg, the daughter of Ynyr and St. Madrun, who afterwards became a nun. Also the legend of the curlew which rescued a book dropped into the river by St. Beuno and laid it on a stone to dry. The saint was so grateful he prayed that God would reward the bird, giving it protection, and so, to this day nobody knows where the curlew nests.

When the time came for him to die, on the Saturday after Easter, St. Beuno had a vision of heaven opened, and the Trinity, the Apostles Peter and Paul, St. David and St. Deiniol standing with all the saints and angels before the Throne. He died on the following day, Low Sunday, which was April 21st, probably in 642, and was buried at Clynnog, where his shrine and well were frequented by pilgrims for centuries. The shrine was in a chapel on the south west of the church called Capel Beuno or Eglwysy Bedd, and connected to the church by a narrow passage. The well, Ffynnon Feuno, is about two hundred yards from the Church, and epileptics and children with rickets used to be dipped in the water and taken to the chapel to remain there overnight, which was a certain cure.

Until the last century, in Whitsun Week, cattle with a slit in the ear, St. Beuno's Mark, were sold at the church in Clynnog, and the money raised was put in St. Beuno's chest for the relief of the poor. The chest can still be seen in the church. There is a statue of St. Beuno vested as an Abbot on the medieval outside pulpit at Shrewbury Abbey, where he is remembered because of St. Winifred, whose shrine was in the Abbey (Bowen, Baring-Gould and Fisher).

A third Life...

St. Beuno was born around AD 545, the son of Bugi ap Gwynllyw and Princess Peren, daughter of King Lot Luwddoc of Gododdin. His paternal grandfather was a minor Prince of Powys (the son of Tegid ap Cadell Ddyrnllug) and, in this area, Beuno was raised.

The young Beuno was sent to Caerwent, in the south, to be educated by St. Tathyw, in the college founded by King Ynyr Gwent there. Here he obtained a knowledge of all the Holy Scriptures. Afterwards he learned the service of the Church and its rules and took orders and became a priest. It is said that Ynyr Gwent himself, in his old age, granted Beuno lands in Ewyas and that he became his disciple. This is now Llanfeuno, a chapelry under Clodock, near Longtown in Herefordshire. Whilst there, Beuno heard that his father was ill so he committed his foundation in Ewyas to three of his disciples, and hurried back to Powys, where, his father, after receiving communion, making his confession and rendering his end perfect, departed this life. Beuno made a foundation there on the spot and planted an acorn by his father's grave. It grew into a mighty tree of which one branch curved down to the ground and then rose again and there was a part of this branch in the soil, as at present; and if an Englishman should pass between this branch and the trunk of the tree, he would immediately die; but should a Welshman go, he would in no way suffer.

Next, Beuno was granted land at Berriew, near Welshpool, in Montgomeryshire. A standing stone called the 'Maen Beuno' marks the spot where he is said to have preached to the people. One day, however, when he was walking by the Severn, he heard the hunting cries of an Englishman from across the river and he went to his disciples and said: My sons, put on your clothes and shoes and let us leave this place, for the nation of the man with the strange language, whose cry I heard beyond the river urging on his hounds, will invade this place and it will be theirs, and they will hold it as their possession.

Beuno therefore commended his foundation at Berriew to a disciple named Rhithwlint, and travelled to Meifod to visit St. Tysilio and the Royal Court. stayed for some forty days and nights, after which King Cynan Gawyn gave him lands in Meirionydd, at Gwyddelwern, near Corwen. Gwyddelwern implies the site of an Irish settlement, but the saint's biography says that it was so called because Beuno raised an Irishman back to life there. This was probably Llorcan Wyddel, mentioned as one of the six persons said to have been raised by him. Beuno did not stay long on this spot, because of trouble with Cynan's grandsons, the sons of Prince Selyf Sarffgadau, who came and demanded food for themselves and their party. Beuno killed a young ox for them, but they complained that he had bewitched the food. When he heard this, he cursed the young men, saying: What your grandfather gave to God free, do you demand of it tribute and service? May your kin never possess the land, and may you be destroyed out of this kingdom and be likewise deprived of your eternal inheritance. Truly it was a risky thing to interfere with these old Celtic saints! The real facts seem to have been that the young men claimed food and shelter as a right, such as they could demand of any lay householder in the tribe; but this was precisely a claim from which the ecclesiastics considered themselves to be exempt.

As a result of this event, Beuno left Meirionydd and went back to Powys, to what is now Flintshire. His brother, Tyfid, was living here, with his wife and young daughter, and Beuno offered to become the latter's teacher in return for some land on which to build a place of worship. He was given the lordship of Abeluyc (Trefynnon alias Holywell) and, there, daily instructed the girl, Gwenfrewy (alias Winifred), in the ways of the Christian Church. She secretly took the veil but her chosen path was not to run smoothly. While everyone was at church one day, Gwenfrewy was troubled by the unwelcome attentions of a libidinous huntsman. When rejected, he chased the girl to the church steps and chopped off her head! Rushing from within, Beuno cursed the hunter and, picking up his niece's head, he replaced it on her shoulders. Miraculously, she was restored to life.

Upon Beuno's advice, Gwenfrewy set up the first nunnery in Britain, while he decided it was best to depart for Ireland. She regularly worked him a chasuble or some other pretty piece of needlework and had a stream carry it to him. However, about the year AD 612, King Cadfan of Gwynedd died and Beuno thought it might be politique to pay his respects to the new monarch, Cadwallon.

Beuno made the King a present of a golden sceptre which had been given to him by Cynan Garwyn of Powys. In return, Cadwallon gave the holyman a patch of land at Gwredog in Arfon and, there, the saint built a church. Whilst he was enclosing his new foundation with an earthen bank, a woman came with a baby and asked the saint to bless it. Presently, he replied, as soon as this job is finished. But the child's cries disturbed him so much that he asked the woman why her baby was squealing all the time. He has good reason, replied the mother, for you are enclosing land that belonged to his father and is properly his. On hearing this, Beuno shouted to his monks: Leave off this work, and, whilst I baptise this child, make my chariot ready. We will go to the King with this woman and child.

So they went to see Cadwallon at nearby Caer-Segeint (Caernarfon) and Beuno said to him: Why did you give me the land when it was not yours to give, but belonged to this child? Give me other land, or else, return to me the gold sceptre worth sixty cows that I gave to you. I will give you nothing else, replied the King, and as for the sceptre, I have already given it away. Then Beuno in great wrath, cursed Cadwallon: I pray to God that you may not long possess the land. And then he left.

However, when Beuno had crossed the River Saint, he sat on a stone and a cousin of Cadwallon's caught up with him. His name was Gwyddaint and for his own soul and that of Cadwallon he offered him his own township of Clynnog without tribute or service, or any one having any claim on it. Beuno readily accepted and, from then onwards, Clynnog became his main abode. It is beautifully situated on the north coast of Lleyn, under the mountains of BwIch Mawr and Gyrn Ddu.

Now it happened that a skilled and handsome young carpenter from Aberffraw was invited to Caerwent, to build a palace there. Whilst he was there, Tigiwg the daughter of Ynyr, the king, fell in love with him and accompanied him on his journey back home. But the carpenter was not particularly amorous, or was ashamed of taking a princess to his native hovel, and on the way back he murdered her, or so the legend says. She was found by Beuno's Shepherds who reported the matter to the saint. He resuscitated her and induced her to lead the religious life. (It is possible that she was simply deserted, rather than killed, by the carpenter). After a while, rumour of what had happened reached Caerwent, and Iddon, her brother, came in search of her. His sister, however, refused to return, either from a preference for the religious life or from fear of having made far too great a fool of herself over the carpenter. Her brother accepted this, but he asked Beuno to go with him to Aberffraw to support his claim for the horses and gold and silver which the carpenter had carried off along with his sister. Beuno agreed to this and off they went to the court of Cadwallon of Gwynedd at Aberffraw. As soon as Iddon set eyes on the young carpenter, he drew his sword and would have killed him but for those who were standing nearby holding him back. (A story that Iddon cut off the carpenter's head, and that Beuno replaced it, is no doubt a later mediaeval embellishment.) At first Cadwallon refused to have the goods restored, but Beuno insisted and the King, perhaps afraid of incurring another curse, gave way. He also gave Beuno the palace called Aelwyd Feuno. Beuno returned to Clynnog, well content, and remained there the rest of his days, dying on 21st April AD 640.

St. Beuno was buried in a chapel on the south-west side of the church. It is said to have been destroyed by those searching for his relics. His holy well, Ffynon Feuno, is about 200 yards from the church. In former days, rickety and epileptic children, as well as impotent folk generally, were dipped in it, and then carried to the chapel and put to lie overnight on the saint's tombstone. If they slept, they would be cured. A custom that survived until the early nineteenth century was one of making offerings of calves and lambs which happened to be born with a slit in the ear, popularly called Beuno's Mark. These "sacred beasts" were brought to church on Trinity Sunday and the church-wardens who sold them put the proceeds into Cyff Beuno (Beuno's chest). Into the chest also went the offerings of persons who came from distant parts of the country, even down to the early nineteenth century, to propitiate the saint on behalf of their cattle when afflicted with some disorder. When the chest was opened in December 1688, it contained ?15.8.3d. The money was used for church repairs and the relief of the poor.

Troparion of St Beuno
Tone 6
Thou didst work many miracles and found many churches,
O glorious Father Beuno.
Thou didst protect Saint Winifred
and guide her in holiness.
Protect us also, by thy prayers, through all the dangers of this life
that we may receive mercy.

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