All About St Illtud

There are a few places and landmarks around Pentre Naboth named after (or related to) St. Illtud, so here’s a little information about him.

St. Illtud (‘Illtud the knight’) was a 6th century British abbot, and founder of the first major Welsh monastic school: a  Celtic Christian monastery called ‘Cor Tewdws’ (‘the religious community in honor of Emperor Theodosius’), located in Llanilltud Fawr (‘The Great Church of Illtud’), which is 55km directly south of Pentre Naboth, on the Bristol Channel.  It is believed that many princes and scholars spent time there.

6th November is St. Illtud’s feast day.  His remains are supposedly buried in Llanilltud Church (‘The Church of Illtud’), where you can also find a cross dedicated to his soul (at least in part).

There are several churches and towns named after Illtud throughout South Wales, but Brecon and Glamorgan are recognised as having been centres of his cult in the 11th century.  Keep you eyes peeled for names referencing Illtud, or perhaps (amusingly) ‘twit’, and also places such as Llantrisant = which means ‘The Parish of the Three Saints’, one of whom is our Illtud.


Illtud Folklore

It is believed that Illtud was the cousin of King Arthur, and that he stayed in the King’s service at the British Royal Court for some time before being given a position in the Royal Guard at the manor-kingdom of King Pawl in Wales, which covered much of what is now the Vale of Glamorgan.

Illtud’s Welsh guard were apparently a fairly rowdy bunch, until repercussion for stealing some food from a monastery saw them pursued to their death. Illtud survived, and his captors successfully converted him to Christianity; he became a monk and set up his monastery, Llanilltud Fawr, where he taught the seven liberal arts: which is basically language, maths, science and music studies.

Illtud apparently displeased the local King, apparently through his mistreatment of Royal Stewards, to the point that he was chased out to live in hiding, supposedly in caves, for several years.

Eventually Illtud returned to Llanilltud. And following a successful harvest he took the monastery’s crop to feed the starving in Brittany, where he may have died, though his relics are claimed by Llanilltud Fawr.  I guess this happened around the 6th November…

See for more information.