May 20, 2003

Iím sorry Iíve been so

Iím sorry Iíve been so long finishing my thoughts about what is good about Britain and getting the last ďSĒ posted. This has been the last few days of my parentsí visit, plus Iíve had to put together a presentation.

Whatís great about Britain? Thereís scenery, sustenance, andÖ


If you have an eye for such things, you really donít have to go far in any direction to come across places associated with those venerable fathers and mothers who have walked this island before us.

It was raining yesterday when we were out with my parents and it prevented us from visiting Llanthony Priory. Llanthony (pronounced llan-tonyí with that Welsh ll sound) is actually a contraction of Llan Dewi Nant Honddu, or ďchurch of St David on the Honddu brookĒ. Dewi is the Welsh word for David. It was built on the site of St Davidís monastic cell. Yes, the St David, before he moved out to West Wales and founded the monastic community around which the village and cathedral of St Davidís eventual developed. But Llanthony is where St David spent a lot of time fasting and praying and getting serious with God.

Holiness so permeated this place that five hundred years later, when Sir William de Lacy was out hunting and came across the spot, he immediately laid down his sword and renounced the world. He dedicated himself to prayer and fasting. A couple of years later, at the behest of Queen Maudís chaplain, he founded a monastery on the site, which eventually houses about forty Augustinian monks.

Llanthony is about 25 miles from here. But only 10 miles from here is a church on the site of the first church founded by the father of Welsh monasticism, St Dyfrig. It was St Dyfrig who elevated St David to the episcopate. At two different locations in Herefordshire he trained over a thousand missionaries.

Long before I moved to Herefordshire, I adopted St Dyfrig as a patron and he is the patron of our family. When Mrs Holford was in labour 16 months ago, it was to St Dyfrigís Church that I went to pray.

These are but two little examples within a few miles of here. I could go on and on with more, but the point is that amidst this heathen land, there are still holy places. They are ignored for the most part, because they donít appeal to the modern tourist. Thereís nothing exciting about most of these places Ė not all of them are as scenically beautiful as Llanthony. There may only be a few stones to mark where they are, and sometimes not even that. But they have been sanctified by the holy prayers of holy men and the power of the Holy Spirit.

For me this has more substance than either the scenery or the sustenance this island has to offer.

Posted by david at May 20, 2003 10:41 PM

I am an Orthodox Nun with a particular effinity to the Saints of Wales as I am a decendent of Welsh blood. I have prayed to St David for some time now but have been limited in my knowlege about his life. I would also love more information on the life of St Dyfrig's life. I know that he is known as the father of Welsh monasticism...but no more than that. Can you help?

Posted by: Mother Nicole at December 30, 2003 02:27 AM