The favourite images of the Saint for many are those of a devout earnest monk. Born circa 500, son of Sant, King of Ceredigion and Non, granddaughter of Prince Brychan (possibly niece of King Arthur). According to Geraldus Cambrensis, his conception, birth and eventual elevation to Archbishop were foretold thirty years earlier.But David was not the child of a love-filled marriage. It is said that he was born after his father seduced or raped Non, who went on to become a nun and later a Saint. She left her family and gave birth by the sea. The birth was so intense that her fingers left marks where she grasped the rocks. As David was born a bolt of lightening struck the rock and split it in two.
Folklore tells that a blind man was cured by the water used in his baptism.
David was taught by a blind monk Paulinus in a monasterySouth of Aberaeron. Again according to legend, David restored his sight by making the sign of the Cross. Realising that he was a special and holy person Paulinus sent him off to convert the pagan people of Britain. In the course of his travels, David is said to have founded twelve monasteries including Glastonbury.
David became a great church leader, not in the bishopric sense, but a prophet and a teacher. He was a renown preacher and large crowds gathered to hear him. At one such gathering at Llanddewi Brevi, somebody shouted “we can’t see or hear you” and the ground under his feet rose up and all could see and hear him.
Another tale tells of the Welsh defending their lands against the invading Anglo Saxons. A battle they were losing and in the heat of the battle one could not tell friend from foe. A monk noticed that this was becoming a grave problem. As the Welsh lost more and more ground. The monk cried out “Welshmen you must mark yourselves so that you can tell Saxon foe from your fellow Welsh” He then plucked a wild leek from the ground, “wear these so that you can know that any soldier who does not have a leek is your enemy” Soon every Welsh soldier was wearing a leek, with new impetus they attacked the invaders and the battle was won. The monk who came up with the idea was no other than Dewi Sant.
One tale of David ‘s kindness and consideration for others concerns an Irish monk who worked in the monastery gardens and had a passion for bees. After several years the monk became homesick. However each time he got on the boat bound for Ireland, the bees swarmed and followed him. He asked his abbot David what should he do. David just smiled and blessed the bees “take them with you we have more than we shall ever need” he said. So the monk sailed home with his swarm of bees,that so the tale goes, is how the first bees reached the Emerald Isle.
Despite these newsworthy events,David is mainly remembered for his reputedly simple life, his respect for nature and all the little things of life. Also his choice of settlement in the beautiful, sheltered Glyn Rhosyn, which is now known as the cathedral city of St. David’s, has endeared him to millions of pilgrims for over a thousand years.although Canterbury remained supreme in the Anglican Church, his monastery became a place of pilgrimage for Norman and Plantagenet Kings. After his canonisation in 1120 was second only to Rome. Indeed a variety of proclamations by Popes and chroniclers made it clear that twice to St. David’s equalled a single pilgrimage to Rome.
In the eighteenth century,St. David’s day began to be celebrated as a national festival.Since then millions of school children have dressed up in national costume to mark the Patron Saints special day. Daffodils and leeks have become the national emblem. Daffodils as Peter’s Leeks( Cennin Petr in Welsh) because they flower in spring time, close to 1stMarch, St Davids Day, and leeks because Dewi Sant, during times of prayer and fasting lived for many months on wild leeks and crystal clear spring water.
St. David lived for about a hundred years, and his final words were “DO THE LITTLE THINGS THAT YOU HAVE SEEN AND HEARD IN ME”


  1. Stephen Delwyn says:

    Happy St David’s Day.
    Rosi is cooking leaks in cheese sauce for supper!

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