Saints and Holy People

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Saint Gwynllyw (aka Woolos) (450–500)

Saint Gwynllyw (aka Woolos) (450–500)

Feast day: March 29

Saint Gwynllyw (also known as Saint Woolos, which is an English-language version of his Welsh name) was King of Gwynllwg in South Wales. According to one legend, when Saint Gwynllyw proposed marriage to Saint Gladys, her father was less than enthusiastic. When he refused to allow the union, Gwynllyw kidnapped Gladys and the two became bandits on the run. According to some sources, it was his own son, Saint Cadoc, who had always been deeply religious, who convinced his parents to retire their violent ways and convert to Christianity.

Gwynllyw began to live the prayerful life of a monk and then became a reclusive hermit in his later years. In the beginning, his wife Saint Gladys lived with him but later moved to her own hermitage. Gwynllyw's  small hermitage became a shrine after his death. The small wooden church was replaced in the 9th century with one of stone. This small stone church is now incorporated as a chapel in what is now St. Woolos Cathedral (Church of Wales, Anglican) in Newport, Wales.

(Image Welsh Portrait Collection, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)