Stories of the Irfon Saints




These stories are based on Saints and legends from the Irfon valley in North Brecknockshire, mid Wales. Whilst essentially imaginative they draw on legends and fragments of information which are all that remain from those obscure centuries after the removal of the Roman legions from Britain. They speak of a time when warlords roamed the land and Christianity was gradually spreading throughout Wales led by characters such as David and Tysilio.

Throughout Wales there are many churches dedicated to essentially unknown Saints and these stories seek to weave interconnected narratives out of these obscure heroes of the past which may just have something to tell us about the future of faith and spirituality in these deeply evocative landscapes

Below are extracts from the stories. The full stories are available if you contact me and also in the churches of the Irfon valley and Blaenau Irfon £2 + £1 postage, all proceeds go to church funds. They all hugely benefit from the beautiful illustrations of local artist and stained glass window maker Anna Bessant.

Morwen's Angel

Morwen lived in the Cammarch Valley and the people of the Cammarch Valley didn't have their own church. They had to travel to St. David's Church by the river Irfon or take the long journey to St. Afan‘s church. Cadoc, the big man of the valley, was desperate to have his own church. He had been planning it with Capellanus for years and now the time had finally come. Their very own church. In the Cammarch Valley. Morwen could go there every day, say a prayer and just be silent. She was so excited!

St. Cadmarch

No one knew where Cadmarch came from. One day he just appeared on the ridge above the crossing of the Irfon River. It was clear he was a Christian monk. He had the tonsure with a shaved head and long hair falling on the back of his neck. But apart from that no one knew anything about him.

The Journey of Cannen

The young monk, for so he seemed from his dress and demeanor, climbed from Brechiniog up onto the heights of the Epynt. It was a beautiful day and chorused by birds he strode purposefully over the green hills. But it was not long before the sky darkened and the wind freshened… and the rain began beating down. Those beautiful green hills became bleak and barren and the monk pulled his clothes around him, but they afforded him little protection and the wind buffeted his slight frame with ferocious force.

St. Afan – shepherd of the valley

Of all the saints that legend has given birth to in the valley of the Irfon none is greater than Afan. The wandering Cadmarch, the searching Cannen, holy Morwen and her mentor Glan all these loved Afan and sought his gentle, saintly leadership, for he embodied what it was to be the new man in those wild and dangerous times, when the message of the Christians first took root in the green and remote valley of the river Irfon.