Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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CADFAN ( fl. 550? ), saint .

According to tradition he was the son of Eneas the Breton and crossed from Brittany to Wales with a party of other monks , many of them his relatives who were intent upon missionary work . He is the patron of Llangadfan in Mont. and is credited with the foundation of the monastic settlement on Bardsey island . But his main achievement was the establishment of the ‘clas’ of Towyn in Mer. , which had an abbot as late as 1147 and was served by a group of clerics in 1291 . Its wealth and privileges are celebrated about 1240 by Llywelyn Fardd in ‘ Canu i Gadfan ,’ and it was the mother church of all Meirionnydd south of the Dysynni .

The much discussed ‘ Stone of S. Cadfan ,’ despite its present name, bears no reference to the saint.


  • The Lives of the British Saints , ii, 1-9;
  • J. E. Lloyd, A History of Wales: from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest , 490;
  • An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire. VI—County of Merioneth (1921) , 170-4;
  • Llawysgrif Hendregadredd (N.L.W. MS. 6680) , 42-8.


Sir John Edward Lloyd, D.Litt., F.B.A., F.S.A. (1861-1947), Bangor

Published date: 1959