Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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CADWGAN (d. 1241 ), bishop of Bangor .

He succeeded after the death of Robert in 1212 . Llywelyn ap Iorwerth was at this time dominant in North Wales , and it was, no doubt, through his influence that Cadwgan obtained the see. King John , moreover, who, in the early months of 1215 , was angling for the support of the Welsh against the barons , put no obstacles in his way. On 13 March the chapter was allowed to elect the abbot of Whitland , provided the assent of the Crown was afterwards formally sought. On 13 April , John informed Langton of the abbot 's election and asked him to consecrate. After due profession of obedience on 28 April (‘Maias’ being read for ‘Marisi’ in the document), the archbishop complied, consecration being at Staines on 21 June . It should be added that there is no other evidence for the ‘Martinus’ of the Annals of Worcester and those of Tewkesbury (using a common source), which must be due to some confusion.

Nothing would be known of the origin of the new bishop , were it not for the picture drawn by Gerald of Wales in Speculum Ecclesiae — a picture which wants nothing but the name. The portrait is drawn in a spirit of reckless ill will and its details can only be used with the utmost reserve. Nevertheless, it may be accepted that Cadwgan was the son of an Irish priest and a Welsh mother, who received a good clerical education and became a Cistercian monk . At Strata Florida he rose to be abbot , and not long afterwards was promoted to the headship of Whitland , the mother house of nearly all Cistercian abbeys of Wales . By assiduous services to Llywelyn , he was finally raised to the episcopate. What is known of Cadwgan from other less tainted sources is entirely to his credit. In 1234 , at a season of dearth in North Wales , he arranged that a shipload of corn should be brought over from Ireland for the relief of his people. Two years later, with the sanction of Gregory IX , he resigned his see and returned to the life of a simple monk at the abbey of Dore , where he d. on 11 April 1241 . There is evidence that he had some repute as a scholar and author , a book of homilies in particular being attributed to him.

Sources:

  • J. E. Lloyd, A History of Wales: from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest , 688-9.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959