Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ELLI , saint ( fl. 6th cent. ).

The ‘ Vita Cadoci ,’ composed in the late 11th cent. , is the only source for the legend of S. Elli . It relates that when S. Cadoc , in the course of his travels in foreign lands, landed upon a group of islands called the islands of Grimbul , the queen of that region implored him to free her from the curse of barrenness. S. Cadoc interceded for her, and eventually she bore a son, Elli , whom she entrusted to the care of S. Cadoc . The latter brought the infant Elli with him to Llancarfan , fostering and educating him with great care. The ‘Vita’ goes on to say that when S. Cadoc was preparing to depart to Benevento , it was Elli whom he appointed to succeed him as abbot . Elli used to visit his master annually until the latter's death. Miscellaneous documents added at the end of the ‘ Vita Cadoci ’ mention the ‘ Atrium Album ’ in which Elli dwelt, and tell of the founding by Elli , at an unspecified place, of a monastic establishment which was to be ever subject to the ‘familia’ of S. Cadoc . Two churches are named after S. Elli , Llanelly , in Carms. , and Llanelly in Brecknock . The feast of S. Elli is given as 23 Jan.

Sources:

  • The Lives of the British Saints , ii, 447-9;
  • Wade-Evans , Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae , Cardiff, 1944 , 54-6, 120, 130-2.

Author:

Hywel David Emanuel, M.A., (1921-70), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959