Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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MALO (also known as Machu , Machutes , Maclovius and, in Welsh, MECHELL , saint ( fl. 6th cent. ).

The original MS. executed probably early in the 9th cent. , of the ‘Life’ of S. Malo , is lost. The version which is probably closest to the original is that printed first by Joannes a Bosco in his Floraciensis vetus bibliotheca , 1605 , 485-515, and later more correctly by Lot . The version published by Mabillon , and the ‘Life’ composed by Sigebert de Gembloux in the 11th cent. , and printed by Migne , correspond fairly closely in subject-matter to the above. The long but untrustworthy ‘Life’ composed by Bili , clerk of Alet , c. 870 , and printed by Lot , differs substantially, except for its early chapters, from the others. Malo was the son of Dervel , sister of Amwn Ddu , and therefore cousin to S. Samson . The name of Malo 's father is not given. The home of the family was near Llancarfan, Glam. , and the story tells that Malo was born actually in that monastery in the vigil of Easter , and baptized by the abbot (wrongly named Brendan ). Malo was placed in the abbot 's care at a tender age, and performed miracles even as a boy. He refused to abandon the monastic life in spite of his parents’ entreaties, and was ordained priest by the abbot and assigned the office of preacher . Malo may also have been ordained bishop at Llancarfan . After some years Malo resolved to leave Llancarfan and sailed to Brittany , where he became bishop of Alet . Numerous miracles are related of him there. He d. at an advanced age during a voyage from Alet to the province of Saintonge . Many churches are named after him in Brittany and the northern provinces of France . In Wales , he is the patron saint of the churches of S. Maughans and Llanfaenor in Monmouthshire and Llanfechell in Anglesey . 15 Nov. is usually quoted as his feast-day.


  • The Lives of the British Saints , iii, 411-34;
  • F. Lot , Mélanges d'histoire Bretonne (1907) , 97-206, 287-430, and in Annales de Bretagne , xxii, 700-59, xxiii, 29-79, 553-79, xxiv, 90-106, 235-62, 382-405, 575-98, xxv, 47-73;
  • J. Mabillon , Acta Sanctorum ordinis Sancti Benedicti (1668) , i, 217-22;
  • Migne , Patrologiae cursus completus … Series (Latina) (1844–64) , clx, 729-46;
  • Le Grand , Les vies des Saints de la Bretagne-Armorique (1837) , 590-604;
  • Revue Celtique (1870–1934) , xi, 1-22;
  • Analecta Bollandiana , xxiv, 483-6;
  • Duine , Memento des sources hagiographiques del'histoire de Bretagne (1918) , 51-7;
  • J. F. Kenney , The sources for the early history of Ireland an introduction and guide (1929) , i, 417-8.


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

Published date: 1959