Dictionary of Welsh Biography

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

TATHAN ( Tathai , Lat. Tatheus ) , saint ( fl. 5th cent. ).

His life is found in B.M. MS. Cotton Vespasian A. xiv ; in that of S. Cadoc , where he also appears, he is called Meuthi (the names are identical, the variant forms being due to the honorific prefixes ‘mo’ and ‘to’ and the endearing suffix ‘an’). He was, it is said, born in Ireland , the son of king Tathalius ( Tuathal ) . Tuathal Maelgarb ( 532-544 ) is too late to be his father, and it is possible that Tathalius ruled, not in Ireland , but among the Goidels of North Wales . The ‘Life’ is mostly legendary, but it is clear that Tathan settled in Gwent , and that Caradog , king of all Gwent , made him a grant of land at Caerwent , where he established a school and monastery . S. Cadog , son of king Gwynllyw (q.v.) , was his disciple. His festival is on 26 Dec. (in the English Martyrology , 23 Nov. ). He is patron of Caerwent and, in his name Meuthi , of the extinct Llanfeithin , in Llancarfan parish.


  • Bangor Welsh MSS. Soc., ii, 1909 , Vita Sancti Tathie and Buched Seint y Katrin (Bangor, 1909) ;
  • Wade-Evans , Welsh Christian Origins (Oxford, 1934) , 1934, 118-9 ;
  • Baring-Gould and J. Fisher , The Lives of the British Saints , 1907-13 , iv, 211-4.


Sir Harold Idris Bell, C.B., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.B.A., F.S.A., (1879-1967), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959