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20 April

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  • ambrois@xtra.co.nz
    Celtic and Old English Saints 20 April =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= * St. Caedwalla of Wales * St. Gundebert
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 19, 2013
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      Celtic and Old English Saints 20 April

      * St. Caedwalla of Wales
      * St. Gundebert

      St. Caedwalla of Wales, King
      (Cadwallader, Cadwallador)
      Died in Rome on April 20, 689. Saint Caedwalla, descendent of King
      Ceawlin of Wessex, became the King of the West Saxons in 685 or 686 by
      conquest. He subjugated Sussex, made Surrey and Kent dependencies, and
      conquered the Isle of Wight, whose pagan inhabitants he annihilated.
      Nevertheless, while still a pagan, he showed himself to be less cruel
      than many other conquerors of his time, especially after he came under
      the influence of Saint Wilfrid (f.d. October 12) to whom he gave 300
      hides of the conquered Isle of Wight.

      Under Caedwalla, Wessex became a powerful kingdom, but in 688, he was
      converted by Saint Wilfrid, resigned his throne, and went to Rome for
      baptism. He was baptized there on Easter Eve, April 10, 689, by Pope
      Saint Sergius I (f.d. September 8) and took the name Peter. Caedwalla,
      aged about 30, died a few days later still wearing the white robe of the
      neophyte, and was buried in Saint Peter's on April 20. Still to be seen
      on his tomb in Saint Peter's is his metrical epitaph, ordered by Sergius
      and written by Archbishop Crispus of Milan, preserved on the original
      stone. Saint Bede (f.d. May 25) writes of his sanctity. Saint Caedwalla
      is the first of four Anglo-Saxon kings to die in Rome. Do not confuse
      with Cadwallador, King, celebrated on November 12 (Benedictines,
      Delaney, Farmer).

      Another Life:

      This King must not be confused with the King of the Welsh Britons who
      allied himself with the heathen King Penda of Mercia, defeating and
      killing Edwin of Northumbria at Hatfield, and then being defeated and
      dying in battle with St. Oswald at the Battle of Heavenfield. This King
      Cadwalla was a Saxon, although his name suggests that he must have had
      some British connections. He was a descendant of Ceawlin, King of
      Wessex, and defeated other claimants to the throne, even making forays
      into the land of the South Saxons, where he may have first met St.
      Wilfrid. He certainly met him again in the Isle of Wight.

      The Jutes had colonised the Isle of Wight, and they were still pagan; in
      fact this island was the last bit of England to receive the Christian
      faith. Cadwalla, though not yet a Christian, was determined to wipe out
      the Jutes and settle Saxons in their place, but once the campaign had
      begun, he was persuaded to make over a quarter of the island, three
      hundred hides of land, to the Church. Perhaps it was St. Wilfrid's
      presence that helped him make this decision, for it was that holy bishop
      who received this donation and sent a priest to the island.

      Cadwalla was a violent and ruthless King, but he had a respect for the
      Christian faith and its clergy, and Bede tells us that two young
      princes, brothers of Arwald the Jutish King of the Isle of Wight, were
      allowed to be instructed and baptised before their execution at the
      request of the priest Cynebert. Eventually, he decided that he would
      visit the tombs of the Apostles and be baptised at Rome, and so he
      abdicated and set off on his pilgrimage.

      Cadwalla, who was baptised by Pope Sergius on Holy Saturday, had prayed
      that he would die in grace in the Holy City. His prayer was granted and
      he fell ill while still wearing his baptismal robes and died on the
      Wednesday of Easter Week 689. Baptism had released him from all his
      sins, and he had attained the heavenly kingdom. Pope Sergius caused him
      to be buried in the mausoleum on the left of the entrance to St Peter's
      and a fulsome epitaph to be placed on his grave, from which we learn he
      was thirty when he died, and that "candidus inter oves Christi". (He was
      clothed in white and went to graze among Christ's Sheep). ( Bowen, Baring
      Gould, Fisher, Farmer, Bede, Stanton).

      St. Gundebert, Martyr
      8th century; feast day formerly April 29. According to tradition, Saint
      Gundebert, brother of Bishop Saint Niard of Rheims, left his monastery
      in order to migrate to Ireland. He was martyred there by pagan invaders


      Baring-Gould, S. & Fisher, J. (1907) The Lives of the British
      Saints. 4 volumes. Charles J Clarke.

      Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
      (1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.

      Bowen, Paul. When We Were One: A Yearbook of the
      Saints of the British Isles Complied from Ancient Calendars.

      Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket Dictionary of Saints, NY:
      Doubleday Image.

      Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
      Oxford: Oxford University Press.

      Stanton, R A (1887) Menology of England and Wales,
      Burns & Oates.

      These Lives are archived at:

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