St David and the Saints of Wales
with Dr David Parsons
(Senior Research Fellow at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Research)
at Sutton Hoo,
on Saturday, 1st March 2014.


On St David’s Day we will consider the history, literature and traditions of the medieval Welsh saints. What do we know of their origins? What kinds of stories were told about them? Why is Wales such a ‘land of saints’?

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:         Coffee on arrival
10.15 – 11.15:         The Age of Saints

An introduction to the historical context of early Christianity in Britain, and a survey of how the period has been viewed since the nineteenth century.

11.15 – 11.45:         Coffee break
11.45 – 12.45:         Where to Find Saints

What kinds of things do we know, what kinds of sources do we have for the early Welsh saints?

12.45 – 14.00:         Lunch break
14.00 – 15.00:         Martyrs and Memorials

The significance of Merthyr in place-names and an account of some recent research into its origins and significance.

15.00 – 15.20:         Tea break
15.20 – 16.20:         Dewi Sant / St David

Who was he? What stories are told of him? How did he become the pre-eminent saint of Wales?

c.16.20:                   Thanks and Close

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

Baring-Gould, S., and J. Fisher, Lives of the British Saints, 4 vols (London, 1907–1913)
Cartwright, J. (ed.), Celtic Hagiography and Saints’ Cults (Cardiff, 2003)
Evans, J. Wyn, and J.M. Wooding (eds), St David of Wales: Cult, Church and Nation (Woodbridge, 2007)
Farmer, D.H., The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford, 1978)
Orme, N., The Saints of Cornwall (Oxford, 2000)
Wade-Evans, A.W., Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae (Cardiff, 1944) [Latin lives of Welsh saints with translations]

About Dr David Parsons

David Parsons is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Research.  He works on the languages and cultures of the early Middle Ages in the British Isles, and is a particular specialist in place-name study, currently working on the Welsh names of Shropshire.  He is also director of a major four-year project, “The Cult of Saints in Wales: medieval Welsh-language traditions and their transmission” which will be putting online texts and translations of all the medieval Welsh sources.


Please phone or email to check the availability of places. Study Days are £36 per person, which includes a full day of lectures, access to the NT site, parking, coffee and tea throughout the day, and access to the NT exhibition. Once you have reserved your place please send payment to confirm the booking. For your first booking please complete the application form to ensure that we have recorded your contact details correctly.

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
tel : 01394 386498

Email cliff AT
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