Located on the Isle of Anglesey in northwest Wales, the medieval church of Llanbadrig is the pride of the nearby village of Cemaes, on Cemaes Bay.3 There is a strong local tradition that the church is dedicated to Patrick, Apostle of the Irish. However, reporting of that dedication has been divided between the patron saint of Ireland and one Padrig ab Alfryd, a saint associated with northern Wales (Crawford 2009: 152-157). The issue of the dedication is important to the community of Cemaes. Llanbadrig is still a functioning church, with a recognized status as a historic building. The village also uses its folklore about Patrick in the promotion of a long-established tourism industry. The contested dedication calls the authenticity of that local tradition into question.

A resolution is also needed for scholarly purposes. It is important for the study of saints' dedications, an international collaboration that has produced ground-breaking work related to medieval culture. In folkloristics, the two central studies of the Welsh saints have virtually bypassed Patrick's place in Welsh folklore. The early twentieth-century work on the British saints, often used in the absence of newer work in folklore studies, misinterprets the Llanbadrig dedication, compounding the problem. A resolution is therefore needed to confirm Llanbadrig's place in a broader distribution of dedications to Patrick. A full description and interpretation of that pattern provides another basis for the study of cultural phenomena related to the Apostle of the Irish, a perennial focus in Celtic Studies.

Llanbadrig is on the northern coast of Anglesey, some distance from the village of Cemaes. Situated on cliffs above a rock-bound shore, the churchyard looks out over the Irish Sea and a small island. The church itself is a long structure of stone and mortar, more or less parallel to the coastline. One end, the liturgical east, is marked by a large outcrop of natural rock. Beyond it, higher broken terrain defines the horizon. To the liturgical west is a rising headland. Between sea and sky, in strong contrasts of light and shadow, Llanbadrig is the focal point in a strikingly beautiful landscape (Figure 1).

Figure 1.  Llanbadrig church and churchyard.
Figure 1. Llanbadrig church and churchyard.

Cemaes is a former fishing village, a small seaport in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The village is aligned along Stryd Fawr, "Big Street," its central area bordered with two-story businesses, shops, and houses. Stryd Fawr curves to the right, joining Bridge Street, just before another cluster of buildings, near the sands of the bay. A short distance to the east, Bridge Street intersects the mouth of the River Wygyr, whose tree-shaded valley lies behind the eastern bank of businesses on the main thoroughfare. Various newer housing developments fan out around the bay. Near the opposite end of Stryd Fawr is St Padrig (New). The second church was built in 1865 (Corker 1986: 29),4 in order to provide a place of worship sheltered from the winter sea storms. The community's website addresses another aspect of the village's relationship to the sea. It lists the scores of ships wrecked in the difficult navigation of the waters off the coast of northern Anglesey (Cwmni Cemaes Cyf: "History and Heritage").

The evaluation of the contested Llanbadrig dedication involves a choice of perspectives. As a geographer, Graham Jones has defined the cultural phenomenon of dedication:

In religion the term 'dedication' refers to the commemoration of a saint (a person venerated for their goodness of life and/or sacrifice in death), angel, or aspect of the Divine (such as the Holy Trinity), by naming a place or object of devotion in their honour (2007: 16).

He also explains the importance of saints' dedications: "Devotion to purposefully chosen patron saints is a cultural marker with significant potential for the better understanding of historic landscapes and individual communities" (2007: 9). Further, Jones points out that dedications are not randomly distributed (2007: 20-21); the geographic distribution pattern of a particular dedication is meaningful, as well as the dedication itself. In another reminder, he corrects older approaches: "... the scholar's anxiety to discover the 'original' patron saint misses the point that the dedication of a church is what it was at any particular time and carries intrinsic interest particular to its place and time" (2007: 46).

A second useful perspective is that of an ethnological orientation in folkloristics. The local evidence for informal culture, the expression of tradition in social practice and storytelling, is central to the resolution of the question of the Llanbadrig dedication. In relation to a study such as this, the basic insight is that expressions of informal culture can be properly interpreted only within the contexts of the related social groups or communities (Crawford 2009: 17-20). The recovery of contexts is based on the use of scholarship from various disciplines, along with local or community history (Crawford 2009: 40-42). For a folklorist, a related issue is the past treatment of such evidence. In the early twentieth century, local cultural heritage was appropriated by authors from outside the community, who felt entitled to represent that heritage in ways other than how they found it.

An initial context for the dedication may be described in terms of geography. Llanbadrig is located on the southern periphery of a distribution of medieval ecclesiastical sites with dedications to Patrick, sites located outside of Ireland. The distribution area encompasses the Isle of Man, northern Wales, northern England, southwest and central Scotland, and the western isles of Scotland. The proximities may be expressed in terms of visibility. On clear days, it is possible to see the Isle of Man from Llanbadrig's churchyard. The highest point on the Isle of Man is also noted for its view: northeast Ireland, northern Wales, northwest England, and southwest Scotland (Figure 2).5

Figure 2.  Llanbadrig in geographic context (by Matthew C. Gottfried).
Figure 2. Llanbadrig in geographic context (by Matthew C. Gottfried).

These locations are connected by the Irish Sea and the Scottish Seas. Land-based relationships appear to be secondary. The historical geographer E. G. Bowen emphasized the seaways as a central means of Christian cultural contact (1956; 1977/1983), a concept that has become a commonplace in Celtic Studies. Bowen focused on an early Age of Saints, but his perceptions about geographic relationships apply to other time periods, as well. Interestingly enough, Bowen discussed Llanbadrig's dedication in relation to Irish influence (1948: 6). In later work, he again referred to the Llanbadrig dedication to Patrick, without any mention of Padrig ab Alfryd (1956: 123).

The dominant characteristic in this distribution of dedications is the tendency to find the Patrician evidence in local clusters related to secular communities.6 In some instances, the ecclesiastical sites are close to wells, springs, or other local landmarks carrying the saint's name. Sometimes, the dedications coincide with Patrician naming related to ecclesiastical patrons, landholders, or other important individuals in the community. These personal and family naming conventions may also be reflected in local place-names. This distribution pattern is not the only one in Great Britain. In southern England and Wales, medieval ecclesiastical sites with dedications to Patrick are largely associated with major monastic houses, pilgrim routes, and probable pilgrim chapels (Crawford 2009: 174-181).

The area of the northern distribution is also associated with formal medieval hagiography about the Apostle of the Irish, distinguished from local storytelling. The presence of the hagiography is significant in itself. But it also identifies broad cultural communities that knew about Patrick, as well as the information in circulation about the saint in the distribution area. One of these communities was the kingdom that defined northern Wales, that of Gwynedd. According to historian David Pretty, Gwynedd took shape in the sixth century (2005: 8), and he describes it as follows:

In the context of medieval Welsh politics, characterized by a patchwork of small independent kingdoms, it claimed a special position, the superiority of its rulers emphasized by such titles as 'great' and 'king of the Britons'. As they set out to consolidate power, the resources of Anglesey underpinned their fierce ambitions.... As a rich natural granary, Anglesey could feed the people and sustain the king's loyal warband. Here the principal seat of government would be located. A llys (court) near or on the site of [a] ... supposed Roman fort enabled the ruling dynasty to recast Aberffraw as a power centre with symbolic historic authority. And from this time until the close of the thirteenth century it styled itself as a capital... (2005: 8-9).

In the time of the kingdom of Gwynedd, significant hagiography related to Patrick was also associated with northern Wales.

The earliest Patrician accounts from Britain are found in the Latin Historia Brittonum. John Morris identified the oldest surviving full text as that of the Harleian manuscript (1980: 1).7 David Dumville has dated the corresponding work to AD 829/30 (1993: 221). That date is based on internal evidence, chronology involving the reign of Merfyn Frych, ruler of Gwynedd (1990b: 439). A number of years ago, Dumville determined that the author of the Historia Brittonum was a cleric working in northern Wales, perhaps at the royal court (1990a: 21).

The Harleian Historia Brittonum includes an extended section on Patrick (Dumville 1993: 223-225): the commission from Pope Celestine to convert the Irish, his elevation to the rank of bishop, his life and miracles in Ireland, and a comparison of the saint to Moses. Most of the information in this Patrician section has parallels in the Book of Armagh (Crawford 2009: 43-49). According to Richard Sharpe, the northern Irish see of Armagh was already promoting an association with Patrick as early as the middle decades of the seventh century (Sharpe 1982: 34, 44-45). From at least the ninth century onward, Patrick was known in northern Wales as an important saint.

In the twelfth century, there was also an emphasis on Patrick in another group significant in the distribution area, the community composed of Cistercian monastics, the white monks. Between 1164 and 1166, the Historia Brittonum was copied at Sawley (Dumville 1993: 229-232), a Cistercian house in what is now Lancashire. The Sawley manuscript does include the Patrician section.8 It was annotated over the next fifty years or so (Dumville 1993: 229-230), including a long marginal note related to the comparison of Patrick to Moses. Dumville considered that added note to be "quite remarkable" (1993: 230).

Around 1185, Jocelin of Furness wrote a Latin vita of Patrick,9 at the behest of the Archbishop of Armagh, the Bishop of Down, and John de Courcy (O'Leary 1904: 133). De Courcy, an Anglo-Norman adventurer, had succeeded in establishing himself as the prince of Ulster, in northeast Ireland. Jocelin was a monk of the Cistercian monastery of St Mary Furness in northwestern England. The foundation also had daughter houses in the Isle of Man and northern Ireland. Richard Sharpe has described the situation leading to the composition of the vita: "The circumstances of Jocelin's visit to Ireland were that John de Courcy brought him to his new Cistercian foundation at Down in south-east Ulster; there the triple grave of St Patrick, St Brigit, and St Columba was discovered, and there Jocelin was commissioned to write his Life of St Patrick" (1991: 209).

The vita describes Patrick's birthplace near the Irish Sea (O'Leary 1904: 135-136), a settlement close to "Dunbreatan" (1904: 145), Dumbarton Rock, on the Clyde estuary in western Scotland. Patrick is the son of a Briton, and his mother is the niece of St Martin of Tours (1904: 135). The work addresses the saint's childhood miracles, his kidnapping by raiders during his teenage years, and his service in Ireland as a slave. It tells of Patrick's escape and return to Britain, where he has a vision calling him back to Ireland. The saint undergoes years of ecclesiastical training on the Continent, including monastic training with his great-uncle, Martin. When he returns to Ireland at the order of Pope Celestine, he travels from place to place, converting the inhabitants of Ireland and building churches.

Patrick also establishes his cathedral at "Ardmachia" (O'Leary 1904: 311-313), a reference clearly intended to underpin the primacy of the see of Armagh, justifying its authority over the churches and places named in the hagiography. The saint is also credited with bringing the Christian faith to the Isle of Man, as well as other unnamed islands (1904: 239-240). In the vita, Patrick expels all "poisonous creatures" (1904: 317-319), saving Ireland, Man, and other converted islands from a "plague of venomous reptiles" (1904: 318).10

The work of the monk of Furness supports more than the claims of Armagh. Patrick is presented as a prototype of the Cistercians themselves. The saint is a bishop, but he has been trained in monastic practices (O'Leary 1904: 157-158). In addition, he wears the equivalent of a Cistercian habit:

And over his other garments he was clothed with a white cowl, so that in the form and the candid color of his habit he showed his profession, and proved himself the candidate of lowliness and purity. Whence it came to pass that the monks in Hibernia following his example, for many years were contented with the simple habit which the wool of the sheep afforded unto them, untinged with any foreign dye... (1904: 334-335).

At the time that Jocelin wrote, the Cistercian order was less than a hundred years old. The vita links a monastic order of relatively recent origin to the Irish past and the patron saint of Ireland.

The association between St Patrick and the Cistercians also appears in a work slightly earlier than that of Jocelin. Around 1180-1184, a Cistercian monk in England wrote a Latin prose work about a site in Ireland called the Purgatory of St Patrick (Easting 1991: xvii). It describes the journey of the knight Owein into an otherworldly, underground site, seeking a penitential expiation of his sins. According to the account, Owein subsequently tells his experience to Gilbert, who in time becomes the abbot of Basingwerk,11 a Cistercian house in northeast Wales. Gilbert retells the story to many, including the monk who writes it down (1991: xvii, 149-150).

Following the work of C. M. van der Zanden, Carol Zaleski describes the work as "in part a Cistercian manifesto, depicting the white monks as the best qualified to inherit St. Patrick's task of taming Ireland..." (1987: 38). Later, versions of Purgatory narratives flourished in the Welsh language itself, as well as other vernaculars. J. E. Caerwyn Williams identified seventeen related Welsh manuscripts, with the oldest dating to the earlier fourteenth century (1973-1974: 133). Cistercian communities in the northern distribution area had a special interest in Patrick. Their active involvement in the circulation of information about him undoubtedly added to the cultural knowledge of the saint already present.

One more broad cultural community is identifiable, through sources other than hagiography. Within the dedication distribution area, some Patrician sites also have associations with expressions of Hiberno-Norse culture: personal names, place-names, stone sculpture, and other archaeological remains. One example is the partial ring-head cross, a form associated with Hiberno-Norse influence, from Patrick Brompton in Yorkshire. The Patrician personal name embedded in the place-name has also been suggested as that of a Hiberno-Norse landowner. The church's dedication to St Patrick has a medieval attestation (Crawford 2009: 144-146). The intersection of artifact and place-name, personal name and dedication, is more than a coincidence. George Broderick credits Hiberno-Norse settlement in the Isle of Man, in the eleventh century, with the apparent introduction of Patrick and Brigid as important dedication saints (1999: 21; 21, note 3). 12

In eleventh-century contexts, Hiberno-Norse culture also had an impact on Anglesey. Historian Geraint Jenkins has noted that Norse place-names such as Anglesey itself "owe significantly less to the influence of the fleeting visits of Viking marauders than to the more long-lasting effects of peaceful maritime activity conducted by traders and merchants up to the end of the eleventh century" (2007: 40). Colmán Etchingham has surveyed the detailed evidence for Norse involvement in Gwynedd, giving this summary for Anglesey itself:

The evidence... indicates that Anglesey was... at least intermittently, the location of some kind of base, a trading or staging post, during the tenth and eleventh centuries and perhaps as early as the ninth. While Vikings from the Isles and even Scandinavia intervened in Anglesey, there was a particular link with various elements of the Dublin dynasty, a link that is especially well attested in the earlier eleventh century (2007: 166).

By the eleventh century, the Hiberno-Norse had long exposure to Irish culture, with its emphasis on Patrick.

The Llanbadrig dedication is found in a distribution area rich in medieval ecclesiastical sites dedicated to Patrick, with related local cultural phenomena and a wealth of hagiography about the saint. Beyond the wider contexts, a closer focus on Anglesey itself is the next step in contextualization. In Anglesey, successive encounters of broad cultural communities, northern Welsh, Hiberno-Norse, and Cistercian, brought together diverse impulses. But each of these communities knew about St Patrick, Apostle of the Irish.

In contrast, Padrig ab Alfryd is known through a brief entry in the medieval Bonedd y Saint, giving genealogies of the saints of Wales. The oldest manuscript belongs to the thirteenth century (Bartrum 1966: 52). P. C. Bartrum's edition of the oldest part of the work focuses on nine manuscripts, written or copied over the next three centuries (1966: 51-63). The relevant entry gives the ancestry of "Padric m. Aluryt," Padrig ab Alfryd, associated with Gwaredog in Arfon (1966: 58). Arfon was a cantref or division of early northern Wales, but not in Anglesey.

That oldest part of the Bonedd y Saint does mention early saints and sites in Anglesey, without mentioning either Patrick or Llanbadrig. However, evaluating the information in the work also involves countering a perception of early medieval Wales as a unified cultural entity with a corresponding land mass. The genealogies of the Bonedd y Saint begin with the ancestry of Dewi or David (Bartrum 1966: 54-55), granting him pride of place. Graham Jones has addressed David's dedications in terms of geography:

The absence of David from north Wales mirrors the fact that Wales was only ever united for short periods under Welsh kings of diverse regions. Lengthier unity under imperial rule, whether from Rome or England, has masked essential, deeply-felt differences between North and South (2007: 161).

Any earlier northern information in the Bonedd y Saint has already been overlaid with patterning that grants David precedence in all of Wales. According to Rhygyfarch's vita of David, written in the late eleventh century in central or southern contexts, one of the confirmations of that precedence was the dismissal of Patrick from Wales, by the will of God (Sharpe and Davies 2007: 110-113). In the thirteenth century, Patrick's association with Llanbadrig may have been rejected by the compilers of the Bonedd y Saint, as a contradiction of received wisdom derived from David's vita.

The earliest part of the Bonedd y Saint does not establish a connection between Padrig ab Alfryd and Llanbadrig. Neither does it present a definitive ecclesiastical map of Anglesey in the Age of Saints. An additional point involves the interpretation of other medieval sources. The alternate saint's patronymic is based on a non-Welsh name. The greater fame of Patrick, Apostle of the Irish, makes it unlikely that references to Padrig ab Alfryd in narrative sources would have been made without that unusual, distinguishing patronymic.

The medieval records related to Anglesey do name Llanbadrig and Cemaes, in contexts later than the hagiography of Patrick. Nevertheless, the dates are consistent with other record-keeping for northern Wales. From early times, Cemais had been a cantref of Anglesey, along with Aberffraw and Rhosyr. By the twelfth century, the three divisions had been partitioned into six commotes, each with its own maerdref, a royal manor, which also served as a center of administration. Cemais was also used as the name of one such royal center (Pretty 2005: 18). The Record of Caernarvon includes a collection of extents13 related to manors in Anglesey and Caernarvon, from after the time of the English conquest of northern Wales.14 In the collection, Cemais or "Kemmeys" is listed as a manor, apparently not hereditary property (Record Commission 1838: vii-viii, 63-65).

The printed volume of the Record of Caernarvon also contains a collection of inquisitions15 from northern Wales. One such record allows us to look back to the pre-conquest period. It confirms a grant made by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (D. Williams 1990: 34), the last of the Welsh princes to rule Gwynedd. He gave two royal chapels to the Cistercian abbey of Aberconwy in northern Wales, a house founded in 1186 (Ellis 1847: 3, 7). One of the churches was the "Capella b[ea]ti Patricij de Kemmeys," the chapel of the blessed Patrick of Cemaes (Record Commission 1838: 148).

Rhŷs Hays estimated that the original grant occurred sometime between the years AD 1246 and 1265 (1963: 116). It is possible to narrow the span. The listings for the Diocese of Bangor used in the 1254 Valuation of Norwich,16 related to taxation of ecclesiastical income, include the "Ecclesia Sancti Patricii," which was recorded at four marks (Lunt 1926: 196). The listings note three churches already associated with the Cistercians at that time. The information for the Church of St Patrick does not include such a notation (Lunt 1926: 190-196), so it is likely that the grant had not been made by AD 1254.

According to Hays, the church did not have a separate listing in the Taxatio of Pope Nicholas, ca AD 1291, where its valuation was included in a summary related to Aberconwy (Hays 1963: 118; Record Commission 1802: 291). However, Llanbadrig is mentioned again in the fourteenth-century manuscript of the chronicle of Aberconwy. The "Ecclesia Sancti Patricij" is listed among its holdings, recorded at five marks (Ellis 1847: 8). Ireland's apostle was a central presence in known hagiography and Cistercian politics, and these unmarked Latin references would have been understood in relation to him.

It seems that the abbey still held Llanbadrig at the time of its dissolution in AD 1537 (D. Williams 2001: 86-87). The second royal chapel given by Llywelyn was apparently not kept by Aberconwy, and perhaps it never came into their possession. Llanbadrig was the only one of Aberconwy's appropriated churches at any distance from the site of the abbey itself (Hays 1963: 116-118). The remaining five cluster around Conwy and Maenan, the second and third sites occupied by the abbey community (D. Williams 1990: 36-38, 91, 144). Monasteries did have responsibilities toward appropriated churches. According to David Williams, they were required to provide support for a vicar, and they were obliged to maintain the church chancel (1990: 35). Aberconwy did possess a more substantial property, Cornwy Llys Grange (1990: 36), some miles from Llanbadrig. Nevertheless, Llanbadrig could not have been maintained without some expenditure and inconvenience for Aberconwy.

The distance from the abbey sites, the royal status of the original donor, and the role of the abbey itself suggest that Llanbadrig was a significant offering. Aberconwy was the most important of the northern Welsh monasteries, with the burials of a number of Welsh princes (Cistercians in Yorkshire Project: "Cistercian Abbeys: Aberconwy"). Given the Cistercian interest in the Apostle of the Irish, a church with a Patrician dedication may have been a welcome gift. The donation was fortunate in other ways. The church had acquired guardians who were "profoundly sympathetic to deeply rooted native traditions..." (Jenkins 2007: 88). Beyond these considerations, the relationship between Llanbadrig and Aberconwy provides a chronological and interpretive framework for other information about the church.

In addition to the contexts of the northern distribution area and Anglesey itself, the immediate local contexts for Llanbadrig, Cemaes, and related places in Anglesey must be considered. Llanbadrig's location on coastal cliffs suggests an earlier rather than a later Christian site; the size and shape of its churchyard is also of potential significance. In order to allow for further burials, the churchyard was extended eastward in 1935 (Corker 1986: 36-37). Although there is no visible boundary between the addition and the older area, the dates on the memorial stones allow a rough estimate to be made. The division is close to the east end of the church, running from there to the sea. Without the twentieth-century portion, Llanbadrig's churchyard appears to be a large, irregular ovoid (Figure 3).

Figure 3.  Llanbadrig church and churchyard (after Margaret Wood).
Figure 3. Llanbadrig church and churchyard (after Margaret Wood).
Figure 4. Stone pillar, Llanbadrig.
Figure 4. Stone pillar, Llanbadrig.

The oldest datable feature suggesting an ecclesiastical site is a rectangular pillar of native black stone (Windley et al. 1998: 73-78). It stands at the west end of the interior of the church, placed upright during a nineteenth-century restoration. Archaeologist Nancy Edwards offers this interpretation of the carving:

It could be a single encircled cruciform motif with a long linear stem, two horizontal loops and adjacent curved lines which together might represent a flabellum (liturgical fan)...; if so, it might have functioned as a focus or marker on the site... (2013: 157).

She adds, as an alternative interpretation, "we may be looking at two simple cruciform motifs set one above the other" (2013: 157).17

According to geologist Margaret Wood, director of GeoMôn, similar stone pillars are found elsewhere in Anglesey, but the Llanbadrig stone is the only one with carving. She has suggested that the pillar might have been a marker for pilgrims.18 Geologists have also proposed that the date of the carving could be as early as the seventh century (Windley et al. 1998: 77). However, Nancy Edwards gives a probable date range of the tenth century through the earlier part of the twelfth (2013: 157) (Figure 4).

Figure 5.  Interior, Llanbadrig church.
Figure 5. Interior, Llanbadrig church.
Figure 6. Chancel niche, Llanbadrig.
Figure 6. Chancel niche, Llanbadrig.

The church itself is a Grade II* listed building, a structure built of "rubble stonework" and "a variety of mortars" (Voelcker 2012: n.p.). The chancel is unusual in that it is longer and wider than the nave; the assumption is that the church was extended at some time. The baptismal font is of the twelfth century, and the nave and chancel arch are tentatively dated to the fourteenth (Royal Commission 1937/1968: 36). There is also a medieval carved stone at the base of a narrow, perpendicular canopy or niche set in the east wall, to the observer's right of the altar. The use of ballflower in the carving places the work in the first quarter of the fourteenth century (Royal Commission 1937/1968: 36, 151) (Figure 5).19

In 1862, a note in Archæologia Cambrensis included the following comments on Llanbadrig's dedication and the niche:

... from its being under the invocation of St. Patrick, [the church] constitutes an anomaly in Welsh ecclesiology.... [W]ithin the chancel is a niche where the figure of St. Patrick is said to have stood (H.L.J. 1862: 43).

The supposition that a niche in the church once held a statue of Patrick is consistent with the iconography of the medieval carved stone. In addition to the ballflower, it presents serpentine coils, with a snake's head in the upper left corner. It is a reflection of hagiography about Patrick's expulsion of reptiles from Ireland and other islands, found in sources such as Jocelin's vita (Figures 6 and 7). In respect to the dedication, the 1937 Royal Commission volume lists the church as "Parish Church of St. Patrick" (1937/1968: 36). The most recent archaeological scholarship adds to the continuity of that reporting, stating that "[t]he dedication to St Patrick is noteworthy..." (Edwards 2013: 157).

Figure 7.  Carved stone, Llanbadrig.
Figure 7. Carved stone, Llanbadrig.
Figure 8.  Carved figure, Bulkeley tomb.
Figure 8. Carved figure, Bulkeley tomb.

Patrician iconography is repeated in a fuller form elsewhere in Anglesey. The church of St Mary and St Nicholas, Beaumaris, contains an elaborate alabaster tomb with a depiction of Patrick. The four sides of the tomb are carved with a number of representations of saints and bishops. The figures of the bishops tend to be quite standardized, with ecclesiastical status indicated by the mitre, staff, and right hand raised in blessing. That of Patrick is unique in that the small, curving line of the serpent is visible under his right foot.20 The tomb commemorates a husband and wife of the Bulkeley family, and it is dated to the late fifteenth century (Royal Commission 1937/1968: cxxxviii) (Figure 8).

The Patrician iconography occurs again in St Padrig (New), the church in the village of Cemaes itself. The fine stained glass of the east window, added in 1911 (Corker 1986: 34-35), portrays the saint with his bishop's mitre and staff, treading on a snake (Figure 9). The east window has three sections, honoring Sts Deiniol, David, and Patrick. As in Llanbadrig church, the Patrician iconography is positioned on the right. The memorial inscription for the east window records that it was placed in memory of a former vicar of the parish, the Reverend Canon William Johnson, and his wife, Emma.21

Figure 9.  Window, St Padrig (New).
Figure 9. Window, St Padrig (New).

In terms of relative chronology, the carved pillar, a chapel/church, and the font all predate the Cistercian tenure. The Patrician dedication appears to be older, as well. The serpentine carving of the stone below the niche belongs to the Cistercian era at Llanbadrig. If the dating of the nave and chancel arch to the fourteenth century is correct, there is a high probability that Aberconwy was also responsible for extensive rebuilding on the site. The Patrician iconography, in Llanbadrig parish and Beaumaris, is a visual rendering of Anglesey's traditional associations with the Apostle of the Irish.

Llanbadrig's survival as a place indicates a location of marked significance to the communities it has served. We cannot be sure when that existence began. Nevertheless, physical landmarks function as mnemonic devices. Such a place would be more likely to be associated with remembered information, such as a dedication, versus a site with a more tenuous existence. Neither is there an identifiable point when Llanbadrig appears to have fallen into extended disuse, another of the situations in which a dedication may be lost or changed.22

The earlier antiquarian scholars and authors from Anglesey and northern Wales provide more than cultural context. They begin to give us information about storytelling and social practice related to the patron saint of Llanbadrig. Interpreting what they have to say again depends on understanding their cultural situation. In 1775, A History of the Island of Anglesey referred to the Reformation as "that universal destruction" (1775/1979: 35). The context was the unusual preservation of the relics of a saint, stolen away to Dublin and later removed to a safer place. There is no doubt that many such relics, shrines, and statues were indiscriminately destroyed in the name of a purifying Protestantism.

Much harder to eradicate were the local customs and traditions, the old patterns that lived on in the head, heart, and hand. Geraint Jenkins has noted the cultural conservatism of local communities in post-medieval Wales, through the latter part of the eighteenth century:

Within these small, tightly knit communities people jealously guarded distinctive and age-old practices, including customary laws, weights and measures, price structures, domestic architecture and folk customs.... Promoters of 'civilitie' were appalled by the use made by plebeians of Sundays, wakes and festivals as a release from the stresses of burdensome daily toil and as a means of displaying their athletic prowess in violent ball games.... Large sections of society in this period would have been surprised to learn that historians believe that Protestantism was a major engine of change. Popular culture within small communities proved to be extraordinarily resistant to change (2007: 135-136).

This was the situation inherited by the antiquarians of Wales in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In the 1690s, Edward Lhwyd, Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, sent printed queries to the parishes of Wales. He specifically asked for the saint's dedication of the local church. Some of the forms were sent to Anglesey (1909-1911 Vol. 1: vi, x). However, the answers to the queries, published in the early twentieth century as the Parochialia, do not include a return for Llanbadrig. According to Brynley Roberts, Lhwyd did accumulate a few Anglesey parish descriptions after 1696. Henry Rowlands, an Anglesey clergyman, sent answers for five additional parishes. Around 1710, an account was written of the Menai parishes.23 None of these groups includes Llanbadrig.

However, Rowlands wrote his own work about Anglesey, using the older name of the island, Mona or Môn. Published in 1723, the printed Mona Antiqua Restaurata includes the following story:

PATRICIUS or Patrick, a Stradcluid-Briton; being sent by Cælestine, Bishop of Rome, to convert the Irish, and on his Way to Ireland, visiting St. Elian in Anglesey, caus'd a Church to be built on the Waterside, where he took Shipping, call'd Llanbadrick (1723/1979: 156).

The date of those events is given as about 440 (1723/1979: 189). Bangor University Archives and Special Collections holds the manuscript of the Mona Antiqua Restaurata; the eleventh section, that giving the story and date for Llanbadrig, is missing from the manuscript (1723).24 The handwritten section numbers skip from ten to twelve. According to Tomos Roberts, the printed work itself was published by the author's son, after his father's death.25

In 1766, a second edition of Rowlands's work was published. Lewis Morris is credited with the bulk of the editorial improvements to the text (1766: v), although the volume was not put into print until the year after Morris died. Morris came from an Anglesey family noted for its intellectual, practical, and antiquarian interests. An individual of many abilities, he mapped the major sea ports on the Anglesey coast, as well as those elsewhere in Wales. Although Cemaes was a smaller port, Morris was familiar with the village. The diaries of Squire William Bulkeley include an entry placing the two friends together at Cemaes, and it mentions Morris's work in mapping the seacoast (1734-1760).26 The second edition of the Mona Antiqua Restaurata continues to report Llanbadrig in relation to Patrick of Ireland, unassociated with Padrig ab Alfryd (Rowlands 1766: 156, 183).27

A History of the Island of Anglesey, published anonymously as a supplement to the work of Rowlands, also lists Llanbadrig's dedication to St Patrick. Additionally, it gives the saint's day as March 17 (1775/1979: 56). As early as the seventh century, March 17 was known on the Continent as the feast day of the Apostle of the Irish (Sharpe 1982: 38). Sometimes, antiquarian scholars did make mistakes related to saints' days. For churches with unknown dedications, they assumed that the annual church festival was identical to the saint's day, a means of determining the identity of the patron saint.

Quite helpfully, the Mona Antiqua Restaurata explains the social practices related to the annual church festivals in Anglesey, the local "wakes." They could mark the feast day of the dedication saint, the date of an important event in that saint's life, or the consecration date of the church. The wakes were kept on the Sunday before or after the actual date (Rowlands 1723/1979: 189-190). It would be a rather large coincidence if a church carrying Patrick's name had an unrelated event or consecration date of March 17. The alternative is to interpret the date as additional confirmation of a Llanbadrig dedication to Ireland's saint.

Born in Caernarvonshire, Hester Lynch (Thrale) Piozzi was intensely proud of her northern Welsh heritage. She is better known as one of the circle of Samuel Johnson, sharing in the intellectual life of many of the significant figures of her day. In Retrospection, published in 1801, she tells the story that she knows about Patrick and Anglesey:

St. Patrick... came to Ireland where Gwillamore reigned king, and there converted the inhabitants to Christianity.... He built a church on Anglesey, opposite Ireland, on the sea shore; the town and parish is called Llan Badrick now... (Piozzi 1801: 136-137).

The efforts of Henry Rowlands, those who edited and supplemented the Mona Antiqua Restaurata, and Hester Piozzi were primarily intended to address a distant past. But those authors are valuable witnesses to the storytelling and social practices of their own times.

Piozzi's work is a reminder that such information circulated outside of Wales, as well. The Patrician dedication also appears in the publications of Browne Willis; the English antiquarian's compilations of information on cathedrals and parishes were widely distributed. In the Parochiale Anglicanum of 1733, Willis names Patrick as Llanbadrig's dedication saint, with Conwy as the related medieval house (1733: 214). The "Addenda & Corrigenda" include a correction for the church's patron, listed as the Crown (1733: 232). The local gatherers of information employed by Browne Willis were not always reliable. However, in this case, two pieces of his information are already present in medieval and post-medieval sources from Anglesey and northern Wales. The change in the third may indicate corrections from contacts with Anglesey associations.

The London-based firm of Samuel Lewis printed the following entry for Llanbadrig parish, in the 1834 A Topographical Dictionary of Wales:

This place derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Patrick, who, being commissioned by Pope Celestine to preach the doctrines of Christianity to the Irish, is said to have been on his way thither detained for some time in Mona, the present Anglesey, and to have founded at this place, in the year 440, the first Christian church which was built in the island... (Lewis 1834: n.p.).

The entry also mentions the island across from Llanbadrig, Middle Mouse. It includes the alternate name for the island, Ynys Badrig, Patrick's Island. It is identified as the site of Patrick's departure for Dublin (Lewis 1834: n.p.). In the eighteenth century and the first decades of the nineteenth, Anglesey storytelling assigned Llanbadrig's dedication to Patrick, and this information was repeated outside Anglesey. Further, the associated saint's day had been reported as March 17, in situations in which cultural continuity could be expected.

Llanbadrig is found on the edge of a northern distribution of medieval ecclesiastical sites with dedications to Patrick. Medieval hagiography about the saint is associated with the related dedication distribution area, and broad cultural communities there knew about Patrick. Medieval records related to northern Wales contain attestations of Llanbadrig's Patrician dedication. The iconography associated with Patrick is found in Llanbadrig church, the church of St Mary and St Nicholas, and St Padrig (New). Printed works from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries tell associated stories and note the saint's day. But the most important evidence, from the viewpoint of a folklorist, is the evidence of social practice and storytelling from Llanbadrig parish itself, along with that of its neighboring parish, Llanfechell.

Scholars other than folklorists have studied place-names from various perspectives. Graham Jones (2007) has pointed out that dedications are cultural markers; so it is with place-names. For a folklorist, the local names that a community uses to identify the places in its environment are a cultural map of shared meaning. In my studies of the Patrician dedications of England, Wales, and the Isle of Man, Cemaes has the most intensive concentration of Patrician place-names for a single community.

Both the medieval church and the ecclesiastical parish are called Llanbadrig (Humphery-Smith 2003: 281). The Welsh element llan refers to a "church/religious enclosure," and the name of the local saint commonly follows (G. Jones and Roberts 1996: 106). John Leland, the "King's Antiquary," traveled in Wales in the years 1536-1539 (Smith 1964: v, viii-ix); he may not have visited Anglesey himself, but he did have a local contact there (1964: 90, 128, 134). Leland's copyist lists Llanbadrig in a manner that denotes a mother church with subsidiary entities, lesser churches or chapels that had financial obligations to the more important church (1964: x-xi, 132). The name is given as Llan Padrig; Leland himself added the parenthetic note "Patricius." The copyist also lists Middle Mouse, under the name Ynys Padric. Leland adds another note, "insula Patricii prope Ogor," Ogor apparently being the mouth of a nearby brook (1964: 128, 132).

The cove of Porth Padrig (G. Jones and Roberts 1996: 134) is also relatively close to the church. That place-name is attested in Squire Bulkeley's diaries, in the early 1740s, as Porth Badrick (1734-1760).28 "Patrick's Well," Ffynnon Badrig, is found on the side of the cliff, near the church (G. Jones and Roberts 1996: 155). Ogof Padrig, the saint's cave, is above the well or spring.29 The headland adjacent to the churchyard is called Trwyn Padrig, "Patrick's Headland" (G. Jones and Roberts 1996: 134, 148). The clustering of the place-names around the area of the churchyard is another clear indicator of the church as a focus of well-established tradition, rooted in the landscape.

Although there are long continuities in the uses of related names, the process is dynamic. One place-name from the Bulkeley diaries (1734-1760), Towyn Patrick,30 "Patrick Dunes," is no longer in use. It is possible that the name disappeared because the corresponding feature in the landscape had disappeared, as well. Squire Bulkeley records an agricultural practice of spreading sand on the fields. At two points, he notes that sand is being brought from Cemaes itself, an alternate source having been exhausted (1734-1760).31 Other names are newer. Around 1947, a house at the foot of the lane leading to Llanbadrig was rechristened "St Patrick's Cottage."32 In an ongoing process, the church continues to inspire more names. Even the survival of the much older names is due to more than social inertia and the tireless mapping efforts of the Ordnance Survey. The active maintenance of those names comes from the members of the community itself, for whom Llanbadrig is both a physical point of reference and a center of cultural identity and meaning.

Anglesey does have other Patrician place-names. One example is Rhosbadrig, "Patrick's Moor," sometimes mistakenly relocated to Llanbadrig parish. It is found near Aberffraw, in southwestern Anglesey. It is recorded on a memorial stone, a commemoration of "Henry Morris of Rhospatrick," dated 1763 (Royal Commission 1937/1968: 1). However, not all Patrician naming relates to the saint. In the northern distribution area, such place-names may be based on the personal names of medieval landholders. For example, Bampton Patrick and Preston Patrick in Cumbria reflect the name of the thirteenth-century Patrick de Culwen, whose family had used Patrician personal names for generations before his time. The churches in both places are dedicated to St Patrick (Crawford 2009: 138-142).

Such personal names may also consist of phrases meaning "servant of Patrick": Gospatric, Gillipatric, and Gwaspatric. The third occurs in another place-name associated with Aberffraw, Trefwaspadrik (Record Commission 1838: 48), the "township of the servant of Patrick." The isolated Aberffraw references may refer to a medieval landholder. However, the place-names surrounding Llanbadrig are clearly focused on the dedication of the church and the associated saint. There is no pattern of evidence linked to a local landholder which would equate to the Cumbrian example.

Social practice related to Llanbadrig's annual church festival is documented in the diaries of William Bulkeley (1734-1760), from the neighboring Llanfechell parish. The anonymous supplement to the Mona Antiqua Restaurata had given the Llanbadrig saint's day as March 17; however, the diaries provide specific, earlier evidence from the local area. The diaries begin in an era when the Julian calendar was still in use. The year also ended on March 24, an event that Squire Bulkeley tends to note. Over a series of years, the squire takes a lively interest in the football matches played on the Llanbadrig wakes, a competition between that parish and his own adjoining parish of Llanfechell. The game was apparently played over open terrain, with each team attempting to drive the ball as far as possible into the other's territory.

On March 21 of 1735/36, Bulkeley records something unknown "in the memory of any man": there was no football on the "Llanbadrick" wakes. For March 20 of 1736/37, he comments with some satisfaction on "a great Wakes at Llanbadrick & playing foot-ball as usuall." In 1737/38, the football game is mentioned again in the entry for March 19; for 1739/40, the "Llanbadrick wakes" are recorded on March 16. On March 15 of 1740/41, the squire acknowledges that the Llanfechell players have been beaten again, as they had been "these last three years." On March 21 of 1741/42, the Llanbadrig team made it to the opposing village, adding that triumph to a string of victories (1734-1760).

In 1742/43, Llanfechell evened the score. On March 20, they got the ball all the way to Llanbadrig, kicking it into the Porth Padrig cove (1734-1760). Based on the Julian calendar, all of the dates given for the matches occurred on a Sunday before or after March 17, the feast day of the Apostle of the Irish. Additional confirmation comes from a diary entry for March 20, 1747/48. According to Squire Bulkeley, there was no football on the Llanbadrig wakes, "that sport or Exercise being kept on the proper Day, viz y 17th" (1734-1760). In these diary entries, we see the good folk of Llanbadrig parish performing their tradition, celebrating the feast day of the Apostle of the Irish with a football game, on the actual day or the Sunday before or after.

The entries written by Squire Bulkeley also allow us to revisit larger regional affinities. Anglesey's sea-based connections were not simply a formative influence on a distant past. They were maintained, over time, by the geography itself. When Squire Bulkeley wants to go to the theater, buy nursery stock for his estate, or get his watch repaired, he does not travel to central Wales, south Wales, or even to London. He goes by sea to Dublin (1734-1760).33

Local storytelling about St Patrick is a living tradition in the village of Cemaes. When I first began fieldwork trips to Cemaes, shopkeepers and local residents would make friendly inquiries. Was I a visitor, or did I have family in Cemaes? Barring that, was I perhaps an American or a Canadian with a Welsh heritage? When I replied that I was a folklorist interested in the dedication of Llanbadrig, the frequent response was an impromptu telling of a particular local story about the saint himself. There is an elliptical reference to the story on the home page of the community's website. "For the curious," it says, "there is the site of St. Patrick's shipwreck..." (Cwmni Cemaes Cyf: "Croeso"). The assumption seems to be that once a visitor is in Cemaes, anyone should be able to tell the story to the newcomer.

A full version of the story is found in The Essential Guide to Cemaes, a 1997 booklet describing the physical environs, history, and traditions of the village:

The Welsh name Llanbadrig means "Church of St Patrick". There are three churches in Wales with the dedication to St Patrick, although Llanbadrig church, founded in 440 AD, is probably the only one with a direct link to the patron saint of Ireland. We know that Patrick, then Bishop, was sent by Pope Celestine to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity during the 5th Century.
Local legend insists that Patrick was shipwrecked on Ynys Badrig (Patrick's Island, also called Middle Mouse Island because of its shape) - this is the island that can be seen from the stile in the church-yard wall. He succeeded in crossing to Anglesey, landing at Rhos Badrig (Patrick's Moor) and finding refuge in Ogof Badrig (Patrick's Cave). This cave, below the church-yard, had a freshwater well - Ffynon Badrig (Patrick's Well). Legend states that this fresh water allowed Bishop Patrick to recover from his ordeal and he founded the church as thanks to God... (Menter Môn and Cwmni Cemaes Cyf 1997: 8-9).

The booklet is sold in various businesses on Stryd Fawr, including the Cemaes Heritage Centre, where visitors may purchase it.34

But versions of the narrative are also told in internal community sources, as well as in sources directed toward external audiences. The Cemaes Voice is a local newsletter, sponsored by Horizon Nuclear Power, representatives of the nearby power station at Wylfa. It contains news from the Llanbadrig Community Council, advertisements for local businesses, notices of the meetings of local groups, and articles of community interest. The issue for July, 2013, featured the medieval church on the front page, with the following telling of the "Patrick" story:

Llanbadrig Church is built on one of the oldest sites in Anglesey dating back to AD 440. The Welsh name Llanbadrig means 'Church of St. Patrick.' It is dedicated to St. Patrick, and the legend is that he was wrecked on Ynys Badrig (Middle Mouse island). He found refuge in a cave 'Ogof Badrig', and fresh water in a nearby well 'Fynnon Badrig.' He then founded the Church on the headland as a thanks to God (Llanbadrig Church).

Most readers of the Cemaes Voice would be residents of the Llanbadrig area.35

Over time, in social practice and storytelling, the village of Cemaes has communicated the identity of the local saint. The place-names, football matches, and narratives are expressions of a firmly-established cultural heritage. Interpreted within the contexts of the northern distribution area, a medieval dedication to the Apostle of the Irish is not an anomaly. Rather, the northern coast of Anglesey is a perfectly reasonable place to find a dedication to Patrick. In the kingdom of Gywnedd, in Hiberno-Norse groups, and in the Cistercian monasteries of the area, Patrick was a well-known saint. Such a dedication would also provide a reason for the serpentine carving of the niche stone in Llanbadrig church, dated to the Cistercian tenure. In post-medieval contexts, Patrick continues to be associated with Anglesey. The late fifteenth-century carving on the Bulkeley tomb is an early example. Through the eighteenth century and the early decades of the nineteenth, printed storytelling links Llanbadrig to Ireland's saint, narratives composed both inside and outside of Anglesey. In the early twentieth century, a stained glass window depicting Bishop Patrick was added to the newer church in the village.

Scholarship from a range of disciplines has reported the dedication to Patrick. The historical geographer E. G. Bowen (1956) referred to it. Archaeologists have continued, over time, to cite that dedication. The place-name scholars of Anglesey expressed their opinions about the dedication. According to Gwilym Jones and Tomos Roberts, authors of The Place-Names of Anglesey, "[t]radition - which may well have historical validity - maintains that Llanbadrig was dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland" (1996: 106). Historian David Pretty, author of Anglesey: The Concise History, confirms that position:

Considering the close contacts with Ireland, it is little wonder that several Anglesey churches should be dedicated to Irish saints - most notably Patrick at Llanbadrig, who had, tradition states, been shipwrecked close by, and Brigid (or Ffraid) of Kildare... (2005: 10).

Still, it is necessary to account for a persistent thread of commentary, assigning the Llanbadrig dedication to Padrig ab Alfryd.

The connection between Llanbadrig and an alternate saint appears to begin in the post-medieval period, with attempts to place Padrig ab Alfryd in contexts belonging to the Apostle of the Irish. A Welsh version of the Purgatory storytelling, the "Ystori Owain ap Kydwgan am Badric," introduces the name of Padrig ab Alfryd into hagiography about Ireland's saint (J. Jones 1604-1610: 262-300). The associated manuscript was listed in 1902 as part of a Hafod collection, housed at the Cardiff Library (Historical Manuscripts Commission 1902: 301, 331-333).36 The Cardiff version belongs to a small subgroup of such narratives, noted by J. E. Caerwyn Williams for its departures from the larger pool of Welsh evidence (1973-1974: 143-147). The pages presenting the story appear relatively undamaged and complete, and the calligraphy is beautifully done.

A second Purgatory narrative is found in a collection among the Morris papers (Pedigrees 17th c.),37 as part of an incorporated manuscript. The collection does have a list of contents, written in the hand of Lewis Morris. Interestingly enough, the list of contents does not include the items in that incorporated manuscript, leaving the possibility that it was added to the collection after Morris's time. The initial folio of the Purgatory storytelling is fragmentary, but it appears to give the patronymic of Padrig ab Alfryd, along with the location of Arfon (Pedigrees 17th c: MS f. 137r). The appearance of the incorporated manuscript is in marked contrast to that of the Cardiff example. Parts of folios are broken away, margins appear worn, and the handwriting is functional rather than artistic. The third and fourth members of the subgroup are copies related to this second example.38

Intersecting references to the Apostle of the Irish and Padrig ab Alfryd are found elsewhere in manuscripts of Lewis Morris's work, introduced through a series of annotations. The 1757 autograph of Morris's Celtic Remains still exists, although it is heavily annotated with added material. The initial entry for the Apostle of the Irish begins as follows, with ellipses indicating intervening notes:

Padrig. St. Patrick the Apostle of Ireland, is said to have been born in the Country of Rhos in Dyfed.... Nennius says his First name was Maenwyn, and that he afterwards took on him the name of Padrig.... There is a place in Anglesey Called Rhos Badrig, and also a church dedicated to him Called Llanbadrig. It is near the Port of Cemmaes where it is said he took shipping for Ireland when he went to Convert the Irish to the Christian faith (L. Morris 1757: MS f. 85r).

A subsequent entry for Padrig ab Alfryd restates the medieval information about him: "Padrig St. ap Alfryd ap Gronwy o wareddawg yn arfon. MS." This latter entry is followed by an annotation in smaller script: "his true name Maenwyn" (L. Morris 1757: MS f. 87v). The added note, with its repetition of the name Maenwyn, links this entry to the earlier one for Ireland's saint. The printed version of Morris's Celtic Remains was not published until 1878. According to D. Silvan Evans, the basis was a transcript, credited to Morris's nephew Richard, with a date of 1778 (Evans 1878: 3). In the printed work, the two entries have been merged, under the name of Padrig ab Alfryd (L. Morris 1878: 341-342).39

A manuscript of Morris's version of the Bonedd y Saint, dated 1760, shows a similar pattern of alteration. The original entry for Padrig ab Alfryd lists four sources, all repeating recognizable forms of the medieval information about that saint. Annotations in a smaller script add more sources. One of those refers to the work of Rowlands, and its information is clearly about the Apostle of the Irish. An otherwise blank column to the left of the entry reads "Llanbadrig," and the strokes are thick, inconsistent, and blotted, unlike the writing in the original entry. The differences suggest that the reference to the church was also added later (L. Morris 1760: MS f. 46v).

The autograph of Celtic Remains and the manuscript of the Bonhedd y Saint were written near the end of Morris's life, the fruits of decades of work as an antiquarian. Without the annotations, Morris's Celtic Remains supports a Cemaes dedication for Patrick, the Apostle of the Irish. Without the annotations in both the Celtic Remains and the Bonhedd y Saint, Padrig ab Alfryd remains a separate individual, not associated with either the Apostle of the Irish or Llanbadrig. The net effect of the added notes is to put forth a claim for Padrig ab Alfryd as the Apostle of the Irish. It should be noted that Morris left Anglesey in the early 1740s, relocating to southern Wales. The annotations added to his work should not be assumed to have been made in local Anglesey contexts.

The claim for an identity between the two saints next appears in The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, published in the early nineteenth century. It gives Padrig ab Alfryd as Llanbadrig's saint (O. Jones et al. 1801: 50),40 closely reproducing the Bonhedd y Saint entry, with annotations, from the Morris papers. One of the three authors of the Myvyrian Archaiology was Edward Williams, who used the bardic name of Iolo Morganwg. Although Williams did travel to Anglesey, he was a native of southern Wales. By the 1920s (Constantine 2008: 111-112), scholars had assembled enough evidence to establish Williams as a master forger, who had substantiated his visions of the Welsh past with falsified evidence.

Owen Jones had financed the Myvyrian Archaiology, and William Owen Pughe edited the materials (Constantine 2007: 92-93). Both were unwittingly drawn into the web of misrepresentations through their reliance on Williams to collect and copy manuscripts. Mary-Ann Constantine has spoken to the knowledge of Welsh manuscript tradition underlying Williams's forgeries: "His success as a forger... owes much to his ability to evoke phantom lines of transmission that he himself had woven into the existing pattern" (2007: 113-114). However the claim originated for Padrig ab Alfryd as the Apostle of the Irish, it certainly would have appealed to the Welsh nationalism of Williams and his associates. It credits the conversion of the Irish to a representative of the Welsh Age of Saints.

The assertions of the Myvyrian Archaiology had far-reaching effects. In 1832, Angharad Llwyd's essay on Anglesey history was awarded first prize at the Beaumaris Eisteddfod. She writes the following about the Llanbadrig parish:

LLANBADRIG, is near Ynys Padrig.... The church, (dedicated to St. Patrick, and wakes kept as in Ireland, on the 17th. of March) is built most inconveniently upon a cliff washed by the Irish sea.... By the Myvyrian Archiology, published in 1801, I find... that about 440, Padrig, the son of Allvryd ab Goronwy, was sent by Pope Celestine, to convert the Irish, and being come to Môn, chose this remote situation for his church... (1833: 217-218).

Llwyd did interpret the Myvyrian Archaiology as claiming the conversion of the Irish for Padrig ab Alfryd. But she maintains a careful separation between that information, drawn from an influential published work, and what was undoubtedly local Anglesey information.

Llwyd may not have been able to determine which was correct. As David Pretty has noted, she was not an Anglesey native (2005: 102). In addition, the reported statement made on behalf of the judges of the essay competition is hardly reassuring:

The judges being called upon to declare the successful competitors, the Rev. J. H. Cotton said that he had been among others selected to pronounce a decision as to the comparative claims of the several Essays on the History of the Island of Anglesey. He felt himself in many views incompetent to the task; in particular he was not a native Cambrian [Welshman]; and even if he had possessed all the requisite qualifications, he must lament that the time which he could bestow upon the subject had been much too limited... (Beaumaris Eisteddfod 1833: 14).

The young Victoria and her mother invested Llwyd with her medal, and Llwyd's work went into print the next year with a dedication to the royal princess.

The widespread dissemination of the supposed association of Padrig ab Alfryd and Llanbadrig was undoubtedly due to the Myvyrian Archaiology. It begins a chain of the misreporting of the church's dedication in printed work. In 1836, Rice Rees published An Essay on the Welsh Saints. A footnote indicates that Rees was using the Myvyrian Archaiology as a source (1836: 22). The essay assigns the Llanbadrig dedication to Padrig ab Alfryd (1836: 298, 323). However, it is clear that the author did not consider him to be the Apostle of the Irish. Elsewhere in the essay, Rees expresses his opinion that Wales had a single dedication to Ireland's saint, a former chapel in Pembrokeshire (1836: 129). Rees remains an honored figure in the study of Welsh dedications, his devotion to his work undoubtedly a factor in his untimely death. However, in his work, the claim for the Llanbadrig dedication has shifted again. It is no longer for Padrig ab Alfryd, the Apostle of the Irish; it is for Padrig ab Alfryd, not the Apostle of the Irish.

By 1849, the description of the parish of Llanbadrig in the Samuel Lewis topographical dictionary had been updated:

It is supposed by Mr. Rowlands to derive its name from the dedication of its church to St. Patrick, who, being commissioned by Pope Celestine to preach the doctrines of Christianity to the Irish, is said to have been, on his way thither, detained for some time in the island of Mona, the present Anglesey, and to have founded at this place, in the year 440, the first Christian church built in the district. A recent writer, however, is of opinion that the church was built by Padrig, son of Aelfryd ab Goronwy... (1849: 478-493).

The reference to Middle Mouse is also changed, mentioning the "supposed" departure of Patrick (1849: 478-493).

Early in the twentieth century, A. W. Wade-Evans listed the dedication as "Llanbadrig, Padrig" (1911: 69). Wade-Evans's contribution was not based on independent work with the dedications. He began with the intention of simply revising the list of churches and chapels in the Essay of Rice Rees. His ultimate approach was to refit the dedication lists of Rees into the older ecclesiastical divisions documented in the eighteenth-century work of Browne Willis (1911: 2-4).

The fourth volume of Lives of the British Saints, published by Baring-Gould and Fisher in 1913, assigns the Llanbadrig dedication to Padrig ab Alfryd, distinguished from the Apostle of the Irish (1913: 52-53). The authors were not Anglesey natives, but the entry for the alternate saint gives a careful appearance of local research. From the extended discussion, it is clear that the authors were fully aware of the contested dedication. They cite Browne Willis and Angharad Llwyd for the date of the church wake (1913: 52, note 6). They note the serpentine design of the medieval stone carving in Llanbadrig church, taking it as confirmation for a local belief about Ireland's patron saint at the time of construction (1913: 53). They do not mention the stained glass of St Padrig (New), installed in 1911.

Baring-Gould and Fisher use storytelling to dismiss the Apostle of the Irish as the dedication saint of Llanbadrig. The first narrative cited credits Patrick with the foundation of Llanbadrig on his way to Ireland, echoing the eighteenth-century information of Rowlands's Mona Antiqua Restaurata. The second story is a version of Patrick's island shipwreck, but with a mention of Iona, an anachronism in relation to Patrick of Ireland. The two authors use that single narrative detail to rationalize the identification of Llanbadrig's saint as Padrig ab Alfryd (1913: 52), dismissing the rest of the evidence. They do not cite the source of that second story, so we are unsure how and from whom they acquired it.

The actual basis for the conclusion of Baring-Gould and Fisher appears to be the Myvyrian Archaiology, rather than local evidence. Their entry for Padrig ab Alfryd lists a series of manuscript sources (1913: 52, note 5), five of them apparently related to the Bonedd y Saint. Four of these sources41 are addressed in Bartrum's edition of the oldest part of the work (Bartrum 1966: 51-63), without yielding any evidence of a connection between the alternate saint and Llanbadrig. The fifth also fails to associate Llanbadrig with Padrig ab Alfryd (J. Jones 1640: 27, 116).42 The Lives of the Cambro British Saints, additionally listed as a source, echoes the information of the Bonedd y Saint (W. Rees 1853: 267, 594). What remains is the Myvyrian Archaiology and another work associated with Edward Williams, the Iolo Manuscripts.

Although the most significant revelations about Williams's work had not yet been made, Baring-Gould and Fisher were not entirely unaware of the problems. In the entry for the Apostle of the Irish, they refer to the Iolo Manuscripts as a "late and bad" and "untrustworthy" source (1913: 60, 61), while continuing to cite the related evidence. The two also mention the former Hafod manuscript of the Purgatory storytelling, citing it as evidence for a common, ongoing confusion of the two saints (1913: 52, note 5). They have missed the actual import of the association, as it relates to the interpretation of Llanbadrig's dedication. In the manuscript, Padrig ab Alfryd has been placed in contexts belonging to the Apostle of the Irish, as he has in relation to the medieval church.

There are a number of critical errors in the way that Baring-Gould and Fisher went about their work. They assumed that it was their obligation to deduce the identity of the "original" patron saint of a community. In the process, they appropriated a cultural heritage not their own, reporting it in ways other than how they found it. Their reliance on the Myvyrian Archaiology capped an exercise in the use of faulty methodology.

The misreporting of the dedication continued in the second half of the twentieth century. A work first published in 1954, The Holy Wells of Wales, gives Padrig ab Alfryd as the founder of Llanbadrig. The author, Francis Jones, cites the Lives of the British Saints as the source (1954/1992: 141). The work was reissued in 1992. In 1979, Molly Miller's The Saints of Gwynedd also associated Padrig ab Alfryd with Llanbadrig (1979: 24). She appears to have drawn on Baring-Gould and Fisher, mentioning the detail about Iona (1979: 74-75). Oddly enough, her bibliography does include some of Bowen's work, but not his work containing the references to Llanbadrig's dedication (1979: ix). Miller's misuse of Anglesey evidence in The Saints of Gwynedd was extensively documented in a 1980 review (B. Jones and Roberts 1980: 131-137).

In 2004, an outline brief was issued addressing possible public access to St Patrick's cave and well, located on land adjacent to the church and churchyard. That land is administered by the National Trust. The presentation of the community's "folklore" is taken entirely from Baring-Gould and Fisher. There is also a reference to information from Holy Wells of Wales (Outline Brief: 2-3), in turn derived from Lives of the British Saints. The long shadow of Baring-Gould and Fisher has ensured that a perceived association still exists between Llanbadrig and Padrig ab Alfryd, almost a century after the cracks appeared in the Myvyrian Archaiology. The outline brief underscores the need for studies of the local cultural heritage, moving beyond the later printed sources that misreported the dedication.

Llanbadrig's dedication to the Apostle of the Irish should be recognized in academic sources, and its relation to a broad distribution of northern dedications acknowledged. Llanbadrig is significant as one of a series of medieval churches with Patrician dedications. But it is of particular consequence for several reasons. The first is its degree of preservation as a site. The second is the amount of surviving information about the church. But the most important is the depth and richness of the related cultural heritage, the living tradition that ties it to the community of Cemaes.

Based on the present evidence, the association of Padrig ab Alfryd with Llanbadrig is a post-medieval phenomenon, given wide circulation through the Myvyrian Archaiology. There is no case to be made for an alternate dedication, either over time or at any point in time. The social practice and storytelling of the Cemaes community, placed within cultural context, clearly identify the local saint. Patrick, the Apostle of the Irish, is the saint of Llanbadrig.


1 My thanks to Ann Hughes of Bangor University Archives and Special Collections, who relayed letters, emails, and attachments (emails to the author, August 7 - September 21, 2012; April 3 - July 1, 2013).

2 I also wish to express my thanks to Colorado College and three individuals from Tutt Library: Lisa Lister, Supervising Librarian, Marianne Aldrich, Circulation Team Coordinator, and Ole Bakken (now retired). Matthew C. Gottfried, GIS Technical Director for Colorado College, prepared the geographic context map. Colorado College students Jorge Rivera, Leona Waller, Yifei Ma, Jay Batavia, and Ashley Randle of Tutt's CAT Lab also gave much-appreciated assistance with preparation of the photographs and the map of Llanbadrig churchyard.

The Interlibrary Loan department of Penrose Public Library, Colorado Springs, Colorado, provided unfailing access to the necessary printed volumes, with the assistance of staff members of the Penrose and Old Colorado City branches.

3 It is my pleasure to recognize the individuals who assisted during my fieldwork in Cemaes: Elfed and Siâ Jones of Oriel Cemaes, Honorary Churchwarden Robert Williams, Bill O'Donnell, Frances O'Donnell (†), Catherine Brown, former Librarian-in-charge, Llyfrgell Cemaes, Mererid Thomas, Llyfrgell Cemaes, the staff of Cemaes Heritage Centre, staff members of the Llangefni Library, and many others. The dates of the site visits are as follows: May 11, 2006; May 13, 2006; September 23-26, 2006; November 10-15, 2007; and May 14-24, 2013.

4 During one of my fieldwork visits to Cemaes, Gwilym Jones generously loaned his copy of Cliff Corker's local history. With the kind consent of Mrs. Corker, The National Library of Wales now holds a copy.

5 For the map "Llanbadrig in geographic context," the Countries/Administrative Units data was provided by DeLorme and Esri (copyright 2013).

6 The medieval nunnery at Lambley in northern England is the exception; the dedication was to Mary and Patrick (Crawford 2009: 143-144).

7 The related manuscript is British Library, Harley MS 3859.

8 The Sawley Historia Brittonum is found in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 139.

9 A new edition of Jocelin's vita is greatly needed. According to the University of Liverpool's Institute of Irish Studies, Ingrid Sperber will be completing an edition and English translation of the work. The edition was begun by Ludwig Bieler.

10 According to Helen Birkett, the account of the banishing of the snakes appears in twelfth-century sources (Birkett 2010: 31-32, note 28).

11 The Latin phrase is "qui scilicet Gilebertus fuit postea abbas de Basingewerch..." (Easting 1991: 149).

12 My thanks to Sue Nicol, Library and Archive Services Assistant with Manx National Heritage, who emailed scans of the references (February 14, 19, 2014).

13 In this instance, an "extent" is a record of lands and land valuation, usually made for taxation purposes.

14 Most of the records appear to relate to the reign of Edward III (Record Commission 1838: iii-iv).

15 The term "inquisition" refers to any of a number of kinds of official inquiries and the related records.

16 The manuscript reference for the diocese of Bangor is British Library, Cotton Vitellius C X, MS ff. 119-120v (Lunt 1926: 169-170).

17 My thanks to Nancy Edwards, who made a copy of the "Llanbadrig" entry available before it was published. Amelia Nelson of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art kindly provided the related pages from the printed volumes (February 19, 2014).

18 Discussions, May 22, 2013.

19 Tomos Roberts called this to my attention (May, 2013).

20 Site visits (May, 2013). It should be noted that the figure of Patrick is at the head of the tomb, rather than the foot, as indicated in the Royal Commission volume.

21 Site visit (May 19, 2013).

22 The Ousby church in Cumbria is such an instance. The medieval dedication was to Patrick, and there is a medieval attestation. In the post-medieval period, the church was restored with a dedication to St Luke, following an extended period of disuse. Interestingly enough, the former "Patrick" dedication was known in the community and noted in the printed work of the local historian, without any indication of a written medieval source (Crawford 2009: 142-143).

23 My thanks to Dr Brynley Roberts, who provided the information, and Anwen Pierce, who served as the intermediary (email to the author, June 18, 2010).

24 The manuscript is Henblas A.6. Section 10 covers MS ff. 86v-102v; Section 12 begins on f. 103r.

25 Discussions (2006-2007).

26 The diary entry is for 7 Sept. 1737.

27 My thanks to Nora Gabor, Special Collections Library Assistant with The Newberry Library, who sent scans of the relevant pages (emails to the author, March 22, 25, 2014).

28 The diary entry is for 20 March 1742/43.

29 Site visit (May, 2013).

30 The diary entry is for 19 March 1737/38.

31 The diary entries are for 25 October 1737 and 9 November 1737.

32 The name was given by Ethel and Nellie Craven, two sisters from Manchester. This information was provided by Rob Williams, whose family members resided in Tyn Llan, the cottage beside Llanbadrig, from ca 1920 to 1977 (email to the author, May 20, 2013).

33 The diary entries are for 11 October - 29 December 1735.

34 Copies also made their way to Prairie PastTimes, a craft co-operative in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. My thanks to Sue Scott Smith, who scanned and emailed a copy of the above quotation from the booklet (July 20, 2013).

35 At my request, Michelle Humphreys of Cwmni Cemaes Cyf kindly emailed a copy of the issue (September 21, 2013).

36 The manuscript is listed as Hafod MS 23; it is now Cardiff MS 2.633. My thanks for the information to Katrina Coopey, Local Studies Librarian, Cardiff Central Library (email to the author, March 2, 2009). J. E. Caerwyn Williams describes the Purgatory narrative as a copy of a manuscript of 1531 (1973-1974: 145-146), dating found in the manuscript itself (Cardiff MS 2.633: 300). Katrina Coopey and the staff of Cardiff Central Library emailed photographs of the related pages (May 7-9, 2013), an effort greatly appreciated.

37 The manuscript is British Library, MS Additional 14919, with the date of the incorporated manuscript given as ca 1500.

38 The related copies are British Library, MS Additional 14936, dated to the eighteenth century, and a copy dated to ca 1860 (J. Williams 1973-1974: 133, 143-144).

39 I appreciate the assistance of Catherine Wehrey, Dibner Reader Services Assistant at The Huntington Library, who sent scans of the related pages (email to the author, April 2, 2014).

40 My thanks to Helen McGettrick, Reference Librarian, and Nora Gabor of The Newberry Library, who arranged to send scans of the relevant pages (email to the author, March 19, 2014).

41 The Lives of the British Saints gives the manuscripts as Peniarth 12, Peniarth 16, Peniarth 45, and Hafod 16 (Baring-Gould and Fisher 1913: 52, note 5).

42 The manuscript is listed in Lives of the British Saints as Cardiff MS. 25 (Baring-Gould and Fisher 1913: 52, note 5); it is now Cardiff MS 3.77. Katrina Coopey, Local Studies Librarian, kindly emailed photographs of the relevant pages (email to the author, January 9, 2014).


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