Saint Teilo:

Bishop of Llandaff

Saint Teilo

St Teilo was born at Penalun (Penally) around the year 500

Saint Teilo, (Latin:Teliaus, Issell, Teillo in Breton, Teilou, Dub, and Theliau, Télo in French and also Eliau or Eliud) (c. 500 – 9 February c. 560) was a British Christian monk, bishop and founder of monasteries and churches from Penalun (Penally), near Tenby in Pembrokeshire, south Wales.

Reputed to be a cousin, friend and disciple of Saint David, he was bishop of Llandaff and founder of the first church at Llandaff Cathedral, where his tomb is, and he also founded Llandeilo Fawr, as well as Penally Abbey in his place of birth.

St Teilo was born at Penalun (Penally) around the year 500. Teilo was the son of Saint Issel (Welsh: Usyllt) and uncle of Saints Ismael and Euddogwy. In some modern sources, he is accounted the grandson of Ceredig son of Cunedda and thus a member of the royal family of Gwynedd which later considered Saint David among its members. However, that rather dubious connection to a northern dynasty seems to depend on the Iolo Manuscripts now known to have been forged by Edward Williams.

Teilo’s education took place at two institutions directed by saints. The first was established by the renowned Church leader and educator Dubricius (or Dyfrig), while the second was the school directed by Paulinus of Wales at “Wincdi-Lantquendi” (thought to be Whitland) where he met and became a close companion of St David (Dewi).

Like many founder-bishops they appear to have had experience in battle. Along with companions Aeddan and Ysfael, he traveled to Mynyw (St. Davids), where Dewi founded his abbey, and ousted an Irish pirate named Bwya, killed his cattle and burnt his fortress to the ground. He succeeded Dubricius as Bishop of Llandaff after Dubricius retired to a hermitage on Bardsey Island. Teilo founded the first church in Llandaff, headed a monastic school, and become bishop over Glywysing & Gwent.

St Teilo’s Church, Llantilio
In the 540s yellow plague affected Britain. In 549 Teilo, with a small group of monks, moved to Dol in Brittany. He is reported to have stayed in Brittany for seven years and seven months so must have left in 556 or 557, although some sources imply he returned in 554. They traveled through Dumnonia and were reported to have entertained King Geraint, and joined Samson of Dol at Dol: to this day the fruit groves they planted are known as the groves of Teilo and Samson. Legend has it that Teilo was asked by Budic II of Brittany to subdue a belligerent winged dragon, which he tamed and tied to a rock in the sea off Brittany.

After his return to Llandeilo Fawr, where he is documented to have died on 9 February, although the year, though probably around 560, is unknown, he became one of the most venerated men in Wales. At his death Teilo’s body was said to have miraculously become three identical bodies, probably because his relics were claimed by three churches, Llandaff Cathedral, Llandeilo Fawr, and Penally Abbey. One tomb lies to the right of the altar of Llandaff Cathedral: his skull is kept in the south chapel. It is stated that many miracles were witnessed there while he was alive and also later at his tomb. Relics are now even more widely distributed: they are venerated at Landeleau (Finistère), Plogonnac (Finistère), and Saint Télo (Côtes-du-Nord). (more) (wikipedia)