Today (19 August) we commemorate St. Clydog, king and martyr (5th century). From Baring-Gould and Fisher:
S. CLYDOG, King, Martyr
The legend of Clitauc or Clydog is first told in the twelfth century Book of Llan Dav, ed. Evans and Rhys, pp. 193-5. A Life in the Cotton MS. Vesp. A. xiv (early thirteenth century) is an imperfect transcript from the above (ibid., preface, p. xxxiii). A Life by John of Tynemouth, Cotton MS. Tiberius, E. i (fourteenth century) is from the same, condensed. This has been printed in Capgrave’s Nova Legenda Anglice, and in Acta SS. Bolland., Aug. iii.
Both series of the Cognatio de Brychan make Brychan’s son, Clydwyn, father of SS. Clydog and Dedyu, or Dettu ; but the later Brychan lists make Clydog son of Brychan.
The Taliessin pedigree in lolo MSS. pp. 72-3, like most of the documents in that collection, is late. There are three copies of it there, and it runs thus, taken together -Taliessin ab Henwg Sant (al. Henwg Hen, Fardd) ab Fflwch Lawdrwm ab Cynin ab Cynfar(ch) ab Clydog (al. Clydog Sant, Clydog Sant o Dir Euas) ab Gwynnar … up to the mythical Bran.
If we might trust this pedigree, there were two S. Clydogs. The name Clydog, however, was not uncommon, and the portion within brackets is clearly an interpolation ; for the first copy gives Clydog simply, without the addition.
According to the Vita, Clitauc was a king in Ewyas (now partly in Herefordshire and partly in Monmouthshire), son of Clitguin, ruling with justice and peacefully.
A certain girl, daughter of a noble, fell in love with him, and declared that she would marry no one else. One of the comrades of Clitauc, filled with jealousy, he having already made up his mind that this girl should be his, murdered the king one day, when he was out hunting, with his sword.
The body was placed on a cart to which were yoked a couple of oxen, which were driven towards the river, where was a ford. The river was the Monnow. On reaching the bank the yoke broke and the oxen refused to be driven further ; it was, therefore, resolved to build a church on the spot, and this is Clodock.
The legend then goes on to relate how two men who had long been enemies, vowed upon the tomb of S. Clydog to be reconciled. On their way back one treacherously murdered the other ; but immediately after, conscience stricken, fell on his own spear and died miserably.
One church alone seems to have been dedicated to this Saint, Clodock, in Herefordshire, which in the Book of Llan Dav is sometimes called Merthyr Clydog – his martyrium.
In the lolo MSS.,p. 119 – ” His church is in Euas, where he was killed by pagan Saxons.” In the Myv, Arch., p. 420, he ” is in Caer Gledog in England/ where notice the word caer. By it is probably meant Longtown, where is an ancient camp. This Life affords proof that the Brychan rule extended into Herefordshire.
“The hermits Llibio, Gwrfan and Cynfwr were the first inhabitants and cultivators of the place after the martyrdom of Clydog the Martyr.” They built there an improved church. Ithael, King of Glywysing in the time of Bishop Berthwyn, made a grant of it to the church of Llandaff.
In the churchyard of Llanychllwydog (dedicated to S. David), in Pembrokeshire, are two upright stones supposed to mark the place where is buried the Saint who gave his name to the parish ; but this is more probably S. Llwydog or Llwyddog.* than S. Clydog, as Fenton supposed.
The festival of S. Clydog is November 3 in the Calendars in Cotton MS. Vesp. A. xiv, the lolo MSS., the Welsh Prymers of 1546, 1618 and 1633, Nicolas Roscarrock, and a number of old Welsh Almanacks, principally of the eighteenth century. But Allwydd Paradwys (1670) and Rees, after Cressy, give August 19. So also Wilson’s Martyrologie, 1608, and the Bollandists, who follow him.
Whytford gives, on November 3: ” In Englond ye feest of Saynt Clitauke a martyr, a kynges son of strayte iustyce, a louer of peace, and of pure chastite, and of strayte and perfyte lyfe yt was cruelly slayne by a fals traytour at whose deth were shewed many myracles and at his tombe after many moo.”
In art he should be represented holding a sword in one hand and a lily in the other, and crowned as a prince.
Clydog was the name of the eleventh or twelfth bishop of S. David’s.
Holy St Clydog, pray to God for us.