Saturday, 29 January 2011

Saints of Britain – St Seiriol of Penmon

Seiriol was an early 6th century saint, who created a cell at Penmon
Priory on Anglesey, off the coast of north Wales. He later moved to Ynys Seiriol
(Puffin Island). He was a son of
King Owain Danwyn of Rhos.
According to tradition, he
and Saint Cybi were good friends,
and would meet weekly
near Llanerchymedd, at the
Clorach wells. Saint Cybi would
walk from Holyhead, facing the
rising sun in the morning and
setting sun in the evening. Saint
Cybi was known as Cybi Felyn (Cybi
the Dark), as he was tanned during
his journey. Seiriol, travelling in the
opposite direction, from Penmon,
would have his back to the sun.
Thus, he was known as Seiriol
Wyn (Seiriol the Fair). Rhyd-y-Saint
railway station (English: Ford of the Saints railway station) on the Red Wharf Bay
branch line near Pentraeth, was named as Seiriol and Cybi are said to have met there.
Seiriol was a younger brother of King Cynlas of Rhos and King Einion of Llŷn. His cell
at Penmon is said to have been rebuilt by his brothers, as they didn't think his
humble residence was good enough. St Seiriol's Well (Ffynnon Seiriol) lies in a small
chamber adjoining its remains. Adjacent to them are the church and ruins of
a monastery also dating back to Seiriol's day.
In his old age, Seiriol retired to Ynys Lannog which subsequently became known
(in Welsh) as Ynys Seiriol. Later it would be known to the Vikings as Priestholm, and is
known as Puffin Island in English since the 19th century.
We commemorate Saint Seiriol on 1 February.