The patron saint of Brittany and one of the most important of the British missionary bishops of the sixth century, founding several churches in Cornwall and Ireland, before travelling across the Channel to continue his work in Brittany.
Born in Siluria, South Wales, c. AD 525, the son of Amwn, by Anna, daughter of Meurig ap Tewdrig, Prince of Glamorgan. While he was being ordained as a deacon by Dubricus, Bishop of Caerleon-on-Usk, a white pigeon or dove flew in and came to rest on his shoulder, where it remained until the young deacon had been ordained and had received Holy Communion. Some time later, Samson asked Illtyd to give him permission to live on a little island near Llantwit, where Piro, a holy priest, lived. Illtyd gave him permission, and Samson went there to study in a tiny cell.
In common with many of the Celtic saints, Samson had the ability to communicate with animals. When he was bishop at Dol, Brittany, his monks reported that they were disturbed in their devotions by the cries of wild birds. One night Samson gathered the birds to him in the courtyard and instructed them to remain silent. The following morning the birds were sent away, and no longer were the devotions of the monks disturbed by their wild cries. Samson died at Dol in AD 565.
His connection with the Arthurian legends exists solely because he has been suggested as the possible original for Sir Galahad.
Samson Church, Saint
Did a church or monastery, dedicated to St. Samson, stand here in the 6th century? [More]
Samson Dry Lip
An Arthurian warrior in Culhwch and Olwen, listed in one genealogy as a son of Caw. Although Caw is said to be the father of some saints, the Samson Finsych intended in Culhwch might be Saint Samson (above).
Samson Isle, Saint
A Cornish island. [More]