Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Saint Carannog

Caradoc, Carantoc, Carantog

Saint Carannog is believed to have lived during the sixth century. He was born in Wales, and his exact place of birth is uncertain, though it is often associated with the area now known as Caron Islet in Ceredigion. He came from a noble family and was raised in a Christian household.

Carannog chose to embrace the monastic life and devoted himself to spreading the Christian faith. He established a monastic settlement, Llangrannog, which became a signficant center of Christian worship and learning.

One of the notable aspects of Carannog’s life is his missionary work. He is said to have traveled extensively throughout Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany, France, where he preached the Gospel and established churches and monastic communities. His travels are often depicted in legends and stories that emphasize his role in Christianizing the Celtic regions.

There are several stories associated with Saint Carannog that highlight his miracles and acts of healing. For instance, he is said to have turned a poisonous well into a source of clean water through his prayers. Additionally, Carannog is believed to have healed individuals suffering from various illnesses and ailments.

The details of Saint Carannog’s death are unclear, but it is believed that he lived to an old age and died in Llangrannog. His remains are reportedly enshrined there.

Carannog is one of the several Welsh saints, connected to Arthur in his Life.

A missionary from Cardigan, he set his holy altar, which had been sent from heaven, adrift in River Severn, expecting it to wash up where he was most needed. As he was travelling to Somerset from Wales, the altar fell into the sea, so Carannog came to Arthur to ask if it had been found. It floated to Arthur’s realm in Dindraithof (Llancarfan).

Arthur already had it in his possession, promising to return it to Carannog if Carannog could drive away a serpent that was terrorizing Arthur’s land in Carrum (Ker Moor). Undaunted by this mammoth task, Carannog placed his stole around the serpent’s neck and pacified it. Having then ordered it to do no more harm, the saint let go again.

In the meantime, Arthur had tried to use the altar as a table, but anything he placed on top of it was thrown off. Arthur returned the altar to Carannog, at the same time awarding Carrum to the saint. Carannog then resumed his journeys and founded the town of Carrof.

Carannog then built a chapel for the altar, which, so John Leland (chaplain to King Henry VIII) tells us, was at Carhampton, a short distance from Blue Anchor Bay, between Minehead and Watchet, though the church there today is not dedicated to the saint.