NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia

Saint Cadoc

Saint Cadog
Welsh: Catwg
Medieval Latin: Cadocus
Born c. 497 or earlier

Cadoc was born in the late fifth century in Wales, and he hailed from a noble family. His father, Gwynllyw the Bearded, was a king, while is mother, Gwladys, was a saint in her own right. Cadoc was raised in a devout Christian household and received a comprehensive education.

Cadoc became a monk and established his monastic community at Llancarfan in Glamorgan, Wales. The monastery became a renowned center of learning and spirituality, attracting numerous scholars and disciples. Cadoc himself was known for his wisdom, piety, and ascetic life.

Saint Cadoc played an active role in evangelizing Wales and the surrounding areas. He founded several churches and monastic settlements, establishing a network of religious communities throughout the region. Cadoc’s missions extended beyond Wales, with records indicating his influence in parts of England and Brittany, France.

Cadoc is credited with performing miracles during his lifetime. One such miracle involved the restoration of a wolf, which had stolen a portion of meat from the monastery’s kitchen. Cadoc commanded the wolf to return the stolen food, and miraculously, the wolf obeyed.

Saint Cadoc’s life came to an end on September 26, though the exact year of his death is uncertain. His burial place is beleived to be Llancarfan, where his monastery was located. The site became a place of pilgrimage, with visitors seeking his intercession and blessings. He is regarded as the patron saint of Llancarfan and is widely honored in Wales.

One of the notable stories associated with Cadoc is his encounter with King Arthur. According to legend, Cadoc saved Arthur’s life during a battle and, in gratitude, received Arthur’s famous horse, Llamrei. This story is often depicted in medieval Arthurian literature and art.

Another story: Cadoc’s father, Gwynnlym, was harbored by Arthur when he kidnapped the lady Gwladys from her husband. Years later, Cadoc, the Abbot of Llancarfan, harbored a fugitive named Ligessauc (Ligessac) who had killed three of Arthur’s knights.

After seven years, Cadoc was finally able to make Arthur accept a payment of a hundred kine (cattle) for the lives of the three knights. Arthur agreed, but demanded that every cow had to be half-red and half-white. Cadoc, through holy means, transformed the cows into such colors, but the cows later turned into ferns. Arthur, humbled through the experience, named the location Ferntown.