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January 09, 2021 3 min read

St Teilo - Monk, Bishop, Saint

Feast of St Teilo - 9th February

St Teilo was a monk, a bishop, and an early Welsh saint and strangely the patron saint of fruit trees and horses! February 9th is St Teilo’s feast day in the Britain – in Brittany, France where he also has a feast day, it is 25th November.
St Teilo has more than 25 churches in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany dedicated to  him with only the Patron Saint of Wales, St David having more dedicated churches.

Who was St Teilo?

According to tradition, Teilo was born at Penally in South Pembrokeshire around 480-500AD. He studied at St Paulinus monastic school at Whitland, Carmarthenshire where he met and became friends with Dewi (St David).

Bishop Teilo founded the church of Llandeilo Fawr in Dyfed, and may also have established a centre at Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire. However, in AD 549, Teilo and his religious community left Wales for Cornwall and to Dol in Brittany due to an outbreak of Yellow Fever. Teilo remained there for seven years.

St Teilo in Brittany, France

Whilst in France, Teilo, is reported to have planted three miles of fruit trees. Even today the fruit groves they planted are known as the groves of Teilo. Even to this day, there are many churches which are dedicated to St Teilo, for example  the church at Plogonnec, Finistére, and the Chapel of Our Lady in Kerdévot. In both cases he is shown wearing bishop’s robes.

Return to Britain

In around AD 554 Teilo and his followers returned from Brittany to Llandeilo Fawr. After the death of St. David, Teilo became revered as one of the most holy men in Wales. He was joined at Llandeilo by many disciples including Cynfwr, Teulyddog and Llywel. He died at the abbey of Llandeilo Fawr on February 9th, probably around the year 560.

St Teilo – After his Death

According to an account by a Geoffrey of Llandaff in the twelveth century, there was a dispute over the body of St Teilo. There were three claimants to the remains: the church at Penally (where he was born), Llandeilo (where he founded his church and died), and Llandaff (who claimed him as their bishop). During the night, the body is said to have multiplied into three, one for each church, thus settling the argument.

St Teilo’s Well at Llandyfan attracted pilgrims from far and wide to drink the spring water at the well. According to legend, the water could cure paralysis and similar ailments. The well, which was still used in the 19th century for outdoor baptisms, remains next to the Victorian church built on the site.

About FelinFach

Our company, FelinFach Natural Textiles is located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets and the iconic Welsh Tapestry blankets which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves and other handmade products. We also offer Welsh tartansSheepskin Rugs, Gift Cards and tools and books for crafters and knitters - Cocoknits, Laine, Amirisu and Making to name a few!. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool and Global Welsh.

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Last update 9th February 2021

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