Miracles, Corpse Candles and the Ghost of St David

February 26, 2017

 

As a resident of Abergavenny a historic market town in South Wales U.K, I will be a part of the annual celebrations across our country on March 1st which feature heavily. St David's Day is of course, is the day when the proudly patriotic people of Wales celebrate their patron saint, St David and all things Welsh.

 

As small children in primary schools and nurseries dress up in traditional welsh costume or more modern-day Welsh rugby kits or even crazy daffodil hats, they will also be learning a little bit about the historical significance of their patron saint. However most won’t know that there is a mystical side to St David and in fact he was a figure with supernatural powers, according to our folklore.

 

Although we do know that St David did exist, much of what we know about him comes from Rhygyvarch the 11th century author who wrote the Life of Saint David. As it was written so long after David’s life, its reliability is ambiguous. Undoubtedly the embellishments were inspiring to believers in centuries past. It is written that thirty years before David was born, he was foretold by truth-telling oracles of angels, first to his father, then to Saint Patrick.

 

Also known as “Dewi Sant” in Welsh, St David was born in Caerfai in Pembrokshire. His mother was St Non, niece of King Arthur and the daughter of a chieftain in around 500 AD. The story of St Non, also known as Nonnita of Nonna, was said to have been the innocent victim of a heinous crime and “unhappily seized and exposed to the sacrilegious violence of one of the princes of the country.” Rhygyvarch cited Sanctus (aka Sandde), the King of Ceredigion, as the rapist and recorded that the rape occurred when Sanctus happened upon Non, while travelling through Dyfed.

 

 Legends say that even from the womb David, apparently, performed miracles during her pregnancy. One day, Non entered a church to listen the preaching of the local priest and immediately the man was struck dumb. Because he felt that her child was soon to surpass all religious teachers, the cleric found himself unable to continue whilst in the great man's presence.

 

The birth came during a violent gale, with thunder and lightning, say the chronicles of Welsh history. As she gave birth to her