Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Cadocus, or Cadoc, Abbot in Wales

Article

Cadoc was son to Gundleus, a prince of South Wales, by his wife Gladusa, daughter of Braghan, whose name was given to the province now called Brecknockshire. His parents were not less ennobled by their virtues than by their blood, and his father, who some years before his death renouncing the world, led an eremitical life near a country church, which he had built, was honoured in Wales amongst the saints. Cadoc, who was his eldest son, succeeded in the government, but not long after followed his father’s example; and embracing a religious life, put himself under the direction of Saint Tathai, an Irish monk, who had opened a famous school at Gwent, the ancient Venta Silurum of the Romans, afterwards a bishop’s see, now in ruins in Monmouthshire. Our saint made such progress both in learning and virtue, that when he returned into Glanmorganshire, his own country, he spread on every side the rays of his wisdom and sanctity. Here, three miles from Cowbridge, he built a church and a monastery which was called Llan-carvan, or the Church of Stags, and sometimes Nancarvan, that is, the Vale of Stags. The school which he established in this place became most illustrious, and fruitful in great and holy men. By our saint’s persuasion Saint Iltut renounced the court and the world, and learned at Llan-carvan that science which he preferred to all worldly treasures. He afterwards founded the great monastery of Llan-Iltut. These two monasteries and that of Saint Docuinus, all situated in the diocess of Landaff, were very famous for many ages, and were often governed by abbots of great eminence. Saint Gildas, after his return from Ireland, entered the monastery of Saint Cadoc, where he taught for one year, and copied a book of the gospels which was long preserved with great care in the church of Saint Cadoc, and highly reverenced by the Welch, who used it in their most solemn oaths and covenants. After spending there one year, Saint Gildas and Saint Cadoc left Llan-carvan, being desirous to live in closer retirement. They hid themselves first in the islands of Ronech and Echni. An ancient life of Saint Cadoc tells us, that he died at Benevenna, which is the Roman name of a place now called Wedon, in Northamptonshire. Some moderns take it for Benevento, in Italy, where they suppose him to have died. Chatelain imagines this Saint Cadoc to be the same who is honoured at Rennes, under the name of Cado, or Caduad, and from whom a small island on the coast of Vennes is called Enes-Caduad. Saint Cadoc flourished in the beginning of the sixth century, and was succeeded in the abbacy of Llan-carvan, by Ellenius, “an excellent disciple of an excellent master,” says Leland.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Cadocus, or Cadoc, Abbot in Wales”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 23 January 2013. Web. 23 September 2014. <>