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Carn Goch Hill Fort



One day, [Sawyl] and his party broke in [to the monastery of S. Cadoc], and carried off meat and drink, but did no further damage. Cadoc was absent at the moment, but on his return learnt what had been done, and was further informed that the marauders were at a little distance, eating and drinking what they had ravished from his larder and cellars.

After they had gorged themselves with meat and ale, Sawyl and his rogues lay down to sleep. Cadoc seized the opportunity to inflict on them a stinging insult. He set his monks to shave half the heads of the drunken men, and then with the razors to slash off the ears and lips of their horses.

We are informed that Sawyl and his men had retreated to a hill-top for their carouse, and if our identification of the localities be accepted, this can have been none other than the Garn Goch. When the barbers had done their work, Cadoc and fifty of his clerics assumed their ecclesiastical vestments, and marched in procession to the hill to meet, and if possible, to mitigate the resentment of the freebooter.

What happened is veiled in fable. The earth opened and swallowed up Sawyl and his men, "and the ditch where they were engulfed is known unto this day to all the passers-by". That nothing of the sort took place we may be pretty sure. What probably occurred was that the settlers in the neighbourhood assembled and assumed a threatening attitude, and the bully was fain to decamp.
[..] After this, Cadoc sang Te Deum, and blessed the men who had made his adversaries ridiculous, and had so barbarously mutilated the dumb beasts.
That last sentence sounds like S B-G disapproves of animal cruelty, which is pleasing. Surely saints shouldn't be asking people to do such things. He supposes Sawyl might have been based at Pen-y-Ddinas (although that seems rather a long way to walk to go pilfering from monasteries). From The Lives of the British Saints, volume 2, by Sabine Baring-Gould (1908).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th April 2013ce
Edited 18th April 2013ce

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