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Saint Eluned

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Saint Eluned (or more properly, in Welsh, Eiliwedd; also known as Almedha, Alud, Anger and Eiluned) was a 5th century female Welsh saint from Brecon.

Life
Eluned is believed to have been one of the twenty-four daughters of King Brychan of Brycheiniog, a sub-Roman monarch, who had embraced the new faith of Christianity. Eluned became a Christian at a young age, but was pursued by a pagan prince. She spurned his advances and, like many women of her time, she ran away to keep from being forced into the relationship. She traveled to Llanddew where she was ousted by the locals, and then to Llanfilo. Here again, she was ousted by the inhabitants, on the pretext of thievery. She then travelled to Llechfaen (now Llechen), where she was again thrown out of the community. She would not find peace until her arrival at Slwch Tump, where the local lord gave her protection. However, Eluned's pursuer found her. When she ran from him, he chased her down the hill and beheaded her. Her head rolled down the hill and hit a stone. In that spot, a spring arose.

Veneration
When the Normans arrived in Brecknockshire in the 11th century, the well at Slwch was associated with healing and other miracles.

Welsh historian, Hugh Thomas in his essay on the history of Brecknockshire (1698), speaks of the chapel, in his time, as:

    standing, though unroofed and useless; the people thereabouts call it St. Tayled. It was situated on an eminence, about a mile to the eastward of Brecknock, and about half a mile from a farm-house, formerly the mansion and residence of the Aubreys, lords of the manor of Slwch, which lordship was bestowed upon Sir Reginald Awbrey by Bernard Newmarche, in the reign of William Rufus. Some small vestiges of this building may still be traced, and an aged yew tree, with a well at its foot, marks the site near which the chapel formerly stood.

Like so many other holy sites, Eluned's well and chapel were destroyed during the Reformation. Her feast day is August 1, which was also the date a pagan harvest festival was celebrated.


 

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