Saturday, 11 December 2010

Wales: The Land of Mary & Catholic Churches

If you travel through Wales (you lucky sausage!) you will soon discover a preponderance of places called "Llan...", i.e. with the prefix Llan.

Llanfair-ar-y-bryn Church
The vast majority (there are a tiny number of exceptions) of these mean 'The Church.' As most of these place names go back into the mists of time and commemorate Saints from the Age of Saints (circa 5th Century) again the vast majority of these Churches were established to celebrate the Sacraments, and let the Welsh people receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord to be received in Communion.

Furthermore, amongst the myriad of places in the land that gave these Isles its tradition of monasticism (embraced by the Irish under the Welshman, St Patrick and carried from there to the non-Welsh parts of Scotland and Northern England)), you will see many that begin "Llanfair..."

The prefix Llanfair means the place, the village, the Church there was dedicated to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Welsh, the descendants of the original Britons who embraced the Catholic Faith as Romano-Britons, were dedicated to the Virgin Mary, just as the English Saxons and the Norman-English would be in later years.

Following the Reformation sadly after many years the Welsh (with few brave exceptions) lost their ancient Faith, and with the protestant Bible published in Welsh and Welsh nonconformist chapels opened, to save their language and keep their communities alive, most Welshmen became nonconformist (no doubt their love of Biblical and Welsh hymns playing a part).

Yet our Welsh Catholic past is all around us, in the names of the Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary in the very towns and villages throughout Wales, North, East, South and West.

Please pray for the conversion of the Welsh to their Catholic Faith.

BBC Site on Llan Names in Wales


  1. I should be very interested to know upon what evidence you base your assertion that St Patrick was Welsh.

  2. It is a well established fact that Patrick was a Briton [i.e. Welsh] who was kidnapped by Irish pirates and worked as a slave. He escaped, returned to Britain [all Welsh] where he trained to be a priest, then to return to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish.

    Any serious history of St Patrick will concur that he was Welsh [Wales covered Wales, England, Cornwall and Southern Scotland] as at this stage the Irish [the Scots still lived in Ireland], the Picts and the English [still in Germany/Scandinavia] were all pagans.

    Only the Welsh/Britons were Christian of all the peoples who would later be considered "British" or Irish.

    The Welsh would not be called Welsh until the arrival of the Saxons [Welsh means 'foreign/ors' in Saxon - a name they also gave to parts of Belgium and Italy].


    Hope that helps.

    The only Patron Saints that are home grown are the Welsh St Patrick and St David.

    The English did have St Edmund, but the Normans replaced him with St George.