Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Britain's Lost Routes: Griff Rhys Jones on Medieval Welsh Catholic Pilgrimage

If you get the chance - watch Episode 4 of Griff Rhys Jones's Britain's Lost Routes.

It follows the Pilgrim Rout from Holywell in North Wales to St David's in West Wales, and has more than a flavour of Welsh Catholicism!

Griff himself says the Welsh were amongst the most devout of Catholics - and along the way we see what the pilgrims of Medieval Wales would have seen, to eat what they would have eaten, to sing what they would have sung, etc.

This link takes you to the BBC iplayer and episode 3 (very interesting - goes to Glenfinnan, which is where - if memory serves me right - Bonnie Prince Charlie landed and the Clansmen first gathered to swear their allegiance).

Episode 4, on the pilgrimage to St David's, should be amongst the links at the bottom anytime soon.

BBC iplayer


  1. The St David's episode was pretty good and mostly accurate. The only time I get annoyed is when commentators refer to the early Christian Church in Wales and skim over the fact that it was the Catholic Church in Wales. I think Griff only did this once in what was a fairly balanced portrait of a Catholic pilgrimage.
    All of the group seemed surprised that pilgrims sang and danced and entertained one another round the fire at night but, as we know, that is just the Catholic way.

  2. Thanks for this post...

    I missed the first half, and was rather disappointed with some of the things I saw.

    Griff Rhys Jones fell into the trap of claiming that people went on pilgrimage and sought indulgences for the absolution of sins - as opposed to in reparation for already absolved sins. He also seemed to think that people no longer go on pilgrimage. But I couldn't believe that he claimed St David established the Church in Wales - the great saint was a reformer and revivalist of sorts, but the Church in Britain / Wales pre-dated him by centuries.

    But, to be fair, maybe I should try and watch the whole thing. I'm glad to see that he did say some good things, though.


    1. Hi Dylan - Hi Richard,

      I found that later in the programme a few 'unwise' comments were made - but even then overall it was remarkably free of most protestant/materialist errors in regards to Catholicism, overall I feel it painted a picture of a rich history and depth of Faith that the Welsh have lost.

  3. A potentially fascinating programme spoilt by a crass commentary by a failed comedian who clearly has a problem with religion.