Cadoc of Llancarvan

Other names

Cattwg Ddoeth, 'Wise Cattwg' (Rees 1953, 309)


Cadoc has many dedications in Wales, where he is regarded as founder of Llancarfan in Glamorgan. There are two Lives, one by Lifris written in the late 11th century, and a shorter one, probably early twelfth century, by Caradoc. In both he ends his life in Beneventana ‘Beneventum’ (identified variously with Beneventum in Italy, and Bannaventa, a Roman town on Watling Street in Northamptonshire) where his relics are said to reside. There was a reliquary at Llancarfan in the early eleventh century, however, and Glastonbury claimed to hold part of his skull (Orme 2000, 80-82). According to Lifris’s Life he studied in Ireland at Lismore as a result of which the residenet clergy ‘surnamed him with the name of the principal saint of that city, Muchutu’ (Rees 1853, Vita Cadoci ch. 7). From Ireland he brought back ‘a large company of Irish and British clergy’ including Finian (ibid., ch 8). An association between Cadoc and Finnian also appears in the Life of Finnian of Clonard (Brooke 1962, 293). In his Life Cadoc meets a giant called Cau Pritdin (‘Cau cognomine Pritdin, seu Caur, dudum vocitabar’ ch. 22) somewhere in Scotland, citra montem Bannauc ie ‘to the south of the hill Bannauc’ (Watson 1926, 195). Watson notes that Kaw o Brydein, ‘Kaw from Pictland’ appears in the Welsh tale, the hunting of Twrch Tryth in the Mabinogion. (Watson 1926, 195). The giant is set to work as digger of the monastic foundations to atone for his sins. The monastery is in a province called ‘Lintheamine’, a name which ‘rather suggests Lleuddiniawn, given as the Welsh form of Lothian.’ (Watson 1927 (sic), 8). Monastic ditch-digging by a king of outsize proportions (Constantine) also appears in traditions about Mochuta (Dumville 1999, Woolf 2007c). There are dedications to a Cadoc, or saint of similar name, in Scotland (Watson 1926, 195) and Brittany (Orme 2000, 80-82). The variation in feast-day and the inconsistency of his profile have led some scholars (Farmer, ODS, 120) to propose more than one original Cadoc. In Lifris’s Vita his date is 24 Jan, as also in Wales (Orme 2000, 81, 82). Other dates are also claimed as Cadoc’s: 25 September (Farmer, ODS, 120), 31 March (Wakeham in Rees 1853, 372) and 21st Sept ( this is date for ‘Cado’ of Brittany according to Orme 2000, 81)). Cambuslang in north Lanarkshire is alleged to be dedicated to Cadoc. In June 1553 a resident of Cambuslang directed his body to be buried in pulveribus S. Cadoci ‘ in the dust of Saint Cadoc’ (OPS vol 1 p 61).

Associated places

Llancarvan in Glamorgan, Wales.


A pedigree of Welsh saints has ‘Gwladus was daughter of Brychan, and mother of Saint Cattwg, son of Gwynllyw’ (Rees 1953, 600), Gwladys, verch Vrynach, mam Gatwg sant, ap Gwynlliw, ap Glwys (Rees 1953, 270). [Gwynlly son Glwys produces other saintly progeny: Canneu was his son, Beino was his grandson (Rees, 595)] In the Vita ed. Rees, Cadoc is son of Gwynlliw Filwr (Rees, 309; Vita intro), Gunleius in Latin. He is son of Gwladys (Guladus), daughter of Brychan (Brachanus).

Related Saints

Belongs to the group Cadoc, Cadfael (ns) (certain)

Same as Cadoc of Scotland (probable)

Same as Docco, bishop of the Britons (possible)

Scholars are not in agreement regarding the relationship between Cadoc of Llancarvan and Docco, bishop of the Britons. There are two lines of argument here, which need to be disentangled. One is a linguistic one and is concerned with establishing whether the name Docco is or is not a hypocoristic form of Cadoc. The other is about which names were applied to which saint and is not concerned with the linguistic relationship between one name and another. See notes on Docco.

Related Personal Names


Cadfael (probable)

Cadfael is the Brittonic equivalent of Cathmael qv.


Cadfoddw (possible)

Lifris, Vita Cadoci claims that this was the form of his name in Brittany (Vita Cadoci, ch. 32). Recent scholars have argued against this (Brooke 1963, 297)


Cadog (certain)


Cathmáel (certain)

This was his baptismal name in Lifris, Vita Cadoci, ch 1. Subsequently both Cadmail and Cadoc are mentioned, as if two separate individuals (ch 3). It is also the form used in Vita Finniani ch. 4 (Heist 1965, 97). Llancarvan is here given the name Nant and Garbayn (ibid. ch 10, Heist 1965, 98)


Mo Chuta (certain)

This was his surname according to Lifris Vita Cadoci ch 7. Name was given in honour of Mochuta of Lismore, where Cadoc studied for three years.


Sophias (certain)

Lifris, Vita Cadoci ch. 24. This was his name in Beneventum, where he was made Bishop.

Feast days

Day of Year

Jan 24


In Lifris, Vita Cadoci ch 1 (in Rees 1953) his day is given as IX KAL FEB ie 24 Jan

Day of Year

Sept 25


No authority given by Farmer. He assigns the Cadoc found in Scottish dedications to 24 Jan.

Day of Year

Feb 24


Thomas Wakeham in Rees WJ 1853 cites a work by Father Hugh Paulinus Serenus Cressy of the Holy Order of S. Benedict, Church History of Brittany, 1688, in which the feast of St Cadoc ap Brychan is said to be on 24th Jan and that of Cadoc ap Gwynlliw is on 24th Feb (Rees 1853, 395)