SAINTS OF MY HEART
St Einion Frenin of Holy Virgin Mary’s Monastery
on Bardsey Island, Wales (+6th ce.)
Former King who became Priest-Monk and Confessor in Wales
Photo: Ruins of the St Enion’s Monastery on
Bardsey Island, Wales
Saint Einion was a son of Owain Whitetooth (Ddantgwyn) and the brother of Cuneglas, king of Rhos, and of saints Seiriol and Meirion. Part of Gwynedd’s Cuneddan dynasty, he seems to have ruled as a local king over the Llŷn Peninsula southwest of Anglesey and possibly over Anglesey itself. He was credited with granting his brother Seiriol the land for his monastery at Penmon on Anglesey and, later, his hermitage on Puffin Island. He also lured the Breton saint Cadfan from Tywyn to found St Mary’s Abbey, the first religious establishment on Bardsey Island. Although not part of the Cistercian Way, this became a major site of pilgrimage in Wales. Einion himself is sometimes said to have joined Cadfan’s community on the island, although his relics were claimed by the church at Llanengan.
Einion Frenin was credited with the establishment of the original church at Llanengan (St Einion’s).
Miraculous locations nearby include Ffynnon Engan (“Einion’s Well”) and Ol Troed March Engan (“The Hoofprint of Einion’s Horse”), a petrosomatoglyph near Castell Cinan whose collected rainwater was claimed to possess curative powers.