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saint silyn

On the Footsteps of Forgotten Saints, Redux

In a previous post, I argued that the little corner of the world where I currently live was probably home to a mostly-forgotten holyist; Silyn Sant.

Hopefully I covered the key pieces of evidence before, but suffice it to say that they were: Cultural (the high prevalence of Sulien; Silyn; Silin; Silian terminology used in Welsh landscapes), Folkloric (local traditions about the life of Silyn Sant who lived in these parts), and Historic (archaeological discoveries dating back to the 5th-6th centuries).

As you know, we ran into some murky waters when we considered another, more famous early Christian saint, Giles the Hermit. Later historians preferred the idea that our eccentric Silyn Sant was in fact Giles by another name. I’ve been thinking about these two god-botherers, and the fact that their hagiographies are so achingly similar. One tantalizing possibility is that: if Saint Giles was 7th-8th Century, and the Silbandus Stone of Silyn Sant was 5th-6th – then perhaps Saint Giles borrowed/recreated this hagiography from an older Welsh myth-cycle?

St. Giles…or Silyn Sant?

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On the Footsteps of Forgotten Saints

Where I and my partner currently live in Wales we have a lot of saints. So many in fact, that it seems impossible to walk down a street without tripping over a chapel, shrine, hermit’s cell, a holy well or a place where a saint worked, knelt, prayed, cried, or was generally displaying mutant super-powers. A testament to this is the Isle of Bardsey a little way north of us – called “the Home of 20,000 Saints” because it’s dirt is so stuffed full of their relics. As you may already know, one of my hobbies is being an amateur history nerd – and I am constantly fascinated by this intersection between history and mythology.

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