Church Lane Llantwit Major Vale_of_Glamorgan Wales
Founded in 500 AD by the Welsh monk Illtud, the Church of Llantwit Major (Llanilltud Fawr) is believed to be Britain’s earliest centre of learning. St Illtud established a monastic school of over one thousand pupils, including, it is said, St David of Wales and St Patrick of Ireland.| At the western end of St Illtud’s Church stands the Galilee Chapel. Originally a two-storey building, built in the 13th century, it is now a roofless ruin. The Galilee Chapel Project aims to raise funding to develop the Chapel and bring it back into use as a centre for education in Celtic Christian studies. At the heart of the project is the provision for an appropriate exhibition space for one of the most important collections of Celtic Christian stones in the UK.| If successful, we hope the project will benefit not only the local community and schools, but academics, tourists and pilgrims from around the world. | The West Church currently provides a temporary home for one of the finest collections of Celtic stones in Wales. Dating from the 9th and 10th centuries, some were previously located within the main church, some in the churchyard, and some even in private gardens in the town. They were brought inside for protection during the restoration at the end of the 19th century. | The Houelt Cross is a superb example of a Celtic wheel cross. It has beautiful interlaced decoration, typical of the later pre-Norman period. It is a memorial to Houelt ap Rhys (Hywel ap Rhys), ruler of Glywysing (Glamorgan) in the 9th century. | The Samon Cross, without the wheel cross, is inscribed in Latin, “Samson erected this cross for his soul”. There was a Samson who succeeded Illtud as abbot here, but the inscription is much later. The reverse is inscribed “ILTU—-”, possibly Iltutus, a Latin form of Illtud. | The tall Samson Pillar has a long inscription, now badly eroded, referring to Samson the Abbot (identity unknown), Artmail (another abbot) and Ithel, a 9th century king of Gwent. | The Vale of Glamorgan is rich in Celtic remains, and the similarity in the patterns of decoration suggest that there existed a flourishing and artistic school of masons in the Llantwit Major Celtic monastry.
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