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Saint Beuno
Born late 6th century
Powys, possibly Berriew
Died 21 April 640(640-04-21)
Clynnog Fawr, Gwynedd
Honored in
Orthodox Church; Roman Catholic Church; Anglican Communion
Major shrine Clynnog Fawr, Gwynedd (destroyed, grave chapel survives)
Feast 20 or 21 April
Attributes Abbot
Patronage sick children; against diseased cattle

Saint Beuno (died 640) was a 7th-century Welsh holy man and Abbot of Clynnog Fawr in Gwynedd, on the Llŷn peninsula. His name (*Bou[g]nou in Old Welsh, derived ultimately from Common Celtic *Bou[o]-gnāw- "Knowing Cattle")[1] may appear in English as Bono or in Latin as Bonus.[2]


Beuno was born in Powys, supposedly at Berriew, the grandson of a prince of that realm. After education and ordination in the monastery of Bangor-on-Dee in north-east Wales, he became an active missionary, Cadfan, King of Gwynedd, being his generous benefactor. Cadwallon, Cadfan's son and successor, deceived Beuno about some land and, when the saint demanded justice, proved unsympathetic. Thereupon, Cadwallon's cousin Gwyddaint, in reparation, "gave to God and Beuno forever his township" of Clynnog Fawr in the Llŷn peninsula, where the saint founded a famous abbey.[3]

Beuno became the guardian and restorer to life of his niece, the virgin Saint Gwenffrewi (Winefride; in modern English Winifred). He was relentless with hardened sinners, but full of compassion to those in distress. Before his death at Clynnog "on the seventh day of Easter" he had a wondrous vision.[3]


Eleven churches bearing Saint Beuno's name witness to his far-reaching missionary zeal, including one in his monastery at Clynnog Fawr, and one as far away as Culbone on the Somerset coast.

Feast day[edit]

Baring-Gould & Fisher[2] give St Beuno's date of death as 21 April 640, making that date his traditional feastday. In the current Roman Catholic liturgical calendar for Wales,[4] he is commemorated on April 20, the 21st being designated for Saint Anselm.

St Beuno does not appear in the 2004 edition of the Roman Martyrology, either under any name with the root Beu- or under the Latinized form Bonus.[5]

Contemporary reference[edit]

St Beuno's, a house of the Jesuits at Tremeirchion, near St Asaph, formerly a theological college and now a Jesuit run Spirituality Centre/retreat house,[6] is named for St Beuno.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Sims-Williams, Patrick (2007) [2004]. "Beuno [St Beuno] (d. 653/9)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 


  1. ^ Koch, John T. (ed.), Celtic Culture, ABC-CLIO, 2006, p. 206.
  2. ^ a b Baring-Gould & Fisher, "Lives of the British Saints" (1907), quoted at St. Beuno Gasulsych, Early British Kingdoms website by David Nash Ford, accessed 6 February 2012
  3. ^ a b Ryan, Patrick W.F. "St. Beuno." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 12 May 2013
  4. ^ National Calendar for Wales, accessed 6 February 2012
  5. ^ Martyrologium Romanum, 2004, Vatican Press (Typis Vaticanis), pages 714-716.
  6. ^ [1]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.