Caradoc of Llancarfan

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Caradoc of Llancarfan (Welsh: Caradog o Lancarfan) was a Welsh cleric and author who was associated with Llancarfan in Wales during the 12th century. He is generally accepted to be the author of a Life of Gildas and of a Life of Saint Cadog in Latin.[1]

He was a contemporary of Geoffrey of Monmouth, author of the Historia Regum Britanniae, the end of which refers to Caradoc as writing a continuation covering the period from 689 to his own time. This must be the chronicle Brut y Tywysogion, though no extant medieval copy mentions Caradog as its author.

The date of the Life of Gildas is estimated at c.1130-1150.[2] Its author shows familiarity with the abbey at Glastonbury, which has been taken as suggesting that he may have relocated from Llancarfan to Glastonbury.

Caradoc's version of the Life of Saint Cadog (Cadog being the founder of the clas at Llancarfan) is included in a manuscript held at the University of Cambridge, along with the Life of Gildas, at the end of which the author identifies himself, in a Latin couplet, as also being the author of the second Life. The life of Cadog includes King Arthur as a major character.

The 16th century Welsh antiquary David Powel claimed his Historie of Cambria was a continuation of this chronicle. At the end of the 18th century Iolo Morganwg wrote what he claimed was Caradoc's lost chronicle, Brut Aberpergwm. Published in The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales this work became one of the most influential and best-known of Iolo's numerous literary and antiquarian forgeries, which give Morgannwg (Glamorgan) a central place in early and medieval Welsh history.[3]

J. S. P. Tatlock, in a 1938 article,[4] throws doubt on the accounts of Caradoc of Llancarfan by T. F. Tout in DNB and by Sir John Edward Lloyd in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, saying that "even the late Professor Tout devotes most of his account in the Dictionary of National Biography to statements certainly groundless, uses worthless authorities, and ignores or distorts the implications of what is reliably known".


  1. ^ Lloyd, J.E. "Caradoc of Llancarfan". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  2. ^ "The Life of Gildas". The True King Arthur: Warrior and Saint from Wales. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  3. ^ G. J. Williams, Traddodiad Llenyddol Morgannwg (University of Wales Press, 1948), pp. 3-4.
  4. ^ Tatlock, J. S. P. (April 1938). "Caradoc of Llancarfan". Speculum. 13 (2): 139–152. doi:10.2307/2848396.