Saint Materiana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Saint Materiana
Born c. 440
Gwent, Wales
Died early 6th century (?)
Minster, Cornwall
Venerated in Anglican Communion
Eastern Orthodox Church
Major shrine Minster, Cornwall
Feast April 9
Attributes crown; widow's robe
Patronage Minster, Cornwall
Tintagel, Cornwall
Trawsfynydd, Wales

Saint Materiana is a Welsh saint, patron of two churches in Cornwall and one in Wales. Alternative spellings are Madrun and Madryn. The name was corrupted to "Marcelliana" in medieval times. Another spelling of her name sometimes used is "Mertheriana" or "Merthiana", resembling the Welsh merthyr - "martyr".


Materiana is said to have been a princess of the 5th century, the eldest of three daughters of King Vortimer the Blessed, who, after her father's death, ruled over Gwent with her husband Prince Ynyr.

However the Hymn to St Materiana in use at Tintagel calls her "Materiana, holy Mother" and prays her to "Over thy people still preside, over thy household, clothed in scarlet vesture of love and holy pride" and continues "Thy children rise and call thee blessed, gathered around thee at thy side." This prompts comparisons with the mother goddess Matrona, known in Welsh as Modron.[citation needed] The 'Hymn to St Materiana' is not an ancient hymn, and of Anglican use.

Minster church[edit]

St Materiana depicted on the church banner at Minster, Cornwall
The rood screen of St Materiana's Church, Tintagel (on the left is the banner portraying St Materiana, designed by Sir Ninian Comper)

The mother church of Boscastle is Minster, dedicated to St Materiana, located in the valley of the River Valency half-a-mile east of Boscastle at grid reference SX 110 904. The original Forrabury / Minster boundary crossed the river so the harbour end of the village was in Forrabury and the upriver area in Minster. The churches were established some time earlier than the settlement at Boscastle (in Norman times when a castle was built there). The Celtic name of Minster was Talkarn but it was renamed Minster in Anglo-Saxon times because of a monastery on the site. Until the Reformation St Materiana's tomb was preserved in the church. Traditions of the saint were recorded by William Worcestre in 1478: he states that her tomb was venerated at Minster and that her feast day was April 9.[1] However the parish feast traditionally celebrated at Tintagel was October 19, the feast day of St Denys, patron of the chapel at Trevena (the proper date is October 9 but the feast has moved forward due to the calendar reform of 1752).

Tintagel and Trawsfynydd churches[edit]

The first church at Tintagel was probably in the 6th century, founded as a daughter church of Minster: these are the only churches dedicated to the saint though she is usually identified with Madryn, Princess of Gwent, who has a church dedicated to her at Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd.[2] At Tintagel Parish Church there are two memorials which portray St Materiana: a statue in the chancel and a stained glass window in the nave.

See also[edit]

  • Puerto Madryn -- a town in Argentina named after Madryn, Nefyn, Wales
  • Carn Fadrun—a hill in North Wales named after the saint
  • Nefyn -- a town in North Wales (the Madryn estate is nearby)


  1. ^ Canner, A. C. (1982) The Parish of Tintagel. Camelford: A. C. Canner; pp. 32-33
  2. ^ "History of Trawsfynydd". Retrieved 25 January 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Canner, A. C. (1982) The Parish of Tintagel. Camelford: A. C. Canner; pp. 5-6, 94-95

External links[edit]