« Dubhthach, king's poet Dubricius, Dubric, archbp. of Caerleon Ebionism and Ebionites »

Dubricius, Dubric, archbp. of Caerleon

Dubricius, Dubric (Dibric, Dyfrig), arch-bp. of Caerleon, one of the most distinguished names in the story of king Arthur as related by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Arthur makes him archbp. of the city of Legions (Galf. Mon. Hist. viii. 12); he crowns king Arthur (ix. 1); 283makes an oration to the British army prior to the battle of Badon (ix. 4); and is the director of all the ecclesiastical pomp of the court. He was grandson of Brychan king of Brecknockshire, and two localities, vaguely described as the banks of the Gwain near Fishguard and the banks of the Wye in Herefordshire, are claimed for his birthplace. Rees decides in favour of the latter for the following reasons. In the district of Erchenfield, in the county of Hereford, are a church (Whitchurch) and two chapels (Ballingham and Hentland, subject to Lugwardine) dedicated to Dubricius, and all of them near the Wye. At Henllan (i.e. Old-church, now Hentland) he is said to have founded a college, and to have remained seven years before removing to Mochros much farther up the Wye, supposed to be the present Moccas. In corroboration of this tradition there were lately remaining, says Rees, on a farm called Lanfrother in Hentland, traces of former importance. This author further suggests that St. Devereux, seven miles to the west of Hereford, might be a Norman rendering of Dubricius. Rees grants, in support of Ussher, that he may have been appointed bp. of Llandaff about a.d. 470, and that he was raised by Ambrosius Aurelius, the brother of Uther and uncle of Arthur, to the archbishopric of Caerleon on the death of Tremounos or Tremorius, a.d. 490. It does not appear that Wales was then divided into dioceses, or that there were any established bishops' sees except Caerleon. The jurisdiction of its archbishop, according to the rule observable elsewhere in the empire, would be co-extensive with the Roman province of Britannia Secunda, and his suffragans were so many chorepiscopi, without any settled places of residence. The influence of Dubricius and the liberality of Meurig ab Tewdrig king of Glamorgan made the see of Llandaff permanent; whence Dubricius is said to have been its first bishop. It appears, however, that after promotion to the archbishopric of Caerleon he still retained the bishopric of Llandaff, where he mostly resided, and from which he is called archbishop of Llandaff; but that the title belonged rather to Caerleon is clear since upon his resignation David became archbp. of Caerleon and Teilo bp. of Llandaff. Dubricius is distinguished as the founder of colleges; and besides those on the banks of the Wye already mentioned he founded, or concurred in founding, the collegiate monasteries of Llancarvan, Caergorworn, and Caerleon. In his time the Pelagian heresy, which had been once suppressed by St. Germanus, had increased again to such a degree as to require extraordinary efforts for its eradication, and a synod of the whole clergy of Wales was convened at Brefi in Cardiganshire. The distinction earned by David on that occasion gave Dubricius an excuse for laying down his office, and, worn with years and longing for retirement, he withdrew to a monastery in the island of Enlli or Bardsey, where he died. Rees, who puts the chronology of Dubricius and David early, gives a.d. 522 for the date. He was buried in the island, where his remains lay undisturbed till a.d. 1120, when they were removed by Urban bp. of Llandaff and interred with great pomp in the new cathedral which had been rebuilt a short time before. His death was commemorated on Nov. 4, and his translation on May 29. The bones of the saint were with great difficulty discovered at Bardsey, the oldest writings having to be searched, as recorded in the Liber Landavensis (ed. Rees, 1840, p. 329). Such in the main is Rees's account of Dubricius (Essay on the Welsh Saints, 171-193). Of ancient materials an anonymous Vita in Wharton (Angl. Sac. ii. 667) is important as having been evidently compiled from earlier sources before the fables of Geoffrey of Monmouth appeared. Benedict of Gloucester wrote his Vita (Angl. Sac. ii. 656) after Geoffrey. Capgrave has also a Life (N. L. A. f. 87). For others see Hardy, Des. Cat. i. 40-44. Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, i. 146, 147, should be consulted on Dubricius's Llandaff bishopric, and on his connexion with Archenfield or Erchenfield; likewise Stubbs (Registrum, 154, 155) for the early and legendary successions to Llandaff and Caerleon. See also Ussher, Brit. Eccl. Antiq. Works, t. v. 510; Chron. Index, sub ann. 490, 512, 520-522. In regard to the period of Dubricius, authorities differ within limits similar to those assigned to St. David. The Annales Cambriae under a.d. 612 give the obit of Conthigirnus and bp. Dibric, whom the editors of the Monumenta, with an "ut videtur," name bps. Kentigern and Dubricius (M. H. B. 831). The Liber Landavensis also (80) gives this date, and it is adopted in Haddan and Stubbs (i. 146). Hardy (Des. Cat. i. 41) refers to Alford's Annales, a.d. 436, ss. 2, 3, 4, for some critical remarks on the probable chronology of the life of Dubricius.

[C.H.]

« Dubhthach, king's poet Dubricius, Dubric, archbp. of Caerleon Ebionism and Ebionites »
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