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.