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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Samson, a Welsh Saint

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Samson (1) ( Sampson ), Welsh saint, bp. of Dôl. His legend is obscured by the admixture of several traditions. The materials for his Life are of their kind very abundant.

Taking the Life in Lib. Land. as a type of the British tradition as distinguished from the Gallican, Samson was son of Amwn Ddu, prince of Armorica in the 5th cent. Born in Glamorganshire, educated by St. Illtyd at Llantwit Major, ordained deacon and priest by St. Dubricius, he became for three and a half years abbat of St. Peirio or Piro's monastery on an island near Llantwit; some say at Llantwit. Afterwards he lived in a desert near the Severn, was consecrated by St. Dubricius and others to the episcopate, though, according to the common Celtic custom, without reference to a specific see, and in course of time proceeded to Armorica, where he became the deliverer of the captive prince Judual, and died at Dôl ( Lib. Land. 305). Thus far, and excluding the miraculous elements, the tradition is generally consistent and complete, though some Welsh traditions bring him back to die at Llantwit. To this are added several fictions, probably of the 12th cent., traceable to Geoffrey of Monmouth and to Girald. Cambr. The monumental inscribed stones to SS. Illtyd and Samson found in the churchyard of Llantwit Major cannot be of this early date; the Samson there mentioned must have lived in the 9th cent., and the lettering would agree with that date. Haddan and Stubbs, Counc. i. 626–628; Rees, Welsh SS. 181, 255).

[J.G.]


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Samson, a Welsh Saint'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hwd/s/samson-a-welsh-saint.html. 1911.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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