Pabo (DNB00)

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PABO (fl. 520?), North British king, was, according to the oldest Welsh genealogies (Harl. MS. 3859), the son of Cenau ap Coel Odebog (Cymmrodor, ix. 174, 179). Later documents make him the son of Arthwys ap Mor ap Cenau (Hengwrt MS. No. 536; Iolo MSS. p. 126), but he appears to have belonged to the beginning rather than to the end of the sixth century. In mediæval Welsh literature Pabo is styled ‘post Prydain;’ this title appears in the early genealogy as ‘p. priten,’ and is thus shown to be really ‘post Prydyn,’ i.e. the pillar of Pictland or the north, ‘Prydein’ for ‘Prydyn’ being a common mediæval mistake (Rhys, Celtic Britain, p. 296). Though a northern warrior, Pabo is alleged by tradition to have been buried at Llanbabo in Anglesey; the tombstone, bearing a representation of him in royal array, with a (now partially defaced) inscription, was discovered in the seventeenth century (Cambrian Register, ii. 486–7), and is ascribed by Longueville Jones (Archæol. Cambr. 1861, p. 300), Westwood (Lapidarium Walliæ, p. 193), and Bloxam (Archæol. Cambr. 1874, p. 110) to the reign of Edward III. Llanbabo (‘the church of Pabo’) is a chapel of Llanddeusant, and therefore is probably later than Pabo's time; it may, however, have been built to mark a spot already hallowed by his grave. Pabo is assigned a place among the Welsh saints in two of the printed lists (Iolo MSS. 105, 126), and the second gives some particulars of his history, but both, as Phillimore has shown (Byegones, 1890, pp. 482, 533–4), are quite untrustworthy. Rhys believes a misreading of ‘Pabo priden’ to be the source of the Palomydes of Malory (Arthurian Legend, p. 298). Pabo's festival was 9 Nov. (Iolo MS. 152).

[Harl. MS. 3859; Iolo MSS.; Rees's Welsh Saints.]

J. E. L.