Cadwgan (d.1241) (DNB00)

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CADWGAN, also called Martin (d. 1241), bishop of Bangor, is styled, probably from the place of his birth, Cadwgan of Llandyvai (Brut y Tywysogion, Rolls Ser. s.a. 1215; MS. C calls him ‘abbot of Llandevid,’ and the Annals of Tewkesbury ‘Abbas Llandefidensis’). There seems to be little doubt that Cadwgan and Martin are the same person, though no certain explanation can be given of the double name, which suggests connection with both the Welsh and English races. Some time between 1200 and 1214 Cadwgan seems to have succeeded his brother as abbot of Whitland in the modern Carmarthenshire. On 27 Dec. 1214 he, with his monks, was taken under the royal protection (Rot. Lit. Pat. i. 125 b). Wales was then in an exceptionally disturbed state, as, in addition to the chronic feuds of the Welsh and the marchers, the powerful Llewelyn ap Iorwerth had actively embraced the cause of the barons confederated against King John. These troubles probably had prevented the election of a bishop of Bangor in succession to Bishop Robert, who had died in 1213 (Ann. Wigorn. s.a.) In 1214 Bishop Geoffry of St. David's also died, and John failed to secure the election of his nominee, through the chapter of that see exercising fully the privilege of free election conferred by his charter of 15 Jan. 1215. Early in 1215 John seems to have fixed on Cadwgan for Bangor. At the end of February Cadwgan appeared at Oxford, and professed as bishop-elect canonical obedience to Canterbury. On 13 March John sent letters patent to the chapter of Bangor, which, in answer to their request for a congé d'élire, granted it as a special and unprecedented favour, but desired them to elect the abbot of Whitland (Rot. Pat. 16 John, m. 5, i. 130b). Immediately and unanimously the chapter elected Cadwgan (ib. i. 132b). Their promptitude suggests that John had sought both to avoid a repetition of the slight he had experienced in South Wales, and to win ecclesiastical support in North Wales against Llewelyn by the nomination of an acceptable candidate who was at least a Welshman. On 13 April the royal assent confirmed Cadwgan's election (ib.), and on 21 June (Registrum Sacrum Anglicanum from MS. Annals of Southwark; Ann. Wigorn. say 16 June), a week after the great charter had been signed at Runnymede, Archbishop Langton consecrated Cadwgan at Staines, along with Iorwerth of Talley, the Welsh nominee of the chapter of St. David's (the bishop is called ‘Martinus’ in the ‘Annals of Worcester,’ ‘Cadwgan’ in ‘Brut y Tywysogion,’ ‘Ca.’ in his profession of obedience in the ‘Reg. Prior. Cant.,’ and ‘O,’ a probable mistake for ‘C,’ in the royal assent in ‘Rot. Lit. Pat.’ i. 132 b).

Nothing of importance is known of Cadwgan's acts as bishop. At the end of 1215 he received an intimation through Master Henry of Cerney that Langton was under suspension, but the subjection of Wales to an interdict in 1216 for holding with the barons suggests that little attention was paid to such notices. He continued to rule over his see for more than twenty years, a fact which shows that he can hardly have been a strong partisan of the English. Probably he was a moderate man, of studious and ascetic, rather than of political tastes. In 1236 he obtained permission from Gregory IX to retire from what must always have been a very difficult position. He became a simple monk of the abbey of Dore in Herefordshire. His profession of obedience to the Abbot Stephen and his dedication of his property to the monastery are still extant (Haddan and Stubbs, i. 464). His retirement to an English monastery may have some significance. He died on 11 April 1241 (Ann. Theok. s.a.; Leland's date, 1225, of his death is quite wrong), and was buried at Dore (Brut y Tywysogion, s.a.).

Cadwgan is said by Leland to have written some homilies, ‘Speculum Christianorum,’ and some other works, to have been remarkable for his piety, and to have been descended from an ancient and noble British family. Dempster (Hist. Eccles. Gentis Scotorum) erroneously claims him as a Scot.

[The contemporary materials for Cadwgan's life are collected in Haddan and Stubbs's Councils, i. 454–5, and pp. 464–5; see also Browne Willis's Survey of Bangor, Leland, Bale, Pits, and Tanner.]

T. F. T.